The author of “The Odds of Gods: Why Christians Should Never Tell Lies”, Rush O.C. Campbell, starts out his narrative in a no-nonsense manner that is as efficient as it is descriptive. We get to know the characters that are important to the story, one by one, and in much detail, through a semi-predictable pattern. In fact, by the 20th character description, it begins to feel a little more like a character reference guide meant to be referred to later as you are reading through the story. Once the character descriptions are finished, however, the reader is in for a nice surprise.
The style of writing employed in this book is perfect for anyone who loves theater and film. Instead of building up atmosphere and nuances for the reader through sensory connections and context clues, the setting, room descriptions, facial expressions, tone of voice, direction of speech, and pretty much every other useful bit of information is conveniently laid out for the reader to see. The writing actually feels a bit more like a screenplay than a novel, and there are a lot of readers who will certainly appreciate the tact and skill employed by the author.
An interesting aspect of the book is that Campbell is writing about real people, in the real world. There is very much a sense of realism and humanity in the conversations that take place, and the based-on-true-events story invites readers into the world of the author.
The reader follows Rashman, a Jamaican-English man, and several other characters through a series of conversations relating to the common perception of Christianity and how things might not be quite as simple as many make them out to be. In fact, the book is intended to pave the way to a renewed process of thought towards the Bible and is full of notions meant to bring believers the salvation they so fully crave. The story is interesting, takes many twists and turns, and the character relationships and interactions are rich and engaging. Rashman is a man sure about his beliefs and following him through this story is certainly unique and thought-provoking at the same time.
To rate “The Odds of Gods: Why Christians Should Never Tell Lies,” by Rush O.C. Campbell, one would have to consider the content. The book is definitely entertaining and immersive. The subject matter is certainly for a very specific audience, however, and the subject matter is nothing short of heavy. If you are a follower of the Christian faith and feel yourself prepared to challenge your current perceptions of how well you are following the teachings of the Bible, this book is definitely for you.
Pages: 288 | ASIN: B07NB13JLT
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An epic sci-fi tale that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. This story is both mesmerizing and terrifying at the same time. Wil is testing an experimental space pod that ends up on the opposite side of the solar system, NASA can’t find him, and their probably not going to be able to bring him back, anyway.
Fast forward many years, and Wil is still in outer space, he has somewhat given up on the chance of being rescued, he’s basically an outer space bad guy, who smuggles and gets away with a lot of stuff he really shouldn’t, but who’s going to arrest him? The space police? He’s now looking for a crew to help him deal with the all out war that is happening right in front of his eyes.
After being captured by a ship from another galaxy, Wil is ready to fight back. He really has nothing else to lose, so why not? If you’re looking for a lighthearted space saga, then this is definitely a book you’re going to want to pick up. I love that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, there are tons of pop culture references, and there are many homages to pop culture themes. It’s enjoyable, relaxing, and definitely funny. People who enjoy shows like Farscape and Guardians of the Galaxy will get a kick out of this.
There were times that Wil would do or say things and I was completely flabbergasted, but also I totally believed that this is something that he would do. He is at the point in life where he really doesn’t care anymore, because he knows he’s probably not going to make it back to earth, so he just does what he wants and people have to do deal with it.
The writing was great, it was easy to read, and fun to enjoy, it didn’t matter if I had 5 minutes to read or an hour, I could get sucked into the story quickly, and it was easy to pick up right where I left off. I can’t wait to read the next books in this series.
Pages: 422 | ASIN: B07H7QXWKT
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This is such an easy book to get lost in! I had so much fun reading this, I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. I have found a new love for these fantasy type books that create an incredible world that you can’t help but feel like you are a part of. The fact that this book had so many mythical components as well as incredible characters and a fantastic story line just makes it even more intriguing.
If you are looking for a book that speaks to you, one that makes you feel like you are a part of something, then this book is definitely one you are going to want to pick up. When Eve realizes that she is the light in the dark days, after being abused and treated like a servant all of her life, it’s incredible. It was like watching an abused dog be taken in by a loving family, the way that the author describes the things that happen in this world, especially to Eve, it’s unbelievable, but you don’t want to put the book down because you are rooting for Eve to defeat evil.
There are two other books in this series that I cannot wait to get my hands on, there are just so many elements of this series that I wish it were a movie, or television show. You watch this story unfold in front of your eyes, and it’s like you’re no longer reading, you’re actually there, taking part in the action yourself. That’s how you know you found an incredible book, when you no longer feel as if you’re sitting on your couch but rather in the throes of action.
I definitely recommend this book to people who want some adventure, mystery and thrill in their stories. Eve is an incredible character, who doesn’t take any backtalk from anyone and is willing to put her life on the line for the good of mankind. Even though she is beaten down, and has been her entire life, she rises again and again to defeat the evil that has come to try and steal the life out of everyone around her. I cannot wait for you to read this book and love it as much as I did.
Pages: 349 | ASIN: 1980483159
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The Tribulations of August Barton by Jennifer LeBlanc follows the somewhat unwilling adventures of a young man who feels as if the world is on his shoulders. August Barton is a nerdy college freshman with growing anxiety not helped by the declaration of his parent’s decision to divorce. Never mind first-year classes, his growing independence, or even girls, the struggles within his own family becomes almost too much for him to bear. At a time in his life when he should be stepping out into the world and spreading his wings, the worries of his life pull him back into the safe confines of his residence hall where he can be with his Star Wars collection in peace. However, his charismatic grandmother (a woman who really has lived life to the fullest) has other ideas for her grandson, which leads to a series of adventures where August can finally learn to live out his own epic saga and find his own happy endings outside of the ones he’s seen in the science-fiction stories he loves.
This story compares to the classic coming-of-age tale Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger in its overall themes like loss of innocence and personal growth of a young man. However, I will say that August Barton is a more likable protagonist than Holden Caulfield! August “Augie” Barton’s altruism for his loved ones and his quirky charm make him a lovable character to follow throughout the book. Other interesting characters in Augie’s life enhance the quality of this book, one in particular: his grandmother! Gertie is such a wild and fun lady. I wish I could know her in real life! I honestly would read a whole spin-off novel about her life because seeing the world through her eyes sounds like a treat. The overall humor and grace of this novel as Jennifer LeBlanc’s authentic characters deal with very real problems that we all can face in life. The Tribulations of August Barton just proves how there can be such wondrous beauty in the everyday and in the hardships we all face. No doubt, Jennifer LeBlanc earns a full five stars, and one new permanent fan of her works.
Pages: 176 | ASIN: B01M7TF1N1
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Project Purple follows volunteers on a broadcasted experience to recreate American colonization that turns deadly. What was the inspiration behind this unique idea?
“Project Purple” Is about thirteen Americans who recreate the lives of the early colonials for a worldwide on-line audience. They don’t know their ordeal has been gradually, brutally altered by their organizers, and a struggle for food, shelter, and survival turn deadly as an Arctic winter approaches.
The seed of this idea emerged from a conjoining of two mediums—the first being a PBS TV series called Colonial House back in 2003, and the second being an extraordinary novel about the harrowing saga of the Donner party called “The Indifferent Stars Above.” Somehow, the ordeals of these people from different centuries fused.
I think “Project Purple” seeks to understand what it takes to draw on one’s inner survivor. I just started thinking: What could a writer do to give this story more adversity and more propulsion?
Rigor is a detective from Las Vegas who sets out to help the volunteers. What were some driving ideals behind his character?
I wove Rigor into the story to give it another layer of depth. On the surface he’s an upstanding guy. He’s initially driven by noble ideals, but as his story unfolds, we see the darkness within him, too, and that’s why he’s been selected for new “projects”. The Rhizome, the shadowy multi-national underground faction, knows his history.
This novel is able to capture the history of American colonialism and modern dystopian ideals. What were some ideals you wanted to explore in this book?
I guess I wanted to capture the idea that civilization is a thin veneer we lay across the bubbling magma of nature, including human nature. Occasionally, like a volcano, the magma erupts, and we fall through the crust, scratching and gouging for our lives. Then a new world order begins, with an entirely new language, and with an entirely new taxonomy: a new way of ordering and naming things in life—the Rhizome.
The thirteen Americans are under the impression they’re showcasing the early seventeenth century colonial way of life for a worldwide audience; that they can teach others by reenacting “a simpler, purer time in their national experience, to the roots of the nation they are today, to the infant of America.” Of course, the Rhizome isn’t impressed by any of that. What it wants to learn from the Americans is all together different.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The project I’m on now, “Assunta” is a three-part trilogy about a man who comes to believe in the divine. It’s a physical and spiritual journey from the gates of Hell to the highest portion of Heaven. The story is built on a framework of references to the great poem “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri. There are three books: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. I’ve just finished Book 3, and will publish them in one month intervals, starting in early March with the first Book, Assunta: Inferno.
After I finish the Assunta trilogy, I’m returning to sequels of The Cuckoo Colloquium —about six teens lost in the rain forest of Borneo, because the characters have so much depth and the story so much fuel remaining. I hope to have book #2 of what I’m calling the Cuckoo series out by autumn, 2019.
I believe that memorable characters make memorable tales. One of my favorite writers, Samuel Becket, for example, shows us lunatics in trashcans, or characters who set themselves on fire. He had great insights into what is true, and he makes it funny. I think that’s my job, my goal—to write characters and stories that are absurd, violent, childish, but that resonate with truth.
Thirteen Americans volunteer for a unique three-month project to recreate America’s early colonial experience for a worldwide on-line audience. The colonists have been deceived. They don’t know their ordeal has been gradually, brutally, altered by their organizers, and a genuine struggle for food, shelter and survival turns deadly as an Arctic winter approaches. Is there some point to this insanity? The besieged Americans (including a police detective who throws his world away to rescue a colonist he knows only as the Goatwench) must find the primal survivor within themselves to counter the ever-increasing violence they face—all to the attentive schooling of their multi-national audience.
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Amika Fernandez’s life is nothing out of the ordinary…until she meets Rhayne Welkins. Soon captivated by his very presence, Amika finds herself wrapped up in this mysterious intruder into her world—and the secrets he’s brought with him.
In a world where nothing is as it seems, and stories once believed to be mere myth are anything but, an ordinary teenage girl must decide between the life she knows, and the life she might have—if she can handle the truth about the world in which she lives.
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The Gift of the Seer follows Katie and Hectors journey across the continent as they learn more about each others ways. What was the inspiration for the setup to this series?
I had a fairly bad childhood, but when I was seventeen, I became captivated by Native American history, and I have never looked back. I have spent my life studying Indian history, cultures, and stories, and I even went on to get a Masters Degree in English with a specialty in Native American literature. After having read dozens and dozens of captivity stories from the 17th, 18th, & 19th centuries, I wanted to write a book to share what I learned with people who have neither the time nor energy to dig through all those old documents.
Katie and Hector are dynamic characters with an interesting relationship. What were some driving ideals behind their characters?
I see Katie and Hector as metaphorical representatives of their people. They are endlessly intrigued by one another, even as they also pose a very serious threat to each other. Because they formed a physical bond before they understood much about each other’s worlds, they created a conflict that takes them decades to resolve–which is, oddly enough, equally true of almost all young lovers who get married and have children! So one of the basic premises of the story is that relationships are hard, whether those relationships are between individuals or nations, and finding common ground is an ongoing challenge. But, oh!–meeting that challenge is definitely worth the effort!
I enjoyed the nuanced world views and philosophies in the book. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
I was very intrigued by the idea of writing a story that could be read on multiple levels. If you are interested in American Indians, you can read this book to learn more about Native cultures. If you are interested in complex marital relationships, you can read this book to find out how one “odd couple” made a difficult marriage work. If you are interested in personal identity issues, you can read this book to see how someone who suffers from chronic self-doubt deals with the challenge of living up to other people’s high expectations. If you are interested in Spirituality, you can read this book to ponder the role Spirit can play in the everyday life of humans. And if you just want a fast-paced adventure story, you can read this book simply for the thrills and chills.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I was working on an intriguing manuscript three years ago, but I gave it up when I could not see how the story ended. Then my mother died, and I suddenly understood exactly how that story ended. Now that I have finally gotten The Gift of the Seer into the hands of the public, I am returning to my unfinished manuscript, and I hope to have something readable by mid-2020.
Katie O’Toole’s epic adventure began in The Spirit Keeper (Plume 2013) when she was rescued from a 1747 frontier massacre in Pennsylvania only to find herself chosen as the “Spirit Keeper” of a dying Indian Seer. She hesitated to accept this mysterious obligation until she fell in love with the Seer’s bodyguard, an Indian man she called Hector.
In The Gift of the Seer, Katie and Hector continue their journey across the continent, but the more Katie learns about the peculiar ways of her husband’s people, the more she dreads arriving at their destination. Will anyone believe she is the Spirit Keeper she pretends to be? Equally troubling, Katie knows the Seer expected her to prove his Vision—a Vision which foretold of infinite Invaders coming to his world—but to prove this prophecy, she must give his people the great Gift he also predicted. The only problem is that Katie has no Gift to give.
Years pass as she desperately searches for a way to fulfill her promise to the dead Seer, but when his former rival threatens to expose her as a fraud, Katie finally understands that her life and the lives of all the people in her new world hang in the balance. That’s when she knows she must give a Gift—she must—before it is too late.
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Voice of a Crimson Angel Part III brings an end to the expansion and Chancellor Venloran has won. What were some stories that were important for you to wrap up in this book?
Most important was the story of the Marconi women and Valerie Iglesias. I wanted readers to see the horrifying reality and choices Julissa and Zaneta dealt with, and I’m hoping there’s a diverse reaction to the end result. Will readers see Julissa a s a hero, a radical, a terrorist, or just a lost soul? As for Valerie, I just wanted to expand on her background. I wanted readers to feel the tragedy behind her character: a simple bookworm who wanted to have a family someday, and yet she was turned into a monster for Venloran’s own ends. These women are products of the society they live in, and I hope that was communicated through their stories.
In this book, did Julissa’s character mostly writer itself, because she’s already well defined, or did you want to take her to new places?
A little bit of both oddly. By the third part of the arc, her character is well-established, very true. Still, I wanted her to have one last adventure, or more specifically one last chance. There are many themes in the book, but one of the central points is Julissa’s final few choices. She is faced with the ultimatum many times in VOCA Part III: escalate the violence of the war or take a step back. That’s why I added several scenes with her and David Armano. Julissa’s anger and pride are both weapons against herself and her enemies. One of my favorite scenes in the book will forever be the horse-riding scene between the Marconi mother and daughter. Though this may be their end, I believe readers will appreciate the journey Marconi experiences.
I found this book to be thrilling and savage. Was this a fun book for you to write?
The VOCA trilogy was fun as all hell to write. Writing books is fun for me in general, but some are more stressful than others to write. EOK Part III: Ballad of Demise was one of the most difficult to write, namely because the enormous changes to the story I added in after the outline phase. VOCA Part III: Remembrance was fun because the vision pretty much stayed true to my original outline. Not only that, but I finally got to explore some of the more obscure moments in the history of the UNR. Basically, fleshing out the lore beyond references and actually showing it. Reverence and EOK had battles within forests and buildings, and now in the VOCA trilogy whole cities are now theaters of combat. This was the vision I had for the book, at times claustrophobic, and other times epic.
What are you currently writing and when will it be available?
I try to stay busy, and I’d like to think I’ve outdone myself. Not to brag, because it took many sleepless nights, pots of coffee, and early morning runs to get it all done. Well, close to being done, because I’m still not quite there yet. First things first, on May 31st Avenge the Silenced will be released. It is currently in the editing phase and will be available for a preorder by April 1st. Beyond that, the next chapter in the saga is being written, codename Scourge of Men. It will explore many new characters while also expanding on many formally obscure characters. Perhaps most important of all, Scourge of Men will explore Secretary General Vanzetti and his own empire, the Allied European Federation.
The Expansion is over. Chancellor Venloran has won. Julissa Marconi, however, is not done fighting just yet. If she cannot claim victory, then she and the Crimson Angels will claim revenge. With Mexico lost, the resistance decides to strike at the homeland itself. Unable to turn back, Julissa and her fellow soldiers are now in for the fight of their life. In the final weeks of 2051, a new war will be fought that will test the limits of both sides. There will be no justice or mercy. This decisive battle will be decided by whoever gives into their full, unrestrained, savagery.
Prepare to read the heart-stopping final entry in the Voice of a Crimson Angel trilogy. Complete the tale that expands on the Reverence saga.
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In The Hay Patrollers, we see the results of characters who have lost themselves in a life of crime. What were some sources of inspiration for you while writing?
Having been in many gangs as a young person and spending over two years roughing it on the streets of London, I had never forgotten the past experiences I encountered and promised myself I will always help those in need, no matter of their age, gender or religion. I have since spent over 30 years in my spare time developed and implemented many youth crime prevention programmes in many of the countries, I have lived in. The Hay Patrollers was based on a successful programme is developed that not only gain media attention in Australia but also creating much-needed employment for young people, including those who may be on the other side of the law. You can see The Hay Patrollers by clicking the YouTube link: https://youtu.be/-UtENjE6j4w?t=11s
Were you able to put any of your personal life experiences in this book?
Despite both books: Degsy Hay, A Juvenile Redeemed/Book 2, Degsy Hay, The Hay Patrollers, were mostly fiction, I did manage to use a lot of my experience in both books. The street life, how I had to defend myself at such a young age was all true to life.
There are many characters in this book. Who was your favourite character to write for?
I think Degsy is my favourite character, but you see most of the characters were also from the first book. They all seem to blend in well and work well as a team.
Will you continue this story in a third book?
Yes, I have already the third book in the series in mind Degsy Hay, Unit 16 -21 a vision for the future. Not only as this been mentioned many times in both books 1 and two but Unit 16-21 can certainly become a real-life event. Just like the successful Hay Patrollers programme, Unit 16-21 is centred on Uniting and Empowering the young people to contribute to their own development.
The objective of the program is to create future employment and secure housing for young people while they are training. The project aims to provide housing support initiative, training and skills building in a self-sufficient youth estate. The estate allows young people to interact with his/her community and develop emotional stability and interpersonal skills throughout their training/apprenticeships.
For the first time in his life, Degsy Hay is settled. He doesn’t have to worry about which bin his next meal is coming from, which snowy bench he’s gonna sleep on, or who he’ll have to fight to stay alive. Things are going well. His dream of setting up the Hay Patrollers, offering a safe alternative to gang life, has become a reality, and his crew of young people are making the community a better place, patrolling shopping centres, cleaning up the neighbourhoods, helping the elderly and disabled. He’s living with his best friends – Winston, Sheila and Mya – getting to know the brother and sister he never knew he had and learning to live without looking over his shoulder. Life is good.
Then, one night, his house is torched with him and his friends inside. He barely makes it out of the deadly inferno in one piece, and Winston is even less fortunate. He is alive but left in a coma, and it doesn’t look good. Someone out there has a serious problem with Degsy’s vision for a safer, gang-free London, and they ain’t gonna stop setting fires till Degsy gets the message.
As the police search for the arsonist, Degsy and the others try to keep life – and the Hay Patrollers – rolling on as calmly as possible, but life is anything but calm for Degsy when fourteen-year-old Sudanese immigrant Slope rocks up in his life. Slope is violent, aggressive, lost and in need of support – everything Degsy was at that age – and Degsy is determined to help him … even if it takes him as far afield as Australia.
Meanwhile, the senior Hay Patrollers are giving talks in school and prisons, sharing their stories with young people, showing how one bad decision can lead to a lifetime of regret. For Sheila, the experience of sharing her story of abuse, teenage prostitution and the death of a friend is too much to bear, leading to tragic consequences. For Mya, reflecting on the drug-dealing murderer she once was, and how she has turned her life around, leads her to search for redemption and forgiveness.
With Winston showing no signs of waking up, everyone scared, and the police getting no closer to finding the arsonist, Degsy steps up, scours the streets and tracks down an adversary far more dangerous than he had imagined. The only way out will drag him back down into a gutter he has fought so hard to escape: to violence, deception and criminal activity. And when he is forced to ask himself just how far he will go to protect his friends, family and the Hay Patrollers, even he is surprised by the explosive answer.
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Price of Life follows immortals and the battle between the factions of immortals over the future of the human race. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
The inspiration for this novel came to me from the 1990’s Highlander series starring actor Adrian Paul in the title role. The show was very successful and I was thrilled about the plot and the theme regarding the implications of immortality. The novel was also inspired by my studies of eastern philosophies and mysticism as well as ancient European tales of humans becoming demigods as a result of an accident or a test by the gods or mysterious alien forces.
You did a fantastic job of blurring the lines between good and evil in this book. What were some driving ideals you used while writing?
The driving ideals I used in my writing were about two worlds, one official,l dominated by humans, another secret, dominated by the immortals. I thought that it would be interesting to put these two worlds on a collision course and give each character human and immortal a unique voice that would define their personalities and be the driving force behind their actions. Just like in the human world, among many immortals in my novels the lines between good and evil are sometimes blurred depending on a situation they find themselves in.
Dina is one of my favorite immortals. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Dina’s character is also my favorite in the story and initially, I wanted to tell the story from her point of view but decided to give each character a chance to speak for themselves. Dina’s actions are good and decent, and her personality defines her strong moral code and sense of justice. She uses her powers to help people and on some occasions she punishes evil and the people who betray her and those whom she loves. The episode about trying to kill Hitler was actually a stand alone short story I wrote in 2010 and in that story Dina was a mortal person blessed with her extraordinary gift of foresight.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working on some ideas for my next novel but would like to share with you the novels I wrote during the previous years. I will definitely like to submit another novel to you to be read and reviewed and hope you and your readers enjoy undertaking another literary journey.
At the dawn of civilization, a prehistoric hunter finds an unusual meteorite that offers him powers of life and death and makes him an immortal. Twelve thousand years later, his descendants, inheriting the gene of immortality, are living in secret among unsuspecting humans. Able to give and take life at will, they struggle for survival across the centuries.
When a group of human fanatics and evil immortals each come with their own horrific plan for world domination, other humans and immortals must join forces to stop them regardless of the cost. At stake is the survival of both races as they prepare to face the greatest challenge of their lives.
Posted in Interviews
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