The Cruel Romance is a historical romance novel following the lives of Serafima and Vitya during WWII. What prompted you to write this emotional novel?
There are many books written about great battles and great generals. Much less about the dreadful effects of war and occupation on the lives of civilians. The stories of European women in their fight against the German invaders have become broadly familiar. The idea that ordinary Russian women who had to endure four years of Nazi invasion deserve the same prompted me to write The Cruel Romance.
Telling stories of unsung heroines is my humble tribute to the women who worked on the home front producing armaments, like Serafima from The Cruel Romance, or who were fighters on the front or partisans, like my heroine Lyuba from How Dare the Birds Sing, another book of mine.
Serafima and Vitya are intriguing and well-developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?
It was important for me to show not only good personality traits but also evil ones in my characters. So, Serafima, despite the horrible circumstances, developed into a kind and passionate person becoming stronger with every unfortunate turn in her life. But not like Victor, who developed—or maybe the dark parts of his character were hidden only to be revealed in critical situations—into a cruel person consumed with hate, ruining the lives of the innocent people because of some deeply personal feelings and, besides, using his position in the society to get a desired post.
I felt that the history and Russian culture and backdrop were well utilized. What kind of research did you undertake for this book?
Aside the fact that I’m Russian and the setting within which my characters acted is natural to me, every new work requires extensive research. The authenticity comes from many details. In my case, it came not only from books. I am greatly indebted to my parents who as children endured the German bombing, the hunger and fear and who shared their experience with me.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book, the second one in the Love and Fate series titled Too Many Wolves In The Local Woods goes live on May 5, 2020 as a part of the Road to Liberation boxset comprising ten books from USA Today, international bestselling and award-winning authors dedicated to celebrating the end of WWII.
On October 1941, in a small village outside Moscow, Serafima bids farewell to Vitya, a Soviet officer going to the front. With only moments left together, she places a cross around her beloveds neck and reluctantly releases him into a cruel world where nothing is certain, especially whether she will ever see him again.
Days later, Germans invade her village and take over her tiny house. Serafima and her mother must comply with orders, endure abuse, and stay put, or their village will be annihilated.
As World War II intertwines Serafimas and Vityas life with that of a young German violinist and a Russian intellectual, their destinies are irrevocably altered. Can they rise to the challenge of agonizing moral choices and learn to forgive and love again?
Realm follows young Roxanna as she becomes the wife of Alexander the Great and is swept away by history. What was the inspiration for the setup to this emotional story?
I have wanted to write her story since I was sixteen and first saw Roxana mentioned in a history book about Alexander the Great. A professed history geek, Alexander has always fascinated me, but it was her story I wanted to tell. She lived beyond him, saw the breakdown of power, and in the end was a victim of his conquests and fame. She was forgotten by history, but I believe her role in his life, and the war of the generals, was important. I wanted people to know that Alexander was married to a woman who I am sure had to have remarkable fortitude and courage to not only travel with his army, but survive his generals.
Roxana is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with her character?
She developed out of years of study of Alexander. This was a man who had women, the powerful daughters of kings, diplomats, and wealthy men, thrown at him, but he never married any of them. He took the hand the daughter of a mere chieftain, and instead of setting her up in a palace, as was the custom, Alexander took her with him across the world. I wanted to highlight her strength and intelligence, qualities he must have admired, but also show her powerlessness in a world where women had no voice. She must have been frustrated at not being recognized because of her sex, but I wanted her to rise above her limitations and influence the most powerful man in the world. I do not subscribe to the fact that she was a non-essential wife as many historians believe. I wanted to make her a unique woman who could have changed the course of history.
I enjoyed the portrayal of Roxana and Alexander’s relationship. Was their relationship planned or did it develop organically while writing?
The ups and downs in their relationship were built around the history of his campaigns, and how hard it must have been for her as a woman loving a man and competing with his army, his generals, and his other lovers. I also had to factor in how women were treated in ancient Greece, along with Alexander’s great respect for women. The rest developed organically, but like any relationship that goes through great hurdles it either gets stronger or falls apart. I like to believe theirs got stronger. After all, Alexander died when she was seven months pregnant with his only heir. It was also nine months after the death of his dear friend Hephaestion. For me, it was obvious he turned to her in his grief, and that told me a great deal about where they were at his end.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next novel is a thriller and the first in a new series, called The Secret Brokers. It is about Dallas August, a man who runs an organization of elite spies for hire who steal secrets and sells them to the highest bidder. He is blackmailed into going on a mission to steal an important secret from an unsuspecting woman and ends up in the middle of a war between two powerful kingpins. The Secret Brokers releases 4/7/2020.
A WOMAN UNLIKE ANY OTHER, SHE WILL CONQUER THE UNCONQUERABLE AND BE LOVED BY A MAN WHO IS WORSHIPPED AS A GOD.
Based on a true story.
When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain–is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.
Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.
Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.
However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.
The Revenged Queen takes place after Danielle exposes every dark secret her classmates have. What were some new ideas you wanted to pursue in this book that were different from the first book?
I wanted to up the game when it comes to this novel. I wanted to go darker, sassier, and overall bitchier. It was my favorite in the series because I wanted people to feel like the gloves truly came off.
The characters in this book are well developed and diverse. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Honestly, Bethany was my favorite to write in this book. I wanted people to understand her more since she was so just the villain. I wanted people to go she’s a bitch, but a lovable one. Also, Emily’s story arc was incredible too. I loved writing some fake and heavy stuff with her.
Much like high school, your characters are going through a lot of different things. Where do you find inspiration and how does it become ideas for your book?
I let the characters take me there. I know that sounds so arrogant, but I just write what they’re doing. I’m surprised with how much they shock me or take me a place I didn’t expect them to take me. I wish I could say it’s from my persona life or ones around me because that would make me feel better writing future books and not having my characters inspire me.
One Queen of an Ending is book three in the High School Queens trilogy. Where will the story take readers in the final chapter?
Spoiler Alert, Jordan won’t be the only death in this trilogy. It’s going to get even more intense. I think the bitch wars ends with a bang. i loved that i highlight all that I felt emotionally connected in the series in this. It’s dark and dramatic. It opens at a funeral, so I’m ready for everyone to read the final in the trilogy.
No one knows the real Marked Queen, but now everyone wants to know her. In this sequel to the insatiable first novel, High School Queens, you will die to know more about your favorite dirty little Queens.
As we say goodbye to the Johnson Prep Seniors, the scandals and lies that exposed them in the beginning are back with a vengeance.
The Marked Queen thought she had the last laugh at prom. Now, it seems a new girl is coming for her crown. With a new title, The Revenged Queen, she was out for blood and her prime targets—the ones exposing everyone’s dark and dirty little secrets. As we dive deeper into this scandalous and humorous world of prep school teens, we learn that everyone is a hustler with a secret and a Hollywood sob story.
Can Danielle keep her new illegal activities to make money under wraps? Was Calvin going to have a warm welcome as he outs himself as gay? Was Delilah going to take the knife from Danielle out of her back and stab her with it? Was Bethany going to enjoy her rule as queen bee or fail spectacularly? And was there more to Jordan than being just a slutty, party girl?
As the scandals pile up in front of them, their secrets will be exposed… And each secret is even more delicious than the last.
Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is set in a war torn medieval world where the convictions of two unlikely allies are tested. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
In this particular story in the Dál Cruinne Series, I wanted to write a character with this world’s version of a superpower, asking the questions of what would someone give to obtain the advantage, what has it really cost them, and how do they reconcile within themselves the life they lead because of that power? And of course, I threw in the unpredictability of the human heart when the chemistry called attraction is involved.
My goal as a writer was to finally commence a story that has been in my head since the mid-1990s. Long before I even contemplated being a writer. I love fantasy and wanted to try my hand at it—as so far, I have written dystopian/romance/time travel. And yes, I do tend to mix my genres. I’ll do the same with this series as the next books are an inter-world fantasy.
I enjoyed the relationship between Vygeas and Leyna and thought it was well developed. What character did you enjoy writing for?
I enjoyed writing Vygeas. I always seem to identify the most with my male protagonists. Maybe because I was a tomboy.
I loved writing the fight scenes. I used to do martial art but not much with weapons and never a sword, but I always love watching a good sword fight. Also, I’d love to ride a warhorse. And who doesn’t want a special gift that gives you the advantage over almost everyone?
Writing Vygeas’ tortured, convicted soul on the verge of great change was a journey through the darkness, looking for the light. Something I feel we all experience, and so I could identify with him, and I hope the readers do too.
And I enjoyed the way Vygeas’ taciturn personality bounced off Aiden’s talkative, open, oops-I’ve-said-too-much, honesty.
The depth of the backstory and world-building is something that was well executed. How did the idea for the world start and change as you wrote?
The fantasy world of Dál Cruinne is more like an ancient Gaelic/Celtic world than a medieval European one. Hence the Gaelic words in the title and the place names, and landscape very much like Scotland. As the series progresses the reader will find many more differences, such as how kings, their righ, and high kings, ard righ, are chosen in this world.
I didn’t purposely set out to make a non-European fantasy world, but I do feel it’s been done enough in this genre. I have a love for Scotland, its history and geography. I’m fascinated by the Celts in Britain and the history of the Gaels in Ireland. My ancestry is from both. And I love the sound of the Gaelic when it’s spoken. So, to me, an ideal fantasy world has shades of all of these—and castles of course! I took my inspiration from these cultures but haven’t based it exactly upon them.
I’m not too sure if anything changed as I wrote, as I had worked on the type of world I wanted before I began. The main thing that surprised me in the writing was the amount of magic that came out in this particular story. It probably isn’t anything like Druidic magic, but as I said, this world has shades of those cultures and isn’t a carbon copy.
Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is a novel in the Dal Cruinne series. Do you plan on writing more books in this series?
Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is sub-titled as A novel in the Dál Cruinne Series and isn’t book one as such. It is an introduction to this world and there will be other stories, which run serially (to themselves and not necessarily to Murtairean), but Murtairean is a first glimpse and, hopefully, an enticement for the reader to stick around for more. I’m sure Vygeas, Leyna and Aiden will turn up in the other stories. Lord Ciaran certainly does.
I have a duology/trilogy in the planning with the first draft of book one almost completed. The series will be Arlan’s Pledge (Arlan means pledge in the Gaelic) and the first book is Trastaidh. The Crossing. The main character, Arlan, is the son of current Ard Righ of Dál Gaedhle (the large western kingdom of Dál Cruinne), who finds himself transported to our world, to Scotland, and meets the attractive Rhiannon. Will he find his way back to Dál Cruinne, or, after spending time in Rhiannon’s comfortable western culture, does he really want to?
Leyna, a warrior woman and high-end thief, turned her back on her title of Lady Leynarve of Monsae after her parents’ murder. Bent on revenge, Leyna travels to a hit where assassins gather, intending to find and kill the one who ruined her life.
Vygeas, a mercenary and assassin, has the gift of heightened perception, enabling him to sense his opponents’ emotions and anticipate their every move. Sickened by the warmongering, Vygeas awaits execution for desertion. But he’s given one final task to win his freedom…kill a mark and avoid the gallows.
Unaware of Vygeas’ trade, Leyna hitches a ride with this handsome sell-sword with exceptional abilities. Vygeas realises he has encountered the beautiful and capable Leyna’s family before…on a previous hit.
While pursued by a powerful sorcerer-mage, they combine their skills to thwart his attempts to capture Leyna and destroy Vygeas.
Fighting their joint foes without, and battling their torments within, Vygeas and Leyna discover the truth that could destroy their newly forged relationship.
Will their past define them, or will they discover all they could be?
After her rescue from the Hunters and vampire, Maeleigh must navigate between the lies her father has told her with Gearden and the pack’s help. Not only that, but she has learn how to be not just druid, but lycan as well.
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Alexis is smart and sexy – but, like most people, she’s got a few things holding her back in life. And if she’s to ever move forward, she’s got to confront them–head on.
From failing her school exams and dealing with her father’s illness to being mistaken for a celebrity and avoiding serious relationships at any cost, Alexis’s life is riddled with complications and concerns, some harrowing and others absolutely hilarious. When she meets a svelte Swede named Sven, Alexis’s life becomes even more complicated, and her fear of commitment becomes more pronounced, placing her at a pivotal point: Can she overcome her fears and get married? Or will she search for any excuse to keep from walking down the aisle?
The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel, and Turmoils follows Alexis’s trials and tribulations in life, love, and relationships, set against a Mediterranean backdrop rich with travel, musicals and culture. A truly informative, laugh-out-loud novel, it is sure to appeal to readers with a wide variety of interests, including tourism, hitchhiking, international history, personal growth, and stories of relationship drama.
The Revenged Queen by Zachary Ryan takes place after prom, where Danielle, ‘The Marked Queen’, decides to expose every little dark secret of her classmates. A group of teens is set up against one another struggling with sexuality, friendship, and trust. Now, everybody wants to know the real Marked Queens. While living out their senior year of high school, scandals and lies are revealed by separated friendships. Afraid that they are next on the line, everyone fears their secret being found out. Is it a matter of time before someone gets their rightful revenge?
I love when authors don’t stick to just one perspective, switching around points of view in the story. Having one perspective easily gets boring. With different perspectives, readers can get a deeper understanding of the interactions between characters and see events from a different point of view. This makes for a well-developed story that doesn’t feel like one voice the entire story.
One of my favorite aspects of Ryan’s work is how he writes the character’s inner thoughts, mostly at the end of each chapter. Written in the third person point of view, the narrator crawls into the minds of the characters, digging out information in a consistently creative way.
One of my favorite endings to a chapter was in chapter three, “Delilah, we thought your only talent was being on your knees and whining too much. Are you about to trade in that kitchen knife for a razor blade?…” Ryan used a strong voice, evoking an unsettling tone that someone else is watching these high schoolers.
There were some moments in the story that were tough to read, especially Calvin’s story line. But I appreciated the opportunity to write about topics such as sexuality and ruthless behavior. High school is all about finding out about who you are. We’re all going to have high school drama. Ryan invests closely in each member’s stories either making readers feel empathetic or despise one of the characters.
This is book two in a series and I suggest reading book one first, High School Queens, as it will get you acquainted with the characters.
The Revenged Queen reminds me of my own stories of high school drama and I appreciated the attention to detail. The interactions between the lives of these three high schoolers kept me on-edge flipping through the pages to see what happens next. Absolutely riveting.
Pages: 266 | ASIN: B07RX8SWY2
Anna has always known she would be famous. She has always done everything in her power to get to her desired position professionally and on the societal hierarchy. She reflects back to her journey from atop her throne. It is colored with struggled and dark moments she would rather not let anyone know about. However, despite all her success and power. Despite her fame and beauty. Despite her acclaim and recognition. Something is missing in her life. Until she meets Joe. A rash decision will change the course of her entire life.
Nataly Restokian has written a book that is inspired by her life. She writes so vividly that you can feel the fear in Anna’s parents as they sell bread on war torn streets. You can feel the disapproval radiating from many around her as she makes decisions. You will also enjoy the love, support and admiration she gets for these same decisions. It is a tumultuous life Anna has led. You will every bit of her turmoil and urgent need to find that missing part. The author has done a good job of pulling the reader in to see Anna for who she truly is. To see into her heart and mind. To look past the fancy veneer and see the woman stripped of her façade.
Anna is a strong woman who defies all odds. She creates her own fate. Like she says- people are fans of public figures they see themselves in. In Anna you will see a part of your true self. It could be her grit or her bravery. It could be her commitment to be authentic. It could be her strength to face her demons. She is everyone we all wish to be. She is unscripted and unforgivingly frank. So much could be said about this one character almost as there is no one else in the story with her. The writer has done a truly marvelous job of sculpting the perfect heroine who also has flaws but will not shy away from them. The same dexterity has been applied to Joe with his charm and genuine personality.
This is a very intense story that touches heavily on feminism and crime against women. These are issues that plague the world right now. This book tells the story of a woman’s life from a society many might not understand but whose struggles are relatable by all women though perhaps not on the same level. The writer lends the story the seriousness and sobriety it requires for the message to be passed. The book is written in beautifully simple yet elegant language with a mild flair.
Pages: 256 | ASIN: B07BB6RMDS
Tags: An Autobiography of Tammy Campbell Brooks’ Trepidation, author, biography, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, masks, memoir, nataly restokian, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, writer, writing
Koritt Diviak is assigned a mission he would rather not go on. He goes to Earth anyway and ends up crashing in the Afghan dessert. He attracts the attention of two people who are on their own missions. Lieutenant Lavender would love to use the U-10 recovered from the crash site to protect his troops against terrorists and militia. Lincoln Frost also comes into the picture with a desire to get the same elite weapon for his superiors who supposedly plan to use it for the safety of the American citizens. It is quickly discovered that all three have to fight each other for their interests. Will any one of them come out unscathed?
U-10 is an action filled science fiction adventure story that meshes fantasy and reality into one medley of literary excitement. The plot is well sculpted and executed. No holes are left especially regarding the functionality of the tech. Speaking of which, the gadgets in this book are straight out of any sci-fi enthusiast’s imagination. They are simply out of this world with high adaptability and power. It only makes sense that everyone is willing to go to such great lengths to be in possession of it.
Koritt is your typical veteran soldier. He will follow orders despite his feelings on the matter. He will fight and keep to the mission objective above all odds. Frost is also a typical lackey for the man. These characters are all introduced to the reader with such vivid descriptions that you can almost put a face to the image created in your head. Strong characters make for a strong story. They carry the story and ensure that the reader is engaged. They each work so hard for their mission that they do not realize just how intrinsically similar they are.
The story remains fresh up to the very end with engaging dialogue that supported the plots movement. It remains consistently exciting and lively throughout which makes for a quick pace.
U-10 will keep you at the edge of your seat and anxious for the next twist in the plot. I enjoyed the simplicity with which the story is told as well as the brilliant tone that rarely leaves a dull moment.
Pages: 458 | ASIN: B07W864RY3
Tags: action, adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, Sam B Miller II, science fiction, story, The Most Ingenious Technology in the Galaxy, U-10, writer, writing