Blog Archives

Zombie Mage

With Zombie Mage Jonathan Drake has moved beyond the tiered story lines of your basic flesh eating zombies and brings a fresh take to the zombie genre. Zombie Mage is the story of Olligh, who is known as a Walker. He is a zombie that can travel the cosmos and transcend time and space. A group of cultists, called the Dark Cloaks, have trapped the Walkers claiming to be helping them find finial death and peace. They enlist Olligh to help them bring back five Walkers that have gone missing in exchange for his and his wife Laura’s final death together and an end to this life as zombies.

I found it difficult in the beginning to understand what was going on. There was a lot of shifting from one location to another as well as change in time periods. Going from ancient times to modern and then into the future. I was thrown off a bit at first because there is not much context given. But the story really starts to pick up after we are introduced to the characters and the order of the Dark Cloaks. This brings the story into focus and kept me flipping pages. I was fully invested in the story once we discover that Olligh is a mage and the possibility of magical zombies or, zombie mages, existed. This was unique to me and is a novel approach to the zombie genre.

Olligh’s one goal is to reunite with his wife Laura who is also a zombie. She wants nothing more than to be with Olligh as well and makes life difficult for the Dark Cloaks on several occasions in her insistence to be reunited with her love. I felt that this was similar to Romeo and Juliet where they want to be together but circumstances keep them apart. It is sweet that they were so dedicated to one another even in death.

Marvin is probably my favorite of the missing Walkers, all that remains of him is a skull, one disconnected eye, and his brain in a jar. This doesn’t stop him from having a great sense of humor and a love of playing practical jokes. His sarcasm adds much needed comic relief to the novel at a time when Olligh is so serious and focused. The novel does a famtastoc job showing Olligh’s internal emotional struggle. I felt that Olligh’s struggle was an example of humanities constant struggle to find balance a balance between good and bad while fulfilling ones own selfish desires. The love story that develops throughout the book is well developed and adds a another romantic layer to what is otherwise a bleak genre.

Zombie Mage by Jonathan Drake is a fresh twist on the zombie genre. It has all the ingredients of a great story and combines them into a tale that is consistently entertaining. Don’t worry, there isn’t too much gore; Drake often uses humor and sarcasm to accent the gruesome parts of the novel. Overall a fantastic new take on the zombie genre.

Pages: 220 | ASIN: B00A4HQM42

Buy Now From Amazon.com

The Perfect Teresa

The Perfect Teresa

Take a moment and remember what happened to you in high school. For some people, this was a den of depression, oppression and pain. As teenagers, we’re severely lacking in skill and experience, yet we need to navigate a world that expects us to act like grown ups. Many a poor decision has been made in high school that can go on to affect our lives for decades afterwards. In The Perfect Teresa by Ulises Silva we have an example of just that. Our protagonist is a jaded 43-year old woman working in corporate America. She surely hasn’t had it easy and while not everything can be blamed on her high school experience, what she clings to from that time is definitely ruling her life. Teresa can’t move forward and she’s trapped in this sad, drunken life where happiness eludes her. It’s not until she crashes hard into rock bottom that she is given a chance for a do-over, thanks to a talking coyote.

Our protagonist isn’t all quite there. It’s clear that she’s broken and she’d rather blame everyone else than accept any sort of responsibility for it. This tale is told in the first person and is showcased in such a way that it feels like the reader is Teresa herself. We’re privy to her thoughts, her neurosis and her desperate attempt at avoiding herself. She’s miserable and her life sucks. There is no denying that. Silva does an excellent job with the imagery and how the story jumps around Teresa’s mind. It’s hard to do that and keep the story on track. Silva is clearly talented in this realm.

Even the time skip is well done. It’s hard to shift from present day to the past and keep in mind how things have changed: technology, manner of speech, what is and isn’t popular with teenagers. Silva either did some great research or potentially tapped into their own past in order to recreate what it was like in the late ‘80’s for teenagers. This isn’t easily done, and the book is better for it.

Using deities from various mythologies can be a bit messy, but Silva focuses on what would suit our protagonist. She is of Latin-American descent and the use of Quetzalcoatl and our friendly talking-coyote Piltzintecuhtli, or Pill for short, makes sense. For an Aztec deity, Pill dislikes the use of profanity and seems to have an attachment to Teresa. It is well known that the gods will favour a mortal here and there for their own amusement. Is Pill the same?

Combining a slice-of-life with a timeslip can bring about a unique experience. Instead of the washed-up twenty-something that usually happens in stories like this we have a woman who has really lived her life and come to regret it. The Perfect Teresa by Ulises Silva is a story about self-search, self-love and acceptance. What Teresa accomplishes through her foray through time is a lesson to be learned by all. This is a must read for anyone looking for excitement, adventure and even just that gentle reminder that things will be okay.

Pages: 421 | ASIN: B06XG2GT22

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Drawing Word Pictures

Terry Tumbler Author Interview

Terry Tumbler Author Interview

The Time Slipsters spans science fiction, travelogue, historical fiction and comedy while showing a vibrant world of the future and the past. What is the funnest part about imagining and writing the future?

The fun is in seeing things that are commonly regarded as Sci-Fi beginning to happen. I believe that research on the web reveals what a wonderful world we live in. If you look for articles on medical research, the motor industry and technology in general, it also indicates where the human race is heading.

We are already seeing Nano robots being used for keyhole surgery, drugs being tailored to combat and kill cancer cells, and the early diagnosis of dementia, to name but a few. Plus the whiff of flying cars and free power is in the air!

Imagine a world where the health service does not feel overwhelmed by an aging population, because old people are no longer suffering the ‘ravages of old age’. Why would that be? The answer is: treatment of their various sufferings is being mastered, until death they do part! By the way, I come into the latter category.

Envisage a world where travel is from home to destination, in minutes. No airports, no connecting flights or trains or buses or taxis. No squandering of natural resources, no electricity costs, no power stations needed, no pylons or towering wind vanes blotting the landscape. Much of what I describe has been available for over a century, if it were not for intervention of vested interests.

The characters end up traveling through time, and like many stories, their actions in the past affect the future. What was the most interesting part about writing a time travel story?

Getting into the heads of the characters on both sides of the experience of time travel. Drawing word pictures of the experience and conveying mental images to readers was fun too. It challenges my imagination to run riot. By the way, unlike Professor Hawking I do not believe that the death of an ancestor caused by a time traveler would have any impact whatsoever on his or her descendants.

The threat to Earth is revealed by uncovering the mystery of the aliens who have been living under the auspices of the Sombrella Syndicate. What was the inspiration for the Sombrella Syndicate?

I once worked for a Lloyds of London group of insurance syndicates, so am familiar with the concept. The deserted brickworks near where I live in Spain was an ideal undercover location for an alien base, but not big enough to house it, on the surface. Who better to man it, underground, than dwarfs, who have a reputation for mining and gold!

Time Slipsters is book three in the Dreadnought collective. Where does book 4 take the characters?

Book 4 takes the characters in an entirely new direction that totally engrossed me for a while. I took great interest in the feasibility of psychic involvement in crime detection. This added another dimension to the evolution of the Dreadnought Collective. The various characters in all the books are intertwined in book 5, the Sightseers Agency, which is now run under the auspices of the U.S. government, as is the entire collective. The individual agencies in the collective instantly become more effective as the two genres are mixed.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blogspot

The Time SlipstersA group of friends who have drifted apart decide to reunite and take a trip together. It is the near future, and their intention is to travel on the latest type of transport, in order to visit the ancient sites in Turkey.

They want to do this in luxury, and the travel company they selected has done its best to accommodate their desires. They are lost for words when they first cast their eyes on the spectacular, gleaming new vehicle waiting for them. It is in fact alien in technology, and far more of a futuristic craft than a mere ground-hugging coach.

Unwittingly, they are entering a world where time travel is a reality and machines can cater for individuals as well as the masses.
Soon, they embarking on a sightseeing tour like no other they could have imagined, and meeting a time-travelling stranger who takes them under his wing.

More than one person has a hidden agenda, as they realise when reach a highly protected secret location. It contains hybrid creatures on which the Gods of mythology are based.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

God and Human Nature

João Cerqueira Author Interview

João Cerqueira Author Interview

Jesus and Magdalene follows the story of Jesus and his return to modern day Earth where he meets Magdalene who is an activist fighting for a better world. This is an intriguing setup to a novel and a unique perspective of a religious story. Why was this novel important for you to write and what was your inspiration?

Religion has played an important role in my cultural development. I was christened, I went to catechism classes, I was confirmed and I went to mass until the age of fourteen. I wanted to create something truly original, involving contemporary problems, politics, the existence of God and human nature using facts, humor, and irony. For example, the relation between Christiany and Ecology or why there are so many racial conflicts. Jesus and Magdalene don’t give answers, but present questions. Why there is so much violence? Why there is so much stupidity? Are we really so much different from other animals? My novels satirize modern society and use irony and humor to provoke reflection and controversy.

Jesus and Magdalene are biblical figures, but in your story they’re striving to make a better world as regular people. How did you handle the balance between biblical and fictional characters to make them feel real and relatable?

For me, Jesus is the most important figure in History. Jesus was the first to say that all men are equal and to question the dogmas of the temple rulers. He also saved a woman from being stoned, according to the tradition. He was a much greater revolutionary than Castro or Che Guevara. Even those who don’t believe they are influenced by Jesus’ teachings. Freedom and Equality – those are the basis of all western society. In my novel I try to describe the challenges Jesus would face if He would visit us again, 2000 years later. But,although he limits himself to accompanying Magdalene attempting only to pacify those on bad terms, even then Jesus is unable to escape the fury of mankind.

What kind of research, if any, did you do to keep the story accurate?

I read the Bible and I search for biblical studies and interpretations.

Is there a pivotal moment in the story that you feel best defines your characters?

Yes, there is a pivotal moment in the story that defines not only the characters but also mankind (in my own interpretation). A con man – Professor Kacimba – is going to recognize Jesus, while the others don’t. A swindler sees the son of God when he tried to read his hand, but the rest of people, including this modern Magdalene, only see a normal man. This is supposed to be funny and sad at the same time.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?

I am writing a novel about Communism, Perestroika and the fall of the Berlin wall. The Staline or Lenine ghost could be one of the characters. I hope to be published in the next year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Jesus returns to earth and meets activist Magdalene who is fighting for a better world. He find an extremist ecological group, which is plotting to destroy a maize plantation it believes to be genetically modified. Then, he observes the rise up against a tourist development that is to be built in a forest reserve. Finally, he witnesses an armed conflict between blacks and gypsies. However, although he limits himself to accompanying Magdalene attempting only to pacify those on bad terms, even then Jesus is unable to escape the fury of mankind. And only a conman will recognize him. Using humor, Jesus and Magdalene broaches recent phenomena of social and political conflict.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

 

The Game Changer

The Game Changer5 Stars

The Game Changer, written by Dave Dröge and set in Rotterdam, revolves around the life of creative businessman Henk van Wijnen-Swarttouw. Henk finds himself caught up within a web of trouble with the law after an art robbery that takes place in the heart of Rotterdam.

Meanwhile Henk’s daughter, Julia, attempts to reach for liberty and human rights through art that is confrontational and provocative. She showcases her talent within her parents art gallery, located in the famous Witte de Withstraat. Henk’s clear distaste for Julia’s “shock value” art drives a dividing wedge between father and daughter and he becomes obsessed with knowing every aspect of Julia’s life.

Through the help of German psychiatrist Von Stürmer, Henk and his daughter must come to grips with understanding her desires for a green sustainable future, whilst facing investigation on his own business practices.

Dave Dröge’s words are enriched with an artistic flair that allows the reader to feel as though they are more than just a spectator in the story of flamboyant Henk van Wijnen-Swarttouw. A mixture of modern era and a touch of old school, The Game Changer allows the reader to easily picture the charming life within Rotterdam. The wine, decadent buildings and lively characters of the novel piece together a picture of beauty and intrigue.

If you enjoy an element of lust in your novels, The Game Changer will satisfy your needs in an elusive room 33. However the relationships in this novel are often short lived and instead the novel draws focus towards the father-daughter relationship and the relationships with Henk’s business associates. Secret meetings, codes lined with dark, red leather and a detective are all part of the mysterious circumstances surrounding art and business.

Henk’s daughter Julia is a free bird, a lover of all things green and a passionate advocate for creating a green, sustainable future. Julia has plans to go to medical school however during her sabbatical she uses her father’s art gallery to display her provocative art. In retaliation, Henk becomes obsessed with his daughter as he fights to control every element of her life. This sometimes leaves the reader feeling slightly uncomfortable as he borders the line between concerned father and an obsessive stalker.

The Game Changer switches between first and third person easily in order to portray various characters points of view. Cor Figee, an account manager, is one character that I came to admire due to his unwavering moral compass, even in the face of adversity. Figee’s neighbour, Elenoor, is handicapped and with her low IQ is often the target of bullies and Figee heroically defends her- even if he needs to cross cultural boundaries. Hard working, he establishes himself with Russian businessmen and creates an honest lifestyle for himself and soccer mad son, Daan.

Many of the characters find themselves stumbling through life and the excessive drinking implies lavish lifestyles of ordinary folk, such as Johanna the barmaid. She indulges in liquor and is almost sycophant to Henk but proves her friendship to Henk loyal when the time arises. Henk’s German psychiatrist, although small in stature, proves to be an integral part of reviving the relationship between father and daughter.

Best read with a pot of fresh mint tea, I would recommend this for anyone who is interested in learning about life within Rotterdam whilst indulging in a spoonful of romance, crime and art history.

Pages: 384 | ASIN: B01N5CQY1A

Buy Now From Amazon.com

My Disdain For Reality TV

Paul Carey Author Interview

Paul Carey Author Interview

Mystery, suspense, reality television and revenge all come crashing together in this entertaining story. Where did the idea for Thawing A.C. Nielsen originate and develop into a novel?

The idea for the book originated with, frankly, my disdain for reality TV and the self-importance of the people on those shows, as well as the show producers making fortunes. When I began the book I thought, who better to take down reality TV than an icon from the past–namely, the real A.C. Nielsen. Of course, once you read the book, you will realize that my original goals shifted quite a bit (can’t say more–spoiler). Savvy readers will notice clues as to the real-world reality TV celebrities that the characters Khail Santana and Dimi Konstantos are based on!

The protagonist joins up with ExitStrategy, a facility devoted to cryogenics and the revival of the dead. Did you do a lot of research into cryonics for this book?

Ah, but they’re not dead- they’re just really cold, haha! I did a lot of research into the strange world of cryonics. There are a handful of cryonics companies and I combed their websites and read a few books. Probably the best resource was a massive website with a lot of scientific detail by a cryonics expert who is a bit of a screwball. Once I read more, I realized I could have a lot of fun with this scenario. I also made sure that just about everything in the book is based on reality. Some of the strangest things in there, the things people may think I made up, are totally fact-based. Also, I had a lot of help from my brother, who teaches medicine at University of Southern California, on the medical-based chapters where test animals and people are revived. I couldn’t have made those seem realistic without his help

When writing Thawing A.C. Nielsen, did you want the novel to be satire first, or science fiction first?

Great question! It is satire first, for sure. The sci-fi cryonics was just a means to a satirical end. Genre-wise it is a mix of sci-fi, satire, medical mystery, and plenty of humor. Overall, I think the mixing of genres makes the book unique. As far as the scifi category goes, I am proud that the book is not one of a million books categorized as dystopian. There also are no spaceships or aliens, but I do work David Brin’s bestseller Startide Rising into the book in a significant way.

I find that good authors have an ear for speech and dialogue. What’s the best way you find to capture natural prose?

I have to believe the characters are real people and I am just eavesdropping on their conversations. I sort of see them in my head and learn their personality from them. I also have to get inside their heads and spy on their secrets, their weaknesses, and then tumble them out to the reader at appropriate times.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be published?

I’m  75 percent done with a middle-grade wacky scifi yarn called “The Grandma Apocalypse”, an alien invasion story set in a sleepy central Illinois town during the 1960s. There are humorous threads relating to “The Princess Bride” which tie things together in an odd way. It’s all about DNA-stealing aliens, snickerdoodle cookies, cats &goats, sweet tea, mind control, multiple dimensions and so on. After that I am writing a sequel to “Thawing A.C. Nielsen”, which will be quite a bit darker. The working title is  “The Mozart Murders”.  Mozart is in the book in sort of a Voldemort way, and he’s a pretty bad dude–not the wacky Mozart of  the film Amadeus. I don’t have a publication date yet for these two new creations.Thanks for the great questions!

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

Thawing A.C. Nielsen by [Carey, Paul]Brilliant young microbiologist and self-professed lab rat Kate Pearson has just landed her dream job, although she worries it might turn into a frozen nightmare. She’s been hired to discover a way to successfully revive people who have been in cryonic deep-freeze stasis for years at the Chicago firm ExitStrategy, a company founded by scientist Mike “Cold Smokey” Burgess, holder of dozens of major patents. Kate is succeeding Dr. Enzo Saltieri, Mike’s partner for years, who has died suddenly under strange circumstances. As Kate sifts through mountains of Saltieri’s scribbled-upon legal pads she finds paths that lead nowhere. Was Saltieri on the verge of great discoveries or just sinking into the illogical world of dementia? Along the way, Kate has to deal with Miles Coleman, a sarcastic idiot savant assistant at the lab who’s hiding his true identity; Gloria Dunham, a famous former Hollywood actress, now ninety years old and bent on taking over control of the company; plus reality show egomaniacs Dimi Konstantos and Khail Santana, megastars who’ve been polluting television’s airwaves for years. After Kate has some success reviving lab animals frozen in the 1980s such as Mr. T, the guinea pig, and John Cougar, the housecat, her attention turns to the first human subject, famous TV ratings guru A.C. Nielsen, who has been frozen at ExitStrategy for twenty-five years. Between Mike Burgess’s lofty expectations, hidden research files, secret medical procedures, switched identities, drugged drinks, randy Irish folk musicians, beefy bodyguards, plus the likes of Miles, Gloria, Dimi and Khail—Kate begins to realize that reviving A.C. Nielsen and stumbling upon a major medical discovery may actually be a stroll in the park.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Thawing A.C. Nielsen

Thawing A.C. Nielsen4 StarsMystery, suspense, reality television and revenge all come crashing together in this entertaining story written by Paul Carey. Thawing A.C. Nielsen starts off with dated entries, much like a diary, as we gain very little backstory on what is to be a wild ride. It opens to a nameless man being rescued from the depths of a frozen body of water. This revival is short lived, but is important to the rest of the story. Flash forward to Kate, a young and intelligent woman who wants nothing more than to stare into a microscope for the rest of her life. At the urging of her friend she goes for a job interview at the one place that will make her desires reality. Our fierce protagonist gets a little more than she bargained for when she joins up with ExitStrategy, a facility that is devoted to cryogenics and the revival of those who should be dead.

One of the best things about Thawing A.C. Nielsen is how the characters talk. There is a fair bit of dialogue but each person sounds real. They communicate like they would if they were to stand in your living room. This makes reading this tale a lot easier on the mind. Many mystery novels or those who pride themselves on suspense get caught up in setting a ‘mood’ that makes their tales very unrealistic. The fact that the reader can identify with the characters not only through their speech, but through their actions, makes the entire tale feel like something you could read about in the news tomorrow.

This can be a double-edged sword, however. Because the characters speak so ‘modernly’ it’s quite grating to read some of the speech and hear it in your mind as you read. There are some slang words that should never be printed and it does a very good job at showing how reality television stars need to work on their linguistics.

Having a strong female lead who works in an area where women are underrepresented gives this tale a special place in the world. Not only does Kate work in a science-driven industry, she is respected by her male colleagues and never once is she demeaned or demanded of due to her sex. These types of tales are few and far between.

It’s clear that Carey did his research before writing his book. There is a scene where knowledge of medicine and medical terminology is paramount to understanding what is happening. Carey doesn’t skimp on the language and has obviously done more than just do an internet search or watch television. It’s not so in-depth that the average reader with no background would be lost but just realistic enough to bring the characters on the page to life, quite literally.

If you’re looking for a fun adventure with wily manipulative old women and socially challenged geniuses, you will find all that and more in the pages of our tale. Hold on to your hearts and keep your eyes peeled as you try to figure out the mystery of Thawing A.C. Nielsen.

Pages: 368 | ASIN: B01LOHEP7G

Buy Now From Amazon.com

A Short Story Thought Experiment

Derek Edgington Author Interview

Derek Edgington Author Interview

Immortal: Curse of the Deathless is a fantasy novel bursting at the seams with an intricate world waiting to be discovered. What was the inspiration that drove the development of the world Asher lives in?

Immortal started as a short story thought experiment: I wanted to try integrating a character’s internal thoughts into the story, as well as (at some points) speak directly to the audience. After I started writing, I knew fairly quickly that Asher’s story required me to write something approaching “book” length. So I started world building and writing character descriptions, and Immortal: Curse of the Deathless was the product of that. It definitely is a little rough around the edges (I’m in the process of producing another edition to clean up egregious editing errors), but that was part of its charm. Asher is an unfiltered character, and while his story is one that won’t appeal to everyone, it’s one that I truly enjoyed writing. If you look closely, you may find that I worked in satire— about icons and religious practices, while also de-sanctifying the immortal. One of the guiding notions of Asher’s development is my annoyance about the peril main character’s are put into throughout the regular course of a novel— danger which, if the story is to continue, can never truly put the MC in danger. Creating an immortal character was my way of making a point about this trend.

Asher is a funny and well developed character. Did you create an outline for his character before you started writing or did his characters personality grow organically as you were writing?

Asher’s personality is a permutation of my own, and so a large reason he comes off as so well-developed from the get-go is that I’m fairly well developed as a person myself. That said, as a character he did grow organically (along with his character description) and I did write a fair amount of descriptors for the character even when I thought I was writing a short story. I think any writer should write what they know best first— with the caveat that they should push themselves to develop their style and create better content with each publication. When I wrote Immortal, I was sticking to a fairly known style that came with a limited viewpoint, but a lot of interesting potential. With my latest publication, I pushed those boundaries and created something outside my usual genre, with a different character archetype while shifting my writing approach.

In the Fae Realm, Asher gets caught up between two feuding noble houses, Summer Court and Winter Court. What were the driving ideals behind these houses while you were developing them?

The Summer Court and Winter Court are two sides of the same coin. There is an obvious patriarchy in Winter, and the matriarchy of Summer opposes it. Although both Courts are inherently dangerous (especially for outsiders), Summer is, like the season, warmer and more welcoming. Winter is a closed fist, and it rules by force. Its manipulations are sharp, jagged edge.

Are you writing a second novel as a follow up to Immortal: Curse of the Deathless? If so, when is that book due out?

A great question. Yes, Immortal: Reckoning is the sequel to Immortal: Curse of the Deathless. The series title is The Immortal Chronicles, and I’ve laid out my projected publication dates of the following two books on my website homepage (along with all my other future publications for most of the next year)>>> www.derekedgington.com. Immortal: Reckoning is due out in November 2016, and Immortal #3 will be published on May 7, 2017 (exactly a year after the first book was published).

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Immortal: Curse of the DeathlessAsher Hearst is a college student, and the closest thing he’s got to a superpower is his ability to take a punch. Basically all he has going for him is an edgy sense of humor– and, of course, that he can’t die. As a small-time fixer, he’s about to field a job request best left to the pros, because once he gets involved with witches and the supernatural, there’s no turning back. While Asher becomes immersed in the secret world of the supernatural, he makes few allies and some very powerful enemies. At least traveling across space and time will bring him some unexpected romance, right? “Immortal: Curse of the Deathless” is a humorous, action-filled story with gritty, sometimes horror-inspiring elements. Over its three parts, the book spans multiple worlds: a modern, urban city of the 21st Century, as well as Tír na nÓg, a land that’s home to the Fae (Sídthe) from classic Celtic Mythology.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Hungry Monster Book Awards: August 2016

The Hungry Monster Book Awards are given to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and The Hungry Monster is proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Gold Book AwardGold Award Winners

Death Leaders by Kendra Hadnott

Jabberwocky: A Novella by Theodore Singer

Silver Book AwardSilver Award Winners

Milijun by Clayton Graham

Derailed by Alyssa Rosy Ivy

Bar Nights by Dave Matthes

Death of a Gypsy by Janet Hannah

Mervyn vs. Dennis by Niels Saunders

Stage Door Comedies by Sally Roger

Asana of Malevolence by Kate Abbott

In the Eyes of Madness by Michael Pang

Welcome to Deep Cove by Grant T. Reed

The Six and the Crystals if Ialana by Katlynn Brooke

Thing Bailiwick: A Collection of Horror by Fawn Bonning

Tarbabies: The Shadow Man of Ichabod Lane by Allen Brady

 

Books have the ability to entertain and inform us. They can make the impossible possible. They are vehicles of time travel and windows into perspectives. In books, authors are gods and imagination is their power. Transforming letters into words; words into characters and places; and these into emotions and worlds. Even if we never meet, we are connected by the stories we tell.

 

Visit the Hungry Monster Book Awards page to see more information on the awards. See all award winners.

A Friend We Later Regretted

Niels Saunders Author Interview

Niels Saunders Author Interview

Mervyn vs. Dennis is one of the funnest books I’ve read this year. Mervyn struggles with keeping his strange and intrusive boss out of his personal life. What was the inspiration for the relationship between Mervyn and Dennis?

Most of us have made a friend that we later regretted. I wanted to take that idea to its furthest extreme. Likewise, unless you’ve never worked or been extremely lucky, you’ve probably had a boss who made your life a living hell. Both of these situations are familiar comedy tropes but I wanted to combine them into something fresh. In both personality and outlook, Mervyn and Dennis couldn’t be more different. Mervyn is liberal and open-minded whereas Dennis is bigoted and mean-spirited. I wanted to explore whether two such disparate men could ever reconcile their differences or if they’d clash until the bitter end. During the writing process, this was something I was careful not to over-plan. I had some ideas of how their relationship would end up but I wanted it to evolve organically just like a real friendship or enmity.

What I liked about this story is that Mervyn is just trying to make it through life like many people. When you were building Mervyn’s character and background what was one thing you hoped came through in the end?

I wanted Mervyn to be likable, despite his flaws. Mervyn is extremely skilled at getting himself into embarrassing situations but I always wanted the reader to be on his side. Although he has moments of irrationality, I was careful to make his actions believable. Whether he makes the right choices is up to the reader but I wanted those choices to make sense, no matter how poor they might be. Mervyn has roots in picaresque fiction, British comic literature and modern sitcoms. He’s slightly too unhinged to be an everyman character but hopefully he’s relatable enough for the reader to become invested in his story. Comic novels, by their nature, tend to have eccentric characters. Sometimes this results in shallow personalities and caricatures but I wanted all the characters in my book to have believability and depth, especially Mervyn himself.

When Mervyn firsts meets Dennis he pretends to be racist so they can connect. Why did you choose that as the catalyst that propels their relationship?

Mervyn pretending to be racist is set up as a joke but nearly every event in the story is caused by that initial lie. Dennis is emboldened by Mervyn’s faux racism, showing how even a careless racist joke can cause a butterfly effect. Likewise, when Mervyn brings a swastika mug to work in an attempt to shock, it inspires Dennis to do something even more extreme. Although the novel is primarily a comedy, I wanted to explore the causes and consequences of prejudice. Alongside this, however, I was careful to avoid having a didactic message. It’s fairly common knowledge that racism sucks. People do need reminding sometimes but they don’t need it spelled out. What interested me most were the roots of Dennis’s hatred and the depths of his denial. In the wake of Brexit in the UK and the shadow of Trump in the US, racism is unfortunately topical right now, and there’s never been a more crucial time, in my life at least, to take a stand against it.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be published?

I’m currently rewriting three of my earlier novels. First off, there’s Grand Theft Octo, another comedy. It’s more satirical than Mervyn vs. Dennis, with less overt social commentary. It’s the story of Jonathan Doe, an entrepreneur of businesses the world has never seen including freelance taxidermy and (you better believe it) octopus teasing. Originally a 140,000 word epic, I’m on target to trim it by at least half. Next up, there’s The Papyrus Empire and its sequel The Black King. They’re dark thrillers that kick off a series about a global secret society. I’m hoping to have Grand Theft Octo ready in the next few months with The Papyrus Empire to follow. To keep up to date, please join my mailing list.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Mervyn vs. DennisDeep in debt, Mervyn Kirby gets a job he doesn’t want by pretending to be racist. His new boss Dennis Lane thinks he’s found a kindred spirit. When Mervyn confesses he’s not really racist, Dennis thinks it’s just part of the act. Day by day, to Mervyn’s horror, Dennis worms his way into Mervyn’s private life. Despite his fears, Mervyn is torn: his new job pays well but he despises Dennis and everything he stands for. How far will Mervyn go to free himself? How far will Dennis go to become friends? Will they settle their differences or end up killing each other? And why are so many shifty people carrying pineapples around town?

Buy Now From Amazon.com

%d bloggers like this: