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Challenges to Overcome

Anna Musewald Author Interview

Anna Musewald Author Interview

A Small Bronze Gift Called Mirror follows Lydia who is a sixteen-year-old girl living at a boarding school when the headmaster of the school forces Lydia to compete in a mirror contest. What was the inspiration for this very imaginative story?

A quote from Plato’s Apology of Sokrates served as my inspiration for my story:
“something divine and spiritual comes to me, (…) I have had this from my childhood; it is a sort of voice that comes to me, and when it comes it always holds me back from what I am thinking of doing, but never urges me forward.” – Plato’s Apology of Sokrates- 31d. What if we could not only hear this divine and spiritual voice, but also give it a face? Would we be satisfied with the image? Would it be what we imagined it to be or would it be what others expect it to be?

Lydia is a strong-willed, independent teen who takes matters into her own hands. What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

Like most characters of the story, Lydia has many challenges to overcome and a difficult task to carry. She faces a lot of issues that people today struggle with. That require many morals and values like self-respect, compassion, altruism and justice. Lydia is a strong-willed young girl, who changes and develops these values as she grows up.

The story has a wonderfully unique take on magic mirrors that’s different from the fairy tale version. How did this idea come to you and how did you develop it into a story?

From the beginning I wanted somebody for Lydia to talk to, because it’s not easy for a child to be left grow up alone. This resulted in the creation of Phoebus, who could prove to be a true friend or an enemy. I tried to show how difficult it is for us today to protect ourselves from bad influences. That’s why the reflections in the mirrors are often shaped by how we perceive ourselves through the manipulation of the others.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

Currently I’m writing another mystery novel about two very different people, which have nothing in common until they bump on each other. It will be available as soon as the English translation is finished.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

A small bronze gift called "Mirror": A Mystery Novel by [Musewald, Anna]“A small bronze gift called “Mirror” follows the story of Lydia, who is forced to go on the run at the age of 6 when her mother is murdered. Protected by her grandmother, Lydia’s life is shrouded in mystery, compounded by the small bronze gift she was given and which she calls ‘mirror’.

At the age of 12, Lydia is left in the care of Mrs. M, and is given a place at a school filled with unusual characters. When she arrives there Lydia discovers that all the children have the same ‘mirror’ as she does. But it’s when she starts to learn how to use it that the real story unfolds and she must undertake a remarkable journey.”

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Be a Better Father

Todd Johnson Author Interview

Todd Johnson Author Interview

Fathering the Fatherless is a short, non-fiction story detailing the struggles a man has in terms of understanding and becoming a father. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I wrote the book because my Pastor struck a cord inside of me when he asked me to pray for fatherless spirit. I was like wait, there are hardly any books on this as far as I know. And then within 5 months I wrote most of what is in Fathering the Fatherless. From that I noticed I fell under this pattern of statistics and I needed to change so my children would live a healthier and better life and that I would become the father God called and made me to be. If you look at the first chapter, Statistics of a Fatherless Home, and look at whats going on in this world you can see what I mean.

What is one misconception that you think people have about fatherless families?

Well, writing this book was from the heart as a man growing up without a father I feel I missed out in so much as a child and as a father I lost out on how a father really should be and how to father.

You speak from your own personal point of view in this story. Was there anything difficult for you to write about?

It was hard to talk about me as a father and not having a father as I was growing up.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book? 

I hope everyone will grow and learn from the book and strive to do a better job and teach others how to be a better father.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads | Google+

Fathering The Fatherless by [Johnson, Todd]“Fathering the Fatherless deals with Fatherlessness and what it does to children and The choices we make in there life. What we can do as a dad to fix it.And do better for our Children to come to know they have a father that loves them and wont leave them, You & God.”

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Fathering the Fatherless

Fathering The Fatherless by [Johnson, Todd]3 Stars

In a charming, short, non-fiction tale we read about the struggles one man has had in terms of understanding and becoming a father. Fathering the Fatherless is written by Todd Johnson who tells us his experience growing up in a fatherless home. He recounts how this impacted his life and shaped the decisions he has made. It is clear that this is a topic that has affected Johnson greatly as he attempts to convey how his life was damaged by not having a father present in his life. Johnson shares statistics regarding fatherless homes and lays out the potential damage that can be done with such a significant absence. Johnson details how he found God and in that Father he was able to come to understand what it truly means to lead and care for children.

The book is a short read and is written very earnestly. Johnson speaks from his personal point of view and lays out his argument that fatherless homes are becoming an epidemic in the United States of America. This is an issue he strongly believes in and he uses quotes from the scripture to remind readers what a father should truly be like. By sharing intimate details of his life Johnson creates a connection with his readers. We learn about his struggles, his poor decisions and the choices he has made in order to better himself. Johnson grew up in a fatherless home and almost inflicted that same pain on his own children. He details how finding God helped him see the potential he was wasting. It is clear that this is Johnson’s mission: his purpose is to enlighten others of their misguided ways and show them a path towards true fatherhood. All he wishes for is a world where children are cared for and loved by their emotionally and physically present mothers and fathers.

While the basis of this book is endearing, the execution needs work. A multitude of spelling mistakes break up poor grammar and fractured sentences. At times it can be difficult to follow what the author is trying to get across to his readers. Statistics are used to support certain points of view, however they’re not referenced properly, which makes it difficult to separate the statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the statistics provided by other sources. This book would greatly benefit from an editor and proofreader. It has a specific point it wishes to share with others, but that gets lost in the poor execution of writing and style.

If you are looking for an endearing, non-fiction read about how fatherlessness has been affecting children in the world, then Fathering the Fatherless by Todd Johnson is a short and sweet read. By seeing past the short-comings the reader can see how much care Johnson has put in to crafting his tale that reads more like an academic paper. At the end of the book there is a delightful interactive section that can help readers identify what fatherlessness is and how it can be addressed. There’s a little bit of something for everyone.

Pages: 60 | ASIN: B06XGHGDT7

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The Fool’s Truth

The Fool's Truth5 Stars

Murder and mystery with shimmers of romance are all the delectable things that Loretta H. Marion has to offer with her tantalizing tale The Fool’s Truth. We are introduced to our protagonist, Cordelia Richmond through a first-person perspective on this tale. She is calling an old friend: someone to whom she trusts her very life. She’s been locked in a dangerous situation and her maternal instincts are telling her to run. And run she does. Cordelia is fleeing an unsatisfactory marriage to a man of impressive power while trying to retain her sense of self. It is during her flight that our sweet Cordelia becomes wrapped up in a devastating mystery through what many would consider coincidence. Given the spiritual aspect of our protagonist one can only pause and recall: ‘there is no coincidence, there is only fate’. For all the colorful experiences Cordelia has accrued in her lifetime, nothing could quite prepare her for what was to come.

Fragmented into small chapters that focus on one character at a time, The Fool’s Truth is eloquently written and carefully plotted out. As is the case with many mysteries if the author doesn’t know where they want the story to go, you’ll end up with a hot mess. Marion leads her readers through many twists and false starts to bring them to the satisfying end of their journey. Even the first chapter of the book is almost a ruse; meant to cause the reader to picture and assume something entirely false. It’s important to note that Marion does wrap up all her threads by the end of the tale.

A drawback from being written so fragmentedly is that the chapters concerning Cordelia are written in the first person. This can throw the reader off if they are expecting a third-person view like the rest of the book. However, while this may be off-putting, it does not detract from the story itself. It does its job to cement Cordelia as the main character of this novel, though there would have been little doubt of that. For all the trouble our heroine finds herself in, this is still very much her story.

What a twisted journey it is. The characters are all intricately tied together with false identities, broken pasts and loveless marriages built on security, not affection. There are some surprising truths near the end of the book and the final part does an excellent job of wrapping everything together. In what must have been a labour of love The Fool’s Journey spans more than three hundred pages, yet every single one of them unfolds pieces of the puzzles that Marion scatters throughout the tale.

At times breath-taking and other times heart-pounding a true mystery lover will not want to let The Fool’s Truth pass them by. Even the romance aspects of the story are not overpowering and flow naturally, without taking away from the central core of the tale. The romance is a side dish to the main course of full-bodied mystery that Marion has to offer.

Pages: 377 | ASIN: B01LY8U5B1

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The True Tree Chronicles: Cleansed

Cleansed (The True Tree Chronicles) (Volume 1)3 Stars

Cleansed by G.S. Scott follows the life and adventures of a young man named Dirge as his destiny is unwittingly grafted to a battle among a triumvirate of otherworldly gods. The fantasy tale, which has a refreshingly contained scope and brisk pace considering the current genre climate, begins with Dirge as a small boy who is loved, if a bit neglected, by his prostitute-with-a-heart-of-gold mother. As street urchins are wont to do, Dirge quickly comes across his call to action in the form of a magical pendant that he finds during an early flight from danger, and thus sets the stage for later conflict. In a series of events that may be a bit on the nose for some readers and exactly right for others, Dirge loses his mother, becomes an orphan, and is immediately adopted into a patriarchal and heraldic order that provides discipline, training, and spiritual sustenance. By the end of the first act of the novel, Scott has positioned Dirge to be the prototypical young warrior – full of both shining promise and untested potential. What follows is a by the numbers rise-fall-redemption story seeing the fated hero forced to choose between serving the god of death or the god of law as they both combat the singularly evil force of Chaos.

Scott’s Cleansed offers enough quirk on top of the familiar that the snappy tempo makes the book a quick and exciting read. Unlike other writers that slog the reader over every continent, mountain range, and ocean, Scott understands that no one needs to see the entire globe to feel gravity. The book primarily takes place in one city, and most of the scenes actually occur in or around the same tavern.  Admirably, Cleansed dedicates it’s pages to putting characters together and keeping the background where it should be.

While familiarity and the use of certain tropes are not automatically drawbacks (and how could they be when they are impossible to avoid entirely?), there are some legitimate issues to take up with Cleansed.  For example, scenes often begin or end at the wrong moments in time, making them either unbalanced or extraneous. There are editorial issues such as misused homonyms or dropped words. And these small items can be overlooked, but what is less escapable is a badly managed point-of-view. The book can loosely be described as 3rd person “close” or 3rd person limited omniscience with respect to the lead character, Dirge. That is the construct that the text follows. Except when it doesn’t. At times it drifts into the first person of Dirge. At other points the 3rd person omniscience balloons to include other characters’ interior thoughts simultaneously. At other points still, the limited 3rd person will focus on a side character’s interiority and exclude Dirge, and this doesn’t occur in any meaningful serialization. It doesn’t happen all the time, which would be more acceptable, because then it might represent a gimmick with which the reader could build a stable, albeit annoyed, pattern or logic. The fact is, the POV slippage happens irregularly.

For some readers, point-of-view grievances are pedantic. For others, they are deal breakers. If you are the former, G.S. Scott’s Cleansed will provide you with a fun, fast read that is action packed and well worth the time.

Pages: 306 | ASIN: B01J92LAEO

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