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STILLED

Blink even once while reading Stilled: The Story of Inklebrawt Winklehank, and you’ll miss a clue in this tightly woven plot full of twists and turns. Brian Estvander combines space opera and old-fashioned sci-fi genres to create a plot with twists and turns. This is why if you blink, you’ll miss something essential to this carefully constructed story.

This book tells the story of Inklebrawt, David, Maggie, and Nicola, four siblings, each living their own life on Earth. Unbeknownst to some, they are from a biologically engineered race. It is up to them to keep the future of the human race safe from harm at the hands of the Shepherds. But, at the heart of it is their mother, Zayla, to whom there is more than meets the eye.

Stilled: The Story of Inklebrawt Winklehank by Brian Estvander weaves a tale that will have classic sci-fi lovers and adventure seekers blown away. The author doesn’t pull any punches and dives straight into the science and technology-driven plot. You are provided a brief glossary at the beginning to help the transition, which does help ease the transition into this complicated world.

One minute the story takes you into the character’s past, and the next, it’s in the present. It delves into the past of several of the siblings, showing little insight into why they are the way they are. Never does the narrative miss a beat. The action keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Stilled: The Story of Inklebrawt Winklehank by Brian Estvander is a gripping hard science fiction novel that takes readers on a fast-paced adventure. The deep and rich sci-fi world will captivate readers and have them fully absorbed in the space opera that the author has created.

Pages: 339 | ASIN : B09HQ46JJC

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Guardian

Guardian: Into the Light of Day, by J L Meredith, is about an alien who takes a human’s body to bring her back to life. In this new body, this alien took on the human’s name, Elizabeth, and energy, but since she isn’t genuinely human, she lives on. Over eight centuries, she has worked to save lives without revealing her identity. This changes when an asteroid is about to hit Earth. Elizabeth stops it, but the explosion sends her crashing back down with meteorites. Caught on video, Elizabeth loses her anonymity. In the turmoil of this and the meteorites, meta-humans emerge, there’s a media frenzy, and one politician seeks to take advantage. Among this, a more significant threat emerges, one that wants to use Elizabeth to destroy Earth.

I enjoyed that it wasn’t just a superhero comic book. While Elizabeth wasn’t truly human, she was relatable. As a doctor, she wanted to keep people safe and save their lives, but she didn’t want to be in the spotlight.

Meredith did a great job of making Elizabeth strong and courageous. But he also gave her a couple of enemies that weren’t easy for her to overcome. However, her heart and willingness to help really brought her to life.

Guardian into the Light of Day, by J L Meredith, provides readers with a great story, a great protagonist, and some nail-biting moments. This action and adventure superhero novel will keep readers engaged from the start and even give them a bit of romance without going over the top.

Pages: 522 | ASIN : B09ML7V944

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Conformity vs Individuality

Craig Weidhuner Author Interview

Liberator: The People’s Guard follows a man who is a member of a secret police organization that genetically modifies him to become a real superhero. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

There wasn’t any one specific thing or event that inspired my story. I’ve always been fascinated by the history of Russia, particularly the period from the Russian Revolution to the collapse of the Soviet Union. In part because my parents grew up in post war Germany and had to flee when the Soviets invaded. My father specifically grew up in America, thus was taught that those “godless commies” were the bad guys. Also after reading the manga “Fairy Tail” and the idea of magic guilds, I thought of the idea of registered superheroes; in other words, how would real world governments react if people like Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Spider-Man and such actually existed. I also drew inspiration from the backstory of “Khan” from Star Trek. The idea of governments trying to control such people because, as someone once said, “What you can control can’t hurt you.” 

Tovarich has a moment of awakening, where he starts to see what he grew up believing may not be what is right or what he now believes. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I’ve always been what they call a ‘sigma male’. I like doing my own thing and following my own interests, regardless of what’s popular or cool. I’ve never been one to concern myself about the latest trends or fads. Also I’m also not the type of person to blindly follow authority figures (be it politicians, celebrities, businessmen, even teachers or my own parents) I don’t believe they’re always right about everything. I believe in looking within and thinking for yourself. Like the character of Sister Rose in my “Mystical Force” series, Tovarich is a person who grew up having dogmatism drilled into his head ever since he was a small child. Now, that inner voice/wisdom within him is telling him what the state is saying isn’t true. Actually his ‘higher self’ has been doing that all along, it’s just now that he’s starting to listen to it.    

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The same theme from “Mystical Force” the idea of conformity vs individuality. Those who look within, who make their own decisions in life, who think for themselves vs those who don’t want to think and would rather drift blindly through life being told what to think, do and say by others. The idea of setting the story in a totalitarian dictatorship seemed like an ideal setting to explore such a concept. Especially now with since Ruthenia is an obvious expy of Russia/the Soviet Union and Putin’s unjust invasion of Ukraine (which I am firmly against). But more so that that, the fact that we’re seeing the rise of more authoritarian leaders (whether they’re left or right wing makes no difference) who willingly spread misinformation to ignorant followers who blindly accept it without question. They resort to such methods because they know the rest of the world is awakening and seeing through the lies. Thus they react out of fear because they know the power they once held in an iron grip is rapidly slipping away from them and they’re in panic mode because of that. 

What is Volume 2 in the series going to be about, and when will it be available?

Volume 2 follows the natural progression of a country creating a genetically enhanced superhero, other countries react with panic and create their own to try and counter the Liberator. Volume 2 deals with General Flagg and Usonia trying to create their own version of the Liberator, one that’s loyal to their country. I’m currently writing the manuscript for that one so it will probably be out by the fall of 2023. Currently I’m working with Tellwell on publishing Mystical Force Vol. 5: Shadows and Darkness. That one should be out sometime in the spring of 2023. By the time that’s published I should have the manuscript for Liberator Vol. 2 ready for editing and publication.

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Ever since he was a small child growing up in the Democratic People’s Republic of Ruthenia, Tovarich Revanov was always taught about the “enemies of the people,” and that “enemies” don’t deserve compassion or mercy. Now, as an adult, he’s about to put that lesson to the test. Chosen to be “the Liberator,” he’s the state’s newest “official state-sponsored hero,” here to protect the workers of Ruthenia from the “enemies of the people.” Unfortunately, in a totalitarian dictatorship, “enemies” can be anyone, from terrorists plotting to blow up
buildings, to peaceful demonstrators protesting their government’s poor human-rights record, both of which he must face when a terrorist group plots to kidnap the premier in protest of the state’s iron-clad rule. Fortunately, he’s been genetically modified to be stronger and more resilient than the average person. But do these enhancements help make him a better hero, or further emphasize him as a tool of oppression? Is he the hero or is he the villain? Join Tovarich in this exciting new series as he discovers for himself what it truly means to be a hero. The only real question is: Will his definition of “hero” be compatible with that of the state?

Liberator: The People’s Guard: Vol. 1

When duty calls, Tovarich Revanov answers. The zealous young man is a member of the Ruthenian secret police tasked with fishing out enemies of the communist state and clamping down on any anti-government uprising. This time, Tovarich has a peculiar mission: consenting to become a genetically enhanced state-sponsored hero. He approaches his new mission with his trademark commitment and gives his all to protect what he believes to be a just cause. But Tovarich soon begins to wonder if he is indeed on the right side.

Craig Weidhuner’s Liberator: The People’s Guard (Volume 1) is a fast-paced, action-packed novella that pits a totalitarian government against local rebels. It takes an interesting approach by featuring not just the regular tactics that totalitarian states adopt such as media propaganda but also unconventional tools like superheroes — quite imaginative, if you ask me. Weidhuner’s writing is direct and clear and reads almost like an action adventure comic that you can read to young kids at bedtime. This takes nothing away from the immersive experience the story offers, though. Weidhuner definitely has compelling ideas and I reveled in them. He excels at using his work to mirror the hypocrisy that dominates global politics and focuses on two superpowers which he doesn’t name but alludes to (you’d easily figure them out). He also does well at vividly presenting his characters. You can put a face to each key character and understand their personality.

Although Weidhuner got a lot right, and I enjoy the brevity of the story, I would have loved to have seen more depth in the plot and more time given to flesh out the fantastic ending. If you are down for some light reading featuring a good story you can blitz through in a few hours, you might want to check out Liberator: The People’s Guard: Vol. 1 because it is entertaining.

Pages: 98 | ASIN: B0BCPPDRPJ

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Liberator: The People’s Guard: Vol. 1 – Book Trailer

Ever since he was a small child growing up in the Democratic People’s Republic of Ruthenia, Tovarich Revanov was always taught about the “enemies of the people,” and that “enemies” don’t deserve compassion or mercy. Now, as an adult, he’s about to put that lesson to the test. Chosen to be “the Liberator,” he’s the state’s newest “official state-sponsored hero,” here to protect the workers of Ruthenia from the “enemies of the people.” Unfortunately, in a totalitarian dictatorship, “enemies” can be anyone, from terrorists plotting to blow up buildings, to peaceful demonstrators protesting their government’s poor human-rights record, both of which he must face when a terrorist group plots to kidnap the premier in protest of the state’s iron-clad rule. Fortunately, he’s been genetically modified to be stronger and more resilient than the average person. But do these enhancements help make him a better hero, or further emphasize him as a tool of oppression? Is he the hero or is he the villain? Join Tovarich in this exciting new series as he discovers for himself what it truly means to be a hero. The only real question is: Will his definition of “hero” be compatible with that of the state?

Black Star Eclipsed

Ashe and her mother, Mia, are still recovering from Ashe’s kidnapping. It’s been a long, difficult road with many twists and turns, not to mention secrets. A lot of things have gone unsaid by Mia, and for very good reasons. Ashe is quickly growing older, and her maturity is obvious in everything she does. When Ashe corners her uncle Jason and tells him that her plans for college are different from her mother’s, things begin to change for all of them. Mia struggles to face the fact she will, again, be separated from her daughter, This time, however, their separation will follow the most harrowing experience of their lives.

Black Star Eclipsed, by M.J. Jones, continues the compelling story of Mia and her daughter Ashe. Their lives are nothing short of amazing. For as much as they appear to be a typical single mother and daughter team, they are far beyond that in dozens of ways. Jones has succeeded in further developing this pair into an even stronger and more stunning set of characters. Furthering the story, Jones has added incredibly in-depth backstories and strong characters in both Jason and his wife Kierra. For seemingly secondary characters, the two are well-drawn and pull readers into the plot fairly quickly in the first chapter.

After reading the first installment in Jones’s Black Star series, I was prepared for a little more action right out of the gate. The first book featuring Mia and Ashe hit hard in the first chapters with suspenseful moments right off the bat. This follow-up story offers a lot in the way of background information, allowing both readers and Ashe to learn more about her father. Though I appreciated the attention and time given to catching readers up on the previous book and the backstories, I would like to have seen more suspense and intrigue to kick off this installment.

The dynamic between characters is a huge part of Jones’s writing. I especially enjoyed the interactions between Mia and her sister-in-law Kierra. Their exchanges are always spirited and easily relatable. For a novel that is steeped in elements of science fiction, it is nice to see characters with genuine emotions and typical relationships.

Black Star Eclipsed is engaging, psychological science fiction. The storyline is well-developed, and the characters are relatable. The overall story took a little longer to get off the ground than I would have preferred. I recommend this series to anyone who wants to explore an especially unique take on the science fiction novel.

Pages: 452 | ASIN : B09ZYQP2ZD

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Johari The Great

Johari has an incredible imagination and absolutely loves to write. He has put his skills to use writing an amazing story for his school’s writing contest. His patience grows thin as he waits anxiously for the moment in his day when he can share his sure-fire winning story with his classmates. Johari is convinced the tale he has woven will catch the attention of his friends and classmates, not to mention the contest’s judges. When the moment comes, Johari takes the stage with all the confidence and support one young fifth grader could ever hope to have.

Johari the Great, by Naomi V. Dunsen-White, is the sweet story of one elementary student who has an incredibly supportive and loving family and is especially gifted when it comes to using his imagination to write creatively. Dunsen-White’s main character, Johari, is a great role model for young readers. He shows all the qualities of a self-motivated and self-confident young boy.

I was particularly impressed with the book’s focus on the writing contest. As a teacher, I loved seeing the excitement of not only the main character but the other students in the classroom. This is a wonderful way to encourage students to delve into writing for enjoyment and share with peers.

Johari the Great, is a phenomenal children’s book with a positive message. Included at the end of Johari’s story is a fantastic resource for parents and teachers, which makes this book even more valuable to readers. Dunsen-White’s precious story will make a great addition to any classroom or school library.

Pages: 40 | ASIN : B08PTL62CP

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The Last Of My Books

Marta Nater Author Interview

Heroes To The Public Villains To The Law is the final book in your trilogy. Was there anything that developed organically while writing this series that surprised you?

While writing this final book, I wasn’t all too sure how it would go and end. As I wrote it, many new creative ideas came to mind. It took much focusing and thinking just to write it. As I wrote each chapter, it would take me vividly into my imagination as if it were all taking place. I enjoyed writing down each mind scenario that I kept coming up with, then erasing and restarting it again just to get it right. It took much of my time, imagination, and patience just to make a point and get the final messages out to a public that still may not understand the why. I was rather surprised by the way it all played out towards the end.

Were you able to cover everything you wanted to in this series?

Yes, I pretty much covered everything that I wanted to discuss through the written series.

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

I hope they first and foremost understand why I wrote the series which was to bring light on the matter of child abuse, pedophiles, rapist, and racism issues. To understand that each one of us can make a difference in these issues by advocacy. To help stop the abuse of children whether that be by a parent, caretaker, or foster. Insist in harsher punishments for both sexual rapists and pedophiles. To help change the weak laws that are currently set in place for racism into better ones.

Are you planning to write more books featuring the characters from this series or are you working on something different?

At the time being, I will not be writing any more books now or in the future. My trilogy series was the last of my books to write to try and get an important message out. In the meantime, I have some of my books available on Amazon and book stores.

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In this third and final book novel emerges a new teen villain, Darla.
When her father, Shadow Claw, is finally captured, an enraged Darla, unable to help and left with no other choice, makes her way into Africa to seek the help of villain Cora.
Upon Cora’s return to New York, law enforcement is faced with Cora’s ruthless wrath again.
Cora’s return brings her previous rivals, Jerico, Nina, and Danny, back to the scene.
Cora and her new triple team members from Africa set their eyes on human traffickers.
Left with no other options, FBI headquarters sort out prisoner Amadou Khan to help in the capture of the villainess Cora.
Commissioner Danny’s adopted sister, scientist and technologist Julia, joins the fight.
A new mafia king leader takes over for the late mafia king. Commissioner Danny’s dark secret from his past is discovered, bringing dire consequences.
A familiar face from Nina Dansk’s past returns for her.
After receiving an unexpected tip about his parents’ unsolved death, Jericho faces a new betrayal and a rival.
Beast Shadow Claw’s true identity is finally revealed.
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