Scarlet Ambrosia follows a man who faces a life-altering choice after meeting a beautiful vampire and learning of a secret and dangerous underworld. How did you come up with the idea behind this novel?
Believe it or not, the story began with a question: How does a nice Jewish accountant tell his parents he’s been turned into a vampire? I’m from a conservative Jewish background, and I was very close with my parents while they were alive. I tried to imagine myself in the lead character’s shoes. How would he deal with this life-changing event in the context of his relationships with parents, siblings, brother-in-law, and a very close friend and business associate? The story grew from there.
What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce into the vampire genre?
I wanted my vampires to exist during the day without the sun burning them up. They are living, breathing, human vampires. They are not “the undead.” They are not immortal. They can be killed if they are injured badly enough. I wanted to make these characters more human and relatable by changing the stereotypes. I took a close look at a vampire character who heads up the Vampire Council and the key role he plays in preparing the romantic couple (Devon and Mathilde) for their ultimate confrontation with the rogue villain. The villain (Egon Schiller) is up to some highly unusual evil in his bold flaunting of the Vampire Council’s rules.
What scene did you have the most fun writing?
In Chapter One, Devon meets a beautiful stranger (Mathilde de Roche) in a bar. I loved writing the subtle interplay of their dialogue in this scene. It came to me naturally and spontaneously. I did, however, extensively edit the first chapter.
Do you plan on writing more supernatural romance stories?
I will most likely write a sequel to “Scarlet Ambrosia” when the time comes.
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The Condemned starts with Michael, our main character, who is living a normal life finishing up college, with student debts piled up to his neck. Michael is a very relatable character. But suddenly, he starts having dreams where he finds himself in a variety of places. Everyone’s dream is different. Sometimes you are in a magical land, sometimes it is all rainbows and sunshine. Alas, that is not Michael’s luck. He has visions of places where demons and death crawl the land. Where it is blood and limbs, and everyone who is eternally damned.
One of my favorite things about this book were these vivid and imaginative dreams. They were highly creative and sprinkled with gory details. With every scene I felt the need to read more! Was I terrified? No. But I chalk that up to my immunity to such reads. I believe most readers would feel the horror and the thrill of such scenes at a higher level.
The plot flowed smoothly and not only did we see Michael’s daily life, we saw the effects these dreams had on him and his life. I loved Orrix’s character. The first spawn of Lucifer, and the creator of other vampires. I liked the unique take on the myth of Lucifer and Orrix, and how they were connected was intriguing. Especially the uproar that hell is going through. While I enjoyed this book I felt that there were some instances where Orrix was talking or telling his story and it felt like we were given a lot of information all at once.
There were moments where great tension was being built up, giving depth to the scenes, and then the story takes a light hearted twist that moves the plot forward and gives this a more young adult feel. The Condemned is a riveting supernatural thriller that is highly imaginative and keeps readers engaged throughout this uniquely spooky novel.
Pages: 182 | ASIN: B0971QQD9Q
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, Jesse Rosenbaum, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, suspense, The Condemned, thriller, writer, writing
The Curse of The Cobalt Moon by Lou Hernadez follows the main character Cira Perez and her brother Raul as they learn that their mother is a vampire and along with that shocking revelation they discover that they too have the same path to follow as their mother. Cira and Raul still have to go to high school with all this happening. Their lives and those around them get more and more complex as they are taken down this vortex of the new world that they have been unceremoniously thrown into.
The Curse of the Cobalt Moon plays with the supernatural and has a moody atmosphere that permeates the entirety of this alluring novel. From the first page you are taken on a whirlwind of adventure and suspense as the characters try to navigate through their now changing world. I appreciated that the story takes off right from the first page and keeps up a steady pace. This helped to keep me engaged with the story because, while this is a unique take on the vampire genre, readers are left always wanting to know more or what is going on, and the quick pace ensures questions and answers come and go.
I enjoyed reading this book and I enjoyed all the leaps and surprise turns it took. This was a suspenseful dark fantasy novel mostly because the author knows how to build suspense and intrigue. While I enjoyed the story, I wanted to see more of the characters emotions and delve into their motivations a bit more. I hope this is the start of a series because the characters and backstory are interesting and I want to explore them further.
I would recommend this book to readers looking for an imaginative paranormal adventure and something out of the ordinary. Readers who likes young adult fiction centered on characters figuring out themselves and the world around them will enjoy this supernatural thriller which puts its own unique stamp on the vampire genre.
Pages: 266 | ASIN: B08WZBRD27
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Scarlet Ambrosia by David Gittlin is a gritty and steamy vampire novel laced with an air of criminal mystery that follows Devon Furst as he meets the enigmatic Mathilde de Roche. Devon is a sleek businessman used to expensive taste and a successful routine. His connection with Mathilde occurs in the middle of several disappearances happening around downtown Miami, claiming the lives of many who look just like Devon.
While it seems that there is a mysterious threat on the Miami streets, Devon finds himself intimidated by the power that Mathilde herself holds. She seems to know more about him than he thought possible as they’ve only just met and spent time engaging in a casual relationship. But Mathilde has seen Devon for some time, and kept her sights trained on getting him. He’s suspicious of her allure and her cunning words, until he finally learns her devious secret: Mathilde is a vampire.
I enjoyed this new take on the typical vampire genre. The story itself was seductive and pulled me in, with Mathilde being such an enigmatic character. I liked the fact that the female character in this story had power in creating other vampires around her, while trying to escape the hold of her cruel companion. Her relationship with Devon was steamy and exciting and gave us an opportunity to learn about this vampire realm with unique clarity. As a reader, we got to discover so much about the world just through Devon’s growth as a new vampire, the villains he met, and the hardships the people around him went through under vampire influence.
While I enjoyed the story, I felt that it was a bit rushed at the beginning, pulling us right into the world of Mathilde with little information about Devon. I would have liked to see a regular day in his life before he met Mathilde to give more context to what his life was like. However, I thought that once the story kicked into Devon’s life as a vampire and the loss he faced through this change, the fast pace helped keep the story exciting and lively.
If you want to read something fast-paced, intense, and dark, Scarlet Ambrosia is an amazing novel for you. The vampire underworld explored in this story is alluring and sexy and will draw in any reader. This book is perfect for someone looking for their next exciting read.
Pages: 355 | ASIN: B00PBCA0HU
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Epiphany’s dreams hold as many questions as they do answers. When she lies down to sleep, the visions hit her almost immediately. This time, Epiphany’s vision is clearer than ever. The skull of what appears to be a wolf brings about some strong and foreboding feelings. She cannot quite put her finger on it, but this is not an average wolf–it is an animal like none she has ever seen. When she begins her research, Epiphany starts to realize that her dreams are leading her to something much more ominous. It’s not just an obscure fossil she has pictured. She may just have seen the clues to a murder.
Xanadu’s Cavern, by Mallory M. O’Connor, is the story of one psychic’s somewhat unwilling attempt to help solve the case of a missing environmentalist. Epiphany’s visions give her an advantage and serve as a guiding force as the search begins for Piers Waldon, the man with an overwhelming desire to protect the environment. Epiphany may be the only person who can answer the questions surrounding his mysterious disappearance.
I have to say the amount of science in O’Connor’s book is quite amazing for a story categorized as fiction. The author is more than adept at incorporating facts and pertinent bits of history into her writing. From environmental issues to historical accuracies, readers who crave truth in their fiction will appreciate O’Connor’s writing style.
O’Connor has chosen a topic that feels especially relevant given current events. The in-depth conversations between characters feel as much like interviews on reality shows or news stories as they do fictional exchanges. O’Connor has taken extreme care to keep her plot relevant, relatable, and engaging. Readers will be fascinated by Epiphany’s inner struggle to be of help while simultaneously fighting to understand how the gift of her psychic abilities could hold the answer to Piers’s plight.
It is worth noting that O’Connor writes primarily in dialogue. O’Connor is a master of this style. Her characters’ exchanges flow naturally and make reading move quickly from one chapter to the next.
Mystery-lovers will like the tone of O’Connor’s work while fans of realistic fiction will appreciate the nonfiction feel she has given her plot. Epiphany is a unique character in her own right and one to be remembered. Xanadu’s Cavern is an enthralling supernatural mystery that is superbly written.
Pages: 127 | ASIN: B09CDWZ4Z2
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Three Days to Darkness by David Gittlin is a supernatural thriller that takes readers to a unique afterlife that answers the question, “what happens to us when we die”. When Darius passes on to heaven, not all is as it seems and instead of resting, he is sent on a very important mission to recruit humans to save themselves from their impending doom. Darius must grapple with what he thought he knew of Heaven and what he believes he can do to save all of mankind.
Author David Gittlin immediately throws the reader straight into the action. Darius is an intriguing character and we follow him to the afterlife where the the main quest of the story begins. I love this because I don’t like waiting to know what a story is about. In Three Days to Darkness we know what we’re in for quickly. This also sets the tone for a relentless page-turner that hurls us through events that are both shocking and emotional. The sharp prose elevated the story and supported the quick pace by keeping things focused on the important aspects, removing any filler, and ensuring readers know just enough to keep them intrigued, but leaves readers with plenty of questions to be answered. This novel has a unique twist to the Christian mythology and I would have loved a deeper dive that would have explained things a bit more and expanded the characters as well, otherwise there is a constant air of mystery and intrigue that permeates the whole story.
While I sometimes had a hard time keeping up with the events of the novel, I did find myself intrigued by the characters Javon and Darius and their journeys to work together to complete this Heaven-given mission. The combination of Javon’s quick wit and Darius’s calm and concise demeanor proved to be a powerful and entertaining duo that I thoroughly enjoyed following throughout the book. One aspect of this story that I was pleasantly surprised with was the amount of comedy found in its pages. Despite the novel focusing on dire situations and the very concept of life and death, Gittlin makes sure to lighten the mood with moments that explore the softer side of humanity.
Three Days to Darkness is a fascinating science fiction novel that plays with the idea of the afterlife in entertaining and intriguing ways that kept me constantly engaged.
Pages: 290 | ASIN: B00JDQU7JG
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Crossover follows a woman who is haunted by a ghost and must find a way to exorcise the creature if she will ever have a chance at a happy life. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I have a shaded past, much like Karlee. I was adopted too. Unlike Karlee, I am still in the dark about my biological heritage. The scenarios in the book, CROSSOVER, stemmed from me asking questions and spinning sordid ‘what if’ scenarios.
Karlee is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
Karlee’s character is all about leniency and tolerance. Initially, she perceives herself as well adjusted and stable, and when her life crumbles all around her, she rallies, picks herself up, and forges brand new connections.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
The common theme that tends to run through every book is the importance of family. Karlee is on a journey of self-discovery; a quest that makes her realize family is not all about DNA.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The second book in the Cross Your Heart and Die series is DOUBLE CROSS released on August 2nd. The third book in the series, CROSSBONES, will be released this fall. CROSSOVER was set in present day and each subsequent book is a prequel and travels back in time.
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A Spell of Rowans follows a family who must deal with the dangerous aftermath of their mother’s death while carrying the scars of their childhood. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?
Unfortunately, I grew up in a home where physical abuse of my brothers by my father was the norm. While none of my experiences are to the extreme seen in this story, I think the scenes in the book feel very real because of drawing upon that background. I also come from a large family with three brothers and a sister, so writing about sibling experiences, the guilt and shame (“survivor guilt”) is something I know firsthand.
The character of Liam, who presents as learning disabled in the story, is from my experiences of having two grown sons, both with ADHD. My oldest had many problems in public school because of the administration not understanding how to handle his learning disability. I’ve worked with doctors, teachers, principals, and counselors to get my kids’ help, and have experienced the frustration of trying to navigate a system that is simply out-of-date with what we know now about how kids learn.
I’ve also donated my time to several non-profits that are about early childhood development and working towards child abuse prevention.
On a completely different note, I’ve worked as a reporter covering government meetings, schools, and crime, so have lived in a lot of small towns, exactly like Grimsby. The streets, the police force, and the history of Grimsby are pulled from these life experiences.
What were some ideas that were important for you to personify in your characters?
It was really important to me for the sibling connection between Phillipa (the oldest), Victoria (our protagonist), and Liam (the youngest “baby” of the family) to feel real. I wanted their interaction to be something the reader would go “oh yeah, that’s exactly how my siblings would act.” Their connection to each other, almost knowing what the other needs, but also being defensive about past events, was really important to me to get right.
Phillipa, as the oldest, was the one who broke away first, and is successful, but at what cost to herself? Victoria, perhaps has the most realistic perspective of both parents. She is caught between guilt for leaving, but also knowing that she had no other choice but to save herself. Liam, the one left behind, is the least functional adult (as we classify it), and has his lack of self-worth and self-destructive traits to deal with.
Despite all of their differences, all three still feel a strong family bond.
How did you balance magic and its use throughout the story to keep it believable?
A Spell of Rowans is in a contemporary setting and I knew I wanted the magic to be something they could use every day, but not be a cure-all, miracle worker.
I did not want the magic to be something you would see in a television series like Charmed or Sabrina. As I keep telling my husband, there will be no “wave the magic wand and the cupcakes dance.” Magic was going to be gritty and problematic, but for the characters who had it and the ones who loved them.
Phillipa has a talent for making people immediately like her – charisma. Something you see in some television and movie star actors. She has leveraged this to make a successful career as a realtor.
Meanwhile, Victoria, as an empath, can sense other people’s emotions. As a character, I wanted to showcase someone who could know another person from the inside-out, but was also rather oblivious to her own emotions. I wanted to write about an empath that, maybe because of her knowledge, had to fight against getting involved with people in order to save her own sanity.
Liam’s psychometry, the ability to read objects, not only makes him appear strange to outsiders, but was the talent most twisted to evil purposes by his mother.
I wanted the magic to be something that was used every day and was an essential part of the personality of each character.
Magic also had to have strict limits and not be something that solved the character’s problems or revealed the mystery.
This is a pet peeve of mine, when magic acts as the deux de machina. I also call this issue the K-9 problem from the robotic dog in Doctor Who that always came in at the last minute to save everyone from the corner the writer had painted them into.
At one point in the story (no spoiler!), a spell to reveal their mother’s killer doesn’t go as expected. Real magic isn’t that simple and never will be.
What is the next book that you are working on, and when will it be available?
I’ve got several projects in the works right now. One is the last book in my College Fae series called Storm of Songs. This will wrap up the story about my fae dryad attending an European university alongside human students. I hope to have that out in 2022, but it is still very much in the first draft stage.
I’m also working on a new series about a lady detective where the heroine is a Ghost-Talker, someone who can speak with the dead. It will be high fantasy, set in a mythical land similar to the early 1900’s Europe.
The best way to know about my projects is to join my newsletter https://byrdnash.com/wp_quiz/what-reader/ (you also get a free book!). Or join the private Fan group I have on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/261465228565349/ as I announce a lot of projects under development and time schedules there. Also, those followers get the first chance to be a Beta readers or ARCS of my books.
Free books, behind-the-scenes, and new reads at ByrdNash.com
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