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Humanity May Not Make It

Otto Schafer
Otto Schafer Author Interview

The Keepers of the Light follows an ordinary young man who finds out he’s destined to be a leader and face a dangerous enemy. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that was different from book one?

It was important to make the transition in this book to full-blown fantasy in a believable way. We are dealing with some classical fantasy elements n a contemporary setting so I really wanted this to feel believable. I approached this by asking myself if this were actually happening, how would these characters respond?

Garrett continues to be a compelling character. What were some obstacles in the story that you felt were important to his character development?

Trust. Every adult in Garrett’s life has lied to him about who is his entire life. Trust is, and will continue to be a challenge for him, and understandably so. The other issue for Garrett is leadership. He will have to take the reins in this series and lead. He will have to stop seeing himself as a just a kid and step up or humanity may not make it.

What was one of the most challenging scenes in this book to write?

The scenes inside the underground temple were tough because there were so many moving parts. I spent a lot of time with a tape measure, measuring out distances in my yard, throwing things, yelling, running around, and essentially acting it out. Yes, my neighbors may think I have issues and they may not be entirely wrong:) Without giving away any spoilers, let’s just say it was tough with a whole group of humans and a handful of magical creatures to keep it clean and clear for the reader. Alternating between Breanne and Garrett’s perspective each chapter while controlling pace added to the challenge. My editor and I went back and forth a lot trying to perfect those scenes. In the end, I think the extra effort was totally worth it.

This is book two in your God Stones series. What can readers expect in book three?

Book three will take Garrett and his companions on a journey across the country as the world deteriorates into an apocalypse. There are still plenty of issues, both new and old, the friend’s need confront, overcome, and make peace with. Book three promises danger a plenty with dragons, giants, and what I am most excited about, a massive army of supernatural creatures that have been right here under our noses this hold time. I have been hard at work on book three and am excited to share that the rough draft is complete, and edit will begin very soon. Expect book 3 later this year!

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | Facebook | Website

Magic meant for another world is threatening to destroy ours. Can these teens accept their destiny and stop an ancient foe before he unleashes hell on earth?
Breanne Moore has found the boy who haunted her dreams of fire and now she must help him fulfill their joint destiny. If she fails, her father may never wake from the coma he entered when magic was released into our world. But the guilt from her mother’s death still plagues her with debilitating flashbacks. Will she be able to overcome her fear when it matters most?
Garrett Turek has been lied to his whole life by almost everyone he has ever known. Now, faced with the knowledge he is destined to lead a group of his chosen against a vengeful enemy, Garrett must embrace his destiny and learn to follow his heart.
Gabi is thirteen, with big dreams of being a lead archaeologist just like Sarah, the manager of their dig site in Mexico. But no one could know the unbelievable secrets that lie below… dangerous secrets. Now Gabi must find a way to stay alive.
Can Garrett, Breanne, and the others stop Apep before he learns how to assemble the God Stones and set the earth on a course to destruction?
Will Gabi make it out of the dig site in Mexico before it’s too late?
The Keepers of the Light is the second book in the sensational God Stones YA contemporary fantasy series. If you like diverse characters, immersive settings, and heated suspense, then you’ll love Otto Schafer’s coming-of-age adventure.
Read The Keepers of the Light and fulfill your prophecy today!

Phoebe Douse: Secret Society for Special Abilities and Artefacts

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Phoebe Douse: The Return by L. Samuels is the second of three books in the thrilling young adult mystery series, Phoebe Douse. It begins with a string of unfortunate events that will force Phoebe into actions she is neither ready to accept nor eager to follow through with. All seems well for a time, until she makes the mistake of turning on the television and seeing the breaking news about a man found dead. A man she killed. Forced to team up with Renaud, Phoebe plunges into a supernatural world filled with striking imagery, global destinations, and a good bit of history. The Return sets up the final book in the series perfectly and will leave readers on the edge of their seat throughout this riveting paranormal fantasy.

Phoebe Douse: The Return was a highly anticipated follow-up novel to L. Samuel’s previous novel, at least for me it was. The Return continues to be consistently engaging and keeps moving at a quick pace. I would highly recommend finishing the first book in the series, however, as it will help establish characters and their backstory. This book is written in the first person and the author does a fantastic job of packing the story full of intriguing characters, puzzling supernatural events, and shocking twists.

This novel, and the entire series I think, centers around Phoebe and I like how this is turning out to be much more of a character driven adventure, although fun and light, something like Percy Jackson & the Olympians. Phoebe’s destiny is revealed but as with most things in this series, it comes with some dramatic consequences that kept me absorbed in the novel.

Author L. Samuel has written an enchanting urban fantasy novel that excels at weaving  supernatural elements into a fun story that feels fresh within a packed genre. Phoebe Douse: The Return is fun and exciting and is a must read for those who read book two, and highly recommended to readers looking for an urban fantasy with more mystery in their adventure.

Pages: 322 | ISBN: 1732284679

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Inspired By My Own Past

A E Brouhard
A. E. Brouhard Author Interview

Carried Away follows the life, love, and friendships of a young woman reliving a vivid memory of her last high school year. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting novel?

Leila’s journey was inspired by events and people in my own past. Although made fictional, it really was a story written straight from my memory and heart. I wanted to write a story that was relatable and realistic, and I felt that I accomplished that with Carried Away. Many of the experiences in the book are reflective of actual happenings in my life, like the prom draw that my high school has held for over 100 years.

Leila is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some sources that informed her character development?

Like I said before, Leila and her journey were inspired by my own past. Leila, like myself, grew up right before the social media explosion, and I feel like it was such an incredible time to grow up. I think most 90s and early 2000s kids will be able to find something of themselves in Leila. I felt that Leila displayed emotions, insecurities, and desires that were very reflective of the times.

What are some themes that you wanted to explore in this book?

I wanted to write a story that was real. I’m a teacher, and I have many former students who are now in high school who love to read. I really wanted to write something realistic for them. I felt that Carried Away showed the fragility, and resiliency, of friendships in high school, the incredible natural high feeling that is only felt when you have your first real love, and the realization that life moves on, and can be amazing, after a breakup.

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

I’m currently finishing up the sequel to Carried Away, called Love Always. It picks up Leila and Leo’s story a few months after Carried Away ends (before the epilogue). It should be available in the spring of 2021. Once I’m done, I will be moving on from Leila’s story to something completely new.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Instagram

The memory of your first love never fades away. At least, that’s what 28-year-old Leila Thomas discovers as she’s sitting in her driveway and hears a familiar song come on the radio, a song that triggers the most detailed memory of her last year of high school, the joy and the pain. The whole story playing like a movie in her mind. First loves. Fractured friendships. The realization that it is okay to remember.

Carried Away

Carried Away by [A. E. Brouhard]

It’s the summer before senior year and Leila is excited to start this new phase of her life, preparing for adulthood, alongside her best friend Trin, both of them will find that love and friendship can become enemies very quickly. She’ll have to navigate the ups and downs of life and what originally started as a way to mend her broken heart proves to be a challenge to her loyalty. She’ll have to make polarizing decisions that could shake her world up.

Carried Away by A.E Brouhard is a coming of age story that shows us an intriguing life through the eyes of the main character. Carried Away is a riveting teen drama, where we are introduced to the life of Leila, following her in her daily routines, learning about her desires and getting a good glimpse into her social life. Brouhard does a fantastic job of humanizing the characters, making them each relatable and authentic. While the story may feel monotonous at times, it picks ups with the introduction of new characters and their dynamics with the protagonist livens things up. Leo, for example, we meet him very deep into the story and he shifts the narrative and brings tension between the two main characters that has to be resolved or else they’ll face consequences.

The narrative felt appropriate for a young adult audience, with simple words and a consistent delivery of dramatic events makes the pacing feel quick and makes it hard to put the book down. We are also let into Leila’s inner monologue which adds depth to her character.

Carried Away is a contemporary drama that will appeal to readers looking for a romance story that’s grounded in reality but still has passionate and believable characters. Author A.E Brouhard has written an entertaining romance novel that explores life, love, and friendship.

Pages: 232 | ASIN: B0873VHYHP

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This Ozarian Tale

T. C. Bartlett
T.C. Bartlett Author Interview

The Good Witch of the South brings a new evil witch to the land of Oz that is amassing an army to overthrow the Head of Oz. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

TC – The inspiration for the story came from the dust jacket cover art. I had just finished my memoir, Roads Over Brown County, which took me two years to write, and I was playing around with a fairy design and thought it would be a fantastic image for a book cover. I keep thinking how nice a fantasy book cover it would make but didn’t know what kind of story it should be, and I didn’t have a title. For some unknown reason, while I was working on the cover art, I was also reading Frank L. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz again.

After I added tattoos on the fairy’s arm and some glowing orbs behind her, it came to me. I knew exactly who this fairy witch was. It made perfect sense; she was a good fairy witch, Glinda’s daughter, the Good Witch of the South. I instantly knew what I wanted to write.

For reasons I can’t explain, the first chapter I wrote in my journal was the epilogue. Everything else about the plot instantly fell into place.

What were some ideas that you wanted to keep from the classic Wizard of Oz and what were some new ideas you wanted to introduce?

TC – That’s a good question. I decided to combine aspects from Baum’s original book and the 1939 MGM movie with Judy Garland. Not many realize that in Baum’s books, Glinda was the Good Witch of the South, or also known as Glinda the Good, and not the Good Witch of the North. For fun, I decided to give Glinda the last name Glinda Goodwitch. I also decided to have the main characters from Baun’s book and the movie, The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion play a part in my book. I also thought it would be fun to add subtle echoes from the movie within my book.

One of my favorite moments in the film is at the end when Dorothy is back home in her own bed, and she is telling her family and friends about Oz. I wanted to capture this iconic moment in the book.

So when the main character, Samantha Goodwitch, Glinda’s daughter, is recuperating from a terrible injury from fighting the vicious red alpha dragon. She wakes up in an unfamiliar bed and looks up at her companions, and tells them about a dream she’d been having. She points a trembling finger at each one and says, “You, and you, and you . . . . . and you were there.” I also had the new Wicked Witch taunt her victims as she did in the movie, using some of the barbs the Wicked Witch of the West used. All of these small touches made the story special and fun for me when I was writing. It made me smile.

I added one piece of imagery at the beginning of the book when Sam is crouched on the roof of the castle looking out across the land of Oz that has been with me since I was a child. I am almost sure it started from the very first time I watched the movie. It happens when the Munchkins escort Dorothy to the center of Munchkin City to show her the Yellow Brick Road. Where the Yellow Brick Road spirals out from the center of the city, there is another spiraling brick road, but the bricks are red. That always fascinated me, and I have ever wondered what kind of adventures one would find following the Red Brick Road. To this day, when I watch the movie, I whisper, “Dorothy, take the Red Brick Road.”

Sam is an intriguing character that I enjoyed watching develop. What were some obstacles you felt were important to the characters development?

Mainly believing in herself and proving herself to her mother, to her sister, and to everyone she loved. Every time I start a new book project, I struggle with it, from my children’s picture books to my novels – especially my novels. So, I say to everyone, “Believe!”

Do you plan to write other stories within the land of Oz?

When I first started writing this Ozarian tale, I said to myself, “What am I think writing a book based on a classic like Oz!” Doing another book? Well, I will tell you this: I have already written an outline. But to be honest, the two years it took me to write The Good Witch of the South knocked the breath out of me. I am not sure I have it in me to write another adventure in the Land of Oz. But one never knows.

I have to admit. Now that this Good Witch story is finished, I find myself genuinely missing my daily visits to the Oz.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

There is a darkness brewing in the west and alarming rumors of dragons and an evil enchantress building an army to overthrow the Great Head of Oz. A demon fairy witch the Land of Oz hasn’t seen since Dorothy Gale destroyed the Wicked Witch of the West. 
Soon to be sixteen-year-old Samantha Goodwitch, the daughter of Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, knows she is disobeying her mother’s wishes when she leaves the castle to search for dragons, but she’d rather have an adventure than follow her mother’s command. When one of the Shadow Mountain Cats, Akasha, unexpectedly saves her life, the adventure turns deadly and a friendship grows between them.

But the rumors soon become real, and the freedom that had captured the hearts of the citizens of Oz is quickly unraveling. As the tensions mount and battles begin, Sam and Akasha find others who join them in the last Great War of Oz, to fight against the darkness that is devouring a once peaceful land.

*** A spectacular Ozarian adventure in the land of  Oz ***

The Keepers of the Light

Young Garrett leads an average life in Petersburg, Illinois, until a series of events and revelations upend his life. It turns out he’s “The Light,” the chosen descendant of a certain Turek spoken of in an ancient prophecy. He’s destined to battle Apep, a wizard from another planet, and stop him from assembling the God Stones. Garrett soon discovers more shocking truths about his entire life, those around him, and an ancient secret society called the Keepers of the Light. Some of the group members have lived for hundreds of years, and their primary purpose has been to protect and prepare him to fulfill the prophecy. But Garrett doesn’t know that there’s more to his mission than meets the eye. He enlists the help of his friends and acquaintances as he embarks on this perilous adventure from which he may never return.

The Keepers of the Light is the second book in Otto Schafer’s thrilling God Stones series. It’s a fantastic tale of magic and mythical beasts. Schafer provides readers with a fast-paced, action-packed plot that’s both gripping and replete with jarring twists in all the right places. He tells his story with a striking choice of words, vivid analogies, and deft prose. The blend of all these factors makes for an entertaining read.

I love how the author uses conflict and tension to keep readers engrossed. He sure knows how to garnish a book with both nail-biting moments that will have readers holding their breath. It’s also worth noting that although The Keepers of the Light is the second book in the series, one still gets a decent idea of the backstory.

Schafer’s characters are authentic and relatable. For example, the Lenny character is the friend you need to have on your team when you’re on an impossible mission. He’s a trusted sidekick whose spirits can never be dampened. He’s funny and cheeky, in a way that can get you exasperated sometimes. But his cheekiness also provides much needed comic relief even in the direst of situations. It’s just enough to make you sigh; shake your head, and smile all at once.

Overall, The Keepers of the Light is an emotionally powerful story brimming with gestures and conversations that will tug at your heart’s strings. Yes, the duels and magical elements are intriguing. But it’s really the tales of friendship, love, sacrifice, bravery, and even betrayal that give the book its edge, in my opinion. If you’re looking for an excellent book to get lost in, this is undoubtedly a good option, especially if you’re a fan of archeology, fantasies, and prophecies.

Pages: 480 | ASIN: B08MDHL8TD

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Live In The Moment

Ryan Standley
Ryan Standley Author Interview

To the Top of Greenfield Street is a compelling coming of age story about a teen starting a new life in a small town in the 90’s. What was the inspiration for the setup to this fascinating story?

My story was unexpectedly inspired by a coming of age pop song, “Castle on the Hill” by Ed Sheeran. The lyrics resonated with me and I began writing about similarly misbehaved teens from my hometown, but I struggled to find a clear beginning/ending setup. Then lightning literally struck, a block away from my house, and a beautiful, gigantic church burned to the ground, the tragedy that’s described in the first paragraphs, as Eric’s home. While I watched the church burning I knew their insurance would never cover a rebuild and the parishioners would be uprooted like Eric.

Eric is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

Thanks! I knew Eric had to be innocent, and somewhat naive, so his traits could change over a short time and carve out his journey. In early drafts, Eric came off as arrogant. He needed the self-loathing, and the insecurity of being overweight, which were also traits that could be shed quickly at his age. Plus, from an actor’s vocab, I wanted Eric to “live in the moment” and let the conflicts be real-time discoveries

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

Classic themes like appreciating what you have, and hard work pays off were deeply anchored in the plot. I had fun exploring the circumstantial morality, loyalty, and whimsical hope of teenagers. I wanted to show how rumors spread and fade while the history of a town remains solid. Above all, honesty and trust were huge, so the events and dialog had to ring true.

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

Right now I’m working on another coming of age novel tentatively titled “Better Out West,” about a college dropout who finds love and inspiration, gets dragged back into the dark world of substance abuse, and has to claw himself free again. Sounds pretty rugged but there’s a lot of hope there too. Should be available next fall.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

After tragedy strikes, Eric Daniels, age 15, must start over in a small town, where rumors fly and trouble follows. Though shy at heart, Eric meets neighborhood kids, builds his reputation, and excels at his first job. Then as soon as he lands his first kiss, he is betrayed and attacked by a jealous friend. Like most teens, Eric wants happiness, love and independence. He finds everything he ever wanted on Greenfield Street, but how long can it last?

TO THE TOP OF GREENFIELD STREET is an honest unveiling of the teenage spirit, a sensational coming-of-age tryst, and an uplifting example of starting over. Standley writes with an irresistible blend of action, humor, disgust and nostalgia. Set in the sleepy town of Freeport, IL, in 1993, the novel speaks to the teenagers in the midst of their heartaches, and to the adults who will never forget theirs.

What Could Have Been

F S Bala
F S Bala Author Interview

Before The Origin follows Amy who is hurled into a world of mystery and magic that is deeply rooted in ancient African folklore. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?

I have always wanted to write science fiction that is set in dystopian Africa. My tribe (the Hausa’s of Sub-Saharan Africa) is the biggest inspiration for the set up. Hundreds of years ago, before religion and colonization, they believed in spirits, they were partly nomadic in nature and had a whole lifestyle around that, unfortunately, it has been gradually erased and forgotten. My book just explores what could have been if a part of that was still alive.

Amy is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

Due to her role in the story, Amy’s character development was a well thought out process. I feel like there is always a part of the author in the main character, and that is where her imposter syndrome comes in, but it was very important to have the reader experience the events of her first day at work through her eyes, which is why she is such a blank slate at the beginning of the story. Her relationship with other characters in the story is also a backdrop for the events in the next book.

I enjoyed the African folklore embedded in the story. What kind of research did you do on the topic to ensure it was accurate?

Thank you! I am always happy to hear that a reader particularly enjoyed the folklore aspect of Before the Origin because I completely made that up. Being African, I grew up listening to stories passed down from generations to generations very much like Xari in the story, but I never heard anything that explained different races or how the continents came to be. African folklore is always rich in the battle of good against evil, so I guess that is something I held on to.

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

I am currently working on the sequel to Before the Origin which is grander in scale and characterization, book one was just a set up to our main characters’ journey as they find themselves in a battle against time and it will be available next year.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Much has changed. Climate change has inspired a new generation of discrimination – one where the mutation of a hereditary gene has become the greatest crime. The others – a minority kept silent for years are now up to something sinister.

Agent Amy Taff has moved through the world unnoticed until the recent disturbances in an otherwise perfect utopia require her expertise. Desperate to make her mark, Amy is hurled into a world of mystery and magic, deeply rooted in ancient African folklore. Discoveries that threaten her life and could not only change her reality but hold far-reaching implications for everyone on the face of a lone continent. Follow her into an epic tale that begins with accepting a new job at Scythe. Where it ends could swing the scales of balance toward life or death.

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