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Superpowers Can Be Fun

Michael J Bowler Author Interview

Like A Hero follows a masked crime fighter who finds reality isn’t like the comic books and he’s forced to straddle a moral and legal line. What were some sources that informed the development of this novel?

I grew up reading, and still read, comic books, but I’ve also learned the harsh realities of life for so many through my work with incarcerated children and as a public high school teacher, and I decided to incorporate that reality into my book. I do enjoy light-hearted “superhero” books, but I thought it was time for a story that explored the difficulties that being a masked crimefighter might entail since so much crime stems from human degradation and the circumstances of one’s upbringing. I’ve always believed that the spirit of the law is more often than not more important than the letter of the law, hence the moral vs legal dilemma faced by my main character.

What were some things you wanted to do differently from other superhero novels in your book?

I’ve always wondered if a real-life Batman could exist, but not someone who has unlimited wealth; just an average person with certain talents and abilities and the desire to improve his community. For this reason, I shied away from giving my main character any super powers, which makes my story different from all or almost all of the superhero novels out there. Having superpowers can be fun in and of themselves, but what my character gets to take home from his experiences is simply the knowledge that he saved a life or made someone’s life a bit better. But for every one of those successes, there are the times he could not make the difference he hoped. Thus, my novel has darker moments than most superhero books, but ultimately I think it leaves the reader with a sense of hope that we all can make a difference if we choose to.

What were some moral issues you felt were important to address in this book?

Invictus, my hero character, has numerous encounters with homeless people. I don’t believe that homeless people should be left on the street in a dysfunctional state because most of them need residential treatment centers before they need housing and jobs, but the fact that restaurants must throw out left over food (by law) rather than give it to people in need has always bothered me. I believe it’s immoral to waste anything that can be used by others. There’s also a moral component in shelters for runaway or homeless teens that turn someone away because of legal regulations. To me, the needs of the human being are more important than regulations set out by bureaucrats. Invictus also faces moral challenges with two of the kids he meets – Franky, the ten-year-old meth addict (whose mother is responsible for his addiction), and Joe, the African-American teen who had to leave home because his parents would not accept him as gay and was then forced to live on the streets. What’s to be done for these children? Social services might take them, but if the boys don’t want to go, should Invictus force them or trick them into the system? These and other moral gray areas are a large aspect of those people in society who are broken, and the answers are seldom simple. My hope is that readers will consider these and other issues in their own communities and perhaps might even come up with viable solutions of their own.

Do you have future plans to write more books with these characters?

I ended the book, not on a cliffhanger, but with doors wide open for further adventures. I love these characters and all of them changed or grew as a result of the first book, so I definitely want to move forward with these changed characters and their experiences as volunteer crime fighters. As I write this, I’m plotting out the second book, so hopefully, one day soon, readers can enjoy more of my characters and their adventures.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Courage can be costly. Orphaned brothers Vincent and Dennis Villanueva learn the truth of those words when they create a masked crime fighter and turn him loose on Los Angeles. The brainchild of fourteen-year-old Dennis and embodied in twenty-one-year-old Vincent, “Invictus” hits the streets to jumpstart apathetic Angelenos into taking a more active role in their city.

But reality isn’t a comic book. Vincent finds poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, abuse, and cast-off children. Labeled a vigilante and criminal, the shy grad student with formidable martial arts talent and abysmal people skills soon doubts his ability to make an impact.

Forced to straddle an ambiguous line between moral and legal, he becomes disheartened and secretive, hiding the truth of what he’s doing from Dennis and driving a wedge between them. Feeling neglected, Dennis infiltrates a dangerous drug ring to show Vincent he can be just as heroic, not knowing that the woman in charge is weaving an insidious plot against Invictus as part of her citywide scheme of vengeance. In a race against time, Vincent must regain Dennis’s trust before the brother he loves is lost to him forever.

Murder at Manzanar 

Murder at Manzanar is an incredibly detailed and exciting story written by Steve Zimcosky. The gripping story follows a retired police officer who is also a talented private detective. Tom Sipowicz is contacted after a Buddhist statue is broken, revealing an old envelope addressed to Hideki Sakura, who no one knows who this is. Tom is employed to trace the owner of this mysterious envelope. Along the way, Tom interacts with several elders, who openly discuss their personal experiences of Japanese Internment camps. The eye-opening stories bring the reader’s attention to the atrocities many individuals faced during World war 2 at the hands of the US. This is an essential piece of history cleverly placed within this comprehensive book. The author describes in detail the process of finding the missing Hideki Sakura, speaking to many people with whom the protagonist may never have interacted otherwise.

I think this book is a fabulous read. It keeps the reader focused, and the author has an eye for details. I believe each character, from Tom to the elders he talks to throughout, is described in a way the reader can picture, which creates a good image of the story in the reader’s head.

Zimcosky creates a heartfelt story that discusses history in a remarkably well-written subtle way, which the reader can take away with them once the book is complete. The book’s pace is perfect for teen readers, keeping them engaged in the plotline. The addition of historical information is an added bonus that educators will appreciate. I think the writing style sets an excellent image for the reader and keeps them intrigued, allowing for an easy, relaxing read.

Murder at Manzanar is a captivating cozy mystery that draws on history and exceptional character development to keep readers interested. This short and fast-paced novel is perfect for picking up and reading on a lazy afternoon or when you need a clean intriguing mystery to solve.

Pages: 160 | ASIN : B0B3S7ZFHQ

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Whispering Through Water

Gwyn Madison is a high school senior with dreams of escaping her small Virginia hometown. She lives with her mom, her aunt, and her uncle. Gwyn’s dad, while still in her life, left her mom when Gwyn was still a baby. Her Aunt Delia and Uncle Beck took them in since her mom couldn’t financially support them. Aunt Delia offers to pay for Gwyn’s college on one condition: she must stay in Virginia. This becomes an issue when Gwyn is accepted to an arts college in Boston. Gwyn has one summer to change Aunt Delia’s mind. While trying to convince her stickler aunt to let her leave Virginia and repair their relationship, Gwyn stumbles upon a daunting secret from Aunt Delia’s past. Will the secret mend their broken relationship, or will it tear them apart forever?

Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler is an impassioned coming-of-age novel that will appeal to a young adult audience and teen readers. With impeccable writing, an engaging style, and relatable topics, I think this book is perfectly suited for late middle schoolers or early high schoolers.

This is an evocative and wholesome novel that touches on serious topics and issues while maintaining a lighthearted feel. It displays family conflict in a mature manner. It shows that there is hope even in the midst of our darkest times. The author maneuvers through conflict resolution with empathy and wisdom. She writes about familial arguing in a realistic and interesting way. The story displays family conflict in everyday life: complicated and painful, all while holding onto hope that things will get better. Much like in real life, things don’t end the way we might expect them to, but as long as we are honest with ourselves and each other, there isn’t anything we can’t handle.

The best thing about Whispering Through Water is its close connection to real life and its ability to connect with readers on an authentic emotional level. I would recommend Whispering Through Water to any reader that is struggling with family trauma or issues.

Pages: 67 | ASIN: B0BCCW8T54

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To Triumph Over Any Problem

Author Interview
Clark WM. Colepaugh Author Interview

Princess Hope and Snowflake: The Quest follows a young Indian Princess who sets out on a dangerous journey to find a cure for her sick father with the help of her friends. What was the inspiration for your story?

I believe that children are our future, therefore, My goal is to touch children’s lives for I believe, with all my heart, that my characters are what children need today!

Princess Hope & Snowflake demonstrate distinguished qualities or characteristics, Such as Hope, Courage, Compassion, Respect, Kindness, and Humility, Having these traits, helps young children distinguish, Between right and wrong, or good and bad and help them find joy and success. Princess Hope and Snowflake, not only entertain the child, It also teaches morals and values that will stay with them forever. More important each of the characters demonstrates, throughout the story, Unconditional love, for one another and without hesitation and are willing to sacrifice their lives, for each other.

Princess Hope is only seven and must undertake a journey many adults would struggle with. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Princes Hope is seven years old and her father’s life is in jeopardy. She must go on a dangerous Journey and is afraid she will soon be an orphan. But with the help of her friends Snowflake a white grizzly cub with blue eyes, Thor the magnificent cougar, Lobo the Skillful hunter, and Spirit the majestic eagle. Together they learn that life will often give you challenges, you feel are impossible to overcome. You feel overwhelmed and hopeless, you want to cry and hide. You feel sorry for yourself and ask yourself why me? Princess Hope shows the young reader that the question you need to ask yourself is how you can overcome your problems. What do I need to do to triumph over any problem I face? And hopefully, they realize that you also need the help of family and friends.

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

Princess Hope & Snowflake is my lifelong dream coming true, The main theme of the book is unconditional Love of family and friends and believing in yourself, that you can face any problem and succeed. Princess Hope & Snowflake, demonstrate the importance of unconditional love. I also wanted to show the young reader that every animal is special, Unique and gifted and inspiring.

What adventure will the next book with Princess Hope and Snowflake be about, and when will it be available?

Thank you for asking there is a fourth book in the series, It is called Princess Hope & Snowflake’s “Memories of the past.” Mary Shelly once wrote, every story has a beginning an The beginning must be linked to something that went before. Memories of the past tell the story of how Princess Hope’s Ancestors came to live On Rainbow Island. Gold was found in their land and many were hunted down and killed as a result. A few brave souls escape on a ship with only, their clothes on their backs and With Hope and courage in their heart. It shows the reader the character of White Eagle as a young boy, The future leader of the Tribe and Princess Hope’s father. I like to finish this interview with a thought, I would like your readers to know about Princess Hope & Snowflake. The Quest is the third book in a series of three books and in all three, There is music and poetry, an element in Princess Hope & Snowflake, to touch the reader’s heart, to not only fall in love with all the characters in the book but to identify with them and also moved them, To cheer and cry for the heroes of the story, For example, the young princess is singing a song to her father White Eagle who is in a coma, a song to touch his heart, That will give him the will to live and be a part of her life.

Author Links: Amazon | Facebook

The GOAL OF PRINCESS HOPE & SNOWFLAKE the QUEST is to capture the attention of the child and take them on  a journey of life and death. Princess Hope and her friends have less than 24 hours to save her fathers life. Princess Hope a seven-year-old Indian girl, with, Her four amazing friends snowflake, Thor, Lobo, Spirit, and Seashell go on a dangerous mission. Princess Hope arm with only a bow and arrow and courage in her heart, venture on a Dangerous, journey, Will, they find a cure, for White Eagle, Princess Hope father and Leader of the Tribe. Princess Hope’s father is dying needs a cure, Together these five young brave souls with determined spirits and Faith in each other. Together they encounter danger and Come face to face with not only animals of the island, but with a mysterious woman, Her name is Hiiaka, the spirit of Volcano, The mysterious woman has the plant, That will cure Princess Hope’s father. Will Hiiaka, be a friend or foe. Will, they all get back in time to save her father,

Will the young Princess become an Orphan?  Will any of the five brave souls live or die?

Read the Quest and find out.

The Visitors – Book Trailer

Two time-travelling aliens, Bjorn and Zorn, witness the destruction of the Earth in 2052. They believe the Earth has been destroyed by religious zealots. Their investigation reveals one of their own is behind it. The intended goal was to hide the Earth from the universe. With Tasmania up for grabs, the chess game begins. They travel in time to collect a little band of misfits, to help them save humanity from its religious wars.

The laid back Ptoni the Pteranodon, the ladylike Florence the Jersey Cow, the excitable Penelope the Adelie Penguin, and the Chicken Nugget obsessed Dax the Maine Coon Cat, set off on an adventure that will see them cross the galaxy and back again.

Their adventure is filled with drama, fun and chaos. The local drive-thru will never be the same again, and neither will Florence’s derriere. Alien abduction can be fun!

Ruby Pi Adventure Series

Tom Durwood Author Interview

Ruby Pi Adventure Series is a collection of short stories that takes readers on an adventure through history where they must use STEM skills to solve the mystery. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

When I came across the mystifying fact that there is a dramatic drop-off of female STEM students at age 14, this became my challenge. The idea was to write a handful of stories to capture in human terms the wonder of Bayes’ Rule, and the Pythagorean theorem, and the measurement of earth’s curvature. The fact that I know very little math has not stopped me.

It seemed natural to place the stories at critical moments in history – the end of the High Maya, the fall of the Maginot Line, Mao’s Great Leap Forward and subsequent Famine of 1957, Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech, the launch of Sputnik, George Soros’ assault on the Bank of England, etc.

The project gained momentum until it got out of hand. When I reached ten stories with nine different girl protagonists (Ruby appears twice), I cut the collection into two volumes.

Cleverly, I have surrounded myself with very talented people like Sandra Uve (foreword), Mai Nguyen (illustrator), and book designer Ben Kelley. I think the resulting two volumes give readers good value.

An underlying reason for my tackling STEM topics is that I don’t understand them, and I want to.

What is your background and experience in writing and in math, and how did it help you write the Ruby Pi Adventure Series?

I’m an English teacher, with an interest in history, pulp fiction, and critical thinking, and no aptitude in math. I am therefore the perfect person to tackle these adventure stories.

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

I felt that, if I could craft an honest story about a girl coming of age — and using math to carve a place in the world for herself and her family — it would be timelessly relevant. Tying my so-so writing talent to a universal set of rules is a positive.

As to specific topics, I wanted to find powerful math concepts that would hook a 14-year- old girl. Bayes’ Rule jumped out because it is such a universal tool for decision-making. Battlefield math is an easy call, and the curvature of sniper fire was a big topic at Valley Forge Military College, where I taught. Forecasting is something that all of our students need to know. The examination of volumes really grew out of the kiln story. I love the legend of Yuri Knorosov and the Maya codex and wanted to place my heroine in the middle of that. Again, that math grew out of the story.

I do not have enough real mathematics in the stories. I am working on a free-to-readers booklet by math teachers as a companion to these stories, to bridge that gap between my fiction and teaching in a classroom.

Will there be a third book in the series, if so, when will it be available?

Yes!! I have mapped out subsequent collections of historical adventures of Botany Girls, Chemistry Girls, Science Girls, Aviation Girls, and more. A Ruby story will end each collection. I hope to collaborate with other writers on these, with me editing some and writing some.

As I look at the history of each discipline, key moments jump out, so there are lots of possibilities.

This is my way of narrativizing science. This is what I have to offer.

I am currently working on “Aviation Girls.” The aim is to post this collection in December, 2023. I hope the next year will also see the completion of an epic, dark sequel to my Suez novella, “The Illustrated Boatman’s Daughter.”

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook



Like A Hero

Like a Hero by Micheal J Bowler is an exciting story that follows the life of a superhero named Invictus, the brainchild of two young brothers who want to make the world a better place. However, only the older brother can wear the suit and fight the bad guys, the other must stay at home and man the police radio. Readers are first introduced to the hero of our story as he saves a group of classmates from a flaming helicopter. As tensions rise between the boys, the youngest brother struggles to resist the siren song of the criminal underworld. 

Offering a fun twist on the genre, Like A Hero incorporates classic superhero staples whilst maintaining a fresh and interesting take. The author draws upon his background working in the juvenile justice system to explore how societal expectations of class, race and sexuality can impact young people’s lives. Invictus himself possess no superpowers, he is simply fueled by the boy’s ambition to remedy the injustices they see happening to the vulnerable people in their community. Though tackling dark themes, it is an uplifting young adult novel about sensitive characters striving to leave the world better than how they found it. 

This action adventure novel would be an exciting read for teenage audiences, especially those who struggle with the themes described. Like a Hero has a lot of heart, exciting action, and a genuine message. It is clear that the author is passionate about the ideas he explores in his work because it is felt in the story.

Pages: 435 | ASIN: B0B9VBLH41

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In The Face Of Real Adversity

Author Interview
Bird Jones Author Interview

Hold Fast: A Boy’s Life Aloft follows a 13-year-old boy and his cousin who are kidnapped by the British Navy and forced into service on their ship. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The book is based on a paragraph found in a 1887 family history. The excerpt describes a mysterious occurrence in which two boys were pressed into service in the British Navy and ultimately what happens to them.

What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

Our book includes themes of mercy versus revenge. Some characters must choose the person they’re going to be by showing tenacity in the face of real adversity.

What kind of research did you do for this novel to ensure you captured the essence of the story’s theme?

The research for the book relied heavily on primary sources like maps, logbooks, diaries, letters, etc. The research never really stops and around every corner is a new discovery that enhances the narrative.

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

Our next book is actually out already! Blue-Eyed Slave came out in February of 2022 from Koehler books (here’s the link: It’s another historical narrative based on a little-known story about an extraordinary teacher.

We’re about to start our third book, this one set in the prairie of Nebraska in the 19th century.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

It is 1761 off the coast of Italy, and 13-year-old Joseph Carlos and his cousin have just been kidnapped by the British Navy and impressed into service on the Deptford, a British man-of-war. Just the day before the two boys were happily sailing with their uncle on a routine merchant passage, dreaming of owning their own ship one day and returning home to the warmth and safety of their family.

What was supposed to be a “punishment” for a childish misadventure turns into a fight for survival on foreign seas. The boys have to rely on each other as they struggle with a new world of unfathomable rules and codes, near-death floggings, lethal storms, and intrigue. Their endurance depends not only on their own bravery and stamina but on how fast they can learn English. For the next two years the ship becomes their prison, their classroom, and their home. Eventually, Joseph Carlos has to make a choice that shapes what kind of person he becomes.

Hold Fast is a young adult, historical novel in the vein of Kidnapped. Based on a true story, it combines brutal storytelling and a poignant sense of humor while tracing the route of the Deptford across the Atlantic Ocean. This book follows the lives of two Italian boys, but it also tells the story of Harrison, the Sea Watch, and the discovery of longitude.
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