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Superheroes Possess a Dark Side

Alan J. Paul
Alan J. Paul Author Interview

The Walrus: Monster in the Mist follows a young man that’s about to take a dark path in life, but a new neighbor changes things in ways never expected. What inspired the idea behind this riveting novel?

The story is very loosely based upon a relationship that I had as a young teen with a man and his wife who moved into our neighborhood. As in the book, this man became a mentor to me and helped me through some difficult times. There was a vacant lot which bordered our properties and it was quite an eyesore, though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t haunted.

I enjoyed the unique infusion of superheroes in this story. Why was this an important aspect for you to include in the story?

I was a big comic book fan as a child, especially Superman and Batman, from the DC Comics stable. Paul takes comfort within the good-triumphs-over-evil world of superheroes, and immediately perceives the charismatic George Albert as his own personal superhero. Many superheroes possess a dark side, though, and Paul eventually discovers that this might be true of the superhero who lives next door.

The mystery at the heart of this story was deeply intriguing. Did you plan it or did it develop organically while writing?

It really evolved organically, as I needed some narrative thread that would link Paul’s recurring nightmare, which takes place in a Southern cemetery, with his mysterious neighbor and the equally perplexing vacant lot nearby. I eventually hit upon George’s semi-famous relative, who was a Civil War colonel with a mean temper and a gripping connection to the institution of slavery and the Underground Railroad.

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

I’m currently doing research for a book that will have as a backdrop the bluestone quarry industry that flourished in New York’s mid-Hudson Valley during the middle-to-late 19th Century. It’s a ghost story. At least, at this early stage, I think it’s a ghost story but one never knows for sure. Hopefully it will be available sometime next year.

Author Links: Amazon GoodReads

Death Mask

Death Mask: A Tale of Vengeance

Vengeance is a tempting route to catharsis and inner peace, but it can also take the form of a curse. Its lasting effects are powerful enough to damage other people across different generations as well. Such is the case in Nora Delzelle’s first novel Death Mask: A Tale of Vengeance

Here, we follow Alex Kincaid, a young and talented chemist and history buff who inadvertently wins an ancient Egyptian death mask through an eBay auction. When it arrives at her doorstep, it seems nothing more than a morbid artifact. Little does she know that it contains power and secrets she couldn’t even begin to understand. 

As a novel rooted in history and mythology, Death Mask surprisingly feels like a breeze – even for those who aren’t knowledgeable of its subject matter. Novels like these can sometimes feel like homework, but Delzelle delivers the history lessons through a Trojan horse of action and suspense. 

Across brief forty-nine chapters, we are introduced to fascinating characters like the murderous and mysterious Chase and Alex’s loveable gang of friends. It is through dialogue, mostly, that the historical context is told, so instead of having to pause for footnotes, the story is constantly pushing forward. 

While the novel is entertaining and fast-paced, I would have appreciated more depth. We know plenty about what happened to Set and Osiris, and I would have loved to have learned more about our heroine Alex as I feel some more backstory would have helped readers to connect with her emotionally. 

Throughout the novel, we get to see a romance that slowly forms between her and Gabriel. While these tender moments serve as a reprieve from the novel’s non-stop march, I was left want to know more about their past.

Death Mask: A Tale of Vengeance is a thrilling urban fantasy novel that is consistently entertaining. Any reader who enjoys suspenseful supernatural fiction will have plenty to enjoy in this contemporary thriller. 

Pages: 126 | ASIN: B0964249Z5

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THE IMMORTAL: A Novel of the Breedline series

THE IMMORTAL: A Novel of the Breedline series by [Shana Congrove]

The Immortal is a part of the Breedline series which follows protagonist Jena McCain as she discovers a hidden world full of magic and monsters that puts her in a situation where she must resist dark urges and accept the strange hidden world that becomes uncovered to survive.

Artist Jena McCain is attacked by an ancient creature that has been dormant underground for years. After the attack, she is afflicted by a disease that makes her crave human blood, and she has to resist the urges brought on by the disease for one hundred and one days. If not, she will transform into the monster that attacked her. In desperate need of help, her best friend, Angie, then introduces her to a world that is beyond anything that Jena expected. It is revealed that Angie can transform into a wolf and there are an entire species of supernatural creatures called Breedline.

Author Shana Congrove has created a standout novel in the saturated paranormal romance genre. The Immortal unique possess a unique and compelling lore that serves the plot well and ensures that drama is around ever corner. I enjoyed the alluring relationships between the characters, as it seems that everyone has secrets. Particularly, I loved the idea that friends, even our closest friends, keep these big secrets from us, and the friendship felt very genuine. Additionally, I like the resistance to just buy into all of these crazy circumstances that Jena is witnessing. In too many books, I’ve seen the main character accept the world for what it was and dived right into the journey. Jena’s reaction to it all gives the book feel more authentic and relatable.

The Immortal follows Jena on a race against time that keeps the story relentlessly moving forward ensuring the suspense is high and the desperation is palpable. This is a thrilling shifter romance novel that surprised me with its deep lore and methodical character development. This book will appeal to any fan of paranormal romance that wants to read an urban fantasy story that is grounded but still dramatic.

Pages: 359 | ASIN: B0863G5Z1V

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Her Sassy Attitude

Belinda M Gordon
Belinda M Gordon Author Interview

The Good Pharmacist’s Deadly Secrets follows a fae seeking a quiet life in a small town when she’s accused of murder and must unravel the pharmacist’s secrets before she’s arrested. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I had just finished the last book in a series and wanted to start a new one using the same world but tweak the genre to include one of my favorites—cozy mystery. Sloan, a side character in the first series, was the natural choice as a protagonist for the new series. Readers loved her, and her personality made her perfect to fill the role of amateur sleuth.

As far as the secrets she uncovers—My husband and I owned a Home Care business for years. During that time I came across several examples of adult children treating their parent rather poorly. Those of us in the office would scratch our heads and wonder ‘how could they treat their mother or father like that?’ Well, come to find out, sometimes the parent had mistreated their kids in the past. Most people assume everyone loves their parents, so I thought this would make an interesting story.

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

Thank you! Sloan is one of my favorite characters. I love her sassy attitude.

She first appeared in Xander’s Folly, the second book of my urban fantasy series, The King’s Jewel. I based my world-building in that series on the Celtic Mythology of the four treasures of the Tuatha de Danann.

I started developing Sloan by researching the mythology around the Irish god Lugh of the Long Arm, whom she represents in the series. Lugh was the master of all arts and came to the Tuatha de Danaan as an outsider.

At first the character was going to be a boy, but I thought switching that up would make her even more interesting. Then I looked at her age, that fact she lived on her own and thought about how that would shape her personality. Although Sloan is in her twenties, the Sidhe are long lived and look much younger and their age compared to humans, so she is often mistaken for a teenager. But, she is an adolescent by Sidhe standards and often acts that way.

I wrote a about her character development in more detail on my website. If anyone is interested, they can read it here: https://www.belinda-gordon.com/readers-questions/where-did-sloan-murrays-character-come-from/

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

People aren’t always what they appear to be. This is true of Sloan and many other characters in the book. They are keeping secrets—hiding something from the rest of the world.

Another theme that always pops up in my books is family; what makes people family—it isn’t always blood relations—and how do they come together.

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

A second Findale Fae Mystery is in the works, so Sloan and her cohorts will be back. But it won’t be my next release. My next book, coming out in November, is something totally different. No fantasy or mystery in this one. I would classify it as women’s fiction.

The title is Having It All and that’s kind of what it’s about. Dalia, a career woman in the ‘90s juggling her job, motherhood and marriage, believes she should be able to have it all with no need for give and take. After all, that’s what the women of her generation have been told to expect! Devote 100% to everything and do it all perfectly. And it’s working… until it isn’t. When things begin to fall apart, Dalia needs to decide what’s really important and what she can live without.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A Fae in hiding. A discarded backpack. A pharmacist murdered.

Escaping the notoriety she’d acquired in The Otherworld,Sloan Murray packed up her loyal cocker spaniel Max and left her fellow fae to settle in the small town of Findale.Sloan thought her new life in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania would change for the better, become quieter, less unpredictable––if only a small group of fae hadn’t followed her into this new world.

Still,Sloan’s enjoying her relative anonymity untilshe attempts to return alost backpack and ends up accused of murder. Suddenly, not only do half the town think they know who she is, they’re under the misconception she’s a dangerous killer.
Will Sloan and her fae friends unravel the dead pharmacist’s secrets before the obstinate Det. Moody arrests her for murder? Time is ticking, and if Sloan can’t find the real murderer soon, not only will she lose what’s left of her magical anonymity, she will lose her freedom forever.

The Good Pharmacist’s Deadly Secrets is a cozy who-done-it with a little something for everyone––humor, mystery, fae, and even a lovable dog!

Playlist

Playlist by [Zachary Ryan]

Zachary Ryan’s book, Playlist, is both heartwarming and sad. It follows the life of Sarabeth Bryant as she navigates college after the death of her father. Apart from her grief, Sarahbeth struggles with nightmares about an assault she is not sure happened. Yet amid all this chaos, she nurtures supportive friendships and even manages to meet someone she thinks could be the one.

Like all protagonists, Sarabeth endures great adversity, and at some point, we even think she won’t make it. But somehow, though scarred, she pulls through, even in the face of shocking plot twists. To call her story tragic is an understatement – it is truly gut-wrenching.

And since it is told from her perspective, it is hard not to get entangled in all the emotions of the book. In this regard, the author does a good job of making it personal and relatable, even if the dialogue sometimes isn’t. Some of the characters exude a coherence and clarity that you don’t expect from someone who has just experienced major trauma.

This is a potent and emotional contemporary coming of age romance novel with an ending that is not at all predictable. The author goes to great lengths to develop and deliver poignant and stirring themes. He particularly puts a lot of emphasis on grief, identity, self-worth, and healing. As such, the characters in this book are fully fleshed out individuals who battle with their demons and try their best to choose themselves.

This is quite refreshing considering that most authors usually follow a unidimensional approach to their character development, refusing to acknowledge that both light and darkness can exist in the same person. Using this multidimensional approach allows the author to create real, complex characters that anyone can relate to. It also makes the story more beautiful and validating. Interestingly, the author pairs this depth with a light writing style that makes the story easy to read. A lot happens in just 200 pages yet you don’t feel overloaded with information. Playlist is a passionate ballad of the heartache we all feel.

Pages: 207 | ASIN: B093YGMH97

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Stolen Lives – Book Trailer

Three fourteen-year-old boys are inextricably linked by abduction and murder.

Two of them were just abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others… dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. A fourth boy, George Tokay, a Navajo, holds a key piece to this puzzle and doesn’t realize it.

Kelliher and his team have been on this case for two years. There isn’t much to go on, and each time he gets a break, potential witnesses are found dead. The stories of these boys are like loose threads on a sweater: pull the wrong one and it unravels completely. Slowly, Kelliher realizes that there may be one or more members of his team behind it all.

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A Courageous Young Winnie

Ade Ajibulu Author Interview

Winnie – Daughter of Azania follows a young woman who faces tough obstacles to save her mother and community. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The incident that happened after the passing away of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela- South Africa mother of nation in 2018 is what give birth to the story. Winnie Mandela is the second wife of the South African freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela. After her death, the ruling party which is African National Congress ANC leadership decided to give the woman a deserved iconic burial. This was criticised by opposition political party, EFF leader. The party leader Julius Malema accused the ruling party of being hypocrisy. He said the ruling party could have celebrated the woman better while alive and not after her demise but instead abandon her and made her life full of controversies. Malema said Winnie was never celebrated unlike her husband but only lived a life mauled with scandals despite using all her life to serve the party and the South Africa. The impact of Winnie Mandela during the struggle years made me to think about this iconic woman and I decided to develop a character not only in her name but someone who loved her community which I made to be Azania- the name accolades to South Africa.

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

Like I said earlier, I want a well developed young female protagonist that love her people and ready to sacrifice her life for her community and after reading about the pain, the agony, the lies and controversies surrounding Winnie Mandela I believe she is the right character i want. Winnie was one of the few party women qualified to become South Africa president but because of her divorce to the most influential man in the South African history- Nelson Mandela, her political lifestyles was not only silenced but also lived with several compromised life. However, even at this, she expressed her total love to the party and her people till death.

Another thing that contributed to the story development was an outstanding bravery displayed by one of my church members, a lady of 17 who singlehandedly apprehended three hefty men that hijacked a taxi she was travelling with. She even used a gun to break one of the men legs during the fight that ensued inside the taxi until arrested them and hold them down until police arrived. All these contributed towards the development of developing a courageous young Winnie.

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

One of the main theme in the story is unconditional love especially to all people- both good and evil just as bible commanded us to do. Winnie Mandela’s life might be full of controversies yet she stood firm that she will never form or join any political party apart from ANC even when the stake was high to do so. She reserved her love to the ANC party to grave even when leaders betrayed her love she remained loyal to the people and to the party. She led so many reconciliation team in her personal capacity to implore some who left the party to return to the party including Julius Malema. She show her commitments and submissive to the party and refused to form or join any other political party.

Secondly, the issue of racism which is one of the main issues in South Africa also addressed and that the only way to conquer this is also through love.

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

I anticipating to release two more books before the end of the year. As an immigrant in South Africa who has witnessed all side of the story- love, hatred, racism, xenophobia and afrophobia including some of the reasons all these exist.

The two books have answers to mant of these. They are not fictions books but answers to some of the immigrants and citizen questions not only in Africa but across the world.

The first book is title “My Brother from Another Mother” and though it is presented as a fiction but has many facts of what an average immigrant faces in South Africa. This is currently in proofreading stage. It expected to be released before October 2021.

The second book title “The Xenophobic State” is a memoir. The book exposes hidden people behind racism, xenophobia in South African and their arguments. It also explained how xenophobia and racism becomes the normal or daily routen. Who are these group of people and what do they want? The book is expected to be released in December 2021.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

What happens if kidnappers
also get kidnapped?


To save her mother and her community, a 16-year-old Azanian girl embarks on a journey that will make her into a kidnapper. Winnie is the only daughter of the late community hero Nelson Mapuka, a man whose love for Azania led to him sacrificing his life for the community. However, her mother’s weird illness makes her embark on the journey to find help, after all hope disappears.


Along the way she falls into the clutches of Jacky and Kurt, professional kidnappers who are desperately in search of a lady around her age to fulfil the wish of a frantic Mayor, Honourable Dagado, and his witchdoctor. Just when Winnie thinks death is the only way out, the unexpected happens, opening doors for revenge and revealing secrets that will shock the community.


Like her father, the love of her people is built into Winnie, but will her non-racial love and bravery be enough to save her mother, as well as a young white lady, from the community hoodlums and kidnappers?

The Anachronist

The Anachronist by [Thomas Bauer]

The Anachronist by Thomas Bauer is a tragic tale of a man stuck in-between his perpetual obsession with the Civil War period, and the mundane world of modern-age reality. The protagonist of the novel, Charlie Schultz, is living in a failing marriage and is bound to continue a job with no progress, with very little hope at the end of the tunnel.

His only way of purgation is his role as the Confederate soldier Simon Culpepper, a heroic persona he assumes during the mock battles. He wishes to transcend the barriers of his meek personality and become as valorous as his alter ego, but fails to unify the two, and gets trapped in this dangerous loop of anachronism. The tragic end of the novel perhaps puts an end to his mindless obsession but also throws light on the painful realities of his life.

Charlie’s wife Rebecca and son Zack fail to respect him and blame his obsession with the mock battles for their impoverished conditions. Charlie daydreams about his role as a brave fighter and neglects his duties as an employee. As a consequence, he fails to get a promotion year after year, and his family has to suffer. Charlie’s desperate wish to have been born in the 1860s reflect his incessant obsession with the past, an urge so strong that it almost detaches him from reality.

We could also read Charlie’s love for the past as a coping mechanism for his growing depressive state. He fails to find a purpose in his everyday life and lives the life of his dreams through these enactments. He becomes a butt of ridicule to everyone around him, but that doesn’t deter him from his anachronistic desires. In the end, we see him in a state of frenzy, when he goes to a dangerous extent to live in the shoes of his character, Simon Culpepper. Wrought with a smooth flow of language and a dark, ironic sense of humor, the book is a must-read.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Anachronist from beginning to end. Short, crisp, and packed with emotional authenticity, the novel truly strikes a chord in the hearts of the readers, without being dramatically sentimental. The harsh truth of reality, the pain and agony of depression, the inability to find a purpose, and the painful ending, and the dry humor make this novel a great read.

Pages: 145 | ASIN: B09359SSX4

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