Blog Archives

Growing Up is a Tough Job

Daniel Boyd Author Interview

Daniel Boyd Author Interview

The Devil & Streak Wilson follows a man who sells his reflection to to the devil but finds the price was too high. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling supernatural western?

The Doppelganger or “Double-Walker” has been walking through folklore, literature, and movies since before the Bible, and it struck me as a natural for the Western. As I wrote it, the traditional Western characters — cowboys, lawmen, saloon gals, bounty hunters and even the town barber — seemed to respond to the notion in ways they don’t usually do, and I have to say it surprised me.

Steak Wilson is a fascinating and well developed character. What were some driving ideas behind his character development?

Growing up is a tough job, and not everybody gets it right. I remembered the confusion, hard lessons learned, and absurd fun of being just a little too young, and tried to put it into this guy. If I did it right, readers of all ages will relate to it.

The idea of selling one’s soul to the devil is captured in a unique way in your story. What were some themes you felt were important to explore in this book?

I haven’t had any use for God since I became a grown-up, but I’ve often wished there were a Devil; the character has given so much to literature and the arts, I thought it was time to take a whole new look at him. And I’ll say right now, if you know a young person in search of guidance, and you think Devil-Worship might be right for them… well, just let them read this and their parents, teachers, and clergy will never forget you for it.

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

A sequel, GONE TO GRAVEYARDS, is ready to go if this one sells well enough.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

The Devil & Streak Wilson by [Daniel Boyd]

A BARGAIN MADE IN HELL

THE KID THEY CALLED STREAK WILSON had a way with a gun, and he was tired of being treated like a boy.

THE DEVIL DIDN’T SEEM LIKE A BAD SORT and he offered a deal for Streak to live his dreams without losing his soul.

WITH MORE MONEY THAN HE COULD SPEND INA LIFETIME

Streak Wilson found himself framed as a horse thief, chased by bounty hunters, hounded by the Devil… And headed for a showdown with the deadliest killer in the territory—

THE MAN THEY CALLED STREAK WILSON!

Buy Now From B&N.com

The Gold Rush Girls

The Gold Rush Girls by Craig Moody is a tell of women who aspire for adventure and a better life by going west along with the wave of gold seekers in the 1840’s. But the life they find instead is grim, painful, and will test the limits of their will to live. The Gold Rush Girls is about survival, not of man vs nature, but of man vs man.

I was pulled into The Gold Rush Girls from the first paragraph. I enjoyed reading about the rough and tumble details about the trail, the heat, sickness, and other harshness endured on the trail. I love how the author was able to take me to that time and take me on this journey with the Ten women as they struggled to survive against loss, starvation, broken hearts, humiliation, and anger. When they were free I even felt relieved for them even though I knew it would be short lived.

The Gold Rush Girls is an emotionally draining novel, in the same way that The Handmaid’s Tale or Outlander is. The novel is riveting from the beginning but there are relationships and motivations that I think needed a more in depth explanation or exploration. I would have really liked to understand why Z loved Meideth. I wanted a deeper exploration of the relationship between Paco and Caroline’s somewhat stockholm like relationship. The characters were intriguing, but I wanted a fuller explanation of their motivations and how and why they change throughout the novel.

Meredith is a stirring main character that tackles an unbelievable amount of hardships. She is able to rebuild herself after repeated disaster and come out intact. She makes friends, loses friends, has several jobs and seeks a better life. She’s definitely a multifaceted woman that is super human in her ability to endure inhuman torture and come out the other side much the same. She is repeatedly assaulted but never loses her desire for a handsome man or portrays the mental or emotional scars someone might have.

The Gold Rush Girls is an emotional adventure that uses the known story of the search for gold out west and adds provocative new twists that will keep readers constantly thinking and empathizing.

Pages: 302 | ASIN: B0885BVNX7

Buy Now From B&N.com

Leave My Ashes On Blackheart Mountain

Leave My Ashes on Blackheart Mountain by [Dave Matthes]

When your work is savage and your world is cruel, it’s hard to find your heart. Mahoney knows this better than anyone. He lives in a world that was burned to the ground many years ago, and he knows nothing but cold, hard truth and scavenging his way through life. With the love of his life waiting behind hoping for his safe return, Mahoney is dispatched on a mission to deliver a prisoner for execution. Not one to be left in the dark, Mahoney finds himself struggling to figure out how he has arrived on the legendary Blackheart Mountain. What should have been his opportunity to hand over the one thing everyone around him wants most, may just turn into the moment that changes his life.

Leave My Ashes on Blackheart Mountain, by Dave Matthes, is the thought-provoking tale of Mahoney, an outlaw of sorts who has made his home working for the powerful but evil Gunther Ostrander. Mahoney, by and large a loner, is accustomed to taking care of things his own way. Living in the remnants of a world he never really knew, he often uses violence as his go-to with little remorse.

I was immediately taken with the setting of Matthes’s book. This post-apocalyptic scene is striking in that it mimics the feel of the Old West in both character and setting. From the brief mentions by characters of modern times gone by to the hints of modern technology, readers are taken on quite a visual thrill ride as they try to piece together each scene. I am not a fan of westerns, but this particular book is so much more and carries readers on a captivating journey into the author’s imagination.

The notion of an almost mythical Blackheart Mountain and the ways in which it impacts the main character are fascinating to read. I am a huge believer in drastic changes as a character is developed throughout a story, and Matthes succeeds in carrying Mahoney through some major challenges to mold a character not to be forgotten. From his kindness and almost subdued nature with Cassandra to his quiet viciousness when threatened to his experiences among the Tuskatawan people, Mahoney takes shape before our eyes, and his spirit is almost palpable.

I highly recommend Matthes’s unique tale to anyone who enjoys westerns and modern takes on the genre. I think readers will be pleasantly surprised at how well the mix of action meshes with the tender character development that takes place throughout Matthes’s gripping novel.

Pages: 350 | ASIN: B086TZ41WX

Buy Now From B&N.com

A Bite of the Past

A Bite of the Past: Undying Love - Book One by [Nightingale, L.]

“I am Theodore Callington. I have a family. And a home. I belong somewhere.” These longing words are spoken by Teddy, who has lived a tortured life. An orphan taken in by a murderous uncle, regularly beaten to a pulp. An escaped cowboy, loved by an adopted family but trampled in the rodeo. And an unwilling vampire, slowly feeling his way to redemption. What will happen when Teddy attempts to reclaim his humanity from the devilish vampire who made him what he is? Follow Teddy’s twisted and terrifying journey in L. Nightingale’s A Bite of the Past: Undying Love.

A Bite of the Past is an exploration of what it means to be human, and conversely, sub-human. It is a heartbreaking story of cruelty, rejection, and longing for the love and stability of a family. Teddy’s journey is also one of hopefulness, reconnection, and the ascendancy of good over evil.

As our devastatingly handsome and sometimes repugnant main character, Teddy is truly a tortured soul—one dealing with the excruciating pain of his past but also searching for the truth and love that lies between the horror. Through sheer will-power, Teddy salvages the memories that have been suppressed by his malevolent teacher—the ruthless László. Under his tutelage, Teddy is truly a gruesome creature who carries out deeds that are sometimes hard to read.

Nightingale’s prose can be disorderly at times—perhaps intentionally so, as a reflection of the muddled psyche of her main character. He is confused much of the time, piecing together fragments of memories while simultaneously trying to quell his inner demon. This confusion spills over to the reader who, at times, feels lost as the narrative doubles back.

The twists, turns, and major surprises of the book do keep the reader engaged through the final cliffhanging scene. Gruesome descriptions of fights and killings will appeal to fans of macabre action. The throwback scenes to the wild west are charming, and Teddy’s vernacular peppers the book with memorable sayings, such as “the temperature would drop like a naked gunslinger beefed on a Dodge Street.” Overall, the yearning for love will resound with all.

A tale of a wayward cowboy looking for redemption that will strike a chord with its readers.

Pages: 343 | ASIN: B07SGWRTCN

Buy Now From B&N.com

Pad Pennywell

Pad Pennywell by [Horn, Patrick]

The Pennywells had sold their Alabama plantation and decided to move to Texas, bringing with them Pad Pennywell and his family. However, on the way to Texas, the group are confronted by bandits and Pad is recruited to their ‘clan’. Many years later, a young journalism graduate by the name of Louis Bankston, visits Pad Pennywell and inquires after these bandits. Thus, the story is relayed as a retelling of Pad’s life before and after the run in with bandits. Pad Pennywell is a story of the conflicting morals and struggles of working as a ‘clean-up’ man for bandits to keep oneself and one’s family alive.

As an elderly Pad Pennywell recounts his story to Louis Bankston; it immerses the reader in a similar way as if it were a relative talking about their past. As such the story has all of the natural tangents that someone telling a story face to face would take. Such as when Pad talks about falling in love with his wife, Ruby, or talking with the townspeople, or saying a prayer for the people he ‘cleans up’ after working with the bandits. The narrative course Patrick Horn, the author, has chosen gives the story a sincere quality as if it were being told to them on Pad’s quiet porch in Alabama, in person.

Using this technique of having the main character relay their story, means that all the details are incredibly graphic in their descriptions, especially when Pad talks about death or bodies. As the ‘clean up’ man, Pad has clearly suffered trauma, and this is illustrated in how he speaks of bodies and death. He describes the sound of the air escaping a lung after a bullet to the chest, and the stench of putrid, bloating bodies at the bottom of a well. This gives so much depth to Pad as a character as it is easy to see the stain that these events have left on his mind through how vividly he describes every aspect.

Unlike many novels, there is no omnipotent narrator. We only know what the protagonist knows at that time. However, as it is a retelling, the protagonist sometimes chooses to reflect more on certain aspects of the past or give the reader a snippet of what is to come, for instance describing John West, a bandit leader, as someone he would come to know very well. This leaves the reader wanting to know what happens next and how the protagonist came to know what he knows in the present. Simultaneously, this leaves the reader with as little knowledge of the events as he the protagonist himself had as the events themselves were unfolding. Consequently, this achieves a great level of empathy from the reader for the protagonist.

This book gives an intense representation of a character and their experience with conflicting morals. The author, Patrick Horn, gives a great amount of depth to the character of Pad Pennywell as we follow the story he tells us of his struggles from Alabama to Texas.

Pages: 226 | ASIN: B07G5JRDB7

Buy Now From Amazon.com

His Father’s Blood

His Father's Blood (Legend of the Family Dyer Book 2) by [Thompson, David W.]

Ada is not a normal woman of her time. She has been on the road with her father Reverend Hartman, after her mother was killed by savages in the west, since she was just a young girl. She has never met a man or found a place that made her want to have a homestead. That is until she meets John a mysterious half breed with the shamanic lineage. John has also spent most of his childhood on the road with his father learning the shamanic path, forever he thought he would live and die alone. When they meet each other their world would be forever changed.

Unfortunately John and Ada`s relationship attracts a lot of attention. Ada`s father is unsupportive, life constantly has other plans, friends make terrible choices and John and Ada`s relationship pay the price, oh and a few demons decide to throw in some obstacles.

When I first started reading His Father`s Blood, I had no idea that I was going to be so thoroughly sucked in. The first few pages read slow but that was exactly what was needed to set up the story and the main characters. The story itself read very smooth, and the story line was consistent. The sections of the book were clearly defined and it was clear in what part of the story you were in. What really pulled the character and the story together was how accurate the history used in the book was. The style in which the fantasy and historical fiction come together was well written.

The sections in the book were easily distinguished but there were mini sections throughout the sections that could have used a clearer division. The fix for me could have been even a little more space in between the end of one section and the beginning of the next.

This book was attention grabbing, and thrilling. My Fathers Blood Book 2 Legends of the Family Dyer has definitely made it to my top 10 best books of this year, and I read a lot! It is a good book if you want something a little shorter, fantasy like, and is written for a young adult crowd. I would recommend this book to any one of my friends.

Pages: 251 | ASIN: B07CS7SSQW

Buy Now From Amazon.com

History Is Not Always Pretty

Ed Protzel Author Interview

Ed Protzel Author Interview

Honor Among Outcasts continues the story of the Dark Horse inhabitants that joined the Union Army as soldiers in the Missouri State Militia Calvary. What direction did you want to take this book that was different from book one in the series?

In the first novel of my DarkHorse Trilogy, The Lies That Bind set in the antebellum South, I wanted to debunk many stereotypes and myths about blacks, whites, rich and poor, regarding slavery and gender. Southern literature is generally about powerful aristocrats who make fortunes, and often ignores the slaves who actually did the work or gives them little credit. So I created a situation where the protagonist, Durksen Hurst, a hustler/drifter, forms a secret partnership with a group of escaped slaves to build their own egalitarian plantation in the fictional hamlet of Turkle, Mississippi. But, rather than the white man, one of the slaves, Big Josh Tyler, who had run his former master’s plantation, is the natural leader of the group and is greatly responsible for their enterprise’s success. (Such was often the case, historically.)

Developing the novel into a trilogy allowed me to show the full historical arc and the resultant changes of the time period: from antebellum South/slave society (The Lies That Bind, book 1); to the Civil War years (Honor Among Outcasts, book 2); and end in post-war Reconstruction (Something in Madness, book 3). You see the arc.

Together, the three novels depict the historical developments and their effects on the men and women, black and white, of all social stations.

So to answer your question, in book 2, Honor Among Outcasts, the milieu, conflicts, plot, and themes all had to be completely different from book 1, as will those in the third.

I felt like you did a great job with the historical details and facts. What were some things that you felt had to be accurate and what were some things you took liberties with?

Although I am a big Civil War buff, I didn’t want to write a typical battle-type novel. Fortunately, the guerrilla war in western Missouri was like modern-day Syria, with terrible murders and depredations like the massacre and burning of Lawrence, Kansas, by Quantrill’s Confederate bushwhackers. In Missouri, combatants of both sides took scalps! I felt it important for the characters to face these major events in order to illuminate humanity’s potential for brutality and cruelty.

Also, in the spring of 1863, President Lincoln began to allow “colored” regiments to be formed, but these required a white officer to lead them. Naturally, having the DarkHorse partners form their own regiment was a nice parallel to their dreams of the democratic enterprise depicted in The Lies That Bind.

Throughout Honor Among Outcasts, I tried to remain faithful to the difficulties and unique dangers these regiments and the local populace actually faced. In rare cases, I had to move minor events around to aid the narrative. For example, a train raid massacre like the one in Honor did take place, but at a later date and at a different location. Nevertheless, in writing book 2, the actual history did very much shape the story.

The characters were very well developed in this story, which led to some heartbreaking scenes when some characters met their end. What was your decision process like in deciding who stays and who goes?

Heightened emotions give your themes greater impact. I hated to kill off some of the characters I’d become attached to, but in doing so, the reader is able to feel the senseless terror and cruelty of the time, which required more than the characters merely observing the conflict.

For example, wise Big Josh is the backbone of the DarkHorse partnership, despite the many loses in his past that he carries in his heart. So when his mate, Ceeba, found late in life, is one of the three women killed in the train massacre, the poignancy of the event is increased. Plus, Josh’s emotional state throughout the rest of the novel is deepened. Similarly, in the Lawrence massacre a relatively unarmed colored regiment training there actually was massacred. How could I ignore that in my novel? And with the loss of a favorite DarkHorse character during the Lawrence raid, I hoped to bring out the horror of that event. (I, myself, had to recover after writing that wrenching scene.)

Where will book three in the Dark Horse Trilogy take readers and when will it be available?

In the final novel, Something in Madness, at war’s end the surviving characters return to Mississippi, only to confront new indignities restricting the rights of freedmen in the South.

Researching the Black Codes, lynchings, and other humiliations perpetrated on blacks during Reconstruction made writing book 3 tough, and I expect it will be tough on the reader, as well.

History is not always pretty. I only hope the DarkHorse Trilogy does its part to see that such cruelty and hatred doesn’t re-occur. Something in Madness is planned for release in 2019.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Honor Among Outcasts (DarkHorse Trilogy Book 2) by [Protzel, Ed]After their harrowing escape from Mississippi, abolitionist Durksen Hurst, his fiancée Antoinette DuVallier, and their friends — a group of undocumented slaves — land in guerrilla-infested Civil War Missouri, the most savage whirlwind of destruction, cruelty, and death in American history. Trapped in a terrifying cycle of murder and revenge, scarred by Quantrill’s cold-blooded Lawrence massacre and the Union army’s ruthless Order Eleven, Durk and everyone he cares for soon find themselves entangled in a struggle for their very survival.

Honor Among Outcasts takes readers on a pulse-pounding journey of desperate men and women caught up in the merciless forces of hatred and fear that tear worlds apart, and the healing power of friendship to bring them together.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

The Geyser Girl of Yellowstone Park Book Trailer

In Yellowstone National Park, at the beginning of the twentieth century, a girl of mysterious origins is adopted from infancy by Old Faithful geyser, and by a mother buffalo named Bearer of Song. Beloved to all the park, Flower of the Steam Basin grows up with their stories, proverbial sayings and teachings.

In time, having met a child her own age and her parents, trust ripens between families, and Flower of the Steam Basin gains a closely protective circle of human friends. At nine years old, she is brought face-to-face with Retired Lieutenant Ned Halpen of the Yellowstone Cavalry, whose exemplary career embodied the role of protector of Yellowstone’s spiritual and physical heritage.

In the wake of Lt. Halpen’s passing one year later, her sacred vow to continue his legacy brings both reward and mortal danger. And when the circle is breached, Flower of the Steam Basin and her father are forced to choose between her own safety and well-being and the performance of her sworn duties.

This is her story, as seen through the eyes of Yellowstone.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

%d bloggers like this: