Children of the Elements follows four children as they discover magical abilities only revealed when they come together. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this novel?
I really don’t know where the idea came from. I was super into Harry Potter, and I was seriously just laying on the floor one day and thought of it. When I finally started writing, I had been thinking about it for like two years and slowly building up a story line.
I felt that the characters were well developed and changed with the story. What were some driving ideals behind their characters?
Well, Brenna was the most like me, so she was easy. Dimitri was a lot like my “best friend” at the time. Adara is sort of the person I think I am growing into (my mom totally says so!), and Wyndham is kinda me when I am around new people!
What has been a motivating factor for you to become a young writer and how has your family supported you?
My mom published books that were doing really well, and I was like, “I wanna do that!” Then my mom gave me a copy of her friend’s daughter’s book (The Fairies of Waterfall Island by Emma Sumner who was only eight at the time), and I knew I could do it too!
But my mom kept on me because I get distracted easily. She’s a book editor and owns an editing company, so she helped me plot out the milestones and character arches and helped a LOT with vocabulary and avoiding repetition–like everything ending with “said.” Cuz I do that a lot…
This is book one in a series. Where will book two take readers and when will it be available?
Well, it’s gonna show us life in the Realm of the Gods and why it’s WAY more boring when everything is perfect! Dimitri is the main character in Book Two instead of Brenna. There will also be four new elemental characters (hint: rhymes with schragons!). And there will actually be four books total. With each Devins kid as the protagonist. I finished the rough draft already, but now it’s going through my mom before it goes through the rest of her editing team. Editing Book One took almost six months, so I guess I will be lucky to get it out by the end of this summer (2019), but that’s the goal. I hope to have Books Three and Four done by the end of 2019 too.
When twin girls, Brenna and Adara, move from posh Victorian England to a humble farmhouse in America, they quickly notice that all is no longer as it seems…
While Brenna has always had an affinity for water and Adara has always loved fire, the girls now discover they have some sort of CONTROL over these elements as well!
They learn how true this is when they meet another set of twins—boys named Dimitri and Wyndham who also live in their new town.
When the four children get together magical things start to happen!
But they aren’t the only ones who know about this power now…
Something sinister has been lurking in the town waiting for the moment the four children finally activate their newfound abilities.
You’ll love this magical steampunk fantasy by a child-author because of the lovable characters and non-stop action!
Choker by Bob Moseley is the “coming of age” tale of basketball-obsessed Mark Chamberlain who, in the course on one year went from being the black sheep of his high-school’s basketball team to team captain.
A Clifton High student, Mark Chamberlain misses an all-important throw in the final seconds of a game, which costs his team a championship victory and gets him the nickname “the choker”. However, with help from coach Antonelli and his new girlfriend Su Metha, Mark is slowly getting over the setback and dedicates himself to training hard for the next season. His love for basketball helps him deal with heartache and pain and, after becoming team co-captain, he gets better and better at the game and ends up leading his teammates to victory.
This Young Adult book deals with a lot of issues that are important for teenagers nowadays: race issues, balancing school work and sports, bullying along with social media bullying, and dealing with loss, but also touches on the positive aspects of life, like the book hero’s first love, overcoming obstacles, bettering yourself through hard work. It definitely holds a lot of lessons for the reader, and teenagers and young adults will relate to the characters. The writing is alert and quite visual, and keeps the reader connected to the characters and interested in their evolution. Some of the pages are quite moving, such as the chapters that describe the death and the funeral of Mark’s father. I liked Mark’s character development, but I felt that the other characters were black and white, they were either good or bad. I would of appreciated more nuance.
The abundance of details related to basketball was a little overwhelming at times, for instance the descriptions of some of Mark’s games, a lot of information about game strategies and techniques, or about famous players. Any avid fan of basketball will appreciate the interesting facts and minute by minute break down of the games. This is an engaging and thought provoking coming of age basketball story that is sure to appeal to teens and sports fans.
Pages: 193 | ASIN: B07GX8B4T2
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Four Years of Despair by Jalesa Morrison is a youth/teenage story that touches upon sensitive topics, such as mental health, bullying, and family issues. Jaunell Morris is a teenage girl that doesn’t fit in at school or at home, and has a lot of issues. She has trouble communicating with her family, her teachers and with making friends. Everyone around her is baffled by her outbursts and her violent episodes. Her school gives up on her and she is transferred to a different school, where things get even worse.
Jaunell is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she is in and out of hospitals all the time. Her situation is made worse by her parents’ bad marriage, her poor relationship with her older sisters and the rejection she feels from her extended family. Her only ally is her grandmother, and one of the nurses from the hospital where she’s treated. Eventually, the nurse is the one that helps her secure a place at a much better mental health treatment facility. These are heavy emotional issues, but the book ends on a hopeful note.
This book has the courage to shed light on a lot of difficult issues: mental health in teenagers, dysfunctional families, poverty, lack of access to proper education, social services and healthcare. It’s an authentic and powerful radiography of our society and how its most vulnerable members (youth, minorities, poor people) have the cards stacked against them.
The devastation that mental health issues bring into a person’s life is depicted well inJaunell’s story. However, sometimes I felt that the insights into Jaunell’s motivations, actions and reactions are not detailed enough. The book would have benefited from a deeper incursion into the complexities of Jaunell’s mental issues. I would’ve also liked to have read more about Jaunell’s mother and her relationship with her grandmother. The details of their relationship could’ve provided more insight on the family dynamics and how it affected Jaunell.
As someone who has experienced living with a person who is bipolar I would definitely recommend reading Four Year of Despair by Jalesa Morrison as this book is a real eye opener as to what people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder go through in their day to day activities. This book would be a great influence to teens who are going through this but may be confused as to why they handle their emotions different than others.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07R5DKMMZ
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The Scented Bones follows a young forensic anthropologist thrown into the middle of a feud between vampires and werewolves. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
The Godfather by Mario Puzo. When I was in college, taking an English class, most essays and books were boring until the professor chose his book. The book inspired discussions and gained attention of the students. It had power and I wanted to have similar power over my readers with my writing.
This book has been in the works for more than 5 years. It has gone through 5 drafts, including Angel being a university student and main character to be Rayne and not Gage. However, that draft seemed to read more like about street gangs and so I worked hard to make it more like mafia families.
The Scented book is the first in the series and in every book I’ll introduce more characters and families. Hopefully, my books will inspire readers to read more and even try their hand at writing.
Angel is an intriguing character that I enjoyed following. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character?
I didn’t want her to be perfect. I wanted her to be smart but timid. Serious but with surprising funny moments. I wanted her to tread carefully when it comes to relationships and focus on the job. But, what I wanted to show was how she looked at magic. Of how she was afraid of what she was and what she could do.
I enjoyed the backstory and mythology embedded in this world between the vampires and werewolves. What were some sources of inspiration that helped you create this world?
Most inspiration came from the characters themselves. Originally all characters were mundanes and as the book progressed into the paranormal, the characters became their other selves. When I was re writing them, I was thinking that if they weren’t paranormal born, how would they shift if bitten? How would they act if they were born?
I tried staying away from other paranormal books about vampires and werewolves to keep my characters original.
Where will the next book in The Svabodina Case Files pick up and when will it be available?
The next book will pick up a couple of weeks after the last scene in The Scented Bones with a new case. The new case will involve a serial killer.
At the moment, I have about 20 chapters written. I’m going back to editing these chapters before finishing the book because I have to add information to the already written ones in order to write the scenes with the actual killer. It is a lot of work and I have a chapter summary file that I go back to for each chapter. I’m tracking dates, character appearances, etc.
I’m not sure when it will be out, hopefully next year. The Scented Bones has been republished by a publisher! So, I’ll work closely with the publisher for book 2 as well. It’s super exciting! Book 2 is titled – The Puzzle of Bones.
Angel Svabodina is a rookie forensic anthropologist, enjoying the beginning of her new career. That joy comes crashing down when she figures out the skeleton she’s working on is not human and then it vanishes.
She throws herself fully into the case without thinking about the parties involved, a psychopomp associate, and paranormal mafia families made up of vampires and werewolves—or the consequences.
When she sees there’s no avoiding the inevitable, Angel has to suck it up and work with the werewolves to solve the case but can she trust them?
Werewolves and witches are in a centuries-old feud, but that doesn’t stop the shivers running down her spine from one wolf in particular. Rights and wrongs become blurred, as she is tormented by her past and accepting who she truly is while searching for the skeleton. What’s more, nothing comes for free, including information. To get what she needs from the werewolf don, Angel has to meet with the fae queen. Can she meet her without repercussions and solve the case?
Posted in Interviews
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2019 Independent Press Award Winner in “FANTASY.”
Nathan Andrews was a good man. It came as quite a surprise to him that he wanted to die.
The mysterious image of a woman haunts Nathan during a Near Death Experience. She was “perfect” and everything a man would seek within a life partner. With the simple utterance “Go back!” she forever conquered his heart.
Leaving a mental hospital after that, Nathan runs into an odd woman named Amanda. She barely knows English, doesn’t recognize the simple things, and finally confesses an all-important truth to him: She…is GOD!
After some subtle convincing of the claim, and confronted by a winged man named “Gabriel,” Nathan accepts this fantastic reality. A reality that will change his world, and the world of Mankind… FOREVER!
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My Name is Erin, and my Mom’s an Addict by Amy Voltaire is the story of Erin Whitaker, a fifteen-year-old girl whose mother is a heroin addict. Erin went to live with her grandparents when she was five, after her mother left. When Erin got home from school one day, her mother was gone and never came back. Ten years later Erin’s mother has reentered her life. She’s finally gotten clean and wants to have a relationship with her daughter. Though reluctant, Erin allows her mother back into her life. But when she relapses, will Erin’s anger cause her to lose all the other people in her life as well?
This story focuses on the effects of drug addiction, not just on the addict, but on the other people in their life, children especially but also siblings and friends and even parents-in-law.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Despite the dark theme of substance abuse and drug addiction, there were bits of humor in the story. The author had an engaging writing style. And I really liked the main character, Erin. The whole book was written from her point of view, so I always knew what she was thinking and feeling and why she acted out at times. I didn’t like that Erin kept getting angry about the situation with her mother and taking it out on other people, who were not the source of her anger. But the author offered compelling motivation for her actions, and Erin worked to improve her anger-management issues.
I liked the relationships portrayed in this story, especially between Erin and her best friend, Grace, and Erin and her boyfriend, George, who also acted as a good friend to her. And Erin’s grandparents did not just see caring for her as a duty. Even when she was difficult, they loved her, and they enjoyed having her living with them. Their interactions were funny and sweet. I loved the way Erin acted with Sweetie, a chihuahua poodle mix.
Although the story did not have a conclusive ending, it was hopeful. I believe this story is a realistic portrayal of the realities of life for children affected by drug addiction, and even though it is a work of fiction, this book will resonate with people who are going through a similar situation.
Pages: 250 | ISBN: 1939696496
Tags: abuse, addict, addiction, alibris, Amy Voltaire, and My Mom's an Addict, anger, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, children, drug, drug addiction, ebook, family, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, love, My Name is Erin, nook, novel, parent, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, sobriety, story, teen, writer, writer community, writing, YA, young adult
An explosion rocks the city to its very foundation; the sole survivor Asylia has no memories of her past. She finds herself in a world divided between those who are talented and those who aren’t. Vici a city governed by an egotistical Praetor driven by his hatred for the gifted individuals the tallents whom he considers a plague.
Risen from the ashes, Asylia pieces herself together while taking control of her emerging fire talent. Harbored by a mysterious group called Revival, she discovers that the people of Vici are disappearing at an alarming rate. Together with her new friends, she must rally against the Praetor’s tyranny, racing to free the city in hopes that she isn’t too late to bring peace to this world in turmoil. She must be careful; one mistake and she will end up like all the other Tallents who have faced the Praetor’s wrath.
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Aeon Rises follows Justin, an average teen, as he stumbles upon otherworldly beings that are trying to kill him. How did you come across this idea and how did it change as you were writing?
I wanted to write a story that would be fun for middle school or high school student to read. A scifi story with characters they could relate to and who they could identify with. Even though I was a secondary teacher for over thirty years, it had been a few years since I retired and I was sure some of the slang and habits of teens had changed some over that time. I enlisted the aid of a class of eighth graders to read portions of the story and give me specific feedback about the teens characters. Their feedback was incredible and guided my writing of those individuals in the story. The changes they suggested made the Justin, Kevin and Myah much more true to today’s teens.
Justin isn’t exactly an average teen, he has an aversion to most electronics. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to Justin’s character development?
Due to his inability to play video games or watch the same shows most others his age took for granted, Justin faced a fair amount of ridicule and bullying from his classmates, except for Kevin. I drew on my own experiences growing up being the brunt of several bullies, but I wanted Justin to rise above it and, though it still hurt, not give in to the abusers. He relied heavily on Kevin to get beyond it all, and then he learned about his abilities and his importance. That made everything else pale in comparison, even though he could not rub it in his tormentor’s faces. Aliens are a secret after all.
The Skutarans see Justin as a threat and want to destroy him. What were some sources of inspiration for you when creating their race?
I watch a lot of scifi movies and read a ton of scifi books as well. I simply took characteristics of evil aliens I have read or seen over the years and blended them into traits of the Skutarans: Arrogance, Hyper Ego, superiority complex, all combined with advanced alien technology. What more could you want in an evil overlord alien?
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be published?
I have recently been recovering from a major surgery, which has affected my ability to focus on anything for long. It is only in the past few weeks I have been able to start thinking about a new novel. To get back into practice, I am working on a short story about ice miners on Europa, a moon around Jupiter. From there, I have an idea about fusing scifi and fantasy in a story about aliens digitized into a LOTR style movie who are discovered by a fan of the movie and their collaboration to rescue the aliens from the orcs, wizards, etc. and return them home again.
Justin Madrid always considered himself an average nerdy freshman in high school, and an outcast because intense migraines prevent him from playing video games or watching television. Even looking at a phone screen hurts. But when the aliens, disguised as local librarians, started trying to kill him, everything changed. And now it is up to Justin and his cool new power to save the earth from invasion.
Posted in Interviews
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Brenna and Adara are twins living in England that spend their days with tutors and fancy automated machines. When not working on their schooling they’re reading from the Grimoire. From the Grimoire they learn of the Elemental Gods and pretend they were them. It wasn’t until they moved to Massachusetts that they began to realize they were different. On their first day of school they meet twin boys, Dimitri and Wyndham that share their same last name, Devins, as well as strange white streaks of hair. From there they realize they all have over-sized pets, a toad, lizard, owl and rat that just found the children and attached themselves to them. Slowly as they get to know each other they develop strange powers, telepathy, the ability to control elements, and the mysterious Grimoire that each has a part of starts morphing before their eyes. What does it all mean? How are they connected? Why are strange things happening to them? What happens when the stories they read as children suddenly start coming to life?
Children of the Elements by Ora Wanders, is set in a steampunk reality of the semi modern world. There are parts that remind me of early frontier times, the one room school house, the simple country life, but then she adds in the steampunk elements of automated machinery and clothing choices. It is a mix of modern and old and blends together in a fascinating way that makes sense to the story line. Each set of twins have similar backgrounds, only one parent, both moving from homes with lots of machinery to a simpler life and only bringing a few things with them, the Grimoire that seems incomplete to each set. When they meet, it is literally like puzzle pieces fitting together. The story is exceptionally well written and everything flows naturally and story elements occur organically. I could picture the characters clearly, the bickering and playing around that you expect from young adults comes out. I found it all relatable, even in the magical setting.
This was a book that I didn’t want to put down. The plot moves quickly, the character development is integrated with the plot, so you’re not weighed down with back stories and character development early on. All that information comes out as you meet the characters and see them interacting with their pets, teacher, and each other. They are typical teenagers with attitudes and short tempers, but you see them grow from the early pages to the end. Without giving away key elements, I can say that all four children are able to grow and see their potential while still retaining a child like wonder of the world. It has all the elements a reader of fantasy could want; magic, conflict, family drama, growth, and an open ending to continue the saga.
One of the most amazing things about this novel is the author. Ora Wanders is only ten years old! I could not believe this when I finished the novel and wanted to learn more about the author because I loved the book that much. I am looking forward to the second book in the series and much more from this amazing young lady.
Pages: 310 | ISBN: 1797718002
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What starts off as just another teenager-focused bully story quickly shows its teeth to reveal something decidedly darker. The fear and emotion felt by the main protagonist seem both plausible and real, and the dysfunctional home life that he is forced to live through is also crafted to feel quite genuine.
We learn early on in this dark urban fantasy novel that Davey was forced by his difficulties to mentally escape into worlds of movie characters that he looked up to. He imagined himself overcoming his difficulties in a similar way that heroes from his favorite movies had, and it made him feel good to think that he could live in someone else’s shoes.
It doesn’t take long for Davey to find the escape he was looking for. What he found was something he never would have thought possible.
The world that Davey finds seems perfect to him. He cannot see any of the violence, abuse, or bullying that tortured him up to the point of finding ‘Cardboard City’. What he does see is a tight-knit community of kids living free from adult oppression. They govern themselves and seem to have a good hold on how to get things done, their way. Davey quickly feels right at home with his new friends. Friends that he would change his life forever.
As time goes on, Davey and the other kids grow up, but they stay connected to one another in a variety of ways. The connections that show up throughout the story between characters, and how their individual stories interconnect is impressively crafted.
Lord has a talent for characterization and building believable interactions between characters like no other. The reader is taken for a ride through several lives as they search for a deeper meaning and it is a pleasure to follow them and experience what they do.
The writing is simple yet has plenty of the details necessary to set a scene and show the inner-workings of the characters. One can easily get a feel for where you are, who is involved with each scene, and what events are unfolding. The pace is steady, as well, making for a story that is difficult to put down.
Myrrendryl by Kirby Lord, is a first novel by the incredible author, but you would never know that. If you like dark fantasy stories that questions the fabric of our reality, Myrrendryl is a must read.
Pages: 400 | ASIN: B07MXZQ9QW
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