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The Chandler Affairs Book Tour & Giveaway

 
Genre: 
Paranormal Mystery
Publisher: Javari Press
Publication Date: March 23, 2017
Pages: 258
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Veronica has just gotten home after solving a minor case in Mexico involving kidnapping, betrayal, bank fraud, and a Colombian drug cartel when an old acquaintance shows up to hire her. Somebody has been committing impossible murders all over the world, and Veronica is the only person qualified to stop the killer before the body count soars.

The problems start with her client. Can she trust a demon prince not to send her back to therapy or worse for another year? What, if any, is his hidden agenda? Is anything at all as it seems?

Veronica thought she had a handle on magic and demons, but as soon as she starts investigating it’s obvious that all the rules have changed. She’s playing in the big leagues now, and she’s going to have to move heaven and hell to keep humanity alive. Starting with herself.

Now, if she can only survive dinner with her family, a blind date, a small immigration problem, and working with the federal cabinet, it’s possible that all will be well.

Or at least as well as it can be when you have to deal with insane immortals and a talking cat.

There was almost no light in my room, but by the red glow of the numbers on my alarm clock I could see vague shadows in front of me at the foot of the bed. They looked suspiciously like a pair of feet that were blocking my way to the door. My eyes followed the shadows up the dark mass to a quiet blue flame hovering in midair. It moved, becoming brighter for a moment. There was a sound of someone exhaling, and the pungent burning smell became more intense and caught in my throat. The smell wasn’t tobacco.

It was brimstone.

I scurried backward, crab-walking with my butt almost on the floor until my head hit the night table. The lamp on top teetered and fell to the carpet. I felt the lamp shade brush by my hair as it narrowly missed my head. The crunch of a breaking light bulb was close and immediate.

Adrenaline poured through my system again. I chose to interpret it as anger rather than fear. A male voice with a distinctive lisp familiar to a previous generation of movie-goers spoke in the darkness.

“Nice reflexes, doll, but you should put something on. You look cold.”

I knew that voice. It was far too late for modesty, so I stood up, pushed past the figure, and put on the robe that was hanging on the door. I tied the belt by touch, viciously yanking the ends as I did so. I would have a hell of a time getting it undone later, but that was the least of my worries.

I found the wall switch without much trouble and flicked it upward with a satisfying snap. The result was painfully bright, and I couldn’t help blinking several times. It didn’t make any difference to what I saw, which was exactly what I was hoping I wouldn’t.

Humphrey Bogart, circa 1941, stood in my bedroom, dressed in a well-tailored, three-piece, pin-stripe suit. He’d tossed his fedora over the post at the bottom of my bed.

I really liked normal cases. None of them involved Sam Spade showing up in my bedroom at oh dark seventeen. Especially considering what the bastard had done to me the last time we’d met.

He waved the sulphurous cigarette at me in greeting, and took another puff. How do you even smoke sulphur? The stench tickled my throat, and I made a great effort not to cough. I’d be damned before I’d let him make me cough.

“Put that out. You’ll stink up the whole apartment.”

“Whatever you say, toots.” The cigarette vanished as if it had never existed. The smell did not go with it.

Where to Buy

Amazon

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G.W. Renshaw lives in Calgary, Alberta with his lovely wife and Romulus the cat. He likes to write stories that range from the unusual to the bizarre.

He has picked up a variety of skills over the years: gunner in the Canadian Forces, practitioner of Iwama-style Aikido, Krav Maga, and Chito Ryu Karate, computer programmer, Linux druid, Search and Rescue manager, caving, rock climbing, and archery. He learned man tracking from Terry Grant (the original ManTracker on TV). He also learned a variety of medieval skills while in the Society for Creative Anachronisms.

G.W. writes when he isn’t maintaining the website for When Words Collide, being beaten senseless by his young padawan, or working at Mount Royal University, the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, or the Cumming School of Medicine.

He claims to have a firm grip on reality, but seems unaware that it is slowly turning purple. He will happily watch just about any film with monsters in it.

Connect with G.W.

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Life Series Book Tour & Giveaway

 
Genre: 
Futuristic, Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Tesmur Publishing
Publication Date: Oct 7, 2015
Pages: 344
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About the Book

Tragedy places the soldier in StPatrick’s complex, determination to be someone of use keeps her within its walls. When she finally takes her first breaths of freedom, the soldier is sucked back into military servitude. Her long, violent capture and imprisonment by Rochester sets her path of physical and psychological terror.

Under his rule, she learns the depth of her own depravity, and how far she can go before she threatens to lose herself. But when Tomlin and his team rescues her, she discovers a new threat in the life she chooses to lead.

As the pages of her genetically-altered history are revealed, the soldier finds the key to achieving her new goal: revenge.

It’s unfortunate it might just kill her in the end.

Excerpt

He considered my flesh, running his fingertips down the length of my thigh as he nodded and tapped my flank just below one of my tribal tattoos. I saw him lift his cigar to his lips, puffing a few times, then watched him lower the cigar to the item he held. Within seconds, the tip was red. My eyes grew large as I realized what it was.

“Only for a moment,” Rochester re-emphasized as he brought the small trinket to my thigh, meeting my gaze with his filled with enjoyment.

I screamed as the brand dug into my fat, cooking the skin and membranes below. My body convulsed, my muscles twitching and fighting despite the increasing tightness of the muscular man’s hold on me. I broke out into a cold sweat, muscles quivering from pain, my mouth tasting bile as I held back sickness.

Finally, Rochester took the brand away, tearing skin as it lifted off. He lowered his head to below where I could see him and I could feel his warm breath as he blew on the mark. I stiffened in response, the area smarting. I could already feel the slow continuation of heat as the burn sensation spread.

Where to Buy
Amazon

 
Genre: 
Futuristic, Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Tezmur Publishing
Publication Date: May 4, 2016
Pages: 359
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About the Book

With the resolve of a child who had grown too much to return home, Seleah stayed away from StPatrick’s complex for twelve years after her devastating abduction and rescue from criminal mastermind Rochester’s clutches. When her former lover and friend, Tomlin, calls with the news of her beloved mentor’s demise, however, she decides to come back to the school and her course is altered dramatically.

Tomlin can’t stand being away from Seleah any longer. He wants her, needs her to return for good. His stupidity was almost his downfall. Now, life has given him a second chance.

But with their reunion comes jealousy and hatred from an outside source, threatening to kill them both and the new life they are seeking.

The pair must learn to accept each other once more; to heal wounds and scars alike, and decide if their paths can really exist together forever. Passion, sadness, violence, and the resiliency of love await in Life’s Hope.

Where to Buy
Amazon

 

About the Author


By day Rebekah Raymond is simply Becca–Medical Claims Adjudicator, Academic Strategist, wife and mother of two. By night, she is Rebekah Raymond, Calgary writer of thriller/horror, romance, science fiction and fantasy.

Raymond is the author of the thriller Life’s Defeat (Oct 2015) and Life’s Hope (May 2016) with the third and fourth installments coming out in 2017.

Raymond is a proficient writer, working at her writing for 1-3 hours nightly. She attributes her wildly disconnected plots and vivid characters to automatic and dissociative writing.

She is a member of NaNoWriMo and the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society.

Connect with Rebekah
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Nostalgic Rain Blog Tour


Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Midship Publishing
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Pages: 324
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About the Book

What seventeen-year-old Leland finds in the abandoned basement of his house is something he will never forget.

Leland lost his father when he was seven. Since then, he has successfully adapted to the awful life of being a student, the man of the house, and a father figure to his two younger siblings. All of that changes when he and his best friends stumble upon a secret in his deserted basement, and fall into another dimension with three moons, foggy woods, and an ancient castle-Oremanta.

Learning who he really is, how he came to this remote planet, and the shocking, ugly mystery of Oremanta aren’t as bad as the quest he finds himself obligated to complete-killing someone he never thought he’d meet in Oremanta to save everyone.

Excerpt

Leland’s grandma, glued to her usual spot on the worn rocking chair she’d bought right after Leland’s birth, glimpsed him for a moment and then rolled her eyes back to the TV.

“Where have you been all day?” she complained, switching channels. “Your aunt is here, for God’s sake.”

On the table in the living room sat a cake with ‘Welcome Home’ written on it. The living room was lit by an old, handcrafted chandelier, but it did its job quite well. Leland hugged his aunt. She hadn’t changed much.

“How’s everything?” Leland asked.

“Perfect!” She replied, taking a bite of her cake. “Everything is too perfect!”

“Great. I’m glad.” He took a seat beside her. Fred and Karla were on the ground playing rock, paper, scissors. His grandfather, Richard, was listening to the news, his ears touching the radio’s speaker.

“What about you?” Abbey asked.

“I’m fine,” Leland replied, faking a smile.

“No, he’s not,” Leland’s mother said, cutting cake for Fred and Karla, pretending not to care much about the issue. “Something’s wrong with him. He hardly leaves his room.”

Leland’s face flushed. He felt stupid for not realizing his mother must have felt something was wrong with him. This meant Dylan and Jennifer, his friends, likely also noticed.

“No, it’s just—” Leland said, attempting to fake an excuse.

“Is he always alone?” Abbey asked.

“Almost,” Maria, Leland’s mother, replied.

“And he’s not eating a lot?”

“Yes.”

Leland’s heart raced. There’s no way Abbey would know what he’d been through lately. She’d been away, and he made sure no one knew.

“And he doesn’t talk much?” Abbey asked.

“Yeah. Only a little,” Maria answered.

Abbey clapped her hands and cried, “He’s in love!”

All eyes turned toward Leland. But he was relieved. She knew nothing after all. Leland pretended her assumptions were correct. He gazed down and said nothing in reply.

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of, Leland. We’ve all been through this before,” Aunt Abbey said, and then her voice dropped to a whisper. “And don’t chicken out. Women hate that.”

Leland didn’t know how to reply, so, rather awkwardly and loudly enough that everyone stared at him again, he said, “I like her.”

Okay. That’s enough for today. Leland had paid his social dues and now he had to leave. Embarrassed, Leland said, “I gotta go.”

And he went back to his room.

***

Leland collapsed into his bed with Les Miserables in his hand. He’d bought it a month ago from Harry’s Bookstore, a local shop at the end of the street. Leland read a book or two per year, but he wished he could dedicate more time to reading. He read some pages then put the book on the bedside table. With the lights on and the window opened, Leland dozed off without realizing it. Deep in his sleep, Leland woke up, sweating and trembling in fear. His breath quickened and his heart hammered against his chest. It had happened for the fifth time this week.

Voices—hundreds of thousands of throats—whispered in Leland’s ears and mumbled words he couldn’t understand. And it seemed he was the only one hearing them.

For God’s sake, what the hell is going on?

Where to buy

Amazon

About the Author


Medical student, writer & travel passionate.

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The Last Wife of Attila the Hun Book Tour & Giveaway

 
Genre: 
Epic Fantasy, Historical
Publisher: Booktrope Editions
Publication Date: September 24, 2015
Pages: 261
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Two threads are flawlessly woven together in this sweeping historical novel. In one, Gudrun, a Burgundian noblewoman, dares to enter the City of Attila to give its ruler what she hopes is a cursed sword; the second reveals the unimaginable events that have driven her to this mission. Based in part on the true history of the times and in part on the same Nordic legends that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle and other great works of art, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun offers readers a thrilling story of love, betrayal, passion and revenge, all set against an ancient backdrop itself gushing with intrigue.

Where to Buy

Amazon


Joan Schweighardt is the author of five novels and more on the way. In addition to her own writing projects, she writes, ghostwrites, and edits for individuals and corporations.

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Over the Ivy Wall Book Tour


Genre: New Adult, Romance
Publisher: Sunshine Press
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Pages: 199
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About the Book

Clara Pendleton is a prisoner in her home. Always searching for new places to hide from her uncle, whose drunken attention terrifies and confuses her, she finds a tiny clearing in the back of the property near a disintegrating section of the ivy-covered wall that surrounds the estate.

Gaven Bridge has been sent to Clearwater to live with his Uncle Daniel. Never fitting in, he doesn’t believe he’ll ever meet anyone who understands him. But when he goes out for a walk in the woods, he happens upon a young lady sleeping soundly on a patch of moss.

A deep bond is fostered between them, helping Clara find the courage to change her life. When she finally decides to climb over the ivy wall and out into the world, there is no going back. Will Clara escape her horrible past, or will it destroy the love she and Gaven share?

Excerpt

Clara trembled as she climbed precariously over the crumbling stone wall.

Gaven held her hand, helping her over, and as she made the last step, she stumbled, falling forward against his chest. His warmth was unmistakable, the energy that flowed between them purely magnetic; she couldn’t resist him and she wasn’t sure why.

He was older than her, and Tammy would’ve been horrified to see the way Clara pressed her small hands against his narrow chest, staring into his chocolate brown eyes. She saw things in his eyes she’d never seen before—a world she couldn’t remember, pain that was just as horrific as her own.

He was a kindred spirit.

For a long moment, she stared into his eyes, and he stared back. She was so close she could’ve kissed his tantalizing, full lips. Instead, she just froze.

“You don’t have to worry about me,” he finally said. “I won’t take advantage of you.”

“Why?” Catching herself, she stammered, “I m-m-mean, w-w-what do you mean?”

“I’m not like other men. I’m all cerebral. Sex means nothing to me.”

She didn’t know why she’d said it, but the words tumbled from her lips, “I’m a virgin.” Shocked at her admission to this near-stranger, she clapped a hand over her mouth.

“Of course you are,” he said, seemingly unaffected. “You’ve never left this place before. But—” He remained silent for a long moment. Then he took her hand and began leading her along the narrow path through the woods. “Something happened to you, I can see it. You’ve never had sexual intercourse, but something has happened to you, and you don’t want to talk about it. You hide it.”

“Why do you say it like that?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, in the movies and in books, people just say sex. You talk about it like…like a textbook.”

He chuckled. “I told you, I’m cerebral. My intellect is more important to me. You know that already. You can feel it.”

“Yes, that’s true. I like it.”

He forged ahead, holding her behind him until he cleared a branch out of the way. The sun shone down, dancing over bright green foliage, brightening the forest floor.

“I don’t know why we’ve met, but I’m glad we did. You came right to me,” Clara said. “I opened my eyes and there you were. How interesting. Like in a book.”

“You read a lot, like me.”

“Yes, I love to read. One thing I’ll say for Uncle Harris, he’s always kept books in the house. The place has been in the family for several generations, and every generation added books to the library upstairs. My cousin, Tammy, and I read a lot.”

“There’s so much more to your story, Clara. I’m waiting to hear it.”

The rest of the path was clear, and they walked hand in hand for a while until Gaven complained his hands were sweaty. He seemed uncomfortable with physical contact, but at the same time, he seemed to want her near him; a fascinating juxtaposition that did not escape her.

The most mind-boggling thing was that she barely knew this man, yet he’d coaxed her away from her uncle’s property. After only two lengthy conversations, Gaven had managed to talk her into climbing over the wall and out of her prison.

She wondered if he knew how huge this was.

If he didn’t realize it, he would soon.

Where to Buy

Amazon

Other Books in the Series

Tammy Pendleton thinks she’s broken beyond repair. Sheltered by her parents, a victim of sexual abuse, she wants to escape but doesn’t know how. Until her cousin, Clara, leads her away from the Pendleton estate, and into Clearwater.

Orion Bennett is a motor-head who works at Pete’s Service Station. At nineteen, he is battling depression. But he’s also suffering with trigeminal neuralgia—the suicide disease—and he’s desperate to escape the pain.

When Tammy wanders into the shop one day, she finds herself strangely comforted by the scents and sounds of the garage. Although the pain they suffer is very different, they discover comfort and understanding in one another. The companionship they share has the power to heal. The question is, will they let it?

Where to Buy

Amazon

About the Author


Rosa Sophia is the author of several novels, including Meet Me in the Garden and The House Guest (Limitless Publishing) as well as Over the Ivy Wall and Orion Cross My Sky (Sunshine Press). Rosa is an automotive mechanic, but everyone thinks she is a librarian. She lives in Florida and hopes to earn an MFA in Creative Writing one day. As a trigeminal neuralgia patient, she also writes about her condition– read Orion Cross My Sky and Meet Me in the Garden –in the hope that it will spread awareness of this rare disorder.

Connect with Rosa

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1) $10 Amazon Gift Card

2) Over the Ivy Wall Signed Paperback

3) Orion Cross My Sky eBook Copy

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The Accidental Art Thief Book Tour & Giveaway


Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Publication Date: May 15, 2015
Pages: 228
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For a quarter of a century, forty-five-year-old Zinc has worked as a caretaker for a wealthy old man, living in a small casita on his ranch in New Mexico. She doesn’t make much money, but she has the old man, her dogs, and gorgeous views of the mountains. She is basically a very content recluse who doesn’t invest much time thinking about what she might do if her circumstances change. So when the old man dies suddenly, and his daughter all but throws her off the property, Zinc is forced to reinvent herself—and quickly. With a touch of magical realism and a collection of offbeat characters, The Accidental Art Thief explores the thin line between life and death and the universal forces that connect all things.

Zinc is an engaging, quirky, and utterly unique heroine, instantly likable, with a hefty mixture of strong intelligence and overwhelming naivety…. While the novel is realistic, there is subtle magic woven in nearly every line, as coincidence and confusion come together into what might be termed the wisdom of time, spirit, and love.” ~ Magdelena Ball, CompulsiveReader.com, author of Sublime Planet, Black Cow, and other titles.

Schweighardt populates her modern-day odyssey through the southwest with fascinating, quirky characters thrust into a complex (and hilarious) web of emotional turmoil, poignant misperceptions, and downright lies. As laugh-out-loud funny as it is thought provoking.” ~ Julie Mars, author of the memoir A Month of Sundays: Searching for the Spirit and My Sister, and the novels Rust, Anybody Any Minute, and The Secret Keepers.

A sensitive, gripping, artfully rendered novel that kept me reading from the first page to the last.” ~ Faye Rapoport DesPres, author of the memoir-in-essays Message from a Blue Jay.

Where to Buy

Amazon


Joan Schweighardt is the author of five novels and more on the way. In addition to her own writing projects, she writes, ghostwrites, and edits for individuals and corporations.

Connect with Joan

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Bewitching Book Tours · Book Tour · Excerpts

Mouth Watering Book Tour


Genre: Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Pages: 284
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About the Book

EVERYTHING SHE NEEDED…

Looking to change her life, Corey Cooper moves across the country to a remote town in Colorado to become the new guidance counselor at St. Leasing, a prestigious all boys prep school. But soon she learns her attraction to the gorgeous head coach, Dominic Hardy, is more than the usual chemistry, and that her students are more than the typical randy teenage boys.

WAS WRITTEN IN HIS SOUL

Dominic Hardy loves his life at St. Leasing. As head coach, he’s fulfilled by his career, and in the small Colorado town outside the school’s gates, he has all the entertainment a man could desire. No complications, no attachments, life was good. Then Corey Cooper comes to St. Leasing and Dominic’s instincts kick in – she is his, and that’s for life. Throw in a troubled teen, a tyrannical parent, and a mysterious disappearance, and all of a sudden everything at St. Leasing has become a matter of life or death for his kind.

Excerpt

His truck pulled in behind her SUV in the driveway and he was out of his vehicle opening her car door before she’d even turned off her engine. Eager, wasn’t he? He held his arm out, and she smiled as she hooked her hand around his large bicep. “How chivalrous Coach Hardy.”

“I try.”

When they reached the front porch she turned toward him with what she hoped was her sultriest grin, kind of innocent with a hint of fire. “Thanks for everything today, Dominic. The directions. The drinks. The companionship. I’m so glad that you were the first person I met here.” He hadn’t seemed to like the word friend when she’d used it back at the bar, and she’d bet the word companionship was setting his teeth on edge right about now.

“Seems like I was at the right place at the right time. It was a pleasure meeting you Corey Cooper.” He leaned in with his whole body but went for her cheek instead of her lips.

“Mmmm, you smell amazing.” She all but purred. She was playing the game, but in truth, he really did smell fantastic. “What kind of cologne are you wearing?”

He moved away a fraction of an inch and kissed her other cheek softly. “I’m not wearing any cologne. But I’m glad you think I smell good considering I didn’t have time to shower after practice.”

She laughed, “Really? You smell mouthwatering like all my favorite scents rolled into one. I noticed it earlier today. I smelled you before you even said a word to me.” And she had, it was like he had filled the air before she’d known he was behind her.

His body was close to hers, but still not touching. Corey knew what his game was, leaving it up to her, letting her make the first move. Did he think he was clever? A visionary? And hardly the first guy to use that tactic. But okay Dominic Hardy, you win this one. When he went to pull away again, she grabbed his shirt in her hands and fused their mouths together. She felt herself immediately melt into him. The kiss was the most perfect first kiss she’d ever had.

His lips were soft but demanding and when he fisted his hands in her hair, tugging lightly, she gave in. She opened for him and let his tongue invade her mouth. God this was amazing. A perfect kiss mixed with his yummy scent, she could hardly stand it. Yeah, life at St. Leasing was well on its way to wonderful.

Where to Buy

Amazon | Boroughs Publishing Group

About the Author


L.P. Maxa lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, daughter, 3 rescue dogs, 1 cat – the fish died – and one bunny who doesn’t seem to like them. She loves reading romance novels as much as she loves writing them. She says, inspiration can come from anywhere: a song lyric, a quote, a weekend with friends. The tiniest things can spark amazing stories. She loves to hear from readers.

 

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Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Calvin Wolf

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Science Fiction, Political Thriller
Publisher: Ravenswood Publishing
Publication Date: November 25, 2016
Pages: 326
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About the Book

Months after a devastating terrorist attack on the Human Capital Market servers on the University of Wyoming campus, a corrupt administration in Washington is looking to maintain its grip on the future by any means necessary. After a grieving father unleashes powerful forces the president would rather keep hidden, two falsely accused men struggle to find their families and clear their names while being hunted by the full force of the United States government…and two vicious ne’er-do-wells whose grudges run deep. As a desperate White House tries to track down its prized fugitives and keep a discontent public under control, new technology offers wonder and horror in droves. From omnipresent surveillance to secret prisons to trading equity in citizens’ wages on the new stock market, The Singularity is a fast-paced ride into a near future where anything is possible.

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a high school social studies teacher and department chair, and I currently teach AP Economics and AP Government to high school seniors.  As a result, I have developed more of an appreciation of economics and politics…and it has definitely affected my writing!  My writing could best be described as political thrillers, though my recent novels have added more sci-fi elements to the mix.  There is always an undercurrent of class struggle and economic policy.  I have been a teacher for six years, and I received a post-baccalaureate teacher certification from Texas Tech after earning bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice and Political Science, and then an MPA degree, from the University of Wyoming.

I tend to be geographically specific, based on where I have lived and visited.  I grew up in the interesting city of Midland, Texas, which is known for being an oil mecca, a football haven, and the hometown of George W. Bush.  Later, I attended the University of Wyoming and Texas Tech University, and tend to feature those institutions prominently in my writing.  During the summers while I was in college, I worked in New Mexico and regularly include Colfax County, New Mexico in my novels.  I was born in Colorado and spent a lot of time there during college, so that state is also a prime location in my writing.  My family originally hails from Virginia and Pennsylvania, so those states typically receive geographic cameos as well!

I used to be a backpacking guide, so my writing tends to focus on mountains rather than beaches.  I once stood between a mama bear and her cub and lived to tell the tale!

What inspired you to write?

I’ve always been a storyteller.  From an early age, I heard stories and wanted to create my own.  I would think “that could be more realistic,” “that could be more exciting,” or “that could be more…”  I viewed stories as a challenge, and sought to meet those challenges!

What inspired your novel?

I am interested in the potential of nanotechnology, and so The Singularity explores its potential to transform mankind…or destroy it.  What would you do if you were suddenly gifted with amazing speed, strength, memory recall, and inability to be affected by pain?

What is the genre?

The Singularity is a sci-fi political thriller, blending the two genres.  A corrupt government is trying to recollect and control the nanotechnology, which it has dubbed MIST (Microtronic Infrastructural Symbiosis Technology)

What draws you to this genre?

I like politics and imagining how presidents and their cabinets would respond to scary, unexpected threats.  We would like to assume that they have a plan…but what if they don’t?

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I imagine what the next step would be, and go from there.  I write by the seat of my pants, for better or worse.  There is usually a “movie in my mind” of my novel, and I play various scenarios to see what fits most seamlessly.

What inspired your protagonist?

My main protagonist, Hank Hummel, is based pretty closely on myself.  I imagine how I would react to various scenarios, and then embellish a bit!  I like to think of Hank Hummel as an everyman who finds himself forced into harrowing situations.  He wants to do the right thing, but he has his own limitations.

What inspired your antagonist?

I have a due of antagonists.  Adam Pastorius is scary because he is unpredictable, and little about him is known.  He is a former Syrian spy and is primarily motivated by revenge.  He holds grudges against many foes, and is highly able of lethal retaliation.  This character is inspired by America’s general fear of terrorism:  The scariest thing can be never knowing when, where, or why your enemy will strike. 

The second antagonist, Ben, is a former Russian spy who has become thoroughly Americanized.  He is motivated entirely by profit and is loyal to nobody and nothing.  This character is inspired by the cold, impersonal gears of cutthroat capitalism.  He values efficiency over all else and does not care who he must eliminate to meet his goals.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

It’s always hardest for me to write the middle.  I know what the climax should look like, but how do I get there?  I try to make it suspenseful, believable, and intriguing.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

I like writing the climax because there’s good dialogue in the final confrontations between protagonist and antagonist.  I prefer to mix serious “tough talk” with a bit of humor.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

I’m a part-time writer.  I write novels, and also political editorials for different websites.  When I’m not writing, I’m either teaching at a 6A public high school or helping my wife with her home décor business.  I’m currently trying to learn how to stain various pieces of wood to perfection.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading a biography of president Lyndon B. Johnson.  I like to read facts that are stranger than fiction, and then include them in my fiction.  I’ve read the biographies of many American presidents and all the major national leaders during World War II:  FDR, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, Hideki Tojo, and Benito Mussolini.  Talk about interesting characters!

Who would you say are your favorite authors?

My favorite is Stephen King, followed by John Grisham.  Each writer is great at what he does:  King is a master of character development, while Grisham writes tightly-crafted legal thrillers.  I also loved Michael Crichton’s techno-thrillers, as well as Tom Clancy’s blend of military/tech/political thrillers.  Dean Koontz is sometimes hit-or-miss, but he can knock it out of the park like nobody else.  The Singularity was inspired by Koontz’ Midnight, and his novel The City (same title as mine, entirely by coincidence) was perfect until the climax.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

1.)  I Was An NKVD Agent – amazing true-life story that I randomly discovered on a bookshelf at the University of Wyoming library while doing a paper for a Russian history class.

2.)  Midnight – a late-1980s precursor to nanotechnology, written by Dean Koontz.

3.)  Roadwork – how has this amazing Stephen King novel not been made into an Oscar-winner?

4.)  The Running Man – this book was much better than the 1987 movie.  One of the best predictors of the future ever!

5.)  The Catcher in the Rye – a classic, bar none!

What are your future projects, if any?

A standalone psychological thriller set in an American high school during a hostage situation.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

My books are on Smashwords, and I love getting emails from readers at authorcalvinwolf@gmail.com 

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

To quote Winston Churchill:  “Never, never, never, never, never give up.”

50 Books 2017 · 50 Books in a Year · Book to Movie Reviews · Saturday Reviews

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

Book to Movie

This is a new series as I go through the books that were turned into movies that I’ve enjoyed.

 
Genre: 
Middle Grade/Young Adult, Fantasy, Classics
Publisher: Dutton Children’s Books
Publishing Date: 1997 (originally pub 1979)
Format: Paperback (own copy)
Pages: 396
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My Rating

4.50 Stars

4 half stars

About the Book

This epic work of the imagination has captured the hearts of millions of readers worldwide since it was first published more than a decade ago. Its special story within a story is an irresistible invitation for readers to become part of the book itself. And now this modern classic and bibliophile’s dream is available in hardcover again.

The story begins with a lonely boy named Bastian and the strange book that draws him into the beautiful but doomed world of Fantastica. Only a human can save this enchanted place–by giving its ruler, the Childlike Empress, a new name. But the journey to her tower leads through lands of dragons, giants, monsters, and magic–and once Bastian begins his quest, he may never return. As he is drawn deeper into Fantastica, he must find the courage to face unspeakable foes and the mysteries of his own heart.

Readers, too, can travel to the wondrous, unforgettable world of Fantastica if they will just turn the page….

My Review

Growing up, The Neverending Story (especially the first movie) was part of the collection of movies that would single-handedly corrupt me for life. Labyrinth was the first and foremost, if you needed to know. Haha. No shame in the horrible sobbing because of the loss of Artax. (His death is much different in the book.)
Although I must say that it was the first two Neverending Story movies that enthralled me. The third subsequent movie was not to my taste. Falkor’s voice in it, shudder.

When I learned that the movies had a book, I had spent many years looking for said book. It was on that “if I find it, no matter the price, I will get it” list that I have in my head. This list annoys my dad’s partner because when she asks, I can never think of what is on the list. When I see the books, I know.

Anyhow, in a magic second hand store is where I found The Neverending Story. My friend Jamie and two of his friends and myself had a day of books, comic book stores and really good food. I found my precious in this store, nestled between other classic stories I had very little interest in. I may have squealed a little and danced a small “I found it!” jig. This is entirely out of character for me as I have agoraphobia and social phobia, and was gazed upon with amusement. I do this when I see other shinies that I want. Shiniiiies! (If you play Guild Wars 2, you will understand.)

Book Bastian, is possibly the most unlikable character. While I understand he is neglected emotionally by his father and horribly bullied; he is just the most unattractive of characters. He is spoiled, sullen, and very selfish. As the book goes on, he does become more unlikable. I’m sure he was written that way for the book to shape him but ugh.
The first movie, which features a moderate portrayal of the first half of the book, movie Bastian was much more tolerable. He was more bookish and a little more rebellious in the movie. He wasn’t as insufferably selfish and spoiled. But he was horribly bullied, the poor thing. I enjoyed his vast book knowledge as well.
When the second half of the story came, Bastian was even more insufferable. I guess that is because AURYN was stealing his memories every wish he made, but gah. Even the movie version of Bastian was as terrible. He treated his friends terribly and linked up with the beautiful but dangerous Xayide. The movie’s second half was a very loose portrayal of the second half of the book.
The ending for Xayide in the book was a little dark, but the movie ending was perfect. Especially because she used her charms and trickery to lure Bastian into using AURYN more and more.

Like most fairy tales, each story has a moral to it. The first half of the book talks about a world where children are growing up surrounded by an electronic world and forget about the written worlds. Thus Fantastica/Fantasia begins to disappear into “nothingness”. The werewolf in the movie and book represented the dreaded The Nothing that was devouring the world. In the book it was a being that could walk in both the fantasy world and the human world, and he was to destroy Atreyu to prevent Atreyu and Bastian from finding the cure for the Child-Like Emperess. Although, who the heck names their child Moonchild? At the time of the movie, Bastian’s mother would have been too old for the days of the Hippie’s and their unique names for children.
While the second half of the book and movie, it was a moral of not allowing yourself to get lost and to forget your world. As Bastian lost his memories of his family and life outside Fantastica/Fantasia, but it taught him that his father truly did care for him.

I honestly wouldn’t recommend either the movies or the book for anyone under the age of 8 or 9. Even then, it might be pretty difficult for them to understand. Whoever translated the story from German managed to use words that are difficult to understand, even as an adult. Thank you translator. But I do recommend it as a read for your children. It is a great book to awaken a love of fantasy and because it is a never-ending story, it is one they can go on again and again.

Where to Buy

Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Chapters/Indigo

About the Author

 Michael Andreas Helmuth Ende was a German writer of fantasy and children’s literature. He was the son of the surrealist painter Edgar Ende. He died in Stuttgart (Germany) of stomach cancer.

Ende was one of the most popular and famous German authors of the 20th century, mostly due to the enormous success of his children’s books. However, Ende was not strictly a children’s author, as he also wrote books for adults. Ende claimed, “It is for this child in me, and in all of us, that I tell my stories,” and that “[my books are] for any child between 80 and 8 years” (qtd. Senick 95, 97). Ende’s writing could be described as a surreal mixture of reality and fantasy. The reader is often invited to take a more interactive role in the story, and the worlds in his books often mirror our reality, using fantasy to bring light to the problems of an increasingly technological modern society.

Ende was also known as a proponent of economic reform, and claimed to have had the concept of aging money in mind when writing Momo. He was interested in and influenced by anthroposophy. (via GoodReads )

http://www.michaelende.de/

 

 

Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Daniel Barnett

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Coming of Age, Horror
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Pages: 291
Add to Good Reads
Buy: Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Book

Summer crashes to an end on a winding road. Just like that, football superstar Joel Harper finds himself rolling his wheelchair into a new school in a strange town. Soon he’s making friends of misfits, taking lessons in Iron Maiden, and trying to keep away from a ruthless bully with a penchant for switchblades. Little is he aware, something ancient and wounded has awoken deep beneath the tiny mountain community, and when it surfaces, all of Honaw will know its pain.

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m an ex-Boston transplant living in Portland, Oregon, after going to school for psychology at BU. Right now my lifestyle is a blend of reading, writing, and paying the bills. Heavy emphasis on paying the bills. Thanks, college loans!

What inspired you to write?

Stephen King. Yeah, I know, not too original, but it’s the truth. I read a ton as a kid (I distinctly remember having The Hobbit taken away from me in the second or third grade, so I would have to play with the other kids at recess), but I never really considered writing myself. Then I picked up IT in high school, and something just kind of . . . clicked. Insanity, I think. I was in love. I went on to read every book by King I could get my hands on, and I got this idea that if I could write a story that moved someone—anyone—half as much as his stories moved me, I’d be happy. I wrote my first (terrible) novel senior year, and I kept at it since then. I’m not sure if I’ve hit my goal yet, but I’d like to think I’m a little closer.

What inspired your novel?

Poor Things was the coming together of a few different things. One of them was the desire to write something fast and fun and LOUD after my second novel, Longreave, a ghost story wherein the real horror spends a lot of time lurking behind the curtain. But the biggest, whole piece of Poor Things came on a summer road trip with my dad and stepmom in 2014. The trip was meant to recapture the magic of one that we’d all taken when I was in middle school, and of course that didn’t work out quite as we’d hoped. Magic is like that wild friend you run into at the bar; it shows up and you have a great time, the best time, but it always loses your phone number when you try to set a date. Still, we took home a few memories. The most memorable of them for me was on this twisty road up in the mountains. It was dark out, and damned beautiful, no light but the low beams and the stars. Time seemed to stretch out and slow down, the way it only can on summer nights in the country, but underneath the calm was this electric tingle—this sense of unease. Some of the disquiet was no doubt due to edginess we had all taken on after a long, cramped day in the car, but a lot of it was the deer. We saw more deer on that road in the course of one winding hour than I have seen on any road, before or since. Most of them were alive. At least one was dead. They’d pop up deep in a curve, and there’d come a camera-flash moment, as their eyes met the headlights, where you could almost feel the crunch. The crunch never came for us (we arrived safely at my uncle’s house before midnight), but the road and those deer stuck with me, and they became the backbone of Poor Things.

Them, and Iron Maiden.

What is the genre?

Horror, adventure, coming of age.

What draws you to this genre?

Horror has always appealed to me from an emotional standpoint. It gets a bad rap sometimes for being shallow and shock obsessed, but when done right, it tries and tests its characters in a way no other genre can. A candle shines brightest in the dark, and so do we, both the best of us and the worst of us.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I went into Poor Things with an overall trajectory for the plot and a few landmark scenes along the way, but for the most part the story and the characters developed themselves.

What inspired your protagonist?

I can’t honestly say. Joel takes a little bit from me and from people that I’ve known, which is true of the characters I’ve written. His voice was always there for me.

What inspired your antagonist?

There isn’t an antagonist in Poor Things. At least, not a traditional one. There are only victims and the pain that drives those victims, turning them into monsters.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

I found Poor Things pretty smooth to write overall, with the exception of one chapter that takes place in the copper mine below Honaw, the small mountain town where Joel comes to live. That section proved challenging because it called for a shift in voice and required me to do some extra research on the side. The hardest part to write, however, was the death of a character a little later on in the book. I knew it was coming, but the suddenness of it—the brutality of it—left me shaky.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

The talent show. Joel and his friends get up on stage in front of the whole school, and, well . . . you’ll just have to see.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

Part time. I keep myself warm and dry at night by waiting tables.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve been on a King kick lately, and right now I’m re-reading Pet Semetary.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Stephen King (big surprise, right?), Joe Hill, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, David Mitchell, John Steinbeck, Richard Matheson, and you’re skimming now, so I’ll stop.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

The Stand, Imajica, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, all seven of The Harry Potter books but particularly the third and fifth, Firestarter, Misery, The Shining, and The Dead Zone, to name the first few that come to mind. Yeah, I know that’s more than 5.

What are your future projects, if any?

I’ve got a few ideas rolling around in my head.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

Feel free to reach out to me at Goodreads or via dbhfiction@gmail.com. I also have a website (danielbarnettfiction.com) that is currently having some technical difficulties. I hope to have it up and running again soon.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Read a lot, write a lot, and learn to revise your work ruthlessly.