TopShelf Magazine May 2023

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SUPERIOR STORYTELLERS

TOSCA LEE & MARCUS BROTHERTON

New York Times bestselling authors Marcus Brotherton and Tosca Lee have partnered on a heart-gripping novel inspired by true stories. Based on the lives of three friends, The Long March Home chronicles the friends’ journey from Alabama to the Philippines during World War II, covering not only the lives and love they left behind but also the impossible odds they face as they struggle to survive what has become known as the Bataan Death March.

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Exclusive Interview

PRAISE FOR THE LONG MARCH HOME

“Packed with tension.”

Lisa Wingate ,

#1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

“Such real characters.”

Rhys Bowen , New York Times bestselling author of The Venice Sketchbook

“Riveting.”

Mark Greaney , #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Gray Man series

“Utterly compelling.”

Susan Meissner, USA Today bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things

Q: THE LONG MARCH HOME IS SET AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF THE BATAAN PENINSULA IN THE PHILIPPINES. WHEN DID YOU FIRST LEARN ABOUT THE BATAAN DEATH MARCH, AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WRITE A NOVEL ABOUT THIS ERA?

MARCUS: It all started about fifteen years ago when Lt. Buck Compton and I were waiting for a plane during a speaking tour. Buck—who’d been a commissioned officer with the legendary Band of Brothers—was talking to me about World War II, and I remarked about the difficulty he’d experienced during the wintry siege of Bastogne.

Buck agreed, then said, “Yeah, but at least I wasn’t fighting in the Pacific. Man, those guys had it really rough.”

That line stayed with me for years.

I began to read up extensively on the era. In 2013, historian Adam Makos and I interviewed veterans who’d fought in the Pacific for our bestselling oral history project, Voices of the Pacific. I grasped more fully what Buck was hinting at then. But I hoped to do more.

When it came to this era, I wanted to take readers right into the

“Simply magnificent.”

Don Bentley, New York Times bestselling author of Hostile Intent

“Dazzling.”

Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of House on Fire

“A tremendous story.”

Andrew Kaplan, New York Times bestselling author of Blue Madagascar

“Beautifully and faultlessly told.”

Steve Martini, New York Times bestselling author of Blood Flag

action and pathos and connect with not only nonfiction readers but fiction readers too, which ultimately led to the creation of The Long March Home.

: Honestly—and this was one big reason I wanted to do this book—I had not heard about the Defenders of Bataan or this harrowing chapter in World War II history until Marcus approached me with the idea of working together on this project. What a sobering education researching this story has been and what an honor it is to share it with others who, like me, may not be aware of it or its heroes.

Q: THE LONG MARCH HOME INCLUDES GRAPHIC

DEPICTIONS OF WAR AND ALL THE GRITTINESS AND HORROR THAT COME WITH IT. WHAT TYPE OF RESEARCH WAS REQUIRED TO ACCURATELY PORTRAY THE DETAILS SURROUNDING THE WAR

We wanted to make things as factual as possible, really immersing readers in the locations, events, and characters’ lives.

MARCUS: First, I researched and wrote two nonfiction books

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about Bataan and the war in the Pacific. The first was the oral history project Voices of the Pacific (2013), done with historian Adam Makos. We interviewed real-life veterans who’d fought in the Pacific. The second was a biography titled A Bright and Blinding Sun (2022) in which I profiled the life of underage enlistee Joe Johnson. He fought on Bataan and survived his experiences as a POW. Both of those books required extensive research and helped create an overall awareness for me that helped with this book.

Then, having Tosca on board was an important piece of the research process too. She came in with a fresh set of eyes and a heart wide open to learning about this era. I had originally started the manuscript directly on the march, but Tosca convinced me we needed several new chapters at the start of the book to bring the reader up to speed on who these soldiers were, what they were doing on Bataan, and how they’d ended up surrendered to the enemy. As usual, Tosca was right.

TOSCA: It was pure selfishness. I wanted to know more about these characters and their lives before, what made them the friends they were, and why they had to survive.

Delving into the four friends’ young lives together in Alabama and then in the Philippines as they are thrust into a desperate, months-long war—not only against the Japanese but also against hunger, disease,

and dwindling hope of reinforcements—was fascinating to research, nostalgic, poignant, and finally very sobering to write.

Q: MARCUS, YOU GENERALLY WRITE MORE NONFICTION BOOKS, AND TOSCA IS WELL KNOWN FOR HER WORKS OF FICTION. HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU CONNECT TO WRITE A STORY ABOUT THE BATAAN DEATH MARCH?

MARCUS: I worked on the manuscript for about seven years before Tosca came along. It was a passion project for me, but unfunded, so I needed to work on it in bits and pieces. The characters and the setting were unforgettable to me, but there were several huge challenges to the project that kept me stymied. I had the big pieces in place, but the story was so graphic, I knew we had to intersperse the Bataan narrative with something less violent. Also, to appeal to fiction readers, I sensed the book needed to have strong female characters. I had the frames sketched for Claire and Filipa, but the characters weren’t really singing until Tosca came along.

I had read several of Tosca’s novels and loved her work. She had endorsed a different book for me at one point, and we’d corresponded several times. So in 2016, I reached out to Tosca, explained the story and the characters,

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and asked if she’d like to collaborate. She read my outlines, character sketches, and the manuscript I had at that point and immediately saw its potential. She did her own research to get up to speed, then rewrote the female characters, added a new opener to the book, and helped straighten out how the plot moved through two very different locations.

Then we went back and forth through the manuscript multiple times together to connect all the dots and get it all into one voice. It was a true collaborative effort, and it became just as much Tosca’s book as mine. When it comes to fiction writing, she’s a workhorse. She is also super smart, thinks in layers, and kept us both in good humor at various difficult times during the project.

TOSCA: I was in the middle of a four-book contract and finished the last two books before I took this on. I went in full force, but then Marcus is being kind and leaving out the fact that my creativity nosedived during the pandemic. The year 2020 was a very stagnant one for me writing-wise. Which is weird because if you would have posed the scenario to me before—stuck at home during a global pandemic, travel and in-person events suspended—I’d have thought I would’ve been working away like a mad scientist, taking advantage of the time I normally would have been traveling to promote my 2019 (pandemic, ironically) duology, The Line Between/A Single Light, and teaching fiction writing at conferences around the nation.

Marcus probably thought The Long March Home had withered away on my end more than once before things kicked back into gear for me in 2021. I’m grateful for his commitment and continued belief in this story. This has been a labor of love and a passion project for him, and I’m very glad he invited me to join him in that. It would be easy for a writer so invested in a story to hold on to it with a closed fist, but he’s done just the opposite.

As an author, Marcus has so much experience sharing inspirational stories with the world. He’s intentional around his commitment to quality storytelling, but he’s also always up for a laugh. That’s important in this business, I think

ABOUT TOSCA LEE

Tosca Lee is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels, including The Line Between, The Progeny, The Legend of Sheba , and Iscariot . Lee’s work has been praised as “deeply human,” “powerful,” and “mind-bending historical fiction.”

Website: https://toscalee.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorToscaLee/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/ToscaLee

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/toscalee/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/ show/427839.Tosca_Lee

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tosca-lee

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tosca-Lee/e/ B 001 JPCC 42

ABOUT MARCUS BROTHERTON

Marcus Brotherton is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly , and Wall Street Journal bestselling author or coauthor of more than twenty-five books that have been called “fascinating,” “brilliantly arranged,” “magical,” and “refreshingly frank.”

Website: https://marcusbrotherton.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcus.brotherton. nw

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ marcusbrotherton/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/ show/ 92080 .Marcus_Brotherton

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marcusbrotherton

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Marcus-Brotherton/e/ B 001 JP 0 ZR 8

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THE HORROR MOVIES AND TRUE CRIME THAT INSPIRED THE GOLDEN GIRLS

The Golden Girls was on air from 19851992 and pop culture references abound throughout the series. From films like Psycho (1960) to books like ones from acclaimed mystery novelist Agatha Christie, the show and its characters were aware of the spooky stories that pervaded America at the time. They were even affected by these tales in particular episodes. This essay will explore the horror movies and true crimes that were at the forefront of the minds of The Golden Girls and delve into how these genres played a role in the series as a whole. From cultural lore passed down through oral storytelling by Rose (Betty White) and Sophia (Estelle Getty), to the plots ripped from the headlines, The Golden Girls reflected how horror and true crime were viewed by women and, in turn, affected these characters’ actions, ways of thinking, and navigating as single women during this time period. Horror and true crime have been a part of our society for generations. Whether it was a ghost story told around the campfire or a tale

told to warn of potential dangers, scary stories have a way of sticking with us. They allow us to experience empathy and think about what we would do in unlikely scenarios. Danish professor Mathias Clasen has extensively studied horror fans and believes “watching scary things allows us to trigger our fight-orflight response while feeling safe, which in turn lets us feel as if we’re overcoming our fears and anxieties.” 1 The characters in The Golden Girls may not have been big horror fans but were undoubtedly aware of the genre and its impact on their lives.

Early in season one, the girls come home from a Madonna concert to find that their house has been broken into. “The Break-In” balances the humor and hopelessness of the situation while giving each character their own journey through the process of recovery. Looking for a solution to feel safer, a home security system

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1 Clasen, Mathias. (November 28, 2017) “Lessons From a Terrified Horror Researcher.” Tedx Talks, YouTube.

salesman stops by to sell them a unit. He claims “one out of every three people will be the victim of a violent crime.” Is there any truth to this? Break-in statistics for the United States show that during the 1980s, burglaries were over three million per year while in 2019, the number went down to near one million. 2 Older individuals are currently targeted in crimes pertaining to money including fake prizes and sweepstakes, investment scams, and insurance fraud. It would seem that with the advent of technology these crimes are on the rise but a study in 1979 showed that even then, burglary, robbery, and fraud were the crimes most frequently committed against the elderly. 3

Rose says, “You know why this happened? Because we’re without men.” This purports

2 (2019) “United States Crime Rates 1960-2019.” Disaster Center.com.

3 Dussich, J. (1979) “Overview of Elderly Victimization.” US Department of Justice.

that the presence of men deters criminals from entering a home. Is there a basis to this?

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “Households composed of single males were more likely than those composed of single females to experience a burglary while no one was home. However, households composed of single males and single females were equally likely to experience a burglary while the residence was occupied.” 4 Another key point to note is that most burglaries took place during the day while people were out of their homes versus during the night when residents would likely be home sleeping. 5 The girls may have felt safer with a male presence around but it wouldn’t have necessarily prevented the crime. Blanche (Rue McClanahan) says “It’s

4 Catalano, Shannon Ph.D. (September 2010) “National Crime Victimization Survey.” U.S. Department of Justice.

5 Catalano, Shannon Ph.D. (September 2010) “National Crime Victimization Survey.” U.S. Department of Justice.

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karma…. Crime is caused by karma. Some people give out an energy that attracts misfortune. They become victims.” This theory often leads to victim blaming in crime and is an unhealthy way of looking at these situations. In the study of communication, this is seen as the “just world hypothesis.” People will tend to believe that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people therefore, if something bad happened to you, you must have done something to deserve it. According to Professor Barbara Gilin at Widener University, “many people tend to default to victim-blaming thoughts and behaviors as a defense mechanism in the face of bad news… while people tend to be able to accept natural disasters as unavoidable, many feel that they have a little more control over whether they become victims of crimes, that they can take precautions that will protect them. Therefore, some people have a harder time accepting that the victims of these crimes didn’t contribute to (and bear some responsibility for) their own victimization.” 6 We should instead look at situations objectively and not pass judgment on victims for their perceived role in a crime. Rose resorts to purchasing mace and even a gun for home protection. How often is this the case? According to a Gallup poll, 14% of Americans say they carry mace or pepper spray for self-defense while 12% carry a gun. 7 The poll also found that those who were a victim of crime were more likely to take measures to try to prevent further occurrences in the future. What about gun ownership? Was it realistic that Rose purchased a gun? It was, although she would have been in the minority of women. “Personal

6 Roberts, Kayleigh. (October 5, 2016) “The Psychology of Victim Blaming.” The Atlantic.

7 Carroll, Joseph. (October 26, 2007) “How Americans Protect Themselves From Crime.” Gallup.

ownership of firearms has not appreciably changed for women from 1980 through 2014. Between 9% and 14% of women personally owned a firearm during those years and there is no meaningful trend in the level of personal ownership. In 1980, 10.1% personally owned a firearm and in 2014 11.7% did. Men are much more likely to personally own a firearm than women are, but the gender gap has narrowed due to a decline in personal firearm ownership among men.” 8 With modern home security systems becoming more common it will be interesting to follow crime and burglary trends over the coming years. A 2021 study by the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice found that “an increase in security alarm installation caused a decrease in burglaries over five years.” 9

The girls convince Rose to see a psychiatrist to confront her fears. The psychology of feeling violated after a break-in occurs is a real trauma for people that may take quite some time to recover from. There is a serious psychological effect of being the victim of a break-in that can cause feelings of fear which can affect sleep and other routines. Some people may experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which can include nightmares, flashbacks, and even

9 Loveland,

2021)

8 Smith, Tom W and Son, Jaesok. (March 2015) “Trends in Gun Ownership in the United States, 1972-2014.” University of Chicago.
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Mariel. (September 28, “Do Security Cameras and Alarms Deter Crime?” Angi.com.

physical pain. “It’s estimated that one in five people who experience a traumatic event go on to develop symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. A report published in 2016 by the Office for National Statistics found that 81% of domestic burglary victims described being emotionally affected by the incident, of which 21% were significantly affected. Allianz Insurance research demonstrates that it takes around eight months for victims of burglary to feel safe at home, whilst a UIA Insurance survey found that 60% of adults surveyed ‘never feel safe in their homes again’.” 10 Treatment for PTSD can vary from therapy to medications and the Mayo Clinic recommends getting enough sleep, following your treatment plan, and seeking the support of others. 11 Rose certainly did this to try to overcome her fears. The girls reference many incidents of true crime throughout the series. “The Auction” in season four contains a line about Rose consuming too much sugar before bed and Dorothy exclaiming “I’m surprised you didn’t try to kill the mayor of San Francisco” which refers to the 1979 trial of Dan White who assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and his Supervisor Harvey Milk. White used what became known as “The Twinkie Defense,” a phrase coined to explain

10 (2022) “PTSD Following a Burglary.” PTSDUK.org.

11 (2022) “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Mayo Clinic.

his mental state at the time of the murders. White purportedly consumed a large amount of sugary drinks and foods, like Twinkies, so his legal team argued that this caused him to have diminished capacity. The jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter instead of the more serious charge of first-degree murder and Thomas Szasz, a psychiatrist and critic of forensic psychiatry, called the verdict a “travesty of justice” which he blamed on the diminished capacity defense. 12

Why are women so drawn to true crime? In “The Break-In,” Sophia quotes the psychiatrist saying, “We’re afraid because our mothers taught us to be afraid.” A study in Social Psychological and Personality Science found, “when given a choice of violent reading material, women overwhelmingly opted to read true stories about the death and dismemberment of victims much like themselves. Men, however, were more likely to choose nonfiction books about war or gang violence than those in the ‘true crime’ genre.” 13 The researchers thought this could be due to women wanting to learn more about true crime so they

12 Szasz, Thomas. (August 6, 1979) “How Dan White Got Away With Murder.”Inquiry. San Francisco, California: 17–21.

13 Yates, Diana. (February 15, 2010) “Women, More Than Men, Choose True Crime Over Other Violent Nonfiction.” Illinois News Bureau.

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can try to prevent it from happening to them in the future. Psychotherapist and counselor, Rhea Gandhi said, “In reality, women are often the victims or survivors of crime, rather than perpetrators. Perhaps we are drawn to this genre in search of a sense of justice…As women living in a deeply patriarchal society, feeling unsafe and frightened is almost a constant state of mind, and perhaps, our deep desire to feel safe and protected by legal systems is sublimated when we watch stories where justice prevails. That sense of justice we feel at the end of a true crime film or series reflects our desire to be a part of social and legal systems that work tirelessly towards women’s safety and protection.”

14 Rose ultimately overcomes her fear in “The Break-In ‘’ by kicking a perceived attacker in an off-screen retelling of the ordeal. Through this, she realizes, “I can take care of myself.” May we all feel empowered, safe, and confident in our own bodies and surroundings!

Kelly Florence teaches communication at Lake Superior College in Duluth, MN and is the best-selling co-author of six books: The Science of Monsters, the Bram Stoker nominated The Science of Women in Horror, The Science of Stephen King, The Science of Serial Killers, The Science of Witchcraft and the forthcoming The Science of Agatha Christie. She is also the co-host of the Horror Rewind podcast and host of Be a Better Communicator

14 Sharma, Megha. (February 20, 2020) “This Might Be the Reason Why Women are Obsessed With True Crime Stories,” Vogue.

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QUICK
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INTERVIEW Quick & Easy MARK RICE

Q IT’S BEEN A FEW YEARS SINCE YOU RELEASED METALLIC DREAMS. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO PUBLISHING WISE SINCE THEN?

I’ve put out some new material even though my main work focus has been the Metallic Dreams sequel (which is now longer than all three books of The Lord of the Rings combined). In 2015 I released Heathen Howff , an assortment of my short stories, philosophy and poetry. Then in 2020 I put out The Cabin Incident , a shortish story that’s a grown-up reimagining of Goldilocks and the Three Bears . I had fun with that. In 2021 I released Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Eejit – a riotous short story in which a few of my favourite folk (ZZ Top, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and the entire Ancient Aliens cast) confront a US President (who bears a striking resemblance to one eejit who actually did that job) and challenge him to tell the truth live on air, resulting in some astonishing revelations. And I’m just about to release a new shortish story called Love in a Wyrd World .

Q. WHAT GENRE DO YOU FEEL YOUR WRITING STYLE FITS INTO AND WHY?

It doesn’t fit into any one genre. I’ve never written formulaic stories. Most writers do (and some make a good living at it). Some authors imagine their “ideal reader” and then write for that person. This makes those writers slaves, though: slaves to an imaginary reader who doesn’t actually exist. I strive to create art that’s a true uncensored expression of myself, not a product contrived for someone else (real or imagined). I write the stories I’d want to read. Consequently, I’m never held back by worries that haunt other writers (such as, ‘Would Flossie my ideal reader approve of Dave the barman saying “f*ck”?’). My approach is more along the lines of, ‘Dave the f*cking barman is a f*cker who f*cking says whatever the f*ck is on his f*cking mind, so the f*cking readers will just have to underf*ckingstand that.’ And for the most part, the f*cking readers do. My

philosophies and ideals underpin all I write. Like Aesop’s Fables (which I loved as a child and still love today), there’s always a moral and lessons to be learned. Always a coherent point.

Back to your question of genre, though. There are elements of magical realism in most of my stories. There’s also a heavy folklore influence, aspects of fantasy, some occultism, swathes of philosophy, a huge musical influence, poetic flourishes, and animals as key figures: gatekeepers to deeper knowledge and

understanding, just as they are in the physical Universe. Rather than fitting into a specific category, my work is a blend of “write what you know”, “write what you experience”, and “right wrongs”. That’s the crux of it. The stories are designed to entertain, but they’re also meant to wake folk up, to tear away the layers of hypocrisy, delusion, falsehood and cruelty that exist around most adult humans. If Anti-Nonsense were a genre, I’d be the one spearheading that vanguard.

Q. OF ALL THE

Most of my readers will expect me to say Spark MacDubh from Metallic

WRITING YOU HAVE DONE, WHICH CHARACTER DO YOU FEEL THE BIGGEST CONNECTION TO, AND WHAT STORY/BOOK IS THAT CHARACTER FROM?
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Dreams . He’s my alter ego but I don’t feel a connection to him as such. It’s more like Spark is me and I am him; there’s no separation. The character I feel the strongest connection to is Sunshower, also from Metallic Dreams . Whilst most of the characters in that book are based on real-life people I know, Sunshower is not. She fell fully formed out of the sky and landed in my mind one cold dark night. I saw her and heard her more vividly than I see and hear people in the “real world”. Still do. A gift from the literary gods. I feel an equally strong connection to the rabbit Fluff in the Metallic Dreams series. There’s a good reason for that. She’s based on a rabbit who was my furry familiar for many years – a best friend and constant companion… and an occasional literary critic. One night I dozed off on the sofa while reading Bernard Cornwell’s book Stonehenge . I woke up to find the rabbit lying on my chest (her favourite place to sprawl) and the entire front cover of Stonehenge gone. She’d eaten the whole thing! Another day on that same sofa, I was just about to bite into a wholemeal roll and cheese. Fluff launched herself onto my lap, grabbed the roll between her teeth, frisbeed it across the room, then pounced on it and devoured the lot. I was left staring at my empty hand and going, “Did that actually just happen?” It wasn’t all vandalism with her, though. She spent much more time dishing out affection. Multiple times each day, she would obsessively lick my nose, forehead, eyelids and cheeks (always in that order) before getting comfortable on my chest and having a nap. I didn’t

like to move her from there (that would have been a profane act), so I often typed for hours with only my right hand, whilst my left hand supported Fluff’s weight. I wrote around 30% of the original Metallic Dreams manuscript that way: with a rabbit’s heart beating against mine. Pure love.

Q. IF SOMEONE HAD NO IDEA OF YOUR BOOKS, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU SUGGEST THEY READ AND WHY?

That depends on the person’s attention span. To seasoned readers who love to lose themselves – or find themselves – in a sprawling epic book, I’d recommend Metallic Dreams It’s a story that readers can really get their teeth into. (That reminds me of an incident involving the American writer Flannery O’Connor. When she received a letter from a disgruntled reader who wrote, ‘Your book left a bad taste in my mouth,’ O’Connor replied, ‘You weren’t supposed to eat it.’) For folk who prefer a bite-sized read (you’re not supposed to eat it!), Heathen Howff is a good bet – it contains thirty-six short works, each of which can be enjoyed in a single sitting. Then there are my standalone stories that came later. I recommend The Cabin Incident to everyone who loves bears (and if you don’t, what the hell’s wrong with you?). My newest shortish story –Love in a Wyrd World – is a good starting point for readers who favour faeries over humans.

Q. METALLIC DREAMS HAS SOME VERY EXPLICIT SCENES. DID YOU WORRY YOU MIGHT OFFEND SOME READERS?

No.

Q. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH NEXT IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER?

Completion of the big sequel. Release of the big sequel. Watching the big sequel hit #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list (as Metallic Dreams did). Receipt of heartfelt praise for the big sequel. Receipt of some infuriated messages along the lines of,

or

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to follow.
link

“That big sequel rubbed me the wrong way!” (To which I’ll reply, “You weren’t supposed to masturbate with it.”) Production companies fighting over the TV rights to the Metallic Dreams series. My bank balance soaring. Me using that cash to comprehensively unf*ck the world before I release my next collection of shortish stories (which is 95% done – it contains folklore-influenced tales with a difference).

One artist is currently creating a graphic novel of Metallic Dreams . Periodically I receive copies of her sketches. These are a joy to behold; it’s fascinating to see her visual interpretations of the original book. Some of her drawings are eerily close to the images I saw in my mind as I was writing the story. I’ll be interested to see the finished product and to hear the responses of readers.

A Greek translation of Metallic Dreams has been done (by my friend and brother-in-metal Dimitrios) and an initial paperback print run has already happened. The response from Greek readers has been overwhelmingly positive. There’s the occasional critic too, of course. One long-haired and long-bearded Orthodox Greek priest (who looks like he should be fronting a Scandinavian metal band) took offence at the paperback. After one look at the proposed cover art, he flew into a rage, tore the artwork to shreds, then declared (in Greek), “If this book is ever released in Greece, I’ll burn it in my church and will declare the author a heretic.” You can guess what happened next, I’m sure. The priest mysteriously received a copy of the finished Greek translation, which he burned in his church before declaring me a heretic. Which feels good, I admit. I’ve always been a heretic. It’s nice to be getting some recognition for it at long last. The next print run of the Greek novel will be bigger than the first. It’ll be good to reach even more readers there. Dimitrios had a heck of a time with certain aspects of the translation – mainly the Scottish dialogue and terminology. It’s not that he didn’t understand it. He did. He understood it all. He’d lived in Scotland for years and so knew the lingo. Also, his knowledge of English is broader and deeper than that of most folk who grow up speaking it as a first language. His translating difficulties involved particular Scots words that don’t have an exact Greek equivalent. Tadger, for example. Penis, you can translate exactly into Greek. Tadger, not so. This resulted in an hour-long phone conversation

between me and Dimitrios, during which we took great pains to decide on the best possible Greek variation of tadger . This may seem like a trivial detail, but it’s not. After all, depending on whom you believe, God (or the Devil) is in the details. And so it was with many of the slang words and phrases from Metallic Dreams : certain Greek terms were close approximations, but the nuances were different. Driven by determination to create a Greek incarnation that was unflinchingly true to the original book, Dimitrios worked for years on the translation, eventually shaping it into a version that’s as “pure” as possible. It’s fair to say that he worked on it religiously, for he approached the text with love, respect and tireless dedication, treating the book as a sacred thing. For that I feel huge gratitude. I’d love to see Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish translations next, as that region is metal music’s main breeding ground. Metallic Dreams would go down a storm there.

So that’s what’s next for me. Sequel first. Then the unf*cking of the world. There are genocidal tyrants getting away with the worst atrocities while hiding behind facades of “corporate respectability”. That won’t do.

ABOUT MARK RICE

Raised in a house that didn’t have television. Grew up surrounded by music, poetry, mythology, literature and animals. That pretty much sums it up.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Rice/e/B004ZNBL38

www.twitter.com/Metallic_Dreams

www.metallicdreams.wordpress.com

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www.goodreads.com/metallicdreams www.facebook.com/SparkMacDubh

JAMES QUINN

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM FEBRUARY 2023

RELATABLE VOICE MAGAZINE

Our February cover star is the talented actor James Quinn. James is known for The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Checkmate (2019) and Sandman (2018).

James is also a writer, producer and director. Check out his new movie The Consumer which is out now.

Hello James, welcome to the Relatable Voice Magazine.When did you decided to become an actor?

My interest sparked in 1985 on the heels of Back To The Future. It was mesmerizing to me.

I didn’t actually do any acting until 1989. I would go on to do small bit parts or background during the 1990’s every so often. I wouldn´t actually pursue it as a profession until 2011.

What do you like about acting the most and the least?

The thing I like most about acting is the creative process. Developing a character and bringing it to life. It’s intoxicating to escape into a new world.

The thing a like the least about acting is the waiting on your next job.

I love just going from one project to another but unfortunately that’s not always possible in our business.

Did you take up any formal training in acting?

I started with local workshops and background on big sets. I’ve gotten amazing advice from some of the best in the business.

My best training however has come onset in the moment. You can’t put a price on just doing it. Your biggest investment needs to be in yourself.

I came back to acting in 2011 and pursued it �� . I had just finished up a long run in construction and union politics which was exhausting ultimately led to me needing a positive change. This may sound crazy but acting has always brought me balance.

How is this character Grady Sanders like you? Different?

I would say he is very much like me. I wrote the screenplay for SANDMAN as most of the story pertains to my own journey. The ex boxer who left the union over political

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19

differences and had to find his way back in life is absolutely my story. It was very surreal to see how art mirrors your own life. It was very therapeutic in a cinematic way.

Do you like something other than

acting?

I like playing Ice hockey and boxing. I’ve always enjoyed fitness at high levels.

How is your experience working in the industry so far?

I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of positive experiences in the business. We have not so great experiences as well but I always say if you can learn from each experience then you never loose because you take that knowledge forward with you.

Who are your biggest influences?

My biggest influences I would have to say are Michael Keaton, Michael J Fox, Humphrey Bogart, Bruce Willis, Nicholas Guest, Roddy Piper & Jimmy Stewart.

I’m my opinion I believe these men have all impacted the business in a very positive way. Each bringing something new and amazing to the table. They sell a story with so much more than just dialogue and good writing. They sell it with their body language, with their eyes and with their hearts. It’s next level.

Which role that you have played you like the most?

My favorite role I’ve played so far has been Grady Sanders. It’s because the story is so close to my real life. It was the most personal I’ve ever been on film and the closest I will ever come to playing myself.

What

message would you want to give

Thank you for always supporting my work and interacting with me on social media and in life. You make all the difference. At the end of the day the fans have the right to

cheer you or to boo you. The fact that they take the time to take this journey with you. It means everything. It also means your making a difference.

What, according to you, is the best part of your work?

The creative process and end result. To see your own vision come true or to help bring other people visions to life.

How does it feel to be a star and how did fame change you?

I think if I look at my stardom as yet to come I’ll always have

or

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link to follow.

something to pursue and to

What attracts you to a role now?

The thing that most attracts me to a role now is something fresh. Exciting characters, New journeys, and stories that have not yet been told or can be told from a new perspective.

Every industry, including the entertainment industry, is full of competition; what do you do to stand out ?

Much like my inspirations the thing that makes me stand out is my body language on camera. My willingness to give everything I have, both mentally and physically. Also to try and conduct myself like a professional and gentleman on set.

What do you do to handle the pressure that comes with your work?

The pressure will always be there so embrace it. I try to make that energy a positive instead of a negative. Sometimes that pressure is what brings out my best. No time to think and just react.

Do you have experience acting in television or film?

I have acted in quite a bit of film and

television over the years on both Hollywood and independent projects.

What is the first thing you do to research and approach a role?

I try to get to know the character intimately. You need to try to get to get into that persons mindset. Visit people who have has similar experiences and take notes.

Any exciting new projects?

Yes my newest projects include “The 12th Letter” based off the novel The 12th Letter written by authors Jackie Hovorka. I also have a new film getting to ready to film called “Strange Angels “ based off the novel Strange Angels written by author Ernest Keegan.

ABOUT JAMES QUINN

James Quinn is an American born award winning actor. He most recently won best actor for The 12th Letter at both “The COLFF” and “The Digital Griffix” film festivals. He is also a director , writer & talk show host from Pittsburgh PA. James is known for such films as SANDMAN, The 12th Letter, The Boonies, Checkmate, No Knock List, Before The Border, The Dark Knight Rises, Pro Wrestlers Vs Zombies, (CBS) One Dollar, Mayor Of Kingstown, and plenty more.

James has appeared on the cover of Artistic Platforms Magazine 4 times in recognition of his work.

He has both national and international distribution of several of his films. James also has a background in Ice Hockey, amateur boxing, & basketball.

James in recent years has written numerous movie scripts and has begun directing his own films as well.

https://www.instagram.com/ realjamesquinn/?hl=en

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AUDIO BOOK REVIEW

THE LINE BETWEEN & A SINGLE LIGHT TOSCA LEE

20 HOURS OF HEARTSTOPPING GREATNESS

On a road trip this month, I picked up The Line Between & A Single Light in audiobook from my local library. It was fortuitous because while I had read the first book in the series, I was only able to get the second in audiobook format. We had 17 hours of windshield

that when listening to these books I didn't have to worry that the storyline was filled with subject matter that I was embarrassed to hear with my mother sitting next to me or that my daughter was not ready for

Overall:

These books have everything a family could want in an audiobook series. There was snappy dialogue, fast passed action, heart breaking loss and feel-good moments.

The writing is brilliant—even after I finished the last chapter I was dying for more, I wanted to know what happened even after the happily ever after.

I don't want to go all series-fan-girl, but I really hope that Ms. Lee makes another in this series so that I can see her vision for the reboot of society.

time to fill but did not think it was fair to make everyone else in the car listen to the 2nd book in the series since they would have no idea of the backstory and why things were happening. So, my 77-year-old mother and 13-year-old daughter also listened to the audiobooks with me.

I am happy to report that all three of us were captivated by the story and it made the drivetime fly. The character development was spot on, Ms. Lee took a sheltered heroine and turned her into a true Hero, not just for women but for all the world. I loved

Audio:

Perfect narration, very well 5-star performance. The narrator Cassandra Campbell exceeded expectations and was able to infuse each character's dialogue with perfect inflection.

About The Reviewer - Deena Rae

Deena Rae was born and raised in Texas – home of bluebonnets, boots, beef and big hair – into a family that was in the printing and publishing industries.

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MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT SUN 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 MAY BOOK RELEASES 14 Allied with the Norse 17 Heart's Cove Hotties 7-9 19 Promised To the Orc 22 Saving The Lady 29 Quest for the Sacred Tree BOOK RELEASES 3 Heart's Cove Hotties 1-3 9 Witch Brew 2 10 Heart's Cove Hotties 4-6 10 Recruited in the Shadows 11 Hunting A Tyrant CLICK HERETO BE LISTED Wild & Windy Chicago Westin O'Hare Chicago, IllinoisI Motorcycles, Mobsters, & Mayhem North Coroe, TX Imaginarium Book Festival Washington DC Firelands Showcase Cleveland, OH Northern Ohio Writers Guild Sandusky, OH 24 REMINDER: This is an interactive magazine. Click on book cover or link to follow.
MON TUES WED THURS FRI SAT SUN Flirty in Tampa Tampa, Florida JUNE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Historical Novel Society - North America San Antonio, TX & Online
RELEASES 14 The Viking Settlers 16 Blade of Lies and Spirits 19 The Blackmore Collection 26 A Summer of Opposites 27 Isekai Park CLICK HERETO BE LISTED
RELEASES 4 Wraith Novels Books 1-3 6 Pine Grove Mysteries: Vol 1 7 Conquest 12 Hell Fae Warden 12 Science Fair Trilogy Wine & Sign Sandusky, OH BIPOC Showcase Shaker Heights OH Firelands Showcase Cleveland, OH 25 REMINDER: This is an interactive magazine. Click on book cover or link to follow.
BOOK
BOOK

Quick & Easy

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QUICK INTERVIEW
26
DIONNE LISTER

Q WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING YOU PUBLISHED AND HOW HAS YOUR WRITING JOURNEY EVOLVED?

I published Shadows of the Realm in April 2012. It’s a YA epic fantasy with dragons and the first of a trilogy. My writing has improved, of course, but the biggest change is that now I write paranormal cozy mysteries. Since 2018, I’ve written six books a year, but back when I released my first novel, I wrote one a year, and I was doing it part-time. Now I’m full-time, I can write more. I’ve gone from a hopeful author to one who makes a living from publishing her own work.

Q. HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR SHIFT FROM FANTASY WITH YOUR “SHADOWS OF THE REALM” TO YOUR COZY MYSTERIES?

I shifted to cozy mysteries because it suited my humour, and they’re not as involved to write—more light-hearted, which is what I needed in my life when I shifted genres. It was good that I shifted though because my cozy mysteries are way more popular than my fantasies, and it’s allowed me to write full-time.

Q. OUT OF ALL THE WRITING YOU HAVE DONE, WHICH CHARACTER DO YOU FEEL THE BIGGEST CONNECTION TO AND FROM WHAT STORY/BOOK IS THAT CHARACTER FROM?

Lily Bianchi, the main character in my Paranormal Investigation Bureau series . She’s a twenty-four-year-old Australian witch who ends up flying to England to help find her missing brother. She loves coffee, squirrels, and doesn’t take herself

too seriously. She’s also fiercely loyal, honest, and brave. I just love her, and she makes me laugh.

Q. IF SOMEONE HAD NO IDEA OF YOUR BOOKS, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU SUGGEST THEY READ AND WHY?

Witchnapped in Westerham is the first book in my Paranormal Investigation Bureau series. It’s a fairly fast-paced, fun, lighthearted read, and the ebook is free �� I t als o has over 8000 positive ratings and reviews on Amazon, and I have a lot of fans because of that book. I have readers who are waiting for book 21 in the series, which is out later in 2023. When I started writing this book (and series), my goal was to write something that was easy and relaxing to read, something that would uplift people, and I feel I’ve accomplished that.

Q. HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR MAGICALLY GIFTED AND CHALLENGED CHARACTERS TO COME TO LIFE?

I write close point of view, and I’m always mindful of digging deep into how they’re feeling—both emotionally and physical—in the moment. I let their thoughts come out on the page. And, of course, every character has their own way of looking at the world. I make sure to be consistent and mindful when writing actions and reactions for all my characters. I also show and not tell in pivotal moments, and I write in first person pov.

Q. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH NEXT IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER?

I would love to write a book that sells over a

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million copies, and a TV deal would be awesome. On a more realistic level, I would like to sell more books year on year. I make a living from my writing, which was always the dream, but now I’d love to improve my sales and catch up to the top authors in my genre. It won’t be easy, but at least I’ll have fun trying ��

ABOUT DIONNE LISTER

USA Today bestselling author (November 2017), Dionne Lister is a Sydneysider with a degree in creative writing and two Siamese cats. Daydreaming has always been her passion, so writing was a natural progression from staring out the window in primary school, and being an author was a dream she held

since childhood.

Unfortunately, writing was only a hobby while Dionne worked as a property valuer in Sydney, until her mid-thirties when she returned to study and completed her creative writing degree. Since then, she has indulged her passion for writing while raising two children with her husband. Her books have attracted praise from Apple Books and have reached #1 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple Books charts worldwide, frequently occupying top 100 lists in fantasy and mystery.

Dionne previously worked as an editor, has published a YA epic fantasy series called The Circle of Talia, and is currently writing The Rose of Nerine fantasy series and the Paranormal Investigation Bureau cozy mystery series. Shadows of the Realm has been translated into Spanish and Italian, and is available at all ebook stores, and Witchnapped in Westerham has been translated into German. You can find Dionne on her website www.dionnelisterwriter.com and other social media.

Facebook Instagram :

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AUDIO BOOK REVIEW

Truth or Kill

Twisted Legends Collection, Book 1 A.C. Kramer

This book gets off to an unassuming start … seemingly some college kids going away (albeit to lush accommodations, as they’re obscenely rich kids) for Spring break. Despite this, there’s nothing really cliché or dull about it, if that makes sense. Kramer has a way of keeping things fresh.

And … before long it turns dangerous, dark and twisty. You may just want to hold on for this one, because it’s a bit of a wild ride.

I loved every second of this book. So much that many times I backed it up and re-listened to entire chapters. It is so juicy, packs all sorts of

Scandal.

Entitled rich people.

Heinous crimes, covered up with money/power.

Mysteries everywhere.

Betrayal.

A hint of romance.

Violence.

SA / attempted SA.

Knife play.

Danger … have I mentioned danger?!

Revenge.

Absolutely fascinating moral codes / standards.

Twists.

Passion.

Based on an urban legend.

Remote location / trapped vibes. ALL THE STARS FOR THIS ABSOLUTELY DERANGED MASTERPIECE.

Audio:

The audiobook is pure perfection in all aspects:

Female narrator.

Male narrator.

Their respective voices.

Their performance (rather than robot-style reading).

Sound quality.

About The Reviewer - Pelican Freak

Pelican Freak is the online alter ego of an author PA who works with authors in all genres, some of who are international best sellers. Pelican Freak reads all genres and is brutally honest in what is reviewed.

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"ABSOLUTELY DERANGED. (AMAZING.) "

PRINT VS DIGITAL

IT'S NOT EITHER OR

As technology continues to advance, the publishing industry has undergone significant changes in recent years. Today, authors have more options than ever when it comes to publishing their work, including both traditional hard copy publishing and digital publishing. However, the question remains: which option is best? In this article, we'll explore why authors should consider publishing their books in both hard copy and digital formats.

HARD COPY PUBLISHING

There's no denying the appeal of a physical book. Holding a book in your hands, flipping through its pages, and even the scent of a newly printed book can be a pleasurable experience for readers. Hard copy publishing also has some other benefits that authors should consider.

Firstly, physical books have a sense of permanence that digital books lack. They can be stored on bookshelves and passed down from generation to generation. They also have a certain tactile quality that makes them more memorable than digital books, which can be easily forgotten or lost in the shuffle of a busy digital library. Besides, there is something decadent about walking into a room filled with fully-stocked bookshelves lining the walls.

Secondly, hard copy books can be great for marketing and building an author's brand. Signing physical copies of a book can be a personal and memorable experience for readers, and it's a great way to build a relationship with them. Additionally, a physical book can catch someone's eye in a bookstore or library, even if they were not previously familiar with the author

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"There is no denying the appeal of a physical book, flipping pages or convienence of digital books

or their work. How many books have you purchased or checked out from the library that you had no intention of doing so when you walked in the doors?

DIGITAL PUBLISHING

While physical books have their advantages, digital publishing also offers numerous benefits that authors should not ignore. In particular, digital publishing is a great way to reach a wider audience. With the rise of e-readers and tablets, readers can access digital books from anywhere in the world. The fact that many people read ebooks on their phones, which they are rarely without, is another reason for the popularity of digital books. This means that authors who publish digitally have the potential to reach readers who may not have been able to access their work otherwise.

Digital publishing is also much more costeffective than hard copy publishing. There are no printing or shipping costs associated with digital books, and authors can often set their own prices, which can lead to higher profits. Additionally, digital publishing allows for easy updates and revisions, meaning that authors can quickly and easily make changes to their work without having to print a new edition.

WHY BOTH FORMATS ARE IMPORTANT

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between hard copy and digital publishing. Both formats have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. However, there is no reason why authors cannot take advantage of both formats.

Publishing a book in both hard copy and digital formats can help authors reach a wider audience, build their brand, and maximize their profits. By publishing in both formats, authors can cater to the preferences of all types of readers, whether they prefer to read on a device or curl up with a physical book.

In conclusion, authors should consider publishing their books in both hard copy and digital formats. While physical books have a certain charm and permanence that digital books lack, digital publishing offers greater accessibility and cost-effectiveness. There will always be readers who only read printed books or ebooks, by publishing in both formats, authors can take advantage of the benefits of each and reach the largest possible audience.

ABOUT DEENA RAE

Deena Rae was born and raised in Texas – home of bluebonnets, boots, beef and big hair – into a family that was in the printing and publishing industries.

With a total of 20 years in publishing, in 2010 she decided to branch out as eBookBuilders helping established & new authors, designing books, ebooks and websites.

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INTERVIEW Upclose & Personal ALEXANDREA WEIS 32 REMINDER: This is an interactive magazine. Click on book cover or link to follow.

Q: WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING YOU PUBLISHED AND HOW HAS YOUR WRITING JOURNEY EVOLVED?

My first novel was To My Senses and self-published. It has been a crazy ride since that book came out in 2007. I now have over 36 published novels which include works with publishers and more selfpublished tittles. My writing has changed dramatically and will continue to change as I team up with different editors and write new stories. I explored new genres and discovered what I love to write. It’s an evolving process. Being a writer is never a stagnant position. You are always changing.

Q: TENNESSE WILLIAMS WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO GIVE YOU WRITING ADVICE, CAN YOU TELL US WHAT THAT ADVICE WAS AND HOW IT CAME ABOUT?

He was a family friend, and we spoke a lot when I was a little girl. I didn’t know who he was then, just one of my father’s crazy friends. He talked to me about characters and how to write them. He shared a lot about how to make characters real and how to make them real for the reader. I was a small child, but I still remember his advice.

Q: OF ALL THE WRITING YOU HAVE DONE, WHICH CHARACTER DO YOU FEEL THE BIGGEST CONNECTION TO, AND WHAT STORY/BOOK IS THAT CHARACTER FROM?

Each character has a little piece of me in them. The one I connected with the most was Nicci Beauvoir in my first novel, To My Senses.  I felt she was so much a part of me, a part of my life, and she shared so much of the world I grew up in. One character I also felt most connected to, even though she lived almost two thousand years ago, was Roxana in Realm . Her story

was one I had wanted to write since I first read about her at sixteen. I believe she was forgotten by history. She was loved by Alexander the Great and had to be someone of immense importance to have traveled everywhere with him and given him his only heir. I’m a history geek, and her story meant a great deal to me.

Q: HOW DOES YOUR LIFE AS A REGISTERED NURSE BLEND WITH YOUR LIFE AS AN AUTHOR AND DO THE TWO OVERLAP OR CONNECT?

Nursing is more than a job, it is a mindset because it teaches you to think differently. Being a nurse made me a better writer because it taught me to look at the human condition in more detail. I’ve seen many struggle to live and watched others die. I’ve been there for the best and worst days for many. That remains with you as a writer, and you know how to show that emotion. It also makes me a stickler for medical accuracy in books, probably why I love writing thrillers with twisted characters who kill in the most insane ways.

Q: IF SOMEONE HAD NO IDEA OF YOUR BOOKS, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU SUGGEST THEY READ AND WHY?

River of Ashes , book 1 in the St. Benedict Series, would be my best suggestion. That story is dark, sinister, and has the point of view of a diabolical character, the kind I love to write. But it is also a cautionary tale. It represents what I love to write—twisted characters in a dark, gothic Louisiana setting with a whole lot of ghosts and murder.

Q: WHEN YOU WRITE YOUR BOOKS SET IN LOUISIANA, DO YOU CONSIDER THE LOCATION TO BE A CHARACTER OR ARE

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follow.

WOULD YOU CONSIDER THEM AN ODE TO NOLA OR LOUISIANA?

Whenever I write about my state or city, it is another character in the book. You can’t understand or absorb the setting unless you feel it, and you have got to feel Louisiana to understand her. New Orleans is my hometown, and I love writing about the history and dark stories living there. You can never run out of material from this area.

Q: HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE TYPING “THE END” ON A MANUSCRIPT?

The End written on a book is the beginning of editing and rewrites. For me, the end of a book is when it goes to formatting, and I never have to reread it. That is when I celebrate, usually by starting another book.

Q: ASIDE FROM BEING A NURSE AND AWARD WINNING AUTHOR YOU ARE ALSO A WILDLIFE REHABBER, HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH THAT?

I’m a huge animal advocate. I have rescued the four-legged and furry all my life, even rescued racehorses as a teenager. I always loved wildlife, and when I took in my first baby squirrel, I was smitten. I got my permit with the Wildlife and Fisheries and have been saving what I can ever since. Juggling writing and rehabbing gets trying, but those adorable fuzzy faces of wildlife babies are like crack. I even put my addiction in a romance novel about a wildlife rehabber called  Broken Wings.

Q: CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE MENAGERIE YOU HAVE AT HOME – THE ANIMALS AND THEIR PERSONALITIES?

I have a slew of rescued animals, which keeps my husband and I very busy. Dogs, cats, turtles, fish, and one obnoxious African gray parrot named Bird.

Q: WOULD YOU RATHER WRITE SERIES OR STAND ALONE NOVELS, AND WHY?

I love series. They are harder to write because you have so much to keep track of, but the world-building you can do and the character arcs allow you so much more creativity. Most books I start as standalone eventually end up as a series because I can never let the story go. River of Ashes began that way, but I became so invested in the world and adored the characters I wanted to continue with the story. I just finished book 4 in the planned five-book series and am still in love with this storyline.

Q: TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST SERIES, ST.BENEDICT AND WHO YOU THINK WOULD ENJOY READING IT THE MOST?

St. Benedict is a horror thriller series about a small town along the haunted Bogue Falaya River in Louisiana, where a powerful family struggles to keep generations of dark secrets from getting out. This isn’t a series for the squeamish. There is violence, murder, and horrible characters who do wicked things, but it is addictive, the world is rich, and it will keep you up at night reading until you can find out what happens next. Anyone looking for a dark tale, a very dark one, will enjoy these books. It’s a thrill ride a minute.

Q: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH NEXT IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER?

I would love to branch into television and movies. I grew up in the business working with my father, a director and independent film producer. I learned a

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34

great deal about how to tell a story by working on sets. Getting back to those roots would be a lifelong dream.

Q: IF YOU COULD GIVE 3 TIPS TO ASPIRING AUTHORS OR THOSE JUST GETTING STARTED ON THE PUBLISHING JOURNEY, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

1. Write and keep writing. You have to find your voice, which takes time, sometimes years, but you will never find it until you start writing. Writing is a muscle. You have to use it to make it stronger.

2. Read and keep reading. Learn about the genre you want to write in and find authors whose stories inspire you. They will guide you as you write. Learn from them. How they describe a world, a character, a situation. Every book is an education.

3. Network and keep networking. Promotion is one thing, but to make promotion work, you need to find other authors who have tried things that worked and didn’t work for them. Creating a network helps you to promote and find bloggers and reviewers who can share your stories with their followers. That network will also keep you going because there will be bad days. Days when you are ready to give up, but that network will support you and keep you going.

ABOUT ALEXANDREA WEIS

Alexandrea Weis , RN-CS, PhD, is a multi-award-winning, international bestselling author, screenwriter, and advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable.

A member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers Association, Weis is known as a New Orleans writer.

Links: WEBSITE

FACEBOOK FAN GROUP

TWITTER TIKTOK INSTAGRAM

AMAZON GOODREADS

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AUDIO BOOK REVIEW

Bloody Union

Made, Book 1 Brooke Summers

Aptly titled and maybe … Walk away if you can’t handle dark themes—this one opens with a teenager being essentially ‘sold’ into marriage. (Mafia families.) She ends up having some interesting secrets that … feel a little more like convenience than continuity but I listen on since it’s still intriguing.

So … this was a mixed sorta vibe for me. I loved the dark themes and I loved the violence. I could pretty much get into the couple who married for business reasons but grew on each other, that’s fine. Not terribly executed and not really implausible. Character development helped with this, the female lead is really something else.

What I struggled with was … at times, the writing didn’t really feel super strong. I sometimes got the impression that the author sort of invented an imaginary world just for herself to

play in, rather than making this as tight as it could be for readers and in the ‘plausibility’ and ‘continuity’ departments. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t mean this as a negative thing at all, just truly, that I think the writing could be tighter at times.

The leads said the L word about a week in … Nothing against instalove, but I think it needs to be gone about right, as in there need to be feels and things shown to the reader to make it plausible. This wasn’t there for me as early as it was for the characters.

Overall though, a fun read. Would read more from this author based on this experience.Remote location / trapped vibes.

Audio:

Both narrators sound amazing throughout and the production quality is high.

About The Reviewer - Pelican Freak

Pelican Freak is the online alter ego of an author PA who works with authors in all genres, some of who are international best sellers. Pelican Freak reads all genres and is brutally honest in what is reviewed.

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"A FUN, DARKISH LISTEN"

SPOTLIGHT ON KELLY ANNE MANUEL

Kelly Anne Manuel is proof you can flip things upside down and become a prolific children’s book writer. She’s here with an array of positive messages for kids with four captivating book series. There are a total of 31 books—one for each day of the month—in four unput-downable series.

Kelly’s books meet children where they are in their journey. They are about permission, and helping children see the world in both an entertaining and inspiring way.

Her titles are reversals of familiar phrases, such as “Boots Rain” rather than rain boots. By shifting perspectives, she sees things through a child’s eyes. Her energy is kinetic. Her journey as an author is uncommon, and the way children respond to her, and her books, is life changing.

Four series with a signature book for each:

The Essentials Series – Positive self-talk books that kids can pick up anytime. Daily affirmations filled with positivity that encourage independence so children can face their fears and explore their world with the help of animals and the natural world.

The Rainbow’s End Series – Destination stories that aid in imaginary and play discourse. The gap between reality and pretend is bridged. Each book begins with “The other day I went to visit a friend…” and transports readers to a different place where anything is possible.

The Classics – Timeless books where all generations can find meaning. These many-layered stories have broad themes but focus on specific events and

reality-based resilience topics. These books help kids navigate difficult situations.

My Name Is Series – Self and identity themed books that help children explore the duality of their internal and external nature. The importance of self-esteem and clear communication of the self are explored. These books give the child the opportunity to say: “This is who I am.”

ABOUT KELLY ANNE MANUEL

Kelly Anne Manuel is a children’s book author who released an astonishing 31 books – one for each day of the month – to give kids an array of positive messages. An eternal optimist who has been called “the good kind of contagious”, Manuel has a unique voice that children respond to because of her own actively vibrant inner child. Her books are available in four series: The Essentials Series , The Rainbow’s End Series , The Classics , and My Name Is Series . In addition to being a self-described “uncommon author” since she didn’t set out to write children’s books but happily took the path life intended for her, she is also a mother and an artist. Kelly Anne Manuel grew up on New York’s Long Island and earned a BA Degree in Telecommunications with a major in Marketing and minor in Spanish from Indiana University. Today she resides in Fort Mill, South Carolina with her beloved pup, Teddy Roosevelt.

Click here to find out more about Kelly Anne Manuel and her books.

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QUICK INTERVIEW Quick & Easy EDWARD
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to follow.

Q: WHEN DID YOU START WRITING?

I began writing as a (very) part-time hobby in 1982. My day job at the time, supervising a softwaredevelopment department, was very demanding—but at least by that October I’d completed the master’s degree program which for years had been consuming all my evenings and weekends. For diversion beginning late that year, I started on what eventually became my first novel (the technothriller Probe ), which I sold in 1990 and was published in 1991. Also in 1991, I began a new day job, my most demanding yet. After that, I scarcely had time to write anything new for the next several years.

In 1999, I gave myself a sabbatical to try out the fulltime writing life. Fun! After about a year, though, I returned to a day job. Not until 2004, with a contract in hand for my second book (the science-fiction novel Moonstruck , published in 2005) did I become a full-time writer. A second sale suggested the first book wasn’t a fluke.

Q: WHAT DROVE YOU TO COME UP WITH YOUR DEBUT BOOK?

It was on a dare! I was reading something entirely forgettable—and so, its name and author forgotten—and complaining about it. My wife said something like, “I suppose you can do better.” Clearly, I had to try. It turned out I could write and that I enjoyed it.

Q: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PUBLISHED WORKS. HOW DID THEY HAPPEN?

As I type, I have 23 published books and two more in the final stages of pre-publication. Each one has (pardon the pun) its own story.

Mainly, I write science fiction and technothrillers that

revolve around new—or possible future—technologies of particular interest to me. Many of the novels involve space flight. (This seems like a good time to mention that for seven years I worked as a NASA contractor. I know things about space flight.) Other books deal with artificial intelligence and computer science. (By training, I’m a physicist and computer engineer.) I won’t claim to have personal experience in First Contact with aliens or with medical science—but they are interests, and I’ve written novels exploring those topics, too.

All that said, sometimes there’s simply a story demanding to be told. That’s how I got involved with a farfuture space opera in collaboration with science-fiction Grandmaster Larry Niven. Our first project ( Fleet of Worlds ) went so well, and was so much fun, we eventually ended up with a five-novel series.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR LATEST BOOK; WHAT DOES IT DEAL WITH?

My latest novel ( Déjà Doomed , 2021) is science fiction: an archeological, alien-contact mystery—and also a geopolitical thriller—set in the near future on the Moon. Oh, and the stakes are existential.

My most recent book, however, is a career-spanning collection ( The Best of Edward M. Lerner , 2022) with science-fiction stories at all lengths, touching upon every imaginable SF theme. Time travel, space travel, travel between universes, and so much more … they’re all represented in the collection.

Q: DO YOU DEEM YOURSELF A PANTSER OR PLOTTER?

I work both ways. At book length, I usually write from a detailed plot outline. If a novel has several pointof-view characters, I always work from an outline—it’s the only way

follow.

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I can keep all the details straight. When a novel is told in first person, however, I sometimes let that character run with the story; that’s the seat-of-the-pants scenario.

For anything shorter than a novelette, I’m quite likely to go the pantser route.

Q: IF THERE IS ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO STATE, PLEASE DO.

I f your readers are still curious about my writing or background, I’ll refer them to my authorial website: https://www. edwardmlerner. com .

ABOUT EDWARD M LERNER

Edward M. Lerner is a physicist and computer scientist (among other things). After thirty years in industry, working at every level from individual technical contributor to senior vice president, he now writes full-time. In addition to science fiction and technothrillers, he also writes popular science, notably including Trope-ing the Light Fantastic: The Science behind the Fiction .

More information about Edward can be found at: Edward M. Lerner -- official website (edwardmlerner. com)

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NORTHERN OHIO WRITERS GUILD SIGNING

MAY

2023,

FEATURED AUTHORS ANNOUNCED

RJ NORGARD has worked as a newspaper reporter and photographer, U.S. Army Intelligence Officer, and private investigator. His twenty-one years in Alaska formed the basis for the characters and settings in his Sidney Reed novels and infuse them with an authenticity rarely seen in the genre novel. His hobbies are sailing, tennis, and participating in volunteer project in his hometown in northern Ohio. An avid amateur historian, he is the author of Lights at the Portage: A History of the Port Clinton Light Station, 18331952. He is also working on his nonfiction opus, HEART OF TEAK: The Life and Times of the Sailing Ship Success. He is currently working on WINTER KILL, the third novel in the Sidney Reed Trilogy. https://www.rjnorgard.com.

PATRICK LAWRENCE O’KEEFFE spent his childhood on a rocky dairy farm near Ulster, Pennsylvania, one of nine children. For five years he studied for the priesthood at Notre Dame, followed by a forty-year stretch in Manufacturing. He resides in Port Clinton, Ohio, with his wife Karen. He is a published historian, novelist, and poet, activities he now labors at most of the time, unless he’s fixin’ things out back in the workshop.

JIM BOLLENBACHER taught American government and American History for thirty-one years at Midview High School and Sandusky High School. For forty-one years he was also a school assistant and head football coach. He graduated from

Hiram College in Ohio, majoring in political science with a minor in history. While at Hiram, he played two years of football and four of baseball. He is a member of the Hiram College Athletic Hall of Fame. Bollenbacher holds a master’s degree in education from Ashland University. He and his wife, Patty, live in Huron, on the shores of Lake Erie, and raised four adult children. When not writing historical fiction centering on the American Revolutionary period or attempting to work on his golf game, he and Patty like to play with their four grandchildren. The sequel “America at the Abyss” is going to be published soon and Bollenbacher is giving the last touches to “Liberty’s Cost: The Adventures of the Cushman Family” www.jimbollenbacher-thesigners.com.

EMILIA ROSA is of Brazilian extraction and spent her childhood in Rio de Janeiro; her love for the sea comes from that period. Rosa worked in international trade shows in a multilingual capacity, and as a fashion model in Brazil, Italy, and the US. Before turning to fiction, she had poetry published, and won a library poetry contest. Her love of history and knowledge of Rio de Janeiro, decided the timeframe and setting of her first novel, which was taken to the sequel. She is doing research and starting the third sequel. https:// www.amazon.com/Emilia-Rosa/e/B093YQ2MHY

ADMISSION IS FREE

256 Columbus Ave, Sandusky, OH 44870, USA

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27,
@ VITA SANDUSKY, OH
Upclose & Personal
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INTERVIEW
DIANE RINELLA

Q: WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING YOU PUBLISHED AND HOW HAS YOUR WRITING JOURNEY EVOLVED?

“Love’s Forbidden Flower” is a sibling taboo romance told from an emotional and respectful civil rights point-of-view. I wrote it while filled with angst over a movie with a similar subplot that irked the hell out of me. Right in front of me were two people with everything I wanted, yet they were denied it because strangers felt it was icky. The unfairness pushed me over the edge, and I became a champion for them and all others who suffer because people think they have the right to interfere in the lives of those who just want to be happy in their own private worlds.

Q: WHAT GENRE DO YOU THINK YOUR STORIES FIT INTO THE MOST?

Metaphysical fiction is a little-known genre that has really started blooming. It incorporates transcendental human experiences where people explore what is within themselves. They are spiritual yet not religious. They are supernatural, yet there are no vampires. The true thread in all of my stories is the importance of and the emotionality around, human connections. There is also always at least a dash of romance.

Q: YOUR BOOKS – “LOVE’S FORBIDDEN FLOWER” AND ”TIME’S FORBIDDEN FLOWER” DEAL WITH A TABOO SUBJECT, WHAT WAS THE RANGE OF RESPONSE YOU RECEIVED DUE TO THE TWO MAIN CHARACTERS AND THEIR ROMANCE?

It has almost been completely positive. It’s also been humbling. In the Forbidden Flower Series , two siblings come to see they are soulmates. Their trials primarily stem from a society that feels it has the right to deny them happiness because of social biases and by placing assumptions over fact. Shortly after the release of “Love’s Forbidden Flower”, a group supporting

marriage equality for all consenting humans became champions of Lily and Donovan. Real life sibling couples sent me the most beautiful (and sometimes tragic) letters about their experiences because they felt they had found someone who treated them as loving humans instead of perverted deviants. One reader founded “Friends of Lily”, a group in support of consanguinamorous love. Every now and then, I stumble across their pride flag on line, and it’s the most surreal thing ever. I could not be more humbled.

Q: WHEN SOMEONE SEES YOUR BOOKS IN THE ROCK AND ROLL FANTASY COLLECTION, THEY MIGHT THINK THEY ARE SIMILAR TO “ALICE IN WONDERLAND” IS THERE A TIE IN OR WAS THE IMAGERY INTENTIONAL?

While there is no true tie in, the imagery is intentional. The Rock and Roll Fantasy Collection is a group of fantastical stand-alone romances with intertwining characters. In “Scary Modsters”, Rosalyn buys a rare album and accidentally summons the singer back to life through a Ouija board. He happens to have a unique connection to her love interest in a bizarre non-triangle that several have called wholly original. In “Voices Carry”, Brandon repeatedly hears an unfamiliar female voice. A reel-to-reel tape of an obscure punk band that he bought at that same store where Rosalyn bought her album holds the key. In “Moonlight Serenade”, Brandon’s big band-loving friend, Dale, buys a guitar pick once owned by a deceased rock star with the same name as one of his idols, leading Dale on a jazz-era themed path to finding his soulmate. Each character falls down their proverbial rabbit hole on their quests for happiness.

Q: HOW DO YOU RESEARCH YOUR CHARACTERS THAT ARE DEALING WITH EMOTIONAL ISSUES OR SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND ADDICTION?

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Both the Forbidden Flower Series and “Something to Dream On” dealt with some form of emotional or substance abuse issues that I have been fortunate not to have experienced; however, we all have demons, and recognizing how demons affect a person is key. Acting lessons taught me how to look inside and apply similar pain from within my own experiences. I feel fortunate in how well this has worked. Readers who have suffered from abuse issues have expressed gratitude over portraying them as compassionate beings while a “Friend of Lily” shared that Lily’s emotional battles were not unlike her own. When writing about emotions, the threads of compassion matter most.

Q: WOULD YOU RATHER WRITE A STORY ABOUT A PERFECT PERSON OR A DEEPLY FLAWED CHARACTER AND WHY?

I can’t think of anything more boring to read or write than about perfection. Characters and stories need multiple dimensions, else you could likely tell the tale in three sentences and be done.

Q: IS THERE A TYPE OF BOOK OR CHARACTER THAT YOU DO NOT THINK YOU COULD EVER WRITE IN A REALISTIC WAY?

I am sure there are many. I’m trying to broaden my horizons and write from a more culturally diverse point-of-view, but there is a difference between understanding how to find a universal thread and respecting someone’s culture. I’m up to the challenge, but I need several writing partners to critique and enlighten me along the way. Changing skin tone and adding a bit of slang doesn’t cut it.

Q: HOW DO YOUR CHARACTERS AND STORYLINES INTERSECT WITH YOU AS A PERSON?

There is a little bit (sometimes a lot) of me in everything I write. I’ve got Lily’s snark and passion, Rosalyn’s music and vintage fashion sense (and her sensitivity towards it), Lizetta’s selfesteem battles, and Brandon’s rock n’ roll swagger. Some of the most unlikely things that happened to Rosalyn were heavily inspired by personal experiences.

Q: IS YOUR WRITING MUSE HARASSING YOU, GIVING YOU IDEAS OF WHAT TO WRITE NEXT OR IS HE/SHE ON SABATTICAL AT THE MOMENT?

The muse never stops; however, it’s been frustrating me for the last few years. I stepped a bit out of genre with a complex storyline and characters have taken their sweet time to reveal who they really are. I’m finally putting the last touches on a new release before sending it out for beta. As for the premise…

You know how David Bowie was not only Ziggy Stardust, he also played the Man Who Fell to Earth, an alien who came here in hopes of saving his planet?

You know how his final album was Blackstar ? A black star is not just slang for cancer on an x-ray. When CIA agents die in the line of duty, they get a black star carved into a memorial wall. Kinda makes you think…

Coming soon: The S.T.A.R. Man, a different kind of Rock and Roll Fantasy.

ABOUT DIANE RINELLA

Enjoying San Francisco as a backdrop, the ghosts in USA Today

Bestselling Author Diane Rinella’s 150-year-old Victorian home augment the chorus in her head. With insomnia as their catalyst, these voices have become multifarious characters that haunt her well into the sun’s crowning hours, refusing to let go until they have manipulated her into succumbing to their whims. Her experiences as an actress, business owner, artisan cake designer, software project manager, Internet radio disc jockey, vintage rock ‘n’ roll journalist/ fangirl, and lover of dark and quirky personalities influence her idiosyncratic writing.

Links:

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK PAGE

NEWSLETTER

BOOKBUB

AMAZON

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HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY - NORTH AMERICA

JUNE 8-10, 2023

Every two years, the HNSNA holds a writers conference that attracts historical novelists from all over North America and beyond. In 2023, the #HNS2023 conference is being held in beautiful San Antonio, TX, from June 8 to 10, with virtual content beginning June 5.

When you register to attend the conference, you can choose either the in-person or the virtual option. Both options provide you with ample opportunity to connect with old friends and make new friends, attend dozens of amazing sessions aimed at helping you be a better writer, meet our special guests (all bestselling authors), and even pitch your novel to an agent.

#HNS2023 is all about community. Join us and get inspired!

Our Full Conference Program includes 90+ hours of programming, much of which will also be available virtually on our conference app so you can enjoy it for a full 90 days following the conference.

Registration closes May 15 for In-Person and June 4 for Virtual

Conference Rates

In-Person HNS Member: $589

In-Person Non-Member: $639

Virtual: $299

Student: $350

In-Person Guest (meals only): $350

Trying to decide between in-person and virtual? Both our great options! Check out our PDF Guide that shows you exactly what’s included in both options.

Announcing Our Special Guests at #HNS2023

We’re excited to welcome Lisa Wingate, Jamie Ford, Libbie Grant, and James Scott Bell as our special guests at #HNS2023! Read all about them here.

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Upclose & Personal
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INTERVIEW
RICH DAVIS

Q: CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO READERS WHAT THE UNDERGROUND COMIC BOOK COMMUNITY IS ABOUT?

Everyone knows about superheroes...unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 15 or so years! “Capes and Tights” we call them.

Those belong to the mainstream. They belong to the big, corporate conglomerates.  They’re generally safe and made to appeal to the broadest possible audience. Many in the industry grumble that the “big two” no longer care about telling good stories. They’re only interested in “developing IPs” that they can turn into movie franchises. They rarely push the envelope or try to do anything new and amazing anymore. Thankfully, that’s not all there is in the comic book world. There are some incredible small and mid press companies like Red 5 Comics, Source Point Press and others who are building niches in the wall of comics that are released every month. There are even hundreds, maybe thousands or independent creators who are skipping the publishers altogether to make their own comics. Horror, SciFi, Fantasy, Comedy, Action/Adventure, Romance. Whatever you’re into, I promise you someone out there is making it. This is a true golden age for underground comics. People may be tiring of capes and tights, but we’ll never be tired of new stories. This is only my opinion, but I believe that the underground is where comic book fans as they mature and their tastes become more refined. It’s a hell of a community of very passionate and very supportive people. Thankfully that community seems to like what I do because they keep letting me do it!

Q: HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT CREATING THE UNDERGROUND HORROR SENSATION, CULT OF DRACULA?

That’s a very long and complicated story with many, many twists and turns! I’ll try to keep it brief! I originally wrote  Cult of Dracula  as a stage play. It was performed at the Browncoat Pub & Theatre in Wilmington, NC. This was 2012/2013. It did exceptionally well and won several theatre awards. The story stuck with me. The characters just wouldn›t shut up and leave me alone. I just knew, deep down that there was more to this

story that needed to be told. So I decided to adapt it into a screenplay. The original intent was to shoot a micro-budget film and release it online. Unfortunately, my wife Amber became very ill with a chronic and ultimately fatal kidney disease. I gave up on the film. Honestly, I gave up on the story altogether. I deleted the script and everything. My wife has never been more pissed at me! She lit me up and down the walls about how silly it was to just give up. She made me stick with it. It was actually her idea to develop the story into a comic book. Writing a comic is very similar to writing a screenplay. In both mediums, you’re writing in pictures. You’re building a world for an artist or a director of photography to interpret with images. So, like any smart man, I heeded my wife’s “advice” and began working on the comic. I had no idea how I would go about getting it published. I didn’t even know how to find or hire an artist at the time. But, I have made lots of connections with many wonderful people during my careers in theatre, film and radio. They were very happy to offer advice and even to introuduce me to their friends and contacts who could help me along. That’s probably the best thing about the comic book community. In my experience, we want each other to succeed. We are very happy to help others break in. After I built my creative team, it was just lots of hard work building connections and relationships with retailers, participating in forums, chat groups, etc... to connect with a potential audience and relentlessly marketing on social media. It paid off! By the time I got a publisher for the book, I already had a built-in audience dying to read it. That’s how it became a best selling comic of 2021 and opened the door for me to tell more stories in that universe.

Q: WHEN DID YOU START WRITING COMIC BOOKS?

2015/2016.

Q: TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST COMIC BOOK, PROMETHEUS IN CHAINS?

Prometheus In Chains.  It’s a re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s Franknestein  set in the post World War II «atomic age». Back when the world was still excited about the possibilities

or link to follow.

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of nuclear power. In this story, both Victor and Elizabeth Franknestein are among the Jewish scientists who fled Germany in 1939. They came to the United States (Oak Ridge, Tennessee specifically) to join the Manhattan Project. Their efforts ultimately help bring down the Reich. As they developed the bomb, Elizabeth developed terminal cancer due to radiation exposure. Her death sends Victor into a spiral of depression, addiction and an obsession with bringing her back.

Q: WHAT THEMES WILL READERS FIND IN PROMETHEUS IN CHAINS? WHO ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?

I wanted to do Mary Shelley justice by staying as true as possible to her original novel, but I also needed to tell my own story in my own way. When you boil it down,  Prometheus In Chains  is me working through my own depression and PTSD from losing my wife. Amber passed away in 2020. I fell apart. Devastated. Broken, Lost. Terrified. These words don›t come close to describing the way I felt (still feel) but they›re the only words I have. It›s been hell. Victor is me. I am Victor. What you see on the pages are embellished depictions of my life over the last three years. Interestingly enough, I discovered that Shelley also explored many of those emotions or themes in  Frankenstein .  Isolation: I cut myself off from everyone and everything. My family. My friends. My “fans”. My publisher. I hid in my basement for months. I wouldn’t sleep in our bed for more than a year. I slept on the couch in my office. I was a dead man resurrected and forced to live out a 30+ year life sentence. Fallibility: I blamed myself for Amber’s passing. I didn’t do enough to support her. I couldn’t save her. I wasn’t forceful enough with the doctors. I didn’t do the one thing I promised her granddad I would do when I asked for her hand. I didn’t protect her. I failed. Loss of Innocence: I’ll never be the man I was prior to December 13, 2020. He was so naive. So hopeful. He was a dreamer who thought he had the world by the tail. He was happy. He’s dead now. I’m all that’s left. Even I say this, I realize that you asked me about themes in the book. About Victor and Elizabeth. My answer was all about me. That’s how deeply connected I am to

Q: I UNDERSTAND THAT THE COMIC

BOOK WORLD IS HIGHLY COMPETITIVE. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING ARTISTS?

The best advice I can give is to finish your script. Joss Whedon once said that 80% of every script that gets started is never finished. If that’s accurate and you finish your script, you’re already in the top 20% of all scripts. That’s not a bad place to be. You can compete if you want. Or you can choose to go your own way. There has never been more opportunity to get your story told. It may sound cliche, but it’s true. It all comes down to how bad you want it. How hard will you work? How much will you bet on yourself? I’ve never been one to wait for someone to open a door for me. I prefer to kick it down myself. The comic book industry today is kind of like the wild west. There are no rules or limitations for what you can achieve. With all the crowd funding platforms and digital marketplaces, there’s nothing standing in your way. This is harsh, but you’re the only reason you’re not succeeding.

Q: HOW DO YOUR OTHER CAREERS

SUCH AS THE RADIO AND THEATER HELP INFLUENCE YOUR COMIC BOOKS?

I absolutely believe that my training in theatre influences and benefits my writing. As an actor, I’m accustomed to building a character. Getting inside their head. Creating their back story. Finding their voice. Those are all relevant to creating characters for my comics. One of the highest compliments I received for  Cult of Dracula  came from an absolutely terrible review. They HATED the comic, but they praised the hell out of my character development and dialogue. They said something along the lines of you may not understand what›s going on, but whatever is happening to these characters feels real. I attribute that to my years in the theatre.

Q: ARE YOU A MAJOR FAN OF MARY SHELLEY’S

this story. It’s very, very personal.
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BOOK, FRANKENSTEIN?

I’m a fan of Victorian era horror in general. I believe there were two “golden ages” in the horror genre: the Victorian age and the 70s/80s Slasher period. For different reasons, those eras have shaped our understanding of what horror is and what it can be. They were pushing boundaries. Challenging ideas and beliefs. Finding ways to innovate. The characters from those times became icons! I love being able to combine elements of those styles into my comics.

Q: WHAT GAVE YOU THE IDEA FOR A RE-IMAGINING OF FRANKENSTEIN BUT WITH A TWIST?

The one think I absolutely knew when I was developing the concept for  Prometheus In Chains  was that I had absolutely zero interest in telling another story set in Victorian Europe with a steampunk aesthetic. That›s been done and it has been done very, very well. I don›t think there is anything I could possibly add to that story. But there was still a story I wanted/needed to tell. It›s everything we know and love about Shelley›s masterpiece... the characters, the themes, the influences are all there...but it›s repackaged to appeal to a modern audience. We fear the same monsters today as they did two hundred years ago. Our monsters just have different faces.

Q: WHAT OTHER PROJECTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

I can talk about the projects that have been announced. Others I can’t mention just yet, but I love them and have high expectations. I’m finishing up my Dracula sage with  Reign of Dracula.  It will release in early 2024. I have another project I’m calling  Dorian  that will also release next year. It›s a play on  The Picture of Dorian Grey  set in the 80s/90s porn industry. I’m working on a childrens’ book called Brontosaurus Brown . It’s a total break from my norm, but I’m excited about it. Childhood literacy is a big issue for me.

Q: WHERE CAN FANS FIND YOU AND YOUR WORK ONLINE?

My books are available anywhere and everywhere fine comic books are sold! I highly recommend that people order from their local comic book shop. Those shops are the backbone of

our industry. Without them, everything would feature bat dude or spider guy and would be boring, corporate and mediocre designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience with little to no controversy.   If you can’t find it at your LCS, you can go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc... anywhere that deals with Simon & Schuster. If you want to know more about me, you can visit  www.worldofdracula.com  or find me on social media @worldofdracula.

ABOUT RICH DAVIS

Rich Davis is the writer and creator of the underground horror sensation “Cult of Dracula” and “Rise of Dracula” from Source Point Press. His first book, “Cult of Dracula’’, was a 2021 Top 100 comic and all-time best seller for Source Point Press. In a short period of time, he has built a reputation in the comic book industry as an innovator with a tireless work ethic. His first comic “Cult of Dracula” has sold more than 50,000 units and has been optioned by Sure Pictures for film and Television development.

Source Point Press has exercised its option to publish his full, three volume Dracula saga. Rich also has upcoming comic book projects “Prometheus In Chains”, “Shooter” and an untitled, depression era circus tale in development among other currently unannounced projects.

Rich has led an eclectic life. Rich is a core cast member on the Hit Netflix series Swap Shop. He is currently in negotiations to return for a third season on the show. He founded a performing arts theatre, worked as a concert booker and a film producer. He has been a radio personality, an actor and a screenwriter. He even served as a campaign staffer for two Presidential campaigns! Now he gets to tell scary stories for a living.

Some might wonder at such an eclectic background, but he prefers to see it as an adventure.

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MAKING AUTHORS LOOK GOOD

MORE THAN 20 YEARS OF PUBLISHING EXPERIENCE WOMAN OWNED

What started as a site to offer eBookBuilders publishing freelance and consulting services has morphed into a oasis for authors and aspiring authors but readers as well.

In 2022, eBookBuilders started posting reviews of books and audiobooks that the owner — Deena Rae — has written for books and ARCs. EBB offers Alpha-reads on a case-bycase basis (this is NOT editing) and release-day reviews.

Many years ago, Deena Rae was co-host and producer of the hugely popular BLUEBONNETS, BAGPIPES AND BOOKS PODCAST so has decided to once again wade into the world of podcasts with at least two new

podcasts. BADASS BOOKS AND BOOZE - the NSFW podcast that features authors when they let relax with an adult refreshment and talk books, publishing and writing. VIEWING VIXENS , the podcast that focuses on what to watch or not watch on all the streaming platforms so you only watch bad-movies when you want to. Also coming in 2023 is the new TOPSHELF MAGAZINE AUTHOR-CENTRIC INTERVIEW PODCAST , but that is still in development. Recently, eBookBuilders has resurrected anthology managment, with themespecific multi-genre novella collections. Since many readers hop genres in their reading endevors, this is a great way for authors to crosspromote and readers find other genres to read.

eBookBuilders has recently partnered with another reader-reviewer to offer even more reviews of books and audiobooks. These reviews will be in addition to the reviews that Deena Rae does.

You can find Deena Rae and eBookBuilders at eBookBuildersPro.com

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GOOD-BYE TOO SOON

Addiction is a rampant mental illness that takes hold of individuals of any age. Brandon was only a teenager when drugs took over his life. The battle raged for decades before he lost.

Randi-Lee shares the truth behind the eulogy. Having a brother with addiction created a fissure and forced the need for boundaries. Stepping away and loving him from a distance was her only way to keep herself safe.

This book goes beyond losing a brother. It delves into risk factors, constructive coping strategies, and a family’s grieving process. Reminding those left behind to forgive ourselves and the person we lost

RANDI-LEE BOWSLAUGH

Randi-Lee was born and raised in Ontario, Canada and from a young age she had a passion for helping others. She attended Niagara College and graduated at the top of her class from Community and Justice Services after completing her placement at a recovery house for alcohol and drug addictions. Post-graduation she worked

BAD DEAL FOR AMERICA

Bad Deal for America explores the high-stakes game U. S. politicians are playing with the taxpayers’ money. The major players, themselves like a deck of cards, have shown us in their own words that the political system is broken. Readers can follow the money to see how some have lived high on the hog while masquerading as public servants. Told in an entertaining and unique way, this book is a call to arms to fulfill the ideals of the founding fathers by holding the political class responsible.

DAVID D. SCHEIN

Dr. David D. Schein is an author, professor, consultant and public speaker. He is a tenured Professor, the Director of Graduate Programs and the Endowed Chair of Management and Marketing at the University of St. Thomas' Cameron School of Business. He is also the President and General Counsel of Claremont Management Group, a Human Resources consulting firm in Houston, TX. He often speaks on employment and consumer matters.

at a Native Friendship Centre for two and a half years while pursuing a university education in psychology. Randi-Lee continued working in social services for another four years as an employment counselor until she left to pursue her other passions.

In 2017 Randi published her first book about mental health awareness and from there knew that this was her dream. Since then she has continued writing and expanding the genres that she writes.

Another of Randi-Lee’s passions is kickboxing, which she has been doing for over 10 years. She was a Canadian National Champion in 2015, competed at the World’s kickboxing tournament later that year and in 2016 competed at the Pan-Am games where she received silver in her division. In 2020 she was chosen as one of the coaches for the Ontario Winter Games where she inspired and coached young athletes.

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A MAN IN WINTER

Arthur, whose life was devastated by the brutal murder of his wife, must come to terms with his diagnosis of dementia. He moves into a new home at a retirement community, and shortly after, has his life turned upside down again when his wife’s ghost visits him and sends him on a quest to find her killer so her spirit can move on. With his family and his doctor concerned that his dementia is advancing, will he be able to solve the murder before his independence is permanently restricted?

A Man in Winter examines the horrors of isolation, dementia, loss, and the ghosts that come back to haunt us.

KATIE MARIE

Katie Marie is a horror enthusiast and writer from Norfolk, England. She has been published in several anthologies and magazines, including The Horrorzines Book of Ghost Stories which won Best Anthology in the 23rd Annual Critters Readers' Poll.

Katie started writing while studying for her Law Degree at

HUNGERS AS OLD AS THIS LAND

The settlement of Grey's Bluffs is a prosperous town. An independent community dwelling in the shadows of the mountains known only as The Hungers.

Esther Foxman and Siobhan O'Clery have grown up in Grey's Bluffs, thriving out on the western territories in the aftermath of the Civil War. Devoted to one another and their home, the two set out to complete a regular pact at the Hungers to ensure that Grey's Bluffs continues to prosper.

Cyril Redstone is a man who knows death well. Becoming a mercenary after the Civil War, Cyril leads the marauding Blackhawks from one slaughter to the next. Hired to destroy Grey's Bluffs, Cyril cares little for morality, nor that he owes its founder his life.

Esther and Siobhan are left to defend the only home they have ever known from the Blackhawks, their confrontation driving them deep into the mountains.

Where the darkest secrets of the Hungers await them.

Aberystwyth University in the early 2000s and several years and stories later she received her Masters Degree and published her first novel.

You can connect with Katie on Facebook at facebook.com/katiemariewriter or on Twitter @ KatieMarieWrite. You can also visit her website, www. katiemariewriter.com to sign up for emails about new releases, short stories and blogs gushing about the horror genre.

ZACHARY ROSENBERG

Zachary Rosenberg is a horror writer living in Florida. He crafts horrifying tales by night and by day he practices law, which is even more frightening. His forthcoming debut novella "Hungers as Old As This Land." will be published by Brigids Gate Press and his first novel "The Devils and the Deep Blue Sea" shall be published by Darklit Press. You may find his works released or forthcoming at Air and Nothingness Press, Dead Sea Press and Nosetouch Press. You may follow him on Twitter at @ZachRoseWriter

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MATT MILLER IN THE COLONIES - BOOK FOUR - ARCHITECT

Twenty-first-century scientist Matt Miller has become a wealthy businessman and politician with a beautiful wife and family. Yet, despite his every effort, Matt’s world is crumbling around him. Grace has recovered from her physical injuries, but her mental scars deepen as the threat to her family remains and her brother’s trial looms on the horizon. The Millers find themselves at the center of a maelstrom that threatens to engulf the entire colony of Virginia and make it the epicenter for a revolution. As the events around Matt unfold and his situation worsens, an opportunity presents itself to right the wrongs he has caused, but only if Matt can leave his life in the colonies behind..

MARK J. ROSE

Mark J. Rose is a scientist, author and screenwriter. He lives in La Jolla, CA. Mark holds a doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry and is director of research and development at a major biotech

ENTER THE DARKNESS

During the Spring Solstice, four people enter the caves underneath London.

Garth: a shy young man, who seeks to save the girl of his dreams.

Cassie: a beautiful young woman, who seeks to use the dark magic of the caves for her own purposes.

Bill: an older man with a terrible secret, who seeks to find Garth and Cassie before it’s too late.

Sienna: a con artist with a dark past, who seeks to escape her fate as a chosen sacrifice.

Four people enter. Each of them must battle their personal demons before facing the White Lady, who rises each year during the Spring Solstice with a hunger for human flesh.

Only one of them will survive.

SARAH BUDD

company. He has been fascinated for many years with exploring the intersection of a man’s basic humanity with the challenges of a rapidly changing technological world. Working primarily in the science fiction and thriller genres, all his writing deals with some aspect of the interaction of technology, science and society.

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PROMETHEUS IN CHAINS

It's a re-imagining of Mary Shelley's Franknestein set in the post World War II "atomic age". Back when the world was still excited about the possibilities of nuclear power. In this story, both Victor and Elizabeth Franknestein are among the Jewish scientists who fled Germany in 1939. They came to the United States (Oak Ridge, Tennessee specifically) to join the Manhattan Project. Their efforts ultimately help bring down the Reich. As they developed the bomb, Elizabeth developed terminal cancer due to radiation exposure. Her death sends Victor into a spiral of depression, addiction and an obsession with bringing her back.

RICH DAVIS

Rich Davis is the writer and creator of the underground horror sensation "Cult of Dracula" and “Rise of Dracula” from Source Point Press. His first book, “Cult of Dracula’’, was a 2021 Top 100 comic and all-time best seller for Source Point Press. In a short period

THE LONG MARCH HOME

Jimmy Propfield joined the army for two reasons: to get out of Mobile, Alabama, with his best friends Hank and Billy and to forget his high school sweetheart, Claire.

Life in the Philippines seems like paradise-until the morning of December 8, 1941, when news comes from Manila: Imperial Japan has bombed Pearl Harbor. Within hours, the teenage friends are plunged into war as enemy warplanes attack Luzon, beginning a battle for control of the Pacific Theater that will culminate with a last stand on the Bataan Peninsula and end with the largest surrender of American troops in history.

What follows will become known as one of the worst atrocities in modern warfare: the Bataan Death March. With no hope of rescue, the three friends vow to make it back home together. But the ordeal is only the beginning of their nearly four-year fight to survive.

Inspired by true stories, The Long March Home is a gripping comingof-age tale of friendship, sacrifice, and the power of unrelenting hope.

of time, he has built a reputation in the comic book industry as an innovator with a tireless work ethic. His first comic "Cult of Dracula" has sold more than 50,000 units and has been optioned by Sure Pictures for film and Television development.

Source Point Press has exercised its option to publish his full, three volume Dracula saga. Rich also has upcoming comic book projects "Prometheus In Chains", "Shooter" and an untitled, depression era circus tale in development among other currently unannounced projects. Rich has led an eclectic life. Rich is a core cast member on the Hit Netflix series Swap Shop. He is currently in negotiations to return for a third season on the show. He founded a performing arts theatre, worked as a concert booker and a film producer. He has been a radio personality, an actor and a screenwriter. He even served as a campaign staffer for two Presidential campaigns! Now he gets to tell scary stories for a living.

TOSCA LEE

Tosca Lee is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels, including The Line Between, The Progeny, The Legend of Sheba, and Iscariot. Lee’s work has been praised as “deeply human,” “powerful,” and “mind-bending historical fiction.”Proudly adopting the term "Book Nerd" for himself, Mark is most comfortable with a pen in hand, fingers on keyboard or with his nose stuck in a book.He can often be seen traveling to book events with a lifesized skeleton named Barnaby Bones.

MARCUS BROTHERTON

Marcus Brotherton is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly , and Wall Street Journal bestselling author or coauthor of more than twenty-five books that have been called “fascinating,” “brilliantly arranged,” “magical,” and “refreshingly frank.

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THE SCIENCE FAIR TRILOGY

Enemies to Lovers. Small Town Romance. Clean and Sweet.

Are you ready for a story that will make you believe in second chances? Meet Charlotte and Benedict, two former high school students who couldn't be more different. Charlotte was the queen bee, with her cheerleader pompoms, prom queen crown, and a hot boyfriend. Her mother, a beauty pageant winner turned consultant, instilled in her daughter the belief that education was for ugly girls. On the other hand, Benedict was the top student in all subjects except PE, with a stern, academicfocused father who thought marrying a pretty girl was a mistake.

Charlotte and Benedict's paths cross when they are paired up for a science competition. They can't stand each other from the get-go, with Charlotte thinking Benedict is an arrogant moron and Benedict thinking Charlotte is a self-absorbed airhead. Their assumptions prove to be correct when Charlotte leaves Benedict hanging on the day of the competition, and he goes on to win first

HUNTING A TYRANT (THE ACCIDENTAL ZODIACS)

Brielle Masters is a top agent of the Zodiac Enforcement Agency, dedicated to imprisoning the Fallen - those Zodiacs who use their power for evil. When she's sent to another realm to bring back a rogue Fallen who's been killing locals, Brielle expects it to be a routine mission. What she doesn't expect is to find the former love of her life, Grant Shipley, hiding on this same world.

Grant, a former Sinless who turned Fallen to save his mother's life, has been in hiding for almost a decade. As Brielle and Grant work together to take down an evil tyrant and save the realm, they must confront their past hurts and put their differences aside. But once the mission is over, will they be able to rekindle their love, or will they be forced to walk away from each other once again?

With danger lurking at every turn and their hearts on the line, Brielle and Grant must decide whether their love is worth fighting

prize without her.

Fast forward fifteen years, and fate brings them together again. They've both changed, grown up, but the animosity remains. However, something shifts between them as they realize they may have misjudged each other all those years ago. Could they leave their past behind and pursue something they never dreamed of?

Join Charlotte and Benedict on a journey of redemption, forgiveness, and unexpected love. This story will make you believe anything is possible, even when the odds seem against you. So don't miss out on this heartwarming tale of second chances, and grab your copy now!

DAISY LANDISH

Daisy Landish is a romance and cozy mystery author living in the UK, whose clean and sweet stories have tugged at readers’ heartstrings across the pond and beyond. When she’s not writing, Daisy spends her time reading, hiking at dawn, and riding into the sunset on her horse, Rosebud.

for. An Accidental Zodiacs Novel

About the Accidental Zodiac shared world: There are three types of Zodiacs: The Sinless who live life in goodness and light, their blue auras shining like beacons of hope. The Wanderers, their purple essence telling others they walk a fine line between good and evil. Then there’s The Fallen, the evil. The ones who use their powers to enhance their lives at any cost.

CASSIDY K. O'CONNOR

Cassidy is a born and raised Floridian who loves to travel but never forgets where her roots are. She married her high school sweetheart and has three kids and one a rescue dog she probably loves more than her kids. She love's all things Ireland and has been lucky enough to visit twice. Her dream is to watch a baseball game in every MLB stadium in the country.

Books by Cassidy typically involve independent, strong, female main characters and equally strong men who pursue them.

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PODCASTS OF INTEREST

Author Talk Podcast

Aimee Ravichandran, Fern Brady, Russell Little

AAuthor Talk is a podcast hosted by author Russell Little, owner of Inklings Publishing/author Fern Brady and Social media Expert and Book Launch Specialist Aimee Ravichandran. We speak with authors and others in the writing/publishing community about their stories and the inspiration behind their books or what inspired them to help the author community. So join in on the conversation with us. You can watch us LIVE on right here on Fb or on LinkedIn or Youtube. you can listen to us on all the podcasting networks. We are currently #6 on GoodPods Indie Book Podcast top 100

AIMEE RUSSELL FERN
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Anne Bustard creates a magical story of family love combined with a plan to welcome extraterrestrial visitors to the small town of Totter, Texas, circa 1964. This chapter book features Magnolia Jean Crook, MJ, and Nick Lawless. MJ wants to help solve the mystery when the meteorite, the event’s centerpiece, disappears. She and her friend Nick use the same methods as the Hardy Boys mysteries to evaluate the list of suspects and uncover clues. They are likable complementary characters. When it seems MJ’s grandmother stole the meteorite the investigation goes into high gear. MJ refuses to believe Mimi’s guilty. MJ and Nick carefully evaluate the opportunity, motive, and reason for each suspect.

Nick loves music but keeps his eyes and ears open to collect clues with MJ. His first goal is to perform at the tenth anniversary of the Totter Unidentified Flying Object Organization (TUFOO). The town leaves no stone unturned to open its hearts and minds to welcome visitors from outer space. Most of the town folk are believers.

I felt at home in this small town. The wide array of quaint characters seems invested in community activities. The tenth annual welcome the aliens event highlights people of this era’s fascination with space travel. Families seem to unite for a common cause. MJ illustrates this with her determination to rescue her grandmother from an unfair charge. Regardless of Mimi’s peculiarities, she’s innocent until proven guilty.

...

Read the complete review on the Rox's site. https://roxburkey.com/far-out/

This book deals with heartbreak and loss, which too many of us try to avoid or ignore. Dina Gachman is the author and narrator of her journey through losing two dear family members, her mother and sister. Having faced the deaths of too many family members and friends, I found it intense, relatable, and cathartic. The research Ms. Gachman conducted to find her path provided proof points and a place for people facing the same struggle to learn more. It was insightful to dissect ambiguous loss and how it plays into one’s emotions. Most readers will find elements to help them understand or consider how they relate to death.

Her upbringing, with deeply instilled Southern manners, made me chuckle and tear up. Traditions can make one avoid, embrace, or crumble under feelings. Dina peels back the layers of her soul and shares them with the world. It makes it one of the bravest real stories in my library. Grieving is not a one-size-fitsall, yet it lurks in our lives.

Dian Gachman did a fantastic job in the narration of her story. The delivery is crisp and professional, with masterful pauses and intonations. There was no faltering or meltdowns to distract listeners. The emotions she brought out in me as a listener were because of the relatable memories she pulled from my mind. So Sorry for Your Loss is a book everyone should read or listen to at some point to help them on their grieving journey or prepare them for the inevitable love and loss of life.

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REVIEWED BY PELICANFREAK

I adore this entire series—this installment was no exception! It packs an addictive, small town that I absolutely want to move to, where everyone pretty much knows everyone and shifters openly live among humans.

These shifters are all intense alpha male, but still chivalrous and incredibly sweet. This particular installment brings in a heroine with a dirtbag ex and a controlling father … we see her really work some stuff out and maybe discover how to be free? No spoilers but … it’s a sweet, steamy read with some outdoorsy adventure.

I recommend this book and all books in this series—overall:

Audio:

I listened to the audio: The narrator was great and the production flawless. Well done.

AHHH!

I’d been dying to read this book ever since the authors teased the cover around Thanksgiving of 2019. Finally, I’ve been able to get my hands on it, and despite the long wait and very high expectations, it did not disappoint.

Both authors are completely brilliant creatively, and as writers. The story is well-imagined and the characters—there are MANY—all manage to be true to what we’ve seen thus far. This book manages to tie in with the "Fortune Fae Academy" and "Midnight Fae Academy" worlds (Covers & links below— READ THEM if you haven’t, you’ll not be sorry.)

This book also manages to leave me dying for J.R. Thorn’s Candela, which is coming next year. We get a better glimpse at Lance, who I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of.

A truly festive read that I might just need to read every year. Manages to pack in beautiful moments, very steamy scenes, humor, adventure and more. You do not need to read the Elemental Fae Academy trilogy, but I strongly recommend doing so and getting to know the characters better before taking on this one; it’ll make those little funny moments even more hilarious.

Editing is on-point, no distractions noting and the book design—WOW! Seriously, this might be the prettiest book I’ve ever seen.

REVIEWED BY PELICANFREAK
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TWISTS & TURNS ABOUND

In Angel’s Flight, an activist attorney, suing the LAPD is killed on a tram along with an innocent bystander and the list of suspects includes everyone in the department’s Robbery Homicide division. For that reason, Lt. Irving has Bosch and his partners – J. Edgar and Kiz Rider – investigate and either clear or charge the suspected officers.

Again, like so many of the Bosch books, this one was used as the starting point for a season of the streaming series with changes – both large and small. Twists and turns abound in this installment of the Bosch universe. As will another book in the series, this one also intertwines multiple cases that Bosch and his team investigate.

The plot of both stories is well developed and blended perfectly without losing a step or leaving any loose ends. A perfect read that will have you turning pages, guessing the final outcome.

Recommend?

I recommend this book to everyone who loves mysteries and is a fan of psychological thrillers. Twists and turns will keep you wondering if you know who the various villains are.

Disclaimer

I received via the OverDrive/Libby app from the Harris County Library system. It was read as a Kindle Book.

BY

INFORMATION OVERLOAD BUT SO WORTH IT.

A million years ago, I watched The Bone Collector movie with Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington. For years I had put off reading the book because I loved the movie. I thought it was terrific and didn't know how it could have been improved with the book’s description of the action. I was wrong.

The chemistry of the actors in the movie was there in the book, added with the character's inner dialogue that couldn't be telegraphed to the viewer.

Of course, the reader is given loads of technical information regarding crime scene investigation, lots of 10-letter word terms and anatomical names for bones and body parts. I don't know if it is true or not, but I felt reading this book made me smarter, it at least made me more knowledge about the science of crime scene investigation.

I recommend to anyone who watched the movie, there will be information overload, but it's oh so worth it.

Recommend?

I really feel that this book is better read on a Kindle since the reader will have easy access to the Dictionary and other digital look up methods such as WebMD and Wikipedia.

Disclaimer

I received via the OverDrive/Libby app from the Harris County Library system. It was read as a Kindle Book.

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UBER SARCASM FROM PAGE 1...

I have been an avid watcher of Mr. Gutfeld’s television shows since the days of Red Eye, which Fox News aired at 3am EST starting in 2007. I have followed his shows across the TV schedule because I find him funny and even being sarcastic and utilizing satire he makes sense.

GG uses satire, sarcasm, humor, and examples to point out the silliness of the liberal left, conservative right and both sides need to divide us as a society. Throughout “The Joy Of Hate”, he takes aim at both ideology sides pointing out the hypocricy and spin.

Hollywood stars, television journalists, political bloggers, educational institutions, government departments.... No one is safe from the spotlight of satire and humor that GG shines on people, politicians, various industries and events in the recent past.

The book was published in 2012 so while some of the topics are no longer current he makes excellent points.…

Added bonus is that the chapter titles are puns or satire of common sayings…

Recommend?

I recommend this book to anyone who is not offended by salty language, sexual innuendo, and can handle seeing their “political team” eviscerated.

Read the complete review on the EBookBuilders site. https://ebookbuilderspro.com/the-joy-of-hate/

SO MANY MYSTERIES

I vaguely remember seeing the movie with Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd, so even though I had a bit of an idea about the storyline I didn't really know anything substantive about the plot.

I sped through this book. Every chapter built suspense and tension. I rooted for Dr. Detective Alex Cross and Kate McTiernan both as protagonists and as a couple. The dynamic of these two characters helped move the story.

Mr Patterson writes complex and well developed characters that become flesh and blood on the page. I could feel the horror and terror while reading the crimes the victims are subjected to and law enforcement sees.

So many tangled lines of the story, so many twists, so many mysteries. A masterpiece of the genre. With some heartbreaking losses, and breathtaking rescues, this book is non stop action, mystery and suspense. You will be guessing until the end who Casanova is behind his mask.

With a strong female character, this book is a must read and gives hope to anyone who has been affected by crime of any mandatory magnitude.

Recommend?

I recommend to anyone who likes strong female characters and terror with your thrills.

Read the complete review on the EBookBuilders site. https://ebookbuilderspro.com/along-came-a-spider/

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Not for the faint of heart or easily offended

I cannot say enough about this book. It is filled with heavy metal references, some of which I “got” and even more that I didn’t. I listen to Dean Martin and the Rat Pack more than any other style of music now, but still have been known to “Rock Out” or fill my ears with pop music.

The first time I read “Metallic Dreams”, I will say I was shocked but impressed. The storyline was something fresh and original. I had my eyes opened to a whole different perspective, to say the least. The hero had trials and tribulations, tragedy and triumph, the characters were well- developed and the dialogue was believable and modern. It was graphic and poignant, sweet and raunchy. It was like nothing I had ever read before.

At time of writing this, I have already read Metallic Dreams 3 times and each time I find another bit that speaks to me. Witches, the Devil, Metal Gods, youthful high-jinx and mature decisions. I got a taste of growing up in Scotland as a young boy (which I am not and did not obviously) and into the mind of an aspiring heavy metal legend. I saw the bonds between friends get stretched and strengthened in my mind’s eye.

As a warning, there are a few scenes that might be shocking to some readers, there were a few occasions that I did not like (on a personal level) a few characters at various points but it was not that I didn’t like how they were written. Rather, they were written so well that I could imagine they were real people with real personalities and flaws.

Read the complete review on the EBookBuilders site. https://ebookbuilderspro.com/metallic-dreams/

PLAINTIFFS, PROCEEDINGS & PSYCHOPATHS

Years ago, I read a Lisa Scottoline book but I don't remember the title or much of the storyline, I just knew it was a page turner so I thought I would take a chance on this book. Filled with motions, briefs, plaintiffs, and psychopaths. I could not put it down. I am a sucker for mystery, suspense, and thriller novels, this one by Ms. Scottoline did not disappoint. I was floored at the pacing and world building. I felt as if I was in Philadelphia…I could see the buildings, hear the voices, feel the terror that Mary experienced.

TThis was the first book in the Rosato & Associates book, but I saw no Rosato on the character list. I will be reading more from this author so it looks like I have yet another series to add to my Kindle and that makes my heart happy.

Recommend?

I recommend that if you love twists, turns, plot twists and a totally unexpected villain reveal.

Disclaimer

I received via the OverDrive/Libby app from the Harris County or Houston Public Library system. It was read as a Kindle Book..

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REVIEWED BY NOT FOR VANITY

LA, summer. Georgios Hassan is wearing leather pants at noon on a Tuesday in a bar in West Hollywood. He’s a heavy metal musician that only answers to the name of Lazers (‘with a z’ he will specify more than once along the book). He and his band, the Killer Orca almost made it, back in the days, but then grunge hit and so did families and personal stuff and they simply fizzled away. They continued to play, but more for pleasure and a hobby rather than with the dream of becoming famous rock starts who toured the world. Despite a series of misunderstandings and some very bad arguments, Lazer kept on the rocker bad boy aura: he wears leather pants no matter what the weather, lives in his van at the back of a bar where he’s a a regular, and always has sunglasses on.

One night, while Lazer is going back home, ‘a bit drunk but not so drunk’ as per his words, he falls and passes out on the pavement. When he wakes up, he is in an anonymous and unrecognisable white room. He’ll soon find out he woke up on the John Smith Seven, a missionary ship part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day, a space ship. An embarrassed and inexpert young and pretty woman welcomes him. She introduces herself as Qiti, and explains that it’s her first day as a converter of humans to the religion. What kind of religion, asks Lazer. We are the Smormons, replies Qiti. They are Mormons – same beliefs, same way of spreading the word of God – but in space, instead of Earth. Hence the name.

Read the complete review on the EBookBuilders site. https://notforvanity.com/2023/05/17/sunset-distortion/

REVIEWED BY ROXB

H.H. Lomax continues to excel at getting himself into trouble without effort. A simple ride on his mule and excellent catching skills land him in the Buffalo Gap Jail, charged with murder and bank robbery. The posse, led by Sherriff Minter, won’t listen to reason and consider lynching over a trial. Preston Lewis paints the scenes and situations in minute detail to bring readers into the story.

The small-town foul jail has limited amenities. The sheriff’s daughter Mandy Mae is attracted to the handsome Lomax. The antics inside the cell could only happen to Lomax. The clever dialogue and outrageous accusations emphasize Lomax’s ability to think on his feet or seat (in this case).

Mr. Lewis takes readers on a rough journey from Texas to Utah to Colorado. In between, Lomax reunites with his sister, the star of a touring theatre group. Their performance date is hijacked by the one and only Oscar Wilde. The story races from one situation to another after Lomax signs on to bodyguard the primo uomo, to get the money lost from their theater cancelation.

Readers will slap their jeans and sip their suds as the nonstop action continues from one page to the next. Lomax jumps from frying pan to fire, time and again, with his ready wit as his primary weapon. Wilde West’s history with Lomax, created by Preston Lewis, should be saved and brought back out whenever the world threatens to get you down.

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MODERN-DAY FAIRYTALE

Recently I read a re-do of the Rose Red fairy-tale that I grew up with. Wren Michaels took the fairy tale I loved and told it with a completely different twist. I am not someone who reads erotica often, but I loved the way that Ms. Michaels was able to take characters I once knew and reintroduce them to me.

In 'Unbearable', Ms. Michaels took Rose Red and made her a strong, independent woman who wasn't afraid to get naked and demand what she wanted from a bed-partner. A strong, sexual woman instead of the shrieking virginal violet most fairy tale heroines are. This story was a novella, but I would have liked a little more back-story. I can see great possibilities with further expanding this story and making it a full-length novel and/or series.

The story line was fresh, the characters were developed but in a full-length novel could have been even more so. The writing was engaging. Yes, I will be reading more from this author. I give this book 4 starts - but only because I thought it could have had a bit more story development and could have been made into a novel but that is just my personal preference.

Recommend?

I recommend that if you love quick-read romances and fairytales.

70S ROCK FICTION

FULL DISCLOSURE — I received this book free from the author before she was a guest on the Bluebonnets, Bagpipes and Books podcast with myself and author Mark Rice. (Episode 13 - Rocktober and Roll.

I guess the best way to describe this book is semi-historical rock fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed the read, going back to a simpler time and being immersed in the music scene of ’70s Toronto. When I was first reading this, I thought to myself, “This is not right…these people are too polite…no one is this polite,” but then I realized that the rudeness and slang of today was not in effect, plus Canada is not America – the land of impatience and ‘now, now, now’.

I found the characters fully formed and easily recognizable from the dialogue. The two main characters are lovers and bandmates, which contributes to the story’s drama, heartbreak and joy. There is enough social commentary of the time to give a glimpse into how things truly were – drugs are mentioned, but alcohol and smoking are the addictions front and foremost, as was the norm for the time period.

Behind Blue Eyes: Love Reign o’er Me is written by a lover of The Who – as some may have guessed from the title. The author also researched meticulously to make sure the facts in the book were correct, even making sure the weather was accurately described right down to meteorological conditions on a specific date. Anne-Marie Klein is an author to look out for.

Read the complete review on the EBookBuilders site. https://ebookbuilderspro.com/love-reign-oer-me/

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A KNUCKLE BITING CONCLUSION TO THE EXECUTIVE SERIES.

What an amazing wild terrifying ride the Executive Series was. It came to an epic conclusion in Executive Force.

Once again, Scott Roark teams up with various FBI CIA, NSA operatives to help track down the latest attack against the United States. With all of the characters from the previous three books and a new super assassin, Executive Force was heart pounding and terrifying in its implications.

We go through a ride to figure out who the ultimate villain is in the latest terroristic attack, utilizing random assassinations of political figures on all spectrums—low level school board members—all the way to federal judges. The assassin even has higher up individuals in his sights.

Mr. Grossman was able to wrap up all of the story lines from previous books that were dangling and bring some to shocking conclusions. This was a win for series wrap up.

Recommend?

I recommend to anyone who loves psychological and geopolitical thrillers and has any interest in world politics.

Disclaimer

I received via the OverDrive/Libby app from the Harris County Library system. It was read as a Kindle Book.

ZANY CHARACTERS AND SPOOKY PLOTLINE MAKES A LAUGH OUT LOUD READ

I love this series! Each book gets better and better. Every plotline is fresh and exciting. Filled with ghosts, demons, murders and other unexplainable phenomenon, every book so far in this series surpassed the previous one..

With a cast of zany characters, Ms Charles weaves a story that perfectly plays off the previous book's plot.

Violet spends the book trying to avoid riling Detective Cooper and stay out of jail, track down a client to complete a real estate sale, raise her twins, reconcile with her best friend and further a relationship with Doc. Violet is a busy, busy modern woman.

Loveable characters from previous books help propel the story lines forward - Everyone needs an "Old Man Harvey" in their life- and the reader gets more of the backstory regarding Violet's sister and family dynamic as well as her Aunt Zoe's love life.

A terrific installment of the Deadwood series.

Recommend?

I recommend this book to all those who love paranormal romance and/or thriller/suspense novels. Those genre readers will find something to love about this series and this book in particular.

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A fae prince set on bringing down his kingdom from within … A human, having infiltrated the kingdom with plans to do the same …

But neither realizes they’re on the same side? Let the games begin.

How can anyone resist reading and/or listening to this book with THIS COVER?!?!?!? It’s definitely one of my faves of alltime. (But don’t let it fool you—this kingdom has been touched by darkness.)

There is so much going on here, not the least of which were the stunning visuals, thanks to this author’s talent of painting beautiful ‘mind pictures’ as she writes …

* Fae realm setting.

* Royals.

* Magic.

* Biiiiig attitudes.

* Epic vocabulary designed to suit the world.

* Amazing world-building.

* Academy vibes. (Specifically: Malice Academy—how intriguing does that sound?)

* Trials.

* A reluctant, and rebellious princess candidate.

* A sassy pixie.

* Malice with its own personality.

* A wicked cliffhanger—this one’s quite fun.

* Epic world-building.

Read the complete review on the PelicanFreaks GR https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5553236665

REVIEWED BY PELICANFREAK

Couldn’t pass up this gorgeous cover, and that def worked in my favor, as it was a really fun listen. Thanks so much to the author / publisher for offering this up on a free site, I did claim it that way, but leaving my opinion is voluntary.

I think I’m officially a fan of this author after enjoying a couple of their books.

This was pretty much your typical serial killer / police procedural, with alternating POVs from both the killer and Jade, one of the officers on the case. I wouldn’t say it packs any originality, but not much does anymore anyway. I was interested in listening to it all play out, so I’d say the author did a decent job, overall. There were a couple little continuity hiccups, that a good editing, or even beta-reading team could’ve helped with.

3 stars.

Audio—

Not great. Not bad, exactly, but the narrator has weird pronunciation for a few works and mostly just sorta of reads off the words as a robot. Sounds a lot like AI at times. At other times she does inflict some tone, but it tends to sound out of place. If she’d work more on performing the books, instead of trying to mimic Siri or Alexa, it’d make for a better production. Though, as I said, not bad. 2 star-narration.

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MEET THE TEAM!

Deena Rae Design, Writer, Reviewer Danielle Interviewer & Reviewer RoxB Writer, Reviewer PelicanFreak Reviewer Mickey Mikkelson Co-Publisher Aimee Ravichandran Co-Publisher
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