TopShelf Magazine Holiday 2023

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MAN OF MYSTERY

ALAN R. WARREN


Exclusive Interview ALAN R. WARREN is a Best Selling Author. The Producer and lead host of the Popular NBC Radio shows House of Mystery and Inside Writing, both heard on the 106.5 F.M. Los Angeles/102.3 F.M. Riverside/ 1050 A.M. Palm Springs/ 540 A.M. KYAH Salt Lake City/ 1150 A.M. KKNW Seattle/Tacoma and Phoenix. REMINDER: This is an interactive magazine. Click on book cover or link to follow.

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Q: HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN PODCASTING AND WHAT DEVELOPED FROM YOUR SUCCESS AS A PODCASTER? It was about 15 years ago, that I was producing other people’s shows and I had the opportunity to do an interview with the woman who was having an affair with Lee Harvey Oswald during the time period in which he had shot President Kennedy. The station manager of KFNX 1100 A.M. in Phoenix heard the show and approached me about doing a True Crime show for the station. That’s where it all started. Q: WHAT TOPICS DID YOU BEGIN DISCUSSING ON YOUR PODCAST AND WHAT TOPICS DO YOU FEATURE NOW? In Phoenix, for KFNX 11 A.M. it was a True crime show and I called it ‘The House of Mystery’ after one of my favorite comic books from the 1960s when I was young. When I moved the show to Seattle for KKNW 1150 A.M. I changed the format slightly, and we talked about all mysteries. Not only true crime mysteries, but history mysteries, paranormal mysteries, unsolved events as well such as President Kennedy’s Assassination to the D.B. Cooper plane heist. Q: IT IS GREAT TO MEET ANOTHER PERSON WHO ENJOYS TRUE CRIME AS MUCH AS I DO. YOU STARTED BY WRITING ARTICLES FOR TRUE CASE FILES MAGAZINE AND STILL CONTRIBUTE TO SERIAL KILLER MAGAZINE. WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE ARTICLES THAT YOU 6

CONTRIBUTED TO BOTH MAGAZINES? I started doing articles for magazines years ago, mainly because I never thought of myself as a writer and the articles were short as they didn’t require what would be required in a full book. It was similar to doing a report on the radio about a crime. I didn’t have any confidence in writing a book, so it was a natural choice for me. My favorite articles were the ones where I interviewed a murderer in prison and had some new information to give readers. Something they wouldn›t get anywhere else. Rodney Alcala before he died sticks out. This later led to a book, ‹The Killing Game› Which is now a threepart series on Amazon Prime in which I star in, and has been featured on several true crime series such as HLN›s Very Scary People with Donny Walberg. Q: CAN ANYONE WRITE ARTICLES OR BOOKS ON TRUE CRIME? OR DOES IT TAKE SOMEONE WITH INSIDE OR FORMER KNOWLEDGE OF THE CASES TO CREATE PIECES ON THE TOPICS? The ability to write can be accomplished by anyone today, especially with the events of online magazines, blogs, substacks, and Amazon. I think that if you want your article or book to stick out from the large crowd of publications, having some inside information about the crime, the victims, and or the killer is key. The most important thing is having firsthand information, otherwise, if you create the whole book or article based on other people’s books

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or articles, there’s nothing new in that. Why would someone OF CRIME! ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON ANY NEW want to buy a book that’s totally based on second-hand BOOKS AT THE MOMENT? information? You might as well just Google it. I always have a lot Q: WHERE DID YOU GET THE EXPERIENCE TO WRITE ABOUT of books going on TRUE CRIMES? at one time. Usually 4-5 at a time. This I have written in two different styles. First is when you get is because it takes hired by a publisher to write a book on a particular crime. quite a bit of time to Those have been short reads for a series on a particular locate people and kind of crime. This set up interviews, could be like UK Serial get into a prison to Killers or Canadian talk to a convicted Serial Killers etc. This felon, or get files would be where a from courts or publisher puts out a police officers. So, series of something as things come like 20 books covering in you work on particular a subject, each book that focusing on one story. Once all of part of that subject. the information is They are usually in, you put the story together. The most current crime limited to 25-30K story I am working on centers around the murder of a words. They tend to Seattle family on Christmas Eve in 1985. The father was be primarily second- actually mistaken for his father and during the 1960’s he hand information with had been accused of being a communist. This was the maybe one or two reason behind the murder, by a group who were scared of tidbits for readers America being taken over by Communists. There’s a lot of who just want a read history involved in this book. that overviews the Q: OUT OF ALL THE CRIME-RELATED TOPICS, WHICH IS killer and or crime, not too much detail. The other type of book, which is the most important YOUR FAVORITE TO WRITE AND OR DISCUSS THE MOST? to me, is the one where it’s a full book and you have lots of first-hand sources, such as the killer, police officers, I love to write a story from the victim’s point of view and detectives, doctors, prosecutor, defense attorney, victims get the full story out. After the cameras are turned off, who were involved in the case. These are much more and the crime gets forgotten. What happens to everyone detailed and become personal to me as I become involved then? I don’t usually like to get too involved in the gore or brutality of the crime, but more the effects of what comes in all aspects of the case. from the crime. But, these are very draining emotionally and take a lot out of me, so I don’t necessarily call it a Q: CONGRATULATIONS ON HAVING WRITTEN AND PUBLISHED 30 NON-FICTION BOOKS ON VARIOUS TYPES favorite. My favorite, but not usually the most popular, are REMINDER: This is an interactive magazine. Click on book cover or link to follow.

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the ones where I get to acquaintance of his was found murdered, and had been go into history and do part of a blackmail scheme that had been carried out research into a certain against similar men as the lawyer for being outed to the time. Go back through press for their proclivities. He could lose his family, and the old newspapers and prestigious job as a lawyer, and even end up in jail. learn about how people Q: IN YOUR LATEST SERIES, KILLER QUEENS, WHEN WILL lived. THE BOOK FIE BE RELEASED? Q: CAN YOU SHARE All six books were released. More info on question two WITH US, READERS, WHAT WORK OF YOURS prior to this one. IS CURRENTLY BEING TURNED INTO A FOUR- Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE ASPIRING PART DOCUMENTARY? TRUE CRIME PODCASTERS AND WRITERS? It has now become a 6 part documentary series for Discovery. It is based on my six-book series ‘Killer Queens’ which is based on Gay Serial killers throughout history and the world. For example, books one and two both cover murders in 1924. One was in Germany’ The Butcher of Hanover’ and the other in the United States Chicago, ‘Leopold & Loeb: The Murder of Bobby Franks. Not only do the books cover the murders, but go into detail about the settings of the crimes and how that affected the outcomes of these crimes. For example, in Berlin, Germany in 1924, Drag shows were all the rage, and everyone was going to see them, the culture was embraced. Meanwhile, in Chicago during the same time, it was a crime and very underground to be gay. It’s fascinating the learn how each country dealt with their respective murders and gay people.

Decide what kind of writer you want to be and do it! There is no real secret to it, just a lot of work. The more work and time you put into your book, the better and more long-lasting it will be! For: PODCAST/RADIO When I started out I was terrible on air! I was constantly trying to be like other radio people and trying to have a ‘Radio Voice’ which was a mistake ! It is very important to learn the craft and techniques , but the mist important thing you can do is be yourself, relax, and create good radio

Q: YOU HAVE A NEW RELEASE DUE NEXT YEAR CALLED VIOLATOR! WHAT TOPICS WILL BE DISCUSSED IN THIS NEW BOOK? Q: WHERE CAN READERS FIND YOU AND This is a historical fiction book based on a lawyer, married YOUR WORK ONLINE? in 1962, who was having homosexual liaisons and was faced with the possibility of being caught when a current I am in as many places as possible. ( Facebook, Twitter 8

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X, Instagram, TikTok and more. My website at Author & Radioshow Host | Alan R. Warren (alanrwarren.com) has all of the links.

ABOUT ALAN R. WARREN ALAN R. WARREN is a Best Selling Author. The Producer and lead host of the Popular NBC Radio shows House of Mystery and Inside Writing, both heard on the 106.5 F.M. Los Angeles/102.3 F.M. Riverside/ 1050 A.M. Palm Springs/ 540 A.M. KYAH Salt Lake City/ 1150 A.M. KKNW Seattle/ Tacoma and Phoenix. Al Started writing articles for True Case Files Magazine and is still a contributor for Serial Killer Magazine. Since then, he has completed 24 non-fiction books covering true crime, cults, human trafficking, history, and memoirs for three different publishers, including RJ Parker/ Vronksy Publishing in Toronto, Canada & WildBlue Press in Colorado, America. His bestselling True Crime Books in Canada are Beyond Suspicion: The True Story of Colonel Russell Williams, which was featured on CNN's Lies, Crimes, & Videos in Season 4 in the Fall of 2022, and Murder Times Six: The True Story of the Wells Gray Park Murders. In America, his bestsellers include The Killing Game: Serial Killer Rodney Alcala, which has been featured on several television shows such as Very Scary People with Donny Walberg and Oxygen's Mark of a Killer, and Reelz' Killer Trophies and soon to be part of a four-part documentary on the Sundance Channel called Death's Date, and Doomsday Cults: The Devil's Hostages, which was featured on Vice's Dark Side of the '90s. REMINDER: This is an interactive magazine. Click on book cover or link to follow.

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INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT 48 HOURS TO HOME R. LO & CJ IVES LOPEZ

Step into the tumultuous world of Christian, a dedicated soldier teetering on the brink of civilian life after six grueling years of service. As he counts down the final 48 hours of his military career, his past and present collide in a visceral and unfiltered narrative. Christian must grapple with the relentless weight of PTSD, reliving haunting memories and traumas that torment his every step. In a society divided between those with occult potential anReturning to his family's ranch, he carries the heavy burden of his brother's loss to the drug epidemic gripping their town. Christian's struggle intensifies as he becomes entangled in a web of personal and societal challenges, including a sudden, life-threatening encounter. Amidst the shattered fragments of his reality, he must summon the inner strength to rebuild his life. The question looms: Will he conquer his inner demons and find solace on the arduous path to recovery, or will the overwhelming darkness threaten to consume him entirely?

ABOUT R. LOW R. LO is a highly esteemed US Army Infantry Veteran with a rich and eventful career spanning picturesque landscapes in Panama and vibrant locales in Belize, California, and Washington State. Throughout his 10

distinguished military journey, he fostered invaluable bonds of camaraderie with exceptional individuals, leading to enduring friendships that are celebrated through annual gatherings, where cherished memories of shared experiences are fondly revisited.

ABOUT CJ IVES LOPEZ CJ's life has been an unforgettable expedition filled with diverse accomplishments and a passion for storytelling. With a career spanning two decades in the United States Air Force as an Operations Manager within the Civil Engineer Squadron, she traveled the world, visiting Japan, Germany, England, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Oman, and Bulgaria, to name a few, and various states within the North American Continent gaining invaluable experiences

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AUDIO BOOK REVIEW WILD GIRL SHERIDAN ANNE MIGHT DIE WAITING FOR BOOK 4 Seriously, how could I NOT read this book after that ending in book 2?! Thankfully, it picks up right were 2 left off and I found myself thinking, ‘Wow, this is so aptly titled…’ just a few minutes in.

Heart-wrenching scenes. Trafficking (of minors). Talk of SA (of minors).

by Pelican Freak

I can’t even describe the hold this series has on me— the writing, the fictional town/world, the characters, the suspense, the action, the mix of violence and hope of a bright future—and STILL the promise of a very dark immediate future … it just packs everything and moves FAST. 100% recommend—but you’ll need the whole series, Absolutely brilliant. trust me on that one. Anne knows how to write an incredibly strong female After absolutely dying for it, lead who only manages to grow on multiple fronts and it was everything I expected it end up even stronger before she’s done. to be, and more. Can’t wait for the next. Action, danger, suspense, violence. danger).

Extreme injuries (from aforementioned action & Found (literal) family. Fun, current pop-culture references. Realistic banter. Jocks … and mean girls.

Audio: The narrator was absolutely fantastic and the overall quality: perfectThe narrator was absolutely fantastic and the overall quality

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Quick & Easy

JOSEPH LEWIS QUICK INTERVIEW 12

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Q: CONGRATULATIONS FOR 47-YEARS SPENT IN EDUCATION! THAT IS HUGE! HOW DID YOU SWITCH FROM EDUCATION TO WRITING FICTION?

times, belong to them.

Q: HOW HAVE YOUR YEARS AS AN EDUCATOR, COACH, COUNSELOR, AND ADMINISTRATOR HELPED SHAPE YOUR WRITING, ESPECIALLY IN THE COMING-OF-AGE GENRE?

Q: DO YOU RECOMMEND WRITERS TO TAKE COURSES IN CREATIVE WRITING AND SCREENWRITING?

Q: WHAT LED YOU TO THRILLER/DETECTIVE/ I wrote during the time I was in education. I call it my stress CRIME FICTION WRITING release as much as a creative outlet. As a counselor, I had GENRES? a short story, Dusty and Me, published in 1987, and I took screenwriting and creative writing courses at UCLA and It is the genre I love to USC during the time I was a counselor. As a principal, my read. I devour Patterson first eight books were published between 2014 and 2022. and his Alex Cross Fan Mail, my most recent book, was published during and Michael Bennett series. I religiously read semi-retirement, but while I still worked in education. I have always loved to write, and it began in sixth Baldacci and his John grade. I had a phenomenal teacher who would have story Puller series. And I enjoy cards- a note card- where she would write three or four Sandford and his Lucas paragraphs on it. If we had spare time, like after a test or Davenport and Virgil after seat work, we could grab one of the story starters Flowers mysteries. I strive to create vivid characters and finish the story. We didn’t receive credit, but she gave for my books, and I think I’ve done that with the seven wonderful feedback. It was that teacher and those story adopted brothers, and in particular, Brian, George, and Brett. At least, that’s what my readers tell me. starters that lit the fire that still burns today.

Without a doubt, my background helped shape my writing. A reader will notice that not only do I write a thriller-crimemystery novel, but within that genre, there is a comingof-age thread that runs through all my books. My main characters, besides a trio of hard-working detectives, are a patchwork family of seven adopted boys. I believe that’s why my books have a nice following of readers and why I’ve won so many awards. My characters come from my imagination, but also from the classrooms, the basketball court, the counseling office, and the hallways and cafeterias I walked, listening to and watching kids interact with each other and with adults. Many of the stories within my books came from those arenas. Sometimes, I used the stories they shared with me. I make sure I tweak them enough to keep their anonymity and privacy, but the stories and insights, many

I credit those courses with teaching me a vivid, visual approach to my writing. In my book, Betrayed, for instance, the story takes place on the Navajo Nation reservation in Northeastern Arizona. One reader who lived and worked there asked me if I had lived there, because what I described is what actually exists there. That’s high praise for me, since I vacationed there only once. I studied the Navajo culture and received help from several Navajos who took the time to answer my many questions and give me creative advice to make that book come alive. My newest book, Fan Mail, takes place in a high school. The story takes place in and around Waukesha North High School, a school I taught and coached in for five wonderful years. But I credit the creative writing and screenwriting courses for helping me to make that building and the characters come alive and live in my writing.

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Q: YOUR LATEST BOOK, FAN MAIL, HAS WON FOUR AWARDS. TELL US, READERS, MORE ABOUT THE BOOK.

It asks the deeper question, what is love? It is a story of self-discovery. All of this in a mystery-crime thriller.

Fan Mail might be one of my favorites because, while Q: WHO ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS FEATURED IN FAN there is a mystery and a large amount of suspense, the MAIL? characters reveal themselves in a deeply personal way. I guess you could say that comes from my psychology and Besides the three hardworking and intelligent cops who counseling background. appear in all my books, the main characters are the Fan Mail is a multi-layered coming-of-age story about adopted fifteen- and sixteen-year-old brothers who make a family of adopted brothers, embedded in a gripping up the Evans family. Fan Mail is told through Brian’s eyes thriller that will keep the reader guessing who is behind and, because of this, he has a pivotal role in the story. The the letters and the car bomb, and fearing one or more reader will feel his pain, his doubt, and his love and loyalty. of the boys may die before the culprit is found. Several Each of the brothers and their parents, Jeremy and Vicky, of the boys receive letters, fan mail, because they are share the spotlight to a degree, but this is Brian’s story. in a popular local band. Boys being boys, they ignore Q: HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE the letters, and the author of the FOR FAN MAIL? IT’S SIMPLE YET LEAVES THE fan mail gets annoyed to the point of READER IN SUSPENSE. threats, including a letter containing an unknown substance. There is a car With each of my book titles, there is more than one bomb that may or may not be from the meaning, and readers discover the meaning(s) letter writer. There is so much stress within the title as they read. At Fan Mail’s core and strain on the close-knit family, is my fascination with how kids handle, or don’t, the boys turn on each other and their being famous and being a celebrity. In my career, father has a heart attack, furthering I’ve coached kids who went on to play college the strain on the family. Brian, who and professional sports (basketball and football). deeply loves and cares about his family, Some handled it well, while others didn’t. If we sets aside his own personal issues and read the papers and tabloids, or watch television decides to do all he can to keep this news, we see examples of kids succeeding and family- his family- from being torn apart. Brian doesn’t know it, but this decision proves to growing with celebrity, and others who don’t. But I wanted be deadly. When the time comes, will he follow through on to create an atmosphere of suspense, of mystery, within the this decision or will he back out of this decision and let context of celebrity, large or small, by asking the question, how will the boys who make up the Evans family handle things take their natural course? being in the spotlight? Q: WHAT THEMES WILL READERS FIND IN FAN MAIL? Q: WHY DO YOU THINK READERS FLOCK MORE TO THE Fan Mail is a coming-of-age story embedded in a thriller- THRILLER/CRIME FICTION GENRE OVER OTHERS? crime-mystery. It is a story of love that is tested and stretched to where bonds might break and where love I think readers like sitting on the edge of their seat. I think disintegrates. Fan Mail explores the theme of family in readers like the air of mystery and suspense, and readers such a way as to bluntly ask the question, what is a family? seek out “whodunits” because of the puzzle these stories 14

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present. People watch Jeopardy and try to ask the question to find out and put an end to whoever was cutting in on before the contestants do. Same with Wheel of Fortune, their market. If this secret was not kept, MS-13 would be guessing the puzzle before the contestants can. back to exact revenge and teach a deadly lesson. Readers read to escape life, even for a moment, and a With that in mind, I am working on a story titled Black well-written book, be it romance, horror, or mystery, gives Yé’ii (The Evil One), which comes from a spiritual Navajo the reader an opportunity to live in someone else’s shoes, belief and tradition. In Black Yé’ii (The Evil One) it seems to travel to unknown or known places. With a thriller- the agreement to keep the secret at the end of Caught mystery, the reader tries to solve the puzzle before it is in a Web was broken, and now, MS-13 is back seeking revealed in the pages. There is a natural curiosity that revenge, placing several of my characters in danger. exists in people, and reading a mystery can nurture and Q: WHERE CAN READERS FIND YOU AND YOUR BOOKS build upon that curiosity. ONLINE? Q: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING STYLE? All of my books can be found on my website: https:// I am a character-driven writer. In all my books, the www.jrlewisauthor.com with links for purchase, and all of characters tell the story. My writing is visual and my my books are on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. My books characters live and breathe in and among the pages where come in paperback and ebook, and three of them: Caught they live. My characters, protagonists and antagonists, in a Web, Betrayed, and Blaze In, Blaze Out are also in have a life of their own. Those who read my books see the audio form. characters, hear them talking, and see them acting out the adventures I place them in. ABOUT JOSEPH LEWIS I am a pantzer, who doesn’t outline or plan ahead. I let the story unfold on its own as I listen to and watch my Joseph Lewis has a new thriller/suspense book, Fan characters interact with each other and with the puzzle Mail (March 2023), and has already won a Silver Book I give them. Sometimes I think I know what I’m about to Award from Reader's Favorites, a Maxy Finalist Award, write, but find myself going off on a different, even better an Eric Hoffer Award Nominee, and a Literary Titan path, based upon what the character chooses to do. Silver Book Award. Blaze In, Blaze Out (January 2022) Q: WHAT OTHER PROJECTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT, IF ANY? In 2018, my book, Caught in a Web, was published and it won several awards, and BestThrillers called it, “One of the best crime thrillers of 2018.” It is a story of revenge and gangs, and the impact these had on several of my characters. At the end of that story, a promise was made that would keep four individuals safe, only IF the secret was kept. MS-13 is a ruthless and violent gang that runs drugs, weapons, and prostitutes from Chicago to Milwaukee and its suburbs, all the way north to Door County. They played an essential role in Caught in a Web because they wanted

has won five awards so far, including Best Fiction Crime Action Book of 2022 by BestThrillers.com. His previous novels include Betrayed; Spiral Into Darkness; Caught in a Web. Previously, Lewis has published four books: Taking Lives, a prequel to the Lives Trilogy; Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy, which won one award; Shattered Lives, Book Two; and Splintered Lives, Book Three. Each book is in the thriller/crime genre, and each has garnered outstanding reviews. He writes a weekly inspirational blog, Simple Thoughts From A Complicated Mind, Sort Of at https://www.simp lethoughtsfromacomplicatedmindsortof.com . He has an author website at https://www.jrlewisauthor.com .

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AUDIO BOOK REVIEW FLIP TRICK AMO JONES

by Pelican Freak

ADDICTIVE—SO MUCH DRAMA AND IT'S TWISTY.

the concept, along with some other things (which I’ll leave out as I don’t want to spoil anything). And as someone who pretty much sees everything coming / is never surprised … there was even a little tidbit that I found surprising—AMAZING! Love when this happens—it’s rare. I’ll leave the specifics out but … feel free to reach out or comment if you’d like to discuss.ther reviewers talk about twists—I didn’t find any. I predicted everything, so I’m not sure what they found twisty. And this one felt a bit more spice than plot at times, and I’d have liked to see a few more questions answered, but mostly it wrapped up nicely.

Gripped me right away “...maybe you could teach [your daughter] a thing about s*c&ing d**k, since your abilities are good enough to break a home.” Despite the tension in that scene, I found that line hilarious, as this author absolutely knows how to bring all the emotions together in an anything-butsimple scene. This book is full of fun quips, awkward situations, family drama, and new adults on Audio: their best and worst behavior. Oh and it’s addictive too! The narration Step-sibling relations. was great, and Cheating is depicted, for those who can’t handle that. overall sound College campus / college life setting. quality was Skater girl. perfect—5 stars. MMA fighter male lead. Angst—so much, but not *too* much if that makes sense. It’s perfect. Accidental pregnancy / secret baby tropes. Kidnapping. Lies, deceit, betrayal. This one also made me think a bit. Whether or not you believe in soul mates, this read may just have you contemplating

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐

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QUICK INTERVIEW Quick & Easy

ANGIE MASERATI

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CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSICAL JOURNEY, FROM YOUR EARLIEST MEMORIES OF SINGING TO YOUR CURRENT SUCCESS IN THE INDUSTRY? I have had a song in my head for as long as I can remember. My mind is like a jukebox and the song changes with the life happening all around me. A word will trigger a lyric and a new song begins looping until something triggers it to change. My parents tell me stories of it being cute and then “enough already!” haha. My soul is drawn to lyrics, I consider myself a poet, lyricist and performer, more than a musician. I don’t play an instrument outside of my voice. Playing piano would be a great skill but honestly I have no regrets. I work with talented instrumentalists to create the physical music. It begins with a melody from the music and rhythm within me as I write my inspirations onto the page. When I have inspired thoughts I treat them like gifts. I do my best to write them down or record them right away. They are a treasure chest of puzzle pieces, when the time is right they find their place. Creating gives my soul great joy and purpose, it is a magical experience to bring something into existence. Then performing it is the icing on the cake. The ability to do what lights up my soul is the definition of success to me.

HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE PROCESS OF SELECTING SONGS FOR YOUR REPERTOIRE? I have heard it said that all songs are love songs, but all love isn’t equal. I choose to write and perform love songs that hold an enormity of romance and play. The beat has to grab me as well; I love to move my body and have the music move through me. There are songs I have sung hundreds of times on stage and they still feel brand new. Even if I didn’t write it, I put my feelings into a story and it takes me to my happy place.

WHAT CRITERIA DO YOU USE TO DETERMINE IF A SONG IS THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR VOICE AND

STYLE? I want to be moved emotionally by the lyrics and the music. When a song is performed with passion I believe you are listening to the sound of the performer’s soul. Definitely why I gravitate towards soul R&B music. I have spent hours and hours mastering my voice over the years, so I like to perform songs that allow me to play with all the colors. Hitting the big notes is fun too! Singing is so much fun and is malleable to the mood and skill. There is no limit to growing a talent when fueled by passion. I continue to grow and discover.

COULD YOU SHARE WITH US A MEMORABLE ONSTAGE EXPERIENCE THAT HAD A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON YOUR CAREER OR PERSONAL GROWTH AS A PERFORMER? Performing my own music has been the most thrilling experience of my career. At my live album debut performance, I led the audience in a sing along. Hearing their voices sing my song brought me to tears, very happy tears! It’s always a thrill when people share how much they love a song and how it resonates with them.

AS A SINGER, HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO MAINTAIN THE BALANCE BETWEEN STAYING TRUE TO YOUR ARTISTIC VISION AND MEETING THE EXPECTATIONS OF YOUR AUDIENCE? I have to create from my heart and trust the process. There are almost 8 billion people in the world, I believe the music finds the people who it will resonate with. I often have people ask me to collaborate on songs, a true meeting of the minds is a must and it’s ok if it just isn’t meant to be. You can’t force it, it has to flow from the heart. With my live performances I think the audience connects to my energy and the music. You can feel the joy and love, and it lifts you up. Permission to feel good!

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WHAT ROLE DO VOCAL EXERCISES AND TRAINING PLAY IN YOUR ROUTINE? HOW DO YOU ENSURE THE LONGEVITY AND HEALTH OF YOUR VOICE? Training is essential on so many levels! I was blessed to train with one of the top vocal coaches in the world. Her name was Judy Davis, access to her class was by invitation only. I was able to get in through a friend of a friend. I took the opportunity very seriously and listened to her every word, taking it all in. I knew that the knowledge I was receiving would be life changing. Judy taught me about the physical structure and technique being equally important to embodying the story of the song. You must feel it deeply on a personal level and know the song forward and backwards. Can you imagine Whitney Houston singing while reading lyrics from her iPad? Uhh NO! Heart and soul baby! With that being said, I only had 5 classes with her before she died suddenly. I continued to study the materials she gave me and extract the gifts they held. I think of her every time I pick up a microphone and have eternal gratitude. She lives on in all her students.

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE CREATIVE PROCESS BEHIND WRITING YOUR OWN MUSIC, IF APPLICABLE? HOW DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION AND TRANSLATE PERSONAL EXPERIENCES INTO YOUR SONGS? I feel so grateful for this life and live with an open and trusting heart. I love to feel and I am not afraid of it, I celebrate it! Being open invites opportunities that hold the gift of inspiration. With

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that being said life can also get busy and noisy, I need time and space to hear my thoughts. I have created that space in a little corner with a cork board pinning all the things that make me smile. Photos, places I have been and places I fantasize about. My imagination is fueled by the familiar and unfolding possibility. I have had times when I felt silent. I learned to trust the ebb and flow, certainty and surprise like the game of peekaboo. When inspiration comes I give it attention and the process begins.

MANY ARTISTS FACE CHALLENGES IN THE INDUSTRY. COULD YOU SHARE A CHALLENGE YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED AND HOW YOU OVERCAME IT, OFFERING INSIGHTS FOR ASPIRING SINGERS? I grew up in the generation of “be nice” and it took me a minute and some painful experiences to learn that voicing my boundaries doesn’t make me not nice. I had a producer cross the line two weeks before the Harvey Weinstien, #metoo movement began. Enough with this kind of behavior! It inspired me to write a song called “Mine”, it also strengthened my voice for change. Reflection is essential to move forward in life with a new intention and standard. I have the privilege of working with some of the most talented and respectable male musicians and producers. Feeling safe, supported and respected will have you shine brighter than you ever knew! Trust your gut and never settle for less!

IN TODAY’S DIGITAL AGE, SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE PLATFORMS PLAY A VITAL ROLE IN AN ARTIST’S CAREER. HOW DO YOU LEVERAGE THESE TOOLS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR FANS AND BUILD A LOYAL FOLLOWING? This is where being a bit ol fashion is my achilles. I like meeting people in person! I do most of my connecting at shows, real face time. I use social media mostly for announcing shows and new songs and videos. I am working on reframing this because I know it is essential if

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I am going to touch more people with my music.

COLLABORATION IS A HALLMARK OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. COULD YOU DISCUSS A PARTICULARLY REWARDING OR MEMORABLE COLLABORATION YOU’VE BEEN A PART OF AND THE IMPACT IT HAD ON YOUR ARTISTRY?

confidence. Having vocal mastery to know that you will have a great show, and are equipped with the tools for success. I do have memories of when I was nervous and would even shake. If you are experiencing this know that it can be overcome with time and commitment to your craft. Just keep studying and getting more experience.

AS AN ARTIST, YOU LIKELY FACE BOTH CRITICAL

I found my creative partner when I met Peter Michael ACCLAIM AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. HOW DO Escovedo. He understands me, makes sense of my poetry YOU NAVIGATE AND LEARN FROM FEEDBACK TO so we can make songs that can be enjoyed over and over CONTINUE EVOLVING AS A SINGER? again. He cares that it captures the spirit of me and the intention of my message. We are currently in production I am so open to learning and growing as an artist and as a of my next single “Let Me Love You” . It’s about love, truth person. I have come so far from that little girl who would and honoring one another. sing for hours in her bedroom. There is still so much to learn even after all these years and it is exciting every MUSIC HAS THE POWER TO EVOKE EMOTIONS AND time I uncover a new layer of development. Constructive SEND MESSAGES. WHAT MESSAGE OR EMOTION criticism is a building block of discovery. The greater the DO YOU HOPE YOUR MUSIC CONVEYS TO YOUR players the greater the band if open to learning! When it LISTENERS? comes to acclaim, I am just so grateful for the gift. This life has provided me with something that feeds my soul I am a lover meaning I believe love always wins. You don’t and feels so amazing! It connects me with joy beyond get peace from war. Peace comes when the fighting description. I just love every single thing about what I do. stops. I am a proponent of being the change I want to see I am grateful for the freedom in which I do it as well. I do it in the world. You will smile as my heart washes over you because I want to and not because I have to…as I say that carrying fun, romance, romance and hope and generally my soul wants to shout out “you have to because it is your good feelings. Art imitates life and life imitates art, so I spirit’s desire”. I am in alignment with that too! make sure what I create is something I want to live.

HOW DO YOU PREPARE YOURSELF MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY BEFORE STEPPING ONTO THE STAGE FOR A LIVE PERFORMANCE? ARE THERE ANY RITUALS OR ROUTINES YOU FOLLOW? The stage feels like home to me. I feel there is no other place I belong more than the stage. It is truly a place where I can unapologetically be me, where I can express what is inside of me with a sense of freedom and bliss. I feel very comfortable because I have been performing for so many years, each performance grows your skill and therefore

MUSIC OFTEN REFLECTS SOCIETAL AND CULTURAL TRENDS. HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR MUSIC CONTRIBUTING TO OR REFLECTING THE CURRENT CULTURAL LANDSCAPE? My music holds a message of love and peace. I will not contribute to division and hatred. People act from their fear. Fear is the base of our cultural landscape that causes harm and division. Love heals the world and that is the well from which I drink. I am not ignorant to the world’s atrocities, I want to be part of the solution and not the problem. Love heals, hate murders. I honor life in all

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forms with respect and reverence of belonging.

IN WHAT WAYS HAVE YOU GROWN AND EVOLVED AS A SINGER AND PERFORMER OVER THE YEARS? ARE THERE SPECIFIC MOMENTS THAT STAND OUT IN YOUR JOURNEY OF GROWTH? When I was a teen I developed the dream of becoming a recording artist. I got the starry eyed gumption from magazines that falsely glamorized “overnight success”. We all know that before the “overnight” is even possible there is around the clock work and dedication, it is also very much about who you know. Everyone seemed to be “discovered” so I would enter contests at local venues and sing at church, hoping to get discovered. I took a look at what made me happy; singing, writing and performing. I could do all of these things. I only had to discover myself! So Through the years that is what I have done. I don’t listen to voices that are not mine when it comes to my dream. I get to take it where I want to go. One more important note is that a dream only has an expiration date if you give it one.

MUSIC GENRES CAN INFLUENCE AN ARTIST’S STYLE AND SOUND. ARE THERE ANY GENRES YOU HAVEN’T EXPLORED YET BUT WOULD LIKE TO EXPERIMENT WITH IN THE FUTURE? Singing in the cover band scene for 20 years has kept me genre fluid. I have fun being a chameleon and exploring other genres for the thrill of learning something new. My only must is that no matter the song I feel good running it through my body. I have refused to sing just a handful of songs over the years because for me they disrespected my gratitude for how amazing this life is. I have felt pleasure and pain, the promise of ebb and flow and the grace that carries me; my life is my love song. https://www.angiemaserati.com/

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INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT FINALIST FOR 2023 BEST BOOK AWARDS SPONSORED BY AMERICAN BOOK FEST

With inspiration from her own life, Kalee Boisvert has developed an easy-to-use system for women, young and old, to take control of their finances. Make Money Your Thing is an approachable guide to take women on a journey from avoidance and overwhelm to feeling comfortable and in control of their finances. This book provides simple action steps to learn the basics of money management, understand the importance of balancing the books, and embrace the uniqueness of your own personal situation. The end result is women feeling good about where their finances are right now, and building a solid foundation for where you want to go in the future. When money is your “thing” you can feel completely at ease about making it work for you–and feel confident that your financial goals and dreams are all very possible. With clear, simple steps, and easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll be making money your thing in no time! Some of the concepts you’ll explore in the book.

Transforming money mistakes into money wisdom Keep the focus on what you can control Step into your power: become a money boss Go on a date with your money Embrace your money uniqueness

ABOUT KALEE BOISVERT

Kalee Boisvert has been in the financial industry for over twelve years, but her love of money began very young. Growing up in a single parent household, she watched her mom struggle with finances and wished there was something she could do to help. She wasn’t going to allow her circumstances to define her, and so, her own journey into financial literacy and wealth management began. She chose to become a financial advisor to empower and support women to put an end to their money-related stress. Kalee has an MBA in Finance from the Haskayne School of Business, is a certified Financial Advisor whose focus remains on sparking healthy and positive conversations around wealth and investments. Kalee is also the proud Mom to eight year old Ivy and new baby Jax. She lives with her family in Calgary, Alberta. Money Wise Mabel’s Bursting Bank is her first book for children. Her title, Make Money Your Thing, will be released by RE: Books in Spring 2023.

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AUDIO BOOK REVIEW REBEL ACADEMY: CURSE ROSEMARY A JOHNS by Pelican Freak

GREAT WORLD-BUILDING, EPIC WRITING, FUN ALL-AROUND "I was more than the Curse corrupting me inside. I was a Fallen warrior. If I could only prove it." I was excited to be able to binge the entire trilogy after enjoying books 1-2. Everything has escalated and the drama is already high the moment this one opens. It’s fast-paced, and full of wit, magic and so much more, such as:: Naughty gods. Ce n t u r i e s - l o n g feuds, coming to a head Found family. Captivity. Academy setting. Dark magic. Corruption. Danger. Oppression (& therefore: oppressors you’ll love to hate). Lots of snark. ALL the supernaturals. Super sweet HEA. 24

Audio: Overall good. There was a slight quality issue overall: the female parts alternating between sounding PERFECT, and sounding like she was sort of far away or in a tin can. I’m not sure what makes this happen. Most of it was wellproduced though and ALL of it was well-performed, by great narrators which are easy on the ears. 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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SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11 – 2-2:45 PM TO PURCHASE MY BOOKS AND HAVE THEM SIGNED, MEET ME IN THE WRITER’S LEAGUE TENT. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12 – 4-4:45 P.M. DAVID A. BOWLES IN CONVERSATION ABOUT SHERIFF OF STARR COUNTRY MY LATEST BOOK, SHERIFF OF STARR COUNTY, WILL BE AVAILABLE THROUGHOUT THE FESTIVAL IN THE MAIN SALES TENT AT THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF CONGRESS & 11TH STREET. I WILL BE IN THE MAIN SIGNING TENT TO SIGN BOOKS FROM 5 P.M. FREE ADMISSION TO ALL EVENTS FOR DAVID A. BOWLES. 26

FREE PARKING IN THE CAPITOL VISITOR’S PARKING GARAGE AT This isJACINTO. an interactive magazine. Click on book cover or link to follow. 12TH REMINDER: AND SAN


BLACK CAT PUBLISHING FRANCESA MARIA

At Black Cat Publishing we aspire to write and create the types of comic books we want to read. As avid fans of comics, Black Cat Publishing is a natural progression from Black Cat Comics where we were retailers for nearly two decades. We know what folks want to in a good comic. It's simple: good story and good art. That's our mission and we strive to push the boundaries and deliver the best comic we can with every issue.

surrounded by cats near the Pacific Ocean. She is the creator of the Black Cat Chronicles, a true horror comic book series narrated by a mystical black cat. And her short story collection; They Hide: Short Stories to Tell in the Dark will be out in April 2023 from B r i g i d ’s G a t e Press. Her short stories and essays can be found in Crystal Lake Publishing›s Shallow Waters series and anthologies and Death’s Garden Revisited. You can find her at francescamaria.com and on Twitter @ Writer_of_Weird.

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INTERVIEW Upclose & Personal

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GARY SMITH

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CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST BOOK?

Generally, while writing the book, a character says something, or something happens in a scene that triggers the title.

My newest book is BETRAYAL. It is a story about young people with hopes and dreams drawn to the entertainment industry to become actors and singers with a record deal WHAT THEMES OR MESSAGES DO YOU HOPE YOUR READERS to be betrayed and led into prostitution, about writers WILL TAKE FROM YOUR WORK? paying thousands of dollars to companies promising to find them an agent for their manuscript only to take their All my work, besides being, I hope, a great mystery has money. It’s about law enforcement, both local and the FBI, a theme. Whether it’s handling love at first sight with a that betray their oath, and even a corrupt United States married person or where we got our views on murder. How many times have we allowed considerations to keep Senator. But the worst betrayal is the betrayal of oneself. In us from achieving happiness. My hope is to trigger some the book BETRAYAL, Warren Steelgrave is soon in over his introspection. head, having been given a hard drive ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC AUTHORS OR containing evidence that implicates BOOKS THAT HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR the corruption of many influential WRITING STYLE OR STORYTELLING? people and exposes corruption in the FBI, the international task force, and Yes. I draw inspiration from reading many in government. There is no one about great authors and reading their Warren can trust as he is chased all writings. Ernest Hemingway, James over Europe and the United States, Joyce, Raymond Chandler. Dashiell trying to get to court and testify. Hammett, Ezra Pound, and others. Dashiell Hammett wrote only four novels HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE PROCESS and had writer’s block for over thirty OF WRITING? DO YOU HAVE A RITUAL? years. Reading about their struggle and how they overcame it keeps me I am writing. I have to write every day. focused on my craft. Studying how Production increases each day. First, they used the language and developed two hundred words a day, then three characters has helped me greatly. hundred words, then five hundred words to a maximum of about nine hundred a day. If I take a break for a day or two, it starts HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR CHARACTERS? all over again at about two hundred words a day. I do have a ritual. I write at the same time of day in the same spot. A I don’t think about it of use some formula. As I write a walk-in closet I turned into an office. Jazz playing softly. scene, a new character will come to mind. It is as if my subconscious knows where the story is going before, I do. It comes up with the character. No doubt from a HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE TITLES FOR YOUR BOOKS, AND combination of people from my past. HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK TITLES ARE? An example is in my second book, I fellow that has I believe titles are very important to attract readers. been tailing the main character wants to meet. As I began My tiles are always the last thing in my writing process. the scene, he approached. He is not tall and slightly REMINDER: This is an interactive magazine. Click on book cover or link to follow.

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overweight, has sharp features in an ill-fitting gray suit, and is mousy looking. Two chapters later, he reappears as someone who can’t be trusted. CAN YOU SHARE INSIGHT INTO YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

handicap. I looked up all the great achievers who were dyslexic and saw it as a gift.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE I do not outline a story. Raymond Chandler said when you CHARACTER IN YOUR are in your head, you are not creating. After reading that, I BOOKS? felt more comfortable with my process. For a short story, I will sit and start to write what comes to mind. Novels Yes, Marty. Not much is are different. It starts the same way, but something known about Marty. He unresolved in my subconscious soon surfaces. Then, appears in all the books about the third chapter, my characters take over, and the except one. All we know adventure begins. They take off as in a movie with me is he is about thirty-five, recording it. I am usually halfway through the last chapter always in black, athletic, and stealthy. He is a before I know how the story ends. freelance fixer working for many organizations. He has stepped out of the WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED AS A WRITER? shadows in three books and saved Warren Steelgrave. His My biggest challenge in a writing career is that I am most extended appearance was in the book “Vengeance dyslexic and gaining the confidence to write. When Can Be Deadly” off and on over three chapters. writing, the word my is almost always by, and the word job is jop, et cetera. So, proofreading and attention span ARE THERE BOOKS OR AUTHORS THAT YOU REVISIT OR become big problems. Because of my short attention RE-READ? span, I will write several times during the day. My books have so many mistakes Raymond Chandler. I have read all his novels and short that one proofreader will stories many times. The first time for the story. The not find them all. So, four second time, I know the ending, but I love how he gets us different proofreaders there. I have read them each maybe five times. Each time, I find something different to enjoy. I always re-read “The proofread my novels. I would like to share Long Goodbye” before writing a new novel. I had a friend this advice. Know your who felt he needed help with character development. I weaknesses and embrace told him to read Raymond Chandler and pay attention. them. They are what Find out more about Gary at: make you unique. Never https://garysmithauthor.com/ use them as an excuse to hold you back from what you want to do. For example, as a child, I rebelled against being told my being dyslexic was a 30

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QUICK INTERVIEW Quick & Easy

DR. DEBORAH GREENHUT 32

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Award-winning author of “The Hoarder’s Wife,” Dr. Deborah Greenhut speaks engagingly on difficult subjects in family mental health. Following more than 40 years as an educator, corporate trainer, keynote speaker, and consultant, Dr. Greenhut laser-focuses her attention on the global plight of family caregivers. Deborah speaks from personal experience and research to professional and familial caregivers to improve their quality of life. Deborah will bring her care and commitment to a passionate keynote or retreat break to serve your group. As a frequent family caregiver, Deborah is a sought-after interview guest and a highly regarded adult facilitator of writing and goal-setting workshops. DR.GREENHUT, WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER, AND HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?

identity as a struggling musician helped me to create a more literary container for the experience of living with a hoarder. Emotional and physical squalor are less appealing to read about when there isn’t some artful relief around them.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING ROUTINE OR ANY SPECIFIC RITUALS YOU HAVE WHILE WRITING? I follow Ray Bradbury’s advice that you should write at least 1500 words every day even if it seems like junk. (I’m paraphrasing there.) As he suggested, when you do this, often a keyhole will appear that opens a world of writable occasions and inspirations.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BOOK OR AUTHOR WHO HAS HAD A SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCE ON YOUR WRITING? Joan Didion and Virginia Woolf have remained two of my touchstones in fiction. For poetry, I often turn to Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, or Mona Van Duyn. I’m currently reading both David Brook’s, “How to Know a Person,” and James McBride’s “The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store.”

My earliest memories come to me as stories. I started writing story poems at age 8, and the feeling of creating with words was strong and deep. I couldn’t stop. I won some poetry contests, so I kept writing poetry and taking creative writing classes. Following college and graduate WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS school, I eventually became a playwright and produced WHO ARE LOOKING TO PUBLISH THEIR FIRST BOOK? a few of my plays in way-off-Broadway festivals when I belonged to New Jersey Dramatists/Waterfront Ensemble First, write every day. Try for at least 1,000 words, even and Pulse Ensemble Theatre’s Play Labs. After my children if it’s gibberish. Even a page a day will get you to a draft left the nest, I realized I had a life experience I needed to of a novel in a year. The other part is to understand that marketing your book is a full-time job after you publish it. talk about, and the best container for that was a novel. No matter if it’s self-published or taken on by a publisher. You will need to do the interviews, podcasts, readings, WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF sometimes ad-buying, and press releases, or at least WRITING YOUR BOOK, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT? supervise a paid publicist to get them for you. It’s a lot of work that is not writing. People don’t generally sell a Because I was telling about a life experience, I felt lot of copies of their books, and you need to find out how compelled to limit what I revealed about my family. booksellers off- and online work. Fictionalizing the story and giving myself a different

COULD YOU GIVE US A GLIMPSE INTO YOUR NEXT

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PROJECT OR ANY UPCOMING WORKS IN PROGRESS?

historical backdrop of revolution or war and raises the stakes for survival then tells it through the eyes of an expert observer.

One project will be a sequel to my novel, focusing on the main character’s sister Lisa, who is mostly unseen in the first book, but very much a part of Grace’s life. Another COULD YOU SHARE A BIT ABOUT YOUR LATEST may be a memoir of losing friends to Alzheimer’s Disease. WORK? WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT,

HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEAS FOR YOUR STORIES OR BOOKS?

AND WHAT DO YOU HOPE READERS WILL TAKE AWAY FROM IT? Happy to share! My own life experience of living with a husband who felt compelled to hoard and save everything. I loved him, and I loved our family, but there came a point when I could not live in the mess. He did try to get help to control it, but he was unsuccessful. The choice I made saved my life, but it didn’t save me. I wrote this book in part to help people understand how challenging the situation is and to help people who are struggling with partners in unhealthy or dangerous situations. I also wrote it to help myself understand how and why I had stayed so long. Telling your own story can be cathartic and informative.

I can say that the ideas come from my life, but I don’t restrict myself to writing only what I know about. Imagination helps us go beyond what we already know, or many fantasy and fiction genres we love would not DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE CHARACTER FROM YOUR exist! I often start OWN BOOKS, AND IF SO, WHY IS THAT CHARACTER with a setting in my SPECIAL TO YOU? mind, and when the characters start Yes, one character named Ilee, about whom I wrote a walking toward me, one-act play, called “Jimmies,” which was based on a I can hear what wonderful, strong, kind woman who came to help me they’re saying and start to get in touch with what they when I had my first child. We became good friends, and she was often like a second mother to me. She was a very think and feel, along with what their stories might be. spiritually inclined person, and she also highly theatrical. Every Sunday, she preached in her church, and she had ARE THERE ANY AUTHORS OR BOOKS THAT HAVE created a monologue featuring a “royal telephone,” her PARTICULARLY INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE direct line to God. In real life, she knew I was a writer, OR STORYTELLING? so she would practice her monologue with me every Joan Didion’s style has always gripped me. Her razor- week, and we had a wonderful time. The wilder it got, the sharp clarity and often brutal honesty have been a literary more she loved her routine. In the play, I went beyond our challenge I love to try to rise and meet. She channels that scenario, and I placed her in the New York Port Authority experience of watching someone hurdle out of control. Bus Terminal, where she conducts a choir of runaways I love how she zeroes in on one woman against a huge and misfits, hoping to lure her prodigal son back home with her church songs. 34

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HOW DO YOU HANDLE CRITICISM OR NEGATIVE FEEDBACK ABOUT YOUR WRITING?

helps me to think a scene through in different ways.

Find out more about Dr. Deborah Greenhut at: https://deborahgreenhut.com/

I accept that I’m not going to reach everyone, yet constructive criticism—not the kind that rewrites your book, but the kind that asks for more insight—is something ABOUT DEBORAH GREENHUT I appreciate very much. You can build or destroy with everything you say to someone. I prefer to be a builder Deborah Greenhut earned her B.A. in English from and work with other builders. Middlebury College then a PhD from Rutgers University. Her poems and cultural reviews have appeared in print ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR RITUALS OR and online at www.oobr.com , medium.com , and Red ACTIVITIES THAT HELP YOU RECHARGE AND FIND Booth Review. Her way-off Broadway production of INSPIRATION WHEN YOU’RE NOT WRITING? "Difficult Subjects," was selected for the Best Plays of the Strawberry Festival, Volume 2. A multi-genre work, How I My favorite recharging activity now is Photography Live. With Terror, developed as an artist-in-residence at because I find it very relaxing to concentrate on images 92 Street Y/Makor, appeared in www.Zeek.net. In 2017, she rather than words when I’m trying to recharge my brain received the Princemere Poetry Prize. The Hoarder’s Wife with different sources of inspiration. Focusing on the light is her debut novel. Deborah lives in New Jersey. truly helps to turn me away from a focus on a character or plot twist that I need to repair. Turning to setting often

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INTERVIEW Upclose & Personal

ANN CHARLES

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Q: WHERE DO YOU FIND THE INSPIRATION FOR EACH ONE OF YOUR BOOKS INCLUDING YOUR LATEST, TIMEREAPING IN DEADWOOD?

was then a matter of finding readers who enjoyed the type of elements in my mixed genre stories, which took some time, but that’s another story.

I’ve always found real life to be stranger than fiction, so I enjoy the everyday tales of life coming from friends, family, strangers in the grocery store checkout line, and posts on social media. I also love to watch movies and series for inspiration. Usually, something I see along the way will spark an idea for an entertaining plot thread within one of my on-going series. For my latest book, TimeReaping in Deadwood, I had fun learning about tarot reading. I included elements of it as a humorous thread throughout the book that also added to the suspense for what was to come for Violet Parker, the main character in this series.

Q: YOUR BOOKS ARE WELL-KNOWN AND LOVED FOR THE HUMOR, ACTION, AND ADVENTURE PACKED SCENES. WERE YOU ALWAYS THIS TALENTED OR DID YOU HAVE TO WORK TO GET TO WHERE YOUR WRITING IS TODAY?

Q: IS IT DIFFICULT TO COMBINE MORE THAN ONE ELEMENT WHEN WRITING A BOOK? Mixing genres comes naturally for me. In my early days of writing, I tried to stick with mostly one element. First it was romance. Then it was mystery. But I struggled to put it on the page. After I decided to let the story flow and see what came out, I realized that my struggles had been because I’d been trying too hard to fit into one genre. So, I let the story roll out and ended up with a tale that blended several elements and didn’t fit easily into one genre. Then I had a new problem—how to sell this mixed-genre story in a world with pre-set, somewhat rigid categories in the publishing industry. Lucky for me, at this time the entertainment industry was changing, and mixed genre movies and stories were starting to become popular. It

I had to work and work and work, and I’m still trying to improve with every book I write. Over the years, I’ve studied some of my favorite books, breaking them down into scene and sequel, studying how the transitions were crafted, making notes on body language, analyzing dialogue and character growth. I worked to understand the purpose of themes and premises, figuring out how to better incorporate them into my stories. I experimented with various tropes and plotted out series arcs, keeping in mind how a binge reader would feel as they cruised through not just one story, but multiple books. One of the struggles with writing a longer series is holding a reader’s attention. This is something I study in other long-running series, considering different ways to keep the humor fresh as I move from one book to the next. In order to be successful, I think I have to keep studying and experimenting with new techniques. Not only will this benefit the reader, but it will keep me from growing bored with telling the story. Q: WHO ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS IN TIMEREAPING IN DEADWOOD? Violet Parker is the main and only point-ofview (POV) character in the Deadwood Mystery series, so we only ever

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see the story unfold through her eyes. This first person technique is nothing new in the publishing world, but for years I only wrote in third person. Violet’s series is the first and only where I write from a single POV. There is a challenge in this style of storytelling that I enjoy, and while it can be limiting on some levels, it also can really raise the suspense in a scene. I think telling the story in this way also helps the readers feel like they know Violet better due to a deeper POV. Other than Violet, there is a cast of secondary characters that includes her quirky friends, her aunt, her kids, and boyfriend. There are some great villains readers love to hate, and some really creepy supernatural characters that add some great scares, too. To help readers keep track of everyone, after the first few books I began including a cast of characters at the front of the books and list in which books the characters star. Q: WHAT THEMES WILL READERS FIND INSIDE OF TIMEREAPING IN DEADWOOD?

Q: HOW MANY BOOKS ARE IN THE DEADWOOD MYSTERY SERIES? HOW MANY DO YOU PLAN FOR THE WHOLE SERIES? Currently, there are 13 books in the series. I’ll be working on the 14th book next year, and there will be more books after that. I used to say that I’d write 12 books and see how things were going at that point. Well, 13 books later, the series is still going strong, so onward we go. At this time, I don’t have a set number of books for how long this series will last. I’m traveling along a series arc, but I’m allowing the storyteller in my head to move at her own pace. As it is often said, it’s all about the journey, not the final destination. Q: AS AN INDIE WRITER, DO YOU SET-UP DEADLINES TO COMPLETE EACH ONE OF YOUR BOOKS? There are so many roles as an indie writer that have nothing to do with actually writing the books. For example, I have to spend a significant amount of time promoting each book and coming up with next ways of marketing my stories. I also have to spend time doing bookkeeping every month to stay on top of the financial parts of the business so that I can keep the tax folks happy. There is new software to learn to keep up with the publishing trends, and don’t forget all of the time it takes to keep up on social media creating new content. Each book requires energy to market, and continuing to keep my backlist of books selling takes even more brain power. So, if I don’t set a deadline to complete a book and push hard to hit that deadline, it is really easy to not write day after day and not create any new content for readers. No new stories means an author is no longer relevant and makes it hard to stay up higher in the rankings because the algorithm on major retailers likes popular books. Whew! Deadlines are motivating and challenging, especially after I announce when a book will be released to readers. I don’t like letting them down.

There are a lot of tricky devils in this story who give Violet plenty of heartburn, and there is no such thing as coincidence for her and her friends. She’s growing stronger mentally in this book, learning when to fight and when to run. While the last book in the series (Book 12: Never Say Sever in Deadwood) had a lot of physical action, this book follows with more character growth blended with humor. I think it’s important with a long series to keep track of how characters are changing in addition to moving the plot and Q: FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BOOK PUBLISHING WORLD, HOW DOES ONE BECOME A USA TODAY subplots forward book after book. BESTSELLING AUTHOR? 38

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An author has to actually sell a lot of books to readers in a short time in order to make the list. With all of the books being released every week by so many authors, it’s not easy to hit any list these days, especially as an indie author with a limited marketing budget. It is really the readers who have the power to help authors make it onto bestselling lists, and I’m grateful to the fans of my stories and characters who have helped me not only land on this list and other bestselling lists, but also win so many writing awards. Q: WHAT OTHER BOOKS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?

mystery, suspense, romance, supernatural elements, and whatever else sounds fun. Currently, she has many fiction books available in several different on-going series.Lightnin’ Charlie is a recording artist, author, and entertainer extraordinaire, delivering a cheerful earful of soul-stirring roots music. Describing LC’s mighty mix of music in a few words is impossible…but when Charlie is asked what kind of music he plays, he says simply, “Good Music for Good People!” Ann has a B.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Washington. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Western Writers of America. She is currently toiling away on her next book, wishing she was on a Mexican beach with an ice-cold Corona in one hand and a book in the other. When she is not dabbling in fiction, she is arm wrestling with her two kids, attempting to seduce her husband, and arguing with her sassy cats. You can find her on all major social media platforms.

I’m working with my husband, Sam Lucky, on the 5th book in the Deadwood Undertaker series, which is a blend of historical fiction, humor, supernatural, and mystery. We hope to have this book out in early 2024. Q: WHERE CAN FANS FIND YOU AND YOUR BOOKS ONLINE? You can go to my website (www.AnnCharles.com) to find links for all my ebooks, print books, and audiobooks on various retailers. You can also find links there to my pages/groups on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.). If you check out the blog section of my website, I have posts that share my past interviews and podcasts, as well as my previous newsletters.

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INTERVIEW Upclose & Personal

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JENNA GREENE

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Q: WHEN DID YOU BEGIN WRITING STORIES?

An Owl Without A Name is unique because it was inspired by a real event. My family, after having recently moved to an acreage, found a juvenile owl stranded on the ground, with its arm stuck in our fence. After calling the Alberta Birds of Prey Center, which is 15 minutes away from our house, a man named Colin came and explained we’d found a male Great Horned Owl. The man took him to the center for care and rehabilitation. After this, my daughter had questions. She wanted to know what had happened to “Snowy” – named for the white down on his body and the mistaken belief he was a Snowy Owl. This made me think of the story from the owl’s point of view, and how he might feel. Stranded. Alone. Confused. Wondering where he was, and possibly who he was. The questions made for a brilliant, creative, funny story about identity.

I began telling stories as soon as I learned to play, making up adventures for my Cabbage Patch Dolls and She-Ra: Princess of Power action figures. Once I learned to read and write, I would pen stories as well, using my mom’s old typewriter – yes, I’m that old – and then eventually a Q: WHAT THEMES WILL READERS FIND IN AN OWL computer. When I WITHOUT A NAME? was seventeen, and still in high school, I began to write and submit poetry to This story asks the question, “Who am I?” which is a theme magazines. I wasn’t destined for verse, though, and soon that is asked in every piece of literature ever created, switched to prose. I’ve been writing and publishing short and a quest that each person must seek the answer to throughout their stories and novels ever since! life. Everyone wants to know who Q: HOW DID YOU CHOOSE TO WRITE IN THE CHILDREN’S they are, and what AND YA GENRES? their purpose is, The first novel I ever wrote was imagined when I was as does the owl in seventeen. The character was a young adult because I was this book. Along a young adult. After I went into teaching, I taught junior the way, he learns high students so I was absorbed in YA literature all day about friendship, long. Choosing fantasy stories was a decision I made ... trust, loss, injury, sorta. I find that stories choose their authors. Fantastical and resilience. stories came to my mind. I suppose I choose whether or not to write them, though. But I like to explore the ‘what Q: WHO ARE THE ifs’ of life and society. I want to know what characters MAIN CHARACTERS? might do in extreme situations. The main character is a juvenile Great Q: WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR Horned owl. He BOOK, AN OWL WITHOUT A NAME? REMINDER: This is an interactive magazine. Click on book cover or link to follow.

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doesn’t have a name, or at least can’t decide what it should be. His quest in the book is to find out what he should be called, as he believes that will solve all his problems and put the world back in order. Along the way, he meets other characters, including a pair of Burrowing Owls named Hazel and Basel, and a Great Gray owl named Sage. Q: YOU HAVE WRITTEN OTHER BOOKS IN THE YA GENRE. CAN YOU TELL US, READERS, ABOUT THOSE OTHER BOOKS? I have written books for older teens which include the Imagine series and the Reborn Marks series. In “Imagine” two young girls are taken from Earth to a foreign realm full of magic and villains, which they are destined to influence and change. In “Reborn”, a sixteen year old named Lexil is sold into slavery because she bears marks on her skin. These marks state that she has lived previous lives (Thus, she is a ‘reborn’). She must toil in service to those who have only lived on life. Q: WHAT OTHER PROJECTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT? Oh, a thousand things. I have a YA dystopian titled “Silencers” that has just been accepted for publication by the same publisher that produced the Reborn Marks series. I have a few middle grade projects that are in the editing phase, and an idea for a new picture book that I hope to be able to start weaving the strands together for. Q: ARE PLANNING TO CREATE MORE CHILDREN’S BOOKS SOON? I hope to. As my daughter is young, and I’ve begun to teach much younger students, my interests in stories has altered from the upper YA to middle grade and children’s. But honestly, I love all stories, in all genres, for all ages.

much time to spare as other authors. But it also means I’m surrounded by unique voices and creative ideas all week. I tend to have a scene strongly pictured in my head before I sit down to write, and I also write in short stints. Some writers will type for hours at a time, doing word-count sprints, but I can’t manage that. I write short scenes bitby-bit, not putting too much pressure on myself to attain daily writing goals. If I find a flow, I might write for an hour. If the words just won’t come, I’ll step away and try again later. I also describe myself as ‘planser’. I’m neither a plotter, nor a panser. Some of my stories have detailed outlines, others not. They each go on their own, unique journey. Q: WHERE CAN READERS FIND YOU AND YOUR BOOKS ONLINE? Amazon, of course. Also, head to my website: www.jennagreene.ca

ABOUT JENNA GREENE Jenna Greene is a YA/ Children's writer. She is also a teacher ... as well as a clumsy dancer, enthusiastic dragon boat paddler, and a semi-professional napper.

Q: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING STYLE? My writing style is efficient. As a teacher, I don’t have as 42

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INTERVIEW Upclose & Personal

DIANN FLOYD BOEHM 44

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Q: WHEN DID YOU FIRST BEGIN WRITING STORIES? I have always been a storyteller, but it was around 1998 that I started putting my stories to print and began the author journey. Q: WHERE DID YOU FIND THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR BOOK, RUBY TAKES CHICAGO?

together, they break through the barriers until Ruby lands the perfect job, all amidst discovering the joys of life and love, heartbreak, and love again.

Ruby Takes Chicago is the sequel to the book Rise: A Girl’s Q: WHAT THEMES ARE Struggle for More. Both books are based on the early life of INSIDE THIS BOOK? my grandmother. She inspired me, and I wanted to share her journey to encourage readers never to give up and The central theme is a young girl, Ruby, pursue their dreams. working to find her dream job in a man's Q: CAN YOU TELL US READERS WHAT YOUR NOVEL, RUBY TAKES CHICAGO IS ABOUT? world. The sub-theme is Ruby and her friends working Ruby Take Chicago takes place in the 1920s and is about through the maze of life; wanting to work and to be a recent college recognized as an equal in the workforce, but also enjoying graduate who, life and seeking love. after returning home from school Q: WHY PICK THE 1920’S? “up north”, leaves her hometown I selected the 1920’s because that is when my grandmother in Oklahoma to experienced her young life. pursue her dreams in Chicago. Once Q: WHO ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS IN RUBY TAKES in Chicago, Ruby CHICAGO? is surprised that society is still The main characters: Ruby Dinsmore reluctant to accept Mr. and Mrs. Clark, friends of Ruby’s parents, women working outside the home, who let Ruby live in their home to help her get settled in even in the big Chicago. Liz, Ruby’s trusted friend and coworker city. Determined John Wiess, Ruby’s first boss and later, after to stay true to herself, she takes she moves to a new job, someone she dates. Zoe, a new trusted friend on life’s challenges Ralph a new beau in Ruby’s life in tumultuous times of Prohibition, protests, and women’s Edward the next beau in Ruby’s life rights marches. Ruby meets like-minded women, and REMINDER: This is an interactive magazine. Click on book cover or link to follow.

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Q: WHAT DO YOU DO AS A COHOST ON USA GLOBAL TV? I cohost with Dr. Jacalyn for three shows: The Corner BookstoreBooks, Blogs, and Poetry, where we interview authors, publishers, and anyone connected with the author world. On the show, The United Kingdom News and Culture, I cohost with Dr. Jacalyn and the United Kingdom Correspondents Helena Chard and Simon Mac Donald. Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HUMANITARIAN PROJECTS THAT YOU DO? When I was living in Dubai, I was able to work with a team of women, and we assisted various organizations located in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Today, back in Texas, I volunteer for our church and other community organizations. Q: WHAT OTHER ORGANIZATIONS DO YOU WORK WITH? I belong to the Austin Women’s Club, and we work to preserve an historical home built in 1874 by the North family. The North home became known as the Chateau Bellevue. We also give historical tours of the home. Q: WHAT OTHER BOOKS ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT? I am working on several children’s books; Boomer the Curious Bunny will become a series, so several stories are in the making. I am working on a new short story series about a young girl and her various adventures in life. The book title is still to be determined. Q: WHERE CAN READERS FIND YOU AND YOUR BOOKS ONLINE? You may find my books online at: Amazon Barnes and Nobel 46

Norns Triad Publications Ebook- Boomer the Curious Bunny

ABOUT DIANN FLOYD BOEHM Diann Floyd Boehm is an award-winning international author. Diann writes children's books and young historical fiction adult books. In addition, Diann writes books to inspire kids to be kind, like themselves, peace, and to "Embrace Imagination”. You can find all her books on Amazon. Diann does speaking engagements, book signings as well as author visitations. Her creative flair encompasses the performing arts and performing in musical theatre productions in Dubai produced by Popular Productions out of the UK. In addition, Diann enjoys making guest appearances on various live streaming shows. Diann is the cohost with Dr. Jacalyn on her USA Global TV and Radio™®. Diann was born to the parents of George and Mabel Floyd in Tulsa, OK, but grew up in Texas with her five brothers. She has traveled extensively to many parts of the world and lived in Dubai for 14 years, where her husband worked for the American Law Firm Norton Rose Fulbright for 14 years. She has a Bachelor of Education from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, and her kindergarten certification from The University of Texas @ Austin. Diann has taught in the classroom overseas as well as stateside. more about Diann @ https://www. diannfloydboehm.com Diann is a wife, mother, grandmother, and a former classroom educator. Throughout her life, Diann continues to be involved in various humanitarian projects.

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INTERVIEW Upclose & Personal

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WL HAWKIN

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Q: WHAT KIND OF STORIES DO YOU ENJOY WRITING ABOUT?

Estrada’s baby from vampires, the tension is thick because of the various personalities, their relationships, and their agendas.

I enjoy writing complex stories that marry psychology and myth with adventure, crime, and romance. I suppose that’s why my tagline for the Hollystone Mysteries is Q: HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED SO FAR? “myth, magic, and mayhem.” I like my stories to reflect contemporary life so they’re LGBTQ and have diverse I’ve published five Hollystone Mysteries and one romantic characters. And, I like stories where the characters go on suspense novel, Lure: Jesse & Hawk. My nonfiction book a journey, both physically and emotionally, so I set them about my writing process launches in January 2024— on landscapes where I’ve traveled myself so there’s a Writing with your Muse: a Guide to Creative Inspiration. Muse sense of authenticity. is memoirish. I offer strategies, tips, and techniques, but also tell stories about my own life and use passages from Q: WHEN IT COMES TO WRITING, WHAT GENRES DO YOU my own work to illustrate my points. LIKE TO EXPLORE? Q: TELL US, READERS, ABOUT YOUR BOOK, TO DANCE My main genre is urban fantasy because it’s so free and WITH DESTINY. I can explore the supernatural realms. But I also love mystery, crime, adventure, YA, and historical fiction. To Kill It’s best to explain how Book 5 fits into the series. We a King is a time-travel thriller set in Iron Age Ireland, and first meet the witches in To Charm a Killer when they spin right now I’m writing a a charm to catch a serial killer preying on Vancouver novel set in the 1920s witches, and everything goes haywire. A seventeen-yearrumrunner era. I’d love old girl gets caught up in their spell, and Estrada travels to Ireland to save her from the killer. In To Sleep with Stones, to time travel myself. he travels to Scotland when coven-mate Dylan McBride Q: WHAT ARE YOUR is arrested for murder on Summer Solstice. Estrada joins FAVORITE TROPES TO forces with a feisty Irish archaeologist named Sorcha CREATE WITHIN YOUR to find the real killer and free his friend from prison. BOOKS? While he’s away, his melancholy lover, Michael Stryker, gets involved with a rather nasty vampire who threatens I try to avoid using to take his revenge on Estrada. That revenge is carried tropes because they out in To Render a Raven when Diego abducts Estrada’s tend to be overused and baby. The coven and Michael sail up the Pacific coast by predictable. Having said yacht to rescue her and destroy the vampires. In Book 4, that, I resonate with the Estrada and Dylan time-travel to Iron Age Ireland when hero’s journey so you they realize Sorcha is stranded there with Druid warriors. might find archetypes To Kill a King was spawned by a real bog body I spent time like mentor embedded with at the National University of Ireland, Dublin. When in my stories. I also love Sorcha falls in love with the soon-to-be king, she vows to the journey motif whether it’s one person or an ensemble save him from his fate and gets into big trouble. cast who travel together. For example, when the heroes To Dance with Destiny begins exactly where To Kill a travel up the Northwest Pacific Coast by yacht to rescue King ends, with Estrada, Sorcha, and Conall (an Iron Age REMINDER: This is an interactive magazine. Click on book cover or link to follow.

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bard) stranded in modern Ireland. They’ve just ridden with them and she also dances with destiny in a romantic through a wormhole from Iron Age Ireland and have subplot. Estrada’s long-time lover, Michael Stryker, is of nothing but each other course, a main character as is the vengeful Vampire, and the horses they Diego. From the blurb: While attempting to prevent the tragic outcome of To rode in on. One thing has changed. The Ancient Render a Raven, Estrada struggles with the complexities Horned God, Cernunnos, of love, archaeologist Sorcha O’Hallorhan slips into her has brought them back own time warp with a woman she once adored, and Conall prior to the events in Ceol, an Iron Age Druid bard, walks into the future to To Render a Raven, challenge Michael Stryker for Estrada’s attention. which means Estrada has the gift of time Q: IS THE SIXTH BOOK IN THE HOLLYSTONE MYSTERY and foreknowledge. SERIES RELEASED YET OR WILL IT BE SOON? He’s determined to thwart his daughter’s I have no idea what will happen in book six. That will abduction by vampires depend on my main character, Estrada, or if one of the and save his lover, other characters steps up and says, “Hey, write my story.” Michael Stryker, from I take my cues from them. They tell me their story. It’s my the tragedy that befalls task to put it into words. him. But Destiny is a Q: WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST PART OF BEING A WRITER? wicked dancer, and chaos ensues. Q: WHAT THEMES WILL READERS FIND WITHIN YOUR NOVEL, TO DANCE WITH DESTINY?

Selling and marketing books. Publicity is helpful. Getting out, meeting people, and talking about your books is the best way to make sales; however, that takes a lot of energy for an introverted writer. So, striking a balance between research, writing, and selling yourself and your books is fundamental.

The most obvious theme is that of changing fate or destiny. Is it possible? When is it appropriate to try? What will befall one who dares to change history? At its heart, this book is story of love and loss, but also of hope . . . of Q: WHERE CAN READERS FIND YOU AND YOUR BOOKS loving again. ONLINE? Q: WHO ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS? Start with my website: http://bluehavenpress.com/index. Estrada is the hero. He’s a free-spirited bisexual magician php/buy-books/ who works at a goth club in Vancouver but what’s most important to him is being high priest of Hollystone Coven. ABOUT DIANN FLOYD BOEHM He’s just time-traveled back from Iron Age Ireland into contemporary Ireland followed by a handsome Druid bard. W. L. Hawkin writes adventurous cross-genre fiction Conall and Estrada experience their own dance in this charged with "myth, magic, and mayhem" from her home book. Sorcha, a feisty Irish archaeologist, has returned in the Pacific Northwest. 50

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RUBY TAKES CHICAGO

DIANN FLOYD BOEHM

Ruby Takes Chicago, is the sequel to Rise! A Girl's Struggle for More. It's now the 1920s, and a young Ruby Dinsmore leaves her hometown of Oilton, Oklahoma, and heads for Chicago to make her dreams come true. In the first book, Ruby, born in 1904, grows up wanting to be a businesswoman and does everything she can to make it happen. At the end of Rise!, Ruby's family realizes her dreams can only come true in a larger town where a young woman with a college education would be accepted in the workforce. Once in Chicago, Ruby is surprised to learn that, even in a big city, society as a whole is still reluctant to accept women working outside the home. Determined to stay true to herself, she takes on the challenges of life in tumultuous times of Prohibition, protests, and women's rights marches. Ruby meets like-minded women, and together they break through the barriers until Ruby lands the perfect job, all amidst discovering the joys of life and love, and heartbreak...and love again.author of the popular How to Live Like a Monk

Diann Floyd Boehm is an award-winning international author, community volunteer, humanitarian, and former classroom teacher. She is passionate about storytelling and has nine published books for children and two young adult historical fictions. In addition, Diann is a co-host for several shows on USA Global TV. Diann is married, a mother of three, and has one grandchild. Diann loves to inspire readers of all ages to "Embrace Imagination!"

Q.R.F.: A NOVEL OF THE IRAQ WAR

other as sacred as the one they gave their country, and it is never ending. “Leaves readers feeling like they are there during the Iraq War and during the current war with ISIS. It is unbelievable at how real the scenes feel… I loved it. It is raw, emotional, and tense.” -The AR Critiquens.

TQRF: military term meaning quick reaction force. When a unit in trouble hears, The cavalry is coming, they’re talking about these guys. Eleven years after coming home from Iraq, Jim Cooper lives a quiet civilian life of wandering. When he hears his old squad leader has been captured by ISIS while doing humanitarian work in an embattled Mosul, he reconnects with comrades from his old unit to reflect and mourn the execution they know is coming. Reminiscing deep into the night, an unlikely, wild plan to rescue Sergeant Ramos takes shape. The war-torn Iraq to which Coop and his comrades plan to return, however, is a very different place than where they’d fought back in ’04. In 2016, Mosul is now controlled by the ruthless Islamic State and under attack by the Iraqi Army in the largest and bloodiest urban battle since World War Two. Rescuing Ramos appears impossible. Coop’s comrades have gone soft in the years since they left the service. They’re not the same men they were when they wore the uniform. But they swore an oath to each

CRAIG DILOUIE Craig DiLouie is an author of popular thriller, apocalyptic/horror, and sci-fi/ fantasy fiction. In hundreds of reviews, Craig’s novels have been praised for their strong characters, action, and gritty realism. Each book promises an exciting experience with people you’ll care about in a world that feels real. These works have been nominated for major literary awards such as the Bram Stoker Award and Audie Award, translated into multiple languages, and optioned for film. He is a member of the HWA, International Thriller Writers, and IFWA.

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THE TWIN FLAME

K.T. ANGLEHART

Mckenna O'Dwyer knows she's impulsive. Sometimes reckless. She also knows she's a witch and keeps reincarnating as one, for reasons only her mother, Abby, can help her fully understand. After weeks of searching, mother and daughter finally reunite—just as Elizabeth Dunlop’s prophecy states—and Abby is keen on helping Mckenna get a firm grasp on her abilities. She teaches her the proper way to channel elemental magic…but Mckenna soon discovers there’s a shortcut, something Cillian fully supports if it means getting quicker, more powerful results. At first, Mckenna will do anything to thwart the High Priestess once and for all, before her powers are used to wipe out billions of souls. But the white horse Eachna’s devastating vision of Mother Nature continues to haunt her. Is that the future awaiting them if the Scottish Scrolls aren’t fulfilled? Which is the lesser evil?

SCORCH MARK Jane stands alone between a powerful artifact and the wrong hands. Jane Walker’s alarming dreams, in which she sees events that have yet to happen, have finally subsided. The man who killed her parents and kidnapped Jane is behind bars. So it’s the perfect time for Jane and her partner Ethan to set out on a road trip to unravel the secrets of her ancestry. But their journey takes a spine-chilling turn when they encounter a gang of men who stare at Jane as if they recognize her. That can only mean one thing: they’ve met her in a dream she has yet to experience. When the gang begins stalking her, Jane realizes she must have witnessed a deadly event. But what could it be? She slips into hiding and waits for the disturbing dream to arrive. And now her BFF, Sadie Prescott, is dating a cop whose curiosity about Jane leads him to unearth the mysterious deaths that litter her past. When his latest investigation crosses paths

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Katrina Tortorici Anglehart is an award-winning author from Montreal, with a multilingual prowess in English, French, Italian, and “Spanglish”. A dedicated academic, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, a graduate certificate in Scriptwriting, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Inspired by the wizarding world, the land of Narnia, and parallel planes, she penned The Wise One, inviting readers to connect with nature and its ever-present magic. Her exploration of the landscapes and folklore of Ireland and Scotland greatly influenced her debut YA urban fantasy, marking the inception of The Scottish Scrolls series. K.T. Anglehart is a passionate advocate for bunnies, thanks to her late Netherland Dwarf, Magic—the inspiration behind her imprint, The Magic Dwarf Press. When she’s not writing or diving into magical reads, she revels in hiking, antiquing, and Netflix binges alongside her high school-sweetheartturned-husband, Andy. They currently live in Toronto with their three pets: Nessie, a mysterious rescue dog from Puerto Rico, and their whimsical bunnies, Onyx and Stirling. with Jane’s stalkers, Jane must intervene and turn the skeptical cop into a believer before he kills himself and causes the deaths of his entire law enforcement team. Immerse yourself in a supernatural thriller where dreams and reality meet, weaving a web of suspense that will keep you turning the page until the final, heart-stopping revelation.

JP MCLEAN JP (Jo-Anne) McLean is a bestselling author of urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers. She is a Global Book Award winner, a CIBA and Page Turner Award finalist, and has received honours from the Eric Hoffer Book Awards, the Wishing Shelf Book Awards, the NIEA Awards, and the Whistler independent Book Awards. She lives on Canada's West Coast.

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out the source of the madness lurking inside the once-sacred walls of Isola Sombra before its chaos spreads to the country he's sworn to protect. Investigate alongside Estevar and the most heroic mule ever to appear in print in this thrilling swashbuckling fantasy mystery by Sebastien de Castell, author of the Internationally acclaimed Greatcoats and Spellslinger series!.

CRUCIBLE OF CHAOS A mortally wounded magistrate faces his deadliest trial inside an ancient abbey where the monks are going mad and the gods themselves may be to blame! Estevar Borros, one of the legendary sword-fighting magistrates known as the Greatcoats and the king's personal investigator of the supernatural, is no stranger to tales of ghosts and demons. When the fractious monks of the abbey rumored to be the birthplace of the gods begin warring over claims of a new pantheon arising, the frantic abbot summons him to settle the dispute. But Estevar has his own problems: a nearfatal sword wound from his last judicial duel, a sworn knight who claims he has proof the monks are consorting with demons, a diabolical inquisitor with no love for the Greatcoats, and a mysterious young woman claiming to be Estevar's ally but who may well be his deadliest enemy. Armed only with his famed investigative talents, his faltering skill with a blade and Imperious, his ornery mule, Estevar must root

POETRY IN A PANDEMIC: VOLUME 1: CHANGES 2020 was a year that changed life as we know it. In this collection of poetry and prose, Gooden explores her longing for more than her daily routine as she makes her way through a "once in a lifetime" world event. In the middle of turmoil, she creates magic in the mundane as she examines her life in an honest, poignant, and often irreverent way. As she reflects on life and all it encompasses through her perspective as a healthcare worker, she proves there can be light even in the darkest of days

H. M. GOODEN H. M. Gooden has been scribbling on everything since she first learned how to hold a pencil. While often told that her handwriting was atrocious, she persisted, and upon discovering computers and learning how to type, she realized that she was no longer limited by

SEBASTIEN DE CASTELL Sebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first dig. Four hours later he realised how much he actually hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor and product strategist. His only defence against the charge of unbridled dilettantism is that he genuinely likes doing these things and that, in one way or another, each of these fields plays a role in his writing. He sternly resists the accusation of being a Renaissance Man in the hopes that more people will label him that way. her (admittedly) messy writing. Unfortunately, life, work, and family have conspired to make it only possible to write in the wee hours or at coffee shops, so most of her love of reading and writing are indulged at times when only vampires and insomniacs abound. In October of 2017, her love of writing and the characters in the world she created burst into public view in her first book, Dream of Darkness, which follows the adventures of a group of girls fighting evil with abilities that H. M. Gooden would love to have. When not writing fantasy, H. M. Gooden writes non-fiction pieces exploring the emotions and situations that arise in her day job as a rural family doc. As a result, 4 am has never been busier, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Sign up to H. M. Gooden's newsletter for information on upcoming releases and other random musings at https://www.subscribepage. com/hmgooden

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was created to raise awareness for rescue organizations and promote, adopt vs shop, to find your purr-fect family pet. In addition to being a pet lover and cat mom, I am also a mom of two primary school aged children. These books could never have come to life without their inspiration, a tribe of supportive humans and of course, Book Club.

TEDDY VISITS THE VET Teddy visits the vet is the fourth book in “The Adventures of Teddy” series. In Teddy Visits the Vet, children can relate their own feelings and emotions to health care processes and learn self soothing techniques. Teddy learns to make choices and celebrates their feelings of self empowerment.

CIERRA VAN NES / ILLUSTRATOR

CHRISTINE MILKOVIC KRAUSS Everybody has a story. More importantly; every person is deserving of friendship, kindness and acceptance. Teddy Loses His Ears is a non-fiction story about my real life rescue cat who lost his ears to frostbite while being homeless in negative 50 degree temperatures in central Canada. All of the books in the Teddy series will highlight educational points about pet care, support inclusivity and celebrate being different together. Teddy Loses His Ears is the introduction book to the series and touches on self esteem and disability awareness. Each illustration in the story is hand painted and even has a Teddy's favourite toy hidden on every page for children to find! This story

A GOD IN HIDING In a far-future world of wizards and walled cities, Lieve Reder has risen from being a small chandler’s daughter to become the captain of a riverboat owned by House Bernaglio in the oligarch-run city of Exley. She has ambitions to rise higher and when her employer, the widow Philaria Bernaglio, asks her to travel to the remote desert town of Ur Nazim to retrieve a mysterious item her dead husband, Nulf Bernaglio ordered, she signs on to the quest. Accompanied by Dai, an artificial human created by one of the mad thaumaturges of Olliphract to be part of the wizards’ deadly war games, she sets out on the perilous journey. But the object she is sent to collect turns out to be one of the abandoned, semi-sentient tools the demiurge used to create the cosmos in which she lives. It’s the kind of entity that can become a god. And other forces seek to possess it for their own purposes. One challenge leads to another, leading Reder to embark on an

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I am a full time nursing student hoping to one day work in neonatal intensive care. I have a passion for all things art and creativity. I have been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember, but only ever created things for family and friends. At the start of the pandemic, I decided to start selling my paintings and handmade greeting cards. It was through this that I was connected with Christine and fell in love with Teddy’s story. Each of these pages are painted by hand with acrylic paint, something not often done in book illustrations anymore, which echoes the uniqueness of Teddy. I am excited to help share more of his adventures and stories!

even more dangerous quest, to the far northern rim of the world where she must awaken a powerful godlet that just wants to be left to dream in peace.

MATTHEW HUGHES I'm Matthew Hughes. I write space opera science fiction and fantasy mostly set in my extrapolation of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth. I make no bones about being heavily influenced by Vance, whose work I first encountered as a thirteen-year-old in the early 1960s. Booklist has called me Vance’s “heir apparent” and George R.R. Martin says I “do Jack Vance better than anyone except Jack himself.” I am very proud to have been authorized by the Vance estate to write BARBARIANS OF THE BEYOND, a companion novel to the DEMON PRINCES series.

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TALES OF CHRISTMAS VILLAINS (THE TALES SHORT STORY COLLECTION BOOK 2) Ruined holiday plans and stolen gifts are only the beginning in this collection of villains gone wild for the holidays! Tales of Christmas Villains brings together the most mischievous batch of scrooges, thieves, and humbugs out to wreak havoc on the Christmas cheer. Featuring a chilling ice fairy who feeds on her victims' souls, chaotic criminals disguised as grinches, and the infamous Jack Frost meeting his match in a plucky mermaid, these wicked adventures will have you howling with dark delight. If you think you've got enough spirit to take on these troublemakers, think again. The naughty list just got longer and more sinister! So watch out this season and prepare for some seriously spirited scroogery - Tales of Christmas Villains is coming to town!

D. C. GOMEZ, JAMIE DALTON, STEPHANIE B. WHITFIELD, STEPHANIE K. CLEMENS, TESHELLE COMBS Sebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first dig. Four hours later he realised how much he actually hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor and product strategist. His only defence against the charge of unbridled dilettantism is that he genuinely likes doing these things and that, in one way or another, each of these fields plays a role in his writing. He sternly resists the accusation of being a Renaissance Man in the hopes that more people will label him that way.

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.

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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.

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COURAGE: FIND YOUR FIRE AND IGNITE ACTION IN YOUR LIFE

GLENDA BENEVIDES

If you are alive and breathing, you are growing no matter what you believe or what is happening. “Who am I?” Ask yourself this ever-evolving, truthseeking question every day and ponder it with curiosity. Embracing yourself as you are is a key factor in being able to move anything forward in this world as an empowered manifestation of the honest YOU. Take the time to step back and reevaluate your life. This action will support your efforts to embrace your own thoughts, inspirations, and honest desires and sort out the inner monologue that is working against you. Look at your own truth and intentionally let go of others’ opinions. The walls of fear take the wind out of the sails of courage. Own what are truly your feelings. Speak up and speak out with passion and fervor, and love who you are.

ETERNITY'S EDGE (ETERNAL CHRONICLES BOOK 4)

ZACHARY HAGEN

Civil war is the beginning of the end, but who will survive? Accompanied by Dai, an artificial human creAfter Taking over the leadership of the Refuge, Elior and His friends have a time of peace, but when Taariq makes good on his promise to marry Viola and make her his empress, no one could withhold the wrath of the people when they rebel against djinn rule. The Refuge must become a beacon of light in a world darkened by rebellion, but when a self-proclaimed “Holy Army” rises up, will Elior and his friends be able to keep that light shining bright? Will Aelon’s call prove too much to handle? Will the past keep them from moving forward? Eternity’s Edge is the penultimate book in the Eternal Chronicles series. Its pages will take you on an epic journey to the absolute Edge of the world where the end of this spellbinding tale will begin.

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Zachary Hagen is a fantasy author and editor. He lives his wife, Claudia, and their dog, Flynn. When he isn't busy writing his next book or teaching, you can often find him walking around his neighbor hood or up hiking in Hanging Rock Park with his wife and their friends. From a young age he was enthralled with the world of story. From the stories his parents read to him from his blue bedtime story books (if you know, you know) to the first two series that he read, The Chronicles of Narnia and A Series of Unfortunate Events, Zachary's tastes continued to develop throughout his years of reading. The influences for his first series, The Eternal Chronicles, include Christopher Paolini, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and others.

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REVIEWED BY PELICANFREAK

REVIEWED BY PELICANFREAK

This gripped me immediately, right from the start. Funnily, I picked this book up after seeing a few clips of the show it was turned into and when I was only a few pages in, I already noticed a few little things it changed and cut out. Written in third-person, POV, somewhat alternatingly. Mostly it’s in Elizabeth’s, a bit is in Calvin’s and some is in SixThirty’s. Six-Thirty is so incredibly endearing—I cannot tell you how much I loved him and, yes, it’s all plausible. This book will drop you right into uptight, even-moresexist, 1950s/ 1960s America and unless you have no soul (I kid, I kid) it’ll likely treat you to feelings of rage, and so, so many more throughout. The rage was real, but so were the heartbreak, the warmth, the satisfaction, the hope and all the while, it was relatable and even hilarious at times. This book even contained a twist I didn’t see coming—this almost never happens, as I predict EVERYthing. 5 stars. ️ ️ ️ ️ ️ Recommended to everyone. Excellent writing—my first by this author, but it left me a fan. Audio: I loved this narrator, she did great and has a lovely voice. 5 stars. (Thank you to the publisher for including this in Spotify Premium—it saved me having to wait months for my turn for a library copy.)

Awful. Extremely dull, juvenile, slow-paced and … really just felt like a gossip-fest for too much of it. This book could’ve told the exact same story with about half as many words … between the childish banter between what were supposed to be adults (albeit, young, college-aged adults, but not the 10-year-olds they sounded like) and the author’s penchant to state everything over and over and over again, it definitely used 2 or maybe even 3 times as many words as it needed to. I read in all genres and characters of all ages. I can get really into most things, even if the characters are one-third my age. In fact, I’ve recently read lots of high-school-set books in which the characters were way less childish-sounding than these ones. It’s just … very poorly executed, no character development and very weak writing.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Do not recommend. No stars. Audio: Not bad—the narrators both sounded great and the overall sound quality was excellent. 5 stars on this front.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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REVIEWED BY DEENA RAE

REVIEWED BY DEENA RAE

BALLARD AND BOSCH BOOK 3

OVER THE MOUNTAIN AND THROUGH THE WOODS...

Bosch and Ballard are back. I love the mix of young detective pairing with the old school retired detective to clear cold cases. The mix of two detectives, male, female, young, old but both of them loners is a great match. The crux of the storyline is that Harry's mentor - who instilled in him the foundation of his motto "Everyone counts, or no one does" has passed away and his widow has a murder book that her husband left for Harry. Harry, along with Renee work to solve the mystery of the murder and why the deceased and retired detective held on to it. Woven into this book we are able to see Harry growing, showing his nurturing side, even more so that the relationship he has with his daughter - in case you only watch the streaming series, the relationship with Maddie and Harry is a bit different and a little strained. Maddie seems to hold Harry at arm's length but it could really have to do with being Harry's daughter and just not being wired to have deep connections with people. I love how Michael Connelly is aging Harry instead of him staying hearty and healthy.

Great change of pace from high octane monster hunts. The whole gang heads from Deadwood to Rapid City for Christmas with Violet's parents and sister (the devil's concubine). Harvey, Natalie, Doc, Cornelius, and even Elvis the chicken all head over the mountain and through the woods to Layne and Addies' grandparents house (we go). Things get hairy when a blizzard hits right before pulling in the SUV. It's Reid and Coop to the rescue. I will be honest, I kept waiting for some supernatural being to show up and put a hex on the whole bunch of crazy characters. Some jaw dropping events take place but it's the holiday and Violet is expected to grin and bear it while reining in her over-the-top lust for Doc...also, a Private Investigator knocks on the door with some news as well as letting Violet know she was named in a will....

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

Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I was asked to review this book from the author's publicist, but I received the digital book via the OverDrive/Libby app from the Harris County or Houston Public Library system. It was read as a Kindle Book. I was not required to write a positive review. All of the opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

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REVIEWED BY DEENA RAE

REVIEWED BY DEENA RAE

THE MAN WHO FORGETS NOTHING - EVER!

OMG, FINALLY A BOOK THAT IS EXACTLY LIKE THE MOVIE

What a fascinating story, complex characters and horrifying crimes. It was so refreshing to have the main character have so many talents and quirks. Amos Decker's medical condition, back story and life trajectory engages the reader and gets them hooked from page one. The reader feels an immediate connection with Decker and with his mental ability - he remembers everything he experiences, reads or hears - he has a whole slew of problems. What others see as a blessing, he sees as a curse in some ways. After the murder of his family, he is unable to forget, so he is in a perpetual state of grieving. But his memory is also what will enable him to finally find the murder of his family and finally move forward with his life in law enforcement. This series starts with a bang and I look forward to reading more about Amos and his knack for crime solving.

I have always put off reading The Godfather because I liked the movie. Most times that books are turned into movies, in the interest of time and pacing, the movie lacks so much of the plot and development that is integral to the book, thus it just flat out sucks eggs. This book was the exception rather than the rule. The film is based on Mario Puzo's The Godfather, which remained on The New York Times Best Seller list for 67 weeks and sold over nine million copies in two years. Published in 1969, it became the best selling published work in history for several years. After I "cracked the spine" so to speak I can understand why. Considering all that I had going on work-wise at the time, I am surprised I read it in just 2 days - lots of long nights because I honestly had a hard time closing my Kindle and going to bed. The story was easy to read, enthralling and gripping. Even though I saw the movie a few times I still felt that reading the book was not a waste of time.

Recommend Recommend to anyone who likes characters who are not your normal "beautiful, perfect people". Those that don't fit society's mold but are extraordinary in their ability and life. And those who are on the lookout for stories with twists and unexpected developments. . 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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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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REVIEWED BY ROXB In Good Talk…Good Talk, Author Ginny Andrews shares her life experiences as segments to engage readers. The descriptions of each situation are vivid and relatable — or avoidable if her results are undesirable. The diary of her choices reads like ‘If I knew then what I know now I would have… format of her diary-like entries delivers scenarios like separate nights at Improv with quick statements, exaggerated motions, one-liners, and results no one can make up—it’s real. The hilarity of her choices, in retrospect, is priceless. Yet, Ms. Andrews keeps her chin up and tries to find the easy button like a Merry-Go-Round rider grabbing the brass ring. The order of the chapters steps through various phases of life, which allows readers to select their favorite topics or hunt for results to consider before they go down a path. I found the tongue-in-cheek delivery both insightful and sad. Ms. Andrews never seems to catch a break to get help, so she resorts to telling of events with expected outcomes. Ms. Andrews’s honesty and transparency are her trademark. No one should underestimate the value of sharing actual events. Relieving anxieties and facing phobias are real, but Good Talk…Good Talk may help show what to or not to live life. Readers who enjoy self-help books with a heavy dose of comedy will love the insights of Ms. Genny Andrews. Laughter is a great medicine.

REVIEWED BY ROXB DEATH AND LIFE Ms. Towles builds a world of epic proportions involving underwater shipwrecks, treasure, and whispers from Genevieve Lucas, with Kurt Farin in the center. Detective Kurt Farin, a former doctor and diver, is in a coma following a near-fatal gunshot that resulted in him cracking his skull. His daughter Brooke stays by his side, hearing his delusional outbursts. Traumatized, Kurt’s mind drifts as he experiences bizarre sensations, including deep-sea diving without equipment and finding a woman caught under a sunken ship. The woman calls to him and feels real. Awakening from the coma, he suffers from light sensitivity, headaches, and a compulsion to find the woman. His partner and best friend Detective Vaughn listens to Kurk as he shares his visions. Kurt is convinced that the answers are in Puget Sound and travels there with Vaughn. He discovers a shipwreck related to Genevieve, but she’s dead. He’s confused about why she’s talking to him, but he vows to help. That promise takes Kurt on a frightening journey while recovering from the trauma to his brain and body. Can he recover? Will he get his life back or be forever changed? Gripping tight to a questionable reality, Kurt is uncovering clues in a complex case that spans decades and threatens his life for unknown reasons.

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REVIEWED BY PELICANFREAK

REVIEWED BY PELICANFREAK

My first read by this author and I liked it. * Forbidden trope (professor / student relations.) * Road trip. * Cheating. * Frat boy lead. * Age gap (10 years). * Forced proximity (an unexpectedly bad storm). * Lots of steamy scenes (m/m). * Minor MC involvement (secondary character is a member, some of their endeavors are shown). * Light bondage. There were a few little things that I found to be a bit of a stretch and there were a couple of minor continuity issues. Mostly decent writing, minus very minor occurrences of things like “five a.m. in the morning”, and the characters could feel a bit juvenile at times, despite being around 27 and 37 respectively. Overall it held my attention, I liked the male leads for the most part and liked the bulk of it. Would explore more from this author.

Incredibly sweet read, written in alternating POVs, first-person and with an adorable little girl character to boot. It’s the perfect mix of tragedy, ‘villain’ moments, sweet scenes, and spice, with lots of ‘real-life’ stuff mixed in. The romance goes sort of quickly but it’s all completely plausible. * Boston / Boston area. * Evil mother-in-law (well, she was just super broken). * Toxic family (FMC’s parents). * Strong family ties (MMC’s). * Fresh start vibes. * Small town. * Found family. * Second-chance at love * Single mom. * Slow burn. * “Not dating / done with relationships” reluctant FMC. * Fairly inexperienced FMC. * Protective, sweet male lead. * A little bit of br33ding k!nk. * Holiday vibes (Christmas). * Second chance at life. *There was even a twist I didn’t see coming—this almost never happens. How fun! Recommended read.Overall: 4 stars Audio: Overall sound quality is perfect and the narrators were amazing.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 3.5. stars

Audio: The narration and overall sound quality were both fantastic. 5 stars.

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REVIEWED BY PELICANFREAK

REVIEWED BY PELICANFREAK

“We are the weapons, and this place is the stone they use to sharpen us.” —Violet This quote was so accurate and of course, if you’re capable of even the least bit of free thought, applies to the real world as well. I expect this’ll end up being my favorite quote of the entire series (assuming I read it all). It’s sometimes slow-paced like its predecessor, but the corruption and betrayal vibes are high, which is fun. It’s also a bit darker with some full-on t0rture, … and more. I liked that. The action scenes are fun and well done enough that they pretty much make up for the slower scenes. The steamy scenes, IMO, lightning and all, are still pretty underwhelming, especially given all those super strong feels Violet and Xaden supposedly have. It also doesn’t pack ‘real feels’ for me on that front, as some books do. Overall though, the world-building, writing, character development and action scenes are well done—Yarros sure is one to watch, if you’re not already. The biggest thing that I think would improve this book would be if some things, which the author opted to ‘tell instead of show’ were shown. For me, telling can be dull. She does lots of showing, I’m not saying she doesn’t! But much of it also involves just telling and those are the parts that were a bit slow for me. Minor plausibility / continuity issue for me: Violet is incredibly strong, and we see her grow to be more so over the course of both books........ Read the Full Review on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/6051061895

When this books opens, you’ll instantly be dropped into a very dark world, packed with all sorts of mafia / crime family types— it’s so fun. Honestly, you can never go wrong with a Wiltcher read, and this one’s no exception. It has all the makings of a fun read: danger, action, such justified hate, true love, morally gray heroes, absolute villains and more. You’ll love to hate some characters, while rooting for others.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

4 stars * Captivity. * Crime families / war. * Lots of premeditation. * Violence, SA, straight non-con. * Vengeance. * Mystery. * Dancer FMC. * Forced marriage. * T0rture scenes. Audio: Amazing. Both narrators were incredible and the overall sound quality absolutely spotless. A 5-star production.

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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MEET THE TEAM!

Mickey Mikkelson

Aimee Ravichandran

Co-Publisher

Co-Publisher

Deena Rae

Danielle

RoxB

PelicanFreak

Design, Writer, Reviewer

Interviewer & Reviewer

Writer, Reviewer

Reviewer

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