Today’s Featured Author – Charles O’Donnell

Author Charles O’Donnell visits my blog today promoting his novel, Shredded: A Dystopian Novel, which came out earlier this year.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Last year I retired to write full-time after thirty-five years in engineering and manufacturing—three and a half decades during which almost all of my writing output consisted of technical standards and email. While my career did require a certain facility with language, neither plot nor character development earned me any praise. Not a total loss, though—dealing with people from diverse cultures in all manner of situations gave me insight into human nature, which I try to bring to my writing. And the time I spent in faraway locations such as China and Italy inspired the settings for The Girlfriend Experience and Moment of Conception.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

My list of inspiring writers is long! I tend toward more literary works—Inferno, the one by Dante, not the one by Dan Brown, was a favorite when I was a teen, as were The Odyssey and Moby Dick; later A Clockwork Orange and more recently Freedom and The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen made an impression. But it wasn’t until I started reading Dan Brown, John Grisham, Ken Follett and others that I thought I could write a book of my own, perhaps a story as exciting as a Dan Brown thriller if not as literary as Jonathan Franzen. When I got the idea for The Girlfriend Experience about eight years ago, I wrote the first chapter and I was hooked.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

If you had asked me when I was four years old what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d have said “author,” although at that age I pronounced it “Arthur.” Through grade school, middle school and high school I wrote stories, both for school and for myself, and then I took forty years off to earn a living. I never actually considered myself a “writer” until one day, when attending a writing workshop at a local college, I asked the workshop leader what advice he would give to a non-writer who wants to write. He said, “Well, first, if you’re writing, then you’re a writer.” On that day, I awarded myself the title of “writer” retroactively to age four.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

As much as possible! A writing instructor once told me “I write to erase myself in the creative act.” For me, that means allowing myself, sometimes forcing myself, to explore every aspect of every situation in my novels, whether or not the result of that exploration makes it into the final draft. Since the author reveals to the reader what he or she thinks about the world, the act of writing forces the author to actually think about the world, often with surprising results. I think that’s what makes writing such an intensely personal experience. The hazard, of course, is that the author, by injecting his or her viewpoint into the story, may intrude on the reader’s experience, rather than leaving the reader alone with the narrative. Avoiding that intrusion is one aspect of writing that I find most challenging—one wrong word, one ham-handed exposition, one preachy moment, and the spell is broken.

Please tell us about your current release.

Shredded: A Dystopian Novel went live in April, 2017. This is my first full-length sci-fi novel, set in the not-too-distant future, a time when almost all human activity takes place in Virtual Reality and privacy is nonexistent. It’s the story of Grace, a recovering drug and sex addict who’s managed to stay clean for four years since being shocked straight, having lost custody of her son Dylan to her sister Donna. She’s determined to get herself respectable, to win Dylan’s respect, but also to regain control over her life, never again to become a slave to her addictions.

One day Grace discovers that her life data—words, images, and events recorded indelibly in the Worldstream—have been woven into a lifestream, a full-immersion VR experience. It goes viral, with millions of perverted stream riders are getting their thrills reliving Grace’s sordid past. The thought of her life being invaded by strangers offends her need to be in control, but worse than that, Grace discovers that Dylan is experimenting with riding lifestreams, and is only days away from stumbling onto the past that Grace has so carefully kept from him.

Grace finds a shredder, an expert in the ways of the Worldstream, to remove her lifestream, deleting every last bit of her life data since the day she was born. Her life will be hers again, but she’ll be outside of the Worldstream, a non-person, cut off from Dylan and everyone else she cares about—and she can never go back.

What inspired you to write this book?

Technological and social trends seem to be toward a society in which we interact less and less with one another in person, while paradoxically sharing more and more intimate details of our lives with utter strangers. At the same time, with the rapid development of augmented and virtual reality, we may be only years away from virtual experiences that are indistinguishable from real life. Might we see a future, not too far off, in which the virtual world is the venue not only for leisure, but also for work and social interaction? And in such a world, how would we protect our privacy, when all of our actions, words, perhaps even our thoughts, enter the virtual reality stream? While I’m excited about the possibilities, I fear the side effects. Shredded is my exploration of the promise as well as the hazards of these trends, which seem unstoppable.

Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I really enjoyed writing Grace—generally speaking, I enjoy writing female characters more than male characters. In The Girlfriend Experience, it was Gina, the call girl who gets tangled up in a web of espionage; in Moment of Conception, it was Ronni, the brilliant and beautiful political operative. Grace is the first female lead character in any of my books, and I’m happy with how she came out—she’s strong, complex, and likeable. All that said, if I had to pick a favorite in Shredded, it would be Raúl, the cynical Worldstream master. I put a lot of myself into him.

The only characters I dislike are the ones that I’ve written as unlikeable. Andrew, Donna, and Joan from Shredded fit that description. But I don’t dislike all my unlikeable characters!

Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

In chapter 35, “Empathy Setting,” Grace has reached an impasse in her attempts to shred her life. Seemingly out of options, Grace makes arrangements for the distribution of her belongings after her death, and records a final message to Dylan. Climbing to the roof of her building, she approaches the edge, contemplating her own destruction. Grace’s tortured conversation with herself, imagining the impact that her death will have on Dylan, is a portrait of a woman determined to master her own fate, who nevertheless is at the end of her rope.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

Shredded is the first book of a planned three-book series. Shredded tells Grace’s story, from the time she discovers that her life has been hacked to the time she resolves that crisis. The second book, with the working title of Shade, continues Grace’s story as she navigates through the secret world of the Shade, outlaws who have cut themselves off from the connected world. In the third book of the series, we can expect Grace to reassert herself in the connected world to champion the cause of personal liberty and the right of individuals to choose what to share and what to keep private.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

Just based on the number of times I’ve read it, that would have to be A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. I read it for the first time when I was nineteen, and I read it again for the fourth time last September. But the book that made the deepest impression on me was Moby Dick. I’m still not sure why, other than the brilliant writing and visceral imagery, and I’ve only read it once, but when asked to name my favorite books, Moby Dick is always at the top of the list.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m working my way through the canon of virtual-reality-themed fiction, starting with Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, both of which I enjoyed but found a little too tech-heavy. I’m reading William Gibson’s Neuromancer, in the same genre but distinctly more literary than either Ready Player One or Snow Crash.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I’m the eighth child from a family of fifteen. Whenever I mention that fact, the reaction is astonishment followed by a long and predictable list of questions. I have them printed out, with answers, citations, and cross-references, on a handy laminated sheet.

Book Blurb

How do I erase my existence from the mind of God?

Grace, a civil servant with a sordid past, wakes up one morning to find that she’s a viral sensation: her life has been hacked, woven into a lifestream, a full-immersion, 3-D, virtual reality experience. Knowing that she’s powerless to keep thrill-seeking stream riders from reliving her life, fearing that her teenage son, Dylan, might stumble upon her explicit lifestream, Grace finds a shredder, an expert in the ways of the Worldstream, the infinitely detailed record of every event, person, and thing. He’ll erase her lifestream and all of her data since the day she was born. Her life will be hers again, but she’ll be outside of the Worldstream–and she can never go back.

About the Author

Charles O’Donnell writes thrillers with high-tech themes in international and futuristic settings. His works include The Girlfriend Experience, an espionage thriller and the first book in the Matt Bugatti series; Moment of Conception (Matt Bugatti #2), a political and medical thriller; and Shredded: A Dystopian Novel, a cautionary tale about the potential for technology to either augment reality or to replace it entirely, and about the erosion of privacy in a world in which everything is shared online, and nobody reads the terms and conditions. 

Charles recently retired from a career of thirty-five years in engineering and manufacturing to write full-time, drawing on his years of experience leading technology teams in many countries on three continents to create compelling settings in faraway lands.

Charles lives with Helen, his wife and life partner in Westerville, Ohio.

You can find out more about Charles on his website.

You can purchase Shredded on Amazon.

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Today’s Featured Author – Tanya R. Taylor

Today I welcome Tanya R. Taylor to my blog. Her latest book, The Contract: Murder in the Bahamas, is the fifth in her The Cornelius Saga and was released earlier this month.

Excerpt

Daniel J. Smith, a forty-eight-year-old colored man, sat alone in the diner across the street from Tinnedale Hospital. He was of medium height and build, which edged closer to the broader side of the scale, but handsome, nonetheless, by many accounts. The clear eye-glasses sat comfortably on the bridge of his nose as he perused the morning newspaper.

Glancing above the daily, he observed a man in a long, white coat a few tables away and a woman wearing a dark blue outfit with high-heeled shoes to match. A younger man sat a couple of tables down. He appeared to be just staring into space as he sipped his hot chocolate, the steam of which steadily curled into the air. Daniel was among the few who quietly sat that morning in Al’s Diner.

His mind drifted to the meeting he had the day before with Lucille Green. That’s the day he flew in from Florida for what was probably his fortieth visit to the city of Nassau. He could see her sitting on the porch of that old, clapboard house. The entire residence had a square footage which nearly matched the size of his master bathroom back home in Boynton Beach to a “t”. Lucille was easily tipping the scales at around three hundred pounds, and every crevice and wrinkle on her sagging skin that sunny day as he sat with her told of countless struggles across her eighty-two years of existence. Daniel couldn’t deny her strong personality neither as she spoke aggressively through her raspy voice.

“It’s a damn shame how they treated Jackie all those years ago,” she roared. “The woman had five small children to take care of before they cuffed her like a common criminal and hauled her off to court. And to think they’d really believe she murdered that woman.”

That woman? Daniel was clearly offended and had to set her straight.

“That woman…” he pronounced “…was my mother.”

The nerve of you was embedded in Lucille’s expression, laced with a tinge of sympathy over the fact that the poor dead woman did indeed give birth to him.

“Right. No offense to you, young man,” she went on. “But I tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that Jackie Pearl Agatha Smith did not kill your dear mother. My sister didn’t have it in her. Believe me when I say that.”

Daniel recalled her glassy eyes being wide with conviction while she uttered those words.

“They let my sister languish in prison for a whole six years before she succumbed to cancer. She suffered and died in that God-forsaken place for a crime she didn’t commit!” Tears were welling in her eyes. “She was humiliated and her children had to grow up without their mother. That just ain’t right.”

“So did I, Miss Green. I was just three years old when my mother was murdered. I don’t know how well her kids managed as they were coming up, but I was sent to live in foster homes ‘til I turned sixteen. After that, I was on my natural own. They were hard years.”

Lucille didn’t respond.

“I can’t begin to tell you what my life was like, but you sit here practically swearing for your sister when she was tried and convicted in a court of law. Every appeal was denied, yet you say she’s innocent.”

“Young man, I don’t know what you expected before you came here, but if it was for me to look you square in the face and lie to you, I’m sorry I disappointed you. You don’t have to believe a word I said. You can go on believin’ the lies they all told you. But I’m sure you’ve seen from the court papers, each and every witness for the defense said my sister was a good wife and mother even after her husband of twenty years, your father, strayed from his marriage and tangled himself up with your mother. Not only tangled himself up with her, but had a bastard child on top of that!”

Stunned by her choice of words, Daniel, nevertheless, held his tongue. He was taught to respect his elders.

“How you think my sister felt?” Her gaze was intense. “All right, let me answer that for you: Like Hell! She felt like Hell! Yet, she stuck in there and continued doing what she always done. She cried for the longest time and was terribly depressed – all this while still havin’ to go to work, cook and clean every day, take care of the children and satisfy her husband every time he came back home from the fields for a visit. Knowin’ when he was away on that God-forsaken job, he was shackin’ up with your mother every chance he got. I hate to put it to you that way, son, but you wanted the facts. There they are! Although your father’s betrayal almost killed my sister, she never lifted a finger to harm your mother. I dare say the real killer has never been caught to this day.”

Daniel’s thoughts were slain by the soft tinkling of wind chimes hanging above the doorway as a tall, solidly built man with dark hair walked in, accompanied by a lady whose facial features closely resembled his. She was wearing black slacks and a light, pink blouse; her hair roped in a ponytail. Daniel immediately pushed the newspaper he had barely read aside and stood up as the couple made their way over.

Book Blurb

~ A golden opportunity that ends in disaster. ~

Many “well-to-do” and “have-it-all-together” people have had depressing thoughts and suicidal tendencies — not knowing who to turn to or confide in. They believe an outward show of success will solve their problems and subdue their inner demons, but “achieving it all” and “having it all” fail to erase that nagging emotional pain. Daniel J. Smith tried a few times to end his life, but failed, and finally he thought: “Maybe there’s a reason I’m still here”. Read his troubling story in ‘THE CONTRACT: Murder in The Bahamas’, book 5 of the Cornelius Saga Series.
Mira Cullen is prompted to fly out to The Bahamas to meet a man her brother Wade must introduce her to. Daniel Smith believes it’s providence that a chance encounter with Wade has resulted in him meeting the one person who could possibly bring to light and put to rest an age-old mystery involving his beloved mother. Smith, a product of “the contract”, which took place decades earlier — deems it an opportunity that literally sustained the lives of many, but in whose clutches also stole the life of the one person he loved more than anything else in the world.

Will Mira’s attempt to uncover the truth ultimately grieve the one who yearns for it? Or will the final discovery prove to be bitter-sweet?

About the Author 

Tanya R. Taylor is the author of several #1 bestsellers on Amazon.com as well as the Amazon UK and Canada stores. She has been writing ever since she could remember holding a pencil and published her first book titled: A Killing Rage as a young adult.

Tanya has worked in the Financial arena and is also a seasoned ghostwriter. She is the author of both fiction and non-fiction literature, and all of her books have made Amazon Kindle’s Top 100 Paid Bestsellers’ List in several categories. Cornelius climbed to #1 in the Teen & Young-adult Multi-generational Family Fiction category in November 2015. And her supernatural, suspense/thriller – INFESTATION: A Small Town Nightmare is a #1 multiple times international bestseller.

America’s Most Haunted tweeted about her ocean thriller: “With HAUNTED CRUISE: THE SHAKEDOWN, Tanya R. Taylor Joins Ranks of Horror Greats.”

Tanya writes in various genres including: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Thrillers, Science-fiction, Mystery and Suspense.

She has a passion for the welfare of children and her hobbies include: Reading, writing, and researching. She’s also keen on documentaries.

You can find out more about Tanya on Facebook or on her website.

You can purchase The Contract: Murder in the Bahamas on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Amy Elizabeth Davis

Today I welcome author Amy Elizabeth Davis. Her humorous book, Darcy Bites: Pride and Prejudice with Fangs, came out in 2015. Here is an excerpt from her book. And don’t miss the book trailer posted below!

Excerpt

As Elizabeth walked, she experienced a peculiar feeling as if someone were following her. At first, she dismissed this as her imagination and merely increased her pace, but the sense of danger grew stronger until she could no longer ignore it. Someone—or something—was approaching, something evil. In vain did Elizabeth try to convince herself of the improbability. Logic and reason deserted her. Every instinct, every part of her being, clamored for her to run.

Disregarding modesty, Elizabeth lifted her skirt and ran as fast and as hard as she could. At first, she continued in the direction of Longbourn but she soon felt a second evil presence coming from that direction and changed course, running she knew not where. Her cloak, flying out behind her, got caught on something and the bindings pulled against her neck, almost choking her. She undid it and ran on.

Elizabeth was in excellent physical condition but she had never run so far or for so long. She knew she would not be able to continue much longer; the evil presences were getting closer by the moment. She could now hear as well as sense them. Gathering her wits, she forced herself to remember her training.

The words of Elizabeth’s master came back to her, “You cannot outrun a vampire, save your strength.” Elizabeth stopped running. Before releasing her skirt, she bent down and retrieved the silver dagger she always wore strapped to her calf, reflecting with gratitude that she had never given up the practice. She held the dagger tightly in her right hand. As she turned to face her attackers, she took hold of the silver cross her father insisted she always wear around her neck. With her left hand, she gave it a strong tug so that the chain broke and she could hold it in front of her at arm’s length.

Elizabeth’s pursuers had slowed down and were approaching her more cautiously. They were now close enough for her to make out the details of their appearances. There were two men dressed in dirty tattered clothing, their hair a mass of knots, and they each displayed large fangs, leaving Elizabeth in no further doubt as to what she faced.

Growling and hissing, the vampires separated, approaching Elizabeth slowly from different angles. She had been expecting this. With her left hand, she used her cross like a shield to keep one of the vampires at bay while she lunged at the other vampire with her dagger. Her aim was true and she had the satisfaction of seeing it fall to the ground screaming, her silver dagger embedded in its heart. But she had misjudged how hard it would be to withdraw her dagger and when the vampire fell, she lost her hold on it. The second vampire was quick to move between her and his fallen comrade; Elizabeth had no hope of retrieving her weapon. All she could do was use her cross to keep the vampire from getting too close—a cross that suddenly seemed very small.

***

The Netherfield gentlemen had ridden out to do some shooting. As dusk fell, they returned to the house. Just after the sun disappeared below the horizon, Darcy froze and his expression became grave. “Something is wrong!”

With no further explanation, he abruptly turned his horse and took off at top speed.

“Darcy, what…?” Bingley quickly took off after him, calling some of his dogs to follow even though Darcy’s horse was much faster and he already had a lead.  Mr. Hurst judged it best that he return to the house so that he might acquaint the others with the situation and let them know not to wait dinner.

***

Elizabeth was so focused on fending off the vampire that she could not spare any attention for the sound of approaching hoof beats, nor did she think to cry out in an attempt to obtain help. She held the cross in front of her with two shaking hands, blocking the vampire’s attempts to swipe at her as it snarled and growled. The creature was so menacing that she could not prevent herself from taking a step backwards. She stepped back again.  She tripped. As she felt herself falling, Elizabeth’s arms flew out to her sides. She hit the ground. The fiend was on top of her. Its hands were grasping her shoulders. Its fangs were… It was no longer on top of her. There was a scream. In an instant, Elizabeth was back on her feet, unaware of how she had been granted this momentary reprieve. She only knew that the vampire was coming toward her and she had dropped her cross.

The vampire came closer. Without thinking, Elizabeth delivered an unladylike kick to the location where a kick might be calculated to do the most good. With another scream, the creature collapsed in front of her doubled over in pain.

Suddenly, Elizabeth realized the kick should not have worked. Lydia had attempted it once during training and their master’s reproach had been severe, “That is not only a low class form of self defense but it would not work on a vampire! I have taught you the only ways a true vampire can be harmed! If you kicked it like that it would feel nothing and would only grab your foot and put you off balance!!”

Now that Elizabeth had a moment to catch her breath, she realized, to her mortification, that the creature lying at her feet which she had taken for a vampire was actually “Mr. Darcy!”

Book Blurb

In a world where the existence of vampires is a truth universally acknowledged, most would be surprised to learn they had ever invited one to tea.

Elizabeth Bennet is no damsel in distress. Mr. Darcy cannot help but admire her fighting skills and lively mind but he struggles against his attraction to her as he struggles against his own nature. Elizabeth finds it most inconvenient to be indebted to Mr. Darcy for having saved her life. Elizabeth never suspects that there is a reason Mr. Darcy is such a gifted vampire slayer. When the truth is revealed, they find they each have a lot to learn about each other and themselves.

Book Trailer

About the Author

Amy Elizabeth Davis is a fan of Sci-fi and fantasy who became obsessed with Jane Austen in her mid-forties. She lives in Mercerville New Jersey with an orange cat who often jumps on her keyboard to add his own contributions to her work. 

You purchase Darcy Bites: Pride and Prejudice with Fangs Amazon .

Today’s Featured Author – Laurie Cook

Today I welcome author Laurie Cook to my blog. Her latest book, Trouble in the Land: A Goldenfell Saga Novel, was released earlier this year. You can find it on Amazon.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up on our family farm and have lived with pets and around farm animals all my life.  At one time or another I have had pets that include, dogs, cats, cockatiels, goats, rabbits and raised bantam chickens and different varieties of pheasants and peacocks plus other assorted fowl.  I also raised registered Quarter Horses.  It’s never been dull around our house and I like to add animal experiences and a little bit of humor to what I write.  I worked for over thirty-five years, mostly in the financial sector and now am enjoying retirement.  I’ve always been active in creating different crafts and have found writing to be another outlet for this creativity.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

It’s the creative process for me.  Now that I have started, I find that I have many more stories that are just waiting to be told.  I write Mysteries as well as Epic Fantasy and I’m excited to get the ideas down on paper.  I write as much for myself as I do the readers.

How do you conceive your plot ideas?

That is not something that I can define very clearly.  When I am thinking of what I want to write next, I just speculate what would happen for different ideas until something clearly “pops” into my head.  I usually carry the idea around for a while until I get my beginning and ending and then write this down with a few other definite ideas.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I usually have a (very) small outline. I always know how my books need to start and how they are going to end, but pretty much everything else develops as I go along. Sometimes it’s as much a mystery to me as it is for everyone else. When I need to sit back and mull for a while it helps to be doing something else (housework?) and it might take a few minutes or maybe a day or two, but the idea eventually comes and I’ll have my next plot twist.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

Actually, I have included quite a few personal experiences in my Mystery books.  These books usually have some sort of paranormal occurrences and some of these have been my own experiences.  I leave it up to the readers to decided what might be true and what is made up.  In the Epic Fantasy I draw upon my experience with horses and cats for some of the plot developments.  My last mystery was written in the first person and a bit more or “me” might have leaked through than I planned.

Please tell us about your current release.

My current release is Trouble In The Land: A Goldenfell Saga Novel.  This is the second book in The Goldenfell Saga series.  The series starts with An Elf’s Homecoming, which is the story of Thomaline and Brandt and their journey to her homeland.  Each book is a complete story.  The second book deals more with the reason she was called back to her home and the new problems that have arisen. There is a Ward that was placed on the land to keep Goldenfell hidden and safe, but it is failing and now a new enemy has moved into the area outside of the Ward and knows that that the Ward will not last much longer. Thomaline, with Brandt helping, must look for a way to save them from this threat and assistance comes from some surprising sources.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

I have started the third installment of the Goldenfell Saga.  The next book will pick up were Trouble In The Land leaves off and the title is An Elf’s Sacrifice.  Thomaline and Brandt will be facing a new set or problems from outside of Goldenfell.  A person by the name of “The River Lord” keeps asking to meet with the pair and they also find that living with the Skellan Elves presents many more problems than they first anticipated.  There will be some internal conflicts as well that will keep Thomaline busy.  This will be the third and last book in this series.

What book are you reading right now?

Currently, I am re-reading some of Tanya Huff’s books and am reading the first of a three book set called Smoke and Shadows.  I’ve probably read these books four or five time before and I’ll read them again in the future.  If I find a book I like, I can read it many time over the years.

Do you have an all time favourite book?

It’s hard to narrow it down to one book, but I do have a couple of very favorite authors.  I love Barbara Hambly, C. J. Cherryh and Scottish author Stuart McBride.

Book Blurb

trouble-in-the-landIt had been nearly eighty years since Thomaline and Brandt had made the long journey to her homeland of Goldenfell and it was now up to them in their new roles to once again make the kingdom safe.  A new enemy was out there, waiting to destroy the Elves of Goldenfell and their Ward, the shield that protected the land of the Elves from the outside world was failing. As Thomaline and Brandt search for answers and struggle to find ways to keep them all safe, allegiances are made with new allies and maybe even an old enemy. Together, they will lead the charge to save their world.

About the Author

Laurie Cook is from a small rural community in Saskatchewan, Canada. After retirement, she decided to try her hand at writing the mystery and fantasy books she loves to read. It has been such an enjoyable experience that she continues to write and develop the ideas she has gathered over the years and has now made her first book the start of an epic fantasy series. Laurie was raised on the family farm before moving to her own rural residence and has had many dogs, cats, horses and other assorted pets that have enriched her life. As she likes to add a little humor to her stories, these experiences help to offer inspiration for events in her books. She lives with her husband, two cats and a dog.

You can find out more about Laurie on her website.

You can purchase Trouble in the Land: A Goldenfell Saga Novel on Amazon.

#NewRelease – THE STONE BRIDGE by Michael Bolan

The Stone Bridge, the gripping conclusion to the Devil’s Bible Series, was released last week. Come immerse yourself in a world of passion and intrigue, where a ragtag band of individuals battles the might of Empires and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

You can purchase The Stone Bridge on Amazon.

Book Blurb

stone-bridge1The Rapture continues to wreak havoc across Europe in its quest to acquire the elemental Seals, the only thing preventing the Devil’s Bible from purging the world in fire. Brought to Prague by the Fianna, the Seals’ only protection lies in the secrecy that shrouds them.

Reinald, leader of the Rapture, enlists the world’s greatest minds to free the Devil’s Bible from the depths of Prague Castle, where it has languished under lock and key for centuries. Meanwhile, the plans of the Four Horsemen unfold, wreaking havoc and misery across the entire continent.

Not content with forcing his siblings from their ancestral home, Reinald sends a vast army to harry and persecute them, forcing them to flee ever eastwards. Taking shelter with their friends, Willem, Leo and Isabella commit to one last act of bravery, making a final stand to defend the city of Prague.

As each nation commits its final resources into the conflict, all roads lead to the Stone Bridge that divides Prague, where the Sons of Brabant and their Fianna allies will face the ultimate test of their strength.

About the Author

michael-bolanIt took Michael Bolan over two decades of running in the corporate ratrace to realize that all he actually did was tell stories.

There was no Damascene revelation for Bolan which caused him to pen his first work of fiction, “The Sons of Brabant”. An avid reader, he simply felt that he could do as good a job as many of the authors he read and decided to put his money where his mouth was.

Living and working in many countries left him with smatterings of a dozen languages and their stories, and his love for history focused his ideas on the Thirty Years War, the most destructive conflict that the continent has ever seen.

Now living in Prague (again), Michael brings alive the twisted alleys of the 17th century and recreates the brooding darkness of a fractured Europe, where no-one was entirely sure who was fighting whom.

Michael writes while liberally soused in gin, a testament to Franz de le Boë, who was mixing oil of juniper with neat spirit while the thirty Years War raged around him.

You can find out more about Michael on his website or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase The Stone Bridge on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Paulette Harper

Today, author Paulette Harper joins me as part of her book blast tour promoting her latest book – Secret Places Revealed – which was released earlier this month.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello everyone and thank you, Susan, for featuring me today.

In addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole, I am an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. I have a passion to coach aspiring authors and speak into the lives of women from every walk of life. My literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, and Black Pearls Magazine. I have also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows.

Please tell us about your current release.

My current release is Secret Places Revealed and it’s an Inspirational Romance Novel.

Here is the book blurb:

selectplacesA broken man, a woman on the run, a love that won’t be denied.

Single—and very content—real estate developer Aaron Blackman is determined not to become involved in another relationship. He’s experienced enough drama to last a lifetime. The only thing garnering his attention now is his growing business. And he plans to keep it that way. Then Simone Herron waltzes into his life, beautiful and confident. Fighting to keep his promise to himself—to remain single—he soon discovers that when it comes to love, some promises must be broken.

After losing her fiancé in an untimely death, Simone Herron relocates. She desperately needs to put the past behind her and start a new chapter in her life. While love is the farthest thing from her mind, she experiences an attraction to the handsome Aaron Blackman that frightens her. She’s built a wall around her heart, but can she find the strength and courage she needs to welcome love again? To do so, she must conquer her fears and allow God to put all of her broken pieces back together.

What inspired you to write this book?

I love reading romance books and writing a story that brings two people together for the sake of finding love was something I thoroughly enjoyed. Aaron Blackman is not looking for love, in fact the only thing he has on his agenda is adding to his real estate development portfolio, while Simone Herron, has her own internal battles, with trust and abandonment. One decision on her part leads her to meet the eligible bachelor who is smitten by her, but has made a vow to himself not to get involved.

I’ve always wanted to write fiction and the idea behind Secret Places Revealed came from a desire to write my own love story.

What fuels you as an author to continue to write?

As an inspirational and fiction writer, I write to inspire and empower readers. I write because I feel I have message to share with readers not only to entertain readers but to help them grow spiritually. I love to mix real life stories into my fiction. Although each story is unique, we experience some of the same feelings, situations and challenges in life in which the reader can identify.

With the ability to craft fiction books, it gives me the opportunity to live through each character. I’ve been blessed to write in several different genre: Christian fiction, nonfiction and children. Although each genre is unique in their own way, I enjoy each one. Developing a craft for writing is an ongoing process. I’ve been able to gleam from so many others. I read books which help me learn the craft as well.

When I pen a non-fiction book, I can go deep into my soul and the soul of the reader. My non-fiction books come from my own personal life experiences, research and biblical studies. I try to connect with readers in a place where the words in the book can leap off the pages and bring about a spiritual change as well as spiritual growth.  Everyone needs to be inspired, empowered and strengthen in every area of their lives and this is where my books are able to touch the readers.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I’m learning to be an outliner. Outlining a story, for me, makes it easier to keep focus and it allows the story to continue flowing into each chapter.

Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

The black moment in Secret Places Revealed came when the hero, Aaron Blackman, felt that he was betrayed, once again by someone he loved. He looked at the situation and made some assumptions that were never backed up with proof.  As, an attorney, he knows the important of having solid, concrete evidence, but when it came to his personal life, he forgot all his teachings.

About the Author

pauletteIn addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole, Paulette is an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. She has a passion to coach aspiring authors and speaks into the lives of women from every walk of life. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, and Black Pearls Magazine. She has also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows.

Paulette resides in Northern California.

You can find out more information about Paulette on her website. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

You can purchase Secret Places Revealed on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Today’s Featured Author – Jerry A. Young

Today, please welcome author Jerry A. Young. His latest book, Natural Enemies, came out in July.

Want a free copy? Click here to see if you have won a copy of his  e-book from Amazon.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Columbus, Ohio, and now live in Westerville, a small suburb of Columbus. After travelling the country on business, I am now retired and enjoying staying close to home.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I really got into reading hard science fiction right out of high school. After about three trips in a row to the bookstore and not finding the type of book I loved, I started writing my own. That was the first draft of “Natural Enemies” which is the book I wish someone else would have written for me to read.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

Well my characters wouldn’t be nearly so witty if not for me lending them my sense of humor. So they all have a little of me, but mainly the secondary characters are based a lot on some of the characters I have known, either well or just met them briefly and remembered them as being interesting.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

Yes Natural Enemies is the first book in a series or trilogy titled “Evidence of War” and I am about six chapters into the second book, titled Bonded By Fire. Also working on the third book in my “Jack Barrett Mystery” series.

What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)

In a writing class I taught years ago at OSU I advised my students that the only person whose opinion about your writing you should listen to is the editor or agent who is currently considering it. If they reject it, forget them and go to the next one.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I don’t outline, I just create an interesting first scene or premise and an interesting character and start following them. I often don’t know how the book will end exactly, only generally, and I’m finding my way to the end just like they and the readers are. But I can’t write the first word until I have a title!

Please tell us about your current release.

Natural Enemies was just published on July 13 on Amazon KDP Select. It is about first contact between humans and aliens in space in the year 2081. As difficult as that first contact will be, it is greatly complicated by the experiences of both races prior to making that first contact. All they have found in their explorations are the ruins of planets destroyed by some species from space. So they are armed and mistrusting. Complicating that even further is the alien’s resemblance to an ancient, natural enemy from our prehistoric days!

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

In the summer I write in my summer office, which is a table set up in the garage. My little dog Topper guards me against the passing joggers and solicitors. In cold weather my office is in the basement which we have finished.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

My all time favorite book, in fact the only book I have read more than once, is “Ringworld” by Larry Niven.

What book are you reading right now?

I can’t read fiction while writing fiction, so I stick to nonfiction, historical books. Right now I am reading Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard. For any writers looking for inspiration to set up their writing space, I highly recommend looking at her webpage!

Book Blurb

youngBy late in the 21st century the invention of the Gravity Drive has made faster-than-light travel possible and inexpensive. But as humans explored the planets circling the stars around them, they soon discovered civilizations which had been wiped out. At first assuming they had destroyed themselves, they soon made the chilling discovery they had instead been destroyed by invaders from space.

Now Earth had two choices: arm themselves for protection, or retreat to our own planet and hope we wouldn’t be noticed by these marauding aliens. Choosing the first course of action, defensive installations and bases were installed in near orbit, the moon, and throughout our own solar system. Huge warships called Star-Guardians were also constructed. But one Star-Guardian, named “Ambassador,” was set aside for peaceful contact. Staffed with experts in all endeavors of human knowledge, it is commanded by Admiral Claude Hooker. Should contact with an alien race occur, it is the job of the “Ambassador” and it’s crew to first try to establish peaceful relations.

In 2081 a Restan ship named the “Tandew” discovers the human mining colony on Tau Ceti 3. These aliens are also wary of their first encounter, having also discovered the ruins on worlds they’ve explored and come to the same conclusion.

Will the “Ambassador” be able to intercept this alien ship and offer peace before other humans attack them and start the war they both fear, yet expect?

And when human and Restan meet, what will be their reactions when they see an ancient, natural enemy from the time when both preyed upon the other?

About the Author

Jerry A. Young is the author of four non-fiction books for children, including MOVIE MONSTERS FROM OUTER SPACE and MYSTERIOUS MONSTERS: REAL OR UNREAL? by School Book Fairs.He has also published several articles in local and national magazines.

E-books include “The Alien of Applewood Lane,” a mystery/suspense book for children, and the adult mystery/suspense thrillers “Unturned Stones” and “Uncommon Enemies.” Recently released the new science fiction novel “Natural Enemies, First Contact: 2081.”

Current projects are another adult mystery/suspense novel, “Unkept Promises” and for children, “Return of the Alien of Applewood Lane.”

Jerry lives in central Ohio with his wife and little dog Topper. Jerry may be reached directly by email. You can also follow him on Facebook.

You can purchase Natural Enemies on Amazon. Or click this link and see if you have won a free copy of Jerry’s book.