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Book Review: The Sacred Artifact

Title: The Sacred Artifacts

Author: Caldric Blackwell

Genre: Middle Grade

Determined to uncover the secrets of a mysterious artifact, fourteen-year-old alchemy student Craig Pike and his teacher, Cornelius, journey to the birthplace of alchemy to seek the advice of a wise, ancient alchemist named Quintus. With the help of a witty archer, Audrey Clife, they trek across dangerous lands, compete in a cutthroat tournament, and reunite with old friends. They soon find out the artifact is more powerful than anticipated, and they aren’t the only ones seeking to discover its secrets….

 

Review: This book reminded me of my childhood, and the countless fantasy novels I devoured day and night! It has an old-charm feel, reminiscent of the Percy Jackson series, and the classics of C.S. Lewis. Readers are transported through time and space to a world filled with alchemy, fantasy, numerous dangers, and characters you can root for and feel a real connection with.

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Author Interview The Raygin War

Author Interview

Have you been writing for a long time?

 

I started to write my first book in 2013. Prior to that all my writing was work related and involved nuclear training and disaster scenarios.

 

What inspired you to start a writing career?

 

As a young boy I read thousands of comic books. I always felt it would be fun to create characters and worlds to entertain others much like the authors were entertaining me. As an adult I love to tell stories to my friends and family. I mix just enough truth to the tale I am telling so the listener doesn’t know if what I said is real or made up. It’s fun. I wanted to bring a similar experience to the readers of today.

 

Is your book a stand-alone, or is it part of a series?

 

My latest book, The Raygin War, is a futuristic sci-fi about an alien invasion of human occupied space. I wrote the book as a stand alone, but its something I designed so I could easily turn into a series. A series is nice because each book usually ends the mini story. The big storyline can live on forever or at least until the author’s imagination runs dry.

 

How does your book stand out from others?

 

I served in the U.S. Navy for eight years and even during difficult times it seems like a sense of humor made the task at hand a little more bearable. I see The Raygin War as a mix of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and Orson Scott Cards Formic War series with a sprinkling of humor added to the dialog.

 

Are any of your characters based on real-life people?

 

Yes, Mac, the main character has bits and pieces of real life people I met while serving in the Navy. While I was stationed on the USS Iwo Jima there was a Gunnery Sergeant that had the respect of about 800 marines. While working shore patrol in civilian clothes all I had to say to the marines starting to get themselves into trouble while on liberty was, “You don’t want me to give your name to the Gunney, do you?” That was all it took. He was a nice guy with a reputation. If you did right by him, he’d give his life for you, cross him and he’d put you in (excuse the language but it’s the way everyone talked) a world of shit.

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

 

Use beta readers and an editor for your book. If you can’t do that then read your book out loud to find problem areas – you will still miss things but it will help. Go to http://inkandquills.com/2015/11/27/clutter-words-to-cut-from-your-writing/ and read an article by Kaitlin Hillerich – it’s a tip given to me by a senior editor of a literary agency to remove clutter from my writing.

About the Book

Title: The Raygin War

Author: Larry Gerovac

Genre: Science-Fiction

The Raygin War is a futuristic sci-fi story about an alien race that evolved from Carrion beetles. 25 years after first contact the aliens return with a fleet to invade human space. To stop the invasion the military puts all its hope into a single person. He’s an old school soldier who started his career as a ground pounder in the Sniper Corps. Mac has been involved in about every conflict the military has participated in. His skill as a sniper earned him the respect of every soldier who ever worked with him. He is a self taught killer. On the battlefield he has no equal. Whether it was killing the opponent in hand-to-hand combat, killing them with a weapon, or just plain old out maneuvering them Mac was the best the military had ever seen. When the Raygin war starts Mac is forced into a leadership role he wanted nothing to do with. Will Mac’s experience and talent be enough to neutralize the alien invasion? All is not what it seems. Read the Raygin War to see if the human race will survive and remain free.

 

Author Bio

Larry Gerovac was born in the shadows of the steel mills, oil refineries, and railroadyards of the Midwestern United States. He is a Navy Veteran and a first generation American. He writes in the genre of Science, Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Horror.

 

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Book Excerpt The Monster of Selkirk Book 1: The Duality of Nature

Book Excerpt

Tallis should have been more attentive to watch for birds or deer, but she could not help but brood and be distracted by her own thoughts and worries. Thankfully, Donovan could not sleep, either.

Joining his cousin, he gently bumped her shoulder as a way of greeting.

Tallis glanced at him. “It’s not fair, cousin.”

Donovan nodded. “No, it’s not.”

“I thought that coming out here … I thought I’d finally have answers and figure out who I was. But now I don’t think I want to know. I don’t think I’m going to like what we find. I just want to go home and pretend like none of this happened. I’d even marry Henrik if it meant we could all just go back to the way it was.”

“Oh, come now, you’d be bored stiff if you married Henrik and stayed in Kincardine.”

“Maybe, but I didn’t want this.”

“I know, Tally. But the world is not obligated to care about what you or I want. I’m sorry it happened to you, but, well, if it helps, I think you’ll be able to handle it. Whatever it is.”

“But I don’t want to handle it. I just want to be normal.”

“Aye, but being normal is so dull.”

“So what? I’d rather be boring than hated and feared and treated as an outcast.”

“But this way, we’ll get to be a hero, Tallis. People would kill for the opportunity to save their country.”

“I don’t want to be their hero. I don’t want to be anyone’s hero. I just wanted the chance to be like everyone else. I wanted someone to protect me just this once. I don’t need someone to shelter me, but it’d be nice to be protected all the same. Don’t I deserve it? Strong or not, I want someone to hold me and tell me it will be all right.”

Donovan draped his arm around his cousin’s shoulder and gave her a gentle hug. “I know, Tally. And maybe one day you’ll find someone who will be able to hold you and make you feel safe and secure no matter what. But for now we have to keep going. We have to keep fighting.”

Tallis gritted her teeth. “Aye, you’re right. Thank you, Donovan. What would I do without you?”

Donovan chuckled. “Curl in a ball and try and hide, most likely.”

Tallis rolled her eyes. “Oh, right, I forgot all about running and hiding. Is that still an option?” They laughed together and passed the rest of the night in silence.

About the Book

Title: The Monster of Selkirk Book 1: The Duality of Nature

Author: C.E. Clayton

Genre: Fantasy

Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. After three hundred years of monstrous, feral elves plaguing the island nation of Selkirk, everyone believes they know what a monster is. Humans have learned to live with their savage neighbors, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. The system has worked for centuries, until after one such purge, a babe was found in the forest.

As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn’t like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends. But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis’s name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves on an unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland.

 

Author Bio

C.E. Clayton was born and raised in the greater Los Angeles area, where she attended the University of Southern California (Fight On!) for both her Bachelors and Masters, and then worked in the advertising industry for several years on accounts ranging from fast food, to cars, and video games (her personal favorite). After going the traditional career route and becoming restless, she went back to her first love—writing—and hasn’t stopped. She is now the author of “The Monster of Selkirk” series and her horror short stories have appeared in anthologies across the country. When she’s not writing you can find her treating her fur-babies like humans, constantly drinking tea, and trying to convince her husband to go to more concerts. And reading. She does read quite a bit. More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, social media presence, and newsletter, can be found on her website: https://www.ceclayton.com/

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The Monster of Selkirk Books series available now!

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Book Review Dearly Beloved

Title: Dearly Beloved

Author: Peggy Jaeger

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Colleen O’Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire. After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters. But with a demanding business to run, her sisters to look after, and their 93-year-old grandmother to keep out of trouble, she’s worried she’ll never find Mr. Right.

Playboy Slade Harrington doesn’t believe in marriage. His father’s six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy. But Slade loves his little sister. He’ll do anything for her, including footing the bill for her dream wedding. He doesn’t plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though.

When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.

This was an amazing book. Colleen has so much on her plate: recovering from a catastrophic relationship with her ex-fiancé, taking care of her sisters and her 93-year-old grandmother, and running a bridal business. But then she meets Slade Harrington, a man who doesn’t believe in marriages, but who might just have what it takes for Colleen to start believing in happily-ever-after again.

The chemistry between the characters is spot-on, and the romance is great. I loved this book, and would recommend it to everyone!

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Book Review Love for Two Lifetimes

Title: Love for Two Lifetimes

Author: Martina Boone

Genre: Coming of Age / Young Adult

Two generations, two great loves, one devastating lie . . . 

When Izzy unexpectedly loses her mother in a car accident, her world shatters. Their relationship has always been so close that Izzy can’t imagine life without her. Nor can she begin to understand when she finds a secret box of love letters that her mother wrote but never sent. The idea of her mother hiding such intense feelings for more than twenty years without so much as a hint makes Izzy question everything she thought she knew–including the identity of her father.

Following a trail of clues overseas, Izzy steps into a world of glamour and English royalty, one which years ago forced her mother to choose between her obligation to her musical gift and her lover’s obligations to his family, title, and estate. It’s a world of secrets and masquerades, of heartache and betrayal. And in the midst of this world, Izzy finds a young man who feels as broken as she does herself. The two are drawn to each other–only to find that their parents’ lies may present an insurmountable obstacle between them.

Thrown together on a coming of age journey of discovery that spans two lifetimes and takes them from a grand estate in the Cotswolds to a hospital bedside in India and ultimately to the Taj Mahal, Izzy and Malcolm try desperately not to fall in love. But some things are impossible…

And some loves are worth any sacrifice… 

Uplifting, funny, tragic, and unforgettably, luminously romantic, Love for Two Lifetimes is a tale of two generations of love, a lifetime of friendship, a history of sacrifice, and one last, heartbreaking and hopeful choice revealed in prose, texts, and love letters. Written for young adults and grown-up romantics, if you love the romance of the royal weddings or any story by Nicholas Sparks, Love for Two Lifetimes will have you turning pages late into the night.

“Heartwarming, lyrical, soulful, and with just the right amount of humor: this book sparkles with authentic, layered characters and beautiful, thoughtful prose.” — Jodi Meadows, NYT bestselling co-author of My Lady Jane and My Plain Jane

 

I just finished reading Love for Two Lifetimes and I’m still amazed by how compelling and thrilling this book was. Protagonist Izzy starts on a journey of self-discovery after finding love letters written by her mother who recently passed away, a journey that will take her halfway across the world and explores hidden secrets of Izzy’s own history. The emotions were so real, so relatable, that sometimes I had to stop to catch a breath. These types of books, the ones that pull at your heart, that show you characters so realistic they could be your next-door neighbors, are my all-time favorites, and I really enjoyed this one.

Ian, Malcolm, Izzy, all of them had their own secrets, their own pains and struggles, their own, complex emotions they struggled with and that made them into some of the most realistic characters I’ve ever read about. Highly recommended.

 

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Author Interview Amelia, The Merballs and The Emerald Cannon

Have you been writing for a long time? 

Yes, mainly for fun initially.  I wrote my first novel when I was eleven.  I’m not sure what happened to that book, it disappeared at some point!  Since then I’ve wrote a few other books, but as a hobby and not with any intention to publish them.  Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures has been my first adventure in the publishing world!

 

What inspired you to start a writing career? 

I just kept having ideas and eventually decided to start developing these ideas into books.  With Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures, I really felt inspired to write an exciting series that would connect children to space in a fun and engaging way.  Uglesnoo¾the friendly alien from Pluto¾ just popped into my head one day.  From that start I added Amelia and the quest that takes him and Amelia on tremendous adventures throughout the whole solar system!

 

 

Is your book a stand-alone, or is it part of a series? 

Amelia, the Merballs and the Emerald Cannon, is the third book in Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures; a series of ten books for children, set in outer space.  Although it’s the third book, it can be read as a stand-alone, as there is information in the first chapter with brief reminders of the quest and what has happened in the previous books.  Readers will learn from all the books that Uglesnoo’s sister is very sick. The only thing that can cure her is a repelling crystal from the planet Neptune. In order to get the crystal, Amelia and Uglesnoo need to obtain many items from various different planets, the Moon and even the boiling hot Sun!

 

How does your book stand out from others? 

Every book is set on a different planet, or moon and Sun.  I like to mix a few facts about the planet within the fantasy.  In Amelia, the Merballs and the Emerald Cannon, kids will learn a few facts about Mercury.  Then there is the challenge, which is different on each planet.  For example, on Mercury they have to get five pairs of flying shoes, which is not an easy task.  Every adventure has tests and lots of problem-solving for both Amelia and Uglesnoo.

 

Are any of your characters based on real-life people? 

Uglesnoo ¾my main alien character from Pluto ¾and most of the aliens are entirely imaginary.  But Amelia, the young heroine in my series was initially inspired by both of my daughters. She has my eldest daughter’s ability to think quickly and solve puzzles. Then I gave her my youngest daughter’s strong sense of adventure and curiosity about the universe. I also added other traits to Amelia. She has many fears which she needs to conquer in order for her and Uglesnoo to get the repelling crystal; the one thing that can save Uglesnoo’s sister and the reason behind the whole space adventures quest.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

Write as much as you can.  Put your work away for a while.  Review and edit.  Do this multiple times.  I’d also really recommend having a professional editor review your work, before you decide to go down the publishing route.  It really highlights your strengths and weaknesses as a writer and shows you what you need to work on.  Persevere, be tenacious and open to constructive criticism.  But most of all enjoy the process, because you are putting something unique and creative out into the world! 

 

About the Book

Title: Amelia, the Merballs and the Emerald Cannon

Author: Evonne Blanchard

Genre: Children’s Books

Amelia and Uglesnoo land on Mercury.  They meet the Merballs, the friendly aliens that live there.  All goes well, until an asteroid hits their planet. Amelia and Uglesnoo find themselves in deep trouble. How will they convince the Merballs of their innocence? And how will they manage to collect the flying shoes, escape Mercury and continue their quest to save Uglesnoo’s sister?

 

Author Bio

Evonne Blanchard was born and raised in England. She met her husband, an American whilst they were both volunteering at a children’s orphanage in Guatemala.  The writer lives north of Boston, Massachusetts with her husband and their two daughters, Lydia and Gwendolyn.  Other additions to the household include a crazy puppy called Bailey, a lovely cat called Arthur, and lots of fish!

The author has been fascinated by space ever since she was a little girl, mesmerized by clips of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon. As a teenager, War of the Worlds, by H.G Wells became one of her favorite books and she adores the movie Mars Attacks.

When it came to creating her own aliens, the author decided on the warm and fuzzy type, rather than the war-like Martians. Uglesnoo, her main alien character is from Pluto. He’s very friendly and nice but a little crazy too! This was the beginning of Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures, starring Amelia and her alien friend Uglesnoo, from Pluto in a series of ten exciting space adventures for children, ages 5-10.

Uglesnoo’s sister is very sick.  The only cure is a repelling crystal from Neptune.  To obtain the crystal Amelia and Uglesnoo must travel to the Moon, Sun and all the planets in the solar system.

Evonne’s favorite planet -or to be more accurate dwarf planet- is Pluto, because it has a blue sky and glaciers just like Earth! She was not happy when Pluto was downgraded. Uglesnoo, her alien creation from Pluto is still mad at the decision.  “Pluto is the most important place in the solar system.  It’s where everyone goes for their vacation!” He agrees with Alan Stern, a leading NASA scientist, “This definition (of Pluto as a dwarf planet) stinks…!”

The author is currently working on the fourth book in the series, Amelia, the Snapperjacks and the Molten Maze.  This book is set on the Sun.  How will Amelia and Uglesnoo manage to land on the boiling hot Sun, trade with the aliens, find the jars of Snapperjack honey and continue their quest to save Uglesnoo’s sister?  Find out… in Amelia’s next amazing space adventure!

Book One: Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace

Book Two: Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage

Book Three: Amelia, the Merballs and the Emerald Cannon

Curious about the series? Click here to find out more:

https://ameliasamazingspaceadventures.com/the-series

 

Links

Book One: Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Barnes & Noble

 

Book Two: Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage

Buy on Amazon

 

Book Three: Amelia, the Merballs and the Emerald Cannon

Buy on Amazon

 

Website: https://ameliasamazingspaceadventures.com/

 

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Book Review and Author Interview The Immortal Seeds

Imortal Seeds eBook CoverTitle: The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures

Author: Sambath Meas

Genre: Family Memoir

This is a story about a father’s dream of escaping a war-torn country in search of stability and freedom, so that his children can live and thrive.

 

Sarin Meas, who was born and grew up in a remote village in Trangel, Kampong Chhnang, drifts from one place to another in search of a purpose, and a better life. In Pailin, a small town in western Cambodia known for its richness of gemstones, he meets a poor and uneducated girl whose daily life, from dusk until dawn, is strained by hard work: selling fruits and vegetables at the local market, along with cooking, doing laundry and cleaning up after strangers and relatives whom her aunt has taken in. If she doesn’t do her chores correctly and one of them tells on her, her aunt, a woman whose mood changes like a person suffering from a split personality, hurls foul language at her and beats her with any heavy object in sight. Sarin realizes that this young woman, whom everyone calls Thach, will die if she continues to live like this. So he marries her out of compassion. His compassion turns into love. Sarin and Thach form a family.

Tragically, after fifteen years of peaceful existence and independence from France, Cambodia gets sucked into the war of idealism between the world’s super powers—America, China, and the Soviet Union—by way of the Vietnam War. Cambodian leaders and people take sides. The Khmer Republic (backed by the United States) and the Khmer Rouge (backed by China, the Soviet Union and Vietnam) fight each other acrimoniously. After five years of battle, the relentless Khmer Rouge soldiers emerge victorious. Sarin has an opportunity to escape to Thailand with his family, but chooses to remain behind out of fear of the unknown. Soon he realizes the victors don’t know how to manage the country. Fear, paranoia and revenge turn them and their supporters into a killing machine.  Sarin, through cleverness and luck, helps his family navigate the horror of communism. When a second opportunity arrives, like thousands of other surviving Cambodians, he takes the chance to venture to the unknown—to find freedom, opportunity, and a better life for his family.

The Immortal Seeds: A Tribute to Golden Treasures is not only about the continuing of a family’s life cycle; it is also about a father’s idea—a purpose—that gets passed on to his daughter. In turn she hopes to pass it on to people not only within her community but also around the world.

“King Grandfather would like to wish that your memoir The Immortal Seeds will become successful.”

—Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia

The Immortal Seeds is a story of war, love, and the unbreakable bonds of family. Touchingly told, Sambath pays homage to her family across the generations, and shares how they helped the Meases to survive the war and thrive in peace.”

—Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father and Lucky Child

The Immortal Seeds exhibits a memoir’s emphasis on highly personalized, if not fully contextualized, experiences.”

—The Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia’s Newspaper

So, where do I begin? The Immortal Seeds is part memoir, part family history, set against the backdrop of a political regime that is far from democratic. The communist Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia was something I’d only vaguely heard and read about in the past, but this book was a real eye-opener for me.

The author’s research is incredible, and the setting is described in a very detailed, plausible way, that makes it easy for the reader to imagine themselves being there. The strength portrayed by the people showcased in this book is phenomenal, and an inspiration to everyone.

 

Author Interview

1. Have you been writing for a long time? 

I have been writing for 13 years now.

2. What inspired you to start a writing career? 

My writing stems from me wanting to learn more about my family history, especially about my father who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He and I experienced a hostile relationship. It was so combative and toxic that we could not bear to be in the same room. He was a miserable person and he was making me miserable, too. My mother was forced to be in the middle of it all. I was sick of our fights and his soul-crushing sarcasm.  I wanted our relationship to change. But first thing first: I changed myself. I started to read self-help books. They changed my life. I became a more understanding person and wanted to find out what was wrong with my father. I started to talk to him, to ask him about his pasts, as I was reading about refugees like him who suffer from post-traumatic and sudden death syndromes. I knew we fled a war-torn country, but I never knew the details of my parents suffering and what they went through to provide for me and my sister. I asked him and my mother about it. My mother had buried it so deep that she forgot about it. As for my father, he refused to tell me. I finally manipulated him into telling me about his pasts by relaying what journalists and orphans who survived the “killing fields” of Cambodia were saying about this dark period of our history. He was mad. He thought those people either did not remember or manipulated their stories to fit their biased or ignorant narratives. He finally opened up and when he did, he would not stop. This was when I started to record my family history, research, and interview my family, friends, and relatives.

3. Is this book a stand-alone, or is it part of a series? 

It’s going to be a trilogy: the first book is about my family’s pasts; the second is going to be about me growing up in Uptown, Chicago; and the third book is going to be about my struggle to find success and happiness against all odds.

4. Which character did you enjoy writing about the most? 

I enjoy writing about my father and mother, because I learn how much they have changed as human beings.

5. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

If you want to write, do it! Don’t let fear and procrastination get in the way. Just dive into it. You’ll learn a lot along the way. The end product will make it all worth it.

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