The Demon of Yodok Tour

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To celebrate the release of the latest novel in the Juche series, The Storm of Storms, we’re going back to the book that started it all! The Demon of Yodok! Read on for more details and a chance to win a signed hardcover edition of the novel!

Juche part one - eBook - Copy

The Demon of Yodok (Juche 1)

Genre: YA Dystopian

A highly addictive Young Adult Dystopian Survival series that will keep you glued to the pages.

JUCHE [dʒuːtʃe]

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family are taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then – her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in face of the mounting evidence he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

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Excerpt

Cranes sang songs of joy from the mountain tops.

Double rainbows appeared in the sky.

The aggressors from the west were defeated. The invaders from the east were expunged. The traitors from the south were put at bay.

The people of Choson were finally free to create their own destiny, and so a hermit kingdom of people’s rule rose from the ashes, and the doors to the enemies of the outside world were closed, never to be opened again.

The world around them moved on. Years passed. Decades passed. Peace and prosperity spread throughout the world, and nothing was heard from the secluded hermit paradise.

Then one day, people started emerging from its closed borders. The stories they brought with them were, however, not of a paradise on earth. Instead, what they depicted were horrors so vile and cruel that they almost exceeded human comprehension.

Little had the people of the kingdom known when they closed its doors to the outside world, that the vilest beast of all was still lurking among their midst, and as soon as the curtains had been drawn, the beast unleashed its reign of terror upon the people, not stopping until it had crushed and enslaved every soul within its reach.

The beast now rules the kingdom from a throne of human misery and agony.

No one alive has ever encountered this beast, but everybody knows its name.

JUCHE

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

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Bookmail Alert!

QOTD: Have you tried to read a new genre this year?

Bookmail Alert:- The Mists of More by Justin B. Hodder!

For Emily Owens, merely earning her archaeology degree was never going to be enough. She yearned for adventure, for a challenge—anything that could bring stimulation into her lacklustre life. So, when a chance introduction and promiscuous encounter grant the opportunity, she soon finds herself bending her treasure hunting ethics to get one step ahead of her cohorts.

But while her journey leads her to the heights of Peru in search of a long-lost relic, she is thrust into the midst of a much more complex agenda already at play. Caught between her desire to find a mystical artifact that will undoubtedly make her career, and the rising threat of a rogue religious terrorist organization that will stop at nothing to harness its power, Emily must quickly decide if she will stop and retreat—or proceed and fight.

Review coming soon!

Melina L. 🦄

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Tactile Therapy: Adjust Review!

The reason these two chose to work together to do the same thing on the same day at the same time has absolutely nothing to do with them trying to help one another out.


A father. A terrorist. A drifter. An inventor. A husband. Five lives are changed the night the United States foolishly blows up an asteroid with a nuclear bomb.

No one ever considered that one of those lives, Roger Morris’, was already falling apart. Perhaps they should’ve used the bomb on him instead.

They’re going to wish they did.

The world is in peril. Allen Lamarch, the President of the United States, can barely contain the impending destruction set to devastate his country. In his desperation, he reluctantly calls upon the leader of the terrorist organization –– Chapter fiVe –– to help contain the crisis. Looking to use this opportunity to his advantage, Odem, Chapter fiVe’s warlord, must now convince four special individuals to reunite once again in order to restore his network to the superpower it once was. He’ll do everything in his power to recruit them once more, even if they all want him dead.

Review:


Tactile Therapy: Adjunct is the extension to the action-adventure, sci-fi novel, Tactile Therapy: Volume One by Durell Arrington.
In this review I am trying to avoid spoilers obviously from this work as well as the first book because I don’t think that there are some plot twist I would rather not dwell upon as the mystery would go away.
I preferred the first book better. In terms of writing and development I do feel the book secondd book is better than the first book but in terms of plot I felt like I was more intro and captivated by what happened in the first book and somehow my interest wasn’t there for the the events of this book.

I had no favourite characters in this particular installment (I was fascinated with a trio of characters in book one – specifically) but Chapter fiVe as a complete entity did appeal to me. After what happened in the first book and how everything came together it seemed like this was going to be a very rocky road, and it was, but given the tragedy that happened it’s safe to say the ‘rockiness’ was expected. (I know this is vague af, but I choose vague over a possible spoiler anyday 😂).
To reiterate what I said about the world building in book one, it is still on point and is still one of my favourite aspects of the book. The author definitely has a way with emotional you’re in an experience of a lifetime, however I would like to have seen a little bit more quality character development because I feel a couple of the characters are missing out on what could be a phenomenal ending for them.

Although I did like a book, I wish it had the same additional adrenaline rush factor that the first book gave me. I don’t know if it was because of different circumstances but I do prefer book one in terms of plot. That does not take away from the good qualities this book has and if you are a sci-fi lover I’m pretty sure you would enjoy what this book (and series) has to offer.
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Rated 7/10
Melina L.

Radical Woman Review!


Radical Woman: Resilience After Difficult Issues, Changes and Losses is a compilation of true stories by Visionary Author & Compiler Ayanna Mills Ambrose (Gallow) with authors Beatrice Charles, Blanca Solorzano, Dr. Anu Binny, Dr. Margarita David, Dr. Merary Simeon,Erica Nobles, Felicia Butler, Katina Walker, Orjanette Bryant, Tammy Lyons, Tarsha Howard, Teresa Moreno, Tonya Kent and Rickkita Edwards.

In this collection of true stories we learn about how the different authors went through their own struggles and came out resilient. The stories covered topics like dyslexia, poverty and even abuse. These are topics that certain people would deam too sensitive to talk about but these authors have the courage to openly speak about what they have gone through so as to help those who are in need of assistance. We are also given a few tips that the authors have used in their own life to overcome the problems that they have faced. For example, in ‘When Pain Births Purpose’ by Beatrice Charles we get

The things pivotal to me (the author) overcoming a narcissistic marriage are:
-I was able to forgive myself because the deterioration of our marriage wasn’t my fault. -During my therapy, I worked on becoming a better version of myself. I’m still an empath, that will never change, but now I am healed and whole.

These are just two of the four pointers that we receive from this particular author but in the same way, all the authors do not merely share their experience but help us to truly understand that in times of need we can get help by opening up to other people as well as taking control of our own lives.

Everything in life may not always be sunshine and roses and there may be dark days, but it is through perseverance and resilience that we push through these dark days and that’s why I found this book very heart touching so I would definitely recommend it to people who would like to have just a glimpse into the lives of strangers who might be going through the same situation that they are.
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Rated 10/10
Melina L.

Weathering Old Souls Book Release Giveaway!

WeatheringOldSoul

Congratulations to Didi Oviatt and James J. Cudney on the release of their novel, Weathering Old Souls!

Read on for details, an exclusive excerpt and a week full of fantastic giveaways!

Release Week Giveaways!

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • $40 Psychic Services
  • 1 eBook of Weathering Old Souls
  • 1 physical book of Weathering Old Souls (US Only)

WOS Cover

Weathering Old Souls

Publication Date: May 15th, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Fiction with historical interludes, metaphysical elements, past life regression, suspense & mystery.

Publisher: Next Chapter

Abigail has always struggled with strange voices appearing inside her head. From the relentless tyranny a woman faces on an antebellum plantation to the unknown prison camps in America during World War II, our heroine discovers the past in a way that forever changes her future. There are moments from previous periods that serve as guiding posts for the country’s growth, but they also mark the transitions for Abigail’s own personal history. Her best friend, Margaret, partners with Abigail to discover the identity of these voices while focusing on her passion and quest to become a United States senator. Through it all, a serial killer torments the country, romance blossoms between some of the people they meet during the journey, and secrets long thought buried come to light in devastating ways. With the twisting of elements, numerical alignments, and the trauma of spiritual entanglements, no one will be the same… and just a few might not even be around anymore.

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Excerpt

One morning as winter should’ve been transitioning into spring, an eight-year-old Abigail awakens with a piercing scream. She bolts upright and snails herself to the edge of her bed, placing a heavy hand on her chest to help steady herself and catch her breath. Her body twinges as though she’s fallen down a flight of stairs or been slammed by a double-decker trolley. The agony starts in the muscles behind her shoulder blade. From there it feels like a rocket exploded, escaping through her chest, leaving only traces of burning gases to snake their way through the rest of her fragile body. She coughs violently as her system tries to rid itself of unknown toxins.

The bedroom is dark and frigid because the pipes broke the previous day and her father was too busy sleeping off a hangover to call a contractor to fix them. Oliver has no mechanical knowledge or experience with home repair, but he tells Abigail that the Stauntons will address the issue since their heating system has also experienced problems with the winter storms that year. It’s been an unpredictable season, much more so than the usual winter in South Carolina. Some days Abigail has played outside all afternoon, hardly catching a chill. Others she wakes to a beautifully ominous layer of frost clinging to every blade of yellow grass as if its very life depends on it.

A thin glint of light pushes through the crack between the bottom of the broken shade and the splintered windowsill. Abigail watches as the sparkly dust settles on the foot of her bed and shines brightly. It reminds her of the quartz necklace dangling on the neck of the woman in her scary dream. It was gorgeous and made the woman feel safe and comforted as it has in every dream where it made an appearance. Abigail’s told Margaret about the necklace many times, wishing she could hop out of bed today and do it again. It’s only been two months since she saw Margaret, but missing her is more than just a faint feeling. It’s soul crushing. She aches for Margaret’s companionship like any other child would her own sibling who’s grown up and gone on without her.

In her nightmare, Abigail was stuck inside the body of an old lady running through a field, sweat pouring from her head down the curves of her hollowed and withdrawn cheeks. It was pitch black, and there were trees all around her, the wind shaking the branches such that they whispered secret directions in an unknown language. They resembled monsters with claw-like arms and vicious teeth, ready to bite her flailing limbs. Someone had been chasing her, but Abigail never saw the figure’s face.

Confusion rocks her body. Part of her is the small innocent child who wants to scream for Elizabeth, but a stronger piece of her feels much older, more mature, as if she’s lived for decades, maybe even centuries. She shakes through the aftermath of terror, unable to make sense of what happened in her sleep. All she knows is that it was horrific and made her fear something awful was destined to happen. Abigail wonders if her nightmares relate to the bits of conversation she’s overheard between Elizabeth and Bradford in the past. Elizabeth once said something about a killer coming after them again, but they’d ultimately agreed they were much safer now.

After deliberating with Imaginary May for a few moments, Abigail announces, “I can handle this on my own. I am a big girl. Margaret’s gone, but she taught me to be strong.”

She cuddles the teddy bear that Elizabeth gifted her last month for Valentine’s Day. Elizabeth had always bought one for Margaret when she was a child, the kind of mother and daughter tradition that Abigail has always yearned for. This is the first year that Margaret has been away for Spring Break during Valentine’s Day. Elizabeth missed her daughter immensely, so she purchased two identical teddy bears at the local toy store. One for Margaret, who would be home on Spring Break soon, and one for her favorite little neighbor and second daughter.

With a heavy sigh, Abigail stretches her arms above her head, extends her legs, and spreads her toes apart. Then she drops her chin to her chest, before rolling her head around in big circles. Four times each direction, one for every major element. She studied them in school that year. With each round of her neck, Abigail breathes in and counts to ten, then she lets out the air and reminds herself of everything she has to be grateful for. Margaret once taught her this morning routine, to help her ease the body tremors brought about by a nightmare, as the last doctor she saw refused to give any pain medication or advice. The stretching and breathing exercises help, and her pains slowly evaporate like a faint mist over a swamp.

An oblong mirror that’s mounted to the wall across from her window offers Abigail a dust-clouded view of her messy hair as it knots and sticks out in every direction, along with her worn-out unicorn covered nightgown. She chuckles at the sight of herself, and the last of her anxiety and spasms disappear. She imagines the body aches to have a color, a dull shade of lilac, as they lift in a swirling pattern like hazy smoke and exit out of the beam of light coming through the window.

“Stay away, you filthy bloke,” she chastises the imaginary swirl of colorful pain.

Available on Amazon

Weathering Old Souls

About the Author: Didi Oviatt

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Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search for Maylee, Justice for Belle, Aggravated Momentum, and Sketch, along with multiple short story collections. She’s collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology, The Suspenseful Collection. Most recently, she published her first romance novella titled Skinny Dippin’ which was originally released as a part of the highly appraised Anthology, Sinners and Saints. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and sun-bathing in the desert heat play an important part of her day to day lifestyle.

Listen to Didi Oviatt’s books on Audible

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About the Author: James J. Cudney

Jay Pic1

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote short stories, poems, and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I committed to focusing my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing, and publishing.

Author

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, mind, and body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels, and suspense thrillers. I conjure characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Reader & Reviewer

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies, or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read two books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review, and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Blogger & Thinker

I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks,” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.

Genealogist & Researcher

I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

James J. Cudney | Blog | Amazon | Next Chapter |BookBub | Twitter | Facebook | Braxton Campus Mysteries FB

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Author Interview: Sheila Dubell!

Interviewing Sheila Dubell author of Mona’s Wings
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Blurb:

Mona is one creative mama!
Join Mona and her ducklings on their adventure to Paris.Watch Mona’s love for her children, art and adventure come to life as they all head out on a journey to Paris. Henri, Pierre, and Coco show off their unique clothes and personalities as they dance, waddle, cook, and ponder.Follow the ducklings as they study famous works of art and explore the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and more.Watch Mona’s wings slowly turn purple and the magic of each scene come to life with every page turn as she paints the stunning sites of the City of Light.
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Book Review:

Mona’s Wings is an illustrated children’s book written by Sheila Dubell and illustrated by Sheri Gillett about family, culture, art, fun, and dreams come true. It’s an adorable little take that allows children to learn a lot more about Paris (and France overall) while adding a fun element to it. The inclusion of famous people from France by naming the ducklings after them was adorable. (Look at me gushing over cute characters in a book. 😂)
While reading it I kept thinking that this would be such a great inclusion in schools because of the education purposes it serves (and also for the kids currently studying from home).
I’m really looking forward to see what trips the cute little ducklings take in the future (possibly one to India? 😉)
Overall, really good children’s book that I would highly recommend.
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Interview:

1. Tell me (and the readers) a little bit about yourself, including a quirk that you have.

Answer: Hi! My name is Sheila Dubell and I have been a children’s product development specialist for 30 years. Currently I work for Little Partner’s, a Montessori children’s product company. I have a great passion for writing and recently published my first book titled Mona’s Wings. I grew up in the small town of Portsmouth, RI and currently reside in Pennsylvania. I love brainstorming new product ideas and solutions that help make it easier for parents to care for their children. I also love traveling, art, riding around in my VW bug and spending time with family in Cape Cod. A funny quirk I have is that I love everything Christmas! My friends and family have fondly nicknamed me the “Crazy Christmas Chick”, but I like to refer to myself as the “Bringing Christmas Joy Broadcaster”.

2. How did the idea for your book, come about?

Answer: Growing up I had always dreamed of traveling and seeing things I heard about in songs, read about in books, or saw on TV. I loved to read about places near and far, letting my mind get lost in their stories. Times were difficult for me and my family with the unexpected loss of my dad and I wasn’t sure if those dreams would ever come true. Then something amazing happened and I was given the gift of a lifetime. My Aunt Sheila gave me a full education to Salve Regina University, in Newport RI. This changed my life forever. My senior year I studied abroad in Ireland and started on my travel journey. Mona’s Wings was inspired by the idea that dreams can come true. I thought many children probably have similar dreams, so I decided to write about my visit to Paris through the eyes of a mama duck and her ducklings for them to enjoy. Having had experience as an elementary teacher early in my career, I thought it would be a fun way to introduce children to Paris and give them a beginner lesson on famous impressionist artists and their works.


3. What was the most enjoyable and stressful part about writing this book?

Answer: The most enjoyable part of writing Mona’s Wings was bringing the story to life with my illustrator Sheri Gillet. Sheri and I worked together designing children’s products for many years. She is a dear friend who is incredibly talented. Having the opportunity to work together on this personal project was so fun! Everytime a painted page was sent over for review it brought me so much joy. During a year of uncertainty with Covid there were also some stressful times that put Mona’s Wings on hold. I lost my job just as we started working on the book and my passion sadly plummeted. Luckily, I was one of the fortunate ones that found another job. A former colleague and friend offered me a position at his company, Little Partners. I work with a great team and having the opportunity to continue creating at work brought my desire back to creating something for myself. I found my spark again and Sheri and I finished Mona’s Wings a year after we began. We launched the book last month. I’m so grateful and excited!



4. Who was the first person you asked to read your book after it was ready and why them?

Answer: The first person to read Mona’s Wings was my dearest and closest friend, Liz. I chose her because she was with me through the journey from idea to publication. Often I would bounce ideas off her and we would talk about different ways to incorporate them into the story. Liz and I took a trip to Paris with friends in 2018. Having just been there together, she would often remind me of little details I may have forgotten. She is my most honest and trusted friend and has no problem telling me when something is great and when something is not so great. That’s the kind of friend I needed on this journey.


5. Are you planning to release another book anytime soon?

Answer: On the last page of my book, Mona asks the ducklings “where shall we visit next?” Coco, Henri, and Pierri all respond with different answers, leading the reader to believe there will be many more family adventures. I have started to write again and am anxious to release the next story. I’m loving every minute of it because it takes my mind back to a place I once was and makes me dream of going back again. It’s funny how things always come full circle. As a teenager I imagined traveling and now as an adult still being cautious with Covid concerns I am imagining again.


6. If you could venture into a different genre, which would you choose to write on?

Answer: I would love to write something that is based on historical fiction, perhaps a story within a story. So often when I’m traveling and seeing things for the first time, I think about who stood there and what happened in that spot before me.


7. Did you always know you wanted to be a published author/poet?

Answer: I’ve always loved writing. I enjoy journaling, writing poems and stories for friends, and just generally love how words look “and feel” on paper (or screen lol). When I write my mind is focused on that moment and brings me into a different world for a short time. It feels like meditation in some way. I always wanted to write and publish a book, but I didn’t think it would be a children’s book. Something struck me though during the pandemic as I thought about my nieces and nephews. Normal everyday life stopped for them for a while as they could no longer go to class, be with their friends, go to pool parties, dances, or reading circles at the library. I decided during this time to write something for them so they could get lost in an adventure and realize the potential they have to make their own dreams come true. That’s how Mona made her debut. 🙂


8. Did you look up to any author or poet while growing up?

Answer: I loved Maeve Binchy and still do. I have some of the best memories of being in Ireland that senior year. I still have friends today I met on that journey. Maeve’s stories in Ireland kept my memories alive and for that I will always be grateful.


9. I’ve always talked about this, but if your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

Answer: This question made me smile as I thought about who could play a duck! If Mona’s Wings was turned into an animated film I would recommend Tea Leoni play her part in a similar role as Madam Secretary. She would have her ducklings waddling around Paris with fervor and a determination to learn and embrace life confidently.


10. Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?

Answer: Oh wow, I’d have to say keep at it and it will happen. Believe in yourself and the words you have to share. It’s an amazing feeling to finish something you started.
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Thank you Sheila for a chance to interview you. I’m looking forward to reading more works from you in the future!
Melina L. 🦄

Author Interview: Rayner Ye

Interviewing Rayner Ye, author of Five Light-Years to the Firesnake.
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Book Blurb:

Aedre’s mum died two years ago.

When her boyfriend breaks her heart, all she wants to do is escape her planet to start a new life elsewhere. Her only option is to travel five light-years to the planet Kuanja, to teach in its poorest geographical area, the Firesnake.

Faced with corruption, slavery, and murder, can she become a saviour of slaves?

Meanwhile, YuFu earns a good living fishing for diamonds in a gas giant’s atmosphere. All he wants now is to retire peacefully with his wife and children.

When his vessel gets hijacked by space pirates, he needs to decide what to do. Desperate to protect his employer’s secret, will he have to wipe his memory? Or will he be able to escape before these villains view his memory chip?
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Book Review:

Five Light-Years to the Firesnake is the first book in the Plan8 Slaves, an adult space fantasy series by Rayner Ye.
The most fascinating element about this story is the world building because the story covers various planets and journeying space itself. The author has a great imagination and attention to detail when it comes to the little things. We’re introduced to different types of characters that have various backgrounds and we also get to view the story from different perspectives because of this. (I never thought I’d see the word pirates in the story but yup we have pirates!)
Striping back the space fantasy part of the story, as a character Aedre shows a lot of care for others but she also knows that she’s different from those around her and her goals differ from general standards. In the beginning we see how her father comparing her to her sister does waiver her from what SHE wants to do momentarily, but she’s adamant in her decision. The only question is, is her decision the right one? (Read to find out!)
We are introduced to a few more entities but for the sake of not spoiling anything: 🤐
Overall, I did enjoy the story but I did get a bit confused in certain areas with so much going on.
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Interview:

1. Tell me (and the readers) a little bit about yourself, including a quirk that you have.

Answer: My name’s Rayner Ye, and I write space opera with different sub-genres of sci-fi and fantasy for different series. Most of my books are set in a galaxy I created called the Plan8 Alliance, though a new book I’ve started writing is set in South America, on planet Earth. Rayner Ye is a weird name, I know, but it’s real. My first name–Rayner–is taken from a great aunt’s middle name, and Ye is my Chinese husband’s family name, which means green leaf in Mandarin. I lived and worked in Indonesia, China, and South Korea for over five years, and I miss the cultures and food. I am from Oxford in England, originally, and no, I’m not really posh or rich as some assume. Think of Lyra from His Dark Materials, I’m more like her.
My husband and I live in a little village in Surrey, UK, and it’s perfect for bringing up our son and daughter. He must be the only Chinese in the village, though, and we feel ashamed my kids cannot speak Mandarin, but we don’t want to pressurise them in an environment which is not multi-cultural. I taught myself yoga and the age of twenty, and have been doing it daily since, except for my two periods of pregnancy and breastfeeding. I’m a hippie at heart and love magic and science.


2. How did the idea for your book, come about?

Answer: Before I started writing my first space fantasy time travel series, I researched for about five months on NASA. From what I found out about kepler and Goldilocks Zones on exoplanets, I worlbuilt Plan8 and its eight habitable worlds. I’ve written fifteen books so far, but my first book–Five Light-Years to the Firesnake–was inspired by my time living and working in Indonesia. My main character is called Aedre, and she was very much based on myself as a twenty-three year old. She does yoga (union,) Shaolin (feigong,) and astral projection, and she worships the elements, nature spirits, and Gods and Goddesses. She even learns feigong in a feili temple which is based on the time I learned Shaolin Kung Fu in a little Buddhist temple around the corner from my home in Jakarta.

Unlike Aedre, though, I’m not grieving for my mum–as she is still alive–and during my time in Indonesia, I didn’t get involved with any mafias or a handsome secret agent. I hate slavery and human trafficking, and I think I made Aedre rescue the sex slaves and bring down interstellar human trafficking rings, because in real life, I cannot do that. I want to remind people about this terrible stuff going on on Earth as well as my fictional planets of Plan8, so, just maybe, someone can help the victims of crime.



3. What was the most enjoyable and stressful part about writing this book?
Answer:

Answer: The most stressful part of writing my first book was all of the negative critique I got when I posted my first chapters on thenextbigwriter.com. But I was a new writer and was sharing my stuff to other authors so I could learn where I was going wrong. I quickly discovered I was going wrong everywhere. It was the best thing I could have done, because some very experienced writers helped me more than you could ever imagine. I learned more than I would have learned from books or a university course through trial and error. While it was heart-breaking, I absorbed the negative comments and advice with an open and eager heart. I beta read other authors’ chapters and stories to get enough points to post up my chapters for other writers to read, and I worked hard on rewriting and editing until all the feedback became 95% positive. It took time and work, but I learned more than I ever could have any other way for that stage in my life.



4. Who was the first person you asked to read your book after it was ready and why them?

Answer: About twenty people reviewed my chapters, though six read the five books in that series all the way through, and, of course, I returned the favour. They were a mixture of sci-fi, speculative fiction, and thriller authors. A couple of them, I am still friends with today.



5. Are you planning to release another book anytime soon?

Answer: On 4th March 2021, I’ll publish a box set of a pre-published trilogy–Red Star. I try to publish something every month so I can stay in higher ranks on Amazon algorithms. this is one of the reasons my books are only 40k each. At times, I can write and publish a whole new 40k book every month, but it’s just been too hard to do that in the latest UK lockdown, with home-schooling the kids. It’s good to virtually box things up, though, so I can create more freebie and kindle countdown deals with the same content. Apart from that, I have two books complete and ready to edit and publish. They don’t have any magic or time travel and are military space opera books–YuFu’s Run 5 and Cyborg Assassin 1. I’ll publish one in the beginning of April and one in the beginning of May.



6. If you could venture into a different genre, which would you choose to write on?

Answer: I want to stick to writing space fiction until I actually start making an income from all this hard but much-loved work. My space opera already tilts in two direction–fantasy and military sci-fi, so already, I have two different types of fans. I need to try to keep the niche as narrow as possible so I can write to market. It’s so surprising to me that I love writing military sci-fi and dark stuff, as most people who know me call me a ‘forest fairy.’ But, you know what? People have so many aspects to themselves. It is nice to write crazy supernatural and occult stuff too, though, which can be called metaphysical science fiction, but I’ll keep labelling those other series ‘space fantasy time travel.’



7. Did you always know you wanted to be a published author/poet?

Answer: I wanted to write since I was little. I wrote a fairy story for kids during my journey travelling alone around New Zealand as a twenty-one year old. I never published that, but realised I could write and self-publish and found the faith to aim at doing that when I was thirty-six.



8. Did you look up to any author or poet while growing up?

Answer: I loved female fantasy writers more than male as a teenager and young adult. I wasn’t being sexist, but just found I enjoyed reading from a female’s perspective more. I used to search for female names in the fantasy section of the library. Two authors I particularly remember are Mercedes Lackey and Sarah Ash. As a kid, I loved point horror books and spent all my birthday and Christmas money on them. I remember enjoying R. L. Stein and Caroline. B. Cooney. But, as a mother with a baby and toddler, it was George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series which really inspired me to write. I was blown away by how he writes from different points of view, and I thought, ‘I can do this.’



9. I’ve always talked about this, but if your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

Answer: My first series had a few protagonists because it had so many characters and story lines all going on at once (something I try not to do anymore.) I would choose Will Smith to be my futuristic secret agent–Akachi. That would be so cool.



10. Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?

Answer: Words of wisdom? Don’t be afraid of what others think. There will always be readers who love your work and readers who hate it. However, I would recommend a younger me to subscribe to thenextbigwriter.com, as it helped me and increased my confidence in writing so very very much.
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Thank you Rayner for a chance to interview you. I’m looking forward to reading more works from you in the future!
Melina L. 🦄

Author Interview: Cooper Harrison!

Interviewing Cooper Harrison, author of The Good and the Evil.
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Book Review:

The Good and the Evil by Cooper Harrison is a collection of poetry and prose about surviving society’s evils while striving to obtain the necessary virtuous aspects of life.
The book is divided into three parts; the Good, the Evil and Balance. It’s clear from the author’s words that although good and evil are viewed as two separate ideals, there’s always going to be a morally grey area and one cannot live without the other and if one tries to power the other, the meaning of life becomes a blurry concept.
The author talks about how topics like body image and the influences around us are topics that have the world divided because there’s no right answer. But one will always try to say that they are right and even though disagreements do occur, there’s always a need to feel superior.
At the end remember that everyone has a different view in life, different priorities, different goals, just because they’re different from yours does not make them less valid.
This is definitely a book you need to read to get an understanding of how one person’s perception of good and evil may change the way you think.
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Interview:

1. Tell me (and the readers) a little bit about yourself, including a quirk that you have.

Answer: I am Cooper Harrison from St. Louis, Missouri. I am a poet, entrepreneur, and sports enthusiast (played sports throughout high school and college). My quirk I should say is that I am Star Wars and Marvel nerd. I did read comic books growing up and just had an immense fandom for superheroes and science fiction.


2. How did the idea for your book, come about?

Answer: The idea for my book came from the continuation of my first one. I could always write poetry best. What inspired me was that writing became a release of emotion. I always loved listening to music, especially hip/hop. Poetry and music can go hand in hand with melody and rhyme scheme. I felt like writing was my creative voice. I just went through a lot of struggles mentally and spiritually in college. I wanted to express those emotions on paper.


3. What was the most enjoyable and stressful part about writing this book?

Answer: The most enjoyable part of my book writing was the finishing touches and looking at it completed. It takes so much time to write and publish. The completion feels so rewarding. The most stressful part is worrying about how this could look from a wide lens of opinions. I had to let go of the fact not every page is going to resonate with someone. Not every page is going to be agreed upon by the reader. However, that is okay.


4. Who was the first person you asked to read your book after it was ready and why them?

Answer: The first person I asked to read my book after completion was my mother. I chose her because she will give me her honest scope and edits. I also reached out to other poets my age. I wanted to hear the opinions of my audience.


5. Are you planning to release another book anytime soon?

Answer: I do plan to release another book in a couple of years. It could be a children’s book or a final poetry book. We will see where the success of this one takes me.


6. If you could venture into a different genre, which would you choose to write on?

Answer: If I ventured into another genre, I think I would choose autobiography or children’s picture books.


7. Did you always know you wanted to be a published author/poet?

Answer: It did not honestly hit me till college to be a published author. My English teacher in middle school said I was not a great writer. So that deterred me until I wanted to prove my teacher wrong. It turned to motivational fuel.


8. Did you look up to any author or poet while growing up?

Answer: I looked up to Shel Silverstein, Rupi Kaur, and T.S. Elliot. Rupi inspired my writing style the most though. She is an iconic person in the industry right now. Same situation with Amanda Gorman as well.


9. Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?

Answer: My final piece of advice is put in 10,000 hours… become the master of your craft. Have fun with it too and do not make it a chore. Writing should be a fun release and not an outlet to try and make money. Write because you love to write. I also recommend getting into more styles of writing. Do poetry, prose, fiction, nonfiction, and anything else you could write about in life.
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Thank you Cooper for a chance to interview you. I’m looking forward to reading more works from you in the future!
Melina L. 🦄

Author Interview: Francoise H. W. Krull

Interviewing Francoise H. W. Krull, author of Azeron: Beyond the Veil
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Book Blurb:

When a school minibus transporting a group of troubled children back to boarding school crashes in mysterious circumstances, Lilly Slater and five of her friends find themselves in another world, Azeron. A land ruled by the despotic queen Mordrel, and divided by internecine power struggles between the various matriarchal clans, Azeron has been mired in civil war for generations.

Hunted by forces she doesn’t quite understand, Lilly soon learns she is the key to uniting the warring Azeronian clans and overthrowing Mordrel–if she can stay alive until her 16th birthday.
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Book Review:

Azeron: Beyond the Veil is the first book in the Azeron series by Francoise H. W. Krull, with illustrations by the author.
The story is very confusing when we begin, it’s clear that Lily is in the centre of whatever is going on, however there are a lot of characters and different POVs that had my mind boggled for a while.
The plot is good and I liked the conceptualisation and worldbuilding, however there’s to much unnecessary information that make it boring at time and is what I call ‘skimmable content’.
But the content that does matter, the adventure, the romance, the mystrey is put forth in a brilliant manner that sucks you in once you get a grip on the story and where it’s leading. It’s got decent plot twists that aren’t necessarily ‘shocking’ but the build-up is good.
The main characters are well written and I’m hoping that the next book sheds a little more light on their character arcs.
Lily, has a typical role that we find in many of these kinds of novels, but I do like her. She started as someone who was considered troublesome to something extraordinary (again, it’s a plot point we see often but I enjoyed it) and there’s another character, who shall not be named because #spoilers who may have stolen a teensy bit of my heart.
So for the most part, I did enjoy this book. It’s not perfect but it’s good and given that this is the author’s first book it’s a great start. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel!
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Interview:

1. Tell me (and the readers) a little bit about yourself, including a quirk that you have.

Answer: Where to start when I am quirks all the way down? Well I guess a major thing people can’t know from looking at me is my Dad is a white Irishman, yes I am full Black – and proud of it but I also love my dad’s country and his people and will always consider myself part Irish. Creatively writing is my first love, but at some point in the last decade I became a professional artist of the visual kind, and as well as now teaching painting classes my art sells globally through a POD online. The art-life kind of snuck up on me, having studied to work with children I actually spent most my adult life doing so until I moved to the USA at age 28 with my then fiancé and realised my qualifications stood for naught. As a result, I threw myself even more into my writing and planning to self-publish but knowing I’d never be able to afford an artist for the cover, set about teaching myself to draw. The other illustrations just sort of happened and by the time we returned to live in the UK, ten years later, I was dabbling in many arts and now it has so thoroughly taken over my life that writing time has to be squeezed into the schedule. Other quirks, well, I’ve always slept with an E.T plush in my bed – replaced several times over the years. I absolutely abhor silence, am terrified of zombies and butterflies, have suffered from Alice in Wonderland syndrome since I was a nipper (lots of fun, look it up) and trypophobia has been an issue for me since long before it was given a name.


2. How did the idea for your book, come about?

Answer: I had writer’s block working on, let’s call it my magnum opus, which is huge, dismal, and will most likely never see the light of day. So I decided to write something completely different: a children’s book which would sate my own curiosity of what happens next to the prophesied child in all those fantasy movies I loved growing up. By the end of the first page, I realised I’d failed at a children’s book because my characters simply wouldn’t stop swearing!


3. What was the most enjoyable and stressful part about writing this book?

Answer: For me just getting into the zone, or dancing with my muse as I often call it because I must have music, is the utmost relaxing experience. I’m an organic writer which means I merely plant a few seeds, then document their growth, so every twist and turn of the story is as much of a revelation for me to write as it is for the reader to read. What’s most stressful is a trickier one, but I’d say it’s a toss-up between: getting lost in research only to realise most of my writing time has gone into it for the day, or punctuation, because I have a learning disability, Dyscalculia – known as dyslexia for numbers – which doesn’t at all impede my love of the written word but absolutely makes keeping any kind of symbol/digit straight in my head. This obviously makes editing a nightmare affair as I can intrinsically know a rule one day yet be incapable of fathoming it the next. Hence despite my diligently cross-referencing every comma and colon against their rules, my editor hubby still has to go through it all with a fine-tooth comb.


4. Who was the first person you asked to read your book after it was ready and why them?

Answer: Honestly, I’m not entirely certain if it was my daughter or my husband as both would have read significant portions before I was done. Though he was an ocean away and still just a good online friend when I was first working on it, so I would at a guess I would say she probably read more first, but given she was quite the nipper, hubby’s was definitely the first adult feedback I received.


5. Are you planning to release another book anytime soon?

Answer: I released the sequel for Christmas 2020, it was an early ebook release while I finished up the illustrations, which people can currently see on my social media or by subscribing to my patreon. Now I have them done I’ll be working on the full edition over the next couple of weeks, and the ebook will be updated in line with the paperback to include all the illustrations. I’m also already well stuck into book three but couldn’t possibly say when I’ll finish.


6. If you could venture into a different genre, which would you choose to write on?

Answer: The other book I mentioned is set very much in the real world, no magic or fantastical beasts. I also have the beginnings of a sci-fi rattling around my hard-drive which I started at some point when blocked on Beyond the Veil. I had completely forgotten about it until my daughter reminded me very recently, because she’s apparently still waiting to read more, so I’ll probably dig that out next time my muse stops dancing.


7. Did you always know you wanted to be a published author/poet?

Answer: Absolutely! I have always lived, breathed, and slept literature. English was my all-time favourite lesson in school and to this day I still resent the school librarian telling me to put a book back because it was too big for me.


8. Did you look up to any author or poet while growing up?

Answer: Honestly, I could give you an endless list here with a wide array of reasons, covering many genres. Instead let’s just say, when it comes to reading, horror has always been my go-to, as such I consider Stephen King to be one of my Gods and On Writing my holy book.


9. I’ve always talked about this, but if your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

Answer: Ah, the fan-casting game, my family seem to do this a lot more with my characters than I do because honestly, I think I’d want mostly unknowns playing them because. Possibly because we dyscalculics are awful at putting names to faces. So when I watch a movie with big-name actors I literally have no clue who was who by the end of it. Still, I do occasionally spot someone on screen who just seems to emulate my characters, like Robert Sheehan in Misfits, who is so Baxter to me that I based my book 2 illustration off him or Luke Goss in Hellboy 2 and Henry Cavill as the Whitcher, both of whom just have big Kyrel Vibes. Another actor I encountered here on the gram who has since appeared in several of my fave shows, @KaiserJohnson has reminded me of Arteth since he first hit like on one of my posts. So I was thrilled he and his beautiful actress wife @KeeleyBright were both up for being sketched into book 2. The family favour John Boyega as the Emerson twins but I’d prefer they were separate actors as they mature because they lead such different lives that the physical differences would be significant. Narrowing down the women is more difficult because I’m literally eyeing up potentials for them in everything I watch and that’s always at the end of a long day meaning I fall asleep to whatever I’m viewing. Suffice it to say if you watch any sci-fi/fantasy or historical fiction on Netflix or Amazon and there were badass babes in it then you’ve most certainly seen many of the female actors I’d pick for my lead roles. Heck if you’ve watched Vikings or The Last Kingdom then you’re probably quite familiar with at least a third of my female cast.


10. Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?

Answer: On Writing by Stephen King, read it.
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Thank you Francoise for a chance to interview you. I’m looking forward to reading more works from you in the future!
Melina L. 🦄

Author Interview: Travis J.

Interviewing Travis J, author of the poetry book, Shattered Thoughts Of An Addict’s Mind.
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Book Review:

Shattered Thoughts Of An Addict’s Mind is a poetry book by Travis Sturtevant Jr. about addiction and how it affects a person at various stages. These poems have been written from his own personal experience and talks about how addiction changes a person, physically, mentally and emotionally.
It was difficult to read so many of the poems because there are times when the dread of being an addict makes it emotional. But, there’s also hope because in the end the addict wants to break free from the chains of their addiction for want of a better life.
Overall, this was a heart touching, emotional book that I would recommend.
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Interview:

1. Tell me (and the readers) a little bit about yourself, including a quirk that you have.

Answer: My name is Travis A Sturtevant Jr a.k.a Travis J the Poet, I am an ex-meth user that spent a few years using before my first marriage, in which I cleaned up for a while until that ended and hurt my pride. Struggled off and on with hard drugs until the last 2 years, where no I have met my soul mate had a calling to write poetry and make music. This is just a noticeably short summary of how “Shattered Thoughts of an Addicts Mind” came to be and why I am where I am at now.


2. How did the idea for your book, come about?

Answer: Well having been a hardcore drug user, having made it out of that life. I wanted to write a novel of my story, but I don’t feel the ending is there yet so, I got drawn to poetry because of my love for music. 2 years ago, music came to me that had meaning, started hitting my head waves which inspired me to pay more attention. Then I did and realized I could touch more peoples lives with poetry because I mean most drug addicts don’t read novels, but you make it short version and make it into music they are more likely to listen.


3. What was the most enjoyable and stressful part about writing this book?

Answer: The most enjoyable part of the making of the book is the simple fact that it has always been a dream to publish a book because I grew up in a time that self-publishing was either nonexistent or very slim. The most stressful part was figuring out how to go about while trying to take advice from people or finding someone that was willing to give me the right advice. Overall, this was one of my most satisfying accomplishments.


4. Who was the first person you asked to read your book after it was ready and why them?

Answer: Honestly the only person I had read it was my lovely fiancé because I was to scared to let anyone read it before it was released. When I started this process, I was very prideful and protective over my work because its my heart, sweat and blood.


5. Are you planning to release another book anytime soon?

Answer: Yes if all works out between June and August my second poem book should be out!!!


6. If you could venture into a different genre, which would you choose to write on?

Answer: I like how you ask if because with me its not a matter of but when I write in different genres because my and my love are working on a children’s book as well. Sometime in the future I will have many different works.


7. Did you always know you wanted to be a published author/poet?

Answer: I have always had a passion deep down in my soul to write… when I was younger, I was told that it doesn’t pay the bills unless your lucky… so my soul always knew I would make it down this path but I was not aware until about a year ago that I would be a published poet/writer.


8. Did you look up to any author or poet while growing up?

Answer: Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allen Poe


9. I’ve always talked about this, but if your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

Answer: Honestly, I know most people think this is a poetry book how could it be made a movie. Like you said in the review it tells a story and this story is just a vague explanation of what I have yet to come. This character the Shattered Addict could and will go deeper over the years. I would say Hale Appleman would be the best actor to fulfill this part. Plus, I freaking love that guy!!!


10. Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?

Answer: To anyone who reads this book, that is either on drugs, off drugs, or never even tried them. That our past does not define us, and we can do anything we want, we just get a later start then everyone else. If you have a story that needs to be told, or you just want to put it out there and see what happens… Well Follow your dreams and do it, you never know!! I did and now I couldn’t be happier.
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Thank you Travis for a chance to interview you. I’m looking forward to reading more works from you in the future!
Melina L. 🦄

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