"The Reality War" Giveaway Winners!!

In 1992, Radlan Saravanan runs a small business out of a Tudor cottage in the sleepy English village of Elstow. But Radlan was born in 2951, and when he falls in love with a local girl, he has to choose between running from his own people and condemning his lover to die.

He makes the wrong choice.

Travelling into the past, falling in love… it turns out that he was meant to do these things. He’s been manipulated all along. But now he’s slipped his handlers, and Time isn’t following the right script any more. Other versions of history vie for dominance, and our reality is losing.

In 1992, Radlan Saravanan sparked The Reality War.

Author of "The Reality War", Tim C. Taylor, held a giveaway for this great book last week and today we have the winners! You can read the interview with Tim HERE.


Kate Murray (The Toymaker)

Jason Rolfe


Congratuations everyone!

To claim your prize (if you haven't already), please contact Tim at his website: www.TimCTaylor.com.

Review: Neiko's Five Land Adventure

"Neiko’s Five Land Adventure" by A.K. Taylor

Pages: 354 pages
File Size: 1531 KB
Language: English
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
ISBN13: 978-1936198856
Purchase: Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover
Website: www.Neikos5LandAdventure.net

When you read “Neiko’s Five Land Adventure” by A.K. Taylor, you will read a charming and fun story that takes you back to your childhood. At least you will if you are like me and developed different backstories for your toys while growing up. It seems like Taylor did this as well as she grew up in Georgia, and her imagination really comes through and becomes the greatest strength in the book, covering up the various flaws in storytelling.

This book introduces us to Amanda Hawk, who goes by the name of Captain Neiko Kidd when she is not in high school. She is one of the top-ranking officers of an organization called the Desert Storm Falcons, and their arch-enemy is a group called the CrackedSkulls. The son of their leader, Bloodhawk, wants to kidnap Neiko and make her his wife, and throughout the story, they go to great lengths to take Neiko away from her group and her family. Right from the beginning, you can see that Taylor has a very well-developed world going on inside her head, and she has woven her mythology with both Indian and Egyptian culture in a very effective fashion.

There are some fundamental flaws to the novel that bog down the experience, the main one being Taylor’s tendency to tell more than show. Several passages serve as locations to fill us in with so much information that it stops the pacing in its tracks, including the first few pages of the book. It happens to a point where it feels that the characters are led around because the story demands it rather than the characters discovering the story as they go along. However, since I knew that Taylor started the writing of this book when she was 16, it added to its overall charm since it reads like a young girl telling this story to her friends and coming up with more and more details as she goes along. The artwork in the book is also fantastic, giving an anime style that blended well with the storytelling.

If I would ask Taylor to change anything, it would be the age of Amanda / Neiko. I know that, as a 35-year-old man, I still have toys at my desk that I occasionally pick up and play with while I’m writing, but a senior in high school sitting on her floor and playing with her action figures is difficult to accept. Especially if nobody else in the book is making an issue of her playing with toys at that age.

Despite the age issue and the story losing some steam in the second half, overall I found “Neiko’s Five Land Adventure” to be a very imaginative and fun read for teenagers. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this world unfold in future books, and I hope that Taylor allows her characters to take center stage and let them and the reader discover the next story.

Reviewed by George Sirois

A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.

Review: Truth Teller

File Size: 237 KB
Publisher: UK Children's Publishing (January 3, 2012)
Language: English
BN ID: 2940032975953
Purchase: Kindle, Nook, Other E-Readers
Website: http://kurtchambers.net

Ten year old Charlotte is on vacation with her parents and six year old sister, Beth. On the last day of vacation Charlotte goes to buy gifts to take home to her friends. During shopping she comes across a spooky old shop and goes inside. A creepy man gives her a crystal dome; the only cost is to take care of it and to be good and tell the truth. The man introduces himself as Goffer. On the way home she peers into the crystal dome and is transported to another realm. In the realm we are introduced to endearing characters such as: Elderfield, Middleton, Swallow, and others. We are briefly introduced to the dark characters: Siren and Dagan as well as the legend of the Truth Teller. Elderfield and Middleton go on a journey to seek council with Goffer to get Charlotte home. Adventures and other characters follow.

The story was well written and the characters were well presented. The world building was great. The story is very easy to read and could be read to kids as a read-to-me story.

However there were some issues I had with some of the backstory that I felt needed a little bit more elaboration and/or resolution. I would have liked to know a little bit more about the Great War against Siren and his banishment. I would have liked to know more about the legend of the Truth Teller and what he/she actually does and more about the Truth Teller’s power and where it comes from. I would like to know some more about what would happen if Siren found out about the Truth Teller and his or her identity. When Goffer talks to Charlotte about the Truth Teller and being in her shoes, I would have found myself asking more questions about the legend and forgetting about going home for just a few more moments. As a character, she was a very keen and inquisitive girl and would be wondering the same things, judging by the connection I had with her. I say it this way without wanting to give anything away. There is a personal angle in the vendetta between Dagan and Siren that is never mentioned and doubtfully will be visited again (not trying to give anything away). What happens if Charlotte doesn’t tell the truth? I know that it would have repercussions of some kind, and it is very important aside from the moral of the story. As a reader, I can only make a guess, and I wonder if my assumption is right or wrong. Lastly, I was curious to know how Goffer knew to give Charlotte the crystal dome and not another child who may have stumbled upon the derelict shop. In some ways it seemed completely random. There had to be something to lead him to do so or something he was looking for in a child. It’s a way to tie up the seemingly random events in the beginning to where it was not so random and everything made sense and came together.

Other than these small issues it is a wonderful, endearing story. The author alludes that Charlotte will have more adventures in this realm and maybe the author will elaborate on the backstory as Charlotte goes on her adventures. I would like to read more by this author.

Reviewed by: A.K. Taylor

A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.

Author Interview: Tim C. Taylor

In 1992, Radlan Saravanan runs a small business out of a Tudor cottage in the sleepy English village of Elstow. But Radlan was born in 2951, and when he falls in love with a local girl, he has to choose between running from his own people and condemning his lover to die.

He makes the wrong choice.

Travelling into the past, falling in love… it turns out that he was meant to do these things. He’s been manipulated all along. But now he’s slipped his handlers, and Time isn’t following the right script any more. Other versions of history vie for dominance, and our reality is losing.

In 1992, Radlan Saravanan sparked The Reality War.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I live with my family in a old village in England called Bromham. When I was a young and impressionable lad — between 1977 and 1978 — several important things happened to me all at once: 2000AD, Star Wars, Blake’s 7, and Dungeons & Dragons. Consequently, I now write science fiction.

Last year I also set up Greyhart Press a publishing business, which publishes science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

If you could change one thing in this world, what would it be?

The discovery of a limitless and free source of energy

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Ben 10. My young son started watching this children’s science fiction series on Cartoon Network, and I sometimes like to watch shows with him. I have err... kind of watched every Ben 10 episode ever broadcast. And, yes, that includes the films.
What is the best gift anyone has ever given you?

This will probably sound odd, but I was made redundant at the start of 2011 after twenty years working for the same software business. I needed to move on and do something different, and that was just the kick I needed. Now I write, publish, and do freelance book design work.

What is your writing routine (if you have one!)?

It depends on what stage of the book I’m working on. Once a novel is underway, I’ll try to reserve at least a couple of days per week for writing, when I’ll cycle into town (Bedford), quickly run through what I’m going to do over a cappuccino at Costa Coffee, and then write all day at Bedford Central Public Library. I’ve learnt to my cost that if I don’t start with my coffee, then I don’t settle into my routine so easily.

That working in the library became very significant with this novel. The most famous thing about my adopted town of Bedford is John Bunyan and his book, The Pilgrim’s Progress. Everything in Bedford seems to be called Pilgrim’s this or Bunyan that. When I was writing the first draft, I sat in the library’s local reference section, surrounded by books about The Pilgrim’s Progress and about John Bunyan’; Bunyan’s book quickly began to influence mine. The Pilgrim’s Progress is a Christian allegory. Mine isn’t: it’s a science fiction adventure story. But there are narrative links to John Bunyan, and I see many parallels in the theme of a spiritual journey, although in my book I have characters undertaking the same spiritual journey but in parallel realities vying for existence.

In one sentence, what is your book about?

The first book in a time travel adventure series where the two heroes are each from an alternate reality vying with the other for existence.

What gave you the idea for this story?

It started with a writing course I did with the Other Worlds Writers’ Workshop (which has the lovely acronym of OWWW). I had to write a 500 word beginning, and match it with one cliff-hanger ending and one wrap-up-all-the-loose-ends ending. I was pleased with what I’d written, so I set myself a challenge of writing a story with that beginning and both the endings. You get all three in the first book of The Reality War.

I’ve heard other authors talk of starting off stories by setting themselves such challenges. At the start, the challenge often sounds crass, but it can force you to work your imagination hard and arrive at a story you couldn’t otherwise have written.

How long did it take you to write it?

I started in 2002 and printed a first draft at the end of 2005. Since then, it’s been workshopped with the British Science Fiction Association. The theme and most of the characters stayed the same, but pretty much everything else has been rewritten, including the name, which was My Future in the Past until very recently.

I had some interest from a publisher in 2010 with another novel series called Stain Blossoms. They eventually said ‘no’, but invited me to send another novel. That was to have been The Reality War but the story grew much too big, so I’m publishing through my Greyhart Press imprint and writing them another. I’ve promised my agent the next one will be shorter.

What is the target audience for your book?

Anyone who enjoys time travel stories, and science fiction readers who enjoy a little depth to their world-building. If you enjoy Alastair Reynolds, David Brin, or Stephen Baxter, I think you’ll like The Reality War. Also my wife and I enjoyed Peter F. Hamilton’s Mindstar Rising series, which was set in a near-future Rutland, just north of where I live, and close to Bedford and Elstow where I set my novel. We enjoyed reading novels set in a future England that had a definite sense of place, and somewhere that wasn’t London. That was one reason why I chose my setting.

What have people said about your writing?

Well, amongst the nice things people often say is that there’s a richness and depth to my world-building. I was chuffed when online magazine Strange Horizons recently said exactly that about a short story of mine that is itself a spin-off from The Reality War.

Favorite Book?

Resplendent (2006) a short story collection by Stephen Baxter. The stories tell the future history of our galaxy and humanity’s place within it, principally our 100,000 year war against the Xeelee. The stories are fine in themselves, but I am lost in wonder at the way they all connect together to tell this deeper story on this enormous canvas. Sheer imagination delivers a narrative of breathtaking proportions.

Funnily enough I build eBooks for other publishers, and my current project is to build Stephen Baxter’s next book. If you had told me that when I first read Resplendent, I would have thought you absolutely mad. How quickly the world can change!

Favorite book you've read this year?

Fables from the Fountain (2011). I never would have come across this if I hadn’t been asked to build the eBook, and it’s a chance encounter I’m very grateful for. It’s a tribute to Arthur C. Clarke from an eclectic mix of academics, fans, friends, and top British SF writers — Neil Gaiman and, that man again, Stephen Baxter, to name just two. Fables is a collection of stories where — funnily enough — science fiction writers, fans, and scientist get together in a fantastical pub to tell each other tall tales.

When I build eBooks I check the formatting on every page, but I almost never read the content. I just don’t have the time. I couldn’t help myself with Fables because I found the stories so outlandishly compelling. In the end I felt I had buy my own copy.

Normally I prefer to read novels or individual short stories; I rarely finish anthologies. I’m still trying to work out why my two favorites I’ve listed were a collection and an anthology.


15 copies of the eBook to giveaway!!!

Leave a comment on www.timctaylor.com stating that you’ve read the SciYourFi interview, and that you’d like a copy of The Reality War Book1. Tell me whether you would prefer Kindle, ePUB, or PDF format. The first 15 people win the book.

Winners will be announced on March 31!

Tim C. Taylor is a writer and publisher of science fiction. The Reality War Book1: The Slough of Despond is his debut novel and is available now as a Kindle eBook at amazon.com amazon.co.uk The initial launch price is just 99¢ / 77p and includes a limited time offer for a free download of book2. The second and concluding book will be published in the spring, as will paperback editions.

Read more about The Reality War, John Bunyan, and time travel at Tim’s blog: www.timctaylor.com Say ‘hi’ on Twitter @TimCTaylor

Review: The Oblivion Chronicles

"The Oblivion Chronicles, Book 1" by Lloyd D. Kelsey

Publisher: Createspace
File Size: 244 KB
Pages: 116 pages
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1468164565
Purchase: Kindle, Paperback

The main focus of the story - though there is an ensemble cast of characters - is a man named Lawrence Grey whose 40th birthday present to is to have his wife murdered before his eyes by a hulking beast of a man. The quest to track down her killer introduces Lawrence Grey to a group of people each tied up in their own dramas who supposedly all know him, but he doesn't recognize any of them.

In addition, these people also possess unusual powers (calling themselves "enlightened") that began to reveal something bigger may be going on here. Lawrence soon learns that the other poeple that also claim to be his friends also know him as being a dead man, including one who celebrated his 40th birthday at some point in the past even though that day is the present for him. Together this band of misfits team up to find out why their worlds have literally collided and why this Lawrence Grey is at the center of it.

Though the book is short, the dense plot can be challenging to follow. Also, the digital edition provided for review did have a few spelling and formatting errors.

Overall, an interesting premise with a sometimes faltering execution, but with compelling enough characters I would be interested to see where they go next.

Reviewed by: Shannon Muir

A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.

Review: Warriormage

"Warriormage: Riothamus Book 3" by Rosemary Fryth

File Size: 638 KB
Language: English
Purchase: Kindle
Website: http://www.rosemaryfryth.com/

This book brings to a conclusion the story of the rise of an unexpected High King in a land that has gone without a leader for generations. As both High King and the only known Warriormage for ages, a heavy weight carries on his shoulders as he leads his men with his warrior bride-to-be at his side into the heart of the lands of the enemy. A lot of the book read very quickly, drawing me in with the battles and losses of characters that I actually found myself starting to care about.

In addition, the book introduces a new hidden land of people and incredible powers are unveiled, which really kept me interested that the world continued to stay fresh and unfold in great details.

Unlike the prior two books, the tension stayed high and it became difficult for most of the book to guess where things would go next. The storyline really felt like after the two prior books it would be hitting its stride, until the climax and resolution came up and - similar to the end of the first book - facts appear from out of the blue that were not previously foreshadowed well that seem to be a convenience. It weakened the end of the story and for me took away the intensity of what seemed to have the potential of being a promising ending.

Reviewed by: Shannon Muir

A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.

Author Interview: Deno Sandz

A historical fiction set at a Bed and Breakfast owned by the great, great, great, granddaughter of Captain Rollins the 3rd once known as the big house on a plantation in Virginian. The antagonist, the SOTO (The Soul of the Ocean) is a captured slave from the southern tip of Africa, thrown overboard near the shores of Shonway, Virginian where the Shonwaayians now call, “The Shores of the Evil Soul” in 1810 after a mutiny he spearheaded leading to the murder of crew members, slaves, and his wife by the evil hands of Captain Rollins the 3rd who owned the plantation. It’s now 2010 and another fifty years has dawned and the SOTO has awakened again to seek his vengeance against the last of Rollins’ blood line for the death of his wife.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Deon C. Sanders (Pen name: Deno Sandz) was born in the south, raised and resides in Chicago, is a father of six working in the educational field and has been a fiction author for the last ten years. I have published novels such as: “Miss Mary Weather: A Southern Nightmare” (2001), “Pen of Iniquity” (2008), “I,AM” (2010), and have numerous unpublished works. I write phenomenal articles on every aspect of society, short stories that transcends the heart, soul, and mind of the reader, poetry that convokes emotions, lyrics that embraces the genre of the music industry, and movie screenplays. I am also the owner/creator of Deno Sandz Productions/Six Shortyes Films.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

First and foremost, I have to say the Lord my God, then my grandparents and parents.

Who is your hero / heroine and why?

There are so many hero/heroine to name, but first I must say my mother. She had the gift to write as I do and passed it down to me. Another has to be Langston Hughes because of his endurance and tenacity to write literature that motivated, educated, and made people laugh with Simple, Maya Angelo, because she’s the cornerstone of spirit and emotions when she writes, Stephen King because he has the desire to catapult readers into the world of his fiction, and Socrates because through his mind’s eye he was able to philosophy and create an inner thinking home for readers.

Why do you write?

My love for writing fiction was somewhat inherited from the southern stories, myths, and superstitions I listened to from my grandmother and mother at an early age. This intrigued me to want to bring life to the fictional world of literature, as well as to other multi-genre forms. I write short stories that have dramatic plots, poems about reality, and comedic and emotional movie screenplays; as well as articles on society, human nature, religion, human interest, and opinionative ideas.

What is your writing routine (if you have one!)?

My routine, most of the time goes like this: After relaxing after a long day at work. I wait for my children are put to bed and then I grab my notes, a glass of wine, my ash tray and cigs and begin to focus in my quite place. Before I know it’s one or two in the morning.

The best thing about being a writer is…that there are NO BOUNDARIES, just a place where the pen and pad meets imagination, visualization, and creativity.

In one sentence, what is your book about?

The Novel, “Blood Plantation” is a historical fiction set at a Bed and Breakfast owned by the great, great, great, granddaughter of Captain Rollins the 3rd once known as the big house on a plantation in Virginian.

What is the target audience for your book?

My target audience is the world, but if I had to simplify I would say young adults to adults.

What have people said about your writing?

Slavery was a harrowing and painful time in itself but imagine if the spirits of all who perished and suffered during that time could come back and seek revenge. Upcoming author, Deno Sandz takes that supernatural element and adds it along with his recollection of the history of slavery in his new thriller, Blood Plantation.

“It’s the sins of slavery” “A real horror of the middle passage”
“Southern reality and history never forgotten” “Supernatural fiction at its best”


This one is for all you book lovers out there. BLOOD PLANTATION is the new book from writer Deno Sandz that deal with slavery and the supernatural. Now I am not really a book reader myself, I know that is sad, but I might give watching movies a break and give this book a shot. The book seems like it has an interesting concept so why not.


How do you want your readers to feel when they finish your book?

After reading this book I hope more readers consider my books more, because they deal in the unknown reality of horror better than movies and that these words of fear, and the imagination jumps right off the pages at them. I want them to be excited that they had purchased a fictional novel that’s well written, shocking, heart wrenching, plot driven, spellbinding, and frightening.

What’s your next writing project?

My next project is almost complete. It will be released this year (2012) titled: “Cry Heaven Cry Hell…The Return of Miss Mary Weather” a sequel to my 2001 release “Miss Mary Weather: A Southern Nightmare.

Favorite quote?

“Without Struggle, there would be no progress”(Frederick Douglass)

Find Deno on his blog, A Man That Writes, on Twitter, @DenoSandz, his website, Author Deno Sandz, and Facebook, Deno Sandz Page. Purchase BLOOD PLANTATION in paperback at Amazon/

Review: Revolution

"Revolution: Chronicles of Charanthe 2" by Rachel Cotterill

Pages: 404 pages
File Size: 573KB
Language: English
Publisher: Createspace
ISBN13: 978-1452848198
Purchase: Kindle, Other E-Readers, Paperback
Website: http://rachelcotterill.com/

In my review of Volume 1 of the CHRONICLES OF CHARANTHE series, I summed up the book as "a well developed start to a series with a lot of potential," but unfortunately the series isn't living up to that potential. This book follows Eleanor, now part of the council, as she acts more in a leadership capacity and becomes involved with Daniel (who joined the council when she did).

Where Eleanor's wishy washiness seemed acceptable as she was finding her own footing and place last volume, it only intensifies to the point where she makes reckless decisions about a number of things, including her attitudes towards pregnancy and motherhood which are key themes in this book. The climax revolves around her needing to rescue one of her own children, which is a tough pill to swallow given Eleanor shows no maternal skills or instinct anywhere in the book; yet this is the same woman who has no problem executing orders to kill the children of other people.

All that said, the politics and world development that surround Charanthe still remain very solid and are a big reason why this story is able to get 3 of 5 stars. I will probably be willing to read Volume 3 only to see if this storyline redeems itself.

Reviewed by: Shannon Muir

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Review: Jeweler's Apprentice

"The Jeweler's Apprentice" by E. Kaiser

File Size: 490 KB
Publisher: Hearth Books (December 15, 2011)
Language: English
ASIN: B006MW636A

I enjoyed this story; it definitely was a good start. It was a little hard to keep track of some of the characters, but with Fia (the main character) having so many siblings, that's not surprising. The more I read, the more each person became separate in my mind.

The story opens with a tense scene of Fia following some mysterious shadows through the garden. It hooked me immediately, wanting to discover the mystery along with Fia. More and more twists were revealed throughout the story, keeping me turning the pages and wanting to know how it all fit together.

I was a little disappointed with the ending, as I felt it ended too soon. Even though this is the beginning of a series, I still felt the "cliffhanger" ending was too much. I only feel if I've read half the book and put it down. There wasn't really an "ending"; the story just stopped.

I also wished there was more description to the location when Fia first arrived at her new home in the mountains. It was a new place for her and I felt seeing it for the first time, more detail would have been shown to the reader. Bits and pieces came out of course as the story continued, but initially I would have loved to know Fia's thoughts of her new home from when she first arrived.

The mystery and intrigue built up in this book is enough to make me read more. I want to know how it all ends, how Fia and the other characters continue on their journeys, and who makes it out in the end unscathed - or not. I'm look forward to the next installment of the series.

Reviewed by: Anastasia V. Pergakis

A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.

Author Interview: Ahmad Taylor

Government agent Derrick Thomas awakes from a disturbing dream to find a message from his father asking for help. As he sets out to lend his assistance he quickly discovers that not only can he not find his father, but that a clandestine government agency is out to derail his search before it can begin. After the murders of two of his father’s colleagues and the further disappearances of his mother and sister, Derrick is thrust into a fight for his own life and a struggle to uncover details of a secret government experiment which his family may be part of. Will he be able to save them and uncover the truth before he becomes the next victim of an organization bent on keeping him silent?

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a Leo: a fire-sign. I like champagne and long walks on the beach (just a little levity to kick things off).

I am a 35 year old writer living in South Florida. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. and lived in NYC until I was 29. I was a cop briefly, and then gravitated to private security consulting. I am a huge sports fan except for soccer and NASCAR, because they aren’t real sports!

My debut Sci-fi/Suspense/Thriller: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON was published in January 2012. I am a Christian, and while I do not write about my faith, it definitely shapes how I write.

What are your pet peeves (dislikes) in life?

People who eat with their hands and then don’t wash them after. I feel it’s like; “Really? I need the remnants of your prior meal and back-wash in my general vicinity? Just keep your grimy, saliva-covered fingers away from me!”

Messy people, though I have my moments of laziness, I hate seeing others being slobs.

I genuinely do not enjoy people who preach their particular opinions at the expense of others and their views. It’s very arrogant and obnoxious and only serves to validate someone’s ignorance when they act like they are the “all-knowing”!

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

My father was and still is the greatest influence on my life. Before he passed in 2004 he was a constant source of strength and inspiration in my life.

Though he did not get passed a year or two of college, he was a very learned man, who read and educated himself constantly.

He lived a very stressful life, tortured by many illnesses, but he showed me and the world that one does not have to be a victim of their circumstances.

He never gave up on anything in life, and fought hard to the end, always giving hope and encouragement to others, and that is what I and most will always remember about him.

Who is your hero / heroine and why?

My mother is a true heroine.

As a young mother, circumstances did not allow for her to complete her college education either. This however, did not stop her from becoming a teacher or from supporting her family and being the best person-of-faith a person can know.

She raised 3 children, took care of a sick husband, served her fellow church members, educated and raised hundreds of children in her nearly 30 years as a Pre-K teacher and all this with joy in her heart and a resiliency matched by none.

After a recent slew of medical issues, one would think it would have been time for her to retire and take a break. One would be wrong in that assumption. She was back out there molding young minds only weeks after a long hospital stay. She is the consummate definition of hero and heroine.

The best thing about being a writer is…

The boat-loads of cash and tremendous notoriety you get almost immediately. It’s like; “Why didn’t I think of doing this sooner?” (Insert sarcasm here…)

Of course that is the exact antithesis of being a writer. It’s neither a vocation that affords the majority of its members much wealth nor appreciation for their hard work and dedication to the craft as the majority of your readers already know.

The best part is being able to create something that is solely yours from start to finish, and the pride you feel when it is complete.

No matter how much money you don’t make, or how much respect and appreciation you do not receive, no one, not even a reviewer who nails you to the wall, can take away the pride you feel when you have poured your heart and soul into a piece and it is complete. That feeling is yours and yours alone and no one can take that away from you.

In one sentence, what is your book about? (Dark Side of the Moon)

When former government agent Derrick Thomas awakes to find his family missing and in harm’s way, he must do battle against a clandestine organization intent on keeping him from discovering the truth about a global cover-up and the whereabouts of his family.

What gave you the idea for this story?

A dream, honestly.

One night last March I had a crazy dream about my sister. She and I were working aboard a ship in outer space when suddenly she went missing. The rest of the dream was filled with me trying to find her and trying to convince all those around me that she actually existed and was not a complete figment of my imagination – typical Twilight Zone episode.

When I woke up from the dream I had quite a sweat going. After a few hours of unsuccessfully trying to fall back to sleep, I finally grabbed a pen and pad and jotted down a plot-outline. At first I was only writing down quick thoughts and ideas, but when it was all said and done, I had 8 pages of detailed notes on character development, plot flow and had something I genuinely could turn into a story, so I grabbed my laptop, my outline and began to create.

How long did it take you to write it?

I pulled several 18+ hour sessions and had a first draft in 27 days.

After another 2 ½ months I had a 90% complete manuscript. Unfortunately, I put it down for several months after that, and therefore did not complete it and publish until January, but in actual writing, editing, proofing time… 4 months total.

How do you want your readers to feel when they finish your book?

Excited, apprehensive concerning the well-fare of some of the characters, and on-edge waiting impatiently for the sequel.

What’s your next writing project?

You guessed it; the sequel to: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON is next on-deck.

No specific date has been set for release, mainly because I am still in the process of writing it (big wink and smile).

Favorite Song?

Can’t pick just one, but here’s a few faves:

§ Close to you – Carpenters
§ #41 – Dave Matthews Band
§ Full-Fledge Strangers – Jonatha Brooke
§ Breathe – Telepopmusik
§ So What – Pink
§ Story To Tell – Notorious B.I.G.

Find Ahmad at:

Twitter: @AhmadDarkside
Facebook: DarksideAhmad
Website: www.AhmadTaylor.com
Blog: AhmadDarkside.blogspot.com
Purchase "Dark Side of the Moon": Amazon


Ahmad is giving away TWO digital copies of "Dark Side of the Moon".

Review: The High King

"The High King: Riothamus Book 2" by Rosemary Fryth
File Size: 621KB
Language: English
Purchase: Kindle
Website: http://www.rosemaryfryth.com/

This book picks up right where its predecessor, ARANTUR, leaves off with the finding of a new King for a land that has not had a High King in a very long time. However, this revelation comes in the midst of war on the horizon and the newly found High King must immediately round up his people and ride into battle. Additionally, he has untamed and undiscovered powers which no one knows how to train him about since he is believed to be the last of these abilities.

The travels from area to area recruiting soldiers continues to illustrate the large amount of worldbuilding regarding the land and politics. As in the prior book, the thrust of the text comes in the lead's personal conflict with his duties and abilities versus the opportunity lost to be the ordinary person he was raised as. More interpersonal conflicts do appear in this book than in the prior one, but they are always addressed within pages with the exception of one (but it also has political overtones so in some ways plays more into worldbuilding). Most characters are developed only as much as need be for their roles, save a couple such as the High King and Alissa his love. We also learn that that the overarching title of the books, RIOTHAMUS, is the name that Alissa's people refer to the High King as. Unfortunately, the pacing is very slow and moving from town to town looking for the recruits feels almost methodical, like playing a game of chess.

As I said in my review of Book 1, the multi-faceted nature of the lead character is the only thing that made me want to follow this through to the end. If he were less interesting, I am not sure I would want to complete the series.

Reviewed by: Shannon Muir

A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.

Review: Embattled

"Embattled" by Darlene Jones

File Size: 439 KB
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (October 31, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1466468054
Purchase: Kindle,Other E-Readers, Paperback
Website: http://emandyves.com/

The plot this story was very interesting, and I stay interested throughout the entire book. The characters held their own personalities, own quirks, that really made them stand out for me; allowed me to care for them.

I was confused at first, as this book switches POV between the "Madam of Miracles" and a "Drone", an otherworldly entity. The hard part here, wasn't the switch perse, it was the fact that one part was in third person, while the other was in first. And there wasn't much transition between the two - it simply jumped. Also, with this, some times the Drone's section was only a few lines then would skip back to the Madam. While it did add an interesting pace and unique viewpoint to the story, the harsh back and forth sometimes was hard to keep up with.

I did enjoy the story, the idea of an empowered miracle worker saving the world from itself. I think the author handles the growth of the Madam from first learning of her special abilities and her "mission" to the end when she accepted it whole heartedly and could use her abilities without a second thought - and ultimately could live with herself and what she was doing.

I do wish some more information was given about the "Guardian's" and who they were exactly, only to cure my own curiosity. However, the mystery of them fit well with the story, allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions about who the Guardian's really are.

Overall, a good read. As I said, the only real issue was the hard shift in point of view, but by the end of the story, I was almost used to it and barely noticed anymore. It did give the story an interesting perceptive and tempo for sure.

Reviewed by: Anastasia V. Pergakis

A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.

Author Interview: Kerry Castorano

On a continent where kings and queens change as often as the seasons, it can be difficult to know who your friends are and who you can trust to walk behind you. Take care of yourself; don’t rely on others. That is how to survive. Freyja learned this lesson at a very young age. When she and her brothers-in-arms choose sides for an upcoming battle, it becomes clear to those who watch them that the work of a handful of men, and one woman, could change the future of an entire kingdom. Freyja's family, known as the Valren, may be the only fighters able to stop an all out war from beginning between two countries. But even their own allies are reluctant to trust them when it becomes clear that the Valren are more interested in winning than being ethical, and that morals don't always have a place in combat. For Freyja, that means she will do anything necessary to destroy the enemy and protect her family - including sacrificing herself.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m 30 years old, living in central Massachusetts with my husband, dog and cat. I have an archaeology background with an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and my Masters from Brandeis University. I’ve been fencing since I was 8 and have a love for the outdoors. Proud to say I recently earned my orange headband by becoming a Tough Mudder.

What are your pet peeves (dislikes) in life?

When people don’t treat their animals right. One of the best things about being published by The Little Things Publishing is that the company takes a portion of their profit from each book sold and gives it to the charity of choice for the author. My charity is an equine rescue located here in MA and I’m really happy to have the chance to support the cause.

What is the best gift anyone has ever given you?

This is going to sound corny but, hell I have no pride. Best gift was something my parents gave me when I was around five or six years old. It was a soap dragon egg, and inside of it was a plastic, glow-in-the-dark dragon (which I named “Flamey”). I still have the dragon. It’s my little good luck charm, he’s travelled to over eight different countries with me, and was almost eaten by my dog a few times. He’s got the teeth marks to prove it. I’ve been looking for another one of these things for the last few years and can’t find them anywhere. If anyone has one sitting in their attic, call me – I’ll buy it!!

Why do you write?

I actually started to write because it was on my bucket list to see if I had the patience to actually sit down and write an entire book. I actually never intended for it to get published – I just got really lucky. But now that goal is checked off the bucket list and I can move on to something else, like parahawking!

Will books disappear altogether in future?

Gees, I hope not. If they do, I hope I am dead and gone beforehand.

What do you eat and/or drink while you write?

Skittles. They won’t mess up the keyboard if you spill them, and when you get writers block you can make little rainbow pictures while you wait for your head to clear. Pretty much the perfect candy. Especially the red ones.

In one sentence, what is your book about?

A feisty redhead who is good with weapons.

Describe the process you took to write it.

I tried to be one of those people who could jot a solid outline down then stick with it - but I realized about half way through the first book that I was never going to be one of those people. I would write an outline... start writing the actual story... scrap the second half of the outline and make a new one... write some more... scrap the end of that second outline and make a new one. Honestly, I don’t know why I even tried to outline as much as I did. Now I just write what I’m thinking about at the time. If I put the story down for a few days and still like it when I pick it up again, then the content usually stays. Otherwise I’ll just delete parts and do them over again. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it.

What is the target audience for your book?

Late teens and adults. There are some adult themes in this book I don’t think I would want my child reading.

How do you want your readers to feel when they finish your book?

I would like my readers to be satisfied with there the book left off, but also really wanting to know what is going to happen next! I believe this story will take a total of three books to finish and it would really be an honor to know that there are people out there (even if there are only two of three of them!) who are eager to read it from start to finish. If I can make that happen then I feel like I did something right. I’ll let you know how that goes when the next book comes out. Fingers crossed.

What’s your next writing project?

Well, I just sent the second book in The Valren series into The Little Things Publishing for editing, so now it is time to start writing number three. May need to juice up on some caffeine first..... and find my Skittles.

Quick fire:

Favorite flavor of ice cream? Oreo Cake Batter
Favorite place? Up a particular sycamore tree at Notre Dame
Favorite Song? “This is Halloween” – Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack
Favorite Book? The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
Favorite joke? One that is not appropriate for this blog ;)
Favorite quote? Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for
Favorite book you've read this year? Oh... hm... tough one. Probably “Pathologies of Power” by Paul Farmer

Find Kerry on her blog, The Valren, on Twitter, @TheValren, and Facebook, Kerry Castorano Page. Purchase VALREN at Amazon (Paperback) and Barnes&Noble(Paperback).

Review: The Last Man on Earth Club

"The Last Man on Earth Club" by Paul R. Hardy

File Size: 1268 KB
Pages: 418 pages
Language: English
ASIN: B00520977U
ISBN13: 978-1466361829
Purchase: Kindle, Paperback
Website: LastManOnBlog

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH CLUB follows a therapist and her six clients who are all the last survivors of their planets from various universes where planets have fallen due to various apocalyptic conditions. In addition, she's also juggling her own relationship which is struggling due to the increasing time she spends with the patients. When the patients are put in group therapy, with the hope their commonalities will help them begin the healing process, we find that these people are very far apart and it seems near impossible that they will find any way to come together.

The book is not a light read, either for its subject matter for length, as it comes in around 400 pages. The focus in the book shifts throughout, with each chapter clearly labeled who the focus is, though it always remains in third person. With some characters, we find it is a matter of being in denial or unable to express deep personal horrors; others prove to have aspects to their personalities that are like layers of an onion. All of the characters are interesting to follow, and I found I cared about their outcomes, though at first I got confused about some aspects of the therapist's life, in part because she was spending all her time with the patients. I didn't want to put the book down, but at times I had to because it seemed a bit too long, where as a reader I already knew the outcome of some people's revelations but they were strung out for dramatic effect or because of other people's storylines (Olivia and Pew are ones here). Overall though, it was a insightful read into a condition that affects the human spirit in a variety of ways.

Reviewed by: Shannon Muir
A free copy of this book was furnished by the author for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.