Dagana: The Last Mermaid by Kody Boye

Dagana: The Last Mermaid by Kody Boye
Genre: Fantasy Thriller

Synopsis

I have always loved the ocean. Beautiful and tranquil, it seems like it can do absolutely no harm.

Until the night my parents go missing, and then are subsequently found dead.

Both have been viciously mauled by something off the Gulf—something even the medical examiner claims is an ‘unknown animal.’ But the worst part? I swear I saw something in the water the night they were both killed.

But this is no chance occurrence. As the body count begins to rise, and as more tragedies unfold, I realize that something has to be done.

Someone has to hunt down, and kill, the monster of Mermaid Cove.

That someone is me. Continue reading

Kenyon Kane Talks Putin’s Useful Idiot

What did you do before you became an author?

I worked for two US Cabinet Secretaries. I worked in black op financial transactions in the Soviet Union, Grenada and Northern Ireland.

Tell us about your main characters, what makes them tick? 

A Useful Idiot is about Richard Hart, a self-centered materialist living in New York City married to a woman half his age dining out every night at fancy restaurants and spending his weekends shopping with his wife at expensive stores, e. g. Bergdorf-Goodman, Henri Bendel, Gucci.

Forced to take an assignment to Moscow, he winds up in an environment where money is worthless because there is nothing to buy, food is scarce and for the most part terrible and even drinking water is impossible to find at times.

As he adjusts to his new environment, he comes to find that his materialistic viewpoint is selfish, and in fact unnecessary to his happiness and as he finds joy in the new friends and relationships he makes, he transforms into a communism. But is it all a set-up by his partner in crime V. Putin.

Is he just another Useful Idiot? As a counterpoint, while Hart is evolving in his social views towards the collective, his Soviet counterparts evolve towards capitalism because the free markets are coming to the Soviet Union and they all are going to need western currency to survive.

What inspired you to write this book?

Everyone involved in the assignment to Moscow is dead.

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

Based on real life people.

How did you come up with title of this book?

It is a quote attributed to Lenin commenting on the assistance he was receiving from John Reed an American journalist – “Ten days that Shook the World”

What did you edit out of this book?

About 30k words of real-life experiences in Moscow that were interesting and environment building, but were not related to plot progression or character development.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

Putin because he was so different in 1984 than he is today. In 1984 he was struggling to survive in a dangerous environment.

Describe your writing style.

First person present tense with a goal to put the reader in the Novel.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Two years.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? 

James Jones – From Here to Eternity and the Thin Red Line because he wrote about his real-life experiences during World War 2 with a thematic slant toward the disparity in justice between the officers and the “joes” who actually did the fighting and dying.

About the Book

Putin’s Useful Idiot by Kenyon Kane
Genre: Historical Espionage, Romance

Synopsis

November 1984, Richard Hart lands at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport carrying a dossier he doesn’t have security clearance to open, a map of Moscow missing most of the street names, five ten-dollar bills (probably dyed with invisible ink) and an American Express card.

Acting as a CIA “financial” agent, Hart must close a deal with the KGB, rig the transaction to produce enough “black money” to bribe KGB hard-liners to retire, and get out alive. And he only has Colonel Putin there to help him.

Putin’s Useful Idiot is about Richard Hart, a self-centered materialist living in New York City married to a woman half his age, dining out every night at fancy restaurants and spending his weekends shopping with his wife at expensive stores like Bergdorf-Goodman, Henri Bendel, and Gucci.

Forced to take an assignment to Moscow, he winds up in an environment where money is worthless because there is nothing to buy, food is scarce and for the most part terrible and even drinking water is impossible to find at times.

As he adjusts to his new environment, he comes to find that his materialistic viewpoint is selfish, and in fact unnecessary to his happiness, and as he finds joy in the new friends and relationships he makes, he transforms toward the collective.

But is it all a set-up by his partner in crime V. Putin?  Is he just another Useful Idiot? As a counterpoint, while Hart is evolving in his social views toward the collective, his Soviet counterparts evolve toward capitalism because the free markets are coming to the Soviet Union and everyone is going to need western currency to survive.

Inspired by true events, Putin’s Useful Idiot is a ride-along first person, present tense adventure jam-packed with danger, passion and humor. Continue reading

Book Talk with Daniel Sherrier

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve read superhero comics since I was nine years old, and I’ve always wanted to make my own contribution to the genre.

My first serious attempt at a superhero story was actually a play I wrote in college, called Super!, which was eventually performed in a small Chicago theater in 2008. That story focused on the secret identities behind the cartoonish superhero facades, and it was partially inspired by watching old Superfriends cartoons full of stalwart superheroes tackling ridiculous threats, without any personal problems. What if this surface-level perfection was just their professional demeanor, but they were struggling with personal issues in the backs of their minds?

I’ve always felt I could do more with the characters from that play. I attempted a television pilot script at one point, but novels ultimately wound up being the way forward. The execution needed to be very different, though. The stark contrast between cartoonish superheroes and their more realistic, down-to-earth, flawed secret identities worked well on the stage—it was indeed very theatrical. But in prose, I needed to fill in the space between those extremes to make it work.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in The Flying Woman?

The main character, Miranda Thomas, is a 22-year-old aspiring actress. Acting is all she’s ever wanted to do. It’s the main thing she’s studied and trained for, and nothing less than phenomenal success will suffice, even as she realizes what a long-shot that is.

But then, after an encounter with a dying super-woman, she develops super-powers, and she has to navigate new possibilities—and, more importantly, new responsibilities that she never expected.

With Miranda, I tried to make the most human superhero possible, someone who is generally a good person and has a solid moral compass, but someone who also has plenty of doubts about her ability to live up to these new expectations of her. How do you become a perfect superhero when you know you’re human?

How did you come up with name of this book? Continue reading

Bottle Toss Author Howard Odentz, Talks Writing

Author and playwright Howard Odentz is a lifelong resident of the gray area between Western Massachusetts and North Central Connecticut. His love of the region is evident in his writing as he often incorporates the foothills of the Berkshires and the small towns of the Bay and Nutmeg states into his work.

In addition to The Dead (A Lot) Series, he has written the horror novel Bloody Bloody Apple, the short story collection Little Killers A to Z, and a couple of horror-themed, musical comedies produced for the stage.

Book Talk with Howard Odentz

Writing is part of me. It’s in my blood. I’ve been writing ever since I could hold a crayon. Sometimes I write to sort out my emotions. Other times I write because I can’t find anything good on TV.

I knew from an early age that I wanted to write for a living. I took a long, windy road to get there, but I ended up as a director of communications in a large company where I was afforded the opportunity to stretch my creative skills while honing my craft.

Now, I’m deep into writing psychological and supernatural thrillers for older teens and adults

My ideas come from everyday life.  I have a slightly wry sense of humor, so I sometimes find inappropriate things amusing. I’m definitely not one who will laugh at a funeral, but you can bet I’ll be writing about the person who does.

In addition, I’m a total wuss—which means I’m basically scared of everything.

I’m scared of the woods. I’m scared of the ocean. Basements freak me out and barns are the absolute creepiest thing I can imagine, especially when they have sharp tools hanging from the rafters.

I find scary ideas everywhere. Oranges are just fruit until you peel back the skin and see something staring back at you. Pencils are just writing implements until one of your characters murders another with one.

AND don’t get me started on kids. Sometimes the younger set can be so cringe-worthy, I even wrote a book about them. Check out ‘Little Killers A to Z’ when you get a chance. It’s filled with twenty-six short stories about kids who kill.

Yeah – nothing scary about them at all. Continue reading

Christopher D. Schmitz Presents, 50 Shades of Worf

50 Shades of Worf by Christopher D. Schmitz
Genre: Humor, Satire
Print Length: 258 pages
Publisher: TreeShaker Books
Publication Date: November 15, 2019

Synopsis

A back-alley brawl between the furries and the bronies.

Deadpool cosplayer keeps stealing all the erotic pegasus artwork.

Someone used a necronomicon to open a tentacle portal in the men’s room.

Two cops must go undercover at a local comicbook convention to stop Wil Wheaton’s murder.

Is this a buddy cop story or a crime-comedy? Neither. This is comic con… er, comicomedy? Continue reading

Book Talk with Craig Di Louie

With booming sales for classic works like 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale, dystopian fiction is enjoying a resurgence. These are stories in which a protagonist rebels (often unsuccessfully) against a brutal society inflicting suffering and injustice on its citizens, often in the name of some utopian ideal.

Is this any surprise? In the real world, growing economic inequality, environmental depletion and climate change, and the march of authoritarianism have made the world appear pretty bleak. Dystopia confirms our fears, whether political or existential, and manifests them in their worst possible outcome. Dystopian fiction is a warning.

I believe dystopian fiction is far more optimistic than we credit it. And I see its resurgence as a source of optimism. Yes, it’s bleak, but if we heed its warning, we can avoid this future. Yes, our hero may end up crushed, but we, the reader, will take up the fight. The mythical Cassandra’s prophecies may come true, but at least people are listening. As long as it doesn’t read as nonfiction, we’re still in pretty good shape.

My novel Our War similarly warns of a possible dark future America often feels like it is trending towards: a second civil war. As with other dystopian thrillers, I hope readers will come away warned and energized to resist this future.

In this novel, Congress impeaches and convicts a populist right wing president, who labels it a soft coup by the Deep State and refuses to leave office. A national armed protest by militias and other right wing groups snowballs into civil war, a war in which everybody fights and nobody wins.

This is the what but not the why. The why lies at the heart of polarization, fueled by alternate media, which is differing narratives defining what America is and should be. Without common facts or reality, without a single unifying idea, what is America? And without a single America, what does it mean to be a patriot?

A civil war would not play out like the last one, with states aligned for or against the institution of slavery and grappling with the balance of power as new states entered the Union. For Our War, my model was the Bosnian War of the 1990s, which pitted rural against urban and was largely fought by civilians. For years, the residents of a besieged Sarajevo and other cities lived in constant fear that over time became normalized. In America, rural areas are predominantly red, while urban areas are predominantly blue. Draw the battle lines there, and you can visualize a war whose first casualty would be American exceptionalism, as familiar consequences such as refugees, hunger, terror, and atrocities manifest in the fighting. Continue reading

Russell Heath Talks Broken Angels

About Russell Heath

In his teens, Russell Heath hitchhiked to Alaska and lived in a cabin on the banks of the Tanana River; in his twenties, he lived in Italy and then traveled overland across the Sahara, through the jungles and over the savannas of Africa and into southern Asia; in his thirties, he sailed alone around the world in a 25 foot wooden boat; in his forties, he wrote novels; and in his fifties he bicycled the spine of the Rockies from Alaska to Mexico.

He’s worked on the Alaska Pipeline, as an environmental lobbyist in the Alaska Legislature, and run a storied environmental organization fighting to protect Alaska’s coastal rain forests. Several years ago, he moved to New York City to dig deep into leadership development and coaching. He now coaches business and non-profit leaders intent on making big things happen in the world.

Book Talk

Please give us a short introduction to what Broken Angels: A Novel is about.

Kris Gabriel, an Alaska Native, 24, reluctantly returns to Alaska at the request of a mother she hasn’t seen in nine years. She finds her murdered; shot in the face by the double-barreled blast of a shotgun. Driven by anger and guilt and only knowing how to fight—she sets out to avenge her mother’s death. Relentlessly, she tracks a trail of pain, of lost love, of lives ripped apart by the frozen north’s unyielding law of survival, never suspecting that she has far more at stake than finding her mother’s killer.

How did the idea for the novel originate?

That was a problem. I hadn’t a clue how to start. I so hapless, it was almost comical. Thousands of books written every year and I didn’t what to do after picking up a pencil.

Then, one random day, I remembered a novel that was a scene by scene rip-off of Shakespeare’s Lear. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. You’d think she’d be hauled off for plagiarism, but no—she’d won the Pulitzer. I cast about for a play where the author had been dead long enough he wouldn’t be coming after me for stealing his stuff.

Since I was writing a mystery—the play to use was obvious. The first mystery in western literature was Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. Fortunately, Sophocles has been dead for 2,500 years and I figured he wouldn’t much care that I was taking his best work. That was my start.

Why murder mystery? What drew you to this genre?

I have no love for mysteries—generally because they are so contrived: a bunch of unlikely events strung together to produce an outrageously improbable outcome that has next to zero psychological plausibility: she killed him because of a hang-nail? I chose a mystery because I was on automatic: the book that kicked it all off was a mystery, so I was going to write a mystery.

Tell us more about Kris Gabriel. What makes her tick?

At the outset, it looks as if Kris is driven by vengeance to find her mother’s killer. Maybe, but maybe also by guilt. She’d abandoned her mother when she was 15 and when she left, her mother’s life fell apart. Then she’s Alaska Native and she, like her mother, was cast aside by the white world. She grew up on the streets Fairbanks with an alcoholic mother, no father, and even now, she is living a meager existence on the bleak edges of society. She’s crusted by anger and resentment and all she knows how to do is fight. So that’s what she does—fight. But then, as she uncovers her past, we see that what she’s truly searching for is love, for connection, for her humanity. Because Broken Angels is taken from a Greek tragedy—you know it’s not going to turn out well. Continue reading

Losing The Plot, by Richard Grainger

Losing the Plot Richie Malone #1 by Richard Grainger
Genre: Thriller, Romantic Suspense, Mystery

Synopsis

“Let me tell you about my day so far. I’ll begin by telling you about waking up in my Marbella villa to find a dead girl in my bed; about being interrogated by the Spanish police – or hombres purporting to be the Spanish police; about learning that I’m going to have my kneecaps shattered by the former Chief of Staff of the Provisional IRA. That is, if he can find me before the godfather of the Andalucian Russian mafia hunts me down. And not only that; it’s not yet ten o’clock and I’ve taken up smoking and have drunk half a bottle of brandy before I’ve even had breakfast.” Richie Malone is an old-school philanderer, misogynistic playboy and writer with an undeniable charm. Although he has yet to pen anything to attract literary acclaim using his own name, he has made a fortune writing pornographic novels under a female pseudonym. But now his troubles are just beginning. He needs answers, and he needs them fast. Just who is this dead girl? How did she get here? And why his bed? And, of course, did he kill her? Malone finds himself caught in the middle of a turf war between Irish racketeers, the Russian Mafia and a Columbian cartel. And so, he loses the plot. But can he get it back before he loses everything … including his life? Continue reading

Road to Nowhere by Evan Shapiro

Road to Nowhere book coverRoad to Nowhere by Evan Shapiro
Genre: Cli-Fi (climate fiction), SciFi, Mystery, Thriller, Satire

Synopsis

Is humanity on a Road to Nowhere?
What forces are at play behind global warming and its threat to every species? Is humanity irrevocably heading down a Road to Nowhere?

This near future page-turner, weaves conspiracy, murder, genius and love into a fast-paced ride across the globe, through the absurd and beyond.

Patrick, Kirby, Ancient and Costas thrust us into the world of corporate juggernaut, PetroSynth, where science, politics and corruption jostle to determine our future. How can so much power over our planet be in the hands of so few?

“This book is the stuff of modern mythology, an exciting adventure with intricate personalities leaving the reader in a state of agitated ‘not knowing’ until the very end. Can we succeed (we are all in this one together) or will the corporates and their minions win out only to abandon the planet in crisis? A racy and worthwhile read capturing the zeitgeist of our times.”

Ian Cohen – first Green MLC, NSW Parliament and Author of ‘Green Fire’

REVIEWS

What makes this debut novel from Evan Shapiro a thoroughly engrossing read is that it is hard to pigeon hole into any particular genre. Part science fiction, thriller, mystery and romp. A fun and at times gritty ride. It’s a page turner written with insight, irreverence and is an apt observation of humanity’s capacity for suffering and destruction, yet with potential to make a positive change.
G King

Road To Nowhere gives us a thought-provoking glimpse into an uncompromising future that brilliantly juxtaposes futuristic hedonism with the bare fundamentals of human frailty.
M Jury

Continue reading

About Witches Protection Program

Witches Protection Program– How did you come up with the title?

The idea of a secret government agency that protects witches was born out of the one place I do all my thinking. The bathroom. I was in my bathroom one lovely evening in the fall of 2014 and gazed at my wife’s pile of trashy magazines.

Since I’m more inclined to read a screenplay or novel while doing my duty, I figured I could take a break and peek through some entertainment pop culture. I flipped the pages and noticed a picture called Wetless Protection Program in some script font above Neil Patrick Harris’s head. I think it was NPH. But in my eyes, I read it as Witches Protection Program and said, what a great title.

I then realized I goofed and it said Wetless, not Witches. What a silly idea. A government agency that protects witches. I turned the page to some story about Brangelina or whatever, and my eyes popped open. I turned the page back to Wetless. That’s it. I got my next book idea. Witches Protection Program.  I began creating the story that night and within a week of that fortuitous encounter in my master bathroom, I had a full beat sheet following the adventure of Wes Rockville and Morgan Pendragon.

Wes, the protagonist is dyslectic., why did you make that part of his character?

Perfect heroes are rarely heroes. Heroes must have flaws, tics, issues, that they must overcome. That’s what life is all about. We are all heroes and have to overcome the obstacles in life. I wanted people to identify with Wes and his struggles because we all have them. It really is that simple. If I would have made Wes into this beefy hunk that could solve a riddle by snapping his fingers, the readers wouldn’t identify with that. Wes has to have real human issues, and not being able to read is one of them.

Does Morgan Pendragon embrace her witch skills?

Well, you’d have to read the book to find out, but the short answer is YES.

Both the frog and gummy bat scene were hysterical if not a little mocking of magic. Why did you write them that way?

I have a wicked sense of humor and I wanted to incorporate everyday items that readers are familiar with (i.e. frogs, gummy spiders…etc…). I wanted readers to see the gummy worms come to life in their minds, to see Wes and Morgan shrink down to frogs to break into the Pendragon labs in Jersey. I wanted the readers to feel that if Wes and Morgan can go through this, they could as well. I didn’t want the magic to feel cheesy or fake. So I used real things to make it feel real to the readers.

If it was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main roles? Continue reading