Monday, December 10, 2018

A Time for Vengeance

If your looking for a good YA book to add to a teen's kindle this Christmas. Try out A Time for Vengeance by Nathaniel Wyckoff. A new release I just had the pleasure of reading.

Simon Mendez has an anger problem, and he’s about to unleash his fury on the Spanish Inquisition.
The Mendez family is on top of the world. An upper-class family in 17th century Spain, they live a secret life – outwardly Catholic by all accounts, but desperately worried that, someday, someone will discover the Jewish traditions that they practice behind closed doors.
Everything comes crashing down when the Inquisition arrests Simon's father. Incensed, Simon must retaliate with everything he’s got. With his father set to be burned at the stake and a sadistic hometown eager to see it happen, Simon has no time to lose. It will take his sharp wit, brutal weapons and raw courage to strike back hard at the Inquisition - before it’s too late.

The first in the series, I gave the book 4 out of 5 Stars.
A time for vengeance is the first book in Nathaniel's new series. It follow's the life of Simon Mendez and his family. Being Jewish in Spain is a death sentence. Simon and his family must hide their beliefs from those around them. When Simon's father is accused of being holding secret Jewish classes, Simon's world is turned upside down, leaving the rest of his family homeless and in hiding. Simon must figure out how to take care of his family, while trying desperately to save his father as he weighs the importance of being true to himself. Definitely one to add to the kindle.

I'm looking forward to the coming adventure's of Simon. Give A Time for Vengeance a try and let me know what you thought.  Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Who doesn't like a little something Free

Today Patrick McNulty's first book in his Monster series is Free.  A great addition to any kids reading list this year. And Adult too for those Middle Grade Adult lovers like myself.  Just click on the link to claim your free copy:)  Also don't forget to take the time to post a review. It will make any author's day!

The children of Cripple Creek have been kidnapped!
When school buses loaded with kids go missing, the Ministry of Monsters (MOM) send their top agents, thirteen-year-old monster hunter Milo Jenkins and his ghostly sidekick, Ruby, to investigate. 
Armed with magical tools of the trade and the latest in futuristic gadgets, Milo and Ruby find themselves up against an evil mastermind determined to transform the good people of Cripple Creek into an unstoppable army of monsters!
Monster Factory is the first book in the action-packed Milo Jenkins: Monster Hunter series. If you like heart-racing action, cool gadgets, witty heroes, evil villains and stories full of things that go bump in the night, then you’ll love Monster Factory!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Interview with Patrick McNulty

Today I'd like to welcome author Partick McNulty. Tell us a little about yourself.  

Well, I grew up in Southern Ontario, Canada and I've always been a fan of dark, twisted fiction. I went to Vancouver Film School and worked with the production company called the Zanuck Co. on a script of mine called Dark Season. When that deal dissolved I converted the script into a novel called Sleepers Awake that I eventually sold to Kunati Press. About a year later Kunati Press went out of business and since then I have been writing screenplays and I have self-published a novel called The Blood Singer. As for a day job I was a medic in the Canadian Army for five years and now I am a police officer.  

That's too bad about your publisher going out of business. It's hard to have to start over again. Self publishing is a great option. What got you into writing?

I grew up in an age without the internet so streaming and Youtube were out, so I read. I loved Stephen King and Dean Koontz and Clive Barker growing up.

Which do you prefer: print books or ebooks?

I prefer print books when I'm at home but having all the digital books on my phone is super convenient and I find I get more reading done on my phone waiting in line than I usually get done at home.

Patrick, have you been given any helpful advice?

The greatest advice I've been given as a writer is that if you love writing and want to succeed, keep writing. Success always seems impossible but if you stick to it and keep learning you can accomplish any goal. And with the online communities out there to offer help every step of the way there really is goal you can't achieve if you are persistent . 
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

Currently, what are you working on?

Currently, I'm working on the Milo Jenkins: Monster Hunter series. My plan is to release a new book every month once the first one is out in stores. The first three are nearly completed, so I should be publishing the first one, Monster Factory shortly.

Wow, a book a month is ambitious.  Best of Luck. Tell us a little bit about your main characters.

My main character is a thirteen year old orphan named Milo Jenkins. He has been raised by the Ministry of Monsters (MOM) to be a monster hunter. He attends a private school of sorts called the Wychwood Academy where he learns all the tricks of the trade. While there he is assigned a partner, Ruby Sinclair. She is a ghost that helps him by collecting intelligence and assisting him while he is in the field on a mission.

Patrick, what did you find to be the easiest part of the writing process?  What is the hardest?

The easiest part of the writing process is the rough draft.  I love it because I can write really fast and not have to worry too much about grammar and punctuation, and all that jazz. The editing and proofreading is the hardest part for me. That is the only part of the job that feels like work, but in the end the work gets polished and refined and it really is crucial to the writing process.

Do you have people read your drafts before you publish?  How do you select beta readers?

I do have a Alpha Beta Reader, which is my wife. I've written rooms full of scripts and short stories and novels and she has always been there to give me an honest, straight forward critique. I love her but she's brutal. If it works for her – happy day, if it doesn't she will let me know about with both barrels.  After I get her stamp of approval I pass it along to my beta readers who have graciously agreed to offer me some early comments and suggestions. I have a link at the top of my website: www.patrickmcnulty.cawhere you can sign up to be part of my ARC Team and so far they have been phenomenal.

Brutal is my favorite kind of beta reader.  Better to find out before you publish is my thought. Who designed the artwork for your cover?  Or did you design it yourself?  did the artwork for my covers but I knew what I was looking for. Like any good service, the more information and feedback you give them the better the end result. I would highly recommend 100covers and I am using them for all of my Milo Jenkins covers.

What brought about the idea for your book?

Well, I love monster stories and I loved the format/length of the middle grade books. Like all my books I try to write books that I would want to read, and sometimes I get discouraged with a book that's too long. Most times I want a book that I can finish in a day. So I tend to write without a lot of fluff and like Elmore Leonard says, 'leave out the stuff people skip over.' 

Try it out and download it for FREE on December 4th & 5th at Amazon.

Thanks so much for sharing with us today. Happy Reading!! Be sure to check out more from Patrick at the links below.

But the book is wide on every platform as of December 1st.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone had a great thanksgiving and was able to spend it with family and friends. 

Be careful out there if you are venturing out to do Black Friday Shopping. I prefer to do mine online.

Don't forget to pickup a copy of Sunwalker only .99cents ebook today.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Happy Veterans Day

Thank you to everyone past and present who has served our country and sacrificed to keep this country's freedoms intact. I am especially grateful for the service of many of my relatives who have and continue to serve in various branches of our armed forces. May God bless you all and keep you safe.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Don't forget to vote!

Tomorrow is Voting Day! If you didn't make it out to early voting than tomorrow is your last chance. Every vote counts. Remember to get your voice heard. Thank you for all those who have fought so valiantly and brave to give us this right and protect this right.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Interview with Alice Gent Author of The Fox & the Train

Today I'd like to welcome Alice Gent! Tell us a little about yourself.
Hello! I live in Bristol, England, where I work as a small animal veterinary surgeon. Though I have previously treated tigers, penguins and snakes, I have to say that dogs are my favourite animal to work with! I have always been dog obsessed and own a cuddly, adventurous Labrador called Summer, who comes to work with me every day. She can always bring me back to my cheerful self, no matter how long and stressful the day is. I also live with my husband, Sam, who has to put up with the various sick animals I bring home (mainly pigeons…) as well as reading every story I write multiple times.  We are currently expecting our first child in December and we have told him firmly he’s not allowed to arrive too close to Christmas!

I have written stories for as long as I can remember. The first full length novel I wrote at 11 was about a magician’s apprentice who was bad at magic. Then throughout my teenage years I wrote epic fantasy after epic fantasy and my poor parents had to read through everyone, even when they went over 200,000 words! As a child I was badly dyslexic and struggled with sentence structure and spelling to the extent that many of my early stories were illegible until I typed them up. It took me much longer then all the other children in my class to both write and type, but I just loved to tell stories and ignored the criticisms and when people told me I was ‘stupid’ I decided to not believe them. Slowly I developed techniques to get around my dyslexia and now it never holds me back.

I still spend a lot of my free time writing and am so excited about my second book coming out at the end of October! It’s called ‘The Fox and the Train’ and is a fairytale like adventure for confident eleven year olds upwards. Don’t be put off adults, it’s for you as well!

I love middle grade fiction. I think it's the perfect genre. I can read it to my kids and still enjoy it myself. Will you share a short excerpt from your novel with us?

Anna stands, and it feels as if she is made of snow. She can’t distinguish between her body parts. She feels so light she might drift away in a spiralling dance. Yet her limbs creak and crackle like when you put weight on a fresh snowfall. They hold her up unsteadily. She looks like snow as well, white and unblemished. Just her hair shines with autumnal fire.

She drifts out into the wood. For some reason she’s not scared. She feels like she is meant to be there. She stretches out her arms and laughs, swirling in the moonlight, a dancer of snow and flame.

Suddenly she stops, realising she has an observer. It’s there, bright eyes, auburn fur, a smile, then it’s gone. Anna releases her breath, aware that this moment is special, important. She runs after it, not caring that her feet are just in socks, for she feels as if she is barely touching the ground. It disappears into the undergrowth and to Anna’s amazement, the brambles seem to part for her as she flies after it, giving her a trail. She runs like a deer across the frozen mud, her heart pounding with the chase.

Suddenly it’s there in front of her. Or rather he is. She stops sharply and falls to her knees. The Spirit King stares at her and her perception shatters. She gasps and all she can see is his eyes. They are green like the first spring buds bursting with life. There is so much energy there she can’t comprehend them. Her mind is frozen. His eyes are lowlighted with blackest soot and are surrounded by flames. His fur is alive with fire, shimmering and glowing. He is terrifying yet wonderful. All of Anna’s life falls away as ash. Nothing she has ever seen or felt compares to this. This majesty and wisdom. This balance of life and death.

“Why are you here?” he says. His words are both warm and cold. Commanding and gentle. Terrifying and yet alive with hope.

From somewhere within, Anna finds her courage and her voice. “I must rescue my brother, Michael. He’s in trouble in the mines.”

The Spirit King regards her as if listening to a hundred parts of her crying out. Anna bows her head, feeling like she is lacking under his scrutiny. It’s as if the fox’s fur is dimming in response as he sieves through her. She is not enough. She never is enough to stop everything happening around her. She is so weak, she just makes situations worse. But, no, this time she has to be good enough! She refuses to be weak, to be insufficient. She is all she is and that has to be enough to save her brother.

Alice, what brought about the idea for this book?

‘The Fox and the Train’ is meant to feel like a fairytale with a loose setting and time, so the reader can transfer it to many places, but it aims to give the feel of northern Europe in the early 1900s. It’s about a thirteen year old girl called Anna who has an overactive imagination. She lives with her grandma and together they care for her mother who has advanced dementia. Anna is very lonely and when her older brother is trapped in a mining accident, she is determined to save him, even though the adults say it is impossible.

Anna’s best friend is Benny, who is autistic and bullied by the rest of their village. He likes to break everything he experiences down to simple logic so struggles with Anna’s imagination. Together they have to learn to overcome their differences and gain enough courage to make it through the huge forest to the site of the mine to rescue Anna’s brother.

A magical fox appears to help them on their way… or does he?

I have always been intrigued by how people can see the world in completely different ways, yet learn to get along, especially cold logic vs imagination or spiritualism. I really wanted to explore this in Anna and Benny. I have also always loved stories were you’re never quite sure what is real and what is not. I look forward to hearing your own explanation for whether the Spirit King really exist.

I also wanted to explore what bravery looks like. We so often undervalue acts of extraordinary bravery due to  their unflashy nature, such as Anna caring for a mother with dementia, or due to the people who perform them, such as autistic Benny being forever overlooked, yet easily the bravest person in the whole book. Hence one of the catchphrases of the story being ‘Perhaps bravery looks different from what you think.’

I was also inspired by some of the beautiful prose of two middle grade books, the classic ‘Earthsea’ series, and the recent ‘Girl of Ink and Stars’ (sometimes called ‘The Cartographer's Daughter’ in US editions). So many books for younger teenagers have such simple language and I wanted to attempt to echo the beauty of the magical language that made me love reading in the first place. Language so beautiful that it sends shivers up your spine. Maybe one day I’ll get there.

Sounds like an intriguing story line. Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would love to have published at least four more books by then. Hopefully I can control myself and stick to two genres! (Though I am very tempted to write some veterinary inspired ones!) I look forward to seeing how my writing changes with a little baby around!

Over your writing career have you been given any helpful advice? If so, what?

Never stop writing. No matter how successful you are or how many people read what you have written, if you love it, don’t let anyone put you off. It’s amazing how much my writing style has changed over the years of practice and how much it has helped me order my thoughts for logical arguments and beat my dyslexia. I would never give it up.

That's great advice and I think it can be applied to any dream, even if it's not writing. Currently, what are you working on?

I have recently finished a young adult fantasy called ‘The Flawed Princess’ which is a magical slow burn romance. I am very excited about seeing where it goes. It is currently being assessed by publishers. I am hoping to follow it with a similar book this coming year.

Most of my time is being spent on my next Christian fiction. It is called ‘Leaving’ and is a sequel to ‘Sarah’s Footsteps’ but can be read separately. It is written for Christians graduating from University looking at how to deal or support others with doubt, depression, loneliness, and the shock of being an independent adult! I’m finding this book very hard to write, partly because it is so emotional, partly because the plot won’t behave, but hope to finish it in 2019.

What has been the best compliment you have received?

I was blown over by most of my reviews for ‘Sarah’s Footsteps’. One of them said it was their favorite book of the year. I already have some lovely feedback filtering in for ‘Fox and the Train’ from ARC copies.

Naomi Gibson (shortlisted author for the 2017 Yeovil Literary Prize) said on 'The Fox and the Train,' "I found the novel to be a beautiful cross between THE SNOW CHILD by Eowyn Ivey (a fairy tale retelling) and THE GIRL OF INK AND STARS by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave, where a young girl goes on an adventure but with a volcano as opposed to a forest. I thought the mix was wonderful."

I loved that compliment since ‘The Girl of Ink and Stars’ had been the style and feel I had been aiming for. The Snow Child was also such a beautiful book. It was an honour to be compared to them both.

It's nice when your vision translates into your work. Do you have people read your drafts before you publish?  How do you select beta readers?

A professional copy editor reads my novels and she is invaluable. However the first person who always gets to read my books is my mum, because I’m always too embarrassed to let anybody else see the initial mistakes! The amount of times a minor character has changed names halfway through and I’ve not noticed! Nobody spots plot holes and typos better than my mum, who is a linguist and ex-lawyer. I then give the novel to a team of five or so beta readers who are also good friends. I have two seperate teams, one Christians to read my Christian fiction, and one fantasy obsessed to read my young adult fantasy and speculative fiction. I really couldn’t do this without their blunt and honest criticism and encouragement. I’m always up for having more beta readers, however, if anyone else wants to join a team!

I agree a great team is invaluable. I am always shocked at how many authors don't use them. I couldn't survive without mine. Who designed the artwork for your cover?  Or did you design it yourself?

The cover was designed by my friend and fellow author, Annie Welton. She is a professional photographer and artist and also took my wedding photos. I think she did a wonderful job capturing the beauty and magic of the story.

You can see her facebook page here:

How do you handle criticism when it comes to your writing?

If I feel like they have a point, I try to learn from it. If not, I’m happy to accept that everyone is allowed different tastes and preferences. Luckily I’ve not had any reviews that were just mean or rude! I’m slowly learning to grow a thick skin, even though my writing is deeply personal to me. 

Is there something you learned from writing your first book?

Sooo many things. Silly little things such as not using as many ‘!’ as I would in texts, emails, and conversational writing. (As soon as my publisher pointed them out I couldn’t believe how many I naturally put in!) (Yes I do feel one was justified at the end of that sentence.)

‘Sarah’s Footsteps’ was closely modeled on my own experiences at Bristol University and that of my friends. I’ve found it so interesting talking to my readers who are students there and how differently some of them have viewed their experiences to me. Half my readers have said it’s mirrored their experiences and world view scarily accurately, while others have said they were amazed people could see Uni that way. I’m always amazed to learn more and more how complex people are.

Alice, any last words?

Thank you so much to S.T Sanchez for hosting me.

I am always happy to be contacted by readers on goodreads or through my facebook page, so do drop me a line if you have any other questions.

It's been a pleasure Alice. Be sure to check out more about Alice and her works at the sites below. Happy Reading!!