Author Interview: Barry K. Nelson

101I am fresh off my blog tour and release party, that took my away from any Author Features in May. But I am ready to jump right back in with an author interview.  Today I have Barry K. Nelson, author of the McKenzie Files series. I am glad to have you here Barry.  Start by telling me a bit about yourself.

BKN: I currently live in Clairton PA. A small town in the Pittsburgh PA area. I’m 54 years old. Born on July 10th, 1959. My interests are X-box gaming, movies, gardning.

RF: When did you start writing?

BKN: I first started writing when I was in high school. I was always very good with it. On a professional level I started about fourteen years ago when I penned my very first novel.

RF Tell us about McKenzie Files.

BKN: McKenzie Files is the first book in a series. It’s a series of adventures involving my main character Colin McKenzie, Diane Christy, and Kelly Lytton. Three characters who are genetically engineered beings called Reploids. Reploids look human and blend into human society. Some Reploids are just like norman humans. But others, like my three charaters, have superhuman powers. My story takes place in the far future when a viral outbreak forces the human race to abandon Earth and seek a new home out in deep space. They establish an empire of colony worlds called the United Protectorate. After a while the United Protectorate makes contact wit ha hostile race of aliens called the Brelac, and a war breaks out. I like to think of mcKenzie Files as a cross betwen Star Wars and Marvel Comic’s X-Men.

RF:Who do you find to be a huge inspiration?

BKN: Rod Sterling, Steven King, Gene Roddenbury, Stan Lee.

RF: What are you reading right now?

BKN: As far as books are concerned nothing right now. But I do keep up with the new Marvel comics. Spider Man, Hulk, X-Men.

RF: What is the most embarrasing mistake that you’ve made as a writer?

BKN: I wouldn’t exacly call this a mistake. But a year ago I was invited to make a presentation on stage with a group of other writers. In spite of spending a full day rehersing what I wanted to say when my turn came up I only managed to get out twenty words or so. Then I had to walk off. That day the embarasment level was in the high numbers.

RF: What is the one thing that always gets in the way of your writing?

BKN: I’d have to say my addiction to my X-box games. And my overconfidence that I can get my work caught up the next day. At times the next day ends up being the next week.

RF: Are there any more projects that you’re working on? And when might we see them?

McKenzieFiles-coverFRONT150BKN: I’ve recently completed the third installment in my McKenzie Files series. Obliteration, McKenzie Files Book Three. I expect my publisher to complete their editing and release it soon. In the meantime I’m working on McKenzie Files Book Four. And I’m also wrking on a fully animated movie of my first book. I’m also starting work on a graphic novel. I’m trying to get all three projects done by the end of the year. I have a lot to keep me busy.

RF: What secrets would you share with aspiring writers?

BKN: Be persistent and don’t let rejections discourage you. And if you’re a first time writer then try to look for the smaller or new publishers to submit your work to. I found that you are least likely to be rejected.

RF: This is one of my favorite questions to ask writers. You’re throwing a fiction character party. What fictional characters would you like to invite? And why?

BKN: I’d like to invite Bruce Banner from the Hulk comic series. I think that it would be interesting conversing with a man who has such a destructive alter ego. But I’d keep him away from the booze. And possibly James Bond. Maybe he’d give me a few dating tips.

Alright, thanks so much to Barry for stopping by my blog. You can have one of my author features too.  They are free and a great way to let me help you spread the word on your books.  Find out more here: LINK


Author Interview: Nicholas Conley

I had taken a bit of a hiatus on Author Features.  With my move and the countless other projects I had, I got a little backed up.  But I’m back, and today I am interviewing Nicholas Conley, the author of The Cage Legacy.


RF: Why don’t you start by telling us about all about you?

4689f67df1a7c9828483081e1d310333NC: I’m an introverted, idealistic adventurer who is always in search of new experiences, new discoveries and new insights.

Writing is my life’s passion, and I’ve been putting words to the page since early childhood.  My 2012 debut novel, The Cage Legacy, was published by Post Mortem Press when I was 23 years old.  My novella Enslavement was featured in the anthology Road to Hell the year before that, and I’ve had almost 50 short story publications to date.  I’m currently working on three new novels, all of them in various stages of development.

RF: Since you already touched on it, tell us about The Cage Legacy.

paste8NC: Basically, The Cage Legacy is the story of a kid who has always thought he had the best father in the world…until one night, when he’s ten years old, the cops bust down the door and he finds out that dear old Dad is actually a horrifyingly brutal serial killer.  So now, that kid, Ethan Cage, is seventeen.  He’s going through the usual rites of passage – high school, alcohol, his first real relationship – but deep inside, he’s absolutely terrified about what kind of person he’s going to turn into.  If his dad, that great guy he always looked up, could secretly harbor a mutilated slew of corpses…it makes Ethan wonder, what kind of monster is waiting inside him?

So yes, it’s a story about inner darkness.  A story about what happens in the wake of a serial killer’s rampage.   A story about adolescence, about identity, about the demons lurking inside us.

But most of all, The Cage Legacy is about a father and son – and what happens when that sacred bond is torn to pieces.

RF: What inspired this idea?

NC: Honestly, what really inspired The Cage Legacy was my father’s death, back when I was only a teenager.  Losing a father at such a young age –especially when one has an amazing relationship with your dad, as I did – is a really traumatic, life-changing thing.  It shakes a person’s foundations, raises a lot of questions and forces the child to confront a lot of adult responsibilities that one isn’t necessarily ready for.  And like many teenagers, most of my high school years were spent struggling to forge my own identity, while making many mistakes along the way.

Though Ethan has a somewhat unique fatherly experience, what with his dad being a serial killer, I do believe that he is still an extremely relatable character.  His emotions are painfully real, his frustrations genuine, and I’ve had many readers tell me how much they connected to Ethan, because even if one hasn’t lost or become estranged from a parent,  the issues that Ethan faces are pretty universal – albeit, a bit more horrifying.

RF: What is the most embarrassing mistake you’ve made as a writer?

NC: Oh, God!  When I first starting submitting short stories to various literary magazines, anthologies and so on, I was about sixteen.  And  there was one time I sent a story to a magazine, but I accidentally wrote the cover letter out to the editor of an entirely different magazine.  Instant rejection!

RF: What is your favorite Quote?

NC: “All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane.” – George Orwell

RF: What is one of your favorite place in the world?

NC: I visited Iceland this last summer and was pretty damn impressed by it.  Aside from being astoundingly beautiful, Iceland has a fascinating culture and history.  Honestly, it feels like walking into another world.  Reykjavik is definitely one of the most interesting cities I’ve ever set foot in.

Of course, I’ll always have a deep, deep love for the southwestern United States.  I lived in Arizona for much of my childhood, and I’d imagine that the lifelong affection it gave me for ruddy, desert landscapes will probably stick with me for the rest of my life.


I want to thank Nicholas for stopping by my blog.  For more about him, check out Facebook, Twitter, and his website.  You can find The Cage Legacy on Amazon.

Author Interview: Amber Skye Forbes

943333_174661926027606_2038503183_nJoining me this month for an Interview is Amber Skye Forbes, author of When Stars Die.  Rather than let me do all the talking, we’ll dive right into the questions:

Tell us about yourself.

I consider myself a dancing writer because I do both ballet and write—not at the same time. I am also a student at August State University majoring in English with middle education, but I plan to drop that in favor of online courses and doing a degree in creative writing, as I have the opportunity to do two English internships in this degree. I am also engaged, have a cat I love, and parents, too, of course; play video games; read as much as I can; and I also love nature.

Tell us a little bit about your book.

When Amelia Gareth finds out her younger brother is a witch, she joins a convent to cleanse this taint form her family since witches are hated in her world and aren’t allowed the chance at Paradise, which is there version of heaven, when they die. However, she soon realizes there is no redemption for a witch, but is determined to find that redemption anyway. A dangerous attractive priest named Oliver Cromwell decides to help her with this conquest, and they are both determined to find a way into Paradise.

Where did you come up with this idea?

I just knew I wanted to write about witches and convents. I had an obsession with witches as a child, so I always knew I wanted to write about them, but I also knew I wanted to mine unique. I wanted my witches to exist as a punishment for the Seven Deadly Sins. I wanted my witches to be a blight upon mankind for the sins of those who are not witches. I also added the convent element because Amelia is a witch wanting to be a nun—she doesn’t find out she is a witch until a few chapters into the book. So the whole idea of a witch being in a convent fascinated me because it’s pure blasphemy.

Who did the cover art for your book?

Viola Estrella

Did you learn anything about yourself or your writing while working on this book?

Well, I learned that I am a very dark writer. I once tried to write a fantasy comedy, but that didn’t go over too well because I started to add some dark elements to it, so I just began to accept that I am a dark writer. I struggle with mental illness, so my mental illness often affects what I write.

When did you start writing and what made you start?

I started writing at the age of eight. It was during journal time that I found my love for writing. I just liked being able to put words on paper, and I suddenly had this fervent desire to start writing stories. It just sprang from nowhere. I suppose it was an innate thing that suddenly arose at that age, like I was born to do it.

What are you reading right now?

I am reading The Scriptlings by Sorin Suciu. It is a comedic contemporary fantasy. While I am not that far into it due to school and my own book release, it is an enjoyable read.

Besides the genre you write, what genres do you like to read?

I have been on a YA contemporary lit kick lately. I think it’s my favorite genre to read right now because it’s so real. I’ve been reading a lot of books about teens struggling with mental illness, and since I struggle with mental illness, it’s very relatable.

What is the most embarrassing mistake you’ve made as a writer?

The most embarrassing mistake as a writer was believing I was publishable ready at the age of 13. I desperately wanted to query this Harry Potter rip-off, but luckily I never did. I also never re-wrote it, thinking I didn’t need to. I thought that if I put all the work into a novel, why would I want to re-write it when I already worked so hard on it?

When you are not writing, what are you doing?

I attend school and play video games and watch anime. I’m also promoting my book as well by doing interviews and guest posts. I work a part-time job as well with Southern Siding as a Marketing Trainee. It’s a glorified title that basically means I try to get people to enter drawings and make appointments with homeowners. I also do ballet, which is probably the best thing I’ve ever started.

What is one thing about you most people find interesting (or unusual etc.)?

Most people seem to like the idea that I do ballet. Adults who wanted to do ballet are too embarrassed to do it because they’re afraid they’ll be bad at it, but I don’t care. I’m semi-descent and am going up in levels. I also do pointe work, so I don’t feel embarrassed about doing ballet, and I dance with kids.

Are there any more projects you are currently working on? Do you know when we might get to see those?

I am working on the sequel to When Stars Die titled Stars Will Rise. There will be a new protagonist in it, and you’ll hopefully be able to read it by next year. I am also working on a contemporary fantasy that I hope you’ll also be able to read next year. I am also outlining a YA contemporary literary novel that I hope to query to an agent or at least to a small press that can really work with this book.

What secrets would you share with aspiring authors?

Use your experiences in your writing. Having experiences in life often creates the best writing.

Name one author you’d love to meet and tell us why.

John Green. He is my favorite author right now. He’s the first author whose books I’m now on the look out for. I can’t wait to see what book he writes next.

You’re throwing a fiction character party.  What fictional characters would you like to invite (name and where they are from (book/TV/Movie/etc.) and why?

Gemma Doyle from A Great and Terrible Beauty. I love her character because her and I are alike. I would also like to invite Hazel Grace from The Fault in Our Stars because she’s real. She doesn’t gloss over her cancer and doesn’t make herself some poster child for it. Also, and this might be a little embarrassing, I’d like to invite Simba from The Lion King. The Lion King is my favorite book of all time, and I love that little character. I love how he is able to gain strength at the end of the movie in order to bring his kingdom back to how it was in the beginning.whenstarsdie-3-1

Thank you so much to Amber for stopping by today.  If you want to know more about her, please find her on Facebook or Twitter.  She also has a blog.  Her book, When Stars Die, is also available now on Amazon.

Author Spotlight: Greg McCabe

About the Author:

Greg McCabe is a proud Texan. He was born and raised in Midland, Texas, received a degree in Speech Communication from Texas A&M University, and currently resides in the Lone Star State. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Mandy, his daughter, Annabelle, and his dog, Walter, as well as traveling, sports, movies, reading, and writing. He enjoys all genres of fiction, but seems to gravitate towards horror and science fiction. The Undying Love is Greg’s first book.

 About the Book:

Final Front works

The Undying Love

Book Description:

For Diane and Jackson, life is just about perfect. They’re healthy, happy, and madly in love with one another. Unknown to them, a virus is sweeping across the globe that instantly kills the infected and turns their corpses into mindless, murdering cannibals. In short: zombies have taken over the planet.

Diane and Jackson find out about the epidemic the hard way when their wedding is crashed by friends and family who have succumbed to the virus. Now, fighting for survival, they’re faced with unthinkable decisions.

Follow their story across Southeast Texas as they meet unforgettable characters and face challenges that will put their love, and lives to the ultimate test.

Amazon Link

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Guest Post: The Horror of London by Aiden Truss

London figures large in my life. It is where I was born, it is where I have always worked and even though I now live in Kent, I live close enough that I can be back in the heart of the city within twenty minutes. Some of my favourite authors such as Peter Ackroyd, Neil Gaiman and Ben Aaronovitch have all written books that have engaged me primarily because they were set in London. While embracing the present, they have been able to pierce the veil and see into the city beneath the surface with its almost forgotten ghosts, and gods who struggle to maintain a foothold in the modern world.

So when it came to writing my first novel Gape, there was nowhere else that I could really think of setting it. Of course large parts are set in Hell and in other supernatural settings, but my home city had to play the biggest part. Like all major cities, London is magnificent, beautiful and endearing while at the same time managing to be terrifying, ugly and unwelcoming. And with the endless possibilities of its subterranean world, it’s the perfect backdrop for a horror story.

Starting off in the unremarkable suburb of Bromley (the birthplace of HG Wells), the story moves through the metropolis but for the most part avoids the usual tourist landmarks with which many authors love to colour their stories. Other than setting sections of the action on the roof of one of the capital’s most infamously ugly constructions, the specific locations weren’t important. I just needed to impart the feel of the city and the cold distractedness of its denizens. Indeed, the story had to be set in a place where the citizens were so used to the extraordinary that for the most part they are only interested in capturing the strange events that befall them, through the screens of their mobile phones. Walking around London, one does get the impression that if a demon appeared in the middle of the West End, people would fumble for their phones before they even thought about screaming in panic.

The city has been the scene of so many awesome (in the literal sense) events. It has seen several cataclysmic conflagrations, riots on its streets and explosions beneath them, and it has had repeated visits from various forms of pestilence and plague. In fact stories persist to this day that several sections of the Tube system had to be diverted during construction in order not to disturb any of the many ‘plague pits’ or mass graves beneath the city. And, if you are at a loose end in the East End, on most nights you can take part in one of the many walks that follow in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper.

London is the perfect home for a horror story and also a powerful metaphor for the human condition itself, with all of its contradictions and dichotomies, with its lovers and killers, heroes and villains and its angels and demons – any of whom might be sitting next to you on the next commute into town.

Perhaps this is why Londoners are known for their aloofness and lack of eye-contact. They just never know who or what they might be sharing a bus ride with. And, in this regard, perhaps Gape might serve more as a tourist guide than as a pure work of fiction…


AidenAuthor Aiden Truss:Gape_Front_Cover_Only_Final

Aiden Truss is a forty one year-old geek who still thinks that he’s twenty-one. Despite never having grown up, he’s now been married for twenty four years and has two sons who have grown up against all odds to be strangely well adjusted.

Aiden spends his time flitting between high and low culture: he holds an MA in Cultural and Critical Studies and can often be seen stalking the galleries and museums of London, but also likes watching WWE, listening to heavy metal music, collecting comic books and playing classic video games.

Aiden lives in Kent, England and Gape is his first novel.

Author Interview: Lane Kareska

LaneKareska_AuthorPhotoLane Kareska comes by the Flores Factor blog for an interview.  We have a lot to talk about so I will get right down to it.

We should start with the basic questions all interviews seem start with; tell us about yourself.

I’m a deeply and incurably nerdy Chicagoan, by way of Texas, who loves adventure fiction, thrillers, and all pulp material. I was born in 1983 right between the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I remember watching Raiders on VHS as a six or seven year old and somehow kind of being aware that it was changing me. Because of that and other art I’ve read, watched or absorbed over the years, I have a deep affinity for fiction (in any form) that has a plot. I like books where something happens, characters have goals, obstacles are faced, enemies destroy and are often themselves destroyed, etc.

My hope is that anyone who reads North Dark identifies the same sense of adventure, of enterprise, of momentum, that I responded to so strongly in Raiders.

Since you touched on it already, tell us a bit about your book.

North Dark is a straight up Dark Fantasy Adventure. What does that mean? I’m not really sure but there’s plenty of knife play and apocalyptic imagery. I would describe it as a revenge tale set in an arctic wasteland.

The central character is a young lawman named Two Crows who basically has his whole life stolen from him by a passing fugitive. Because of some pretty damaging violence enacted by himself and the fugitive, Two Crows finds himself totally dedicated to hunting the fugitive down and achieving his revenge.

The main thrust of the story is the hunt. But, as it goes in dark adventures, all things may not necessarily be as they seem.

So where did this idea come from?

This is kind of dark: It was a long-ass winter in Chicago and my dog, Charlie (whom I deeply loved), was slowly dying of kidney disease. Over the course of about six months (the length of that particular winter) I took Charlie and drove out to my dad’s secluded house in northwest Indiana every weekend. I took Charlie on walks through the frozen woods or iced-over beach, administered his dialysis, drank dark beer and wrote North Dark.

Looking back on it now, it is very clear to me that I was dealing with the fact that I knew my dog and best friend was going to die soon. As a result, the book—like that experience—is a swift and brutal venture towards the inevitable. It’s dark, violent, and pretty horrific, BUT: there is also the glimmer of love reflected throughout; the love of an animal who was so pure, so intelligent and so adventurous that he was above and beyond the silly little device of language.

Where are your favorite places to write?

I can’t write at home. I have to go out into the world. I write in bars, coffee shops, libraries, etc. I’m that guy camping out at Starbucks, nursing a single cup of coffee, occupying the electrical outlet.

What is the most embarrassing mistake you’ve made as a writer?

When I was sixteen, I somehow got it in my head that I would publish a novel, and that no other goal of mine could ever be more important. Sixteen. Unfortunately, deciding to be a writer, means having to write a lot of garbage to get to where you think you’re going.

As a sixteen year old, I wrote a novel about sixteen year olds. That probably qualifies as an enormous mistake. But a necessary one. What’s that Thomas Edison quote? “I haven’t failed; I’ve discovered a hundred ways that don’t work.” Or something like that. That’s a pretty good summation of trying to write fiction. You do your best, even though you know it sucks, and you just slog through it. It probably takes about ten years of shoveling excrement, but eventually you’ll get to something that works, something that speaks to you and maybe even others.

If I hadn’t written that book about sixteen years old, I wouldn’t have gotten to the next thing, and the next thing, on and on down the line, and eventually: North Dark.

When and why did you start writing?

Story has always been central to my life. Anyone who knows me will tell you I can’t perform basic math, so I think my brain tried to overcompensate by focusing wholly on the qualitative. It sounds kind of corny but it’s the absolute truth: my earliest memories are of being read to by my mom, and not just books for infants or whatever, but also The Hardy Boys, The Boxcar Children, etc.

Because of that, story has just always been the way in which I process life. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me.

I probably started writing in kindergarten or first grade. I was recently digging through some old boxes and found little picture books and comic books I’d written as a five and six year old. They’re kind of incoherent but I’m pretty sure I was trying to write detective and spy fiction; stuff all informed by Alfred Hitchcock Presents reruns that my parents let me watch for some reason.

Besides Fantasy, what do you like to read?

I love spy fiction for the same reasons I love fantasy. There’s a plot, something happens, characters venture, people die, succeed, lie, ensnare, outsmart, defeat, are defeated and more. I do read naturalistic lit, but I’m just not drawn to that genre as much as I am work that features a blade or a gun. If I’m reading something without physical stakes, I’m probably not as engaged as I have been by X-Men cartoons or Resident Evil videogames. And maybe that’s really adolescent of me, but that’s okay. Adolescence is maybe a good thing to try to hold onto. That’s an age where you’re just on fire all the time, and everything is really important, and you actually feel actively engaged with life and art. At that age, art—in any form—really matters, it matters more than your life at home, or your extracurricular activities, it certainly matters more than your school life. Or it did for me.

Besides writing, how do you fill your time?

I work too much. I have a day job that is pretty consuming. I remember being on a plane one time with a coworker, we were making small talk and he asked what I do in my free time, I said that I wrote. He said that he used to love to read and write fiction but had to give it up as he got older. He asked how I had the time. The answer is that I don’t.

I really don’t have the time to write. But I still do it. As a result, things get cut out. My social life ebbs and flows depending on what I’m working on. My girlfriend is incredibly tolerant of my weird schedule. If it’s important, you’ll find a way to be defensive of the time that is required.

But also, I love to travel (and travel always counts as prewriting). I’ve been to Europe, South America, Central America, the Middle East. My next trip is to Budapest and Vienna. I’ll be doing a lot of prewriting there, even though it will only look like drinking beer and walking around.

You’re throwing a fictional character party.  Who would you like to invite, and why?NorthDark_Cover_Final

Cool question! James Bond (from the novels, not any particular screen iteration), Darryl from The Walking Dead, Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit, Tony Soprano from The Sopranos, and Vesper Lynd from Casino Royale (as played by Eva Greene).

Bond because he’d be the life of the party. Darryl because I’m a redneck at heart, and he and I would probably get along. Bilbo because he’s exactly the kind of spry, winking storyteller that would just enchant a room. Tony because he knows how to have a good time. And Vesper Lynd for reasons unnecessary to articulate.


I’d like to thank Lane for coming by for the interview.  You can find Lane on Twitter @LankeKareska and you can check out his book North Dark.

Author Spotlight: d.k.snape

About d.k.snape:

dksnape_PhotoI grew up in a small town just north of Toronto. I always had a vivid imagination. Ask my mother. It’s not that I don’t like to tell the truth. But isn’t the world a brighter place when fairies and aliens populate the local neighborhood? Being an intelligent, non-girlie girl, I didn’t fit in well with my peers. Instead I found books! I read everything I got my hands on. And I mean everything. I contracted some ugly balance-affecting disease at twelve. Stuck in bed for months, my family and neighbours rallied, bringing me books of all kinds once I finished the encyclopedia and dictionary, cover to cover. They just wanted me happy. And quiet. But boredom struck. You can’t just read all the time, I tried copying some of my favorite stories, embellishing them as I saw fit. And one day, I wrote one of my own, all by myself. Personally thought I’d done a good job. When it didn’t receive rave reviews from my family, I decided to try harder, not give up and leave it to the experts like my parents wanted. I’m finally ready for the world to decide.

 The Book:

Book Description:

We believe in life on other planets. We believe they visit us from time to time. What if life also evolves in the vast empty space between galaxies, among the very stars themselves? What would it look like? What would you do if it showed up in our skies?

Marnie is your average teenager. She goes to school every day, hangs out with her friends, and tries to stay out of trouble. One morning, while suffering through another boring class, her world is turned upside down when two intergalactic strangers come to collect her.

And it’s not just Marnie’s world, but her whole family’s too. It seems that random kids and their moms and dads have also been scooped up and taken to the hidden mountain valley far from their homes. No one knows why they’ve been selected or what’s really going on…


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Book Review: Andes Aura by Ryan Sullivan

AURABIGWhen Ryan Sullivan contacted me about Andes Aura, it was the book description that hooked me on this book.  I like a good fantasy story, and this sounded like it would be a great one to read.  So naturally as soon as I had room in by “to read” list, I jumped on the chance to read this.

Andes Aura follows a Eoin and Saera (brother and sister) who are living by themselves.  Saera has been given an Aura, a power that she doesn’t really want anymore.  Because she has this power, she is exiled and persecuted.

The world here is well thought out, though not well explained.  But you learn as you go, and for some readers that is far better that being “told” how the world works.  But for me, I found myself having to guess, only to find out I was wrong later.  But the rules for this world are consistent, and the world is believable.

I liked Eoin, Saera, and some of the other characters.  But others, such as the Queen and the Thief King were not very well thought out and I found some of their behavior to be plot driven and odd.

Saera was my favorite character, I really enjoyed the way she grew as a character.  Of all the characters she was the most believable, the most loveable, and seemed to have the most at stake.

The plot and story of this book are very well thought out and there is depth to the story.  There is certainly things going on behind the scenes. The story was something that made me really want to press on and find out what happens to Saera.

The prose on the other-hand was hard for me to read. I found the writing style to be over explanatory in some spots where short text would have been better and short passages where more information was needed.  I didn’t like a lot of the dialogue.  Some of it felt forced.  In some parts I felt as if the characters were speaking to me the reader, rather than to each other.

There were several spots where I had to stop reading just to rest my mind from the writing style.  But the story kept calling to me so I had to go back to finish it.  I realized that the story made up for some of the plot short falls.

The book is $2.99 on Kindle, and that is probably a pretty fair price for a fantasy book.  Though after reading it, I would probably only want to pay $1.99 for it.  I wouldn’t recommend getting the paperback, unless you just don’t do eBooks.

Ryan Sullivan is going to get to be a great author.  He certainly has the skills to be phenomenal.  The prose could use a little polish but after a buff and a shine, this book is pretty good.  Story and Characters are what makes this a decent story.

About Ryan Sullivan:

Website/BlogRyan Sullivan



Amazon Links: Paperback / Kindle




*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Guest Post: About Ragesong Awakening by J. R. Simmons

JR_BioPictureOne of the things I like best about writing is how fluid and ever-changing it can be.  Some authors I have visited with will sit down and write up an outline that they stick to religiously, and that works for them. When I start writing, however, it is with a completely open mind.  I have a vague idea about where I will eventually end up, but the journey is always wide open.  Creating that journey is what I enjoy most about fictional writing.

When I am involved in non-writing activities such as running or swimming, I take the time to think about major plot points, or how I’d like to develop certain characters, but I usually steer clear from thinking about immediate events.  For me, those events come most naturally when I am sitting down writing and the ideas are flowing.

Some of my favorite moments in Ragesong: Awakening were spur of the moment ideas.  I do not want to reveal too much here, because I don’t want to spoil anything for those who have not yet read the book (if you have, leave a comment and I would love to get in touch), but the most exciting, and in my mind, funniest things that happened were added without forethought.  There are few things that allow me to completely open up my mind the way writing can.

As an avid reader and video gamer from a young age, my mind was already trained to accept the fantastical.  Growing up, my favorite games always revolved around the Final Fantasy series (and I am ALWAYS up for a good FF conversation, anytime) and my favorite authors have always been fantasy writers: David Eddings, Orson Scott Card, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin, and more recently Brandon Mull (you will notice that J.R.R. Tolkien is not on this list).  As wonderful as those books were, I didn’t realize the difference of exploring someone else’s vision vs. completely creating my own until I started writing for myself.  The limits of what could happen in my book were only set by what I could imagine.

I was glad for the rich backgrounds of the books I read and the games I played because they helped me to open up my mind to what Fermicia could really look like.  One of my favorite worlds ever created was the world of Spira from Final Fantasy X.  The world looked fantastic and welcomed the player in with open arms.  I talk a lot about worlds, but you’ll notice in my book, that I leave a lot up to the reader.  When I play, I love to explore awesome backgrounds, but when I read, I like things to happen.  This was one of the reasons I really struggled with Tolkien.  The man’s ability to describe was magical, but I didn’t have patience for it.  I wanted things to happen, battles to take place, romances to evolve, etc.  I have since found that this is how I write as well.

Ragesong: Awakening is a book of action; things happen and events take place.  Having younger protagonists, this was easy to do.  There is no need to worry much about romance with such young teens (for now anyway), so I was able to focus on their character development and set them up for the rest of the series.  Jake and Sam were a pleasure to work with, both having come from overwhelmingly different backgrounds that forced them to adapt to a new world in vastly different ways.

I love the opportunities and experiences that writing has opened up.  Now that I have had the opportunity to create a world of my own, I find myself looking at things a little differently in real life.  I seem to find  magic in things that I took for granted before.  I am truly enjoying the new places Jake and Sam are visiting, the new experiences that they are having, and the new people they are meeting in book two.  It has been so much fun to see how they respond to new situations as they grow.

I am so thankful for the many people who have helped Ragesong get to where it is today and all the readers who have enjoyed the book and demanded more.  I can’t wait to share the next book with everyone, so that people everywhere can continue the exciting journey in Fermicia.

Author Interview: Michel Vamrell

Today, Michel Vamrell stops by for a little question and answer session.

RF: Tell us about yourself.

MV: I am an artists, creator, and dreamer.   I love to create things, and dream up things.  I am also a very physical person.  I enjoy hiking, riding bikes, and walking.  I love sports and staying active.  I have a husband that I love and adore.  He and I have two girls.  One is from his first marriage and our youngest is our creation.  I am the youngest of my family, and I have an older brother and an older sister.  I do come from a creative family.  My mother and brother are both artists.  However, my mother stopped drawing in painting in her early thirties.  As for my brother, he still paints today, but as a hobby.  I was raised in Robinson Il.  But, I was not a popular child and couldn’t keep friends in my early teenage years.  I love watching movies, and my favorite genre is horror.

RF: Tell us a bit about your book.

MV: My book is called The Full Moon Slayer, and it is a trilogy.  Or what I call it Alice’s Trilogy of Horror.  The book is about a woman by the name of Alice Blake and her family moving to a new life, but there are unexplained deaths where her family moved to.  And her life changes forever. 

RF: Where did you come up with this idea?

MV: Well, my husband and I were talking one late night about one of my childhood neighbors.  And my mom had mentioned to me once before about how very odd this child was and violent.  And I was telling my husband about this child, and I asked what if he grew up and became a serial killer.  Also, what if we lived next to him?  So then, right after that the first idea of “The Neighbor” was created.  But, it changed and morphed into now “The Full Moon Slayer”

RF: Besides the genre you write, what genres do you like to read?

MV: Honestly, I really do not read many books.  I am a watcher, observer, and doer.

RF: Who do you find to be a huge inspiration for your writing? And why is that?

MV: I would have to say two people.  One was and still is my mom.  She allowed me to watch all those horror movies and pushed me to get my book published.  The other is my love and my muse, my husband.  I didn’t even start writing stories until I meet him.  I did have a few stories in my head.  But, when I meet him and made up “The Full Moon Slayer” with him, it awakened something in me.  Before, I meet him all I thought of myself was an artist not a writer.

RF: Are there any more projects you are currently working on? Do you know when we might get to see those?

MV:  I am working on the second part of “The Full Moon Slayer” called Nightmares: Alice’s Trilogy of Horror.  And I think the book maybe out by Easter 2014 or the Summer of 2014 the latest.

Thank you so much to Michel for stopping by and participating in my interview.  If you would like to find more about Michel, you can find her on Facebook.  Or you can find her book here.