Interview with Author Wendys Donuts

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

 

Growing up I was always inclined more towards science and engineering. In fact I almost failed my English classes a couple of times in high school. Even in college I studied Mechanical Engineering.

 

But I’ve always been a fan of telling stories and coming up with outlandish jokes to make my friends laugh. It was my love of telling stories that first drew me into trying to put some of them down on paper and flex my writing muscles.

 

2) What inspired you to write your book?

 

The inspiration for The Sweetness Run came from my fraternity brothers and our fantasy football group chat. We constantly fire jabs at each other and often joked about what would happen if anybody ever saw the things that were said on the group chat.

 

I really wanted to come up with something to showcase the silliness of our friend group and give an idea of how close we are after all these years. The book started out as a few jokes sent across on the group chat and quickly ballooned into a full story.

 

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

 

When people read The Sweetness Run I would like readers to first have a good laugh. Even if they get nothing else from the book, as long as they have a couple of laughs I’m happy.

I would also really like to give the reader a deep look into the stereotype of a post-college man-child and hope they relate to some of the mundane struggles Jason has to contend with everyday. The idea being that when these seemingly small catastrophes take place in our daily lives it’s not the end of the world. We can always persevere through them, especially if you have a few friends to call in for support.

 

Lastly I really want readers to get an idea of the way guys bond together and how life is always better when you have your boys around you. Jason’s day always gets better when he’s around his friends.

 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

 

I’ve always been interested in comedy. Stand up specials, comedy fiction, movies, podcasts, etc. You name it I love it. Not only that, I feel that joking around is the glue for a good friendship or relationship in general. If you’re not laughing with each other then what is the point?

 

My love for comedy and laughter is what kept me going and kept the ideas flowing when I was writing The Sweetness Run.

 

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

 

I really like this question

 

I would love to sit down with The Wizard. Even though he has a small part in the book he is a big part of the glue that holds everyone together. I would love to ask him where he got a poster of Courage the Cowardly Dog. I’ve personally always wanted a poster like that. The Wizard seems to have some pretty weird stuff floating around his house so I’d also love to get an idea of who he uses as a decorator.

 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

 

Facebook and Instagram have been the most useful for me.

 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

 

My advice would be to always keep writing. It’s very important to write a little bit everyday even when you feel nothing of value is being written. What I found is that if you just keep writing a little bit every day that first draft will come up in no time. Then comes the fun of editing and refining your story.

 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

 

I have a few different projects I’m working on. The first is The Wendys Donuts Report, which is a blog aimed at giving readers funny articles and outlandish solutions to problems that are seemingly unimportant but in reality, they are vital.

 

After that I have a few short stories I would like to release followed by part two of The Sweetness Run. Let’s not forget that her Majesty The Sweetness has to be rescued at all costs

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The Wall – Volume One by Some Guy Review

I received a free copy of this book from Book Reviews 4 You in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A brutal look into the mindset of lifelong soldiers and the destructive road to villainy and bloodlust that can overcome the best of humanity comes to fruition in the hit graphic novel The Wall – Volume One by Some Guy. Here’s the synopsis:

A fast paced, sci-fi / fantasy graphic novella that explores the grey areas of the human conscience as it relates to honor, relationships, spirituality, and moral code. Forge (a.k.a. Gunns), the former leader of the UN’s elite task force now finds himself and his devoted crew doing “muscle” work for the current President of the United States. Things get complicated when he meets a man who challenges his current motivations and Gunns must choose between his team or what he believes in. Which wall will fall first? Read volume one to find out…

This intense novella explores the morality of war and the soldiers who fight it. What happens when a lifelong soldier is reduced to a mercenary, fighting not for honor or glory but for himself and his crew? Forge must navigate the corrupt halls of power he finds himself in as he works for a now corrupt President who has built a massive wall on the Mexico/US border, (sound familiar?). This story shows both the good and bad of being a soldier during times of war, and how doing the right thing can come with extreme consequences.

The story was well written, giving audiences a deep dive look into the horrors of war while implementing fun supernatural and horror based elements to create a one of a kind story. The imagery and graphic novel twist on the novella are unique and vivid, and is reminiscent of the graphic novels such as Outcast or Preacher. This is a must read novella that everyone should check out, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of The Wall – Volume One by Some Guy today!

Rating: 7/10

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Right Now by Sarah Baethge Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A private investigating firm finds themselves in the middle of a strange phenomena in author Sarah Baethge’s novel Right Now. Here’s the synopsis:

Lilly Aldern finds herself without a job,so she is hired to work as a secretary for her brother and his partner. When investigating the workings of an aerospace company, Legacy Towers, they come across a strange man named Joe that should have his own knowledge of their workings; yet his memory of the past has somehow been almost completely taken away.

Strangely, this seems to have enabled a brief glimpse of the future for him.

This short read was a great way to delve more into the works of author Sarah Baethge. With her recent release The Illumination Query, it was fun to explore the creative force behind that novel in this short story. Exploring a unique twist on the time travel/seeing the future storyline, we get to see a man who’s memories are replaced with visions of the future, and one person’s struggle to accept that reality. It was full of strong imagery, and left things on a cliffhanger of sorts that begged for more story to be told.

Overall I loved the story. It was a very quick read, but is worth the purchase if you’re looking for a quick, gut-punch of a science fiction thriller. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Right Now by Sarah Baethge today!

Rating: 10/10

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The Illumination Query by Sarah Baethge Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A simple tale of a zoo keeper takes a dark turn in author Sarah Baethge’s novel The Illumination Query. Here’s the synopsis:

A surreal romp about a dissatisfied zookeeper’s endeavor to contemplate his toxic new allies as they create an terrible situation for his unintended enemy to grapple with.

—-

What makes someone a monster? 

The zookeeper Ronald Carpenter needs help recovering his escaped charges and is grateful when the secretive Eclipse company steps in to help. Little does Ronald know just how nefarious a company they really are and why they have such expertise in taking unwilling subjects captive. Can their offer of a higher salary make him leave a job he loves and help them do what he feels is just wrong?

Nigel Hunter’s experiment in an Eclipse lab looks like it could enable incredible movement powers. Intrigued with the prospect, he voluntarily gets the company’s help to try the procedure upon himself. The Eclipse now decide to take him prisoner with their other test subjects so that they can test the unbelievable speed it has given him more fully. 

When the Eclipse pits Ronald and Nigel against one another in this way, can either one of them manage to get away?

This story is like Frankenstein meets The Island of Dr. Moreau, where a zoo keeper finds himself in a deal he literally cannot refuse, overseeing security for some of the strangest and most dangerous creatures on the planet, while one scientist takes an experiment into his own hands and suffers the ultimate consequences. This story was filled with twists and turns galore, exploring a world of mad science and exploring the way humanity treats the animals of this planet, often caging them rather than letting them live free and open in the world.

The story and it’s background are what really thrive in this novel. The mythology being built of supernatural and scientific creatures alike, amazing abilities and dangerous science gone wrong are all so mesmerizing to read that one can’t help but be drawn into this amazing world created by the author. The scientific methodology used for this story all makes it so believable that you almost start to imagine what kind of secret organizations and creatures are hiding in the shadows of our world…

Overall I loved this story. It was fun to read, quick and fast paced, and delivered an incredible first entry in what should be a whirlwind adventure. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of The Illumination Query by Sarah Baethge today!

Rating: 8/10

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Guest Post: Redemption by Author Mike Schlossberg

Note From Anthony Avina: 

 

Hi there everyone! I am thrilled to share with you an amazing guest blog post from an author I will be working with in the months to come. Please read and enjoy this post from author Mike Schlossberg on how he came up with the title for his book Redemption and how others can learn from it. 

 

 

My book is called Redemptionand it’s about depression, anxiety and saving the world. From the blurb:

Twenty young people wake aboard the spaceship Redemption with no memory how they got there.

Asher Maddox went to sleep a college dropout with clinical depression and anxiety. He wakes one hundred sixty years in the future to assume the role as captain aboard a spaceship he knows nothing about, with a crew as in the dark as he is.

Yanked from their everyday lives, the crew learns that Earth has been ravaged by the Spades virus – a deadly disease planted by aliens. They are tasked with obtaining the vaccine that will save humanity, while forced to hide from an unidentified, but highly advanced enemy.

Half a galaxy away from Earth, the crew sets out to complete the quest against impossible odds. As the enemy draws closer, they learn to run the ship despite their own flaws and rivalries. But they have another enemy . . . time. And it’s running out.

Now, here’s the question I keep getting: Why is it called Redemption?

First is the obvious: It’s the name of the ship. But it’s the name of the ship in the book for a reason.

Okay. So I wrote this thing not just to tell a science fiction story, but to tell a story of mental illness and give those who suffer hope. That’s sort of been my driving force, as an elected official and advocate for the mentally ill. And to be perfectly honest, that permeates just about every facet of the book. Including the name of the ship.

I named it Redemption because I think the idea of guilt – and seeking Redemption – was and is a big part of my depression. Guilt is a common symptom of depression. It’s something I certainly got to know in a very personal way. And I spent most of my life searching for redemption. I desperately wanted to be redeemed from some unknown sin. And I think that’s something that’s relatively common among those who have suffered.

The entire plot is, at it’s core, a redemption story, but not from a sin: From mental illness, from depression and from anxiety. It’s a redemption that I think we all strive for. In my experience, it’s almost not complete obtainable. Personally, I know I will never be completely free from mental illness. It will always be there, running in the background like an iPhone app. Recovery isn’t an end state, it’s a journey. And that’s a lesson I that I have tried to learn all my life, and a journey I try to highlight in Redemption.

As always, I’d love to have your thoughts. Is this an experience you understand? No? Either way, let us know in the comments!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C7M8WT8

https://mikeschlossbergauthor.com

http://www.twitter.com/MikeSchlossberg

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39896276-redemption

Summary:

Redemption Cover from Amazon

Twenty young people wake aboard the spaceship Redemption with no memory how they got there.

Asher Maddox went to sleep a college dropout with clinical depression and anxiety. He wakes one hundred sixty years in the future to assume the role as captain aboard a spaceship he knows nothing about, with a crew as in the dark as he is.

Yanked from their everyday lives, the crew learns that Earth has been ravaged by the Spades virus – a deadly disease planted by aliens. They are tasked with obtaining the vaccine that will save humanity, while forced to hide from an unidentified, but highly advanced enemy.

Half a galaxy away from Earth, the crew sets out to complete the quest against impossible odds. As the enemy draws closer, they learn to run the ship despite their own flaws and rivalries. But they have another enemy . . . time. And it’s running out.

Author bio:

Michael Schlossberg

Mike Schlossberg has been a writer since he wrote his first short story in eighth grade, a Star Wars fanfiction. While he claims it was terrible, the creative passion followed him into adulthood.

Serving as a State Representative in Pennsylvania, Mike has had the chance to make a difference. The problem closest to his heart is mental health, where he strives to break the stigma surrounding those who suffer from mental illnesses and give them hope. For Mike, this issue is personal, as he has been treated for depression and anxiety related disorders since he was 18. It was this desire to help which drove him to write Redemption, his first novel, but not his first book. That honor goes to Tweets and Consequences, an anthology about the varied ways elected officials have destroyed their careers via social media.

When not writing, Mike plays video games (both modern and old school), watches anything related to the Muppets (specifically Fraggle Rock!), reads, attempts to get to the gym, and calls his constituents on their birthdays.

Mike lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with his wife Brenna and his two wonderful children: Auron, born in 2011, and Ayla, born in 2012.

Author Interview with Lily Black

1)      Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

A: I’ve always been a writer—even though I was actually a late reader. Ever since I was a kid books and reading were my first go-to in coping with the challenges of life, so writing became a natural outgrowth of all that time spent reading.

 

2)      What inspired you to write your book?

A: I have a black belt and on occasion teach women’s self defense classes, so as my mind turned over story ideas I was struck by the concept of a warm and cozy small town juxtaposed against a seriously scary situation, and the people caught up in it. I explore this dynamic in both my first book, Storm of Attraction, and the second which is also set in charming Willowdale.

 

3)      What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

A: The story always comes first, but one takeaway I really believe in is that even the most difficult circumstances can lead to unexpected good.

 

4)      What drew you into this particular genre?

A: I guess despite being very aware of the dangers in the world, I’m a romantic at heart and believe that true love can triumph over anything. Totally cheesy, I know! I also believe that sometimes people need something to shake them out of their usual circumstances in order to discover what other resources they might have, and who they really trust. Romantic suspense is the perfect medium to explore this.

 

5)      If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

A: Just now I’d sit down with Detective Rawlings and have a long chat with her about her estranged husband! I know the two of them have split—leaving her to raise her twins mostly alone—and I know he’s a National Geographic photographer, but I don’t have all the other details and want them, because these two will be getting a novella or some newsletter time in the near future!

 

6)      What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

A: I use my Facebook page to connect with my readers, and really enjoy that. I also have my news page on my website which doubles as a blog, and more importantly send out a newsletter to subscribers in which I share short fiction bursts that I’ve written, or anything else I can to give my readers insights into my characters and Willowdale. I also love connecting with readers generally through the Book Ninjas website (www.book-ninjas.com), a content-rating catalog of romance and women’s fiction which I co-own and help to run. There I can see which books are popular and of course pick out new books just right for me based on their blush level, and what I see other readers picking up!

 

7)      What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

A: First, read, of course. Then, write. Remember that even short burst of writing time can train you in the craft, so never underestimate the importance of short snatches of time you can devote to your writing dreams.

8)      What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

A: I’m so glad you asked! I recently turned in Willowdale book two—tentatively titled Storm of Deception—to my publisher, and it will release sometime in 2019. It’s the story of a senator’s daughter and the veteran who publicly humiliated her when he ended their engagement, plus a deadly black mailer. The hero was introduced in Storm of Attraction so readers will remember him, and there are cameo appearances from the first couple, so I think readers will get a kick out of that. But mostly it’s just a super intense love story set against the back drop of a winter festival and the black mailer’s schemes, with touches of the drama which comes from life in the political limelight. To celebrate Storm of Deception’s acceptance for publication I made ‘suspenseful snowflakes’ by printing a page from the unedited draft. So much fun to make, since they have tiny teaser peeks at a page from the novel! They’ve been lots of fun to give away and I’m happy to share them here, too, if anyone would like one. This is a novel that nearly ripped my soul in half writing, and I can’t wait to share it with my readers!

SofD three sparkly snowflakes white side

Lily Black website: http://www.lilyblackbooks.com/

LB Twitter: https://twitter.com/lilyblackbooks

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Storm of Attraction low res

We Own The Sky (The Muse Chronicles #1) by Sara Crawford Book Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Trigger Warning: This book deals in themes and story elements involving drug and alcohol abuse, mental health and suicide. If any of these themes are triggering be warned this review and book involves them.

An incredible YA series gets a jump into a rarely used part of Greek mythology in author Sara Crawford’s We Own The Sky, book one in the Muse Chronicles series. Here’s the synopsis:

What could you create if you fell in love with a Muse?

16-year-old musician, Sylvia Baker, has always been different. She’s the only one who can see the “flickering people.” When she sees a gorgeous flickering man named Vincent, she learns that they are Muses. 

With his help, she finds herself creating exquisite songs that she loves almost as much as songs by her favorite bands–Radiohead, M83, and The Black Keys–and she is falling in love in a way she never knew was possible. While trying to maintain her newfound friendships and her band, she falls deeper into the world of the Muses. 

When the original Greek Muses wake to find a world in which the internet has given everyone the tools to be an artist, a battle between traditional and new methods of creation ensues. As Sylvia discovers how she is connected to the world of the Muses, she learns that this war may put her music, her love, her very life at stake.

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I really have to applaud the author of this book. She did a marvelous job of drawing me into this world from the very first pages all the way to the stories climactic and cliff-hanger of an ending. I am already a big fan of Greek mythology, often employing it into my preferred reading material and my own writing. Getting to explore this underutilized aspect of mythology was brilliant. The story did a fantastic job of creating and building upon one of the world’s largest and most inspirational mythologies while blending a unique and personal tale of what it’s like to grow up in today’s society.

The character development was the highlight for me. As a mental health awareness advocate, this story did a great job of both highlighting the struggles of those with mental health ailments and showing the stereotypes those with mental health illnesses must deal with in our society. It also highlighted humanity’s instinct to label those who are creative or act outside of what society has deemed “normal” as being “crazy”, an offensive word that brings negative connotations to the mental health profession. The protagonist Sylvia is a relatable teenager and artist, showing how therapeutic and mentally alleviating diving into the arts can be for people. As someone who suffers from depression, I know my love for writing has helped me to channel the sadness and loneliness I’ve felt into something positive, and that’s what this author has shown brilliantly.

Overall I loved this story. It was emotional, personal and a fantastic entry into what promises to be a thrilling new YA franchise. This story is just the tip of the iceberg for the story of the Muses, and I cannot wait to dive head first into Sylvia’s story in book two. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of We Own The Sky by Sara Crawford today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

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Sara Crawford is an author, a playwright, and a musician. Ever since she was five years old, she has lived for art in one form or another. This manifested itself as writing plays at age eight and convincing (forcing) the neighborhood kids to perform them on her driveway, auditioning for Atlanta Ballet’s The Nutcracker three years in a row before finally landing a small role as a toy soldier, starting an all-girl band in high school, writing and producing her own plays and short films, and most recently, writing a book about a girl who falls in love with her Muse (WE OWN THE SKY). Sara has been an actress, a singer, a playwright, a songwriter, a guitarist, a keyboard player, a poet, a screenwriter, and an author of both fiction and non-fiction.

She graduated in 2008 from Kennesaw State University with a B.A. in English and in 2012 from the University of New Orleans with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (emphasis in Playwriting). Currently, in addition to working as a freelance writer and internet marketer, she is also a creative writing professor in the graduate program at Southern New Hampshire University, teaching online classes. She also loves to talk about books, music, and writing on her YouTube channel. For more information visit http://saracrawford.net or https://www.youtube.com/user/saracrawford.

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