Interview with Author Shauna Packer

A couple of months ago, I had the distinct honor to review and help share the word on an important novel called Destroying Their God: How I Fought My Evil Half-Brother To Save My Children by Wallace Jeffs, Shauna Packer and Sherry Taylor. You can read the full review here.  This book is an extremely important look at the FLDS cult and the impact it has on it’s members and their families. I am now fortunate to be able to share an exclusive interview with one of the authors, Shauna Packer. Here is what she had to say about her experience writing this story and how she views the events related in it.

 

1: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you meet and eventually collaborate with Wallace Jeffs and Sherry Taylor?

Sherry and I have known each other for years as we volunteered in leadership positions through the League of Utah Writers. Sherry became acquainted with Wallace from a business networking group in the Salt Lake area. Wallace was in the movie, Prophet’s Prey, and a big-name producer/director (won’t name drop here) approached him and said he wanted to make a movie based on Wallace’s life story, but first, he wanted a book written. Wallace approached Sherry to co-author the book, but at that juncture, the timeframe for completing the project was only six months, so she asked me if I would like to join so it could be fast-tracked. As a professional writer for many years, I have been asked to collaborate on multiple books and, though I find all ideas interesting, have always refused. But when I heard Wallace’s story, of almost dying in order to protect his daughters from spiritual slavery, I knew this was one opportunity I couldn’t pass up! I believe strongly in a commitment to family, and the loyalty and sacrifice Wallace made for his children proved a theme that resonated deeply with my core values. I am continually grateful I had a chance to work on this project with Sherry and Wallace. After four years of co-authoring together, we get along well and enjoy a friendship and strong team commitment to each other individually as well as to our book.

 

2: What was the process like working on Destroying Their God?

Sherry and I would go to Wallace’s place and interview him as he told his life story. Or, sometimes we met at a restaurant or bookstore (nearby patrons were often quite intrigued by our conversation!). Some evenings there were things he wanted to speak about in particular; sometimes we had questions and we directed the interview. Then, I would come back to my home office and write the chapters and send them to Sherry for her feedback and addition/deletions. Quite often, we would have a lot of additional questions as we started laying out chapters and sections, so there was a great amount of follow up and digging down to do. We also had to make sure we put things into the correct historical context, sometimes that proved a challenge because access to FLDS records can be spotty or completely unavailable. Personally, I was super interested in the everyday life of an FLDS family. As a mother of children myself, I marveled at how you would even go about cooking meals for the sixty-five-plus children. So, alongside the details of Wallace’s life, Sherry and I asked a lot of questions about family dynamics. From a reader’s perspective, the feedback has been interesting: some of our readers felt like we included too many day-to-day details and some were quite frustrated that we did not include a whole lot more! But that’s the great thing about reading, it is a personal experience and preference.

 

3: What message do you hope this book sends to readers who are unfamiliar with FLDS or who don’t realize the affects both physically and psychologically on those who escape destructive religions? 

 

The truth of what happens in the FLDS and the reality of Wallace’s life is shocking to a lot of people. It certainly was to me. As a writing team, we genuinely strived with this book to illuminate, without hitting people over the head with the message, that being raised in the FLDS lifestyle demands certain behaviors and compliance or you doom yourself to destruction. It can be easy when reading about another’s life to become somewhat of an armchair psychologist. However, although highly suspicious to an outsider, this lifestyle literally represents life and death to people who are in the midst of the madness. If Wallace, or any other faithful FLDS member, would have chosen to leave, they would be banished from their family, their homes, their livelihood, their friends, and ultimately, in their minds, their salvation. Leaving the priesthood people and land equates a total loss of everything and utter destruction. This is especially a heavy reality when your own father, the prophet, and your mother represented this as absolute truth from birth. It is a culture of control and fear. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Wallace’s healing and ability to operate in a world he was raised to believe was wicked. I hope that the book not only educates, but also allows people to examine their own personal values. Wise individuals with sound moral compasses can indeed be manipulated by a parental and religious culture.

 

4: What would you say was the most difficult aspect of writing this novel?

There is some really raw information included in the book. In order for the reader (and Sherry and I) to understand why Wallace was willing to die to protect his children, we had to spend a lot of time with dark and gritty subject matter. This included listening to many hours of audio tapes made by Warren of his degradations. As a woman and mother to daughters myself, I can still scarcely believe what these women had to endure in order to attain salvation. However, I believe that writing should be about truth and we need to stand in that truth. Some publishers were interested in the story, but wanted us to remove some of the more challenging subject matter. We agreed as a team that as much as we found what happened repugnant, we had to recount it in truth, without allowing it to become gratuitous.

 

There is also a building up to extreme cruelty toward Wallace. Warren is a master of creating custom-made punishments, tailored to the individual “sinner”. I don’t want to give away too much of the book, but after Wallace defied his brother, Warren customized a punishment that is every parent’s worst nightmare. The night we discussed this event was a somber one indeed. I waited until I got to my car, because Wallace doesn’t like to see women cry and it seemed disrespectful to get rattled about something so personal to him, but how the tears flowed when I was alone! I even traveled down to St. George, Utah (about five hours from where I live) because I wanted to see the house where these painful events occurred and I also wanted to see where Wallace’s accident took place. Even though I have read this book dozens of times, I still get choked up when I read certain parts. I always have to call Wallace or text him to say, “I’m so sorry you had to go through this!” His reply is generally, “Thank you, but it’s what made me the man I am today.”

 

5: If you were able to reach out and talk to those still living the FLDS life, what would you want to say to them? 

That there are people and resources available to help them leave this cult. I do not believe it is God’s wish for families to be torn apart and for a prophet to constantly preach a message that says members are not worthy of the blessings of heaven. I would also share with them the many audio files Warren recorded, which are actively withheld from the FLDS people by leadership, and his own jail confession that “I am not the prophet”. They don’t have to lead a life based completely in fear, there are many who will help them discover the truth and find their own path!

 

6: What was the process like working with Wallace and diving into the ins and outs of FLDS and their practices?

Fascinating! I wanted to know everything and could still spend hours asking questions. When we are interviewed as a team, I never tire of listening to what Wallace has to say. The reality of growing up FLDS is a little hard to wrap your mind around. I really admire Wallace’s bravery; he always has an open and forthcoming attitude. Wallace has had a lot of things happen to him in his life, but he never wants to be seen as a victim. To write a book such as this, you really need to crawl through the cobwebs and challenge, probe, examine and then examine some more. There is a lot of digging into emotions and difficult memories. However, we chose to write the book in a more journalistic tone to match Wallace’s personality and so it wouldn’t seem overly emotional, as if he felt sorry for himself for the life events he experienced.

 

7: What’s next for you personally as an author? Any other projects on the horizon? Would you want to work on a memoir similar to this in the future?

I am always open to discussing future book ideas. If another project like Wallace’s came along that captivated me with a story of courage, love, and triumph, yes, I would definitely consider working on another memoir. I think Wallace has a few more books in him as well, and we have discussed further collaboration. I have my writing business, consulting with executives, corporations, and fiction authors on their content and editing needs. That keeps me happily occupied as I work on new books. Currently, I am in development on another non-fiction project. I also have a fictional short story that I wrote years ago and would and like to turn into a novel. It’s more of a happy story about redemption and it feels right at this moment in my career to work on something a little more upbeat. I have two completed novels I am in the process of marketing to agents. One is historical fiction called The Shadows of Plain Sight, set in post-Civil War Nevada, and the other, Ways To Go, is a women’s fiction novel.

 

Thank you for your time. It was an honor to speak with you and thank you for sharing this important story with the world. 

 

Shauna Packer

Shauna Packer Headshot

 

Shauna Packer has been a professional corporate and freelance writer, researcher, and content editor for over twelve years. She is a multi-award-winning fiction and non-fiction author. Shauna has been published in several commercial anthologies, including Angels to Bear You Up, Utah Voices: A Literary Annual, and Mother’s Messages in a Bottle. Though she has crafted a great deal of non-fiction over the years, Destroying Their God is her first full-length non-fiction book. She resides in the Salt Lake area with her family, including two cats named after candy bars.

 

Find Shauna Packer at:

 

https://www.instagram.com/shaunapacker/  

https://www.linkedin.com/in/shaunadansie/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17815620.Shauna_Packer

https://twitter.com/spackerauthor

https://www.facebook.com/Shauna-Packer-210939476157092/

http://www.destroyingtheirgod.com

 

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Blog Tour: grydscaen: dark by Natsuya Uesugi

grydscaen darkNatsuya Uesugi has a new book out in his dystopian sci fi series grydscaen:

A clandestine meet occurs in the Echelons under cover of darkness where Top Secret intel on the stock market changes hands. The insider tip gets the gothic hacker Jester engaged in a high tech game. Parliament votes to lower harsh stock market regulations fueling the Corporation’s bottom line, a payoff from ministers who were propped up by illegal corporate campaign donations. Ordered by Jester, the teenage hacker Rom infiltrates the largest high volume brokerage house causing wild gyrations in trading. When Jester triggers an insidious stock market payload, all hell breaks loose threatening the pristine City. Will Zoon, the leader of the Triumvirate, get roped into the fray? Can Raven, the government hacker, put the cryptic clues together before the market crashes? Find out in grydscaen:dark. Whose side are you on?

Series Blurb:

Lino just wanted peace. All he got was war.

In the year After Colony 2055 there was the Great War. SenseNet government scientists harnessed their knowledge of nuclear weapons and created a new form of energy. This kedek energy was a natural found occurrence that existed in pools far inside the planet. Harnessing this energy into weapons called kedek bombs, scientists warned these weapons were unsafe and should never be used.

The draconian Atlantea Federation conquered more than half of the world’s territories. A group of islands and nation states formed the Pacific Territories and in a single brave act retaliated in a battle known as the Blood Red Incident. The Atlantea Federation responded with wrath releasing the kedek-based Dionysis Effect nuclear bomb stolen from the SenseNet. The untested weapon’s radioactive fallout created Codesswhich manifested as psychic powers.

Pacific Territories’ society was segregated into citizens and non-citizens. Only citizens could reside in the pristine City. Non-citizens were left with poverty and strife in the Zone where the bomb had gone off, or in the Echelons with the Red Light District, drugs, and crime.

A group of hackers rose up to combat government oppression and injustice by the Zone Police. Enforcement squads rounded up psychics nightly taking them to work camps in the toxic kedek mines. The Terror Hack used guerrilla warfare to fight the Elite government. The Packrats, a cyber terrorist organization vowed to regain control and free society through cyber revolution. Run by the elite hacker Faid Callen, he created the Packrat Sprawl and set up the Runners, Wastes, Acolytes, Hosts, Prophets and Mobile Command. Each faction possessed deadly skills and laws in the Packrat Code that ruled their actions. Civil war ripped at the heart of society.

The son of the Viceroy, Lino Dejarre had psychic power. All he wanted was peace. He joined the Psi Faction as a clandestine psychic operative and was tasked to capture Faid Callen and quell the violence. When the Atlantea Federation attacked the City, Lino found himself once more answering the royal edict and forced to become Sub Viceroy and rule as war raged around him.

Separated at age nine and banished from the royal family, Riuho Dejarre’s hatred for Lino grew as he tried to scrape out a life in the slum level Echelons while Lino lived in the pristine City. Stripped of his citizenship, Riuho vowed he would get revenge and did everything in his power to thwart Lino’s every move. From his first encounter with the Atlantea Federation, Riuho found his place and the resources to get what he desired.

The Atlantea Federation attacked brutally on the ground and also threatened the Pacific Territories’ space colonies. Lino and his Psi Faction team were roped into global diplomacy, inter-colony politics, covert missions, battleships, and space battles where they encounter the Atlantea Federation head on. When Riuho once more enters the fray, the high stakes game threatens to destroy everything for which Lino has worked.

Intrigue, psychic powers, clandestine operations, treaties, politics and a hacker revolution. From space battles, to kidnappings and assassinations, and battleships off the coast, grydscaenis filled with in depth characters and richly detailed storylines that peak your interest and keep you coming back for more.

Buy Links Coming Soon


Giveaway

Natsuya is giving away eBook copies of two of his other works – grydscaen: tribute and A Storm’s Coming one shot manga – with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

“Not here. Hide the data till we are off the street. This way,” Toapfyl hurriedly motioned to the data messenger in the blue military coat, dark cargo pants and combat boots who followed him off the sidewalk and down another alley. He was wearing the typical garb for a data messenger which made Toapfyl comfortable when he met the stranger in the alley leaning against the wall, easily identifiable.

Toapfyl, a Level 3 hacker, was wearing maroon jeans and a zippered black hoodie pulled over his ebony half shaved head, exposing a slap of dirty brown dreadlocks gathered in a ponytail at his forehead hiding his right eye.

A prostitute wearing a pink miniskirt and fishnet stockings kissed a businessman in a black suit under a sickly yellow streetlight. Toapfyl and the data messenger were once again shrouded in shadow by the derelict buildings as they passed leaving the two to their pleasure.

Toapfyl pushed in a dilapidated door at the end of the alley, grime from the street creating a dusty haze in the air leaving a putrid stink. They entered a staircase. There was no light as they descended. Toapfyl sparked up his aegis to his hand, the manifestation of his psychic power, and lit a path to the basement.

He pushed in the door onto a dimly lit room and revealed Jester, the leader of the Jester hacker guild sitting in a rickety folding chair in the center of the empty room smoking a cigarette from a long black holder. A soft haze filtered over him from a light fixture dangling precariously from ceiling wires, the glass cover filled with dead moths that had happened their way inside and lived out their final days circling the artificial sun. The wan flickering light cast shadows that danced at the corners, the bulb swinging back and forth, moved by the basement door opening.

Legs crossed, Jester was wearing black patent leather platform boots, a shiny mahogany lace skirt, skintight black denim jeans, and a slick dark vinyl blouse with embroidered crimson roses, He sported an elaborate olive short coat with a high collar and dark cuffs and epaulets. A monocle optical sensor over his right eye, he was wearing a green top hat with a scarlet rose perched at the brim. His pink straight, shoulder length hair shined in the light.

He made an irritated gesture with his hand. “Don’t keep me waiting. Where is it?” Jester took a long drag from the cigarette and blew out a puff of smoke. He waved as Toapfyl closed the door.

“Not until I get paid.” The shocked data messenger prompted pulling out a red etched credit sized data card shaking it.

“Do the needful,” ordered Jester raising an eyebrow. He turned his back to them as he continued to smoke his cigarette taking a long drag.

Toapfyl pulled a platinum credit card out of his back pocket. The data messenger pulled his. They locked the two cards at the long end, pins embedded in the technology. Toapfyl typed out the amount of 55,000 credits on the virtual keyboard appearing on the face of his card. The cards chimed signaling the encryption key matched and the credits transferred from Toapfyl’s account.

The data messenger released his card and ran it through a handheld confirming the amount. He nodded stashing the handheld in his chest pocket.

“Done,” responded Toapfyl.

Jester turned back around not witnessing the exchange purposefully and stuck out his hand with his black lacquered fingernails in the knitted fingerless gloves. The stitching was coming apart at the seams on the thumb and index finger, the gloves covered in little white pills. Where everything about Jester’s appearance was immaculate, the gloves gave away an underlying confusion or sloppy disregard for his perfect veneer.

Jester was one of the hacker guild leaders who almost never showed his face in public. It was well known that Jester did not make meetings with data messengers or low level hackers, like a Level 3. He couldn’t be bothered with them. The fact that the data messenger insisted, and that Toapfyl made it happen, kept the data messenger on guard. He placed the red card in Jester’s palm and turned to leave.

Toapfyl jerked raising a gun to the data messenger’s temple. He touched skin. “No one leaves until the data is confirmed.”

Rom, the teenage Level 9 hacker, emerged from the shadows behind Jester. Eyebrow raised, he was annoyed with Toapfyl. Rom pulled a handheld out of his tan trench coat as he came into the dim light. His dull blonde unkempt hair gleamed with a blue streak at the front. He took the data card from Jester and swiped it in the port on the handheld reading the file as the system ran the security check. He typed on the deck triggering an encryption key prompt as the handheld’s computerized female voice spoke the request.

“The data is encrypted? Why didn’t you mention that?” questioned Toapfyl suspicious. He pushed the gun barrel closer taking a step in and made the data messenger move his head back.

“No problem,” interrupted Rom. “Most data messengers are Packrat Runners smuggling data from the City into the Echelons. It should take a Packrat decrypt key. I have access to the Packrats’ archive of one-time, pre-shared obscure keys. What I need for this, right?”

“That is why I wanted Jester at the meet. Toapfyl, all data messengers use encryption. If you don’t know that, you are an idiot. No self-respecting hacker attached to Jester would even ask the question you did just now. Only a Level 9 can penetrate. Jester would know a Level 9. Rom is one of the best in the business,” the data messenger revealed his disgust with Toapfyl and yanked the gun out of his hand pointing it back at the hacker.

Toapfyl blanched confused how he had been disarmed and lowered his eyebrows at the disrespect. Rom shot him an angry glare silencing him.

Jester smirked giving Rom permission to engage and waved the data messenger off. The messenger lowered the gun handing it back to Toapfyl.

Toapfyl opened the basement door and motioned the data messenger out accompanying him up the stairs leaving Jester in the room with Rom.


Author Bio

Natsuya UesugiNatsuya Uesugi is a systems analyst and ethical hacker by day and a manga artist and a writer by night. With an MBA in International Management and a minor in Japanese, Natsuya insists on showcasing diversity in his writing using his Japanese, Native American and African American heritage.

He studied animation and game design in art school and has published the grydscaen manga “A Storm’s Coming” which features the LGBT teen Rom from “grydscaen: dark,” and two manga in the yaoi series “graphic noiz.” Two episodes of the short anime “A Storm’s Coming” is available with a third episode planned. Four counseling centers are currently using the “A Storm’s Coming” novelette to help LGBT homeless youth and troubled teens with self esteem.

He is author of the dystopian cyberpunk “grydscaen” series, the dark fantasy trilogy “”The Seer of Grace and Fire,” and the yaoi novels and manga “graphic noiz.” He enjoys skydiving, cosplay, watching anime in Japanese, watching French news, World Cub futbol, eating ramen and anything with matcha, and writing poetry.

Author Website: http://www.grydscaen.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/natsuya.uesugi

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Grydscaen/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/natsuya_uesugi

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4558587.Natsuya_Uesugi

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/natsuya-uesugi/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Natsuya-Uesugi/e/B00J6EDQQ6/

Buy Link

And now here is a fun Interview with Rom one of the main hacker characters from grydscan: dark by Natsuya Uesugi

 

Tell me a little about name. Is that your real name?

My name is Rom, only Rom. If I have a real name I don’t know it. The government wiped my memory it is hard for me to remember stuff.

Are you a citizen or do you have a cit card?

No, I live in the Echelons. I have no money, there is no way that I am a citizen.

Where do you live?

I live in an abandoned subway near the Red Light District in the Echelons. It is my squat. It is safe from the elements and it is shielded from the nuclear fallout. I have a sleeping rig and a lantern and some rations still left over. Reminds me I hope I have enough money to buy water free of radiation, I am almost out.

What is your favorite food?

You can’t be picky when you are dumpster diving. There is a dumpster behind the eatery Tram and one behind a noodle restaurant that always has good haul. They put out trash after lunch and dinner and I wait around for the good pickings. Saturday evening is always a treat.

Do you have a job?
Well, not really. I do hacking sometimes for the Packrats and I am trying to officially become a Runner which means I deliver messages and data throughout the Echelons. I am not a full Runner yet as I still have a lot to learn but I am getting there.

What got you living on the streets if I may ask?
I was arrested by the government for hacking into the Parliament and they erased my memory and threw me out on the streets. It is hard for me to even remember my name some days.

Isn’t living on the streets hard?

I would say living on the streets is hard most days but you get used to it. I have been out here over 9 months, it is fine. A little cold at night but it works for me.

Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?

Oh, don’t make me blush. There is this trans girl I like but I don’t think she would even talk to me again if I told her I liked her. For now we stay friends. She is also homeless. I might get the courage up to ask her out one day. I would like to bring her to the Packrat Sprawl to get her off the streets but we will see.

What is that device you have with you?

This handheld is a piece of crap, well actually it is state of the art hidden in a crap package. It can hack, compile, do just about anything. I have had it a while now. I keep it safe so no one steals it. Don’t want to get into it too much.

What do you think of the government?

Down with the Elite government. Hackers Unite. Hack Till Your Dead!

How about the Zone Police?

Rounding up psychics and delinquents after curfew and sending them to die from hard labour in the kedek mines. I make sure I don’t get caught on the streets after curfew. The Zone Police are insane.

What did you do yesterday?

Dumpster diving, panhandling, hacked a cash register, wandered around the Red Light District, got some free electrolytes at the Office of Affairs, went to the Hack Tech and Ware nightclub and surfed the gridscan, downloaded a new script that steals cash from a hacked account – just need to find a machine and some sucker to infect now.

Sounds like you enjoy hacking. Do you find it fun/difficult/exciting?

It is what I do. It is fun enough. I just need a rig and I hope the Packrats will let me use their machines.

Do you have any friends?

I have a host friend who works out front of The Hole X-rated magazine shop in the Red Light District. He is gay and picks up Johns nightly to pay his way. Keeps him busy and he makes a pretty good haul. He is one of those pretty boys. I could never be a host. And my other firned that trans girl I was talking about. Her name is IIn. Other than that I keep to myself.

What about family?

Maybe, I don’t remember. I have flashbacks of this girl Elena but I forget my relationship to her. She may be my younger sister but I don’t know. I had another sister who was older than me. She stayed with me squatting in the Echelons but I couldn’t afford her iodine pills to combat the radiation and she got radiation sickness and died recently. That was my fault. There is no way I can make up for that. I stay on the streets as part of my punishment for failing her.

Tell me something no one knows about you?

I am gay and think that the hacker Jester, leader of the Jester Hacker Guild is hot. One day. I can dream.

Guest Post: Why Authors Should Get Social on Social Media Networking Sites by Michael Okon

Hi Everyone! I am honored to share with you this amazing guest post from author Michael Okon on the importance of social media for authors. Enjoy!

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Why Authors Should Get Social on Social Media Networking Sites

By Michael Okon

Any serious author wanting to be discovered by readers knows how important it is to engage online. Whether we love social media or we hate it, it’s necessary for branding purposes. Authorship is a business. And like all businesses, you MUST actively participate in your marketing efforts. Social media platforms make this possible.

Truth be told, I actually despise social media. Yes, I said it. But that doesn’t mean I ignore it. It’s time consuming, and at times can be downright silly. All that follow to unfollow nonsense. Who has the time? I’d rather be writing than worrying about getting and maintaining followers.

At first, I did most of my social media management on my own. Trust me, I wasn’t an expert and I recognized that pretty quickly. There’s no shame in hiring someone to help out with your social media efforts. That’s what I eventually did, but I do still try to stay as engaged as I possibly can.

Now I have a team of social media experts who work tirelessly to get my name out there in front of as many potential readers as possible. Indie publishing is a tough business to be in and you absolutely need every edge possible to get people to notice you and your books.

If you don’t yet have the finances to hire a social media manager I implore you not to ignore this side of book marketing. Just posting once or twice a day on the biggies – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – will help readers find you. And don’t forget to comment, like and repost while you’re at it. Social media is here to stay so you may as well get used to it!

Michael Okon is a bestselling author and screenwriter. Monsterland Reanimated, Book Two in the Monsterland series, was just released on April 13, 2018 and promises to be bigger and badder than Book One. Michael invites readers to connect with him on his website.  

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Interview with Author Sarah Baethge

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

I’m Sarah Baethge and I’ve always loved reading. After a car wreck derailed my college career, I started reviewing stories and that eventually led to me trying to write my own.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I self published a short novella a few years ago (free on Google Drive now) but it started somewhat abruptly, so I wrote this story to be a prequel for it because the whole story has just kept growing in my mind.

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

I hope that they can enjoy it. I wrote it as fun entertainment.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I like to read it.

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

I’d sit down with Ronald Carpenter, I’d like to know more about his view of The Eclipse company; I don’t feel like I describe it very well.

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

I like using Twitter, but more people seem to be concerned with my Facebook page.

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

Write what you like to read. Don’t give up just because you aren’t sure how other people will react.

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

I have some plans for about four sequels to this Speed of Darkness book and a couple of Ideas for both a space story and a time-travel story. I’m not really sure which one I will work on first.

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

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

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079Q7S4XJ/ref=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B079Q7S4XJ&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

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

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1521049904/ref=x_gr_w_glide_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1521049904&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

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