Interview with Author Ben Schneider

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

  1. A) I am currently active duty in the Air Force. I have worked for the military 15 years. I am also a cartoonist and a comedian. I discovered many of my jokes work better in literature than they do in cartoons or on stage. In addition, I am a fan of thriller novels, which inspired many ideas in my own stories.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

  1. A) The work of other action/sci-fi authors and films based on such books inspired my novel.

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

  1. A) My book has several messages I hope to give readers. If I were to choose just one, it would be: “Life with a bad attitude is far too difficult.”

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

  1. A) Several things drew me to action/sci-fi, especially James Cameron films.

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

  1. A) I would ask Sonya McCall what she would do if she were the first female president because she is very ethical and tough.

 

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

  1. A) Facebook.

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

  1. A) Make your characters people you would admire and give them strong motives for everything they do.

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

  1. A)Realm Journeyis my first book and is like a cross between Lord of the Rings and Treasure Island. I finished it in 2009, but never tried to get it published. Now that I’ve seen some success with my second novel, Chrome Mountain, I am rewriting Realm Journey with the intend to have it published. Someday, I would like to write a sequel to Chrome Mountain as well as create and publish my 3rd Airman Artless cartoon book.

 

About the Author

 

BIO:  Ben Schneider was born in Oklahoma. In 2003, he earned a B.A. in Graphic Design at Oklahoma University, married his fiancée, and joined the Air Force. Ben and his wife, Suzy, have been stationed in Italy, Okinawa, and Alaska. Aside from writing fiction, Ben’s other interests include drawing cartoons—mainly his Airman Artless comic strips. Chrome Mountain is his debut novel.

To order Chrome Mountain on Kindle or paperback, go here:

https://www.amazon.com/Chrome-Mountain-Ben-Schneider-ebook/dp/B07DMZ86B3/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

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To see 30+ reviews on Chrome Mountain, go here:

https://www.facebook.com/Chrome-Mountain-281058869320535/

 

Chrome Mountain is also available at the following sites:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40409574-chrome-mountain

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/903483

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chrome-mountain-ben-schneider/1128858008?ean=2940161675625

To message Ben Schneider or see more of his work, go here:

https://airmanartless.com/published-work.html

https://www.facebook.com/ben.schneider.9237

https://www.facebook.com/Quotes-by-Ben-270127620244047/?modal=admin_todo_tour

https://www.facebook.com/Airman-Artless-281460331901271/?ref=page_internal

https://twitter.com/pinscratch5

https://www.instagram.com/airmanartless/

https://www.pinterest.com/schneiderben/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlYhC99bDcM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=000QgYUF_20&t=9s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3nWcx0NP4c&t=43s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6_r47K9jN4&t=53s

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Northfighters: The View From The Christallis by Colm Dowd Review

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

Worlds collide in author Colm Dowd’s debut YA novel “Northfighters: The View From The Christallis”. The first in what hopes to be a powerful new YA series, a world filled with magic and creatures unlike anything our world has ever seen merges with our own world, and four kids find themselves thrust into a war they never asked for. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

What happens when you start to write a book for your kids to compete with Pokémon but you take so long to write it, it ends up more influenced by Smallville, Lost, Lord of the Rings and The X-Files? (To name a few) You end up with ‘Northfighters – The View from the Chrystallis’.

This is not your typical fantasy book, but it is a fantasy. And it has it all.

Eleven year old Chris Talbot is the likeable protagonist, with his nerdy friend Josh, his bully nemesis Mike, and his heart’s desire Sylvia. All four of them end up avoiding near death on their school trip near Seattle. They are being pursued by ghoulish monsters that have been sent after them by the charismatic yet maniacal super villain Salazon. Salazon ‘The Evil’ as he would prefer to be known has supreme psychic powers and a pretty big chip on his shoulder. He has an elaborate scheme to trigger a massive battle between two of his world’s people that, he just doesn’t want to have around anymore.

Salazon has been given a forewarning that this boy Chris is somehow going to be a thorn in his side. Luckily for Chris and his friends, they are taken through a portal to a strange and beautiful land by the heroic Talbar, a lord of the Northfighter people. Talbar, with three of his fellow men, make it their duty to guide the children on a trek with war and deceit all around them, to try to find the real reason the kids have ended up here.

The spectre of Salazon builds throughout the book, but he is not the only stuff of legend that is to be found in this land. Fables tell of great and powerful beasts, the true Northfighters, namesakes of the people that came after. Do they exist? Salazon and Talbar both believe that they do. And this may be where the children are to come in.

Back in the real world the tough and cynical detective Janet Lansing is perplexed by the mystery surrounding the missing kids. Where this is all going and why is anyone’s guess. But it’s an entertaining ride, come jump on.

The Review

This was a fantastic read. Some of the most original fantasy driven characters and creatures I’ve read in a long time, this novel blends the real world drama of four children disappearing from a school field trip and the police investigation that sparks as a result, to the heroic adventures of a rag tag group of warriors and four children who try to stop all out war between various nations. The mythological scale of the battles and the power of the villain Salazon will keep readers entranced throughout the entire story.

While there were brief areas within the story that held some minor grammatical errors, the overall story and mythology built by the author was so powerful that these moments never deterred from the overall story. The characters were relatable and engaging, while the setting felt like the YA equivalent to Game of Thrones. The blend of fantasy and drama felt natural and helped the story flow smoothly, making this read truly amazing.

The Verdict

Overall I loved this book. Filled with action, character development and shocking twists and turns, readers will love to get lost in this new fantasy world created by author Colm Dowd. With a cliff-hanger ending that leaves room for a hopeful sequel, this is a must read YA adventure like no other. If you haven’t yet, pick up your copy of Northfighters: The View From the Christallis today!

Rating: 9/10

https://www.amazon.com/Northfighters-View-Chrystallis-Colm-Dowd-ebook/dp/B07J1Z5TXM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1540436403&sr=1-1&keywords=9781999466602

Red Death by Jeff Altabef Book Review

Fantasy and Dystopian genres blend together beautifully in author Jeff Altabef’s novel, Red Death. Exploring the impact of religion on various
groups of people and the dangers of how it dictates their lives, Red Death delves into the lives of several young people throughout this
deadly world, with various tribes and Kingdoms conflicting with one another and the mysteries of this world waiting to be unlocked by one
courageous hero. Here is the synopsis:

Every child of Eden fears the Red Death. All those afflicted with the plague die young, their souls stripped away as punishment for ancient
sins long forgotten. For centuries, Guardians have protected Eden from the Red Death by killing outsiders who stray too close. They must
keep Eden a secret if they are to survive.

Seventeen-year-old Aaliss is a highly-trained and dedicated Guardian, but when her rather odd thirteen-year-old brother discovers a cure to
the plague, her world is turned upside down. The discovery is a miracle, yet miracles are dangerous in Eden.

The corrupt, all-powerful High Priest brands Aaliss and her brother Wilky as traitors, forcing them to run. They seek refuge in the last
place Aaliss thought she’d ever go—beyond the boundaries of Eden, and into the land of the Soulless. Here they must navigate a medieval
world filled with witches, magic, and warrior kingdoms run by Elders who are only a few years older than her.

Aaliss yearns to return home to Eden, but she must protect Wilky at all costs. And when her heart tugs her deeper into the world of the
Soulless, she questions everything she once believed, everything the Priests had taught her about those who live outside Eden—they are
forever cursed, savage, soulless.

Has her soul been taken? Will she and Wilky fall victim to the Red Death, or might they die sooner in the center of a battle that threatens
to tear apart the Soulless world? Or… might Aaliss finally find, against all odds, what her heart has yearned for all along?

This was an incredibly well written novel. The dark dystopian world is so vividly described that you can visualize the characters in your
mind. The action and plot of this incredible book took this reader on a roller coaster of emotions and created a world that can easily
pass for a dystopian version of our own. The themes of this novel have never been more true than in this day and age, from the dark side of
power in religion, to the judgement we often have for anyone who isn’t a part of our own culture, to the true meaning of family and how
a person can find family in the most unlikely of places.

It was refreshing to see the gender roles reversed from the “traditional” book styles, where a man is the hardened warrior and the female
needs rescuing or needs to be taught how to fight. Aaliss is a seasoned warrior, and the male lead of this novel that fans will meet must
seek her help for a quest, and must use her skills in order to learn and survive. It shows a welcome trend of strong female characters that
may be flawed but still become the epic hero of the story and prove that they don’t need a man to save them. It helps to break down the
gender stereotypes of our world and showcases that a person’s gender doesn’t define a hero, but rather their actions.

This is a beautifully dark world that has been created by Jeff Altabef, and is a promising first novel in a brand new series. This new world
promises to bring deadly threats to Aaliss and the rest of the people she befriends in this novel, and shows that the world she knows is
going to change drastically. Filled with twists and turns, characters we love and characters we love to hate, this is a fantastic read that
every dystopian and Fantasy reader must check out, so make sure you pick up your copies of Red Death today!

10/10 Stars

Interview with E.M. Markoff

1) Tell us a little bit about the conception of The Deadbringer and this fantastic world you have created.
The Deadbringer is
an amalgamation of reading, visual media, and culture. It’s a
Frankenstein’s Monster of the literary genres I love (epic fantasy and
classic fiction), the movies I grew up watching as a child (Hammer
Horror, Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe films, anime, David Lynch films),
and of what I experienced growing up in a first-generation Latina
household. My mother, who was born in 1933, had some very tall tales to
tell filled with magic and surrealism. It made for some great stories.

2) What inspired you to delve into this dark fantasy realm over other genres?
My
mom was a huge fan of older horror films. As such, I grew up watching
Dracula (Christopher Lee) chase Van Helsing (Peter Cushing); Dr. Phibes
(Vincent Price) avenge his lost wife by committing pernicious acts, yet
still be the hero; Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan) become a messiah who
would lead the people. Not being strict in what I read, I picked up
Stephen King, Carlos Fuentes’ Aura, and Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. All of this, consciously and subconsciously, helped shape my love of ‘dark’ things. To me, the dark is beautiful. It had much to offer and so much more to show you.

3) Which character do you think you can identify with most, and why?
I
hate to sound cliche, but there is a little of me in each character.
But, if I had to pick only one, I would say E’sinea. The fact that I am
reluctant to say why I relate to him is probably the reason I do relate to him.
4)
Do you think readers should view this as a clear cut good versus evil
kind of story, or do you like to look at it as more of a story that
resides in shades of grey, morality-wise?
The Deadbringer is
very much a story told in shades of gray with respect to its
moral ambiguity and how the characters’ actions have consequences. Some
of the characters in the book have unique abilities that historically
are associated with evil (necromancy, shadow affinity, the literal
ability to rot flesh) but it does not mean that they are evil, and yet
they are persecuted as such. So, the book is very much written in shades
of gray in the sense that it demonstrates how the classic trope (or
natural human tendency) to categorize people into good or bad is
directly responsible for the misfortunes of the characters. As the
author, this this how I feel, but I believe that readers should feel
free to interpret the book how they wish. It’s part of the joy of
reading, after all.

5) What authors have inspired you as a writer?
Oh, that’s a long list! Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, as I mentioned before, Clive Barker, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe, J.R.R. Tolkien, Alan Moore, Paulo Coelho…really, the list is never-ending!
6)
If you could meet any of your characters in person and have a
conversation with them, who would it be and what would you ask them?
E’sinea, and I would ask him if he wanted to play a game.
7)
When it comes to the marketing side of publishing your book, which
social media platform has been the most beneficial as far as reaching
an
audience is concerned and why?
Bookstagram,
which is a community of booklovers within Instagram, has been
fundamental to my career as a writer. I am grateful to this community
not only for their love and support, but also because I have made some
wonderful friends through this social media platform.

8) When developing your story, which is your favorite part: developing plot or character development?
I’ve
been told by my editor that I am obsessed with ‘playing house’ with my
characters, so I’d have to say character development.

9)
Since you have developed a lot of fictional towns and cities in this
epic story, where would you live in The Deadbringer and why?
Suelosa,
because its just far away enough from the governing powers that be and
no gods have come around to fuck things up! It’s still very much a free
city…for now.
10) What are your future plans for this series? Any other books on the horizon?

Future
plans include the second book in the Ellderet Series which is
tentatively scheduled for late next year. From there, only the Twin God
knows what the future holds. With any luck, Fortune, and not Travail,
will be on my side. As for other books, I’ve been working on a fantasy
novella that takes place in the world of the Ellderet Series and is a
sort of standalone prequel to The Deadbringer. My goal is to get
that out before the second book, but I don’t want to curse myself, so I
best leave it at that! What I will say is that I hope my readers will
enjoy the novella as much as I am ❤