Interview with Brandon Dragan

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I grew up Northeastern New Jersey and have loved writing for as long as I can remember. My mom tells a funny story of a third-grade teacher who said that during writing assignments most of the kids would come to her desk with a few sentences scribbled and ask if they had written enough, but I would walk up asking for more paper. So, there’s always been that desire to write and express myself, although for the better part of my life I had trouble really sticking with it. I ended up focused mainly on writing songs and actually pursued it for a bit in Nashville, Tennessee, but pretty quickly found that I wasn’t a good enough musician to really hack it there. Eventually, I think I was about 25, married and working a regular corporate job when the idea for a story hit me and I just couldn’t shake it. That idea would eventually become my first novel, “The Wages of Grace,” which will hopefully be out later this year.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
As far as the writing of my newest short story “Cast No Shadow,” again it was really just a thought that hit me between the eyes and I couldn’t shake it. I absolutely love complex characters who are capable of enormous good and repulsive evil. I think most human beings are capable of both, so I really wanted to explore the thought of a good, loving, respected family man who also has a propensity toward violence and aggression toward those he finds evil or criminal.
40542213
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I don’t particularly want to feed readers what they should they think, so I’ll be careful here. When art is compelling it’s because of what each person brings to it. If anything, I would hope that this story raises questions about the concept of “just” violence. Is there such a thing as “good” violence, or does it all just feed into a nasty cycle? “Cast No Shadow” does touch on several themes-many of which were not intentional when I initially wrote it, such as race, children with guns, the war on drugs, etc. It is a short story, but I feel like there is a lot of meat there and I hope everyone who reads it will come away with something to chew on.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I was drawn into this type of story mainly by my admiration for the work of Cormac McCarthy. After reading “No Country For Old Men” I always had the desire to write a kind of “modern western.” 
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
If I could sit down with any character, I think it would be Annabelle. Although she maybe comes across as a bit mousy at first, though that’s probably not the best description, I think we find by the end of the story that she’s the strongest character in it. I would love to explore her background and particularly ask why she allowed Beau his vigilante fantasy when it’s clear that was something she never wanted any part of.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I am, unfortunately, not quite a dynamo when it comes to social media, but as far as connecting with actual readers, rather than just followers, I would have to say Facebook has been most helpful.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
My advise for any upcoming or aspiring writers would be to do it for the love of it. Don’t expect a big pay day, don’t write to try to make a living. Write because something deep in you needs out and don’t give up on it. Write for you and be equal parts honest and kind to yourself.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I have got lots on the radar. My debut novel “The Wages of Grace” is complete, save one last round of nit-picky edits and cover art. I am hoping to release it in the fall or early next year. I’m also about 90% done with a rough draft on a work of Pride and Prejudice fan fiction, which I’ll be sharing some details about soon. I’ve got another novel in the oven and lots of ideas, so I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me again!
Advertisements

Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan Review

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

A dark, perilous story that explores one man’s struggle to balance the horrors of war, family and the hunt for justice in an unjust world, author Brandon Dragan’s short story Cast No Shadow is a gripping tale that packs a punch in just a short amount of time. Here’s the synopsis:

Set deep in the heart of 1980’s Texas, Cast No Shadow tells the harrowing tale of Vietnam veteran, husband, and father, Beau Moreland. By day he helps his elderly neighbors and watches his son’s baseball practice; by night he hunts drug gangs. In his quest for justice and a more peaceful life for his loved ones, Beau inadvertently sets off an unstoppable chain of events which will hurtle his family toward a startling and breath-taking conclusion.

The story was incredibly engaging. It showcased the struggle many veterans face coming home from war and seeing the horrors the nation they fought so hard to protect are enduring on their own front doors. In a unique twist that kind of blends stories like Breaking Bad with The Punisher, we see Beau take on criminals while still profiting from his vigilante work, and how the danger he comes into contact with slowly begins to infect his daily life at home.

It also does a great job of exploring the impact we have on our children as a whole, and the way profiling and judgement can lead to trouble no one would ever expect. The writing was incredibly powerful and captured the essence of the story perfectly. The setting and imagery was incredibly vivid, and by story’s end you were left wanting more of Beau and his story, hoping to delve deeper into this amazing character and his backstory more.

Overall I thought this short story was brilliant. It was an evenly paced short tale of intrigue, action, and heart-pounding thrills that very few short stories manage to capture. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan today!

Rating: 10/10

About Brandon

brandon dragan author photo 01

Brandon Dragan grew up in New Jersey, just miles from the Lincoln Tunnel.

At eighteen he left home to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

He draws on a wide range of influences—from literature, to history, to philosophy—to craft meaningful and often surprising narratives that challenge the status-quo and reach for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

Brandon and his wife Jami live in the Nashville area with their two daughters, Natalie and Brooklyn.

He enjoys road cycling and is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club.

Links:

brandondragan.com

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIO9KMNQem0

Summer Promotion at eBooks.com! Take $15 off on $100 or more purchase. Use code: SUMMEREBOOKScp. Valid until Sep 22, 2018

This Side of Paradise by TK Olsen Review

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

Once in a while you come across an author who is able to engage an audience in a matter of just a few simple pages, and that’s what we have today. Author TK Olsen has brought to life an incredible story of two men from very different cultures who find their own personal paradise in the short story This Side of Paradise. Here’s the synopsis:

“Huritt looked gorgeous in his suit, albeit very out of place. He had lovely tan skin, a color only Jin could dream of achieving, and dark brown eyes, lighter than Jin’s almost black ones. They both had short, messy dark-brown, almost black hair, and Huritt was just a tad taller than Jin; however, that wasn’t much as Jin was blessed with being almost six feet in the height department. Huritt also had calloused hands and strong lines of his face, smoothed out by the softness of his skin and slight roundness of his cheeks. Jin hadn’t really experienced races outside of his own, this really was his first time meeting a Native person in real life; however, he was drawn to the male in ways that made his heart soared and his father’s legacy cry. Huritt was beyond gorgeous and Jin’s father was going to kill him.”

The story of two boys and how they found their side of paradise.

The story was very thought-provoking and entertaining. The story of Jin and Huritt is amazing to watch unfold, bringing a natural and emotional LGBTQ romance to life while exploring two people who fall in love despite their very different cultural upbringings. It showcases the struggle members of the LGBTQ community go through when living in a culture or family that abhors people who simply want to love who they love, and the struggle to find happiness and peace while living in that kind of hostile environment that forces young people to repress who they really are.

It’s a very impactful story that is also a quick read, coming in at only 18 pages or so. Yet in that short amount of time you come to know Jin intimately and see his struggle and his passion for Huritt come to life. These characters are so engaging that you will be left wanting to explore their lives even more, and that’s what true storytelling is all about. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of TK Olsen’s This Side of Paradise today!

Rating: 10/10

https://amzn.to/2tOdLHM

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

facebook me

Twitter: http://twitter.com/22niel

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SarahBaethge/

Google+: http://plus.google.com/114072965466541753981

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/22niel/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5226644.Sarah_Baethge

Happy Holiday Homicides By Micah Minnefer Review

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

What should be a day of celebration turns into a deadly game of espionage and mayhem in author Micah Minnefer’s novel, Happy Holiday Homicides. Here’s the synopsis:

Murder is on the list of gifts this holiday season. At least it is when you’re apart of the deadliest gang in town. When young Anuaka’s family discovers her involvement with the local criminals, they give her an ultimatum. Get out of the gang or get out of their lives. However, removing herself from the gang is inconceivable. The only way out is death.

Anuaka must choose between her loving family and a new family promising something she truly desires. A life out of poverty. On the surface the decision is unimaginable. Underneath lies something more sinister. Anuaka is powerful, stunning, and downright conniving.

Happy Holiday Homicides takes you to the land of Serenium. An island of gods, pharaohs, and ancient power. An incredible short, that releases and action-packed opening to Anuaka’s twisted world.

This short story was an explosive introduction into a fantasy driven world of mythological beings. Anuaka’s story is one that reflects the struggles of our own world’s lower class people, who struggle day in and day out and sometimes feel forced to become something they never wanted to become. The story also has quite a few shocks in store for the reader, as the true story of who Anuaka is and what she truly desires slowly gets revealed through the amazing character development of this story.

Overall I loved the tale. The origins of a high stakes, action fueled world like Serenium is a breathtaking story that fantasy readers will devour immediately. The imagery used create this magical and surreal environment you can easily picture playing out across a television screen. As the introduction to a larger story, readers will immediately be drawn into the story of Anuaka and want more. If you haven’t yet pick up your copies of Happy Holiday Homicides by Micah Minnefer today!

Rating: 10/10

Stories That Are Short Vol 1: A Collection of 5-Minute Short Stories To Read Before Turning On The TV by I. Ashmawey

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

Have you ever wanted to jump into a reading session but realized there aren’t enough hours in the day to really get into a full on novel? That’s where I. Ashmawey’s Stories That Are Short Vol 1 comes in. This collection of 5-minute short stories is the perfect way to get a meaningful, fun and entertaining story with rich characters in without having to dedicate a lengthy amount of time to the art of reading. Here is the official synopsis:

How likely is it that you will unearth a hidden treasure in an Egyptian Pyramid that would change the course of humanity? How about grow up with extraterrestrials on Jupiter? Travel to before the big bang occurred? Invent feminism in medieval times, attend Dracula’s secret dinner party, experience Star Trek in real life, have dinner with Marlon Brando, take part in the signing of the Declaration of Independence…each in just five minutes?

These short stories will take you the same time to read as listening to a song. In a world where people only read summaries and headlines and get nothing out of them, here is a collection of forty stories that are short to tickle your intellects and arouse your emotions. From sci-fi to comedy, from romance to drama, from love to exploration to horror, enjoy these stories that promise to take you to different worlds, all in under five minutes.

This collection of short stories was really engaging. Delving into a wide range of genres that will entertain everyone, the stories are not only fun and exciting, but are very thought provoking as well. Touching on themes such as advanced technology, socializing and individualism, this collection is meaningful and incredibly well written. It proves that genres like horror and sci-fi are not meant to be strictly entertaining or shocking. They can be equally powerful with their message and share a unique view of the world that other genres can’t provide.

Overall this was a wonderful collection that everyone should read. They are quick reads and doesn’t require you to dedicate hours to read. However the stories are so engaging that you may just find yourself losing time as you become engrossed in author I. Ashmawey’s incredibly original and creative writing style. It’s an incredibly powerful read and has me excited to see where the author’s career will take them next, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Stories That Are Short Vol. 1 today!

Rating: 10/10

 

How The Dark Tower by Stephen King Inspired My Writing

How The Dark Tower by Stephen King Inspired My Writing

Hello there everyone! I wanted to start writing a series of posts describing how various books, authors, films, television shows, musicians, video games and even internet stars have influenced my writing in general, as well as the way they have influenced specific storylines within my books. The best writers in the world have found inspiration from the world around them, from world events to nature and the works of other authors. Today, I want to discuss one of the biggest influences on me as an author: The Dark Tower by Stephen King.

This series spans eight novels, as well as short stories, interconnected story points in other works by Mr. King, comics, and now a motion picture with plans for a television and film franchise. This is by far the author’s most famous work, and the connectivity of his works to this series has influenced my own storytelling.

The main plot of the story revolves around Roland Deschain, the last of a long line of gunslingers, who travels his broken world in search of the man in black, a sinister wizard he holds responsible for the downfall of his people. In his search, he also searches for The Dark Tower, a vast tower that binds all worlds and realities together. The man in black works for his master, the Crimson King, to destroy the beams that hold the tower in place, in the hopes that it’s destruction will bring chaos and death to all worlds. Roland must go on a quest to stop this mad plan, gather forces of good to help him stop the Crimson King and save the tower once and for all.


It’s a story the blends several genres, from fantasy and horror to westerns and science fiction. This combination of genres is the first inspiration from this series. The way Stephen King is able to expertly craft a story that incorporates these genres without making it chaotic and unbearable to read is a true source of inspiration. It shows that there is a place for all of these genres to co-exist, and that not one genre is necessarily better than the other.


The second inspiration from this series is the way in which Stephen King connects all of his books. Whether it’s characters like Father Callaghan from Salem’s Lot showing up in book five of the series or the man of black becoming the villain of not one, but at least three different books, this series has shown me the power of connectivity, and how it can inspire larger and more powerful story telling. I’ve begun to apply this to my two main series thus far, Nightmare Wars and The Legend of Electric Fusion. I’ve introduced a character named Larry, who brings chaos with him everywhere and travels between worlds and dimensions to mess with people, and in so doing he appears in both series. My hope is to bring characters from both series together in an epic series like The Dark Tower in the future.


These are just a handful of ways this series inspired me. I’ve learned a lot about the show versus tell storytelling device that I’ve mentioned before in my reviews, and am learning to apply it to my own writing. Stephen King uses this device expertly, subtly leaving plot points within the story that readers pick up on with excitement and eagerness. I’ve learned to apply a more “real-world” dialogue to my writing, in which i don’t worry about applying a vast and expansive dialect that makes me sound like a walking thesaurus but rather i write as if i were just dictating the conversations of real people who experience extraordinary circumstances.


Overall, The Dark Tower is my biggest influence as an author. Mr. King has done a masterful job of creating a narrative that brings heart and emotion to an edge-of-your-seat adventure with scares, thrills and heartbreak. It was a fantastic series that will continue to inspire me throughout my career, and with the major motion pictures starring Idris Elba set to premiere soon, i highly recommend you guys reading this series if you need a healthy dose of writing inspiration. Thank you, Mr. King, for creating such an incredible work of art in The Dark Tower. 


What is your current inspiration, whether its for writing or some other project in your life? Are you guys going to see The Dark Tower when it comes out? Leave your answers in the comments below.