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

http://www.facebook.com/MikeSchlossbergAuthor

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.

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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.

http://saracrawford.net

http://twitter.com/sara_crawford

Book Announcement: Freshman Hunt: A Nightmare Academy Novella by Anthony Avina Preorder

Hi there everyone. This is Author Anthony Avina. You know I share a lot of reviews, author interviews, blog tour posts and so much more on this website. Yet something I haven’t done a lot of that I need to start doing is sharing more of my own personal work. I am an indie author, and for the past few months I’ve been hard at work finishing the second novella in my YA series, Nightmare Academy. Today I am happy to announce that the book I’ve been working on nonstop is now available for preorder!

FRESHMAN HUNT Book Cover Professional Art
Cover Art by Mike Wehner http://www.mikewehner.com

That’s right, my book is now available. I had the good fortune of working with an incredible artist on the cover named Mike Wehner. He designed this amazing polygon art cover that is truly unique to the YA genre. I hope you guys like it. His work is truly amazing and you can find his work at his website! I will be making several more announcements in the weeks to come, including some giveaways, freebies, book trailer news and so much more. If anyone would be interested in a free copy of this ebook in exchange for a fair and honest review, email me using the contact page on this website! Feel free to share this online and sign up for my newsletter to get the latest news about this release. Expect the book to come out August 24th, 2018 on all online retailers!

Preorder Your Copy!

Select Young Adult Paperbacks: 3 for $20

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Book Blitz: The Phoenix Rising – Destiny Calls by Phenice Arielle

Hey everyone! I have an exciting new book release with an amazing book giveaway and book trailer to share with you. Check out the synopsis, trailer and giveaway for author Phenice Arielle’s novel The Phoenix Rising – Destiny Calls:

College student Kay Morowa goes up against warlords, poachers and human traffickers in The Phoenix Rising – Destiny Calls. 

 

After Kay’s parents reveal that they haven’t been honest with her about her past, Kay flies to South Africa feeling bitter and anxious. Her excitement on arrival is cut short when she becomes a victim of a human trafficking ring operated by a large-scale poaching operation. 

 

Kay flees and finds her way to a dazzling refuge called Ipharadisi. There, she meets the majestic, menacing Queen Zaina and a handsome doctor named Erec.

 

Although impressed by Ipharadisi’s beauty and noble reason for existence, Kay’s sole desire is to return home to her college beau (whom she has much unsettled business with) and to her mom and dad, whom Kay never thought she could miss so much.

  

If Kay can survive the hand-to-hand combat she’ll need to learn to survive, she may just become the kind of peace-seeking hero her classmates would never believe. However, Kay may never get to tell the story if she can’t find her way home, or if she is forced to stay, or worse, if in doing either, Kay dies.


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Keeper by Kim Chance Review

An exhilarating story of a young woman who’s life is turned upside down one frightful night when she discover’s her destiny is far more dangerous than she would have ever thought in author Kim Chance’s novel “Keeper”. Here’s the synopsis:

When a 200-year-old witch attacks her, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. Even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to believe it—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother.

After consulting a psychic, Lainey discovers that she, like her mother, is a Keeper: a witch with the exclusive ability to unlock and wield the Grimoire, a dangerous but powerful spell book. But there’s a problem. The Grimoire has been stolen by a malevolent warlock who is desperate for a spell locked inside it—a spell that would allow him to siphon away the world’s magic.

With the help of her comic-book-loving best friend and an enigmatic but admittedly handsome street fighter, Lainey must leave her life of college prep and studying behind to prepare for the biggest test of all: stealing back the book.

This book definitely reminded me so much of The Mortal instruments by Cassandra Clare. A seemingly ordinary young girl is taken out of the comfortable and normal world she knows and thrown into this chaotic, life or death world filled with magic, mayhem and death. However the book stands out above the rest of the YA Fantasy series I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and I don’t mean because it takes place in the South. No, I mean the characters themselves are just amazing. I found myself pulled into the story because of the fantastic cast of characters, from the very relatable nerdy best friend Maggie to the strong yet caring Uncle Gareth and the mysterious yet handsome stranger Ty. These characters really allowed Lainey to develop into a strong, vulnerable yet brave protagonist who works hard to overcome the shock of this strange new world and become the person her friends and family need her to be.

The fantasy world created by author Kim Chance was incredibly vivid and incredible, with the haunting encounters with the dead and the deep dive into her family’s witch centric past. In just one book Lainey Styles has become the YA Fantasy genre’s newest heroine, a relatable young woman who must quickly become something greater than herself. It’s a story of family, of destiny and of overcoming life’s obstacles, no matter how difficult or how unfair they may seem.

Overall I loved this novel. It’s a fantastic first entry into what I hope will be a phenomenal YA Fantasy series. Author Kim Chance proves in this book that she is a force to be reckoned with in the YA world, mastering the ability to relate her characters to both her target audience and beyond. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of this incredible novel Keeper today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

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Kim Chance is an English teacher from Alabama, currently residing in Michigan with her husband and three children. When not writing, Kim enjoys spending time with her family and two crazy dogs, binge-watching Netflix, fangirling over books, and making death-by-cheese casseroles. Keeper is her first young adult novel. Kim is also a YouTuber who loves connecting with other writers. She posts videos at http://www.youtube.com/kimchance1 and is the creator of the #Chance2Connect chat on Twitter. Connect with her on Twitter: @_KimChance, Instagram: kimwritesbooks, Facebook: @kimwritesbooks, and on her website: http://www.kimchance.com.

Interview with Author David A. Wilson

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

 

I was born in Oregon, raised in Alaska, and have a beautiful wife and five fun-loving children that I adore.  When I’m not writing, I’m probably at work where I am trying to make the world safer, or at home, hanging out with my family.

 

I’ve always wanted to write a book.  Always. I didn’t know what type of book it would be, but I assumed that someday I would do it.  As time marched on, my children grew up and stopped needing me so much. With the extra energy I had, I decided it would never be a better time to start, so I just started typing.

 

I probably should have taken a creative writing class, but I didn’t.  It may have been wise to write a few novellas first, but I didn’t do that either.  I’ve always been a, ‘go big or go home’ sort of person, so I just dived right into a giant epic fantasy novel prophetic super-project thing.  It was a great choice, and I don’t regret it for a minute.

 

2)    What inspired you to write your book?

 

In my day job, I work as a law enforcement officer here in Alaska.  Most of my career has been supervising major crimes investigations involving child exploitation.  In this kind of work, you come in contact with some pretty heartbreaking situations, where children have become victims of some selfish, broken person.  As I’ve chased these villains and sought to protect the wee ones, the journey has made the pathos of the human condition powerfully real for me.

 

Pain is a big part of life, and fear of pain seems to hold so many people back.  Selfish people spread the pain around, creating more pain. Faith, however, seems to have the power to overcome much of the negative aspects of these adverse experiences, often reversing, to some degree, the damage that is done.  I’m talking about faith done right, not faith done wrong. There are plenty of examples of the latter in our world. I hoped that my book could touch on these things, and maybe help heal some hearts.

 

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

 

I hope readers are encouraged, most of all.  When they see the characters struggling through difficult circumstances, encountering both victory and loss, I hope readers will take heart that their own circumstances might get better.  There is no joy that doesn’t come with a risk of pain and all suffering has the potential to become greatness. That’s the way the world works. I also hope that my readers see the value in faith.  I hope that they try it out, if they haven’t already, or at least that they don’t cast a skeptical eye on those who do. There is value when someone believes in something bigger than themselves, and we need all the help we can get.

 

4)    What drew you into this particular genre?

 

I have always loved fantasy novels.  Maybe it’s the escapism they allow, the complete freedom of participating in a completely different world, that breaks the chains of mundanity that hold us down.  I consumed fantasy novels regularly as a teenager, along with an occasional sci-fi novel, and it was a magical time for me.

 

Young adult fantasy is a great genre to write in, for a couple of reasons.  First, you get to write to the hearts of some very passionate human beings. As young adults, we seem to feel passion so much more strongly than we do when we’re older. That’s part of why we often get ourselves into trouble.  It is during this formative time that we develop our ideas about who we are, and what our values and goals should be. As we grow, we see more, we suffer more, and are weighed down by the responsibility of employment and family commitments.  It’s easy to close ourselves off to new ideas and stick to protecting what’s ours. In my opinion, the motivation to make positive changes in our world becomes gradually lost or at least more difficult.

 

There is no more fertile ground in which to plant hopeful ideas than the minds of our youth, and young-adult fantasy is, therefore, a very flexible genre to use as a foundation for such an ambition.

 

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

 

I was asked a very similar question recently, and I responded with a different answer than I am going to right now.  Odd how that works. I wonder if it was the particularly yummy cup of coffee I just drank that has me tilted just so.

 

I’d sit down with Nikolas Vorick.  He’s the main antagonist in the story, and a victim of some pretty horrific suffering, but his life doesn’t start off with him as a villain.  I’d ask Nikky why he let his suffering overwhelm him–why he let it change him so much. I’d ask what might have happened if he’d found a mentor, a kind benefactor to guide his ways; would that have made him kinder?  And I’d ask him what his mother’s name was. He never shared that with us in the story. I’m still curious.

 

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

 

Facebook.  Hands down.  I’m not much of a InstaTweetgrammer, and can’t snap any chats.  I’ve tried, and I’m terrible at it. But I like books, so I signed up with one that has faces on it, and we clicked right away.

 

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

 

Writers write, so just do it.  Write. Write a journal. Write a report at work.  Write a blog. Write something. Practice your craft. Get used to seeing how words fit together, how they inspire, what works and what doesn’t.  Get feedback. Don’t seek praise, because that doesn’t help you very much. Get critical feedback.  Get disappointed in yourself and then struggle through it.  I’ve never learned anything in life by doing it right the first time. Failure is your teacher, but you have to have the courage to fail.  The courage to learn.

And there is no better time to start than right now.  Don’t wait until you’re almost fifty years old (like me) to start doing what you always wanted to.  It’s a marvelous journey, and the highs and lows of building a story are hard to describe other than to say that if you don’t do it, you’ll regret it forever.

 

Don’t let fear hold you back from doing what you want to do.  Suffer. Heal. Grow. Then do it again. This isn’t just good advice on writing, this is good advice on how to live.

 

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

 

Looking for Dei has been built as the first story in a world I’ve called The Great Land.  Looking for Dei ends at a great stopping point but pretty obviously begs for a sequel. And probably a few more books after that.  I’ve already begun outlining the next book. I have a title, a cover, and have started writing it, but don’t have a specific timeline set out for completion.  Might be a couple years before it’s done; I have big ambitions for this one. Stay tuned.

 

Links:

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

Author Website
http://www.davidawillson.com

Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/dawillson

Author Bio:

David A. Willson has worked as a restauranteur, peace officer, and now, author. Taught by his mother to read at a young age, he spent his childhood exploring magic, spaceships, and other dimensions. In his writing, he strives to bring those worlds to his readers.

Much of his material is inspired by the “Great Land” of Alaska, which he has called home for over 30 years. He lives there with his wife, five children, and 2 dogs. He is passionate about technology, faith, and fiction—not necessarily in that order.

Looking for Dei is Willson’s debut novel, set in a land where many more adventures will take place. Stay up to date with his ongoing efforts through the Looking for Dei Facebook page or visiting the website at davidawillson.com.

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken Review

Today we are going to be diving head first into a highly acclaimed novel from a well established author. A young woman finds herself fighting for her life in author Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds. The first of the Darkest Minds series, the book does an excellent job of creating a dystopian YA world filled with pain, loss and hope. Here’s the synopsis:

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

This novel does an excellent job of showcasing the struggles of a society divided between children and adults. A mixture of Marvel’s The Runaways and X-Men with a YA twist, the books pull at the heartstrings as you explore the emotional stories of not only Ruby, but the kids she meets along her journey. Hesitant to know or trust anyone, she must quickly learn what the world is like after this epidemic since she’s been locked up and find a way to find peace before she’s thrust into a battle she wants no part of. The characters are what really pull you into this world. While the incredible backstory and mythology the author creates is engaging, the personal stories and relationships between the characters are what keep you hooked until the final page of the novel.

Overall this was a fantastic story. A great first introduction into a YA Dystopian series, The Darkest Minds does an excellent job of creating vivid imagery that depicts a nation torn apart by this mysterious illness, a hatred towards the children lucky enough to survive and a failing economy that leaves entire towns empty. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging tale, and if you haven’t yet you have to pick up your copy of The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken today!

Rating: 10/10