Interview with Author Caleb Smith

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

I have always been in love with stories. Whether it be though books, comic books, poetry, plays and movies, anyway I can get them really. It was always a fun pass time for me. I always had a gut feeling like I was supposed to create something, I wasn’t sure what, but this came in my late teens. After starting a contracting business and contemplating a couple product invention ideas, I came to realize that those puzzle pieces didn’t fit natural to me. Around the time of fall 2006, my little brother who is a really good graphic artist, starting working on a graphic novel with a friend of his. That gave me the spark I needed and shortly after Longevity was conceived.

 

2) What inspired you to write your book?
I don’t know if it was inspiration more so, or just me trying to find myself. In any case I really feel like the story was always there, I was just lucky enough to find it. I do have to say, Stephen King was always a huge inspiration to me. I grew up in Bangor Maine, so his presence was always big around here. I remember painting houses in my early twenties on West Broadway in the summer time, and he would roll by in his convertible. I remember thinking how cool it would be, to be able to write books for a living like that guy!

 

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
The topic of bullying especially at the middle school level seems to be more prominent. If anything I hope people can put them selves in the victims shoes through Noah’s vile experiences. I want readers to feel how emotionally traumatic it can be for someone like Noah. Hopefully this will help raise awareness for the people out there inflicting pain on others but also, act as a guiding light for those who are the victims of bullying. Its important to understand that we are all different, we all look, act, dress, speak and think differently. That is the way its supposed to be. No matter who you are, you will always have your own unique set of talents. Its important to embrace those talents and let the light inside of you grow. Most important, never stop believing in yourself. Never give up and use adversity as fuel to execute any obstacles in your path.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I wanted a story that could appeal to a wide audience with a main character holding plenty of room to grow. The fantasy part was natural considering a story with a multi-dimensional concept. Noah needed to be in middle school to best tackle the bullied victim role. I wanted to mesh his real life every day struggles, with the ability to grow on a fantastical level. It was important to bring a fresh concept to the drawing board, something new and different on the fantasy end. I am pleased with how well it all came together.

 

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

I would sit down with Earl Sherman and ask him if he thinks going to get ice cream was a good idea? Id want his take on that.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
Facebook & Twitter

 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Start now and don’t stop, keep writing even if its bad. Time will heal wounds. Be extra patient and willing to accept rejection. Above all, work hard and believe in yourself.

 

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

 

Longevity: The Will Of Alastair is coming soon!

I have a couple historical novel projects, one is finished.

I also write poetry and have an on going collection.

Id like to think I’m just getting started.

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Longevity: The Wardens of Time by Caleb Smith Review

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

One young man’s journey of self-discovery leads to a world of magic and danger in author Caleb Smith’s novel Longevity: The Wardens of Time. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

Noah Thomas is a scrawny seventh grader who is bullied to the brink in his new town. Friendless, except for sassy tomboy Wendy Sherman, who seems to lend him the confidence he needs to stand up to his oppressors. Upon stumbling into a bookshop one afternoon while on the run from some teenaged tyrants, Noah is hurled into an unexplainable adventure. Noah learns that the bookshop does, in fact, lead to the Akashic Records – a place that holds all spirit lives recorded in tablets of light. With this new found knowledge, Noah begins to grow in wisdom and confidence to face his fears. His biggest challenge comes in the form of five demonic spirits that he accidentally lets loose from a lost tablet. Will Noah succeed with the help of his guardian angel cat he calls Keeper, or will all Hell’s henchman prevail?

The Review

This YA Paranormal/Coming of Age story was an incredible read. The author does a marvelous job of blending the struggles of a young middle school child struggling with his status as an outsider and being bullied with the magical and mythical circumstances he finds himself in throughout the book. Noah is a very relatable and heartbreaking character. In an age where bullying and even cyber-bullying are at an all time high, Noah’s struggle with the bullies at his school and it’s affect on his life was an emotional struggle that readers will be able to hone in on. Meanwhile Noah also struggles with maintaining his first real friendship with Wendy, while also coming of age and discovering his independence while dealing with a worried single mother and no father to help guide him through the hardships of life.

While children will identify with Noah and his adventures, parents will immediately love Noah’s mother and Wendy’s father as they both serve as single parents struggling to raise children on their own. Meanwhile the paranormal element of the story helps illuminate Noah’s real life struggles by giving him a taste of heroism and showing the power that stories and words really have in this world. Delving into the lore of a surprising mythology, the story turns to a classic yet epic battle of good vs evil, and what happens when a small, frightened young boy grows into an adult and becomes the protector he was always meant to be. The writing here was well done, using the mythology told throughout the story to paint a fantastic image of what ancient forces descending on a small town would really look like.

The Verdict

Overall I loved this story. The characters and story really did an amazing job of drawing me into the book and created a fantastic new YA mythology that has the potential for far more stories in the franchise. It’s a story of finding hope, discovering your inner strength and standing up to the bullies and evil of the world around you. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of Longevity: The Wardens of Time by Caleb Smith, available for pre-order now and set to release on October 25th, 2018.

Rating: 8/10

Check out the Author’s Facebook page down below, as well as a special giveaway happening for the book on Goodreads!

https://www.facebook.com/calebsmithauthor/ 

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/enter_kindle_giveaway/284681?utm_medium=api&utm_source=giveaway_widget

Scarlet Reign: Malice of the Dark Witch by R.D. Crist Review

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

A chilling and fantastic new look at the YA Fantasy genre, author R.D. Crist is set to release “Scarlet Reign: Malice of the Dark Witch”. The first in a series, this new YA adventure takes a classic supernatural group of individuals and gives them a brand new spin. Here is the synopsis:

Synopsis

After the unexplainable death of her mother on the eve of Natalie’s fourteenth birthday, she is suddenly forced to grow up. Compelled to leave her dismal and deceptive life behind by a mysterious woman who claims to be an old relative, Natalie carries with her the highly coveted, scarlet stoned ring she reluctantly retrieved from her mother upon her death. 

Following Natalie’s irreversible decision, she unexpectedly finds herself alone and thrust into a peculiar all female orphanage where her arrival was strangely anticipated by the inhabitants, and greeted by some with ire. Ultimately, young Natalie must quickly learn to fend for herself against bullies, unexplained forces, a male suitor, and something lurking for revenge. Does she have both the strength and resolve, and can she set the past aside, to uncover the secrets necessary in order to fulfill her destiny?

The Review

This novel was fantastic. With the YA genre stronger than ever before, the author has found a way to not only create compelling characters and a heart-wrenching story, but make the story have a fresh twist in the YA Fantasy world. The story follows a classic young woman thrust into a hidden world theme, but takes this theme and pairs it with the emotional realm of loss and what children experience after the loss of a parent.

What I really enjoyed was how the author managed to not pit two different groups of supernaturals against one another, but instead showed how a group of supernaturals can have division within itself, and how there are good and bad people in any group. The writing was evenly paced, descriptive and yet left readers with enough space to imagine the scenarios in the novel playing out. The action started from the first page and only escalated from there, leaving readers on the edge of their seat as they waited to learn the secrets of this orphanage and where Natalie truly belonged.

The Verdict

This is a must read for any YA Fantasy fan. With fall approaching and the Halloween season approaching, this is the perfect book for YA fans to jump into to begin their holiday adventures in literature. A powerful story that promises an engaging and shocking series, author R.D. Crist has done a fantastic job of creating a world worth diving head first into, and I for one cannot wait for the next book’s arrival. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Scarlet Reign: Malice of the Dark Witch today!

Rating: 10/10

Here is the book website: www.scarletreignbooks.com

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41555714-scarlet-reign

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Scarlet-Reign-Malice-Dark-Witch-ebook/dp/B07GTPZ4KN/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537547997&sr=8-1&keywords=scarlet+reign+malice+of+the+dark+witch

Author Bio

R.D. Crist is a psychotherapist who generates creativity via long walks and majestic views of nature. True inspiration to write, however, derives from personal hardships that have sparked a desire to help others manage life’s various struggles.

Although R.D. Crist has only released one book, three have been written and several more begun, which span a variety of genres.  The focus of these stories are intended to center on Crist’s favorite dynamics of a story – personal conflict, relationship development, inner growth, and social revelation.  Each story is created with a greater purpose to stimulate a person to reflect on common challenges, be they personal, interactive, or in principle.

Childhood influences include Ray Bradbury stories and character conflict movies like Twelve Angry Men.

Socializing, listening to people’s stories, spending time with family, and relentlessly exercising (as if those last ten pounds cared) are some of Crist’s favorite ways to pass the day.

Pre-Order Hottest Top Toys of the Season – order today at BN.com!

Heartsong by Annie Douglass Lima Review

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

What would you do if you found yourself on a new world filled with intelligent alien life, but you were now the alien? In a world of half truths and no answers, Liz must discover who she can trust and who she is when faced with the life or death circumstances that come with space travel in author Annie Douglass Lima’s YA novel, Heartsong. Here is the synopsis:

Synopsis

Two alien worlds.

One teen emissary.

No reality she can trust.

Thirteen-year-old Liz Smith has been ripped away from one foster family after another for years, so the idea of a permanent home is tantalizing. Who cares if that home is a colony sixty-five thousand light-years from Earth? The friends in her trusty e-reader will keep her company just fine on her interstellar relocation. 

But when the adventure of a lifetime turns into the disaster of the cosmos, Liz can only retreat so far into the books that have always sheltered her from loneliness and loss. Trapped in half-truths and secrets that leave her questioning reality, can one orphaned bookworm find a way to stop two races from destroying each other … and somehow write a happy ending to her own story?

If you like books about space travel, aliens, or cross-cultural transitions, you’ll love this poignant science fiction adventure. Get your copy of Heartsong now to start the journey today! 

This novel was really unique, as it explored what would happen if the human was the alien from another world, and the “aliens” had to decide whether or not the human was hostile or a friend. The author did an amazing job exploring a universal truth, which is the distrust and fear that comes from the unknown, and how sometimes opening ourselves up to new possibilities and finding common ground is the only way to avoid unnecessary violence and come together as one people. The unique differences highlighted between Liz and the alien people she comes into contact with made this an engaging, thought provoking YA adventure like no other.

The exploration of these new worlds highlights the different environments that would allow life to thrive and grow on other worlds, and puts our own history on Earth of conquering and taking what’s not ours, as well as the distrust we have for anyone or anything different than us, into a whole new light. The imagery used was breathtaking to imagine, and the emotional struggle of Liz and the people she meets is something a lot of people will be able to relate to.

Overall this was a fantastic story. Filled with heart, emotion and amazing sci-fi goodness that was kind of reminiscent of Lost in Space, this was a one of a kind novel that deserves to be read. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Annie Douglass Lima’s novel Heartsong today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DB6DKRY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B07DB6DKRY&linkCode=as2&tag=jabla-20&linkId=f371eb4fbb911be6ad7fcf5b2f236cf5

Author Bio:

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I was born in the United States of America but raised mostly in Kenya, which was my home for 14 years.  Upon returning to the US, I attended Biola University in Southern California, where I majored in elementary education with an emphasis on Intercultural Studies.  Shortly after graduating, I accepted a position as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in Papua, Indonesia (a country where I had long dreamed of living).  The job lasted for a year, and not long after my return, I married my wonderful husband Floyd, who I’d met at college.  The two of us lived and worked in California for nearly five years, but when we felt the time was right, it was a joy to move overseas and start a new life in Taiwan.  We return to America every summer, but otherwise, we’ve lived in Taiwan for six wonderful years (and counting).  I love my job teaching fifth grade at Morrison Academy in the city of Taichung.

A few of my blog posts about interesting aspects of life in Taiwan:

Touchdown in Taiwan

Linguistic Misadventures at the Prawn Palace Restaurant 

Typhooning with Krosa

Christmas Dinner… Sort Of

Swine Flu!

Shui Nan Market (a Poem)

What About my Writing?

I’ve always loved writing.  Reading and writing were my favorite subjects in school, and I was seven years old when I decided I was going to be an author.  My first novel (an untitled piece of Christian science fiction) was as ridiculous as you’d expect from a seven-year-old, and it’s probably a good thing I never finished it.  But it got me excited about the idea of writing a book, and I can’t remember a time after that when I wasn’t working on some novel or other.

I was a college student when I woke up one morning after having an interesting dream and thought, That would make a great story.  I should write it down!  I did, and it turned into the first draft of what is now Prince of Alasia.  I set the manuscript aside and forgot about it for a few years, but later I brought it out again, revised it, added details, and turned the short story into a novel.  It was a dream come true when it was finally (after eleven and a half years and a lot of hard work) published as an eBook and later a paperback.

The more I worked on improving the story, the more I pictured other adventures the characters could have and other events that could happen in that setting.  In the Enemy’s Service grew out of those ideas and was published nine months after I started it.  Next came Prince of Malorn, which tells about the same events (and others) from the perspective of the neighboring kingdom. I have lots more ideas, and am currently working on two more books in the same series.  Stay tuned for excited announcements as soon as they’re done!

Besides writing, my favorite hobby is traveling.  Click here to see pictures and a brief description of my adventures in the nineteen countries I’ve had the joy of visiting so far.

Click here to read 25 random facts that most people don’t know about me.

Twitter

Google+

Facebook page (remember to “like” it to get updates about my writing, new publications, and when my books are on sale or occasionally available for free).

Goodreads 

Black & White (Black & White #1) by Nick Wilford

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

A fantastic new YA dystopian novel makes it’s way into the YA world in author Nick Wilford’s first novel in a planned trilogy, Black & White. Here’s the synopsis:

What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.

For me, this book had a lot of elements from books like The Hunger Games or even Stephen King’s The Long Walk. A handful of children dared to question the world around them, and found themselves fighting a government willing to do whatever it took to keep their secrets.

The author does an amazing job of building a mythology that keeps the reader hooked and intrigued. The world of Whitopolis and it’s surreal belief system based on both technology and mysticism is truly a wonder to behold. The world building in this dystopian trilogy has built a lasting foundation that will leave fans wanting more and more from this developing world. Where did this mystery boy come from, and what secrets are the government leaders hiding from the people of Whitopolis? By books end, the answers will only lead to more and more questions, and readers will be eager to see a book two in the series.

Overall I loved this book. The writing was even paced and the story had the perfect blend of breathtaking and surreal settings and relatable and charismatic protagonists. If you haven’t yet be sure to dive head first into this amazing YA dystopian novel Black & White by Nick Wilford today!

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/Black-White-Book-One-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B07395MKSH/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1532576826&sr=1-1&keywords=Black+%26+White+nick+wilford

About the Author

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Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew.

http://www.nickwilford.com/

Smashwords July Summer/Winter Book Promotion: 50% Off And Free eBooks!

Hello there!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer thus far! As I continue preparing for the upcoming release of novella #2 in my YA series Nightmare Academy, I thought it would be a great time to start sharing my books with you all. That’s why I’m excited to share that my books I Was An Evil Teenager: Remastered and Welcome to Nightmare Academy are taking part in Smashwords annual Summer/Winter promotion! Throughout the entire month of July, I Was An Evil Teenager: Remastered is going to be 50% off (that’s $1.50 for an entire novel), and Welcome to Nightmare Academy will be completely free! Yes, the first entry in the series is now free for the entire month. So click the link down below and get both a marked down, scary horror novel about a teenage killer and get a free copy of a highly reviewed and engaging upcoming YA series. If you enjoy these stories then I would love for you to leave a review on any site you are able to and also preorder your copy of Freshman Hunt: A Nightmare Academy Novella today! Thanks everyone, and enjoy your summer!

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https://bit.ly/2IKOtiA

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

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073T2JK2L/ref=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B073T2JK2L&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

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