Author Feature – Zackery Henderson Pandora’s Hope by R.B. Reardon

Zackery Henderson has always wanted to be the hero, much like the ones he’s played in the video games he loved so much – and he loved them for the simple distraction they provided during yet another painful deployment that separated him from his father. Now that his father was almost home from Afghanistan, Zack thought he would be able to get his life back on track. Back on track like, perhaps, any other teenager. You know, the mundane – school, homework, girls…

Yeah, right.

When Zack’s father returns home with a strange souvenir from the Middle East – a smooth, bronze stone with a powerful draw – his world is about to change… and not for the better. Zack is thrust into an inter-dimensional battle that will change the shape of reality as he, and the world, know it. He must stand between worlds – literally – as he fights to master the changes going on inside him, and the forces that have been set forth to stop those changes. Will he succeed or will the world as we know it cease to exist?

Purchase a physical copy HERE or a kindle copy HERE!

R.B. Reardon was gracious enough to do an interview. Let’s learn a little more about the author.

What do you think is your very best feature or characteristic?

My wife would say my Wit and Humor. When I’m writing I like to think like the character, in this case a 16-year-old boy, and think of something clever a boy would say that not only entertains the reader but gives them a chance to laugh, grin, or giggle. That’s why I write.

Do you save trinkets and mementos?

I have a couple things from my grandfather that passed away a few years ago but besides that I don’t hold onto much. I’m not a minimalist but I don’t like clutter.

Do you like to plan things or do you like to be more spontaneous?

Life needs to be a good mix of plans and spontaneity. There’s no excitement when everything is planned and it’s too chaotic if you let the sails take over.

If you could have any superhero power, what would it be and why?

Invulnerability. I’ve grown up idolizing superhero’s like Superman and Wolverine and always thought to myself “If I were invincible I would save the world.” Which is why I joined the Army and served ten years. It was as close to helping to save the world as I could get.

What is one goal you plan to accomplish during your lifetime?

Making a living through my stories. My son loves to write. My wife loves to write. If we can live comfortably off our stories I’d say we “Made it.”

Did you choose writing or did it choose you?

I’ve written stories since I was in second grade. I used to draw comics. I wrote a 35 page story in Second grade and won a Creative Writing contest. I wouldn’t say it’s in my blood but its definitely what I was meant to do. I’ll do it regardless if I “Make it.”

What makes you laugh the most?

Witty one-liners and happy endings. Everyone gets a laugh out of fails on YouTube or kitten’s doing goofy things. I appreciate those video’s but I laugh far more at Bad Dad Jokes and happy endings of a story than I do any of the usual slapstick comedy.

What is your biggest pet peeve with modern technology?

The reliance. I’d like to sit in a cabin in the woods and write with no care, but now-a-days I have to have my email up. I have to be active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in order to get a following and even then it’s incredibly hard.

What advice would you offer an aspiring writer?

Write. Doesn’t matter if it’s awful or full of errors. Just write. Even if its on a notepad that you throw away eventually. If you’re not willing to write when you do not have the motivation too; your writing when you do have the motivation won’t be as good if you were practicing all along.

**

R.B. Reardon grew up a comic book and video game junkie. Stemming from those passions came a love for reading and mythology. The idea to combine all of those elements into a novel of his own did not sprout until ‘Elpys’ floated from a 2015 nighttime dream onto paper. Cliché, sure, but all of the best story ideas come from dreams.

As a U.S. Army war veteran, Mr. Reardon has seen the real heroes in action. He served three overseas tours in the Army, separated from his wife and children for months at a time. While the fantastical adventures Zack embarks on are fiction, the emotions felt during the deployment reunion described in this novel are as real as pages of this book.

Mr. Reardon lives in Georgia with his wife, their three children, and spastic Boxer, Moose.

Connect with him on:   Twitter     Facebook     or     Instagram

 

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Author Feature – Perfect Stranger by Lindsey Powell

Wrong Choices… Bad judgements… Despair…

Stacey Paris is in a relationship with the arrogant Charles Montpellior. Charles is controlling, leaving Stacey no room to breathe. She needs to make some major changes in her life, but it isn’t until a familiar face from her past resurfaces that she is able to seriously re-evaluate the choices that she has made so far. Jake Waters is mysterious, handsome, charming and intriguing. Stacey first met Jake six months ago, when they shared a passionate encounter together. Since then, she has tried to forget about how he made her feel. She is trying to concentrate on her relationship with Charles, but she is fighting a losing battle.
Jake’s reappearance will make Stacey feel emotions that she has never experienced before. Is Jake as perfect as she thinks he is?
Stacey seems to think so.
So, why is it that she ends up fighting for her life?

Only one way to find out….

Click HERE to buy it today!

Let’s learn a little more about the author, Lindsey Powell.

What do you think is your very best feature or characteristic?

My ability to empathise with others in their hour of need.

Do you save trinkets and mementos?

I keep any cards or mementos that my two beautiful children have given me.

Do you like to plan things or do you like to be more spontaneous?

Before becoming a mother I would say that I was more spontaneous in my decisions. However, now I tend to plan more. Although when the odd occasion arises for an evening out with friends, I like to put on my gladrags and go with the flow.

If you could have any superhero power, what would it be and why?

Telekinesis would be my super power as this would enable me to write without being interrupted to do things.

What advice would you offer an aspiring writer?

Follow your own path and don’t let anyone dissuade you from your goals. I never thought that my book would be read by others, but now that it is, I am so glad that I put aside my fears. Dreams can be achieved, so just go for it.

**

Lindsey lives in South West, England, with her partner and two children, and she works within a family run business. She started working on Perfect Stranger in 2013. Her love of reading inspired her to write her own novel.

Lindsey has been friends with Victoria, the designer, since 2005. The Perfect Series has become a reality as a result of their combined talents. Lindsey being able to work with a close friend, has made the journey through this more personal and rewarding. Seeing their work come to life is incredible.

Perfect Stranger is the first book of The Perfect Series.

 

**

Book Two in the Perfect series, Perfect Memories, is being released this month! Look for details and connect with Lindsey on Social Media:

Twitter     Facebook    Her Website

 

Author Feature – More Beginnings by Iris Blobel

Zach Taylor, an escort in Sydney, living in Hobart, enlists the help of Natasha Peterson when his teenage friend, Mia, runs away. He soon finds out that the ‘dragon’ is really more of a kitten. And although Natasha, Mia’s teacher, is attracted to him as well, she has her own problems to deal with, not to mention her initial reaction to Zach’s occupation.

Will Zach’s job keep him from a chance to be with Natasha?

Life is good for teenager Mia Levesque. But when Darren Schuster shows up in Hobart, she knows something is up once Sophie and Mark cut their weekend away short and rush home in the middle of the night. When Sophie won’t answer Mia’s questions, emotions run high, and Zach confirms Darren’s identity to Mia. Disappointed, angry, and feeling alone, Mia runs away.

Will life settle back into a routine for Mia once she finds out about the stranger in her life?

New Beginnings have given the Levesque girls a new start in life, will More Beginnings be another chance for them?

Buy it Today on    AMAZON US     AMAZON UK     or     AMAZON AU

Story Excerpt:

Zach Taylor’s young neighbour, Mia, let out a long sigh as she joined him on his front porch and sat next to him on the swing. Enjoying a cool lemonade, he invited her to grab a soft drink from the fridge as well. It was a warm summer day, and the air showed no sign of cooling down. A lot of people in Hobart were weary of the unusual hot spell for the very southern Australian city.
With another hefty sigh, Mia raked through her long, blond hair and stared into the distance.

“Honestly, Zach, she’s a dragon. I’m sure she does it on purpose. She doesn’t like me. She thinks I’m spoilt.”

The dragon in question was Miss Peterson, Mia’s high school English teacher. There was no doubt that Mia liked school, and she enjoyed her classes. And even though English wasn’t her worst subject, it certainly was the toughest one, with Miss Peterson piling on homework one after the other.

Zach took a sip of his drink before he replied, “Hey, pumpkin, settle down. What’s that supposed to mean you’re ‘spoilt’?”

She lifted her shoulder in a slight shrug. “You know!”

Raising his brows, he replied, “Actually I don’t know! Isn’t she Sophie’s good friend?”

Another shrug. “Kind of, I suppose. They used to do the boxing stuff together, and since Soph’s carrying a baby, they go and enjoy coffee and cake instead every once in a while.”

Ignoring his chuckle, she went inside and helped herself to cold lemonade. She opened the can with a simple click as she returned outside and took a long sip.

**

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.
Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.
Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Subscribe to her Newsletter HERE and connect with her on Social Media:

Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads     Instagram     Bookbub

Author Feature – Next Therapist Please by Laurie Finkelstein

Janie goes through therapists like leased cars. Every few years, she trades in for a new one. Blessed with anxiety, depression, and OCD, Janie has encountered a menagerie of therapists. She has experienced the funky, the scholarly, and the incompetent. In a chance meeting, Janie and ex-hypnotherapist Dr. Rob begin a friendship that could be everlasting. With a paintbrush in one hand and a cocktail in another, Janie navigates through her complicated life. From her cottage on Balboa Island to the Doc’s home in Palm Springs, can Janie manage her quirks and hang-ups with the help of the Doc? Find out in this funny, heartwarming, and at times heart wrenching, read. Grab a cocktail, make a toast to Janie, and enter her world.

Buy it today on AMAZON   or   SMASHWORDS

What inspired you to write Next Therapist Please?
Next Therapist Please started as separate stories I wrote pertaining to my personal journey with living with mental illness as well as raising a special needs child. They were meant as a means to move beyond the accumulated emotions I experienced. When I finished, I had all these interesting and often rather amusing tales to read. With my love of romantic comedies, I decided, “Hey, lets take these stories and interweave them with fictional characters and a storyline in true chick lit fashion.”

What do you think the average reader without challenges will walk away with after reading?
First, I want readers to have a fun read. Second, I want readers to experience a life they may not understand or ever think about. Raising a child with special needs is daunting, confusing, and during the time my son was growing up, services were limited and inadequate. I want people to understand that mental illnesses do not define a person. Nor, just go away. These are lifelong disorders. And, I want people who are quietly suffering to know they are not alone and there is help for them

How do you think reading a romantic comedy will help people understand some aspects of mental illness?
My first purpose is to humanize mental illness and my second goal is to break down the stigma mental illness carries. 42.5 million Americans suffer some sort of mental illness. That is roughly 1 in 5 people. It is time to bring the discussion of these disorders to the forefront of our dialogues of health care management. Humor and happy endings make most circumstances acceptable.

Who has influenced your writing?
First, the love of reading began with picture books and as I learned to read, books like My Father’s Dragon, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and A Wrinkle in Time fed my imagination. Today I love to read traditional and Indie authors mainly in the rom com vain. Sophie Kinsella tops my list of traditionally published creative, funny, fabulous writers. I also love to read Plum Sykes, Cathryn Michon, and Geralyn Corcillo. My favorite Indie authors are Eileen Thornton, Lizzie Chantree, and J. R. Barrett. I have a weakness for all of Augustin Burroughs books.

Do you have any more books you are working on?
Yes I do! My next book is called Dying to Play Mah Jong. It is a romantic comedy but with the added element of supernatural occurrences and a mystery to solve. That’s all I’ll say for now. It is fully written and I am on the second round of edits. I also have a non-fiction book to finish. I am doing the illustrations for that one and you will find it in the humor section of books. The title is a secret for now.

**

Laurie Beth Finkelstein lives far enough north from Los Angeles to enjoy a slightly slower pace, but not far enough away to escape the traffic. Laurie shares her life with a husband, two grown sons, and two cats, thankfully not all living in the same house.

Laurie splits her time between painting and writing. Her debut novel, ‘Next Therapist Please’ took years to write and while fictional, mirrors many aspects of her life. Living with depression, anxiety, and OCD, has challenged her as well as provide occasional comic relief in her life. Laurie hopes to help smash the stigma of mental illness one laugh at a time.

“This book is both funny and poignant.” Amazon Review.

Here are some fun facts about Laurie:
~ She does not like pie.
~ She secretly watches SpongeBob Square Pants.
~She worked as Warner Brother’s characters at Six Flags Magic Mountain. For one month. Those costumes were heavy.
~She can’t whistle.
~She straddled the shoulders of a performer on a unicycle whipping around the stage as he juggled. In a dress hiked up beyond her comfort level and screaming during the whole “performance”.

Next Therapist Please received a 5 star review from Reader’s Favorite from Jack Magnus

“Laurie Finkelstein’s romantic comedy, Next Therapist Please, has its light and breezy moments, as romantic comedies invariably do, but there’s a lot more to this well-written and enjoyable novel. Janie’s social anxiety leads her to encounters with six different therapists, and the author deftly guides the reader through the varying types of therapy a person with anxiety may encounter.”

Connect with Laurie at lauriebethart.com

 

Author Feature – Brian Hagan

Welcome to this week’s feature with fellow Pittsburgh author Brian Hagan! Brian has been kind enough to sit down and offer his answers to a few fun questions.

When have you felt your biggest adrenaline rush?

I think my biggest rush comes when I’m sword fighting. Either in a choreographed performance, or competitive fencing with rapiers, daggers, and the like. In both, unexpected things happen and it’s those moments when training and reflexes kick in that give me a huge adrenaline rush and leave me grinning afterwards.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done and would you do it again?

Appropriately enough, the craziest thing I’ve ever done was volunteer for my first choreographed sword fight… an hour before the curtain went up on opening night.

It was a production of Macbeth being put on by my college. My girlfriend at the time (now my wife) and I had volunteered to help with the sound & lights, so we showed up early to run through the program before audience members arrived. As we walked in, the director looked at me and says my name in that real friendly way when you need somebody to do you a favor. Apparently, the prior day one of the actors jumped off the stage and broke her ankle. She was able to still go on & do her lines, but she couldn’t move well enough to do her part of the big battle at the end. They needed somebody to fill in for her, as the whole thing was intricately choreographed and they couldn’t just remove her part.

So, over the next two hours I received a crash course in stage combat and was taught the choreography that the regular actor had spent four months practicing. Did I mention that they couldn’t change anything? That also meant that if I screwed up, the whole battle could get thrown into disarray and people could get seriously hurt.

Thankfully everything went smoothly and the curse of the Scottish Play didn’t feel any need to manifest further.

I would do it again in a heartbeat, but preferably without anyone breaking their ankle.

If your job gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those days?

Spend time watching good movies, reading, and snuggling with my cats. These are ingredients chosen to create the perfect inspiration. But Professor Utonium accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction: Everyday Life. Thus, a to-do list of shopping, cleaning, and spending time with my awesome family, was born!

In the past people were buried with the items they would need in the afterlife. What would you want buried with you so you could use it in the afterlife?

My sword, because my friends will be incredibly disappointed if I showed up without it (also, a piece of string tied on the end makes the best toy for playing with cats, and they would be disappointed too). My instruments, because I love playing music and as heavenly as the angels’ songs surely are, I’ll be sad if I can’t play along. Finally, I want to be buried with a library, because then I can be sure my afterlife will be heaven.

What advice would you offer an aspiring writer?

Write. Write well, write poorly, and with all manners of spelling and grammar. Write what you love to write, write what you don’t love to write, and learn from both. Most importantly, meet people, because they are what stories are made of.

**

Brian’s background is varied and curious, starting with an interest in science and language, before moving into animation and game design. Most recently he’s been working with gemstones, and experimenting with bonsai and carnivorous plants. But of all his many hobbies and vocations, he loves telling stories above all else. His first novel, The Horrible Plan of Horace Pickle, was completed for NaNoWriMo in 2008. Brian currently lives in a notoriously haunted house in Pittsburgh with his wife, daughter, and a menagerie of cats and rabbits.

Connect with Brian on his websites: www.windsmithcity.com and  www.horacepickle.com or be social on Facebook and Twitter.