The Gemstone Chronicles, Book One: The Carnelian

Cover, Gemstone ChroniclesThe Gemstone Chronicles, Book One: The Carnelian is a delightful Young Adult fantasy tale by William L. Stuart that can be read and enjoyed by all ages.William L. Stuart, Pic

The last thing Beebop expects as he and his grandchildren, Aidan and Maggie, start out on a day of rock-hounding in the Georgia countryside is that they will discover anything out of the ordinary. What they find is a stone that profoundly rocks their world, turning their beliefs and their very lives upside down.

The odd stone marked with a cross is curious enough by itself, but when it is discovered to be inhabited by an elf named Findecano Saralonde and a troll named Yul, Beebop and his family begin to wonder if they are losing their minds or if these beings are indeed real. After all, how could such creatures live inside so small a stone?

As it turns out, not only do this elf and this troll truly exist, but real magic has to be a certainty as well. Findecano was imprisoned in the stone when Dark Elves wanted him out of the way because he knew that they had stolen the gems of power from the Elven Bow of the Light Elves. The Dark Elves wanted to weaken the barrier between the human and the elven realms so that they could rule over them both.

Having stumbled onto this, it is not surprising that Beebop and his family end up returning with Findecano to his land to find the missing gems of power, whether or not they want to go. Just what does happen makes entertaining reading for the entire family.

I truly enjoyed this fanciful tale and look forward to reading the next books in The Gemstone Chronicles.

Review by:

Carol Marrs Phipps

 

Review: A STUDY in STEEL, by Eliana Siobhan Vale

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 A Study in Steel by Eliana Siobhan Vale is a captivating and uniquely imaginative sci-fi tale that is very well told by a first-time author. Fans of this genre will not beEliana Vale (Pic) disappointed, but will looking forward to the next book written by the talented Ms Vale.

Before the last human war science and bio-technology advanced to the point where it could create genuine replacement organs and limbs for human beings. In fact, using this new technology they could create and replace any body part.

It didn’t take long for other ‘human improvements’ to be created once the new bio-technology had been approved and accepted. Implants were manufactured that would allow people to enhance themselves with technology such as watch screens and communicators which were built directly into their wrists. Many other modifications were also created to help humans to improve themselves and enhance their abilities. At first it was simply a new fad, but over time many people began to look at these new technological enhancements as a necessity. However, there were still many people who did not agree that the bio-tech improvements were a good idea or even at all desirable. Thus, two factions were created, the unmodified humans who considered themselves the true humans began to call themselves the “Souls”. The enhanced humans, or cyborgs considered themselves superior because of their enhance abilities and began to call themselves the “Darwins”.

And so it went until the cyborgs grew to large enough numbers that the Souls began to feel threatened by them. Eventually this led to open conflict and finally to all-out war, and the battle for control of planet earth had begun.

The war raged for years, but the cyborgs with their technological advatages proved to be the victors. The surviving humans were forced to go into hiding, but they were mercilessly hunted by the Darwins. Souls who were captured who refused to allow themselves to be enhanced were simply used as spare body parts for the cyborgs.

As time passed the cyborgs became convinced that they had enhanced or exterminated all the remaining humans so they settled down in what they termed the “System of Two Worlds” which they called the city of Duplicity. This consisted of a once great, but now ruined city above ground ruled by Darwins called “Moderators” where the poor and the more disreputable lived, and a newly constructed and extensive city below the city under the ground in what had once been the subterranean railways where most of the cyborgs lived.

The cyborgs now turned their attention to creating more and improved “Tech Flesh” and even more enhanced replacement body parts which eventually led to the creation of entire synthetic beings they called “Drives”. The Drives were programmed to carry out a specific function or job. Some Drives became “Servers”, others became “Boot Drives”, “Search Engines”, and even “Viruses” and “Malware”.

The Darwins were convinced by this time that they had been correct all along and were destined, due to their particular “evolution” to rule over Earth for the life of the planet.

They were mistaken.

I enjoyed this book immensely and am certain that you will, too. If you like futuristic scenarios and fast-paced science fiction, you will love this highly imaginative tale. Though…you may never look at your computer, its components or its systems in the same way ever again.

Reviewed by:

Carol Marrs Phipps

Books by Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

It is the very worst time to be in the woods.
Oisin’s plan is to come with his bow to help Aedan and Doona lead a party of children into the forest to gather the maidenhair seedlings his people would take across the sea as they flee the trolls who hunt them as prey. Maybe he can be back in time for supper.           
Dyr’s plan is an early evening head smash for the foolish Elves who think they can steal away to the sands of the endless eye sting water and build their strange float huts. They will make a glorious feast.
But on the way, Dyr’s brutes stumble across Oisin’s gathering party and attack, leaving Aedan mortally wounded and scattering Doona and the children to flee in terror into the dark mountain woods, only to be run down and captured by the bloodthirsty trolls.
Can Oisin find the bonfires of the trolls and rescue them before it’s too late? And what then? Will any of them live long enough to reach safety?
Minuet Dewin, eldest daughter of the wizard Razzmorten, practically raised her half sister Leeuh, who was abandoned by her mother. For many years, Minuet is Leeuh’s passionate champion. As time passes, Leeuh becomes increasingly hard to defend as she grows determined to be awful at every turn. Whilst undoing her dangerous pranks, Minuet finds herself the target of her hatred and jealousy. And when they fall for the same prince, it looks like war.
Suddenly Leeuh vanishes. She returns years later, compliant and sweet as she always should have been. Minuet is stunned. Should she trust her, or will it be the very death of her?  
Rose is not inclined to believe idle gossip, but as she ruminates on the way her  parents acted when she confronted them with what she’d heard she becomes convinced they didn’t tell her everything. But why? Determined to uncover the entire truth for herself and learn if she is really the daughter of an evil sorceress she sets out on a desperate quest to a forbidden forest that has the unsettling reputation of swallowing up those foolish enough to enter.
           
From the beginning Rose’s journey is beset with pitfalls and challenges. She doesn’t get beyond the stables before her younger brother appears and blackmails his way into becoming her self-appointed protector and traveling companion. Together they evade the Royal Niargian Guard, survive a cyclone, escape from the castle of Rose’s betrothed, discover Elves really do exist, as do werebeasts, cyclopses and centaurs, then negotiate the perils of the Valley of Illusions.
           
When they reach the Chokewood Forest they encounter a horde of miniature devils, choking fruit, and cannibals who take them captive. However, before the cannibals can turn Rose and Lucas into their next feast, a bizarre hag crashes the cannibal’s party and rescues them only to lead them into a mad fantasy forest that appears very like a dream world, where nothing is as it seems. The crone announces that they are now her prisoners and they ‘owe her’ for saving them. She takes them to her cabin where they discover the hag is the very sorceress they seek. And then things really get strange.
A great evil awakens to shatter Niarg’s peaceful world.

In her remote island keep off the shores of Head, the fearsome sorceress Demonica at last learns from her unfaithful husband Yann-Ber the whereabouts of the long lost Staff of Power. He crawls before her to tell her that it has turned up in the hands of her granddaughter Spitemorta, the new queen of Goll, hoping to buy his release from her horrid curse of boils. She is ecstatic about the Staff, but will never forgive his faithlessness. He will be released, all right. He will get to die in one year, after the most excruciating boils yet to come.

Demonica leaves for Goll at once. She arranges an accident for the nanny of Spitemorta’s son, becomes the new nanny herself and offers to teach Spitemorta how to develop her considerable powers. Spitemorta accepts at once, thereby uniting the two most dangerous sorceresses of the age, determined to conquer the world. Their first step is to find the First Wizard’s Stone Heart which would make the Staff the most powerful tool of all time.

The Burgeoning

With both the Great Staff of Power and the Stone Heart in their hands at last, it seems that nothing can stop Demonica and Queen Spitemorta from crushing Niarg and conquering the entire world. King Hebraun of Niarg is dead and not a single Elf is left alive in the Jutwoods.

 Spitemorta’s husband, King James, tries to ride out of Castle Goll with her Great Staff of Power, but is tortured by Demonica and her and locked away to die in the fleas and fetid straw of the dungeon. He manages to escape across the Great Barrier Mountains, just as the army and people of Niarg are sent out into the countryside by Queen Minuet and Wizard Razzmorten, who flee to the Pitmaster’s Kettles in time for Spitemorta and Demonica to effortlessly destroy Castle Niarg. Is this the end of everything?

The Reaper Witch

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Niarg has fallen to the dark sorceresses Demonica and Queen Spitemorta. The dragons have fled from their caves. Confident that Queen Minuet and Wizard Razzmorten are dead, and that the trolls have eaten every breathing Elf, Spitemorta brings down the last hamlets of the Northern Continent as she prepares to conquer the rest of the world.

But Queen Minuet and Wizard Razzmorten do live and are hiding in the crater of Mount Bedd with the Fairy guardians of the Forest Primeval, where they wait for what remains of their army before fleeing to the Black Desert to live beneath its burning sands with the dragons and all of the Elves who escaped Demonica’s great troll raid, down their hidden river.

Is this truly the end of Niarg and freedom everywhere in world? Can Elves, dragons and men live outside her bondage, or will the Reaper Witch find them and enslave them once and for all? 

DoomDoomComing in 2014: The final book in the Heart of the Staff series

Review: A TALE OF TWO WORLDS by Susan Waterwyk

A Tale of Two Worlds, Amazon Imae

Blurb:

A Tale of Two Worlds

“The Earth, once asleep, has awakened, from deep in her belly come cries; her mountains interview 007 (3)1Waterwykand valleys are shaken and seas rise up to the skies.”

The ancient Keepers of Akosh can do nothing to prevent the catastrophes. They have known since the sinking of Atlantis that the living world of Earth would awaken. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis threaten the people of the Earth so the Keepers spent thousands of years terraforming the primitive world of Lantamyra to serve as a sanctuary for the refugees from Earth. Now the Gathering begins.

The dragons that rule the three Great Houses of Lantamyra need the giant myra crystals from Atlantis to strengthen the large array in the House of Gaia Jade to be able to return to their homeworld, Lanluong. The Keepers of Akosh authorize a mission to Earth to locate and retrieve the crystals before the earthquakes bury them deeper in the abysmal depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

Recently arrived from Earth, Tylya Lansing has been trained in the Secrets of the Ways and knows how to use the powerful myra crystals. She is now a keeper of dragons in the House of Gaia Jade, and her first-hand knowledge of modern Earth makes her the best candidate to command the mission to find and retrieve the lost crystals of Atlantis.

Tylya’s lover, Josh Hamilton is also from Earth and trained in the Ways but chose not to serve the dragons. He is a crystalseeker working in the mine at Queen’s Heart located near an active volcano. The job is extremely dangerous since long exposure to myra crystals causes crystal sickness, and worst of all, ghosts of seekers are hungry for living energy and they wait in the myra crystals to feed on him.

Tale of Two Worlds, Review

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I was enthralled from the very opening paragraph of a Tale of Two Worlds by Susan Waterwyk. This author artfully weaves together just the right balance of descriptive prose and dialogue. She creates a world so vivid and tangible the reader soon feels like a participant in the tale, rather than a mere observer.

A Tale of Two Worlds is the second book of Waterwyk’s planned trilogy about the fantastic world of Lantamyra where dragons rule fairly and justly over the humans that share that world with them. But, Lantamyra’s history is tied to two other “living worlds”, the dragon homeworld, Lanluong, and the human’s homeworld, Earth.

Long ago when the Keepers of Akosh learned to travel between the stars in their fantastic spaceships powered by giant myra crystals, they searched far and wide for other “living worlds” like their own. In time they found a number of these “living worlds” and used their great myra crystals to open portals to travel between them. Unwittingly, the keepers upset the balance of the dragon homeworld causing great upheavals which threatened the very existence of the dragons by the constant use of the portals.

As soon as the Keepers of Akosh realized what they had done they set about rescuing as many of the dragons as they could, relocating them to the safety of Lantamyra where the dragons ruled and lived in peace with the Keepers of Akosh and humans who had come there from Earth to serve dragonkind.

But the dragons longed for the day they might return to their own world of Lanluong and the Keepers felt honor bound to fulfill the dragon’s wish as soon as it was feasible. First however, they had to recover some of the giant myra crystals from the ancient site of Atlantis where the crystals had been submerged under the sea since the isle’s untimely demise.

Once the myra crystals were recovered there was one problem. There would be repercussions for using the crystals on such a massive scale again, only this time it would be planet Earth that would undergo horrendous upheavals that could entirely wipe out the human population. So the Keepers of Akosh had trained a number of chosen humans to aid in the “gathering” of a select number of the human race in order to prevent their extinction from the coming disaster and transport them to Lantamyra where they would be safe. In A Tale of Two Worlds this destined time is at hand.

A Tale of Two Worlds is a highly imaginative and enchanting tale surely destined to become a classic that the reader will remember long after the final page. It is time for “the gathering”. Read A Tale of two Worlds and hope you won’t be left behind.

Review by:
Carol Marrs Phipps

Deceit: Review

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Deceit is an intriguing and highly enjoyable Alternate History Thriller by W.C. Hewitt based upon the tragic sinking of the Titanic and the events that lead up to it. If you are a fan of download W.C. Hewittintense thrillers, you won’t want to miss this one.

Andrew Hoyle is a reporter for the Atlas News Agency who is assigned to cover the raising of the H.M.S. Titanic. He is also fortunate enough to be one of the few news people invited to inspect the interior of the ship once it has been raised.

Within the interior of the Titanic, Hoyle discovers a small, square metal box covered with over 90 years of rust. He secrets it on his person and takes it with him when he leaves. When he pries open the box Hoyle is at first disappointed to find that the box only contains an old photo of a couple dressed in turn-of-the-century clothing and an oilcloth packet with a yellowing parchment. The ancient paper was addressed to one Sir Rodney Deanne, Head to British Intelligence and signed Elizabeth Brunette and Christopher Ryan.

In an attempt to research information on the names on the parchment Hoyle is once again disappointed as the records are sealed and protected under the Official Secrets Act. However, he discovers that Elizabeth Brunette, now deceased, is survived by an only daughter named Sandra who also uses her mother’s surname of Brunette.

Hoyle pays Ms Brunette a visit hoping to learn the answers to this mystery, but Sandra claims her mother was merely a secretary to a barrister, and had never been employed by the government in any capacity.

Nevertheless, she shows Hoyle to her mother’s old desk where she kept all of her papers and personal documents. In short order he pries open a locked drawer to reveal not only Brunette’s personal documents, but also her diaries which detail an incredible, long-hidden conspiracy to sink the Titanic.

I will not disclose the harrowing details of this torrid thriller, but rather I will recommend that you read it for yourself. If you like edge-of-your-seat action and hair-raising chills, you’ll love Deceit.

Review by:

Carol Marrs Phipps

The Junk Picker By Jan F. Drewniak & Don Drewniak

41+JOb3PQ-L._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_The Junk Picker by Jan F. Drewniak and Don Drewniak is a well-written, witty and highly enjoyable tale. Reading these adventures of Johnny, “Pinball” Drewniak put me in mind of a number of beloved sitcoms from the past such as I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Andy Griffith, etc., but better because this story is true. The resemblance is not because The Junk Picker is really like any of these sitcoms, but rather because it is written with the same warmth and good humor.

The young son of Polish immigrants leaves home at an early age and through perseverance and hard work develops a great number of marketable skills. Most notably, an eye for collectibles and antiques. This talent leads his friends and admires to call him a “collector” and his critics to call him a “junk picker”. Read this wonderful tale for yourself and then you decide.
I highly recommend The Junk Picker to people of all ages who like to sit back and simply read and enjoy a good story…and come away smiling.

Reviewed by:
Carol Marrs Phipps

Review: A Born Victim

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If you crave heart-pounding, realistic thrillers with believable characters, A Born Victim by rprRP Rochford, may be just what you’re looking for.

Gill Brogan is an unremarkable 27 year-old divorced mother of two who works hard to pay her bills and care for her children, but she has the unfortunate history of being fired from one job after another. She also has a history of being targeted for bullying and mistreatment by her peers, co-workers and her ex-husband, all of which, understandably, make her timid and insecure.

It seems that nothing in Gill’s life ever turns out well, even though she is sure she is not at fault. Perhaps she has just been born to be a victim of everyone else’s abuse.

Meanwhile, someone has been torturing and murdering young women in Britain and posting the sadistic crimes on the Internet for the viewing pleasure of whoever will pay for the opportunity to watch.

Cyber Crime Investigator, Mike Watson, and Police Investigator, DS Lucy Taylor, are determined to discover who and put an end to the heinous crimes before any more young victims meet the same fate.

But the perpetrators prove to be incredibly illusive incredibly clever at covering their tracks,  leaving not even the tiniest  piece of traceable evidence as to their identities at either the crime scenes or online. As the investigation wears on it seems more and more that someone has finally A.Born.Victim.Coverfound a way to pull off the perfect crimes while rubbing it in the faces of the authorities who seek them. But who? Can Watson and Taylor even realistically hope to track down the perpetrators who have thus far eluded an entire police force? And can they do it before Gill Brogan or any other young woman is tortured and murdered to gratify the perverted appetites of the sick lowlifes who enjoy watching?

A Born Victim is a roller-coaster ride of chills and appalling revelations that will keep you holding your breath and turning pages into the wee hours that you’ll not want to miss…but be warned, it is not for the faint of heart.

Carol Marrs Phipps

Interview with UK Author of A BORN VICTIM, RP Rochford

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What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?

My name is Richard Rochford and I was born in Essex in southern England though I now live in a tiny village in the West Midlands (UK).

Please tell us a little about yourself (something different not contained in your bio).

Possibly the most unlikely thing about me is that I keep bees. I have several hives in various locations and find them absolutely fascinating creatures.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing academic material for some time but really started with fiction in early 2010 initially writing short stories then beginning work on A Born Victim.

What do you believe is the most difficult thing about becoming an author?

I guess the biggest challenge is getting published or, if you self-publish, in getting your book noticed among literally tens of thousands of others.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Besides bee keeping and walking in the country with my dog I like to travel and I’ve been privileged to spend time in many European countries.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?

My latest book is A Born Victim. It’s the story of a woman who might be the perfect victim except for her own tenacity, the love of one man and the determination of a young detective.

A.Born.Victim.Cover

Was there any particular thing that inspired you to write A Born Victim?

Believe it or not this book grew entirely from a character sketch of the woman who is the key character – Gill Brogan. I’d written a series of short stories about a young woman who has all sorts of things go wrong in her life but who nevertheless manages to always come out on top of her circumstances. I started wondering what she might be like if she lacked the confidence to overcome in that way and Gill Brogan was the result.

Is this book part of a series?

Yes, the intention is for it be part of an ongoing series. I’m working on the second book right now which features several of the characters from the first.

Would you share a blurb with us?

‘A Born Victim’ is the story of Gill Brogan, a young single mother who is pushed deep into despair by workplace bullying. Just when she thinks nothing could get any worse she finds herself narrowly escaping an attempt on her life.

Set against this troubled life is the story of Lucy Taylor, an ambitious young detective who has dedicated herself to investigating violent crimes against women which all too often go unsolved. As she investigates case after case, each one more disturbing than the last, Taylor begins to see common threads which she hopes she can unravel to find the villains and bring them to justice.

The book reaches a climax as a determined, well organised criminal group emerges from the shadowy world of cyber-space to carry out one last crime in the real world. Lucy Taylor and her geeky side-kick, Mike Watson, are all that stand between the criminals and their victims.

Throughout the book, psychological themes are analysed lending a deeper, more serious note to the fast paced thriller as the author explores the factors which have formed our attitudes toward women and the acceptability of violence against them.

Would you share a short excerpt?

In the darkness between sunset and moon rise they brought her to the beach, dropping her, half dead with pain and exhaustion, onto the firm sand just above the waterline. She lay as she fell, on her back, legs slightly apart, blonde hair tangled about her shoulders, one arm across her breasts. Her face stared up at the star pierced blackness but her eyes were closed, shutting her soul away into some private place where the pain could not penetrate.

The men, relieved of their burden, stood around in silence, alert, waiting, very aware of the eerie glow of the night vision camera being used to record the drama. No one spoke and in the stillness the susurration of sea on sand was mesmerising, almost overpowering. The girl lay motionless as though already dead.

High up on the cliff top a car passed, lights sweeping out to sea at the bend in the road, and the men glanced up, suddenly tense, concerned perhaps that they might be discovered with the evidence of their crime still living, lying on the sand at their feet. The car rushed on, its exhaust note echoing suddenly against cliffs on the other side of the road, then it was gone, swallowed up in the night. The girl heard nothing.

A gentle breeze stirred stems of rough grass on a narrow strip of land below the cliff, whispered through the rocks and tugged at a few strands of blonde hair that had fallen, dry across the girl’s face but she did not feel it.

Then the moon rose, light breaking over the cliff top with almost startling suddenness and illuminating the beach. Wavelets were capped with silvery moon reflecting bubbles and rushed, dancing onto the white sand where moonlight kissed pale skin and fair hair throwing the curve of hip and breast into sharp contrast against darker shadow.

The last member of the group slid down the path, his boots loud against the loose rock to join them on the beach uncoiling rope from over his shoulder and pulling a hammer and a steel spike from a small bag. The others gathered round as the last man made his preparations, pulling the girl’s arms up and binding her wrists together then dragging her unresisting body around so her hands were toward the low surf. He drove the spike deep into the sand swinging the hammer down in chiming blows that quickly sank the length of the steel immovably into the wet sand. Then he tied her hands to the spike.

The men moved up the beach, watching, waiting as the tide moved in. One lit a cigarette, the flame flaring brightly against the velvet sky. Another did the same and the darkness was punctuated by red sparks as they inhaled. The girl died with very little drama, her broken spirit and battered body only capable of token resistance to her fate. A weak cough, a short spasm, a few tremors of effort running through her body and then the incoming waves claimed her, covering her face and floating her blonde hair around her head like the halo of a martyred saint.

Do you have plans for a new book? Would you tell us a little about it?

I’m currently working on a second book called ‘A Born Survivor’ which develops the life of several characters from ‘A Born Victim’ but also introduces some fascinating new characters. I love the idea of keeping several characters and sharing with readers how their lives develop and the adventures they have but one of the key characters in this story is a young disabled woman who finds herself abducted by a gang whose motives are far too complex for her to understand. While the first book has a theme of victim psychology running throughout it this second book examines what I think of as the ‘Shackleton factor’ – the thing which allows an ordinary person to overcome the odds and survive despite their circumstances.

How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write?

I’ve written academic articles for many years but really started writing fiction only in 2010. I don’t know that there was any specific inspiration besides the fact that I felt I had a story to tell.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?

Yes. I’m happy to do this.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?

The title of the book is something of an oxymoron in that the ‘victim’ is not born but made by her circumstances and background. My original cover was the outcome of a concept idea I had which was drawn by an artist friend. However, more recently I updated the cover design with work from:

http://fiverr.com/idrewdesign/design-a-professional-and-eye-catching-ebook-or-kindle-cover

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?

No! Well, sort of. I would be very wary of basing a character on anyone I knew but of course, my own life experience is represented to some extent in my characters.

Is there a certain Author who influenced you in writing?

I read widely so it’s very difficult to pinpoint one single author but the Stieg Larson trilogy has been a powerful, recent influence on my writing and thinking about just how far an author can push his characters within a fiction genre.

Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?

I believe you simply cannot beat the experience of holding a paperback book in your hands. It’s not just the words on the page it’s the texture of the page, the smell of paper and ink, the weight of the book in your hand. Having said that, I read widely and like to dip in and out of several books at one time so carrying around a library of paperbacks would not be terribly convenient. Ebook wins for convenience!

What is your favorite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?

This has to be a toss up between The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Lord of the Rings. It’s very difficult to choose really and yes, I’ve read both of those books several times over the years.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Why or why not?

Obviously some books transfer better than others but, on the whole I think not because the power of a book is that it is the reader whose imagination fills in the blanks fitting faces to characters and filling in the gaps with their own experience and emotion. With a movie all of that is explicitly provided for the viewer which can go disastrously wrong. Having said that, A Born Victim would, I think, make an excellent movie script.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it? (eBook, hardback or paperback)

I’m currently getting on toward the end of ‘Dead Simple’ by Peter James. I love the way he builds excellent research and meticulous levels of detail into a complex and sometimes unexpected storyline. I have to confess that ‘reading’ is not entirely true – this one is on audio book.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn’t finish?

The only book that falls into this category is something called ‘Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature’ by Espen Aarseth. It was a very useful book but not easy reading so I just picked through it for the information I wanted.

What do you think about book trailers?

In theory it’s a great idea to use blended media linking the written word with movie type trailers. However, sadly, most book trailers seem to be quite poorly done so I’m not sure how successful the end result might be.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

I guess the most important is to be true to yourself and write for whatever motivates you to write rather than setting out trying to be commercially successful.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?

OK – Confession – I do. Because I write in various fields I feel it’s better to have one name associated with each so readers identify one name with one aspect of my work.

If you could be any character in your book, who would it be and why?

Greg Parker. He’s a military man who has made his fortune in the business of private security. He also gets the girl at the end of the story so that makes him an obvious choice. However, in reality, I actually have more in common with Mike Watson who is a bit of a computer geek.

If your book was ever made into a movie, what actor/actress would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Gill Brogan would be the most difficult to cast but I think Australian actress, Rose Byrne would be a good choice.

I‘d like to see Claire Forlani as Lucy Taylor mainly because she fits the bill as a simply stunning woman but also because she can express so much with her face.

Casting the male roles is more difficult because Greg Parker would need to be Jason Statham with the rough edge knocked off and Danny, his sidekick, would best be played by a younger version of Bruce Willis.

Steve Carrell would be good as the actor to play Mike Watson because he does ‘geek’ well but also plays well the deeper, more in touch side of the character.

Have you ever considered writing in a completely different genre? If so, what would it be and why.

I already write both academic and fictional material but if I wanted to branch out in the area of fiction I’d like to explore fantasy. Creating whole worlds, cultures, characters and adventures seems like a huge challenge but a lot of fun. I guess it just appeals to me to be able to write my own rules from the ground up.

Do you think the current popularity of eBooks will last or do you believe it is just another passing trend?

I suspect that, like most technologies, things will move on and some new format or device will arise. However, I don’t know that society will ever want to go back to paper based books. I suspect what might come next will be some format of interactive books which allow a richer experience for the reader in the same way Blu-ray disks provide a more encompassing experience than DVDs.

Considering Traditional Publishing vs. Indie Publishing, do you think one has a clear advantage over the other? If so, please elaborate.

Indie publishing is the purest form of capitalism within the author/reader relationship because it is entirely driven by the merit of the author. If the book is no good it won’t sell and the author will sink without trace. Since there are no multi-million pound marketing budgets to convince readers to buy a certain book it is more or less a level playing field upon which authors can demonstrate their talent and ability.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what did you do about it?

Yes! For a host of reasons I found myself quite depressed for a while and could not write a thing during that time. To some extent getting out of that was just a case of letting time run its course but one thing that actually really helped me was that I wrote a story about an author who found he could no longer write and used that vehicle to really explore my feelings and emotions at the time.

Where can readers follow you?

Your Facebook page?

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Richard-P-Rochford/263101677168540

Your Goodreads author page?

http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/20949992-richard-rochford

Your Twitter details?

 https://twitter.com/R_P_Rochford

Linkedin?

http://fola.me/p7KZc

Youtube?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WabJkFRBCP0

Ask David:

http://askdavid.com/reviews/book/crime-thriller/5544

Bookpromo:

http://www.bookpromo.in/2013/06/amazon-bestseller-born-victim.html

Buy Links for A Born Victim:

Amazon

http://fola.me/He4z5 – UK

http://fola.me/Yy2a4 – World

Kobo

http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=a+born+victim

Lulu

http://www.lulu.com/shop/r-p-rochford/a-born-victim/ebook/product-20927772.html

Feed a Read – paperbacks

http://www.feedaread.com/books/A-Born-Victim-9781782992844.aspx

Carol 1

Tom and I would like to thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to share with us today. It has been a real pleasure having you here on our blog. I hope you will visit again in the future.

REVIEW: Jade and the Deva: Hidden Wings

 photo (1)

Jade Nova is just an ordinary 17 year old girl with aspirations of becoming a film maker some day. Well, that is if you overlook the fact that her best friend is a Deva who grows her own body, except for feet, she was still working on those. That’s D-e-v-a, not Diva, a spirit being whose job is to engineer nature. And if you also ignore she spends a great deal of time with a huge insect-like being, nature spirits, a tree spirit, a giant magpie, and sometimes flies inside a glowing, living orb she names Orbit and even travels in an organic spaceship.

Jade’s acquaintance with the Deva and other nature spirits began in her early childhood when the Deva, who she had named Sammy Pong seemed to be merely a magical invisible friend who made things grow at an astounding rate and talked to Jade in her head. But one day Sammy Pong went away and soon so did Jade’s memory of her.

But, Jade and the Deva were destined to be reunited and when they were Jade could not believe her ears when she found out what the Deva wanted her to do. She was just a teenager after all. How could Sammy expect her to make a film about the Deva and the nature spirits and their desire to reunite with humans so they could work together to stop any more species on the planet from becoming extinct before their time? A film that would be professional enough to get the attention not only of the people she knew, but also of the people of the entire earth? Especially when her mother thought she had become some kind of nut case and her ex-bestie was convinced she was some kind of witch?

Jade and the Deva: Hidden Wings  by Keith Tutor and Jade Fishburn is a delightfully creative and unique young adult fantasy that could certainly be enjoyed by people of any age. If you have a desire to read a tale that is refreshingly original, I highly recommend it.

Review By:
Carol Marrs Phipps

 

 

Interview with Keith Tutor, YA Fantasy Author of Jade and the Deva: Hidden Wings, Who Will Also be Representing Co-Author Jade Fishburn in Her Absence

auth_keithWhat is your name, where did life start for you and where do you live now?

My name is Keith Tutor, I was born in Cowra, New South Wales, Australia.auth_jade

Jade Fishburn comes from Stuarts Point, New South Wales, Australia.

I am currently living in a camping ground basically in the ‘bush’ near Crescent Head on the NSW coast. It is an ideal location with few distractions, perfect for me to concentrate on completing our book series.IMAG0252

Jade is currently employed as a hostess and deckhand on a Super yacht. At the time of doing this interview she is somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean.

Please tell us a little about yourself (something different not contained in your bio).

In another profession I am known as the ‘Rockgod’ and not because I am aIMAG0188 rockguard.keith musician. I come from a Landscape Design and Teaching background.

Some years ago I invented a method of building ‘Artificial Rock’. I became the first teacher of my ‘art’ as I refer to it in Australia. The majority of my students were home owners who wanted to create rock features in their own yards, obtaining this knowledge was another first at the time.

My method was based on simplicity and, recycling building rubble. I ended up demonstrating on a variety ‘how to do it’ television shows and developed a following so much so I ended up producing a DVD series so people anywhere could utilise my methods.

The upshot is that my ‘idea’ has been sold and is practised in 85 countries.
Sorry if this is a bit long winded but the development and production of our ‘Jade and the Deva’ series and where it is today is based on and from what I learnt from doing what I did with ‘Artificial Rock’.

And what are the similarities; would you share that with us?

Well (laughter) having a potentially good idea is a start, feeling a passion for that idea, being realistic about its potential and its possibilities.

For me it is important that people can enjoy the results of what you create, identifying that there is a niche for your idea and in our case finding people who you feel can help you bring the idea to life and communicating a similar passion.

How long have you been writing?

I started piecing Jade and the Deva together in 2006 so I guess I’m a latter day writer whereas Jade was still in High School when she started.

‘Hidden Wings’ has two authors with a goodish age difference between them. Did this happen by chance or was there a strategy in mind?

You could say meeting Jade was by chance, I first met her through her parents.

Because of the nature of our story I thought it would be great if its authors represented their respective generations. Jade Nova, the name of one of our stories main characters is attending high school for a good part of the story.

What did I know about life for a young woman in high school in this day and age? To be honest, pretty well zilch.

As the story developed Co author-Jade came into her own. I would write a ‘rough’ scene, send it to her and together we would ‘work on it.’ When we started working with our Ghostwriter is when we were able to produce our final draft before passing it on to the Proofreader.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?hungry head beach crowds cropped

I live across the road from a row of virtually untouched beaches. Fair to say being on one of them fills a big part of my time away from writing. I can’t get reception for my cell phone or the internet in my little pocket of space. So, my phone calls and emailing happen on a beach walk, on a headland in my car, or in one of the adjoining town’s cafes. I don’t have a TV but I get to watch the latest DVD releases on my laptop. And, I still do a few landscaping projects each year.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in 20 or less words what would you say?

‘Hidden Wings’. It is an impossibly possible story, refreshingly original, wonderful characters, a voice of our times, captivating, heartfelt.

Is there anything in particular that inspired you to write ‘Hidden Wings’?

Absolutely! Rarely does a day goes by that we as individuals, parents and grandparents are not shocked by an event somewhere on ‘our’ planet that questions our sanity and humanity. There are 7 billion reasons for peace on this earth and many of us yearn for what appears the impossible dream. A gentleman by the name of ‘Gandhi’ once voiced a few poignant words… ‘Become the world you want to see’.

They are hugely challenging words because he’s saying, peace starts with each and every one of us, in us, from us and where possible to ‘be’ a living example of it in our own little ways. As I said, ‘hugely’ challenging.

At one point in our story Sammy the Deva says to Jade Nova ‘when you are at war with yourselves you don’t realise you are at war with your Earth, a point will come when she will not be the silent witness you fully expect her to be’.

Just want to say I mainly refer to our story as Jade and the Deva. ‘Hidden Wings’ is the first book in our series. I discovered some months ago another book by the name of ‘Hidden Wings’ was released some months after we released our ‘Hidden Wings’ so that’s an interesting coincidence.

Would you share a ‘blurb’ with us?

Because we have created an extensive website (JadeandtheDeva.com) for this purpose it would be much easier for myself and readers to pay it a visit because there’s lots of blurb ready and waiting there.

Would you share a short excerpt with us?

Love to but again, you will find sample chapters on our website and Amazon offers six chapters for you to read at no cost of course.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?

Yes we do, we really appreciate people who take the time and interest. This is all new to us. At the time of writing we have four 5 star reviews on Amazon that’s after 11 days of having ‘Hidden Wings’ on there. I don’t know if that’s good or, if it’s the ‘norm’ perhaps you could let us know.

Australians including me are not that exposed to the world of eBooks especially when it comes to sale price. The thought of selling an eBook of 95,000 words and years spent bringing it to life for $1.99 is for want of a better word ‘madness’ as is $2.99 or $4.99. Aussies are so used to buying a print book for $19.99 or $24.99; it’s hard to get your head around prices like that even though we are talking eBook formats.

We have a ‘glut’ of wines in our country right now and you can get a very good bottle of wine for ten dollars at the moment. There are people here who throw a dinner party and won’t buy that particular wine because they don’t want their guests to think they are ‘cheap’.

We have just set our price for ‘Hidden Wings’ at 99c and it was hilarious because we, the decision makers involved, could hardly get the number 99 out of our mouths. We are first time unknown authors, we want to make our first book available to as many people as possible. We’re learning as we go. We’re currently self publishers so it’s a sensible move, especially because we have two books following this one as a series.

How did you come up with the title and cover designs for your book/books. Who designs the covers for your books?

The name ‘Hidden Wings’ came about after I watched a ‘Kingfisher’ one day as it hovered over a waterhole, it was fishing. The little blue bird remained motionless but its wings were fluttering so quickly they appeared to be invisible.

A young man by the name of Jake Stollery conceived our first book cover way back in 2007. He was in Year 11 at the local high school when I first heard about him. I was entering a large photographic piece in a local art competition and wanted to add some graphics to my piece. Even back then I thought ‘wow’ this young guy is some kind of graphic design ‘prodigy’.

Amazingly, our cover is the very first he had ‘a go’ at designing. To say I am proud of this young guy’s achievement and our ensuing relationship is an understatement, but none more than him being flown to New York last year to accept his award in a global design initiative. To top it off when our PA of everything, Kelly Trevisan, travelled to the Gold Coast to catch up with Hugh Howey, one of the first things he said to her is, ‘man, that book cover of yours is just awesome’. Suggest you go to Jake Stollery.com and have a look for yourself.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?

Of course, our lives and stories, the stories over a dinner table or around a camp fire are nearly all based on our experiences of people, places and things.

Is there a certain author who has influenced the way you write?

Yes, for better and for worse. I admit I am not an avid reader although Jade is.

Mary Stewart wrote a series based on the life of ‘Merlin’ I read her books when I was a young fella.

She presented Merlin in such a practical ‘real’ way, not in the mythical enchanted manner we are so familiar with. It was a revelation to me, an author writing with such clarity and insight about a man who could well have been the way he is depicted in Mary’s series. On the other hand I have read books that are lazy and non nonsensical leaving me with the thought… why bother?

I am sure we have all seen a film or two that falls into the same category.
One Author revealed to me how to write a story and another author taught me how not to write a story. Guess you could say both were teachers to me.

Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback or paperback?

Arr, I have never read an eBook… just being honest. I prefer paperback they are easier to carry around.

What is your favourite book and why? And have you read it more than twice?

In earlier years, ‘Lord of the Rings’. I enjoyed Neale Donald Walsch’s ‘Conversations with God’ Series. I thought it was such a fresh, innovative concept and lately Mike Dooley’s ‘Leveraging the Universe’. His material is super easy to read, cleverly done and enlightening.

Do you think books transfer to movie’s well? Why or why not?

Personal opinions… oh boy, there are a lot of entangled circumstances as to why a book does or doesn’t transfer onto film successfully.

If musicians want their music played on commercial radio they have to tailor their songs to, or… just under a designated time limit.

Most films have a time frame I have often heard people complain about the amount of storyline left out of a film. Lots of stuff had to be left out of Lord of the Rings trilogy and they were three hour films.

How much ‘say’ does an author have over the screenplay, the direction and production of their story… is the time of release a bummer, how is it promoted… what about the reviews? Will they be 2 star or 4 star, will it be rave reviews or the film gets slammed? So many factors.

When we were developing Jade and the Deva I wrote as if I was watching a film… a film I always wanted to go and see.

I’d hear a song and would see a whole scene right down to the location, the camera angles, the emotion of that scene and its effect on an audience.

I have already picked out a young up and coming Australian Director after watching his debut film and listening to him in the ‘extras’ afterwards.

I also have a growing list of muso’s (musicians) who I would like to approach for the soundtrack. Maybe that sounds a bit over the top given at this point we only have one book that’s been on Amazon for less than a fortnight.

But, we project what we want to create and we do the little things that start the ball rolling and hey, we’re confident in our stories potential.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it?

Apart from the sports section in a newspaper my reading centres around research, self publishing and working on our next two books.

Is there a book you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn’t finish?

I couldn’t get into Harry Potter at all or the movie offshoots. Don’t know why, maybe it’s a bit like food, we have our individual tastes.

What do you think about book trailers?

I don’t know much about them so I wouldn’t be the best person to ask.

Like any form of promotion or advertising it can be hit or miss. If you produce a high quality book, have a great cover and a great storyline then produce a cheap tacky trailer to represent it, you’re not doing yourself any favours. Every authors new book is the best thing since sliced bread we want to tell people that, spruiker it wherever possible.

What I’ve learnt is… don’t overdo it. The simple and the understated is a formula that gets results more often than not regardless of what you’re promoting.

What advice would you give to a new writer?

Well, we are new writers so what do I say? From a ‘life’ point of view, I have come across so many people who have an idea; they have a passion for that idea but never once make a start on it. They talk themselves out of it, convince themselves it’s impossible or they have people around them who tell them that.

A great journey can start with as simple an act as sitting your butt on a chair and penning… once upon a time. That’s enough, make a start.

The other thing I would say is this. Get yourself away from negative people. I would rather have helium balloons tied to me instead of anchors.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?

Arr, no I haven’t and I wouldn’t.

If you could be any character in your book, who would it be and why?

One of the Orbs. When I’m finished here as a human being I would love that to be my next adventure.

If your Jade and the Deva series were to be made into films, what actors would you like to see play the main characters?

We haven’t thought about it but I figure we will down the track. Maybe they will be relatively unknown. I am sure some of those actors will be completely unknown there is an awful lot of awesome talent out there I do know that.photo (1)

Buy Links for Jade and the Deva: Hidden Wings:

BUY: Jade and the Deva: Hidden Wings on Amazon

BUY: Jade and the Deva: Hidden Wings on Smashwords

 

 

Carol 1

 

I want to thank you, Keith for taking out so much of your valuable time to do this fascinating and informative interview for us today. I wish you much success now and in the future with Jade and the Deva.