Book Tour + Author Interview: Mind Virus

Welcome to the Mind Virus Book Tour, hosted by Roger Charlie!~

Title: Mind Virus
Author: Charles Kowalski
Publication Date: July 1, 2017
Genre: Mystery Thriller
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Robin Fox, peace-loving professor of world religions, wants only to leave his dark past as a military interrogator behind him. But when an unknown suspect tries to disperse a deadly virus in downtown Washington, Fox is unwillingly drawn back into the shadowy world of intelligence.

The FBI and CIA automatically suspect Islamic terrorists, but Fox digs deeper to discover the far more frightening truth: a global conspiracy to eradicate all religion from the face of the earth.

From Washington to Jerusalem, from Rome to London, Fox must use all his wits in a perilous race to stop a psychopathic mastermind from unleashing worldwide devastation.

Buy Links:
Publisher | Amazon

Interview:

What is the theme of Mind Virus?

Mainly, that the fanaticism that leads to violence can be found anywhere, whether among religious believers or nonbelievers, and the will to seek peace and understanding can also be found anywhere.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

Everything begins with “What if…?” In this case, the question was, “Everyone is always talking about terror in the name of religion; could there be terror in the name of atheism?” From this question flows the rest of the plot and the characters. It was easy to develop Robin Fox; he’s the person I might have been if my life had taken a slightly different turn. As for the other characters, they may be loosely patterned on a real person, or a composite of several. If a minor character doesn’t seem sufficiently well-developed, I ask myself: if I were an actor, how would I play this character? How would I see the story from his or her point of view, since in our own minds, we’re always the central character of any story we appear in?

Tell us about your background. What made you decide to pursue writing?

I’ve been writing stories ever since I learned to write, and finished my first (unpublished) novel at the age of 17. I write fiction because my mind naturally frames things in terms of stories; that’s how I try to make sense of complex issues. I also find that, especially on controversial and polarizing issues, the best way—perhaps the only way—of getting people to see an alternative point of view is through story.

Tell us about the challenges of getting your book published. How did it come about?

It was indeed a challenge. The manuscript won more than its fair share of awards and nominations, and agents and editors found the premise intriguing, but not enough to sign, possibly because they felt the story was too controversial to make it past a risk-averse editorial board. But after dissipating my savings in writers’ conferences, I finally met—on a Twitter pitch fest, of all places—an editor willing to take a leap of faith, Susan Brooks.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Forget what they say about “write what you know.” Write what excites your imagination, and the knowledge you need can be acquired. And if a story grabs hold of you and won’t let go . . . tell it! Pay no attention to the inner voices that say “this is no good” or “no one else will be interested in it.” Believe in yourself, even when it feels like no one else does. To paraphrase Florence Foster Jenkins, people may say you can’t write, but never let it be said that you didn’t write.

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?

I teach English at a university in Japan. Living abroad adds an extra layer of challenge to the writing process. I often feel somewhat out of touch with contemporary American culture, and research that for a U.S.-based writer would take only a simple trip to the local library, or a call to a local expert, for me requires careful planning and considerable expense. But on the other hand, field research in exotic locations is easier, and living at a distance from my native culture gives me a different perspective from writers who are immersed in it.

What are some of your favorite authors or books?

Of course, I took some inspiration from the big names in the genre, like Lee Child. Tana French showed me it’s possible to write genre fiction with a literary flair. Dan Brown, Daniel Silva, and Jeffrey Small paved the way for thrillers with religious themes. Barry Eisler and Barry Lancet showed me it’s possible for Japan-based authors to produce books with worldwide appeal; I’m hoping the same will prove true even for one who isn’t named Barry! And the list wouldn’t be complete without Leo J. Maloney, who ever since our chance meeting at Killer Nashville has been very generous with his time and expertise and always gave me a dose of encouragement at just the time I needed it.

Thanks so much for your time! We look forward to your upcoming projects!

About the Author:

 

Charles Kowalski is almost as much a citizen of the world as his fictional character, Robin Fox, having lived abroad for over 15 years, visited over 30 countries, and studied over 10 languages. His unpublished debut novel, Mind Virus, won the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Award and was a finalist for the Adventure Writers’ Competition, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award, and the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association literary award.

Charles currently divides his time between Japan, where he teaches English at a university, and his family home in Maine.

Mind Virus is scheduled for publication by Literary Wanderlust on July 1, 2017.

Other novels and short stories by Charles Kowalski:

“Let This Cup Pass From Me”

“Arise, My Love”

“The Evil I Do Not Mean To Do”

Author Links:
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Official Website

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Becky Banks’ Holiday Blog Tour

holiday-blog-tour

Welcome to Becky Banks’ Holiday Blog Tour, hosted by Roger Charlie!~

author-becky-banks-serendipity-of-fateTitle: Serendipity of Fate
Author: Becky Banks
Genre: Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

It’s been two years since Cason McPherson watched his best friend die in his arms. With shrapnel in his hip and a war behind him, he keeps focused on building a civilian life and not on what he wants most: the woman of his dreams, Savannah. If only she’d stop bringing up topics he has to keep secrets about.

Savannah Sparling has no time for baggage, and Cason McPherson brought home a matching set in scathing green—with a carry-on duffel bag full of lies. He’s the childhood friend who enlisted with her brother. He came home, and her brother didn’t.

Balancing work with demanding clients while fulfilling a personal vendetta against Cason consumes Savannah’s already full schedule—until a series of unstoppable events leads to a collision between Savannah’s work and personal lives. Her carefully structured path in the world is crushed, her own blood is spilled, and passion between her and an unlikely bedfellow ignite.

Cason and Savannah find the only the people strong enough to save them from themselves is each other. But will either one of them accept the help—and the love—that’s offered?

Buy Links:
Amazon

Playlist:

Take a peak into the music behind the book- checkout Serendipity of Fate‘s playlist here!

  1. Bad Mood Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  2. Green River – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  3. I Need A Dollar – Aloe Blacc
  4. Glitter & Gold – Rebecca Ferguson
  5. Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene – Hozier
  6. Push It – Garbage
  7. Feel Invincible – Skillet
  8. Little Black Submarines – The Black Keys
  9. Faded [Odesza Remix] – Zhu Odesza
  10. Be Together ft. Wild Belle – Major Lazer
  11. Powerful ft. Ellie Goulding and Tarrus Riley- Major Lazer

Excerpt:

Interested in the book? Checkout the first few chapters here!

Buy Link:
Amazon

About the Author:beckybanks-1-of-1

Becky Banks grew up, like the generations of Bankses before her, in the Hawaiian Islands. With the islands as her roots, Becky was raised within the time-honored tradition of “talking story” before a backdrop of grassy fields, blue waters, and cloud-clad mountains. She moved to the mainland after high school to attend Oregon State University, where she studied forestry, natural resources, and science education. One fateful day she realized that her decades of scribblings promised the makings of a romance writer. Becky’s first novel, The Legend of Lady MacLaoch, achieved the Night Owl Reviews Top Pick Award and Amazon’s Best Seller for Historical Romanc

Becky lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, Keith, and their wild toddler, Sammy.

Author Links:
Author Website | Twitter | Google+ | Goodreads | Amazon | Virtual Tour Page 

Giveaway:

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Becky Banks has partnered with It’s All In the Dee-Tales to host this amazing giveaway. Up for grabs are:

  1. Ebook + US Flag Bag w/ Lollia No. 25
  2. Ebook + TokyoMilk Dark w/ Red BootPeep Boot Toppers
  3. Ebook + Margot Elena’s Love & Toast Gift Set
  4. Ebook + Dee-Tale’s Prize Pack w/ US Flag Hood Scarf
  5. Ebook + Cupcakes, Champagne & Dreams Prize Pack

Enter by clicking the Rafflecopter image below!

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Review: Not Quite So Short Stories

27857855Title: Not Quite So Stories
Author: David S. Atkinson
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Genre: Short Stories Fiction
GoodReads

Synopsis:

The traditional explanation for myth (including such works as the relatively modern Just so Stories by Rudyard Kiping) is an attempt by humans to explain and demystify the world. That’s crap. We may be able to come to terms with small pieces, but existence as a whole is beyond our grasp. Life is absurd, ultimately beyond our comprehension. The best we can do is to proceed on with our lives in the face of that. The stories in this collection proceed from this idea, examining how the different characters manage (and/or fail) to do this.

Not Quite So Stories was one of the oddest books I’ve ever read, in the best possible way.

Let me try to break it down for you – have you ever seen those twitter trends where tweets take a twist in the 140 characters allowed? Well this book is like that except with short stories. Each story was unique, and each story had me absolutely confounded by the end – some due to awe at how deep the short story got, some due to absolute confusion as to why it was even a thing, and some due to annoyance ’cause I really wanted an explanation to why it was a thing (even though the synopsis states clearly that that’s literally the reason why is was written).

I enjoyed about 90% of the stories in this books, the other 10% were okay, but just didn’t appeal to me. Something that was hard to work out for me was taking the work as it was. Often times, I’d flip back pages to figure out if I missed something, when I didn’t, it’s just that the “weird” part of it all wasn’t explained. This both added and detracted from my reading experience.

On one had it was really interesting to read the stories and think, “Hey, that’s really weird and funny” or “I see what you did there, interesting”, while other times I’d be like, “What??”, and then re-read the story from the beginning – leaving it no less confused than when I had read it the first time.

Overall, definitely would recommend. The stories get you thinking about everyday life, as well as get your spirits up. This isn’t a book you have to sit down for a while to read either – each story gives you a dose of happy! My top three stories talk about rolling oranges, toilet paper, and disappearing houses, haha. Check it out – I think there’s something in this book for everyone!

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 4/5
Cover
: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.48/5

eBook obtained via Roger Charlie in exchange for an honest review.

Tour and Review: The Lords of Valdeon

ValdeonVBTBadge

Welcome to The Lords of Valdeon book tour, hosted by Roger Charlie!~

The Lords of ValdeonTitle: The Lords of Valdeon [Heart of the Warrior #1]
Author: C.R. Richards
Publication Date: January 7, 2016
GoodReads

Synopsis:

A new series from award winning Author, C.R. Richards: The epic tale of two men begins. The first – a man of honor trying desperately to turn his country from civil war. The other – a boy struggling to discover his destiny before agents of evil find him first.

Coveted by two ancient enemies of a long forgotten age, the continent of Andara holds the key to victory in an endless struggle for dominance. Eight hundred years have passed since the god-like Jalora struck a bargain with the first King of Valdeon. The Lion Ring, symbol of the covenant and conduit of power, gives its bearer incredible abilities. The ring’s borrowed magic protects the people of Andara from covetous evil, but there is a price. As with most predators, the Lion Ring must feed. Only the blood of the D’Antoiné family line will satisfy its hunger.

A rival for Andara’s treasures, the Sarcion has waited impatiently for its time upon the land. Whispers of treason in the right ear aid its treachery. The King of Valdeon mysteriously disappears, leaving his lands in danger of a civil war by the hand of a murderous usurper. His Lion Ring is lost and the covenant is broken. The Jalora’s power begins to seep away from the land.  Evil’s foothold grows stronger. Can the Lords of Valdeon, Sacred Guard of the covenant, stop the tides of war? Or will Andara fall into chaos? The future rests in the blood of a boy…

Review:

Overall, I thought this book was good. It wasn’t underwhelming or overwhelming, but it was good.

The prologue was not something I enjoyed reading. It was riddled with repetition and it tried too hard to sound fantastical. It also didn’t really gel with any of the voices in the book. As your first impression of the book, it isn’t a good one. Honestly, if I were you, I’d skim it and then try again after you’ve read at least five chapters of the book. Totally different voice from the rest of the novel, but it is necessary to get a gist of the story’s history.

This book is the first of a series and it was very much a book that sets that stage for something more. The Lords of Valdeon is packed with a lot of description and world/character building. Every chapter contains more and more chunks of the places these characters reside and their situations and it’s definitely interesting getting to know them. Something I really enjoyed was that each character had their own aspect of the world to talk about, and each one generally had their own voice and I also like the women in the story. All of them are quite fierce and strong characters, though I wish they had a larger role in the story itself. With that being said, I felt that within each chapter, the characters voices blurred. All the men and boys sound similar in Seth’s chapters, while all the Lords maintain a formal tone. While these help with world building, and allowing readers to get an idea of the pleasantries and conversations appropriate to each setting, I wish there was more to each character, and not just the plot propelling the story along.

On that note, the plot is quite intricate and interesting. These gods are supposedly cut and dry characters at the beginning, the Jalora seen as good, while the Sarcion is seen as evil. This pretense is tested throughout the novel as each reveals different facets of their own personalities and it really adds colour to the story. It’s interesting to watch each characters’ journey against each other and with one or the other godly being. I particularly like Seth’s thread within all of this, as his character is more exploratory and deals more with self discovery throughout the novel. Although it was slow going at first, the plot really makes the book addicting as the story moves forward and the action begins!

On writing, the author is quite skilled at creating worlds, but I found the most challenging part of this book was the writing. Many aspects just fall short for me. There’s a lot of repetition, and often a lot more telling than showing. Although I really enjoyed the novel as a whole, certain aspects just didn’t do it for me.

Overall, this book is like the Night Circus in its extensive descriptions, mixed with Star Wars’ family feud, with a hint of fantasy and mystery mixed in. I think this is an amazing start to the series, and my expectations are high for the next book!

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 3.5/5
Cover: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.25/5

Ebook obtained via Roger Charlie in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

A huge lover of horror and dark fantasy stories.

C.R. Richards enjoys telling tales of intrigue and adventure. Having began writing as a part-time columnist for a small entertainment newspaper, Richards has worn several hats: food critic, entertainment reviewer and cranky editor. She has now published a handful of novels, including Phantom Harvest – book one in The Mutant Casebook Series – which took home the EPIC eBook Award for Fantasy in 2014. Richards beat out entries from the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and other English speaking countries.

The youngest of five army brats, Richards was born on a military base in Utah.  She spent much of her childhood in the back of her family’s sky blue station wagon on trips to see her grandmother – who would show her how to spot faeries in the backyard.  “Sometimes she’d put candy in small silk slippers and tell us the pixies had done it,” says Richards. “She’s the one who gave me my love of fantasy creatures.”

Her most recent literary projects include the horror short story, Lost Man’s Parish and the newly-released dark fantasy thriller, Pariah. She is an active member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Horror Writers Association.

In January, Richards releases her epic fantasy novel The Lords of Valdeon, the first installment in the Heart of the Warrior series.  Through her storytelling, Richards aims to reach lovers of fantasy who are exploring alternatives to the traditional status quo. Her message is simple: One person can be a catalyst for change.

Author Links:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

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