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Book Reviews

My Thoughts on Good Omens by Neil Gaimen and Terry Prachett

My Thoughts on Good Omens by Neil Gaimen and Terry Prachett

My first introduction to Good Omens was the Amazon Prime Original Mini-Series, and I loved it so much I had to find the book.

My first thought after finishing the book was, “wow, I wonder if I can ever co-write anything like this with a friend.”

So, my biggest takeaway here is to find a friend that is willing to co-author something, and to make that something magical.

Because Good Omens was magical. I loved every minute of it, both the book and the mini-series.

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Book Spotlight

JQM LITERARY SPOTLIGHT PRESENTS The Crystal Pawn by Deborah Jarvis

JQM LITERARY SPOTLIGHT PRESENTS The Crystal Pawn by Deborah Jarvis

FIRST, LET’S GET TO KNOW YOU A BIT.  TELL US SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT YOURSELF:

I love greyhounds and advocate for greyhound rescue.

WHAT IS THE GENRE AND AUDIENCE FOR THIS BOOK:

It is portal/high fantasy and it’s meant for any reader who loves fantasy.

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK:

I read a lot of fantasy as a kid and fell in love with the genre. I found I had a story and had to write it.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR BOOK:

Deirdre Hawes who has grown up in rural New Hampshire and was raised by her grandfather, having lost her mother at a young age and never having known her father. At the beginning of the story, we meet her father, Ettar Nerfal who, having received a visit from a stranger who tells him of Deirdre’s existence, is traveling to meet her. Nerfal explains that his father had forbidden him from returning to Deirdre’s mother. He then tells her that only a female of his bloodline can have a hope of enlisting the aid of the long vanished dragons, whose help they now sorely need. His only legitimate daughter was murdered, and the land is now on the verge of the invasion from a neighboring country. He asks that he return with her to the land of Keyralithsmus, and she agrees to help him on the condition she could return if it got too dangerous to stay. As she learns the ways of the court and travels to the capital, Deirdre discovers that there is a distinct fracturing between those who uphold the old beliefs, and those who want to be rid of any magical being or creature in the land. Many people seem to look down on her father’s family, a magical race of shapeshifters, who have been intricately tied to the Royal family for generations. Furthermore, there also seems a plot to keep the dragons from being found at all, and after being attacked, Deirdre sets out on her own with the help of several unlikely allies to seek the dragons.

WHERE CAN WE PURCHASE YOUR BOOK:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other major retailers.

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Uncategorized

My Thoughts on East of Eden by John Steinbeck

My Thoughts on East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I will be honest, this was not my type of book. But even when I don’t like the plot, and don’t agree with the characters, I am teaching myself to still learn something.

Steinbeck is an amazing author, in my opinion. He did a great job at developing the characters so I understood them, even if I didn’t like them. He described the landscape so well, I saw it.

Before reading East of Eden, I used to think that the most talented authors at world-building created new worlds. After East of Eden, I realized that the best world-builders describe their landscapes in a way that the reader can see and feel the droughts, the dry ground, the lush farmland. It’s not just about creating something new, it’s also about describing the world in a way the reader can see and feel the world.

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Author Interview

JQM PRESENTS A BLOG POST INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR Jeff Chapman

JQM PRESENTS A BLOG POST INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR Jeff Chapman

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:

I explore fantasy worlds through fiction and am the author of The Merliss Tales fantasy series, The Huckster Tales weird western series, and The Comic Cat Tales series. Trained in history and computer science, I write software by day and explore the fantastic when I should be sleeping. My fiction ranges from fairy tales to fantasy to ghost stories. Most of them share an element of the macabre and many have an element of humor as well. I’m not ashamed to say I’m addicted to dark hot chocolate, and I love cats. If you visited my house, you would notice there are more books than bookshelf space.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE?

I have a strong desire to craft stories. Where does that desire come from? I don’t know. The inspiration for particular stories is easier to pin down. For example, the Merliss Tales were inspired by a cat that my family adopted off the street. Smokey arrived at our house one day begging for food. She was sick and starving. After a trip to the vet, we had a new cat. Smokey possessed several old battle scars. One of her ears was notched and two of her four canines were missing. This gave me the idea for a character based on an old soul in a cat’s body. Merliss was born.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS? WHY?

Some of my favorite writers include Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, Robert E. Howard, Franz Kafka, Charles Todd, Ann Cleeves, and Michael Connelly. I could list many more. I enjoy many genres of fantasy and stories that dip into the macabre and fear. I also enjoy mysteries.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS? WHY?

A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny. This is a dark fantasy told from the perspective of Snuff, a dog serving as a familiar. I read or listen to an audio version every October. This is a wonderful example of a story told from an animal’s perspective.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE LITERARY CHARACTERS? WHY?

Conan–Howard can drop him into various settings and situations and the guy comes across as at home and heroic. Holly Gibney–a recurring character in several Stephen King stories. Holly is psychologically fragile but also possesses an amazing inner strength which allows her to overcome her problems.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR FELLOW AUTHORS AND/OR ASPIRING AUTHORS?

Don’t get discouraged, don’t give up, and read more books. Study the writing craft to learn what goes into a good story. The only failed writer is one who stops writing.

IMAGINE ONE OF YOUR BOOKS IS ABOUT TO BECOME A FILM OR TV SHOW. WHO IS YOUR “DREAM CAST?” AND WHO DO YOU ASK TO CREATE THE SOUNDTRACK?

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH POTENTIAL READERS?

Do you like fantasy? Do you like cats? Do you like dark stories salted with some humor? If you answered yes to any of those questions, I have stories you will enjoy. The Merliss Tales are dark fantasy stories with a human spirit trapped in the body of a cat as the protagonist. The Huckster Tales combine fantasy, horror, and humor in the Weird West.

WHERE CAN WE GO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR LITERARY WORKS?

http://www.jeffchapmanbooks.com/

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Book Spotlight Uncategorized

JQM LITERARY SPOTLIGHT PRESENTS The Great Convergence by Thomas Kast

JQM LITERARY SPOTLIGHT PRESENTS The Great Convergence by Thomas Kast

FIRST, LET’S GET TO KNOW YOU A BIT.  TELL US SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT YOURSELF:

I’m an award-winning independent photojournalist and illustrator based in Zurich, Switzerland, and have published a number of photography art books. I’ve spent a big part of my life in Israel, where I taught photography and illustration at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design and other Israeli colleges. As for unique stuff: I’m native of the 234’s dimension and only come to Earth to conduct psychological experiments on humanity for my own amusement. My debut novel The Great Convergence is an absurdist-philosophical science fiction piece. It evokes many of my real-life experiences fused with unhinged fantasies.

WHAT IS THE GENRE AND AUDIENCE FOR THIS BOOK:

Anyone who likes to reads something different from the run-of-the-mill hard sci-fi full of aliens and robots shooting lasers at one another just because they can. A subversive philosophical science fiction and social satire, I wanted the Great Convergence to take the readers out of their comfort zone, exposing the absurdity of many ethical and intellectual ideals. If you like the wry humour of Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams or the philosophical insights of Stanislaw Lem, you’ll enjoy it too.

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK:

As I said earlier, it’s a philosophical and humorous science fiction. I wanted to create a book that can be enjoyed, read and re-read and could give the reader a memorable experience. I’ve noticed that most contemporary sci-fi often ventures into the strictly commercial territory. Not entirely happy with this trend, I wanted to use science fiction as a vehicle to highlight many social and philosophical problems, but with a healthy dose of humour. There are several recurring themes in my book, which result from observing and analysing the world around me. One of those inspirations would be stupidity. It’s a subject that has always fascinated me. All of my characters make inexplicably unwise and shortsighted decisions despite being exceptionally smart (some of them). Superheroes are great but, often being no more than mere archetypes, they often lack humanity. It’s the crazy ones who provide all the fun. Another inspiration and recurring theme in my book inspired by real-world observation is miscommunication. My characters are all stuck in uncomfortable situations. Constantly missing the point, they don’t understand each other’s motives, and they’re unable put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They oscillate between being inordinately overconfident or hopelessly insecure but can never think on two feet. Above and beyond, they’re blinded by their personal goals they consider of great consequence and which are insignificant and trivial. As irony would have it, they all have a profoundly important part to play on the universe’s stage — something they’re never to discover.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR BOOK:

Here’s the premise: 10.000.002 A.D. A cantankerous scholar slipping into obscurity is out for revenge. He time-travels to the year 2022 to stop his nemesis, Scott — a successful scientist at a competing university — from thwarting his research into the origin of a mysterious phenomenon, the Great Convergence. Cunning and ruthless, Scott will stop at nothing to defend his tenure track. The feud quickly spins out of control, and the damage to reality grows unchecked. Caught in the crosshairs are three characters responsible for triggering the Great Convergence: an art-hating professional art critic who, unbeknownst to him, spontaneously switches between universes wreaking havoc as he goes; a talentless artist whose sculptures act as trans-universal portals; and a schizophrenic astrophysicist trying to avert the invasion of alternate versions of himself from different realities. As their paths converge, the apocalyptic event takes place, and the inescapable tragedy of human existence unfolds. tist at a competing university — from thwarting his research into the origin of a mysterious phenomenon, the Great Convergence. Cunning and ruthless, Scott will stop at nothing to defend his tenure track. The feud quickly spins out of control, and the damage to reality grows unchecked.

WHERE CAN WE PURCHASE YOUR BOOK:

Categories
Book Reviews

My Thoughts on Saturdays at Sea by Jessica Day George

My Thoughts on Saturday at Sea by Jessica Day George

And now I have finished the Castle Glower series. My kids asked me to read it, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

And after reading Saturdays at Sea, I was impressed with the author’s ability to write one major story arc that lasted for five books. When I realized that the series is about the castle becoming whole, I saw how each book supported that plot.

Categories
Author Interview

JQM PRESENTS A BLOG POST INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR Deborah Jarvis

JQM PRESENTS A BLOG POST INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR Deborah Jarvis

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:

I am a fairly new author with a large background in reading fantasy literature. I teach high school and college English classes, among which are Heroes and Villains, Mythology as Literature, Creative Writing, and Intro to Literary Analysis. Books are my passion. I also am an advocate for greyhound and other sighthound rescue.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE?

Dreams, people’s stories,

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS? WHY?

Charles De Lint for his amazing storytelling and imagination, Peter S. Beagle for his amazing gift with words, Walter Wangerin Jr. for the astounding characters and plot of The Book of the Dun Cow, Neil Gaiman for his mythology and understanding of the Hero’s Journey, Stephen King for his characters, Jim Butcher for the whimsy of Harry Dresden and making us go to Chicago to see Sue the T-Rex, Robert Holdstock for bringing the mystery of the British Isles to life, and Patricia Briggs for her storytelling and for NOT making the werewolves, faeries and vampires stereotypical.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS? WHY?

The Last Unicorn is my all-time favorite book. It has beautiful language and a captivating storyline. The characters feel real. I also love The Book of the Dun Cow for the way the animals are portrayed and how the ideas of good and evil are viewed through the lens of the story. The Box of Delights by John Masefield because it was given to me by my grandmother one magical Christmas long ago.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE LITERARY CHARACTERS? WHY?

Harry Dresden is always fun to watch in action, Mercy Thompson is ever-practical and a good role model.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR FELLOW AUTHORS AND/OR ASPIRING AUTHORS?

Do not give up. Even if your dreams of writing need to be put on the shelf for a few years (or decades) just keep moving one step ahead at a time. You’ll get there.

IMAGINE ONE OF YOUR BOOKS IS ABOUT TO BECOME A FILM OR TV SHOW. WHO IS YOUR “DREAM CAST?” AND WHO DO YOU ASK TO CREATE THE SOUNDTRACK?

I have always wondered this. One of the other projects I am working on is easier to decide. For The Crystal Pawn, maybe Claudia Jessie from Bridgerton to play Deirdre and possibly Daniel Radcliffe for Jack Parns. For the soundtrack, James Horner.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH POTENTIAL READERS?

There will be three books in the series. The Crystal Pawn and The Ivory Queen are already out. The Ebon King is in the works.

WHERE CAN WE GO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR LITERARY WORKS?

www.deborahjarvis.com

Categories
Book Reviews

My Thoughts on Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George

My Thoughts on Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George

Of all the Castle Glower series, this one was my least favorite. But it had its good parts, too. The personality of the castle is always fun for me and my kids to see. The personalities of the griffins, and how the griffins and their riders bond is fun to see.

I think the biggest lesson for me with this story is the hook at the end. I finished this book, and because of the end hook, I had to pick up the next book and see what happened next.

Categories
Author Interview

JQM PRESENTS A BLOG POST INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR Thomas Kast

JQM PRESENTS A BLOG POST INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR Thomas Kast

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:

I’m an award-winning independent photojournalist and illustrator based in Zurich, Switzerland, and have published a number of photography art books. I’ve spent a big part of my life in Israel, where I taught photography and illustration at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design and other Israeli colleges. My debut novel The Great Convergence is an absurdist-philosophical science fiction piece. It evokes many of my real-life experiences fused with unhinged fantasies. Here’s the premise: 10.000.002 A.D. A cantankerous scholar slipping into obscurity is out for revenge. He time-travels to the year 2022 to stop his nemesis, Scott — a successful scientist at a competing university — from thwarting his research into the origin of a mysterious phenomenon, the Great Convergence. Cunning and ruthless, Scott will stop at nothing to defend his tenure track. The feud quickly spins out of control, and the damage to reality grows unchecked. Caught in the crosshairs are three characters responsible for triggering the Great Convergence: an art-hating professional art critic who, unbeknownst to him, spontaneously switches between universes wreaking havoc as he goes; a talentless artist whose sculptures act as trans-universal portals; and a schizophrenic astrophysicist trying to avert the invasion of alternate versions of himself from different realities. As their paths converge, the apocalyptic event takes place, and the inescapable tragedy of human existence unfolds. 

WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE?

The conversations I have with people I know, with those whom I don’t know, and with myself in the shower. Sunsets happening too early, and sunsets happening too late. Forgotten breakfasts and overdue dinners. A sudden pang of remorse. Blast from the past. The smell of rhododendrons I walk by in the park. Voices in my head. Voices outside of my head. Sounds both sudden and uninterrupted. Surprises and lack thereof. Things I see and those I pretend not to notice. Simply put: everything and anything.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS? WHY?

As for literature, I like the wry humour of Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams. I also like the philosophical insights of Stanislaw Lem and, perhaps, Philip Dick. Some classics: Franz Kafka, Charles Bukowski, George Orwell, Jerome K. Jerome, Joseph Conrad and more. I like philosophy, but not the philosophers 😉 I also read different mythologies and fairytales. Apart from that, I read a lot of non-fiction: history (Ian Mortimer, Lucy Worsley, Stephen Runciman, Marc Morris, Juliet Barker, Christopher Hibbert, Barbara W. Tuchman), sociology and economics (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, William Davies, David Graeber), popular science (Michio Kaku, Brian Greene, Richard Dawkins, Simon Singh, John Gribbin).

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS? WHY?

Stanislaw Lem and his novel: Eden. A group of astronauts from Earth crash on a distant planet, where they discover a mysterious highly-developed civilisation. Despite making contact, it turns out that despite their advancement, both civilisations are ultimately too different to offer anything one another. Eden describes extraterrestrial intelligence as something incomprehensibly unlike anything we imagine it would be like. Which probably is close to the truth.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE LITERARY CHARACTERS? WHY?

The nameless narrator (From my book: the Great Convergence) and his biased voice as he relates the story. He’s a failed researcher stuck at a dead-end university position. Unable to move on, he pigheadedly presses on investigating a once-fashionable subject no one is interested in anymore. Seeing the world through his eyes, the reader must discover the truth hidden by this thick veil of partiality. Frustrated as the narrator is, his observations are full of dry humour, and the constant feeling of being stuck in a place one doesn’t belong to is probably something many can relate to.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR FELLOW AUTHORS AND/OR ASPIRING AUTHORS?

I know that everyone seems to write these days, and it may feel that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t. Writing is a specific form of expression, and it’s not for everyone. You’ll know if you constantly gravitate towards it. If you don’t — then you shouldn’t force yourself. Express yourself differently.

IMAGINE ONE OF YOUR BOOKS IS ABOUT TO BECOME A FILM OR TV SHOW. WHO IS YOUR “DREAM CAST?” AND WHO DO YOU ASK TO CREATE THE SOUNDTRACK?

I’d like to cast Baron von Schlumpendorf as my main character. You may know Schlumpendorf from the Oscar-nominated: the Unbearable Existence of Apex Dialectician, and the triple Globthwarph Prize runner-up: Everybody Dies at the End. I would also like to see Ginevra Pandolfo Malatesta as the countess Lucertola Gloriosa. Malatesta stared in a highly acclaimed docu-series: A Delightful Guide to Despair and Derangement and the One-Way Trip Into the Bottomless Abyss.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH POTENTIAL READERS?

Currently, I’m working on the humorous and philosophical comic book series Bablah’s Odyssey, which is scheduled for release in July 2022. Bablah’s Odyssey features a mad scientist lord Bablah as he traverses the universe mansplaining the ‘wonders of progress and civilisation’ to his unassertive yet perceptive mutant sidekick, the Pet-Thing.

WHERE CAN WE GO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR LITERARY WORKS?

Amazon: [https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099Z5KH33]

Personal website: [https://thomaskast.com]

Writings: [https://thomaskast.space]

Comic Books: [https://thomaskast.space/bablahs-odyssey]

Categories
Book Reviews

My Thoughts on Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George

My Thoughts on Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George

Settings have backstories, too.

Thursdays with the Crown was a great story. It was a lot of fun to see the kids bonding with their new pets. The world building was great. The character development was solid, and believable.

But my biggest takeaway was that settings have backstories.