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Character Interview: Ignatius from Donald Joiner’s historical novel ‘The Antioch Testament’

frontsmallcoverWe’re thrilled to have here today Bishop Ignatius Theophorus from Donald Joiner’s new historical novel, The Antioch Testament.  Bishop Ignatius is a 68 year old religious leader living in Antioch the capital of the Roman Province of Syria.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Bishop Ignatius.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Ignatius: It had never occurred to me that my response to a request by the daughter of the late esteemed government official, Theophilus in answer to her question about what happened to the Lord’s apostles after his glorious resurrection would find its way into a historical novel. My intention in  writing was to comfort Christian believers in an age they were undergoing fierce persecution. But to your point, yes, I was certainly treated with respect.

Q: Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Ignatius: My role in Mr. Joiner’s novel was essentially the same as in my report to Dorothea, the honorable Theophilus’ daughter, which was to compile information from various sources about the the journeys and activities of the twelve apostles as well as their eventual fate.  The novel and my report to Dorothea were not about me, but were about our Lord’s companions and what happened to them.

Q: What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Ignatius: Through the laying on of blessed Peter’s hands, the Lord has seen fit to place me in a position of leadership in his church at the very time that intense persecution of believers has reared it’s ugly head. I pray constantly that the Lord will strengthen me and make me worthy of this task come what may.

Q: Worse trait?

Ignatius:  It is no secret to believers and unbelievers alike. Impatience. I constantly battle with impatience. I’m impatient with those who would deny their faith and forsake eternal life in the face of persecution. I’m equally impatient with those within the church who so easily fall prey to false teachers and their heretical messages, but most of all I’m impatient with life on this earth and yearn to be counted among the saints who have been martyred and now reside with the Lord in his Father’s kingdom.

Q: If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Ignatius: Sean Connery.

Q: At what point in the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Ignatius: I was dismayed when toward the end of the book the ancient manuscript fell into the hands of the unbelievers who conspired to destroy it. I was concerned that the ones charged with interpreting it would abandon their task in the face of such hostility.

Q: If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

Ignatius: That’s easy to answer. The evil presence of Zaid al Rifa, the despicable leader of a sinister and fanatical organization, who was so dedicated to death and destruction in his quest to create an Islamic caliphate. His hatred for Christians and anything to do with the history of Christianity is  vividly presented in the book.

Q: How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Ignatius: I was gratified to find that in spite of the evil intentions of those who sought to destroy it, the character responsible for initially saving the ancient manuscript determined to press on with the task of presenting the translated work to the modern world in the face of potential scholarly opposition.

Q: What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?

Ignatius: I would advise the author to make haste. Word has just reached me that Emperor Trajan is en route to Antioch and is furious that I have encouraged believers to refuse to worship him. It is being said that I’m to be arrested and brought before the emperor to be judged for what is considered a major crime.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Bishop Ignatius.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Ignatius: I think not. Those who offend the emperor are not likely to escape his retribution.

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Title: THE ANTIOCH TESTAMENT

Genre:  Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction/Suspense

Author:  Donald Joiner

Publisher: Seraphina Press

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

Donald Joiner, a veteran who served during the Korean War era, is a lifelong student of history.  Joiner’s passion for history shines through in his debut novel, The Antioch Testament, a sweeping, suspenseful novel resplendent with rich historical detail.

When The Antioch Testament opens, it’s 2004 during the insurgency in Iraq.  An American army patrol manages to rescue a frightened group of Iraqi Christians fleeing Islamic militants. The refugees’ severely wounded leader, a priest, carries with him a mysterious bundle the group has brought with them from a northern Iraqi Christian monastery.  As he clings to life, the priest insists on handing over the carefully-guarded package to the American army chaplain. When the bundle is unwrapped, Army chaplain Charles Monroe finds a large, scuffed, leather-bound ancient manuscript written in an unknown language. Fearing for the manuscript’s safety in war-torn Iraq, the chaplain arranges to have the manuscript sent to Augusta, Georgia, his hometown.  Eventually, the manuscript winds up in an Eastern Orthodox monastery where internationally- recognized linguists begin the arduous task of interpreting it. What the linguists discover is absolutely astonishing: the manuscript is a first century AD testimonial in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, describing what happened to Jesus’ apostles after his Resurrection. But time is running out.  Unbeknownst to the interpreters, a fanatical Iraqi insurgent organization is bound and determined to retrieve or destroy the ancient manuscript before its secrets can be revealed.   Some secrets may be worth dying for—but these secrets might even be worth killing for.

Imaginative, inventive, and intriguing, The Antioch Testament explores the lives of the apostles after the resurrection. A thoughtful and thought-provoking page-turner, The Antioch Testament is a carefully-crafted page-turner with a pulse-pounding plot, and engrossing storyline.

About the Author:

Georgia native Donald Joiner is a veteran who served during the Korean War era. A retired school superintendent and a lifelong student of history, Joiner has been married for fifty-two years and is a proud father and grandfather. He has taught Sunday school in his church for forty years. Joiner has also authored two previous books about antebellum churches in Georgia.

Connect with the author on Facebook.

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Character Interview: Sellemar from J.J. Sherwood’s high fantasy Kings or Pawns

KingsorPawnscoverSMmWe’re thrilled to have here today Sellemar from J.J. Sherwood’s new high fantasy, Kings or Pawns.  Sellemar has been unfortunately vague as to his age and origin, but I suppose we shall have to carry on without such details.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Sellemar.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I am portrayed exactly how I wish to be portrayed—seen exactly how and when I wish to be seen. Frankly, a male of my skill simply could not have been more present without turning the rest of the events into a throng of children whacking at one another with sticks. Take General Jikun Taemrin, for instance—respected, touted as a military genius by the council, paraded as a hero—yet by comparison to my triumphs, he is no more than a desperate child whose strings are pulled by the council and whose victories are only granted by the careful planning of the enemy. Sel’ari knows he was doomed from the start.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Oh, she did a fine job. I simply would have refused an appearance had she not complied with my wishes. …However, I will state that J.J. did make a horrendous mistake by failing to acquire all information before one of my heroics and that this particular incident may have given the country its final push over the cliff. And now I find myself in a terribly dangerous predicament—thanks to J.J.’s complete lack of experience. This is why I typically demand to do the legwork myself. You give the inexperienced a slight benefit of the doubt and you find yourself with a blade to the throat.

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

Intelligence. Piety. Wisdom. Insight. Experience. If I am being entirely honest, I simply cannot limit it to one.

Worst trait? 

Well, I suppose at times having too much talent can get me into trouble. I often end up in terribly dangerous situations because of my abilities… and it does not help things when I don’t have magic to bail me out. But it was certainly Sel’ari’s way of balancing my place in the world. …There have been some suggestions by other (jealous) individuals that my worst trait is arrogance—but if honesty is akin to arrogance than only then am I the most guilty of all. 

KingsorPawnscoverSMmIf you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)? 

Well, this is certainly a difficult question to be asked. There is no human in your world that could possibly match my talents in any way. I suppose special effects might lend a hand, but there is only so much your world can do. So, I suppose I would have to say we can only attempt looks and past CGI assistance: Orlando Bloom. Of course, this would forever make Legolas appear subpar, but all others after me in your world would suffer the same by default. 

Do you have a love interest in the book? 

I don’t have the time for such nonsense. And that is all there is to say on the matter. 

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

I am never nervous. I am experienced. And my experience started warning me the moment I stepped off into the Port of Targados and saw the human influences on the once glorious capital of Elvorium. I had heard from the True Blood King, Sairel, that Sevrigel had become riddled with the disease of corruption; and yet, it was still a shock to see the elven council’s corruption first hand. No land can endure when its foundation is lacking. 

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

That is a difficult question as I would not wish to be the females by default, the young who suffer naivety, the old who suffer the pains of age, or any of those who have strayed from Sel’ari’s path. And that leaves me to say that I would really not want to be anyone. As I feel I am forced to answer this question, I would say the one character I would really not want to be is the enemy warlord’s captain, Vale. I met him but once—briefly—and I find his crude, arrogant, cocky, and frankly repulsive personality both offensive and revolting. There is nothing in Emal’drathar you could offer me to spend even a single second in his boots. 

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? 

It is always darkest before the dawn: If you defy Sel’ari long enough, surely retribution shall find you. 

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it? 

Oh, I know I’m in the second novel. I’ve already spent the time in her drafts, flitting about the pages. And I say this with a forced politeness: I am not pleased—not pleased at all at where I now find myself… Or where I know I am headed. 

Thank you for this interview, Sellemar.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Until my time on Aersadore has expired, I shall always come when Sel’ari calls.

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Title: Kings or Pawns (Steps of Power, The Kings: Book I)

Genre: Fantasy

Author: J.J. Sherwood

Website: www.StepsofPower.com

Publisher: Silver Helm

Purchase at Amazon

About the Book:

Kings or Pawns is the first novel in the Steps of Power series. It takes place after two very significant events in the world—the continental division between the human and elven races after the betrayal and death of Aersadore’s hero, Eraydon, and the recent Royal Schism that has left the elven nation’s politics even more corrupted than was prior. The new elven king, Hairem, is determined to overcome the council’s corruption and restore the elven lands, but he has far more to contend with than just the politics within the capital: an assassin has begun killing those loyal to him, a rebelling warlord threatens the city from without, and an unknown beast devastates the king’s forces at every turn. There are multiple points of view—the youthful and naïve king Hairem; the mute and spunky servant girl, Alvena; the mysterious and arrogant foreigner, Sellemar; and the cynical, dry-humored General Jikun.

jj

About the Author:

JJ. Sherwood was born in Tucson, Arizona on New Year’s Eve—and has always had a flair for the dramatics. JJ began writing in kindergarten and her first work was completed by the age of 5: a riveting tale of a duck attempting to climb into an apartment during the pouring rain.

Unfortunately this book is not in print, but it served as the first spark that spurred on a lifetime of creativity. JJ continued writing throughout her school years and escaped the horrors of short-story writing in college, ready and eager to write meaty, character-driven novels. With over 250 well-rounded characters developed from her nearly 20 years of roleplaying, JJ dove straight into the rich history of Aersadore, ready to let her puppeteers pull her creative strings.

JJ lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her spouse, parrot, bearded dragon, and four cats who look far too similar.

Links:

Site: http://www.stepsofpower.com

Blog: http://www.stepsofpower.com/news.php#toolbar

FB: https://www.facebook.com/stepsofpower

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jj_sherwood

Character Interview: Des Fairweather from Jane Tesh’s fantasy novel, Butterfly Waltz

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today Des Fairweather from Jane Tesh’s new fantasy, Butterfly Waltz.  Des is a 27 year old musician living in Parkland, North Carolina.

It is a pleasure to have Des with us today at Beyond the Books!

Butterfly_C1_2Thank you so for this interview, Des.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I’m very glad you invited me!  I do feel I was fairly portrayed in this book, although I wish I had been braver at the beginning and willing to take more chances.  But it all worked out in the end.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

When you talk about colorizing personality my author actually works with colors.  She tells me my name is a combination of gray, blue, and green, while Jake’s, my best friend in the story, is a contrasting black, red, and yellow.  I thought she might be a little out there with this, but she discovered there is a condition called synesthesia, which a lot of writers have, where they see letters as colors. She likes to have a balance of colors in all her books.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I like to think I can help people who are in trouble.

Worse trait?

Sometimes I wish I could refuse Jake when he pesters me to join him tracking down his wild tabloid stories, but it’s hard for me to say no when a friend asks for my help.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

This is a very hard question!  I’ve been told I have soulful eyes, so an actor who looks like a younger Robert Downy, Jr., might be the one.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

In this story, I fall in love with an amazingly beautiful young woman who inspires me to write music. But she’s a magical creature, and I have a great fear and distrust of magic.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I was okay until I walked into this perfectly innocent-looking forest that abruptly closed around me, and I was attacked by a huge snake.  I didn’t know how I was going to get out of this situation.  I’m still not sure exactly what happened.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Jake’s lifestyle would drive me crazy.  He’s brash, loud, and believes in everything: UFOs, ghosts, zombies, you name it.  He lives his life at high speed and doesn’t mind breaking the rules.  I’m a rule-follower who needs peace and quiet.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I don’t recall much of the ending, except that I’m writing more music.  I think you’ll see why when you read the book.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

My author has told me my story is over, but if she ever decided to write another, I’d ask her to help me stop worrying.  Of course, she’s a big worrier, so I know where that comes from!

Thank you for this interview, Des.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I appear briefly or I’m mentioned in my brothers’ books.  Jerry’s having all sorts of adventures with his wife, Madeline, in the Madeline Maclin Mystery series, and the author’s at work on Tucker’s story, which will be another fantasy.

I’ve enjoyed this!  Thanks for having me on Beyond the Books.

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Visit Jane’s website at www.janetesh.com and her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GraceStreetMysterySeries.  You can also find her on Goodreads, Amazon’s Author Central www.amazon.com/author/janetesh, andwww.twitter.com/janetesh.

Her blog is www.janetesh.wordpress.com

ABOUT THE BOOK

When he helps his friend Jake Brenner, a tabloid writer on the hunt for a big supernatural story, Des Fairweather is swept up in a world of mystery and intrigue.  Despite his skepticism of the validity of the stories Jake is seeking, Des reluctantly accompanies Jake on his latest adventure—all with the promise that Jake can help Des secure an audition with the city symphony, a break Des desperately needs.

When Jake’s search takes the two out to the country to investigate an unusual phenomenon at the Snowden estate, Des encounters a startlingly beautiful young woman who claims to be magical.  That young woman is Kalida, a mysterious creature who has escaped from the people of the Caverns and renounced their evil ways.  But when Kalida is discovered, her people will stop at no end to get her to return to their world. Will Des be able to cast aside his fears in order to save Kalida….before it’s too late?

A mesmerizing tale that blends music, mystery and magic, Butterfly Waltz charms with its enchanting storyline and compelling characters. Resplendent with adventure, intrigue, and the allure of the supernatural, Butterfly Waltz is delightful.

Get your copy now on Amazon

Character Interview: Cassandra Brighton from Linda Lucretia Shuler’s literary novel, ‘Hidden Shadows’

HiddenShadows_medWe’re thrilled to have here today Cassandra Brighton, from Linda Lucretia Shuler’s new literary novel, Hidden Shadows.  Cassie, forty-five, recently sold her Houston boutique of Native American Art, “Spirit of the Southwest,” and moved to Willow City, a small community in a rugged corner of the Texas Hill Country.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Cassie.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

It took a while for the author to know who I really am. I don’t think Linda would mind if I use her first name; we’re close now. I think of her as a sister. Although I didn’t at first. I didn’t trust her then.

I’m a private person, really – full of dreams, musings, hidden fears. So much has happened in my life, so much love and so much sorrow – the kind that rips you apart. I’ve made some stupid mistakes, but who of us hasn’t? It takes a while to share these hidden parts of yourself, the good as well as the bad. We all are a mix, aren’t we? None of us perfect. All of us a stew of feelings.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

“Colorizing.” Hum. Now that’s a curious choice of words. To be honest, it’s hard to see oneself from another’s eyes. I never thought myself beautiful, although friends tell me otherwise. I’ve just turned forty-five, after all. Bits of gray in my hair, and some lines starting to appear under my eyes. As for my personality, Linda’s been relentless, digging right down inside me, forcing me to realize things about myself I didn’t understand before. Sometimes I think she goes overboard, like with my dreams. Dreams should be private, shouldn’t they? And here she is, spilling them to the world. Especially my visions of ancestors who once lived in this creaking old homestead. I can feel their spirits here, warm, kind – well, all except one. But I don’t want to talk about him.

What’s the next question?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My strongest trait? Lordy, give me a moment to think . . .

Perhaps my strongest trait is my sensitivity, my awareness of thing felt, but not seen: the  struggles of others, hidden within them; the spirituality of animals, such as the wolf who seems to have adopted me; the faint music of long-ago echoing among the hills; the soft footsteps and whispers of spirits within the walls of my ancestral home. It’s natural to me, this lovely way of responding to the world.

Worse trait?

My strongest trait is also, in a weird way, one of my weakest. I can be overly sensitive, easy to wound. My imagination often runs rampant, tossing me into a whirlwind of anxiety.

On second thought, maybe my worst trait is the reluctance to let go of the past. Memories, longings, hopes unfulfilled – these haunt me.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Angelica Joli. I love her intensity, the graceful way she moves, like a panther. She has chutzpa too; I can’t imagine her sitting down and letting the world pass her by. And emotional! Everything she feels flits across her face; no words are needed.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Oh, yes. He’s gorgeous. Mercurial. Talented. Frustrating. Tormented, I think, by his past. Quick to anger, I suspect. I don’t know if he’s as quick to love. He chose someone else – a tight-lipped, icy queen who claimed him as her own.

I’ll let you discover the rest.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

To be honest, I was nervous from the beginning. I mean, couldn’t Linda at least give me a break?  I had to knock her in the head a time or two – or tried to, at any rate. She must have heard me, because she finally came around to seeing things my way.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Guy, a tormented soul. Something about him scared me in the beginning. Still does, as a matter of fact.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

It surprised me. I mean, you make plans and life suddenly throws something else at you. But isn’t that the way it goes? Life is a journey toward the unexpected. I’m here, I’m healthy, I’m smiling. That’s all I’d better say.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I’d say, “Linda, write about me as I am now, not as I was when we first met.”

Thank you for this interview, Cassie.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Oh, I would love to think so! However, there’s a kink: My ancestors are rattling around in Linda’s thoughts, demanding to be heard. I suspect she’s going to write about them next. Theirs is an interesting story, my pioneer forefathers (or is it foremothers?) and the dangers they faced so bravely as they settled in this wild corner of Texas. Since I’m part of them, I’m part of their story, too.

LindaShuler_authorPix72

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda Lucretia Shuler wrote her first story when she was six, Koko the Monkey, which she still has tucked into a drawer. Since then her stories and poems have appeared in anthologies and literary journals, and a handful of her plays have been produced in schools and community theatres.

Linda received a BFA in theatre from the University of Texas, and an MA in theatre from Trinity University while in residence at the Dallas Theatre Center. She taught theatre arts in college and high school for three decades, loving every moment and directing nearly a hundred plays in the process. She also wrote theatre arts curriculum K-12 for Houston ISD, conducted numerous workshops, and performed in community theatres.

Hidden Shadows, Linda’s debut novel, takes place in Willow City, a ruggedly beautiful section of the Texas Hill Country less than three hours from her home in San Antonio. Several other manuscripts are in the works, reaching across the genres. These include a prequel to Hidden Shadows, plays, and a collection of poems and a half-dozen different story ideas demanding attention.

Linda enjoys participating in Toastmasters, writer organizations, critique groups, and book clubs. She continues her love of theatre, delights in watching the birds flocking outside her office window, and is an enthusiastic fan of San Antonio’s championship basketball team, the Spurs.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Hidden Shadows

Genre: Literary

Author: Linda Lucretia Shuler

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Amazon / OmniLit / B&N / Twilight Times Books

Hidden Shadows is a story of connection: to the land, to our ancestors, to others, to ourselves – and to the redemptive power of love: 

Cassie Brighton, devastated by the accidental death of her husband, flees to a remote homestead deep in the rugged Texas Hill Country. Alone in a ramshackle farmhouse steeped in family secrets, Cassie wages a battle of mind and heart as she struggles to overcome the sorrows of her past, begin anew, and confront the possibility of finding love again.

What people are saying:

Hidden Shadows is a wonderful novel of a women’s journey of self-discovery and search for purpose. The characters will win your heart (and sometimes break it) in this beautifully written and satisfying story of loss and renewal.”

Sandra Worth,

Award-winning author of The King’s Daughter: A Novel of the First Tudor Queen

Character Interview: Joseph Halderman from Jonathan Raab’s military novel ‘Flight of the Blue Falcon’

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today former Staff Sergeant Joseph Halderman from Jonathan Raab’s new military novel, Flight of the Blue Falcon.  Joseph Halderman is a 28 year old veteran living in Denver, Colorado.

flightIt is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so much for this interview, Joseph.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

Well, Raab did a pretty good job capturing what it’s like to be a grunt and serving in a chewed-up unit. The book’s a quick read, and it covers about a year or more of our lives. There was a lot of stuff he had to cut out, so I’d point out that there’s a lot more to a deployment than can fit in a book. But overall, I feel like he got the important details right.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I just wish he had left out the parts where I was drinking too much… And sometimes I come across as a Grade-A asshole. Then again, I kinda was a Grade-A asshole sometimes, so I guess that’s alright.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’d say my flexibility. Being in the Army means the situation changes all the time, and you gotta be ready to go from zero to sixty in a flash. You’re never able to rest.

Worst trait?

You’ll see this in the book, but sometimes I get an attitude problem. I can blow up or get snarky when I should just shut my mouth and drive on. I’m working on it with those headshrinkers at the VA.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Who’s the most handsome dude out there? Preferably someone with big muscles. One of those guys.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yep, and I’m still with her. We moved to Denver after the deployment. She puts up with a lot of my crap. I couldn’t make it without her.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I’d say the first time I show up. I’m not shown in the best light. It’s honest, sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to read about yourself being a jerk or making bad decisions. But there’s good in there, too.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

Good question. I’d say LT Gracie. Him and I had a lot of differences, and there’s a few decisions he made that went the wrong way. But now that I’m home and the uniform is off, I can appreciate how tough he had it, and how he had a lot of pressure on him at the time. I should give him a ring and tell him that.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

That’s the thing – the ending is somewhat open-ended, because we’re still going through things. We’re still dealing with what happened in the desert. Us—and everybody else who served overseas. These problems and issues don’t just get resolved like some stupid movie. We’ll be dealing with this shit for the rest of our lives. I’m not trying to tell you a sap story or anything, and most people don’t want to hear that. They want to hear that veterans come home and things are all squared away and prim and proper. That’s bullshit. War isn’t neat and clean. It’s a goddamn mess, and it jacks people up, in ways big and small. I’m gonna be alright, sure. I’m a survivor. We all are. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still dealing with all this.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I’d tell him to move on to another character, another subject. You can only be in the headspace of war for so long before it makes you crazy. We all have to try to move on, best we can. He shouldn’t be one of those guys that rides his service for his whole writing career. War doesn’t go away, and it’ll always be there for guys like him and me, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about or think about or write about other things. But I think he already knows that. 

Thank you for this interview, Joseph. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Yeah. Yeah, I’m afraid you will. As long as we keep fighting wars, guys like me will always be around. I hope one day that isn’t the case—but I’m not holding my breath.

Stay frosty.

Title: Flight of the Blue Falcon

Genre: Fiction – Adult

Author: Jonathan Raab

Website: http://www.warwriterscampaign.org

Publisher: War Writers’ Campaign, Inc.

Watch the Trailer

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

FLIGHT OF THE BLUE FALCON

By

JONATHAN RAAB

“Jonathan Raab is not only a genuine advocate for veteran causes, he is a preacher of their tales; both fiction and nonfiction. His writing will immerse you into a combat environment that parallels the imagination of those who have never had the pleasure.”

—Derek J. Porter, author of Conquering Mental Fatigues: PTSD & Hypervigilance Disorder

“Jonathan Raab uses his experience to illustrate the raw world of the common soldier. His masterful use of edgy humor and intellectual commentary creates a space for discussing the military culture.”

—Nate Brookshire, co-author, Hidden Wounds: A Soldiers Burden

In FLIGHT OF THE BLUE FALCON (War Writers’ Campaign; July 2015; PRICE), a chewed-up Army National Guard unit heads to a forgotten war in Afghanistan where three men find themselves thrust into the heart of absurdity: the post-modern American war machine. The inexperienced Private Rench, the jaded veteran Staff Sergeant Halderman, and the idealistic Lieutenant Gracie join a platoon of misfit citizen-soldiers and experience a series of alienating and bizarre events.

Private Rench is young, inexperienced, and from a poor, rural, broken home. He’s adrift in life. The early signs of alcoholism and potential substance abuse are beginning to rear their ugly heads. He wants to do right by the Army, but doesn’t quite know who he is yet.

Staff Sergeant Halderman has one previous combat tour under his belt. He got out, realized his life was going nowhere, so re-enlisted to serve with the men he knew, and to lead the inexperienced guys into combat. He is manifesting the early signs of post traumatic stress, but is too focused on the upcoming mission to deal with it. He sees the Army for what it is—a big, screwed up machine that doesn’t always do the right thing—but he doesn’t think all that highly of himself, either.

Second Lieutenant Gracie is fresh, young, excited to be in the Army, and trying to adjust to the new to the military and his life as an officer. Although he faces a steep learning curve, he is adaptable and has a good, upbeat attitude. As he tries to forge his own path, he nonetheless turns to the experienced NCOs in his unit for guidance and support. He must continually make tough decisions that have no “right” or textbook answers. Yet these decisions are catalysts enabling him to grow in maturity, experience, and wisdom.

Preparation for combat is surreal: Rench is force-fed cookies by his drill sergeants. Halderman’s “training” is to pick up garbage in the blistering heat of the California desert for four days straight. Gracie contends with a battalion commander obsessed with latrine graffiti.

Once they reach Afghanistan, things really get weird.

FLIGHT OF THE BLUE FALCON is the story of three men who volunteer to serve their country. It’s about what it means to be a soldier, to fight, to know true camaraderie—and to return home.

This is a war story. This is their story.

Only the most unbelievable parts are true.

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About the Author

Jonathan Raab is a veteran of the Afghanistan war, where he served as an infantryman assigned to a combat advisor team. He is the editor-in-chief of Muzzleland Press and an editor for the War Writers’ Campaign. His work has appeared in The New York Times’ At War Blog, CNN.com, the Military Success Network, Literati Presents, The Stars and Stripes, and many others. His second novel, The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre, will be available in late 2015. He lives in the Denver metro area with his wife Jess and their dog, Egon.

Connect with Jonathan Raab on the Web: Website Facebook /Twitter 

Character Interview: Alassa from Christopher G Nuttall’s fantasy ‘Trial by Fire’

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today Alassa from Christopher G Nuttall’s fantasy Trial by Fire. Alassa is a 19 year old student magician who just happens to be the Crown Princess of Zangaria. It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Alassa. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

TrialByFire_med1Well, the first thing I would like to say is that you didn’t include my full titles. I am Alassa, Crown Princess of Zangaria, Iron Duchess, Lady of the Magical Arts, Patron of Steam and Heiress of Alexis, Founder Monarch of Zangaria.

But the author? Naturally, he should have focused more on me. I’m going to be getting married next month and trust me, Emily doesn’t like the attention. And I didn’t get expelled from the school by accident, I contrived it quite deliberately. No one will be fooled, of course, but one must keep up appearances.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

I think the author did a reasonably good job of me, as seen through Emily’s eyes. But she’s a very good friend. I don’t think everyone else sees me as the perfect princess. Why, some of them even think I’m a spoilt brat! Can you imagine the nerve?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m ruthless. And before you start pouring scorn on how unfeminine that trait is, just remember I’m going to rule a kingdom infested with noblemen who want to park their smelly behinds on my throne. Killing my aunt should have warned them I’m not to be trifled with.

Yes, she was asking for it. Can you imagine using blood magic on my uncle, plotting the overthrow of my father and turning me into a slave? She was lucky I only cut off her head, personally. 

Worse trait?

I’m told I’m arrogant, snooty and bloody-minded. I don’t see it myself.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Why can’t I play myself? Do you know what happens to people who say no to me? But if I’m really not allowed to play myself, I’d nominate Billie Piper. Or maybe Laura Vandervoort.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Yes, I do. Did I tell you I’m getting married?

It’s a funny story, really. My father thought I needed extra training, so he hires a recent graduate to train me and we ended up falling in love. I didn’t see that coming, but did my father? Jade is strong, kind and poses absolutely no threat to the established power balance.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I think the moment I realized just which particular acquaintance had returned to Whitehall was a pretty big ‘oh crap’ moment.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Those pesky first years. Running around turning each other into frogs and not actually studying. How dare they waste their first year of genuine magical education?

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

It was bittersweet, I think. Nothing is ever going to be the same again.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I have my dignity to think about. If he puts me in an embarrassing situation, I’ll put him in jail. The next book will be delayed.

Or, in other words, he should tell everyone how wonderful I am as often as possible. I’m getting married, you know.

Thank you for this interview, Alassa. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I’m getting married, remember? I may have mentioned it once or twice, but I have it on good authority that the next book will center on my wedding. And if it doesn’t, the author will find his head cut off and centered on a pike. So there.

About the Book

Title: Trial By Fire (Schooled In Magic 7)

Genre: Fantasy

Author: Christopher G. Nuttall

Website: www.chrishanger.net

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Sample Chapter HERE.

Purchase on Amazon / OmniLit

Three years ago, Emily killed the Necromancer Shadye before he could sacrifice her and destroy the Allied Lands.  Now, the shadows of the past hang over Whitehall as Emily and the Grandmaster travel into the Blighted Lands to recover anything Shadye might have left behind, before returning to Whitehall to start the fourth year.  For Emily, it is a chance to stretch her mind and learn more about new and innovative forms of magic … and to prepare for the exams that will determine her future as a magician.

But as she starts her studies, it becomes clear that all is not well at Whitehall.  Master Grey, a man who disliked Emily from the moment he met her, is one of her teachers – and he seems intent on breaking her, pushing her right to her limits.  In the meantime, her friends Alassa and Imaiqah are acting oddly, Frieda seems to be having trouble talking to her and – worst of all – Caleb, her partner in a joint magical project, is intent on asking her to go out with him.

As she struggles to cope with new challenges and to overcome the demons in her past, she becomes aware of a deadly threat looming over Whitehall, a curse that threatens her very soul.  And when she makes a tiny yet fatal mistake, she finds herself facing a fight she cannot win, but dares not lose…

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About the Author

Christopher Nuttall was born in Edinburgh, studied in Manchester, married in Malaysia and currently living in Scotland, United Kingdom, with his wife and baby son.  He is the author of twenty novels from various publishers and thirty-nine self-published novels.

Connect with the author on the web:

Website / Blog / Facebook

Character Interview: Crown Prince Ashamet from Terry jackman’s fantasy adventure: ‘Ashamet, Desert-Born’

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Prince Ashamet from Terry Jackman’s new fantasy adventure, ‘Ashamet, Desert-Born’.  The handsome prince is 30 this year, a soldier and heir to the throne of Kadduchan.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, your highness.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

That’s a good question. I’m sure some of my father’s courtiers would describe me very differently. But since their versions wouldn’t agree either I’ll be gracious, and allow that Terry probably got as close as a female could.

Ashamet-CoverDo you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

A female could hardly truly understand a warrior-type. It’s amusing how complex she’s tried to make me appear though. Everyone who really knows me will tell you I’m just a simple soldier. I leave the devious stuff to my father. And of course to my team of eyes and ears.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

My sword arm? All right, if we’re to be serious I suppose Terry did get that part right; I am pretty stubborn. I don’t back down. Ever.

Worse trait?

Some would tell you it’s my sense of humour – only they don’t necessarily phrase it like that. But is it my fault the world around me is so often ridiculous? At least it spices up the boredom between battles.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

What the gods is a “movie”? Oh, a street performer? Any such who pretended to be me would quickly find themselves whipped raw, or in a dungeon while my father’s questioners enquired who had paid him to, and with what motives.

If I wanted an imposter though, a body double to allow me to sneak off unnoticed… there’s a commoner of yours called Alan Rickman who might do; he’s not unlike, and has a face that promises a wicked sense of humour.

Do you have a love interest in the book? 

Gods, no, I just like sex. Lots of. Well, maybe it’s not always entirely physical. I mean, I might get interested in someone because they’re… interesting, or a puzzle. But there’s definitely no sighing, or poetry or anything embarrassing like that. Definitely not.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

Hells, I spent most of the book nervous about one thing or another. That and cursing it. I didn’t mind the assassination attempts but the rest… I tell you, I don’t want anything to do with priests. Let alone magic. Give me problems I can throttle!

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

That has to be old Sil. Well, the look of him is enough to put you off your food, don’t you think? Of all the High Priests he’s always been the one I liked least. The other two have some redeeming features but Sil… that one’s all about number one. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.

How do you feel about the ending of the book, without giving too much away? 

I’ll tell you one thing: I was seriously worried there; I’ve never slept so badly. And I doubt I’m out of the storm even now.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it? 

Less magic would be nice, but alas Terry seems to like making my life complicated. But then she’s a writer and my spies say writers don’t always know what they’ll write next. In fact, according to her we write all this stuff. That’s obviously a lie. I mean, I’m certainly no writer, and how could I know what’s in my future?

Thank you for this interview, Prince Ashamet.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future? 

As I said, ask Terry. Assuming she knows. Rumour is she’s been meeting up with some very different types recently but as usual she’s not talking to anyone about her writing. Just my luck my author turns out to be one of the shy ones. That’s one thing she didn’t get from me!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Ashamet, Desert-Born

Genre: Fantasy/adventure/romance/paranormal

Author: Terry Jackman

Website: www.terryjackman.co.uk

Publisher: www.dragonwellpublishing.com

Find out more on Amazon

A desert world. A warrior nation that worships its emperor as a god. But for Ashamet, its prince, a future filled with danger…

Ashamet is confident his swordsmanship, and his arranged marriage, will be enough to maintain the empire’s peace. But when a divine symbol magically appears on his arm, closely followed by an attempt on his life, he no longer knows who to trust. Worse, the strange attraction he feels toward a foreign slave could be another trap. As events unravel, too fast,Ashamet must find out if this innocent young male is a tool for his enemies–or the magic key to his survival.

“Ashamet, Desert-Born” is a debut adventure fantasy with an exotic Arabian-style setting and elements of same-sex romance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author pic 1

Terry Jackman was christened Teresa, and is married with kids. She’s not pretending to be a guy just for the book. It’s just that nobody, but nobody, calls her anything but Terry, so Terry is actually the most honest name to put on the cover.

To go with her two names she inhabits two worlds. In one she’s a mild-mannered lady who tutors children and lives in a pretty English village, called Lymm. [It’s not far from the Manchester United football ground. You can take a peek at it onwww.lymmvillage.co.uk/gallery If you look carefully at the picture of the old stone cross in the village centre you might see the ancient stocks below, where villagers would have thrown rotten eggs etc at local miscreants – but we don’t do that now, honest.]

In the other, she’s written articles and study guides, is secretly on the committee of the British Science Fiction Association, coordinates all their online writers’ groups, writes a regular page for Focus magazine and reads submissions for Albedo One magazine in Ireland. Oh, and has been known to do convention panels and some freelance editing.

When Ashamet goes public the two worlds will finally collide. She suspects there’ll be some raised eyebrows so she’s stocking up on fortifying tea and biscuits – and lots of chocolate!

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