Book Review: ‘Reaper’s Folly’ by Nikki Landis

A fascinating exposition of a truly evil mind.

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Nikki Landis Reapers Folly
Not since C.S. Lewis’ brilliant book ‘The Screwtape Letters’ have I read such a fascinating exploration of a truly evil, devilish mind, where even his demon followers are the victims of Darkness.

 

‘Reaper’s Folly’ delivers a powerful and emotionally charged story that brings the reader face to face with evil in its darkest forms. Landis’ writing  and story craft is magnificent, with some profound moments of macabre terror. The greatest horror, however, is the realisation that it may, in fact, be true.

 

Acorn Award I GoldenThis terrific book has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

 

Find it on Amazon.

Author Interview: Rebecca Lloyd

Book Squirrel chats with Rebecca Lloyd, author of dark fiction and magical realism.

Interview Orange

Book Squirrel chats with Rebecca Lloyd, author of dark fiction and magical realism.
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Welcome, Rebecca! It’s great to have you here.

Thank you, Book Squirrel!

I’m a big fan of the darker side of fiction. What is your favourite thing that you have written?

My novella Woolfy and Scrapo, available from The Fantasist Magazine, and it’s because, even though the characters are just a pair of gloves, their love for each other, as brothers, is very deep, slightly troubled, but happy. This book along with my novel Oothangbart is very different from my usual literary horror material because they celebrate innocence.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

Right at this moment it would be Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam, although I could have as easily chosen something from Walter de la Mare or Kevin Barry.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

The best book I’ve read this year is Lamb, a book which some people were very much against. What a brave writer to have written that and so beautifully.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie writer?

Although the distribution of your books might be a whole lot less than if you were an author with one of the gigantic publishers, there can be a great deal of pleasure in writing for a quite small body of readers, and pleasure as well in having a rewarding working relationship with your publisher if it is a company that is careful and respectful of its writers. Very few writers make much money from their books anyway whoever the publisher is, and so there’s a lot to be said for being involved with decent thoughtful independent publishers and those people they employ to do the artwork and editing. A lot of people might not agree with this thought… but it could also well be a blessing not to be tangled up with literary agents, those gate-keepers of the big publishing houses.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A biologist, and then later on someone who studied parasites. First I became an ecologist and then a medical parasitologist which led me to Africa, which led me to writing.

What inspired you to write?

My very moving and humbling experiences of working as a medical parasitologist in a remote hospital in Tanzania. I wrote my first novel as a result of that work but I’m pretty sure no-one would want to publish it…. it being a very uncomfortable read, and equally sure that I wouldn’t want it published. But it was a great writing exercise.

What are you working on writing now?

I’m thinking about starting something new, having just finished a novel, but I haven’t settled on anything for certain yet. I wrote a horror story called What Comes? that was published in my collection Mercy and Other Stories with Tartarus Press, and I was thinking it could be expanded into a novella and that I should have a go at it. [I always get scared that if I stop writing for too long that I won’t be able to do it again.]

Who designs your book covers?

Usually my publishers have had their own book cover designers and although they will run the idea past me to make sure I like it, I haven’t had a lot of involvement with that side of things. But my novella Jack Werrett the Flood Man with Dunhams Manor Press included illustrations inside and a book cover by the artist Dave Felton, and he worked very closely with me always being careful that I liked what he was producing. Then the amazing and very crazy book cover by Steve Novak for my collection The View from Endless Street [WiDo Publishing], was stunning and I loved it immediately, and still do. Oh! And I nearly forgot that I did design the book cover for my novel Oothangbart with Pillar International Publishing in 2014 and I loved doing that.

Name three people you admire, and give reasons.

I admire the wonderful perfectly mad Irish writer, Kevin Barry for his magical and breath-taking ability with words and language. I admire that strange, highly intelligent man Doctor Samuel Johnson, [1709 -1776] for his wit and kindness to the people he knew and hung out with, not the least of which was the twisted weird guy Richard Savage, poet and liar. I admire President Obama for all he tried to do for the US, the way he attempted to civilise it, and for his elegance and sophistication in a very ugly job.

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

I don’t think I’ve got a pet hate; there are a few little behaviours that I really dislike such as when cold callers phone me and call me Mrs Lloyd as if even if you weren’t married to anyone you wouldn’t mind being called Mrs anyway, but to my way of thinking that title makes me less than I am because it implies that I belong to someone, and I resent the idea of that hugely. On that same note, I did once use an entire argument that I had with a man in my short story Fetch which is in my collection Ragman and Other Family Curses published by Egaeus Press. I can tell you that it felt so very cathartic to have created something useful out of that argument. I also modelled the main character on the man himself and since I knew him well, I had his pomposity really accurately drawn in the story. [He never read it, nor ever will].

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

I think that is yet to come, and every Christmas I go away on holiday to another country, so I’ve got plenty of chances to arrive at the best one in time. But one of the most useful was a holiday in Sicily in a little town called Cefalù which was where the terrible Aleister Crowley tried to set up a religious retreat. I was working on Seven Strange Stories, my second story collection for Tartarus Press and I was in need of one extra story to finish it. It was co-incidental that I happened to be holidaying in that town, but it occurred to me that because I had always been fascinated and horrified by Aleister Crowley, that he could be the subject for the last story. It was pretty hard to write, but very inspiring to stare down at the ruins of the ‘Abbey of Thelema’ and imagine Mr Crowley and his followers doing their thing in there. [I didn’t break into the place, not my style, and there are so many photos of it online that I didn’t feel the need to… besides I didn’t want to give myself the creeps!]

That’s fascinating and spooky at the same time!

I know!

Where can readers buy your books?

My books are all available on Amazon.

That’s great! Everyone knows how to find the ‘Zon.  Thanks for being here today, Rebecca!

Thank you, Book Squirrel. It’s been fun!

Book Launch & Blog Tour: Webley and the World Machine by Zachary Paul Chopchinski

Today, Book Squirrel welcomes Zachary Paul Chopchinski and his new release steampunk novel, Webley and the World Machine! 

Today, Book Squirrel welcomes Zachary Paul Chopchinski and his new release steampunk novel, Webley and the World Machine! 

Title: Webley and the World Machine
Author: Zachary Paul Chopchinski
Genre: Steampunk
Cover Designer: Deranged Doctor Designs
Publisher: Books & Bow Ties Publishing
Editor: plot2published
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: A world beneath our world.
An army of mechanical monsters.
A war to end all wars.
When Adalwolf Stein and Arija Rapp discover a mechanical world hidden deep within the earth, the result is life changing. Webley and the creators of The World Machine work to keep the Earth turning. But when Arija and Adalwolf discover a growing conflict that will destroy the Earth, they find themselves forced to fight.
Will they be able to stop the war in time or will they regret ever having set foot in The World Machine?
Zachary is a bow tie wearing, formal vest rocking, pocket watch using, sarcastic monster of a writer. Currently residing in Orlando, Florida, he spends his days working, writing and procrastinating.
Zach has multiple college degrees, in the fields of criminal justice and criminology…because he wanted to catch ALL the bad guys. Now, coupled with being an author of young adult fiction he spends his days yelling at people for breaking regulatory laws.
Zach is the author of the Gabrielle series, a young adult fantasy with a paranormal-historical-time traveling twist (try saying that five times fast)
Author Links:
Buy Links:
“We aren’t going anywhere with your creepy smiling ass. Thanks for the offer, but we have better things to do. Like fight these crazy mantis things. So, if you don’t mind, step off, or I’ll throw you another beating,” Adal offered as he took a half step ahead of Arija who yanked at his sleeve.
            “What the hell are you doing? If I couldn’t take him, you sure as hell can’t! Not in your condition anyway.” Arija slid her hand down Adal’s side to where his empty holster sat on his hip. “Where’s your gun?” she mumbled out of the side of her mouth.
            “I don’t know. It went flying when I did. I’m going to make my move. You make yours!” Adal mumbled back, keeping his eyes trained on his opponent. With his little finger, Adal motioned to the two knives on the platform.
            “So, what’s the plan, shiny? We gonna do this, or are you going to just stand there and look at me? I mean, I know I’m pretty, but damn,” Adal said, the humor gone from his voice. The Dweller’s grin faded and his mouth thinned. He closed his robotic hands into fists and lowered his head to his shoulders.
            “If you think it’s in your best interest, Topsider, please feel free to try your odds. I will greatly enjoy peeling back your skin and seeing what your wet insides look like. When I’m done with you, your mate is next!” he said, flicking his gaze toward Arija.
Arija flinched at the word “mate.” She wasn’t even Adal’s girlfriend, for reasons she didn’t exactly understand, and the word brought a sudden embarrassment to her cheeks.
Adal’s upper lip twitched as he watched him eye Arija like she was a prize at the fair. His face burned, and his palms got sweaty at the thought of this man with Arija, torturing her or . . . whatever else he had in mind. Adal was ready to put his fist down this asshole’s throat.

 

Book Review: ‘The Clearing’ by A.M. Rycroft

‘The Clearing’ is a well-written short story that delivers some effectively developed moments of tension and mild horror.

A.M. Rycroft The ClearingWhen Anthony takes Suzanne on a picnic in a surprise location, they both get more of a surprise than either of them counted on.

‘The Clearing’ is a well-written short story that delivers some effectively developed moments of tension and mild horror.

It’s long enough to develop the ideas and dramatic tension effectively, but short enough to read and enjoy comfortably in a lunch break.

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Acorn Award II Silver‘The Clearing’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn as I would have liked it to be just a little longer.
Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Christmas Miracle on Memorial Day’ by R.M.Gauthier

Enjoyable and easy to read, this novella—and the series to which it belongs— is sure to appeal to lovers of lighthearted and heartwarming romance. 

Renee Gauthier Christmas Miracle on Memorial DayThe fourth Christmas Miracle novella delivers the next chapter in the relationship of Jack and Charlotte in Christmas Town. As with the other books in this series, Gauthier tells the story in a familiar and comfortable manner that leaves the reader wanting more when the story comes to an end. While this book is set entirely on the one day, we see that there has been quite some development in the characters’ lives since the previous instalment of their story.
Enjoyable and easy to read, this novella—and the series to which it belongs— is sure to appeal to lovers of lighthearted and heartwarming romance.

Acorn Award I Golden

This book has been awarded one of Book Squirrel’s Gold Acorn awards.
Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: ‘The Lost Inheritance Mystery’ by Ben Hammott

An enjoyable Victorian-style mystery story.

Ben Hammott Lost Inheritance Mystery

This is an enjoyable gothic Victorian-style mystery story, fashioned in a manner that aims to emulate the style of Dickens’ portrayal of the people and society of the time. The writing and character development are infused with humour, and the story itself is interesting, although the pace of the story is at times a little slower than I would have preferred. The characters are likeable, even if their names are somewhat contrived, albeit in a humorous way. As the story draws to an end, Hammott delivers a series of clever twists that add to both the irony and the Dickensian humour of the book.

The final chapter, though, brought with it a complete change of pace, which I suspect the book may have been better off without – there is nothing wrong with this chapter in itself, but i think it may have served better as the first chapter of the next mystery misadventure for these characters.

Acorn Award III BronzeI did enjoy this book, although not as much as I have enjoyed others of Ben Hammott’s works, so I’m awarding it a Bronze Acorn.

Find ‘The Lost Inheritance Mystery’ on Amazon.

Book Review: The Riddle of the Gods – Shiva XIV Book 3 by Lyra Shanti

Space opera of epic proportions.

Continuing directly from the first two books in the series, ‘The Riddle Of The Gods’ follows the inter-planetary conflicts and politics that impact so powerfully on the lives of Ayn, Pei and Axis and their compatriots as they fight against the corruption and oppression that has placed their universe in peril. Their battles are personal as much as they are planetary, and as the drama unfolds, the urgency with which they must fight increases. Choices must be made, relationships and alliances are formed, and consequences can be significant far beyond individual circumstances. Through all this, the theme of honor and loyalty is pervasive.

One of the elements of this series that I really admire is the way in which Shanti leads her characters on a personal pilgrimage in which each must accept who they are as an individual before they can fulfill their destiny. It’s a powerful lesson that addresses the most crippling fear of many people: ‘Am I enough?’ in a resounding and positive way.

This really is an elegantly constructed universe, and its stories are compelling. Shanti has yet again demonstrated her prowess as a world-builder and architect of complex, deeply involving characters and storylines.

The Shiva XIV series really is a brilliant space opera of epic proportions. Get on board— it’s a trip you don’t want to miss.

Acorn Award I Golden

As with Shanti’s Shiva XIV Books 1 and 2, and companion novellas, ‘The Riddle Of The God’s’ has received one of Book Squirrel’s shiny Gold Acorn awards.

Find it on Amazon.