#IndieAuthor Friday: Trel W. Sidoruk #99cents #mystery #suspense

Happy Friday!  Today’s indie author is Trel W. Sidoruk.  Read about his cross-country adventure with his family and his simple plan for world peace that involves cookies (sounds good to me).  Do some holiday shopping at Amazon where Trel has The Alien Club on sale this weekend for $0.99!

Hell on Earth is a phrase that has been used to describe everything from war to gridlock. Now it will be used to literally describe Hell on Earth. The Bronx can be hard and hot, especially when you’ve decided to screw the mob in the middle of the summer. Professor Dunlop is a loser’s loser, posting a winless record over the past decade, both personally and professionally. He’s got one shot at the title, but as with most boxers with a glass jaw relying on a puncher’s chance, he’s no more likely to succeed than a snowball in Hell. The Mob wants him, but the Devil owns him. Nothing left to lose, including his soul, Dunlop goes to the mats on the very people that coined the term. All Hell breaks loose, even before, Hell breaks loose…

A truly mesmerizing journey created by a series of tragic and fanciful events that are thrust into motion by seemingly mundane issues that grip and alter the trajectory of an innocent youth. The Alien Club follows the path forged by a ten-year-old boy, blindly clawing his way through the confusing, frightening and utterly fascinating life afforded him via a magical neighborhood situated in suburbia USA, during the summer of 1979. The book tackles real world issues affecting today’s youth, i.e. peer pressure, child abuse, drugs, family dynamics, even your first love.  A handbook for a first time explorer, The Alien Club presents the naked truths, pitfalls and opportunities that present a young soul’s journey into the beyond.  Read as an adult, reminiscing and/or rehashing your youth, or read with your child as a guide to facilitate a meaningful dialogue.  A worthwhile tale!

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Be the journey.  Don’t be the kid that continually asks, “Are we there yet?”  Look out the windows and roll them down whenever possible.  Let the wind blow through your hair while you still have it.

The process of writing The Alien Club was a moment in time I will never forget.  I had started writing the book more than 25 years ago and picked it and discarded more times than I care to recall.  Fast forward to three years ago – We sold everything in New York (Wasn’t much…) and decided to travel the country for a year to find a new home.  My wife was able to home school all three children, due her being an English teacher prior to them entering the world, and of course, an amazing, loving mother. (3 separate curriculums, spanning 7 years in age… You think writing a book is hard?  WOW!)

Outside of affording them an education neither of us could have dreamed of giving them, I was able to finish the book (and take it to another level entirely).  My oldest daughter, Isabella Rose, became the Assistant Editor on the book.  Sharing our love of books and my youth during such a magical, finite moment in our relationship was an unexpected vision quest.  The intimate environment that only a 12 X 33 foot tin tube can afford a family, made the story I was writing, tangible.

I could see it every day.  The interactions between the children, their spellbinding imaginations and unfiltered desire to know the truth of everything.  I began to take inspiration from everything around me.  I relived my childhood through them, and then in turn poured those unfiltered feelings and memories into the story.  I began meaningful dialogues with my parents and sister, which was a major feat, considering they were all in Heaven.  Before writing the book, I would have thought that to be madness.  It wasn’t… It was therapeutic.  Writing was therapy… Until that happened, I didn’t know the true power of the pen.  The journey was epic.  Allowing myself to be fully immersed within the journey was the secret to finding my way home.  Remember young writer – When you’re on the open road, make sure to open the windows and stick your head out like a dog!

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

Being that I wrote the book with my Daughter, and developed the story into an important piece of literature (I believe so at least), it was extremely gratifying to have a father contact me with a heartfelt thank you.  He had begun reading the story and at about a third of the way through, realized the book was a perfect opportunity to bond with his 12-year-old son.  He used the book to open a dialogue about certain influences and self-evident truths that would greatly impact his life.  They read the book together over several nights, and on a rainy weekend when the family had gone up state.

When we spoke over the phone, I could feel his throat tighten as he remarked on how well their relationship was going ever since reading the story together.  How he felt more comfortable sharing tales of his youth, both happy and sad with his son, and how his son in turn had opened up to him.

Though similar scenarios via email and online reviews have happened several times since, this particular phone call will go down as one of the most memorable moments of my entire life.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I love leaving reality and getting inside the story.  I do not write a story, I witness it.  I am merely taking dictation, hoping to type as fast the characters talk.  I love following them… Seeing where and what they’ll do next.  Watching them, while being strangely vested in them, allows me to enjoy their success or failure in a uniquely intimate, but yet sterile way.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie and why?

Neiman Marcus Bars a.k.a. Vacuum Cleaner Cookies

My mom changed up the recipe back in the day and renamed them Vacuum Cleaner Cookies, because they would literally be sucked off the pan, before they were even cool enough to be put on a plate to serve.  Sooooo good.  My wife made them (Still does from time to time), but my oldest daughter makes them at least once a month, and the smell reminds me of LaRue Drive and a loving kitchen… If the world leaders got together tomorrow and were forced to smell warm butter, cream cheese and vanilla cake mix, there would be a chance at world peace.  Make a batch today and start loving life to its fullest!

Who would win a fight between Spiderman and Batman?

I don’t want to sound like an expert on this, because in reality, I couldn’t fight my way out of a paper bag, but…  my last book, Hitman from Hell, did force me to workout extensive fight scenes between characters (There’s also a massive battle in The Alien Club).  As with all my stories, I allow the characters to fight for themselves.  What does that mean?  I do not predetermine the winner, even if it means a character I want to win, dies.  How do I do this – Similar in fashion to how I did it as a kid playing Dungeons & Dragons (a board game from the 70’s & 80’s).   I layout each characters’ physical and mental attributes, as well as if they have the element of surprise and/or weapons.  I then take those parameters and play a chess game – move, counter move – until one is standing and the other is not.

A huge element to Spiderman VS Batman would be the element of surprise.  And being that both Super Heroes have heightened senses (Spiderman literally has Spidey Sense), getting the jump on the other would be the most difficult aspect of the battle for either to accomplish.

In the end, I think Batman would win.  Batman is far more intelligent and ruthless.  In addition, if he had the proper time to prepare for the battle, he would have more than enough Spiderman specific weapons and countermeasures created to thwart Spider Man’s webs.

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

Karsa Orlong – He is the ultimate man.  I have over the years (I’m much better since my mid-life crisis) been unhappy my physical attributes… Low self-esteem, coupled with an active imagination has left me second guessing myself on questions no one asked.  Karsa is a warrior, philosopher, dreamer, lover, leader, etc… Basically everything I want to be.  If you read some of the books he’s in, you’ll know he’s done some terrible things (so I will put an asterisk next to my selection, for I would like to omit those horrific acts of debauchery to my story), but maybe in the end, those moments define his character and journey just as much as the good he did.  Such is life in fantasy adventure…

Author Bio

Trel W. Sidoruk is first and foremost a family man.  Having been blessed with a beautiful life that started in Brooklyn, NY in 1973, his life has been a series of very fortunate and extremely unfortunate events.

Since leaving Brooklyn at the ripe old age of 18 months, Trel has lived in an old whaling town along the north shore of Long Island, a beach community in southern California, a ghetto in Boston, and an alfalfa farm in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana.

Forged by the lessons learned wherever he roamed, Trel is now a business consultant (Project Manager) for international business & trade.  An avid outdoorsman, Trel enjoys the simple pleasures of nature.

A writer, painter, cook, and stonemason, Trel is best at creating things that people will enjoy for years to come.

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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert #bookreview #YA #fairytales

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong. – Goodreads.com

Not really being a fan of the more light-hearted fairy tales, I found this book description very appealing.  I came to the rapid conclusion that The Hazel Wood is wildly creative, and fans of dark fairy tales will adore it.  Writers in particular will enjoy the plot and character creation aspects mentioned.

With its heightened sense of mystery, ominous cast of characters, and detailed descriptions, this book enthralled me.  Twists, surprises, wonder – it’s all here.  Some readers may not enjoy the pop culture references, but I did.  Alice is well-read, and it seemed right for her character.

Hinterland is both magical and threatening, and it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole with this book.   The Hazel Wood is scheduled for publication January 30th, 2018.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.

A Woman Scorned by Rebecca Howie #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog #YA #mystery

Returning home days after leaving town wasn’t a decision Sam Beckett made lightly, and the newspaper articles detailing her shooting aren’t making her choice any easier to accept.

When a therapist is found dead in her office, Sam decides to work with CID and Detective Marshall on the case, hoping that the dead woman’s troubles will be enough to help her forget her own. but with Dr Weiss’ perfect image slowly crumbling as the investigation progresses, Sam finds that she isn’t the only person hiding behind a lie, and that uncovering someone else’s could have been what led Dr Weiss to her death.

The concept of a 17-year-old private investigator intrigued me.  The fact that Sam isn’t afraid to go up against seasoned detectives or known criminals cemented my admiration of her.  She pretty much holds her own.

Sam is thrown into a murder investigation almost immediately, and the number of suspects increases the deeper she delves into the victim’s background.  Just when I thought I had it figured out, a plot twist would prove me wrong.  The supporting cast contains some very likable characters, and I especially enjoyed the relationship between Marshall and Sam.

Not having read the first book in this series, I was a little lost, and didn’t understand the reasoning behind some of Sam’s actions or backstories of the characters.  I wouldn’t say reading the first one is absolutely necessary, but it would help lessen the confusion.

This has the makings of an intelligent YA mystery series, with the potential for several more books.

I received a digital ARC from the author.


#BookReview for Sarah #horror #YA

I’m finally getting around to posting this link – so busy this time of year!  Every year I promise myself to have the shopping done by the first of December so I can just enjoy the holidays – and every year it’s an epic fail.  But I’m getting there – one more big push tomorrow should just about do it.

A few weeks back, I had a wonderful surprise when I came across F.R. Jameson’s review of Sarah.  Not only did it make my day, it made my month!  Hop over to his blog to read it here, check out his books, and download his free short story, Something Went Wrong.

#IndieAuthor Friday: Steve Conoboy #YA #horror #ghosts @SteveConoboy

Welcome Steve Conoboy, a YA horror writer, to Indie Author Friday!  Like most of us, Steve struggles with book promotion and getting reviews.  And I agree whole-heartedly with his statement about Arrested Development – “…if you have never experienced the delight of this impression (the chicken dance), for the love of all that’s good in the world, look it up.”

Macadamian Pliers seems pleasant enough. After all, the Raines shouldn’t judge him because of his stitched shut eye, that twist of a smile, the strange angles he’s made of. He’s sold them a beautiful house… and he’ll send them screaming from it if it’s the last thing he does.

Frank Raine loves ghosts, so the fact that there’s one in the house is totally awesome. His new friend, Jack, ain’t that bad either. So what if he’s the local firebug and a serious liability?

But these ghosts are not a game. They bite. Hard. And there’s a man of strange angles lurking at the bottom of the garden every night doing… something.

A car crash left Cherry physically weak, and bullying kids are getting her down. Does Cherry have any fight left? Because the thing is, Macadamian doesn’t take kindly to silly little girls…

Sometimes you really should judge a book by its cover…

Release date April 27th, 2018

The graveyard visible from Caleb’s bedroom window grows a little bigger each day. He sees funerals there every evening, but nobody is dying. Misha, the strange girl who lives there with her grandfather, takes an unwanted interest in Caleb, and he can’t shake her off. But he’s sure those peculiar mourners, the same ones at each graveside every time, are forcing her into rituals against her will… Caleb, still reeling from the death of his mother, soon finds himself deep in a world of the dead in this chilling YA horror novel; will it be too late for him to climb back out?

What’s the most constructive criticism you’ve been given in your writing career?

There’s two things, the first of which I’ve heard time and time again, most clearly from Stephen King’s legendary ‘On Writing’ (I reference King a lot in blogs and posts and I just don’t care). Drop the adverbs. Don’t be afraid to just say ‘she said’. Honestly, I think this piece of advice makes writing a lot clearer. Going through a passage a few times and taking out adverbs goes far in the removal of clunkiness.

The second thing, and slightly more abstract, was my introduction to General Semantics. Look it up, seriously. It’s where we get the notion ‘the map is not the territory’. I learned about it from this sci-fi editor who was attempting to get my short story writing up to the point where I was worth printing. He nearly managed it. But GS can teach you a lot about clarity, word usage and meaning. Basically, I was throwing too many words at the page without considering if they were getting my message across (there are those who say I over-extend my sentences now – I was way worse back when I started out). Writing stories is fundamentally an attempt at communication between myself and the reader, and I want them to get the image I’m trying to transmit to them as clearly as possible.

General Semantics is meant to bring clearer thinking, peaceful interaction and greater sanity. This is the complete opposite of my home life. Daughters and cats result in none of these things.

What do you wish you’d known before you were published?

Pretty much everything. It never really occurred to me that the book won’t get out there on its own. I started out with a small publisher, you see (I’m not self-published, I actually got someone to accept my work, which is astonishing after so many years and hundreds of rejection slips). The author has to push the book into readers’ hands, and that’s hard. I had no clue about promotion – and it’s possible that I haven’t got much better, although I guarantee I’m giving it full beans. You’ve got to be tough too. Sending out 30 or 40 review requests when you’re starting out and getting no response can be a real gut-punch. I’m hoping to do a better job with A Graveyard Visible – which is code for ‘I will not be lazy’.

The issue is that I absolutely love writing, so much that I will hurl myself straight into the next novel without pause. If you love the book you’ve written, though, then you’ve got to realise it’s existence means little if it’s not being read.

What do you love most about the writing process?

When a novel is actually working, it can take the author by surprise. I usually have a good idea of where I want the story to end up when I start – but that’s been known to change quite spectacularly, and it tends to happen when the characters are fully formed and allowed to do the things they would actually do. At that point it flows, it comes easy, and if the story doesn’t stick to the plan, so what? It becomes a journey then, you’re riding along with the characters – and at the end it becomes a real heart-wrench to let them go.

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

I read a lot of horror fiction, so I would definitely NOT want to be any of the guys or gals who star in those stories. Being chased by monsters and murderers is not my idea of a fine time. I think it would have to be Count Olaf from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. That guy has a lot of fun. He pretty much does what he wants, how he wants, and yes the kids give him a bad time, but he’s very true to himself. I appreciate that.

There’s a little bit of Olaf in Macadamian Pliers, I think. Mac definitely does whatever he feels like doing without one care how anybody might judge him.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

I’m not the big TV fan I used to be. My attention span is shocking these days. I like to have something on in background as I write, but more often than not now it tends to be music.

Recently I’ve started watching Arrested Development again on Netflix, only really because I want to see the chicken dance (if you have never experienced the delight of this impression, for the love of all that’s good in the world, look it up).

I’ve had a go at the latest season of American Horror Story, but I’m enjoying it about as much as all the previous seasons, which isn’t very much at all. It tries to be disturbing and scary, but all it ever seems to manage is odd and affected.

I love Fargo. Can’t recommend that enough.

The Great British Bake Off is my favourite, though. Seriously.

If you were a box of cereal, which one would you be?

Thought I’d finish on a weird one. I would be that box of muesli we’ve got in the bottom of the cupboard, the one in a blue box. Nobody wants to eat it, nobody can be bothered to throw it out, that therefore means that I will have a long and peaceful life.

Author Bio

With two kids, three cats, and a job in care, for Steve Conoboy writing fantasy fiction is a quiet respite from the madness of normality. Steve contributes to kidliteratureauthors.com, an initiative designed to encourage young readers and parents to promote books for children. Macadamian Pliers is Steve’s first published YA novel. The second, A Graveyard Visible, is due for release in April 2018. His short story credits include Polluto magazine, Voluted Tales, and Kzine. He lives in North Shields, UK.

Social Media

Author Website: www.steveconoboy.com

Blog: https://www.writerhaunted.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorsteveconoboy

Twitter handle: @steveconoboy

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steve-Conoboy/e/B00FOJ62YK/

Buy Links

Macadamian Pliers available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Macadamian-Pliers-Steve-Conoboy/dp/1612964656/

A Graveyard Visible available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Graveyard-Visible-Steve-Conoboy/dp/1785356682/

Macadamian Pliers website: http://ihatemacadamianpliers.weebly.com/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – Linda G. Hill, Teri Polen, Lyn Horner, Heather Kindt and Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I’m featured with a wonderful group of authors today over at Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – drop by and get some shopping done!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to another Christmas Book Fair featuring authors from the bookstore and the books that would make wonderful gifts for all ages.  With 160 authors to feature it is time to pack the shelves.

The first author is Linda G. Hilland her book The Magician’s Curse: A Paranormal Romance – The Great Dagmaru Book 1.

About the book

When Herman Anderson leaves home to make a better life for herself, she doesn’t expect to meet a tall, dark stranger with whom she’ll fall hopelessly in love.

Charming and mysterious, Stephen Dagmar is a stage magician seeking an assistant. The moment he sets eyes on Herman, he knows she’s the one. He brings her home to his Victorian mansion where they embark upon an extravagant romance. Yet a shadow hangs over their love. Will the curse on his family end Stephen and Herman’s happily ever after, before it really begins?

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The Watch & Wand (Project Gene Assist #2) by Allie Potts #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog #scifi #ReleaseDay

Fifteen years have passed. The future no longer seems as bright. Between a war declared on all but the most basic technology, worldwide economic collapse, and a plague-spurred global panic, governments have collapsed leaving law and order to be defined by those left behind. Stephen knows he should be grateful, but can’t help wishing his life was more than survival.

That was until he met a girl on the run from a group known as the Watch.

Now, caught between rival factions with their own hidden agendas, Stephen has no choice but to go on a mission to reclaim a piece of missing technology.

He is told the device is the key to a better future, but in the new order, one person’s salvation can be another’s total destruction. – Goodreads.com

It’s been a little over a year since I read the first book in this series, and while I’d recommend reading it first for a better overall understanding of how society came to be in this shape, The Watch & Wand could be a standalone.

Set fifteen years after the end of the first book in this series, the world is barely recognizable, and it’s a struggle just to survive.  This is almost a coming of age story for Stephen.  He’s anxious for adventure and fairly naive as the story begins, but becomes jaded and undergoes a metamorphosis by the end.  Although unlikely companions, he and Bean play off each other well and bring something different to the table.

While Stephen and Bean are both clever, well-developed characters, their dialogue seems stilted at times.  The use of contractions would allow a more natural flow to their conversations while reading.

An unexpected twist at the end lays the groundwork for book three, promising conflict and answers to this gripping sci-fi series.  I’m anxious to see what happens!

I received a digital ARC of this book from the author.

Today is Release Day for The Watch and Wand – get your copy on Amazon!