Interview with Indie Author of Dead Ends, Ken Newman

Recently staff from TheBookWormReview.com caught up with Ken Newman to have a chat about his latest book Dead Ends (and some other stuff too!).

Keep reading to find out more including how to score yourself a free copy!

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?

 Dead Ends is a science fiction adventure. Think Battlestar Galactica meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Commander Jabal Shann of the Azurean Sky Navy, sets out alone on a year-long voyage aboard a vast, decommissioned warship, The Blossoming Flower. Although no one on his world thinks it is possible, Jabal is building a revolutionary device that would allow a spacecraft to travel light-years instantaneously. The Blossoming Flower was built to be the deadliest battleship in space, however the official proclamation is that the five-mile-long vessel was a failed experiment and a disgrace. Rumors, spread by Sky Sailors who sailed her, said she was cursed and called her The Devil’s Barge. Nonetheless Jabal discovers the Flower was far from the failure the military said she was, a fact his government would kill to keep quiet.

Unbeknownst to Jabal, a pair of immensely powerful beings, called Deverow, have saved Jabal from terminal cancer and declares Jabal a “Dead End,” or a being without a future—the perfect pawn for their plan to stop an alien incursion into our universe. The Deverow use Jabal, along with a handful of other Dead Ends—an alien police officer, a vengeful spirit, a homeless man from Tennessee and a Hollywood ‘scream queen,’ who must somehow stop an alien civilization before they blaze a path of destruction across the galaxy.

What is your favorite part of the book?

The interaction between Jabal and Cerin Boss. Jabal is a noble man, but is blinded by his own iron clad personal code of honor and a black and white sense of right and wrong. Cerin, on the other hand has a warped sense of ethics, but a clearer view of the people they serve as well as a more pragmatic opinion of life in general. I think they play off each other very well.

What inspired this story?

I had a germ of an idea about a man trapped aboard a haunted spacecraft. That night I had a vivid dream that I was aboard a gigantic, thoroughly haunted starship. I was running through a vast maze of corridors trying to elude an invisible terror. I woke up, wrote forty pages and Dead Ends was born.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

All my novels have some tenuous link and some characters crossover from book to book. In Dead Ends Will Carlson is presumed dead, yet in reality is off on the other side of the galaxy fighting evil. In my first book the Paladin, it is the hometown memorial service for Will that is central to the story plot.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

To date I have eleven books in various stages of development. They range from fantasy and science fiction to horror.

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

I am always plotting the story I am working on at the time. Honestly, I am a menace in traffic!

What has your experience been like as an Indie Author? Bruises, Highlights, and lessons?

Writing is subjective and not everyone is going to appreciate what you write. One will love it while another gleefully rips it to shreds. It has taught me that a thick skin along with being a professional is essential. In my ignorance, I made sloppy mistakes in my first book, but I learned my lesson and that is behind me. I strive to put out the very best polished work I can. Knowing that, I can take brutal criticism with a smile.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

I get bashed for the occasional ‘colorful’ word or phrase used. A writer once said that an author cannot be responsible for the things his characters say. I know it sounds silly, but it is true. You have to let your characters speak their minds. It isn’t a reflection on my personal views or ideas, but it is true to the character. Many times their views are not politically correct or language Sunday School approved, but I cannot let someone else’s morals or politics dictate what I write. I have to be true to the integrity of my characters.

Do you write every single day?

Yes. I absolutely love it and if I never publish another book I would write for the sheer joy it brings. Years ago time was a premium, I would, without hesitation, get up at 4 AM to write. For three years it was the best time of the day!

What’s more important: characters or plot?

As much as I love a strong plot, I have to say characters. Real, flesh and blood characters that the readers feel strongly about is the key. Many times I have read books with paper thin plots, but I was captivated by the richness of their characters.

Finally, You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?

Buy a large shovel and learn to love it.

Thanks Ken! It has been great to catch up with you and learn about your newest book.

To learn more about Ken Newman, have a look at his website newkman.net.

Dead Ends is available on Amazon, and other major retailers!

Ken is giving away a free digital copy of his new book to the first 3 readers who get in touch.
Simply email us on bookworm@thebookwormreview.com to get your copy, and remember first in best dressed!

 

Love Connection by Meghana Sarathy

51qatcfevulIf you picked up Love Connection and only read the first chapter or two, you would be forgiven for thinking that this book is erotica. I promise it does get better. Love Connection follows the story of Brandon and Jennifer, friends who have known each other since college and are cheating on their respective partners with each other. Despite the cheesy nicknames and numerous sex scenes, the story itself is actually more than just erotic fiction. It explores the characters quite well, and outlines their confusions and motivations and has a fairly well constructed plot line.

However, I did wonder about the setting, although Sarathy states in the book that the characters are buzzing around San Francisco, yet… I just couldn’t imagine it. There was no mention of the hills, the morning fog, the bay, the Golden Gate bridge or even trams/street cars. Even if when visiting a restaurant had the characters mentioned the melting pot of cuisine along Chestnut Street, this may have helped me get there, but they didn’t, and I didn’t. Instead I got a distinctly Asian city feel throughout the story with traffic congestion and a flatness to the scenery. This is something that I feel Sarathy could work on.

What I really struggled with though was the editing. I really believe that Sarathy could have benefited from a UK or US English editor. A lot of the writing I felt was a bit more difficult to read due to the language used not quite gelling with what I expected for example one of the characters states:

It obviously mean that you can’t discuss about this even with Jordan. He works in the same business and I can’t risk my ideas to be stolen by him”

I feel this could have read a lot better had it been written as follows “Obviously, You can’t talk about this with anyone, not even Jordan, as I can’t risk my ideas being stolen by him”, although I did find it better towards the end as I got used to reading it for the story and trying to ignore the editing.

Overall I think this was a courageous attempt at a first book and Sarathy should be commended for that. She plans to release another nine books in the series so clearly she is a very creative person with a story to tell.

Rating: 3/5

Love Connection is available from Amazon

Bookworm conducting the review: Rachel

 

Wedding Ring Blues by Roxanne Amour

51lw0yeopflLauren is a modern girl stuck in a family who expect her to follow tradition and marry into a family of status… but she is in love with someone else, a boy from a family her mother doesn’t approve of. 

Amour specialises in clean romance stories and this is no different. It is a quaint story, which has a good plot, even if it’s not complicated. The short nature of the book doesn’t allow much time for character development, but over all it’s short and sweet and a good way to fill in a bit of spare time if you have it and just want something light to read for an hour or so.

If you are looking for a long and involved novel that makes you really think, then this is not for you. The story is a bit predictable, but despite this I liked it and found it to be a fun short story.

Would I recommend it? Yes, for some people.

Rating 3/5

Genre: Romance

BookWorm conducting the review: Rachel

Interview with Roxanne Amour about her latest book Wedding Ring Blues

Recently Rachel Caught up with author Roxanne Amour, to talk a little bit about her latest book, being a Christian Romance writer and a few other things too…

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?

51lw0yeopflIt’s a wedding day emergency. The idea came from a friend who had a brief career as a wedding planner. The crazy antics she experienced not only planning the wedding but actually becoming a participant when the maid of honor failed to show up. It’s a sweet happy ever after love story with a little old fashion jealous rivalry thrown in to spice things up. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MG1Q9RN/

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Half-and-half, I have so many ideas it’s easy to come up with characters. Sometimes a friend will share a great story or personal experience that I borrow and embellished just a bit.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I tend to write in themes. Each book is a stand-alone story with different characters but all revolving around the same theme.

How do you select the names of your characters?

The names have to sound good together. I just go down the alphabet making up names until I find a first and last name that sounds just right together.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

That my work is too short, my readers like my stories and wish they were longer. I prefer to write short stories that way I always have new work to publish.

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

My family is very supportive in fact my husband is my editor. He’s a schoolteacher, and he just loves to correct my work. Some of my friends are quite surprised since I’m rather quiet. They’re amazed that I have so much to say in written form.

Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely. It’s my passion there is nothing else I’d rather do than write good stories people want to read.

Do you write every single day?

In my head yes, unfortunately, life gets in the way, and my words aren’t written down every day.

What’s more important: characters or plot?

For me, the story is the most important. If it’s not a great story even the strongest characters can’t breathe life into it and make it worth reading.

Finally for a bit of fun…You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?

Well, that’s quite a gift! I’d love for her to be a family pet but with three dogs and four cats we’re kind of full up. Instead, I would invite the zoo to ask her to hang out with the other elephants on in extended sleepover.

Thanks for your time today Roxanne, it’s always great to catch up with indie authors and get more of an insight into their work!

Thank you very much for the interview. I offer a free audio book to my subscribers that way they can check out my work. http://freeromancebooks.org/download-full-length-audiobook/

Rachel will be reviewing Roxanne’s book Wedding Ring Blues soon. Keep an eye out!

Dead Last by Rachel J. Clay

New

A book for young adults, it is refreshing to read a plot outside the usual – “end of the world via alien invasion or from a zombie apocalypse”. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without romance and Dead Last is sprinkled with just enough romance to keep it interesting.  The story is about ambition and how far some would go just to get what they want. It also tells of the longing for family. These are things young people face but seldom talk about.

Clay’s story is about Carla who lost her sister Sasha. Daughters of an Olympic Champion, the girls are expected to compete in running and swimming. The story opens to the fact that Sasha went missing, left for a run and never came back. Left with her dad (there is no mention of what happened to their mother) and dogs, Carla continues the legacy and the memory of her mother and sister by competing. She then receives a note telling her not to compete – ad then it escalates from a single warning to the blackmail of having her dog killed if she competes. A mystery and thriller, Carla’s dog Pavlov was killed in a brutal way and Carla spent 3 months in the hospital after being poisoned when she competed in a swimming carnival even after being warned.

The ensemble of characters includes Carla Pointer, her best friend Marly, her dad Matthew, and her love interests Hamish and Caleb. A common scenario in teen stories, Carla finds herself courted by the two boys. Then there is Yamini Li, her sister’s main competitor and after Sasha’s disappearance, Carla is competing against her too.

Clay found the perfect way to walk her readers through Carla’s struggle of emotions and what actually happened to Sasha. The first part may lack the intrigue and mystery but the story picks up into a crescendo of thrill and suspense. The thrill of finding out who the real culprit is, is something readers should look forward to. Thus, giving a nice story for young adults who love this kind of genre.

The author uses great combination of narration techniques from backstory and plot twists. The ending is short, and sweet just enough to give readers what really happened to Sasha and how the family – Carla and her dad, Mathew ,are moving forward.

To sum it up, Dead Last is a nice thriller for young adults. It is not too overbearing or too violent while giving the high of reading a thriller novel.

Rating: 3/5

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Where to find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks or Smashwords

(Bookworm conducting the review: Valerie)