Saturday, April 30, 2016

Author Interview: John Heldt

How did you come up with the idea for Indiana Belle?
I drew inspiration from two movies, Somewhere in Time and Midnight in Paris, and Stephen King's novel 11/22/63. In each work, a man travels to the past on a mission, finds love, and encounters numerous challenges.

Most of your books have to do with time travel. What keeps you coming back to writing about it?
I keep coming back to time travel because I have a never-ending fascination with it. I also like giving my characters responsibilities and challenges that none of us (presumably) will ever have to face. Time travelers have to weigh every action carefully because one wrong move could have a profound impact on others.

What was the hardest thing about writing Indiana Belle?
If I had to pick one thing, it would be describing the era. When you write about a time you did not experience firsthand, you have to rely on other sources to get it right.

What is your favorite thing about being an author?
I'm doing what I love and getting paid to do it. I couldn't ask for more.

Who would play Cameron and Geoffrey in an Indiana Belle movie?
I answer that question in the book. Cameron is compared to the actor Adrian Grenier. Geoffrey is said to resemble Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Candice Bell, for what it's worth, is described as Holly Hunter in Broadcast News.

What three words best describe this book?
I would say enjoyable, inspiring, and memorable.

Which other authors would you say are your biggest inspirations?
Several authors come to mind, including Vince Flynn, John Jakes, Nelson DeMille, Ken Follett, James Patterson, Stephen King, and Clive Cussler.
How much historical research went into this book?

I researched Indiana and the 1920s for three months before writing the novel. I read several books and journal articles, listened to music from the time, contacted librarians and subject experts from around the country, and even paid a visit to Evansville, Indiana – after the first draft was written – to pick up anything I might have missed.

About Indiana Belle:
Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the "time-travel professor," and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review: Grey Wings

Title: Grey Wings
Author: Katie Marie
Page Count: 186
My Rating: 3 TURTLES: An enjoyable read, but I suggest check out if you like the topic before adding it to your to-read list.
Buy the book on Amazon
*This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review


            Jason is a lonely boy trying to get from a dark city to his Aunt’s countryside house by himself. Aurelius is an angel cast out of heaven for petulance who is desperate to redeem himself. Together they encounter Fallen Angels, malicious spirits, and a griffin as they pair up to find what they both seek.
            I realized while I was reading this book that between books I was reading and shows I was watching, I was in the middle of three different story-lines that drew heavily from Judeo-Christian mythology, so needless to say I’m a fan if it. Angels and demons can make for epic conflicts that symbolize the struggle between the dark and the light. Also, especially with Middle Grade novels like this one, these stories can also deal with interesting moral questions and situations without sounding preachy (though they certainly can sound preachy if not written well). Grey Wings addressed those types of questions and situations well through Aurelius’s redemption, and I really liked the progression he made as a character throughout the story.
            Though I really enjoyed the mythological element of the story, there were some other things about the plot that I struggled with. For one thing, the city that Jason lived in is never given a name. The reader knows that the story takes place on Earth, but it never gets more specific than that. I know there isn’t a rule that says that you have to give the name of the setting, but the fact that I never quite knew where the story was taking place through me off and I never felt totally “in” the story because of it.
            Also, while I liked Aurelius’s story arc, Jason’s confused me. He is trying to reach his Aunt’s house after his deadbeat father left without warning, but I wasn’t sure why he was doing it by himself. Right before he left for his Aunt’s house she called him and yet he didn’t mention anything about his father not being there. This could have been out of a false sense of loyalty to his father, but since he was leaving the city to go live with her it’s obvious he was going to tell her about him soon. He also doesn’t mention going to live with her while they are on the phone, instead opting to sneak aboard trains and walk the rest of the way in the middle of winter. I was very confused why this happened since there was no reason stated in the rest of the plot why he couldn’t have talked to his Aunt and had her come get him or have her arrange for transportation.

            These things may have been disconcerting for me at times, but they won’t be for everyone. And, outside of that, the action was really engaging and good for a Middle Grade level. Fans of books like Eoin Colfer’s Wish List should definitely check Grey Wings out.

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Release Announcement: Char


Albuquerque, NM (April 26, 2016) – World Weaver Press (Sarena Ulibarri, Editor-in-Chief) has announced CHAR, the second book in the Fae of Fire and Stone series and the highly-anticipated sequel to Opal by Kristina Wojtaszek that follows an isolated Fae struggling to save her people, is available in trade paperback and ebook today, Tuesday, April 26, 2016.

Praise for Opal:
“A fairy tale within a fairy tale within a fairy tale—the narratives fit together like interlocking pieces of a puzzle, beautifully told.”
— Zachary Petit, Editor, Writer’s Digest
“Twists and turns and surprises that kept me up well into the night. Fantasy and fairy tale lovers will eat this up and be left wanting more!”
— Kate Wolford, Editor and Publisher, Enchanted Conversation
“Lyrical, beautiful, and haunting … OPAL is truly a hidden gem. Wojtaszek [is] a talented new author and one well worth watching.”
“Such a treat to read!”

Fire is never tame—least of all the flames of our own kindling.

Raised in isolation by the secretive Circle of Seven, Luna is one of the few powerful beings left in a world dominated by man.  Versed in ancient fairy tales and the language of plants, Luna struggles to control her powers over fire.  When her mentor dies in Luna’s arms, she is forced into a centuries-long struggle against the gravest enemy of all Fae-kind—the very enemy that left her orphaned.  In order to save her people, Luna must rewrite their history by entering a door in the mountain and passing back through time.  But when the lives of those she loves come under threat, her rage destroys a forest, and everything in it.  Now called The Char Witch, she is cursed to live alone, her name and the name of her people forgotten.

Until she hears a knock upon her long-sealed door. 

Interwoven with elements of Hansel and Gretel and The Seven Ravens, Char is the stand alone sequel to Opal, and second in the Fae of Fire and Stone trilogy.
CHAR is available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon.comBarnesandnoble.comBooks-a-Million, KoboWorld Weaver PressiBookstore, IndieBound and OmniLit, and for wholesale through Ingram.

Kristina Wojtaszek grew up as a woodland sprite and mermaid, playing around the shores of Lake Michigan. At any given time she could be found with live snakes tangled in her hair and worn out shoes filled with sand. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management as an excuse to spend her days lost in the woods with a book in hand. Now a mother of two little tricksters and their menagerie of small beasts, she continues to conjure bits of fantasy during the rare spell of silence. Her fairy tales, ghost stories, poems and YA fiction have been published by World Weaver Press, Far Off Places and Sucker Literary Magazine. Follow her @KristinaWojtasz or on her blog, Twice Upon a Time.

World Weaver Press is an independently owned publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. We believe in great storytelling.

Publication Date: April 26, 2016 • Fantasy / Fairy Tale Retelling

$10.95 trade paperback, 159 pages  • $3.99 ebook

ISBN-13: 978-0692661826

ISBN-10: 0692661824



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