#IndiePride: K. Leigh – Constelis Voss: Colour Theory

'Do you think you're malfunctioning?' Constelis Voss 1: Colour Theory by K. Leigh. #IndiePride

THIS #INDIEPRIDE SPOTLIGHT POST FOCUSES ON K. LEIGH’S CONSTELIS VOSS

Shop | Constelis Voss Books | Twitter | Goodreads

'Do you think you're malfunctioning?' Constelis Voss 1: Colour Theory by K. Leigh.

Blurb: The series opens on a dystopic planet-sized ship in the far future, where a very advanced android receives a personality file from the 90s. He is the only one of his kind.

His name is Alex, and in his quest for understanding just how he got to be an android-and on the planet-sized ship known as CONSTELIS VOSS-he finds curiously familiar faces who help him color in the blanks.

As the coincidences pile up-friends, objects, scenes, motifs, and tropes-they start to form a pattern. A pattern that’s set against the backdrop of a dystopian, corrupt civilization, with a conveniently very-evil villain.

A pattern that seems, in all its madness, to be directly linked to him.

Something is pulling the strings, and figuring out the mystery is the only way to save himself, his friends, and the future of the very human race itself.

But will he be able solve the mystery without losing himself-and his friends-in the process? The road to hell is paved with good intentions, after all.

Art from the author’s website.

A brief synopsis of vol 1: On dystopian spaceship CONSTELIS VOSS, android Alex gets a 90s-era persona file. He’s the only robot to remember being human. “New” friends. A dictator with a stolen face. Coincidences. Memories.

What does it all mean and can humanity survive a war spurred by an unstable android?

Art from the author’s website.

Bio: K. Leigh is a bi trans man [he/him], 34-year-old once-painter, sometimes-freelancer, and artist living in Providence, RI. They write hopeful/tragic LGBT+ stories full of funny/horrible characters, in various genres. Every story they write challenges readers to look deeper than the surface-level details. Life is complex, and so too must our characters be. You can find K. Leigh fiddling with op-eds on Hackernoon, penning short stories via the official CONSTELIS VOSS blog, and causing chaos on all social media networks.

Book Review: Legacy of the Brightwash

Indie Book Spotlight: Book Review (image shows a man flipping through a book)

Legacy of the Brightwash by Krystle Matar

“My son is imprisoned in the Rift, Mr. Finn. I come here three or four times a week to see him and most of the time he has fresh bruises. No new ones this time, thank the North Star. As long as my son is in this place, I don’t have ‘good’ nights.”

I fell face first into this story. I bought it a while back and cheered it on during the SPFBO finals because it just looked SO GOOD, but I haven’t had the time to read it until recently. AND NOW I’M ANNOYED I PUT IT OFF FOR SO LONG. I devoured 150 pages in one day. That rarely happens to me anymore because my attention span is a joke, lmao.

The smoky, magical, grim world of Krystle Matar’s Brightwash is a fitting follow up to my last read, A Handful of Souls (another SPFBO semi-finalist). Like A Handful of Souls, the Dominion Matar’s characters inhabit is a dark, brutal city, filled with oppression, secrets and tragedy. Each character has something to hide, something to run from, someone to protect. These characters are so real and actualised from the onset, and just amazing to read about. I felt like I was tugged into their universe from the very beginning.

“Everyone’s tired, Captain. Everyone is just bones and exhaustion in this city.”

SPOILER WARNING FROM HERE

The story starts with Captain Tashué Blackwood finding the body of a girl on the city’s riverbank and the series of events that follow. As he tries to solve the horrific crime, Tashué begins questioning everything he thought he knew about the world of the Dominion and those they call ‘tainted’ (or, as his son prefers, Talented).

Gif of Orlando Bloom in Victorian clothing and a hat (from Carnival Row)

Tashué is exactly the kind of character that I love because he’s so intricately thought out, but I did definitely want to scream at him multiple times throughout. Case in point: after his son Jason failed to register his Talent, he was arrested and thrown in a horrible prison called the Rift where all Talents are suppressed (and all inmates treated abysmally). And, like, UGH. PROTECT JASON AT ALL COSTS.

“His father is a stubborn man who stands by his beliefs, no matter the cost. Jason inherited that. And he believes that the Authority is an evil entity that will strip his humanity from him, so he defied them and got himself sent into the Rift.”

We start the book three years after Tashué watched his son be arrested and did nothing, and the years of Jason in prison have begun eating away at Tashué. He begs Jason to register, Jason refuses. He doesn’t want to sign his name on a document labelling him as ‘bad meat’. (With you, Jason buddy. I’m with you.) I definitely found myself struggling with Tashué’s reasoning and loyalties. It’s so, so clear that he loves his son and yet he JUST KEEPS GASLIGHTING HIMSELF. Not that it’s not believable, just that it’s so heartbreaking. So not what a father should do. Which is, of course, the point.

Every word hit Tashué like a fist. Queen of the common man, maybe, Queen of the ‘regular’ people, but even she clearly believed that people with Talent were people apart. To be managed. Jason had it, all along, back when Tashué still thought the Registration was for safety, to help people. Tainted, bad meat. Jason, I’m so fucking sorry.

And it was this scene that really made me cheer for the character development of Tashué in *checks notes* the first 153 pages. Like, we get such a deep dive into his mental civil wars with himself and I really enjoyed seeing him go from being someone I wanted to scream at to someone I was like YAS GO MY FRIEND, I AM AT YOUR SIDE FOR THE ENSUING SHENANIGANS. But still also kind of wanted to scream at and throw spoons at.

Look, he imagined Rainer saying, the man is so loyal to our ideals that he allowed his own son to be processed for refusing to register. An exemplary Officer, truly.

I really and truly loved the scene where Stella called Tashué out on just how badly he let Jason down. She laid it all out there and I loved her for it. For not letting him try and apologise his way out of it. But what I really loved about the scene was where Tashué broke. I wish, for Jason’s sake, that it had come earlier, but his speech to Stella just SHREDDED ME. He’s the most frustrating and infuriating character at times, but Christ I just loved his development and his angst and his need to fix things. No one was proved more wrong than Tashué and reading how deeply it ripped him apart was harrowing, but just, ugh, amazingly well done. Hats fucking off to Matar because I LOVED EVERY FUCKING WORD OF HIS SPEECH.

“I’ll carve off every piece of my own humanity if I have to, to keep him safe. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same! If you had to sit in front of your child and see how they’d been beaten, to watch the bruises and the cuts come and go and wonder if the next time will kill them, you would do the same fucking thing. You don’t know what it’s like to go into that place and look at your child through that fucking grate and watch them die in front of your eyes, diminishing in front of you. Judge me all you want for all the mistakes I’ve made, fine. Judge me for everything that led me and Jason to this point, fine. But don’t judge me for what I do now to try and undo the damage I’ve done!”

Poor Tashué. Poor, poor Tashué. Lad really needs so many hugs.

Hugs for the lot of them, really. I wanted to hug and protect Jason in every scene (and when he was off page! I wanted more of his POV!). He’s twenty years old, his father’s turned him in, he’s being beaten and starved – just PROTECT JASON AT ALL COSTS OKAY?!

And Lorne. Oh my gosh, Lorne. His devotion to Jason and Tashué is just wonderful to read about and I WANT ONLY GOOD THINGS FOR HIM. I have a terrible feeling that something bad is going to happen to one of them and it’s making for STRESSFUL READING. I adored Lorne and I really hope we get more of his POV in the next book. Him and Jason both.

Gif of two men kissing

GIVE THEM THEIR HAPPY ENDING.

Every shred of him got so hot in a fight that he was convinced part of his soul burned away. And in the quiet moments after, when he was trying to sleep and his whole body ached, his mind flashed him through all the fights he could still remember.

Gif of redheaded woman (Demelza from Poldark) by the sea

Now, Stella I loved from page one. Stella is Tashué’s latest charge to monitor on the register, and she’s full of secrets, and I just loved reading her POV. Her and her daughter are just precious. Stella works helping people, healing them magically undercover where and when she can. It’s easy to see why Tashué falls so fast for her.

What world was it if she let [the boy] die only because she was afraid for her own life? Living longer was not a good enough gift, not when an innocent child was in front of her and she had to choose.

And I totally shipped her and Tashué from the start. (Matar does an excellent job of showing Tashué’s inner turmoil regarding their power dynamic.) Stella is just such a good person through and through. And her scenes with Tashué were so adorable and wholesome. I really hope they get more happiness in the next book!

Gif of Demelza kissing Ross

As for Illea … From the get go I’ve been like,

Robin Hood gif saying, 'You see, I don't trust you.'

Like, AT ALL. I am curious to see where the next book takes her, and what happens with her and Ishmael, but honestly I just want Ishmael to get on Team Leave the Fucking Dominion. Frustrating as he could be in places (WHERE WERE YOU AT THE END, DUDE?!!?) I adored Ishmael overall. He had a quiet presence despite being one of the most brazen and outspoken of the cast, and I loved his love for Tashué. (Which it doesn’t seem like Tashué appreciates? lmao. Cos his whole speech about Ishmael not loving anyone is a bit funny cos it’s obvious to EVERYONE that Ishmael loves him. Oi vey, someone hit Tashué with the awareness stick.

“Fuck them and their manners and their etiquette. I won’t diminish myself for their approval. I am who I am and I’m sitting at their fucking table anyway, aren’t I? And when the Queen wanted company last night, she sent for me.”

And the moments and exchanges between him and Tashué were filled with so much meaning and hinted-at history – I really hope we get more focus on their past in the next book. I HAVE QUESTIONS AND REQUIRE THESE TWO TO SORT THEIR STUFF OUT.

If you can’t tell by now, I adored the book. Characters that make me want to throw the book across the room because I want them to find joy are the best characters, honestly. \o/ And there are so many to love, root for and scream at in Brightwash.

Overall, the setting of this world is so unique and the take on fantasy and politics is both familiar and fresh. It’s a murder mystery set in a dark, gritty world that grows into something much bigger. The horrific opening act reveals something far, far worse lurking inside the Dominion and I’m really curious to see where it’ll go in the next book. Further, something I’m unflinchingly picky about is character development and relationships, and what I loved about Brightwash is how much time you get to spend getting to know the characters and the world. It’s a BIG CHONKY TOME of a novel and yet it reads quickly, never feeling heavy with info or taking too much time to get to the next point.

As magical and mysterious as Carnival Row, as upsetting and filled with warning as 1984, as harrowing and heartbreaking as The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, as powerful and painful as V For Vendetta, and as dark and twisty as The AlienistBrightwash honestly blew me away.

Book Review: A Handful of Souls by Stephen Rice

book review; photograph of hands holding open a book

A Handful of Souls (The Split Sea #1) by Stephen Rice

Mud, gold and lies. That’s all you get in Branera.

gif of Laketown from The Hobbit

OH HECK YES THIS BOOK. DARK, BRUTAL, FAMILY-FOCUSED FANTASY.

Okay, to properly ramble about this book, there might be spoilers from here on out. So, SPOILER WARNING.

This is my first read by Stephen Rice and I must say I’m in awe of the prose. So many well spun lines! Like, I just really adored the descriptions and details. So many were so visceral (which is a compliment for a dark fantasy book in my opinion, but my goodness the BLOODY TEETH and the YELLOW GLOWING GUNK and aught else. I won’t clarify further, lmao. This is a fantasy book that doesn’t shy away from the brutal and rough). Despite how grimy and grim the setting was, I could so clearly envision the world and sank into the story easily. The writing is never info-dumpy, nor did it ever get in the way of the plot, but it twists and dives, offering wonderful turns of phrase. Rice’s prose is very descriptive, almost lyrical, even when describing the horrors of the dark world he’s laying out for the reader to devour.

Branera was the proudest, richest city in the Northlands, even if half of it was buried in rivers of mud and shit. The buildings that rose high enough were blessed by the greatest of the northern aristocracy, with boarded paths threading between these affluent peaks and reserved for the exclusive use of the fantastically well-off.

The story follows multiple POVs, but all centred around the Kale-Tollworth family. You follow Husker, Lily, Lark, Rose, Josef, Dren and Crone through the dark and twisting roads of Branera, to the Split Sea, and beyond. The cities and lands have as much life and character as the cast.

Gif of the Crows in Ketterdam from Shadow and Bone.

That said, Lily stood out to me from the start and her chapters swept me up into the narrative. While she might not look like Max from Black Sails, I couldn’t help but imagine her thus in my head. Can’t explain it!

gif of Max from Black Sails

She was magnificent. Half-baroness, half-beggar. A bit of everything he had ever wanted.

I loved Lily’s character instantly. She was prickly and opiniated and hard-headed, but loyal and determined and I just really rooted for her throughout. Rose, her sister, I was a little bit hesitant about, but following her chapters was very interesting and she juxtaposed Lily nicely. And, I must say, she grew on me and I was rooting hard for the sisters to sort things out.

POOR LARK, though. (Their brother.) Like, poor all of them really, but POOR LARK. I just felt so bad for him. Like, all the time. PROTECT LARK AT ALL COSTS. I don’t think it’s a big spoiler to say Lark dies (it’s on the back cover), and bless his little heart, he just has a rough go of things from start to finish. I really appreciated the final scene cos bless his wee little heart.

Husker and Dren I also felt bad for. Honestly, I just spent pretty much the entire story feeling bad for all the characters and the hardships that they have to, somehow, surmount. I felt SO BAD for some of them at the end, so I really can’t wait to see how it shapes up in the next book and how all the trauma is resolved and the relationships mended.

Despite the grimdark nature of the book, the writing is never too heavy or the moments too bleak for it to be overwhelming. I felt a spark of hope throughout and this wasn’t diminished by the ending (HUZZAH!). I just kept wanting to know what was going to happen to everyone and if they could possibly be all reunited and healed after all the gunk. So much gunk.

Something I found really quite cool about this story was how unlike so many other fantasy reads it is. Like, it’s grimdark family drama in a world that brought to mind everything from Westeros to Ketterdam. Now that I think about it, I reckon this book would nicely suit fans of A Song of Ice and Fire and The Bone Season. I have also barely dipped my toes in The Wheel of Time and Shadow and Bone book series at this point, but I did enjoy the shows, and I think fans of those would enjoy this! There’s a motely cast of characters and you care for them all despite their edges, and the family relationships are so wonderfully threaded together.

Excited to see where book two takes the Kale-Tollworth family!

Thank you to the author for a review copy.

#IndiePride: L. Gourley – Incipience

L. GOURLEY'S INCIPIENCE. #INDIEPRIDE

THIS #INDIEPRIDE SPOTLIGHT POST FOCUSES ON L. GOURLEY’S INCIPIENCE

Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Instagram
Website | Author Interview

L. Gourley's Incipience

Blurb:
Incipience is the debut novel from L. Gourley and first in the Incipience series. This fantasy novel explores the concept of fighting your inner darkness, and how alluring it can be, when trying to fight fate to determine who you are.

After the angels and the humans came God’s final creation: the seraphs. The last attempt at a perfect being. The cause of Lucifer’s rebellion.

Excommunicated from Heaven alongside him to prevent further provocation of war the seraphs were left to deal with the aftermath of his fury, endlessly battling the demons created from his malice.

Raised a warrior, Kali thought she knew the people that raised her, until she discovers a terrible family secret. When dark forces come to destroy everything she loves, she must fight to save her world. But will it be so easy when some of that darkness lives within her? 

Check out the rest of the books and authors being spotlighted for #IndiePride, go here. For the book reviews of the ones I’ve already read and reviewed, go here. For the Goodreads list of the books, go here.

Author Interview: L. Gourley

Author Interview: Indie Book Spotlight

Follow L. Gourley on Twitter!

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

I need to go paperback for this. I’ll tend to sit somewhere for hours in awkward positions reading, so paperbacks are less likely to dig into me and interrupt the reading session! 

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Unsurprisingly, I’m a fan of fantasy. I include most sub-genres in that, but I’m a particular fan of low/mid fantasy because I like seeing how worlds collide and finding fantasy “explanations” for everyday things in peoples’ lore. 

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

When I was four or five, I read The Cat in the Hat by myself one night and I was so proud I went into school the next morning and told my teacher (after telling my mum, of course). She gave me a little box of books and I became absolutely obsessed with reading. 

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

I’m going to skip this question because I dislike the answer now!

5.      When did you first start writing?

I guess in some capacity I’ve always enjoyed creative writing. I won “star writer” in school quite often, but I remember even as young as ten I’d sit and scribble what has since evolved into my first book, Incipience!

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

That’s such an interesting question, and the honest answer is I don’t know. It’s always seemed like the counterpart to my love of reading; just the whole concept of creating and sharing of stories. As an adult, it’s become a very cathartic process that lets me channel different things into something creative. Maybe that’s what it’s always been and I was just too young to realise!

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I’m really proud of finishing Incipience. I wrote it during a period of scarily poor mental health, heading into the start of the pandemic, and then had to self-publish completely unexpectedly with no experience. The poem at the very start also holds particular significance, as it was written as a promise to myself that I’d hold on to the belief the future would be better than the place I was in when it was written, and keep fighting for that future.

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

The very first concept of what eventually became my first book was written as a child and was very different so I guess in that respect it was for my eyes only. 

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

Just one! I released it in summer 2021 and am currently writing the sequel. 

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Fantasy, with the hope to move into horror one day! I’d love to write a [supernatural] horror novel, or maybe work with someone to create a graphic novel in that genre. I think that would be really cool.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

Mostly in my head, but I’ll occasionally look something up if it infringes on something pre-existing or to get a better description/understanding of something. 

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

Generally speaking, I don’t plan. I did try but it didn’t really work. I let things work out as they go, and sometimes I see things play out in my head if it’s a particularly important scene. This also means I don’t write in any kind of order so the whole thing is basically chaos. 

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Self-publishing is a lot of hard work but it gives so much creative control and I think that’s so important for people who are writing stories for themselves or to channel their own experiences or emotions. It means we don’t need to dilute or edit our work, or make it more palatable for traditional markets. It also keeps us in control of narratives relating to our identities which is essential for marginalised authors.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Can I please move to the Shire and eat 2 breakfasts every morning and live in a hobbit hole?

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

The sequel to Incipience is currently in progress. More information on that coming soon …

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

Amariel Beltura. My voice of reason and protector of my MC and her brother who are both sarcastic, moderately traumatised, and bordering on chaotic. He comes into the Robereuns’ life (William’s for a second time) and is what each of them need. A source of comfort and love for William, and a teacher and brother-figure for Kali. We all need an Amariel in our lives.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

I only have one book so far, so it defaults to that through sheer technicality. It’s my first book though, so as proud of it as I am, I think my magnum opus is still a bit in the future.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

I love Kali and Anissa (Kanissa). Best friends initially, I really see them as perfect for each other as the series moves on (although the verdict is still out on if they’ll officially end up togther by the series end because Kali is stubborn and I’m a sucker for sapphic angst). I was also questioning my own sexuality as I started writing Incipience, so although William and Amariel are romantically involved, writing sapphic characters really helped me work through it all. It was a way of letting me process it from a distance (instead of obsessing over if I was “bi enough” to be “really bisexual” as I had been doing) and therefore actually means quite a lot to me on a personal level. 

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

need music to write. I have specific playlists based on the tone I’m going for, the scene I am writing or character I’m channeling. I actually made character playlists for some of the main Incipience characters based on their personality, plot, and music I think they’d listen to. I listen to angsty metalcore which is perfect for channeling my angsty rage monster MC, Kali.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

None currently, but I’ve made little character cards based on their star signs which are currently live on the instagram page. 

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Absolutely everyone has opinions on writing, and on what makes a good writer. Don’t get yourself all twisted up in these so-called rules. Write what you feel, what you’d want to read, and then trust in a good editor to catch any glaring transgressions.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I’m really boring, I’ve not entered any yet. Sorry, that was a rubbish answer!

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

I feel like my mental health really disrupted my ability to concentrate outside of work and writing, and I’m just now finally starting to get back into reading; I fear my answers may be a little basic or limited as a result since I did the bulk of my reading years ago as a teenager. But I want to rave about Zin E. Rocklyn, who is a wonderful writer and who edited Incipience for me! I also like Aiden Thomas, Cassandra Clare, Anne Rice, and Neal Shusterman. 

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

I’m active mostly on Twitter and Instagram, as well as having an author profile on Goodreads.

#IndiePride: Jess Frankel – Fight Like A Woman

J.S. Frankel, Fight Like a Woman. #IndiePride

THIS #INDIEPRIDE SPOTLIGHT POST FOCUSES ON J.S. FRANKEL’S FIGHT LIKE A WOMAN

Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Facebook

J.S. Frankel, Fight Like a Woman

Blurb:
Meet Kyle Sorton, teen, orphan, living a life of no purpose on a space station. Occupation: janitor. Future prospects: none. His only dream is to be someone. Anyone will do.

Wish granted–sort of. An accident aboard his space station forces his flight, and his ship crash lands on an unknown world. Mortally wounded, he uses an experimental healing device called a Clavatar to transfer his consciousness to the body of an alien woman. When he awakens, he discovers that this woman not only has special abilities, but also that parts of her consciousness still exist. Even more surprising to him is the fact that his new host, named Rinarra, is married to Merat, another woman. She is understandably upset over losing her wife, and initially rejects the new Rinnara.

Confusion reigns, and compounding his problem of understanding his new form is the existence of a hostile alien force known as the Droogs. Large, purple, and utterly evil, Droogs care not about any lives other than their own. Kyle, who slowly begins to not only identify as Rinnara but also to fall in love with Merat, decides to fight the invaders. Windeeri has become a home, and she’ll defend it, even at the cost of her own life.

Check out the rest of the books and authors being spotlighted for #IndiePride, go here. For the book reviews of the ones I’ve already read and reviewed, go here. For the Goodreads list of the books, go here.

#IndiePride: T. R. Hamby – Bright Land

TR Hamby's Bright Land. #IndiePride

THIS #INDIEPRIDE SPOTLIGHT POST FOCUSES ON T.R. HAMBY’S BRIGHT LAND

Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Website

T. R. Hamby has been writing stories since she was tall enough to reach the keys on the family computer. She began writing novels when she was thirteen, hoping to publish one day, and debuted a short story about a mischievous cat as a Christmas present for her family. Her characters are some of her dearest friends, and there’s never a time when she doesn’t have a story in her head. She resides in Florida, with her dog, Wanda, and her cat, Joey. She currently has 10 books published including: fantasy, steamy romance, LGBTQ, psychological thriller and contemporary women’s love/friendship.

 

Blurb for Bright Land:
Nick Olsen is the lead singer in a band, a brilliant student at Julliard. One more semester and he’ll be free to focus on the band full-time. Until then he gets to live with his new roommates. One of them is Drake Madison, and as soon as Nick meets him he falls hard.

Drake Madison is just trying to get away from his controlling stepfather. A few more years and he’ll be free. He can’t afford any distractions, and he certainly can’t date. But then Nick arrives, and he’s torn. He has to keep up appearances. But Nick draws him in with each meeting, and Drake can’t get enough.

Their love feels meant to be. But can it survive what’s to come?

Check out the rest of the books and authors being spotlighted for #IndiePride, go here. For the book reviews of the ones I’ve already read and reviewed, go here. For the Goodreads list of the books, go here.

#IndiePride: Dixon Reuel – Rise of One

'To face the apocalypse, one must rise ...' Rise of One, Blood Brute Book One by Dixon Reuel. #IndiePride

THIS #INDIEPRIDE SPOTLIGHT POST FOCUSES ON DIXON REUEL’S RISE OF ONE

Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

'To face the apocalypse, one must rise ...' Rise of One, Blood Brute Book One by Dixon Reuel.

Blurb:
I’m a vampire in a secluded, hidden coven.

A zombie apocalypse has ravaged humanity.

We only have one human to feed on inside our walls.

If he dies, we die. If every human turns into a zombie, we die. If we don’t leave our shielded home and find human survivors, we’ll die.

If none of those things happen, we’ll be eventually found by our ancient enemies, the scythe-wielding Warwolves.

So, yeah. We’re screwed.

Blood Brute is a heart-wrenching journey in the tradition of Stephen King’s The Stand and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. If you like LGBT romance, dark themes, and complex characters, then you’ll love this paranormal post-apocalyptic tale.

Check out the rest of the books and authors being spotlighted for #IndiePride, go here. For the book reviews of the ones I’ve already read and reviewed, go here. For the Goodreads list of the books, go here.

#IndiePride: Judy Ramsook – The Lesbian and the Homophobic President

The Lesbian and the Homophobic President by Judy Ramsook. #IndiePride

THIS #INDIEPRIDE SPOTLIGHT POST FOCUSES ON JUDY RAMSOOK’S THE LESBIAN AND THE HOMOPHOBIC PRESIDENT

Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Instagram

If you have a good story to tell, then tell it. I believe all my stories are great, so I have told them in my writing.

– Judy Ramsook
The Lesbian and the Homophobic President by Judy Ramsook.

Blurb:
So many times life pulls its stunt on us and the unexpected cut across the plan. We are kept in a fix and a decision is paramount. Will power overthrow love? What happens to the undefined affection between Kelly and Jackie? Find out the answers to these questions from this intriguing plight of Jackie, Kelly and the Homophobic president. Will Jackie find a decision to surmount her elevated mountain of two-ended choices? Is Kelly truly a bad influence as thought by many? Will the president put his familiarity with Kelly on the line? The answer to all these isn’t far-fetched.

Check out the rest of the books and authors being spotlighted for #IndiePride, go here. For the book reviews of the ones I’ve already read and reviewed, go here. For the Goodreads list of the books, go here.

Author Interview: Naomi Aoki

Author Interview: Indie Book Spotlight

Follow Naomi Aoki on Twitter!

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

I prefer the feel of paperbacks … but these days it’s easier to read ebooks with being able to adjust the font size, and lighter to hold.

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

If I could only read one genre it’d have to be rom-suspense and with any pairing.

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

There isn’t one book that shaped my childhood. I was a prolific reader from a young age and read pretty much whatever I could get my hands on, fiction or nonfiction.

5.      When did you first start writing?

Well, there was this one story I wrote when I was like six. It was all of twelve lines long and someone died in it … a little prophetic really considering the number of deaths that occur in my books now. But writing stories like I do now, that would’ve been about 6-7 years ago starting with fanfiction.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

At sixteen I announced I was going to write a book to my parents. Of course, at the time I thought it’d be a creative nonfiction work. At several points since then the urge to write hit me, but it wasn’t until I started reading BL Manga that the ‘what’ suddenly made sense and I haven’t stopped since.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I’ve written so many its hard to pick one … but Dangerous Lessons (The Yakuza and the English Teacher, #1) will always hold a special place in my heart as it was the first book I published. It was supposed to be a standalone book, but the characters demanded more.

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

My first stories were fanfiction and published on AO3. I also have lots of half-finished works lying around in notebooks which may or may not get turned into full fledge novels.

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

Across three pen names I have managed to publish approximately 34 novels/novellas …

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Fluffy Dark Yakuza and Mafia Romances, Paranormal and Medieval Mpreg, Contemporary, Historical. Most of them are Queer and I have fondness for polyamory stories.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

It’s a mixture of both. When I was writing Historical Romances, I did a lot of research before starting the story, but I mainly research as I go. With my contemporary stories Google Maps is a constant companion.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

Pantser. The closest I get to planning my plot is a general overview or a vague idea of the story, but my characters always have other ideas, and well, you can’t ignore them.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Self-published and wide. No, I have no plans to change it. The idea of being beholden to one platform doesn’t sit right with me, and I also love that I can make my books available to e-libraries.

14.   Do you currently have a WIP?

I’m currently working on the second book in my (Fluffy) Dark Yakuza MMF Romance under my Naomi Aoki pen name, while also working on book 4 of my Crime Lords under my Mandy Greenwood.

15.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

There are two characters dear to my heart. Jamie from The Yakuza and the English Teacher series, and Hisato Shibata from the Tokyo Nights series.

Jamie was the first character I wrote and is from a rural area of New Zealand where my family lived … I even modelled Jamie’s parent’s farm loosely on my grandfather’s farm.

Hisato was the second character who remained stuck in my head, and actually cycled through two different wips before the Tokyo Nights series came into existence. He’s a rather interesting character, and caries the moniker of ‘murderous detective’ because of what he gets up to with his lovers—a yakuza ward boss, the boss’s second in command, and a top-ranked host.

16.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

That’s a tough one, all my characters and their relationships are special to me. But if I have to choose, then it’d be Hisato’s romance with Tatsuo Ogawa, Masanori, and Angel, in the Tokyo Nights series. Also, I’d say that Ryland Beltrame and Lucas Cicco from my House of Bolton series (MJ Green) would be a close second.

17.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Yes. My music is rather eclectic, and mood based. I listen to anything from classic rock, emo punk, to J-rock and Italian Pop/rock.

18.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

No. But I’d love to!

19.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Be aware of popular trends, but at the end of the day if you don’t love what you’re writing it will be harder to stay focused.

20.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Layla Reyne
Cynthia Eden
Rachel Grant
Tal Bauer
Allyson Lindt

21.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

All my links … social media, where you can find my books etc: Linktree.