Eyes

Nghịch Tửs debut fantasy thriller novel has been translated by Việt H. Nguyễn, and is now available on Amazon. Here is a synopsis:

Vũ Thanh is a typical girl, smart and cynical, born and raised in the countryside of Vietnam. Ever since the Government opened an industrial park near her village, things have been changing, for better and for worse. For Vũ Thanh, however, it has mostly been “for worse”…

Nearly two years ago, she left her village to go to University in the big city. Now, she’s returning to celebrate Lunar New Year with her family.

On the bus, the young girl met Điền Mục, a weirdo whom she suspected of being a con man but couldn’t quite decide for sure.

As she found her way home, Vũ Thanh found her village not quite what she remembered, and Điền Mục, the peculiar young man from the bus, seemed to be right at the center of everything.

Is he truly who he said he was and there to help her? Or is he actually the mastermind behind it all?

Will Vũ Thanh trust the right person, or will she end up paying the ultimate price for her cynicism? Find out by joining Vũ Thanh on her thrilling adventure as she dives headfirst into a land full of myths, curses, spirits, and black magic!!!

This book is the first installment of the Half-Alive Series, and a Fantasy Thriller in genre. As such, it contains some violence, gore, as well as disturbing elements taken from Vietnamese (and perhaps other Asian) culture, folklore, and fairytales. Reader discretion is advised.

You can find out more about this fantasy author on Facebook. You may ask him questions at Goodreads Author Nghịch Tử.

Nghịch’s Interview

Do you consider yourself (1) an introvert OR (2) an extrovert?

I always consider myself to be a bit of an introvert. Going about, establishing new contacts, and interacting with people are, most of the time, really tiresome for me. For pretty much all of my time on earth, sinking back into my own thought and dwelling in various possibilities of the fictional world rushing through my imagination have been more enjoyable than socializing, it’s almost like a kind of comfort food to me. Later in life, I learnt that expressing myself through novels and stories was also an option, so I became an author.

Insightful answer!

You can travel back in time. Will you go back (1) 10 years OR (2) 25 years?

Interesting question. Among the two options presented, 10 years would be better, as 25 years ago I haven’t even been born yet. With that said, somewhere between that two option to relive my childhood innocence is more appealing. But then, if I do have the ability to time travel… what’s stopping me from going even further back in time? You see, I’m a bit of a history / paleontology fanatic, and traveling back in time would be a golden opportunity to see all the epic occurrences the past has to offer. On a side note, the history of my country is a bit incomplete, both by external and internal reasons, and having this kind of power sparks my curiosity even further.

Time traveling for you!

Are you (1) a morning person OR (2) a night owl?

A night owl for sure. Not that I didn’t know staying up late and go to bed on the wrong time is bad. It’s just that I’m highly more productive after mid night. Both my creativity and my emotions seem to receive a boost after the clock struck twelve. So well, can’t really help it.

Great reason to be a night owl!

Do you write (1) when the mood takes you OR (2) at a set time?

I write only when the mood takes me, as I strongly believe that art can’t be rushed. Every time I had forced myself to comply to a deadline, the resulted pages were in way worse conditions than what I can usually manage to produce under the right condition and in the right mood. So, I’d rather delete them and start over than handing them out to my readers. They deserve the best – not in the world, mind you, I’m not that good – but the best of my capabilities at least. It’s for this reason that I’m slowly turning into a nocturnal opossum.

So understandable!

You prefer to watch (1) a sunrise OR (2) a sunset?

I don’t absolutely favor one over the other. To me, it depends more on the occasion and what I am feeling or need to feel at the time. Watching the sun set makes me emotional, but the rising sun motivated me more. At this specific point in life though, I prefer the sun rise. As a new author, I very much need every bit of motivation I can muster.

Motivating sunrises for you!

Thanks for being interviewed, Nghịch!

Eyes book cover
Eyes

Bishop’s Crossing

Urban fantasy author Don Mewha is publishing his debut novel, and it will be available on February 23, 2021. Here is a synopsis:

The dark streets of New Orleans come to life in this riveting Urban Fantasy! Fans of Jim Butcher, Constantine, and Tales from the Nightside will adore Bishop’s Crossing!

A failed priest gets pulled back into the occult world that he left behind when his daughter shows signs of mystical ability. He reconnects with his former team to track down the missing daughter of the Voodoo King of New Orleans while he’s hunted by a fanatical member of the Church.

You can find out more about this urban fantasy author on his Don Mewha website or on Facebook. You may send him a Tweet, an Instagram, or ask him questions at Goodreads Author Don Mewha.

Don’s Interview

You prefer (1) to eat a home-cooked meal with family and friends OR (2) to eat in a big-name restaurant?

This is a really interesting question. A person’s preference here says a lot about how they view personal relationships (if we’re talking about the “before COVID times”. If we’re talking about now, it just highlights tendencies toward nihilism, I guess). For people who pick the latter answer, the event is the thing…the experience. Going to someplace new and fancy, experiencing the sights, smells, and sounds while you soak in the atmosphere…it can be a heady experience.

But not exactly one for me. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and there’s nothing that I like better than a warm house filled with family and friends, a comforting meal filling the air with odors intertwined with memories.

It’s a slice of heaven.

Heaven it is!

Do you find it (1) easy to give a witty retort OR (2) think of what you should have said after the conversation is over?

This question has been the bane of my life on more than one occasion. The question isn’t “Can you give a witty reply?”, the question is “Can you stop yourself from saying something you shouldn’t?”

Too often the answer has been no. When I was younger, I received a desk plaque that read “Be sure brain is engaged before putting mouth in gear.” It’s great advice. I should try it from time to time.

Open mouth, insert foot!

Your novel brought you fame and fortune. Do you spend approximately $2 million on (1) an expensive car OR (2) a Hollywood-style RV?

Fame, fortune, and expensive cars don’t really have a ton of appeal to me. Now, being able to wander around in a Hollywood style RV? That sounds really interesting. It’s like having “home” with you when you go on vacation, which opens up all sorts of interesting places to visit that I’d never be willing to try otherwise. As someone that’s not a huge fan of “roughing it”, places where I need to sleep on the ground without air conditioning have an appeal that eludes me. This would let my family experience the things they’d want to, while I still got to wake up in the morning and not be immobile from a stiff back. Win/win!

The only thing I’d need to overcome at that point is my fear of gravel and dirt roads (they’re not roads). But one step at a time.

Camping with all the comfort of home for you!

You prefer to watch (1) a sunrise OR (2) a sunset?

I love sunsets. There’s something magical about the transition when the night reaches back out and reclaims the sky. Night is the default for what the sky should look like, it holds secrets and whispers them quietly as it surrounds you.

The sun paints the sky in reds, oranges, and pinks while the twilight slowly spreads from the shadows, promising to reveal some of its secrets. Some of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve ever seen were from a gazebo out on the water in North Side Park in Ocean City, Maryland. Watching the sun dip below the water in the bay, breathing in the salt in the air…it’s indelibly imprinted in my memories.

Plus I don’t need to be awake at “are you kidding” o’clock to watch a sunset, which is a big bonus.

You’ve painted a lovely scene!

What is your favorite (1) song OR (2) book?

This one’s gonna be a bit odd, but I LOVE Name by the Goo Goo Dolls. The overall melancholy feel of the song, lines like “Reruns all become our history”, the way the pace moves back and forth. Something about it resonates deep inside of me. I’ll turn it up and unabashedly sing along (badly) at every opportunity.

Oh! It was your off-key singing I just heard!

Thanks for being interviewed, Don!

Bishop's Crossing book cover
Bishop’s Crossing

Fear Begets Murder:

A Conspiracy Tale

Author Sam Diego self-published a crime fiction book in October 2020. Here’s a synopsis:

Our heroine, Annette, has long struggled to fit in as a black female, raised by a single white mom. When Annette marries Phil, a white cop and model husband, she’s ready to relish her beautiful partnership and live her happily-ever-after. But a deadly conspiracy stirs ghosts from her past and forces her to rethink her identity, even as she’s fighting for her life — and for that of Phil.

Find out more about his crime fiction novel on YouTube. You may ask Sam questions on the Goodreads Author Sam Diegopage.

Sam’s Interview

What is your (1) favorite book quote OR (2) favorite movie quote?

From the movie Frida (2002)  Frida’s friend and wedding hostess, Tina Modotti (performed by Ashley Judd), makes a toast at Diego and Frida’s wedding:

Tina Modotti: I don’t believe in marriage. [crowd laughs] No, I really don’t. Let me be clear about that. I think at worst it’s a hostile political act, a way for small-minded men to keep women in the house and out of the way, wrapped up in the guise of tradition and conservative religious nonsense. At best, it’s a happy delusion – these two people who truly love each other and have no idea how truly miserable they’re about to make each other. But; BUT… when two people know that, and they decide with eyes wide open to face each other and get married anyway, then I don’t think it’s conservative or delusional. I think it’s radical and courageous and very romantic. To Diego and Frida!

Why do I like this little monologue? I identify. I agree wholeheartedly. I look at strangers getting married and feel sorry for the trouble that they are setting themselves up for. Yet, I attend weddings or even see them in movies and I cry, seeing two romantic lovers who believe with no doubt in the happily ever after.

That reminds me of another favorite quote. From Charles Mee’s play Big Love: “This is why at weddings everybody cries; out of happiness and sorrow, regret and hope combined.”

What a quote!

You prefer to watch (1) a sunrise OR (2) a sunset?

I prefer to watch sunrises because I see them so much more rarely than sunsets. Also because I simply love mornings. I love the increasing light and warmth from the sun. I love the increasing activity as birds and humans start their day. I love waking to dawn’s early light, when I have had a restful night’s sleep.

Nice description!

Do you write (1) when the mood takes you OR (2) at a set time?

I write when the mood takes me. I can write at a set time and can allow myself to be creative on a schedule, but I rarely make myself write at a set time. I generate much better, more emotional, writing when the mood takes me. It’s the choice between emotion and discipline. I let emotion be in charge with writing and discipline when I need to work.

In the mood for you!

Are you a person who (1) makes and follows New Year resolutions OR (2) never bothers with resolutions?

I don’t bother with resolutions. Either I will do something or I won’t. Either I am interested or I’m not. Either I love myself and will do what’s good for me or I don’t and I won’t.

Interesting insight!

Do you (1) love shopping OR (2) hate shopping?

I mostly hate shopping, except when I don’t. Almost exclusively I shop when I need something and otherwise not. Nevertheless, I love walking old style markets and shopping districts (more common outside the US) for the people watching and for the sense of abundance.

Understandable!

Thanks for being interviewed, Sam!

Fear Begets Murder book cover
Fear Begets Murder

Finding A New Normal

Living Your Best Life with Chronic Illness

Author Suzan L. Jackson self-published a nonfiction book in February 2020. She describes it as a combination of memoir and self-help. Here’s a synopsis:

Whether you are in the early days of living with chronic illness or have been at it for years (or decades), there are always challenges in living a life framed by limitations and restrictions, where isolation is a common issue. This guide provides inspiration, advice on emotional coping, and guidance on living your best life with chronic illness from someone who’s been there. Though it seems impossible at first, your life will eventually settle into a new normal, and while that life may be different than the one you had planned, it can still be a vibrant, fulfilling life based on strong relationships, a healthy emotional state, and finding joy in every day. The emphasis in this book is on LIVING your life, not just enduring it.

You may also purchase this book through her book sale website or find more information on her personal website. Suzan maintains two blogs: Book blog and Live with MECFS blog.

Suzan has two Facebook pages at bookbybook and Learning to Live with ME/CFS. Send Suzan a Book Tweet or Live with MECFS Tweet. To see what she’s currently reading vist her Goodreads Author Suzan L. Jackson page.

Suzan’s Interview

What is your (1) most favorite thing to do OR (2) least favorite thing to do?

My favorite thing to do is to spend time outdoors with family or friends. Although my physical stamina is quite limited due to chronic illness, I still enjoy short hikes, kayaking, camping, or just being outdoors. When the pandemic started, we switched from meeting friends in a restaurant to hosting friends in our driveway with a campfire in our portable firepit (which helps with social distancing, too). Nature and the outdoors make me happy and help to rejuvenate me, and strong relationships with friends and family sustain me.

Enjoy the outdoors!

You can travel back in time. Will you go back (1) 10 years OR (2) 25 years?

First, I LOVE the idea of time travel. My favorite kinds of novels are those that play with time: time travel, time shifting, parallel universes, etc. I find the “what if …” questions endlessly fascinating! While I am quite content in my life now, it would be wonderful to go back 25 years to before I got sick (19 years ago now), just to experience again what it is like to be able to do anything I want, without restrictions or limitations. I would take long hikes, go backpacking, walk museums for hours, and revel in intense exercise! Also, that would allow me to relive my sons’ childhoods, which would be a blast. I love them as adults, but I do sometimes miss those little kid hugs, playing games together, and reading them books at bedtime.

So understandable!

Are you a person who (1) makes and follows New Year resolutions OR (2) never bothers with resolutions?

I don’t make Resolutions, per se, because they are often BIG changes that are likely to fail. However, I love the fresh start of a new year, and the chance to revisit my goals and think about what I want to do in the coming year. I have 6 Lifetime Goals that rarely change, and for each of those, I set specific Objectives and Targets each year–small things I can do each day to move me closer to my goals. I find these baby steps in the right direction far more effective than resolutions. In fact, the last section of my book is all about improving your life with this sort of process. Even those who are limited by chronic illness (or other challenges) can still make tiny changes to move them toward the life they want to live.

One small step at a time!

What provides more inspiration to you: (1) art OR (2) nature?

Nature! I love spending time outdoors, and I find nature peaceful, calming, and refreshing. Even on my worst illness days, just lying in a chair out on our deck or screened porch–watching the clouds, listening to the birds, feeling the breeze–can rejuvenate me and inspire me. Getting away from the bustle and constant stream of inputs of the modern world and tuning into nature resets my brain.

Very introspective!

(1) Can you name just one favorite novel OR (2) you love too many to just pick one?

I LOVE to read, and I LOVE books! I am an avid reader and have had a book blog for 14 years, where I share reviews of books (and TV and movies, too) with other book lovers. I belong to two book groups and love to discuss books. So, I always have a list of favorite books (I just made my choices for Best Books Read in 2020, for instance) that often changes. However, my favorite book hasn’t changed in many years. It’s one that most people haven’t heard of, REPLAY by Ken Grimwood, a novel about a man in his 40’s who suddenly wakes up back in the body of his 18-year-old self. He gets stuck in an ever-narrowing loop, reliving parts of his life over and over, making different choices each time. It is fascinating and engrossing, heartwarming and heartbreaking. As I mentioned earlier, I love these kinds of novels that play with time mainly because they are so thought-provoking, leading to questions of “What would I do?” Other favorite novels that play with time in my Top 10 of All Time include The Time Traveler’s Wife (gut-wrenching yet joyful) by Audrey Niffenegger and Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.

A true bibliophile!

Thanks for being interviewed, Suzan!

Finding A New Normal book cover
Finding A New Normal

Maygest’s Tale

Author C.E. Cannery self-published a high fantasy novel in March 2020. Here’s a synopsis:

Maygest, an old thief, who has been conning people for the last decade, finds his way of life extinguished when the tyrannical Lords of Osskrip join forces and destroy all the fugitive enclaves, the only places people are allowed to be people. With no place to go and fearing that death may be near, Maygest sets off in search of a mythical harp that is said will bring peace to the land in a last-ditch effort to redeem himself before he dies. The problem is, the harp only seems to exist in his mind.

You can find out more about this epic fantasy novelist on her blog or at Goodreads Author C.E. Cannery.

C.E.’s Interview

Science has advanced, and we can now colonize other planets. Do you (1) sign up to be a colonist OR (2) remain on Earth?

I would like to be the person who answers (1), but I know I’m a (2). Earth, meaning not just the dirt below my feet, but also the sights and sounds and cultures, is just too ingrained into me. If I had to stay in a lifeless, air-conditioned box on another planet for the rest of my life, I would go insane.

Great reason to stay home!

You prefer (1) to eat a home-cooked meal with family and friends OR (2) to eat in a big-name restaurant?

I know my answer to this is rather bad, but definitely (2). No one in my family can cook. My mum grew up with TV diners. My dad makes bad stir-fry. (And don’t worry, they already know I think this!) My grandma grew up eating tumbleweeds (or that’s what I’ve been told) in the Great Depression, and she can’t cook either. My other grandma, I’ve been told, could cook Thai food, but I never met her before. So definitely, we’d all be much happier going to a fancy restaurant, together.

Nothing wrong with eating out!

What is your (1) most favorite thing to do OR (2) least favorite thing to do?

(Going with (1) on this question.) Definitely my favorite activity has to be hiking. When I am alone in the forest, breathing the fresh air, hearing the birds, feeling the green–that’s when I feel most alive. Hiking has always been almost a spiritual thing for me like descending back into the womb of our ancestors and hearing that eternal silence of being. (And yes, I know that sounds crazy, but, okay, I just really, really like hiking!)

Lovely description!

Your significant other or child asked you to do something you don’t like to do. Do you (1) grin and bear it OR (2) mumble to yourself while doing the task?

I am a grumbler (2). I moan and complain about everything. People who know me, know this, and don’t really take it too badly, since I just complain all the time for pretty much no reason. However, since I am such an introvert, people who don’t know me, think I am stoic, which is pretty much the opposite of what I am. As for why, I think I actually used to be stoic as a kid, but now I get angry pretty quickly, but also calm down just as quick, so it’s more a matter of me speaking my mind a little too often.

Very introspective!

What is your favorite (1) song OR (2) book?

Catch 22. I love this book. It’s so chaotic and topsy-turvy and mad that I can’t look away. It just feels important (and dire). But most importantly, it is the pentacle of sarcasm! I can’t say how much the sarcasm (and darkness) of this book has inspired me in my own writings. And also the combination of humor with darkness–I just love when a book can marry such disparate elements together in a way that doesn’t clash at all!

Interesting insight!

Thanks for being interviewed, C.E.!

Maygest's Tale book cover
Maygest’s Tale