Friday, November 26, 2021

Meet Author Rick Quinn




Meet author Rick Quinn in his new author bio and learn all about his new book, Jazzy and Kettle:

Thursday, November 25, 2021

#BookReview - The Prisoner and The Executioner


The Prisoner and The Executioner


By: Catee Ryan
Published by: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: September 2021
ISBN: 978-1639880713
Reviewed By: Lynette Latzko
Review Date: November 23, 2021


Everyone can agree that being falsely accused is most certainly a terrible position to find oneself in. However, being wrongfully convicted, and sentenced to death for a murder you did not commit is, without a doubt, the most horrendous position to be in. That is exactly what happened to Eliza Jacobs in 


The Prisoner and the Executioner, an electrifying novel written by Catee Ryan.

The story opens on the day of Eliza Jacobs’ execution for the murder of fifteen-year-old Lydia Garth. Ms. Jacobs was once a well-respected midwife and child advocate, but now she has been holed up for several years waiting to be executed, not in a regular death row prison cell, but in an underground cave, designed specifically for use only during the last few weeks of the condemned prisoner’s life. Through the years of solitary confinement and deep soul-searching, Eliza chose a vow of silence, and has more or less accepted her fate.


Brian Stafford, The Executioner, and son of the prison’s warden, is supposed to be getting ready for the execution, but unbeknownst to anyone, he believes in Eliza’s innocence, and refuses to go through with his duties. Instead he spirits her away through the underground cave system, and eventually they successfully escape to a faraway country which Brian believes is the perfect place for both of them to start a new life.


Meanwhile, a massive manhunt is being conducted by the FBI, and news of the unusual escapees quickly spreads across the nation. It attracts the attention particularly of a young girl, Emma Maxwell, who is now living safely across the other side of the country, far away from the same town in the news...the town she too escaped from several years ago. Emma knows who Eliza is, and knows she is innocent and shares this information (and the story of her own sexual abuse) with the FBI. But will this be enough to help prove Eliza’s innocence, and get her to return?


The Prisoner and the Executioner is an excellently written novel that catches a reader’s attention in the first few pages, and continues to adeptly weave a complex, yet compelling, tale (filled with both heartfelt and unbelievably horrifying moments) until the last page. The main characters are dynamic, and seem so real that readers easily become emotionally invested in their journey. Though a part of this story brings the serious topic of sexual abuse to light, it does not bog down and make the overall feel of the story too heavy, but it adds to the overall twists and turns that makes this novel truly unputdownable.


Quill says: The Prisoner and the Executioner is an outstanding novel that will keep readers glued until the final page, while still wanting more. Author Catee Ryan is proving to be a novelist worth keeping an eye on.


For more information on The Prisoner and The Executioner, please visit the publisher's website at: atmospherepress.com/books/the-prisoner-and-the-executioner-by-catee-ryan/

#BookReview - Kita and the Magic Paint


Kita and the Magic Paint


By: Laura Schaumer
Illustrated by: Pardeep Mehra
Publisher: Laura Schaumer Books
Publication Date: November 2020
ISBN: 978-1777453428
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: November 23, 2021


Two friends, a lot of paint, and loads of pretty, little daisies, combine to create a fun new children’s book that teaches children what happens when colors are mixed together.


Kita the raccoon and Bushy the squirrel are good friends who love to play together. Today, they have several cans of paint and lots of white daisies to paint. Kita decides to first paint a daisy blue while Bushy paints one red. But then Kita decides it’d be fun to add red to her daisy while Bushy adds blue to his red daisy. They both expect that the daisies will be half red and half blue. But wow! Surprise! Both daisies turn purple! It must be magic!


The two friends decide that they should try different colors and see what happens. Kita paints a daisy yellow while Bushy paints one blue. The “new” yellow and blue daisies look lovely so they decide to swap paint colors again and see what happens. And wow! Surprise! Both daisies turn green! It must be magic!


Soon, Kita and Bushy are joined by other friends and they all get excited about trying different color combinations. Each time, the result is unexpected. And when Annie the bunny hops her way onto the painted daisies, watch out!

Kita and the Magic Paint is a fun story that uses a delightful assortment of animal friends to teach young readers about the wonders of colors. The concept of mixing two colors to create an all-new color can be confusing for youngsters but debut author Laura Schaumer figured out a unique way to convey the “magic” that happens when you mix colors. To aid in understanding, the black text of the story is changed to another color when a specific color is mentioned (the word “blue” changes to blue text, “red” to red text, etc.). Children may be surprised by each color change and will likely try to guess the results of each mixing of colors as they turn the pages. When you then add in the vibrant, adorable illustrations by Pardeep Mehra, this will likely be a book your child will reach for again and again.


Quill says: What is better than having fun with paints and watching different colors combine to make all new colors? Kita and the Magic Paint uses a delightful array of forest animals to teach children what happens when you mix colors in a way that young readers can easily understand.


For more information on Kita and the Magic Paint, please visit the author's website at: lauraschaumerbooks.com

Monday, November 22, 2021

#AuthorInterview with Harry J. Karapalides


Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Barbara Bamberger Scott is talking with Harry J. Karapalides, author of A Promise of Remembrance.
FQ: Have you traveled to or maintained any personal ties to Greece; if so, how did that affect your composition of this book?
KARAPALIDES: Yes. I still have family in Greece, both in Athens, and in the area where the story takes place, Macedonia, Greece. I also travel the Greek islands. When I am there, I am inspired by seeing the Parthenon in Athens or the monument to King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, and to learn stories of the Ancient Greeks, but also the stories of the freedom fighters of the Greek Revolution of 1821, or the men and women that fought the Germans that parachuted into Crete during the Battle of Crete. Of course, just staring out into the deep blue Mediterranean Sea makes my mind race with a thousand stories. It all definitely inspires me.
FQ: A Promise of Remembrance is in many ways a positive story that shows how people can help others in times of need, directly and indirectly. Is that a theme that you will continue to pursue in future writing?
KARAPALIDES: Of course. I have written eight novels and novellas, in different genres, and this theme seems to be throughout them. My parents instilled in me the Ancient Greek concept of “Philotimo,” which is a Greek word hard to translate. The best translation of Philotimo is pride in self, pride in family, pride in community, and above all, pride in doing the right thing. Throughout my parents’ lives, especially during those horrible times of WWII and the Greek Civil War, they continued to live the concept of Philotimo, and how to live life. Unfortunately, my father passed away in September, 2021, at age 93 but my mother is still with us at age 91. They taught me Philotimo and how to live one’s life, and hopefully I have passed down the same to my children.
FQ: Does writing about the elimination of an oppressive regime give you a sense of hope in current times, or do you see bleak global scenarios developing now?
KARAPALIDES: “Oppressive regimes” are as old as Cain slaying Abel. Men and women throughout history have always sought to conquer and enslave others. Unfortunately, it is part of life ad of the world’s history. However, whenever someone tries to take your freedom away, there is always an individual who rises up and says “no!” When Europe fell to Hitler and Asia fell to the Japanese, the collective world said “no!” and tyranny was defeated. In my opinion, there will always be someone who says “no!”
FQ: Could you envision a feature length film or dramatic TV series based on this book?
KARAPALIDES: Yes. However, I have read thousands of books that I always think would make a great movie or TV show. Everyone has a story and these stories should be told, whether in printed form or up on the big screen (or on our little iPad screen!!). Someday I hope that fate will come by and choose this book or any other of my books to be made into a movie or TV series.
FQ: What is your favorite episode in this gripping story?
KARAPALIDES: The book is about a father and son and their struggle during the war, but the wives and mothers suffered just as much. In Paragraph 13, when Theodora (Vangeli’s mother) is stopped by the communist guerillas (known as “anadartes”), and they attempt to take her younger son Niko, as a recruit, she stands up to them. The Greek women of that time were tough. While their men were out fighting, it was the women that kept the family and the household together. They are the unsung heroes.
Author Harry J. Karapalides

FQ: You’ve written quite a few books, many with an historical focus. Do you find historical fiction to be your “comfort genre,” meaning, it’s what you enjoy most?
KARAPALIDES: Yes. I am a student of history and history always sneaks into my writings. I feel the events of the past can be used today to show us where we should or should not be going.
FQ: You’ve written a few books about the American Revolution. What drew you to writing about this period? Also, I love the idea of your “Dates of the American Revolution” quick reference. This would be a perfect tool for schools. Have you had success getting it into the hands of students or are you marketing it differently?
KARAPALIDES: One of my most favorite periods in history is the American Revolution (and I do live near Philadelphia), and the person I admire the most in history is George Washington (close second is Alexander the Great). Obviously my first novel, Revolt, is a spy thriller based on the beginning of the American War of Independence. In researching the book, I would write down the dates of an event during the war, and I found myself with a long list! I got a calendar and wrote-in what happened on each day. The calendar started filling up. At that point I decided that since I had so many dates, I should just turn it into a book. The book did well. It is in many school libraries, cited in other research and text books. It was also cited as a research tool in Williamsburg, VA, and at archeological digs of a Revolutionary War fort in South Carolina. I have had several retired military officers comment on the book and recommending it to any student of history.
FQ: Your latest book, Go Tell the Mocha Man, is quite different from your other works. Would you tell our readers a bit about this newest tale?
KARAPALIDES: It’s aliens meet rock and roll! The main character, Homer Ulysses Jimi Hendrix Smith, is about to learn that the Universe is a very strange place, especially its love for Classic Rock! From escalators that travel through space to a classic car that is more than it seems, Go Tell The Mocha Man is a story that takes you from one world to another, with twists and turns as you your turn the pages of this science fiction adventure that is truly out of this world.
FQ: You’re a successful blogger at CosmosPhilly.com. How does having an active blog compare to the life of an author? Would you advise other authors to have their own blogs?
KARAPALIDES: YES!!! Write, write, write, and write some more! Whether you write short stories, the classic American novel, or just a blog, continue writing. For me, writing a blog and other articles exercised my mind and my imagination. If an athlete needs to exercise consistently to keep his or her muscles and body in shape, so does a writer need to consistently write to do the same thing for the writer’s mind and writing skills. And, one never knows; writing a blog may lead to bigger and better things!

#BookReview - A Promise of Remembrance


A Promise of Remembrance

By: Harry J. Karapalides
Publisher: Cosmos Philly Publishing
Publication Date: August 2012
ISBN: 978-1520496146
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: November 20, 2021
A father and son must make crucial decisions in order to save themselves and others, in this emotionally charged depiction of Greek citizens facing the chaos of World War II, by author Harry Karapalides.
In the late 1930s, Argyri Karas, a well-to-do shop owner in Thessaloniki, has formed an unusual business partnership with Assael - unusual because Karas is a Christian, Assael a Jew. The working bond is based on their combined skills - Assael is an accurate accountant while Karas is a talented salesman. The relationship is one of trust and is underpinned by what seems a gently blooming romance between Assael’s daughter Mira and young Vangelis Karas.
As a Nazi invasion seems inevitable, everyone must take steps to flee or stay. Argyri, an honorable man of genuine faith, wants to aid the Assael family, so he hides them in his home. When they are discovered by the sadistic Nazi Sturmbannfuhrer Klaus, they will be separated and Argyri will suffer greatly for his act of conscience. He is imprisoned, gets a terrifying, sickening view of how Jews and others are being treated by Hitler’s regime, and may pay with his life for his guardianship of his friends. It is up to Vangelis to do the seemingly impossible – free his father and save his Jewish companions who have been shipped away – but to where? Just as the Germans are beginning to lose in Greece, a new faction arises – communism, invoking a civil war. The struggle of Greek against Greek will prove as savage as the battle against the Nazis, and for the Karas clan, will include the intense, insane hatred of one rabid communist. Through all of this, Argyri maintains his remarkably rational religious core beliefs, seeing all wars as destructive and evil. And he will continue, for many years to come, to seek any news of Assael’s fate.
Based on his family lore and factual documentation, author and attorney Karapalides (the “Karas” of his fictionalized creation) makes history come alive. For those less schooled in the events in Greece during World War II, he offers a wide panorama of actual happenings enhanced by his vivid imagination. His depiction of battle, betrayal, and brutality are horrific, bringing the reader to experience the deeply disturbing shocks of war’s turmoil, the outrage of blind nationalism, and the heartless antisemitism – factors that gripped so many and resulted in the slaughter of millions of innocents in battle, captivity, and unfeeling torture. Through the eyes of his well-drawn, empathic heroes Argyri and Vangelis, this tale, spanning more than sixty years, offers triumphs, sorrows, and a gentle resolution found in the symbolism of a small, precious heirloom.
Quill says: By enmeshing his own family recollections with historical fact and rich fictional characterizations and settings, Harry Karapalides has constructed a deeply moving account of war and loss contrasted with loyalty, respect, and abiding love.
For more information on A Promise of Remembrance, please visit the website: http://hjkbooks.com

Friday, November 19, 2021

#AuthorInterview with Brant Vickers, author of "Fedor"


Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Barbara Bamberger Scott is talking with Brant Vickers, author of Fedor.
FQ: Have you traveled to or maintained any personal ties to the countries or venues mentioned in your narrative? If so, how did that affect your composition?
VICKERS: Yes, absolutely! I lived in Germany for nine years and England for two. I loved the fact that while researching the Barnum and Bailey Circus I was afforded the opportunity to place Fedor in those locales and have the time frames merry up when the Circus visited them, and fairly close with his lifeline. It was also enjoyable to find that many of the members of the Black Tent (sideshow) were actually German and one of the few things we know about Fedor is that he spoke Russian and German, along with English. So he might have had a connection with fellow German-speaking peers.
FQ: What single piece of advice would you give to a person preparing to read your work with no previous knowledge of your perspective or the historical events described?
VICKERS: Our perspective now is, comparably, incredibly enlightened and still there are so many things most of us don’t understand or times when we have no real empathy in our interactions with people with disabilities. I used to tell mentor students (typical students who volunteer in Special Needs classrooms) that the only thing I want them to understand is that these are actual individuals with feelings and thoughts of their own. I always told them that I wanted them to envision walking through a shopping center or mall, and when they see a person in a wheelchair, obviously with a severe disability, and maybe their child would be frightened or start to avoid that person, they could share and tell them, “It’s okay, it’s just someone who has a disability and there’s no reason to be afraid or need to walk and look the other way.” Remember the fun and even the challenges you had in this class and that they are people. Fedor and his peers had no choice but to use the Circus system to make money and live. Many of them were outcasts and hidden throughout their lives. For all the controversy about the Circus we recognize today, 100 years ago, without medical treatment, social services, or family support, this was how many of these people made a living.
FQ: Have you seen, in your work with special needs individuals, the kind of “hidden intellect” demonstrated in the character of Fedor?
VICKERS: Many times! That was how I started this project in the first place. I was researching different types of disabilities in a Graduate class and discovered a picture of Fedor. I found his photo and one of my students with autism saw his picture on my computer screen. He asked if we could find out more about him. One thing led to another, and here we are. During my almost twenty years as a Special Ed Teacher and Teacher of the Visually Impaired, I realized how many types of “smart” there are in the world. Some of the things my students would say or comprehend made me stop and think that I was privileged to work with some of the most genuine, sweet, and exceptional people in the world. They all had hidden gifts.
FQ: Do you have any recommendations for readers of your book for further study concerning the history and gradual enlightenment of the scientific and social communities to the true worth of special needs individuals?
VICKERS: I wrote my memoir of my first years of teaching (Chucky’s in Tucson) and tried to show how much the students gave me as opposed to how much I gladly did for them. It was the job I was born for and I regret I only had those twenty or so years, as opposed to a lifetime of working with the students, aides (angels here on earth), and other teachers I had the distinct pleasure of working with.
FQ: Do you have a favorite historical character among the ones you depict here?
VICKERS: Yes. I am partial to Mr. Mark Twain, but many of the characters that fell into Fedor’s timeline (as I tried to keep it very close to being possible) were coincidentally some of my most respected writers. Melville, Tolstoy, etc. Many of the conversations Fedor has with some of the characters are how I feel about the authors myself. Mark Twain was actually a fan of the circus and had a tenuous relationship with P.T. Barnum.
FQ: Did your diligent research for this book include any contemporary sources to provide insight into the circus and carnival business as it now exists in America?
VICKERS: The circus was an incredible sub-culture in America for years. Other nations had carnivals and different attractions, but I wanted to capture the magic, enormity, and marvel how it was and how during Fedor’s time it was expanding and evolved from a once-modest endeavor to the Greatest Show on Earth. There weren’t many significant threads or values of American life that the circus didn’t touch, reflect, or reference in some way. I wanted also to contrast the horror of how the animals were treated in past decades. We have completely revamped the circus recently and that progress was inevitable. I never really enjoyed seeing the animals in cages, either in zoos or in the rings of the tents when I was young. There is now a subculture of sideshows, but I only was interested in how Fedor would have lived in that complex multifaceted enterprise.
FQ: Was there a particular writer whose work influenced the structure and scope of your book?
VICKERS: About halfway through the process of outlining the story I realized I owed a great debt of gratitude to Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man. I loved the book when I was young and the movie also. He puts Jack Crabb in many of the same types of situations (but in a much more physical sense) with dozens of historical characters. I didn’t realize it until well into the process, but honesty makes me fess up to the awareness and thankfulness of having read that wonderful book.
FQ: Do you have plans for your next creative endeavor?
VICKERS: I’m already involved in another YA novel about two boys growing up in the late sixties and early seventies in West Los Angeles. Along with the gritty details of the era, they become involved in a paranormal experience in the abandoned movie studio lot. It’s shaping up rather nicely. Thank you for your interest in Fedor!

#BookReview - Into the Violet Gardens


Into the Violet Gardens

By: Isaac Nasri
Publisher: Kindle Direct
Publication Date: August 2021
ISBN: 979-8-478429386
Reviewed by: Katie Specht
Review Date: November 17, 2021
From emerging author Isaac Nasri comes his second novel, Into the Violet Gardens, a thrilling story of science fiction, complete with cyborgs, political unrest, and virtual government officials.
Nasri’s sci-fi tale takes place in the year 2024 in Latin America. In this world, cyborgs are an everyday and integral part of society accepted by humanity. There even exists a virtual division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Our protagonist, Troy Levi, is a cyborg working with the FBI who helps to eliminate the power of the cartel that has been dominating the region.
However, in taking down the cartel, Levi unknowingly unleashes a social uprising and civil unrest that will change the very foundation of society as he knows it. Shortly after the dismantling of the cartel, Central Intelligence Agency agent Soriana Salazar is faced with a struggle to keep the relationship between humans and cyborgs amicable.
Accompanied by their respective agencies, Levi and Soriana find themselves up against a ruthless group of cyborgs who are fixated on one goal: freedom. The tale that follows as they attempt to thwart an impending technological war is one of epic proportions.
With Into the Violet Gardens, author Nasri does a lot of things right. His story is action-packed, fast-moving, and compelling. The sci-fi aspect is evident and well-developed, which is sure to delight any fan of the sci-fi genre. His writing is seamless and flows from one scene to the next, as he paints an incredibly vivid picture of his version of dystopia. Nasri also incorporates issues of political unrest and tension in his story, which further enhance the image of the dystopian society that he has created.
Readers of Into the Violet Gardens will appreciate how Nasri wrote the story from the point of view of multiple characters. This unique style of writing helps to immerse the reader more fully into the narrative, allowing the reader to feel like he/she is experiencing the story firsthand alongside the characters in the book.
If there is any criticism to be found of this book, it is that the sheer number of characters may make it difficult for readers to follow them all. Readers may also struggle to identify or make a connection with all the characters, which is unfortunate, particularly since they were all developed to play a crucial role in Nasri’s story.
Quill says: Emerging author Isaac Nasri has penned a fast-moving, action-packed sci-fi thriller with Into the Violet Gardens. Sci-fi fans will cheer at the intense adventures the characters, both humans and cyborgs alike, experience throughout the story. The plot is multi-faceted and well-developed, complete with epic battles, political tension, and the potential damaging consequences of relying too heavily on technology.
For more information on Into the Violet Gardens, please visit the website: www.cyberdriftworld.com