Monday, October 31, 2016

#BookReview - A World At Risk

A World at Risk

By: Jochanan Stenesh
Publisher: Merriam Press
Publication Date: May 2016
ISBN: 9781576385027
Reviewed by: Anita Lock
Date: October 2016

Stenesh offers a warning of future world events in his debut read.

The year 2020 sees the beginnings of an ominous wave of worldwide cataclysmic events, initiated by Iran's first nuclear test and establishment of full control over the southern section of the Tigris/Euphrates Delta (TE-Delta). A new cold war appears to be on the rise in Russia and piracy on the Indian Ocean is at an all time high. The termination of the Israel-Palestinian conflict spells bad times ahead for Palestinians. ISIS is stronger than ever operating out of four large land bases. China overtakes the once-independent SAR (Special Administrative Region) Macau in 2024, Hong Kong five years later, and then in 2035 launches a full-scale invasion of Taiwan.

Protesting in Tahrir Square goes awry in 2027 when the Muslim Brotherhood attempts to call all like-minded Egyptians to join them in their non-dictatorial "let us work together" campaign. Two years later, extremist groups unite to attack Jews throughout Europe. In 2031 war breaks out between North and South Korea. Meanwhile in the United States, Religious Right groups' precedence creates a chain of shocking circumstances, such as the tearing of the wall of separation between church and state, creationism on par with evolution in high school science classes, and the banning of abortions. And to round out this unnerving glimpse into a twenty-year period, the effects of global warming create cataclysmic worldwide disasters including a shortage of drinking water.

Stenesh's newsworthy digest of "what might happen in the world in the next two decades" is reminiscent of Wells' War of the Worlds and Orwell's 1984. Like the aforementioned notable titles, Stenesh presents a near believable narrative. Contrary to Wells' and Orwell's writing style, Stenesh has replaced the typical science fiction plot with a compilation of twenty-one newspaper dispatches. Stenesh opens with a section addressed "To Our Readers," which explains the origins of the selection of popular articles penned by three fabricated veteran bureau chiefs from the equally fabricated World View series of The Daily Independent Courier. Now morphed into book form and bearing the same moniker as the title of Stenesh's book, the collection covers imagined "flash points and controversial issues around the globe."

Beginning with Jordan, Stenesh's essay-narratives highlight situations that take place in Dubai, Ukraine, Somalia, Africa (Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt), Israel, China (Macau, Hong Kong), Taiwan, Europe (Belgium, Germany), South Korea, United States (D.C., New York, California, Texas), India, and Sri Lanka. Readers with interest in world events should be able to identify a good handful of troubled war-torn places on the list. That said, Stenesh creates a realistic narrative pulling from past and present tensions/issues to build his imaginary predictions. Stenesh aptly bridges the gap from reality to fiction by incorporating meticulous historical details, thus brilliantly portraying quite a dystopian read. Stenesh's frightening calculations are not that far-fetched, even though there will be readers who no doubt disagree with his perspective. Regardless, A World at Risk is not only a great science fiction read, but also includes plenty of information for Stenesh's audience to ruminate on long after the book is done.

Quill says: A World at Risk is a perfect read for conspiracy theory aficionados, as well as those who have a fetish for world predictions.

Friday, October 28, 2016

#BookReview - God, Grace, Dumb Luck

God, Grace, Dumb Luck

By: Phloyd Knucklez
Publisher: Philip Gaber
Publication Date: September 2016
ISBN: 978-0-692780-99-2
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 2016

There are so many “golden” lessons earlier generations handed down to us: A bird in the hand...Make the best out of a bad situation...and the list goes on. In this collection of poems, short stories and ponderous prose, readers see the world through the eyes of humans who have chosen to believe that those past lessons are nothing but myths.

The reader gets on board with mainly male narrators expelling their tales. The speakers represent a large number of people across the globe: working at a job that is not what they wanted to “be when they grew up,” bored, harboring anger, and speaking frequently about disappointment. Perhaps this sounds depressing right off the bat, but the writer makes sure that the upside of the downsides that come from being that “categorical human” is shown right off the bat. If you’re normal and not a “star,” so to speak, you’ll never have to be bothered by others who want something from you. If you’re never a leader in any respect, than people will never want to waste their time finding a way to bring you down.

“Keeping My Vigil” is a tale of a man being tempted and then falling for temptation (much like falling for an apple given by a serpent in a garden.) This man is now condemned to live an ordinary, human life. “Escaping from Adolescence” shows a man out of work and how he must deal with a collection agent on the phone. You know, those guys who call to harass you night after night even when they know you have no money in the coffers. In these stories, as well as many others, readers will identify with how demoralizing life’s moments can be and how they can be made to feel bad by strangers who simply don’t care about their particular predicament.

Yet...the most difficult part of these stories comes from those missing “golden” statements handed down. You learn those. You believe in them. In fact, some of those words are what get you through the toughest of times. They also make you understand that being a normal, ordinary human – if you’re doing something you have a passion for, or are part of a bigger picture, like a family you love with all your heart – is not a negative at all.

Life is filled with humiliations. It’s filled with monsters, bigots, and others in the crowd who gain more than the hardworking, ordinary folk. However, if you go through life believing if you need help it will never be offered, than chances are it won’t be. Everything is stated clearly and concisely, which is a huge positive in this world of cover-ups and empty smiles. From losing yourself in alcohol, drugs, or simply in the inane banter all around you, the annoyances of life are told in a way that all of us can easily understand. But the after-effects of this compilation won’t bring the depressed out of a stupor. In the end, the stupor will only grow deeper.

Quill says: Life is a combination of good and evil, drama and comedy. Yet this collection leans heavily towards the darker side of the aisle.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

#BookReview - The Spice Box Letters

The Spice Box Letters

By: Eve Makis
Publication Date: September 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 978-1-250-09580-0
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: October 19, 2016

Eve Makis takes her audience on a journey of rich family history in her latest novel, The Spice Box Letters.

Katerina’s grandmother (Mariam) has passed. When Katerina’s mother gifts her mother’s ornate spice box to Katerina, little did Katerina know she was about to embark upon a journey that would transcend from Cyprus to New York in order to learn the many facets (and secrets) of her dearly departed grandmother. Raised in England, Katerina sets out on holiday to Larnaca, Cyprus with her girlfriend Jenny. All of the letters and diary contained in the spice box were written in Armenian and sadly, Katerina had never learned the language of her heritage. While on holiday, Katerina meets a boy, Ara, and challenges him: "...I didn’t catch your name," he says. "Katerina. And yours?" "I’m Ara." "That doesn't sound Greek." "It's not. I’m Armenian..." Suddenly, this happenstance meeting is more than a sign for Katerina. Perhaps she has found her translator for her grandmother’s letters.

As time unfolds, Katerina and Ara spend more time together as they pour over the letters and the pages of her grandmother’s diary. Even though her grandmother survived the Armenian genocide of 1915, her survival came at a grave expense. She was separated from her beloved brother Gabriel when she was exiled from her home in Turkey. The road ahead was compounded with further grief when she lost her first love. As Katerina and Ara continue to read her grandmother’s diary, it would seem miracles truly can happen as much for those in the present as those who are now memories from the past.

Eve Makis delivers a bittersweet story that ties a family’s past tragedies to the present. There is a sense of warmth in the contrasts she portrays between Katerina’s present day life and the horrors of her grandmother’s exposure (and survival) of the Armenian Genocide decades before. Even though this is a novel, I applaud Ms. Makis for the specific historical events she weaves throughout this story when it comes to the nuance of families and their history. I found myself often wondering what my own familial history would uncover should I explore its past at some point. Her characters are not over the top heroes nor are they martyrs. Rather, she has breathed a credible life into each of them; complemented by dialogue that flows. This is a story that certainly has its moments of tragedy, but the overall tone is one of hope. Well done Ms. Makis. I look forward to your next novel.

Quill says: The Spice Box Letters is a wonderful novel that accomplishes tying the past to the present with a heartwarming theme of hope throughout the story.

#BookReview - After A While Crocodile

After A While Crocodile: Alexa’s Diary

By: Brady Barr and Jennifer Keats Curtis
Illustrated by: Susan Detwiler
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
Publication Date: August 2016
ISBN: 978-1628558340
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: October 2016

Alexa is a young girl who lives in Costa Rica and is involved with a very important project at her school. The American crocodile is endangered in Costa Rica and she and her schoolmates are raising baby crocs so that they can be released into the wild. After A While Crocodile follows Alexa as she raises her crocodile.

Written in the form of a diary, Alexa introduces her readers to Jefe (which means “boss” in Spanish), her little baby crocodile. She describes the noises he makes and what he likes to eat. She also uses numerous Spanish words (with the English translation in parenthesis) – a nice way for kids to learn a few new words. Each entry in the diary shows Jefe a little bigger, a little stronger, and a little closer to his release date. Alexa talks about the American crocodile and the caiman, the two species found in Costa Rica. She talks about how Jefe and his siblings were collected in the wild, the importance of crocodiles in the wild and how and why she takes measurements of her little charge.

After A While Crocodile takes on the important subject of animal conservation and looks at one way an endangered species is being saved. With a nice mix of photos and drawings, the story of Alexa and her little crocodile will draw readers into the world of conservation. At the back of the book are four pages “For Creative Minds” which offers additional information on crocodiles and conservation and is an excellent starting point for those wanting to do additional research.

Quill says: An informative book that explores the process of helping save an endangered species – an excellent addition to the classroom or homeschool library.

#BookReview - The Moon Inside

The Moon Inside

By: Sandra Feder
Illustrated by: Aimée Sicuro
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Publication Date: September 2016
ISBN: 978-1554988235
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: October 17, 2016

Ella loved the daytime - the fun things she could do, the birds chirping, and the bright sunshine. Best of all, her favorite color, yellow, was everywhere during the day. But every night when darkness came, Ella grew afraid.

Each evening, as darkness approached, Ella would lead her mother from room to room, and turn on as many lights as she could. It was her attempt to keep the darkness out of the house as long as possible. Ella wanted her favorite color, and the sun that shared that color, to stay because yellow made her happy. But darkness was scary.

Ella's mother decided it was time to help her daughter get over her fear of the dark. With gentle guidance, she brought her daughter outside at dusk to see the wonders that came out at night. Ella saw the playful fireflies with their yellow bellies, she heard the crickets chirp and noticed the big, yellow-golden moon. Would it be enough to get over her fear of the dark?

The Moon Inside tackles one of those very common childhood phobias that so many parents have to deal with - fear of the dark. Without lecturing, author Sandra Feder tenderly guides her young readers on a tour of the night. She shows children some of the wonderful nighttime events (such as fireflies and a big, bright moon), which may help lessen their fear. Children will share Ella's enchantment with the various animals she sees at dusk as well as enjoy the glow of the golden moon. With a strong emphasis on the color yellow throughout, the illustrations add a lovely gentle feel to the entire story. If you have a child afraid of the dark, consider adding The Moon Inside to your bedtime reading collection.

Quill says: A sweet bedtime story to help children overcome their fear of the dark.

#BookReview - Animal Legs

Animal Legs

By: Mary Holland
Publisher: Arbordale Books
Publication Date: August 2016
ISBN: 978-1628558432
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: October 2016

What can you do with your legs? Run fast and wiggle your toes? Did you know that legs are really amazing things? Many animals can do very cool, very remarkable things with their legs. What can they do, you ask? Check out Animal Legs to find out!

Animal Legs explores the varied, and useful, things different animals use their legs for. You might think that caterpillars have lots of legs but actually only the first three pair are true legs. The others are called “prolegs” that have hooks to help the caterpillars climb up smooth surfaces. The ruffed grouse, a very pretty bird, actually grows small flaps on the side of each toe in the fall to help him walk on the snow. Did you know that some animals use their legs to taste? When you read this book, you’ll learn all about them.

Author Mary Holland has done an excellent job of introducing young readers to animal legs and the many functions they perform. With easy to understand explanations, she takes children on a journey through the animal world to explore all the various uses of animal legs. There are plenty of vivid photos of the animals, and many are close up views of the legs to allow better inspection of that creatures’ appendages. At the back of the book is a section “For Creative Minds” that can be used for further study.

Quill says: With its instructional, easy to understand exploration of the animal world, Animal Legs is an excellent addition to a school or home library.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Do You Have A Backlist Title?

Did you know our awards program now offers a "Backlist" category? If you have a book that was published prior to 2015, you can now nominate it in the backlist category for a chance to win some great promotional opportunities. Learn more at:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

#BookReview - Saving Kate's Flowers

Saving Kate’s Flowers

By: Cindy Sommer
Illustrated by: Laurie Allen Klein
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
Publication Date: August 2016
ISBN: 978-1628558708
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: October 12, 2016

Kate is an adorable young bunny who loves helping her mother out in the garden. What fun it is to take care of plants and watch them grow. In this sweet new book, young readers will learn about the plant lifecycle as they watch Kate try to save all those plants from the impending winter weather.

When day, as the cold weather approaches, Kate asks her mother what happens to all the plants in the winter. While some plants are perennials and come back next year, explains Kate’s mother, others die from the cold. Kate decides that she wants to save some of those plants and asks for her mother’s help.

Kate has soon learned how to transplant various plants as well as collect seeds. She has high hopes for bringing lots of plants into the house to be saved. When the phone rings, Kate’s mother heads to the house to answer it and that’s when things get really interesting. As her mom talks and talks and talks on the phone, Kate gets very busy trying to save every single plant. By the time her mother gets off the phone, Kate has managed to fill every nook and cranny in the house with a plant from the garden. Kate’s mother is not very happy with the way the house has been taken over, and when Kate’s father starts sneezing, it’s time to think of someplace else to keep the plants. But where?

There are so many books for children about planting a garden, but this is the first one I’ve seen that addresses what happens to that garden at the end of the growing season. Explaining what happens, in an easy to understand way, combined with the delightful illustrations will engage and teach children. Add in the four pages of plant and planting facts at the end of the book, and you have a winner that young gardening enthusiasts will love.

Quill says: A charming book full of fun facts on plants and their life cycles.

#BookReview - Tuktuk

Tuktuk: Tundra Tale

By: Robin Currie
Illustrated by: Phyllis Saroff
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
Publication Date: August 2016
ISBN: 978-1628558791
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: October 12, 2016

Winter is coming and the arctic animals have to get ready. Soon the sun will go down for three months and it will get very, very cold. Like the other animals, Tuktuk the collared lemming needs to find a way to stay warm. What will he do?

One day, Tuktuk hears a commotion outside his burrow. Poking his head out of his hole, he sees a sled, pulled by dogs rushing by. As it glides along, it hits a bump and a furry kamik (waterproof boot) falls off the sled. Tuktuk waits for the dogs and sled to disappear across the snow and then he hurries over to the boot. The fur-lined boot will be perfect in his nest and will keep him warm and cozy all winter. But as he starts to drag the boot toward his burrow, Putak the polar bear spots him and declares that the boot will be perfect for him. How will Tuktuk outwit the big, powerful polar bear? And what about the other animals getting ready for winter? They too, will want the boot. Tuktuk will have to think quickly if he wants to keep the boot for his burrow.

Arbordale Publishing has become synonymous with quality, educational books that are carefully wrapped up in fun stories that children will want to read. Tuktuk is no exception to this and like the other books from this publisher, the illustrations are amazing and add so much to the story. Children will love following along with Tuktuk to see if he can outwit the polar bear, fox and caribou. At the back of the book are four pages “For Creative Minds” that include information on “Polar Seasons,” “Arctic Skies,” “Arctic Vocabulary” and “Life in the Cold.” If you haven’t yet checked out these books, be sure to pick up Tuktuk for your little one or classroom – I’m sure you’ll be hooked.

Quill says: A beautiful book full of facts and entertainment.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

#BookReview - Christmas in Paris

Christmas in Paris

By: Anita Hughes
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: October 2016
ISBN: 978-1250105509
Reviewed by: Diana Hettinger
Review Date: October 7, 2016

Isabel Lawson and her fiance Neil can’t agree on anything for their wedding. They are to be married in a week and are getting nowhere. When Neil makes the choice to take over his family farm, Isabel freezes. Being a successful financial professional, she can’t imagine throwing the career away that she worked so hard for. So, with this in mind, a week before the wedding, she calls it off. With the honeymoon being booked and paid for, he suggests that she go on a vacation herself, after all, she had always wanted to go to Paris at Christmas. With a successful career behind her and a past of failed relationships, she takes it upon herself to see and do as much as she can until she throws herself back into her career. With a renewed sense of independence and some light heartache, she sets off for Paris. Upon arrival at the luxurious Crillon, she finds that she got much more than she bargained for.

In the rush of excitement to see the Champs-Élysées, she locks herself out on the balcony. With nothing else to do, she throws her shoe to a nearby balcony where handsome Alec, a children’s book author and illustrator, finds her and rescues her. Alec’s fiance, ironically, left him for another man before their wedding. As a poor writer, he was not successful enough or good enough for his fiance and she leaves for Australia with a more handsome Cricket player. Both of these newly single people, being alone in Paris at Christmas, and wanting to make the most of it, set off to explore the city and leave as much of the past behind as they can. As their adventures begin, they wind up at the Christmas markets. It is at the Christmas markets that they meet a fortune teller who reads Isabel’s fortune. As someone who relies solely on numbers and reason, it does not make sense how the fortune teller’s predictions keep coming true. As time goes on, she believes more and more, but is everything always what it seems?

I absolutely devoured this book in three days, however, I could have easily consumed it in one afternoon had I had the time. Not only is every detail descriptive enough to picture the surroundings and feel as if you are there, but it is just magical enough to make you feel like it’s Christmas no matter what time of year you read it. With twists, turns and magical predictions, you will find yourself believing in magic, no matter how much you also rely on reason. I finished Christmas in Paris wanting more and feeling as if the story was unfinished and I am dying for a part two.

Quill says: Christmas in Paris is a warm and romantic read that will leave you with hope in your heart and a spirit of wanderlust.

#BookReview - Tails of the Prairie

Tails of the Prairie: My Life as a Small-Town Veterinarian in Wyoming

By: R.A. Baldwin, DVM
Publisher: iUniverse
Publication Date: November 2007
ISBN: 978-0-595-47637-4
Review by: Janice M. Ladendorf
Review Date: October 7, 2016

This memoir is by a veterinarian who practiced in the Wyoming ranch country from 1951-1964. His wife, Harriet, had come from Sundance, a small town in northeastern Wyoming. When Dr. Baldwin finished his training, he took over the fading practice of his brother-in-law. Her family helped them buy a drugstore which his wife ran during the four and one half years they spent in Sundance. He had a small animal clinic attached to the store, but had to travel to reach his bovine patients.

At that time, the ancient telephone system was privately owned and operated and if you wanted electricity, you created it with your own generator. Dr. Baldwin did many surgeries using his car lights or lanterns held by the animal's owner. His major problem was the roads. Only the main roads were paved; to reach ranches, he had to take gravel roads and then dirt ones. Many times his clients had to meet him with horses, wagons, or sleds to finish his trip. Some of the horses objected violently to carrying his veterinary equipment.

In the spring, rain temporarily turned the fine prairie soil into nonporous gumbo which effectively stalled cars and trucks. In the winter, blizzards turned unplowed roads into major hazards. On one terrible trip, blowing snow obscured visibility and Dr. Baldwin had to fight the high winds to keep his truck on the road. Near town, he rescued four foolish travelers whose car had been blown into the ditch and overturned.

Much of Dr. Baldwin's time was spent giving routine inoculations and doing health inspections before animals who had been sold could be shipped to market, but he also had to diagnosis some difficult problems. He also had some unusual patients. Once he had to declaw a bobcat who slept on the living room piano. Another time he was held prisoner by an elephant while trying to examine a circus pony. He also had to keep treating a boxer dog who was at war with the local porcupines.

The stories in Tails of the Prairie focus on unusual people and exciting events in a tough environment, but this memoir also has a nostalgic air. By the time Dr. Baldwin wrote this book he was retired and remembering the days when he was young, strong, athletic, and convinced he could do anything. While he at times included excess medical details, he also seemed to be writing for young veterinarians. He's telling them, "See what I had to go through and how lucky you are to be starting practice now."

Quill says: If you are interested in ranching, animals, or veterinary work, this book is well worth reading.

Books In For Review

Check them out!  The latest books to arrive for review.  Reviews will be posted to our site,, blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, Barnes&Noble, Google Books, Book-Critique, Book-Views and Pinterest soon.

A World at Risk by Johanna Stenesh Albert Einstein is alleged to have said “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Thankfully, a catastrophic World War III has not broken out so far. However, few would disagree that the danger of it erupting has grown with the advent of the 21st century. This book of political fiction takes the reader into an imagined future by describing what might happen in the world in the next two decades. Specifically, the future is viewed via twenty-one newspaper dispatches that cover flash points and controversial issues around the globe, over the period 2020 - 2040.

God, Grace, Dumb Luck by Phloyd Knucklez This book is muddled. If someone makes an effort to read it, they will find it has little useful information. The suffering reader will discover, with time, that the contents are original

Oliver the Cat Who Saved Christmas: The Tale of a Little Cat with a Big Heart by Sheila Norton Oliver the cat is a timid little thing, who rarely ventures from his home in the Foresters’ Arms. Then his life changes dramatically when a fire breaks out in the pub kitchen and he is left homeless and afraid. But, with the kindness of the humans around him, he soon learns to trust again. And, in his own special way, he helps to heal those around him. However, it isn’t until he meets a little girl in desperate need of a friend that he realizes this village needs a Christmas miracle...

Christmas in Paris by Debbie Macomb Isabel Lawson is standing on the balcony of her suite at the Hotel de Crillon as she gazes at the twinkling lights of the Champs-Élysées and wonders if she’s made a terrible mistake. She was supposed to be visiting the Christmas tree in the Place de la Concorde, and eating escargots and macaroons with her new husband on their honeymoon. But a week before the wedding, she called it off. Isabel is an ambitious Philadelphia finance woman, and Neil suddenly decided to take over his grandparents' farm. Isabel wasn't ready to trade her briefcase for a pair of rubber boots and a saddle. When Neil suggested she use their honeymoon tickets for herself, she thought it would give her a chance to clear her head. That is until she locks herself out on the balcony in the middle of winter. Thankfully her neighbor Alec, a French children’s illustrator, comes to her rescue. He too is nursing a broken heart at the Crillon for the holidays. With a new friend by her side, Isabel is determined to use her time in the "city of lights" wisely. After a chance encounter with a fortune teller, and a close call with a taxi, she starts to question everything she thought was important.

Tails of the Prairie by R.A. Baldwin In Tails of the Prairie, Baldwin shares a collection of stories from his work as a veterinarian in three rural Wyoming counties from 1951 to 1964. Living in Wyoming can be a challenge as well as an adventure. Wyoming is a place of extremes and this affects the people who live there. The people are tough and tenacious and the country is full of all different types of personalities. This book lends a glimpse into the challenges of living and working in such a drastic environment and the characters who call Wyoming home. Doc narrates how much of his work consisted of house calls that involve heading out across the prairie via pickup, two-seat plane, or the horse a rancher left to ride a non-navigable road. Working in often primitive conditions, Baldwin tells how he treated animals of all varieties, from the ranch animals to domestic pets. He helped a dog that didn't win its battle with a porcupine, a cat that saved a baby from a rattlesnake attack, and a bobcat that slept on the living room piano. At a county fair, he was held prisoner by an elephant, and he learned that in Wyoming, gumbo is not something you eat with a spoon. Through it all, Baldwin maintained his humor and appreciation for the people and animals that live and die on the prairie.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

#Author Interview with M.J. Evans

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Kristi Benedict is talking with M.J. Evans, author of The Stone of Mercy: Book 1 of the Centaur Chronicles

FQ: What was your inspiration for the several different races in this book?

EVANS: I selected races (or species) that would reflect different and competing traits. Some of the traits would logically be held by people hungry for power. For example, the cyclops are not known for their intelligence. Rather, they rely on brute strength. The Centaurs have speed and fighting ability but do so with more finesse and intelligence. The Duende are a made up race taken from the Spanish word that means fairy. They represent the weaker, over-looked and taken for granted species. The fauns, by tradition, have a fun-loving, irresponsible nature. So they were the obvious ones to sell their souls to the Cyclops for protection and then find themselves enslaved.

FQ: Did you do any research on Greek mythology to write about the centaurs, cyclops, etc?

EVANS: I did very little research on the mythology around centaurs, cyclops and fauns because I wanted to create new and unique characteristics in my characters. If I did too much research, that might stifle my creativity. There are many mythological creatures based upon a horse. I think this is because people have always loved and revered horses. I am one of those people. All, but one, of my novels have a horse connection and I love to use the mythological horses as my main characters, however, always with a different twist. My first fantasy series, "The Mist Trilogy," is about the noble and great horses that are chosen to become unicorns when they die. My choice to create a series about Centaurs is a continuation of my love of writing about horses. It is fun for me to include horse behaviors and traits when I write about Tibbals and Tandum and the other Centaurs. Then I get to add human mannerisms as well.

FQ: What demographic were you aiming for with this book, pre-teen or young adult?

EVANS: I initially pictured my readers to be 10 to 14, so Middle-Grade. However, many adults have been enjoying it as well so perhaps it will be well received by young adults as well.

FQ: What is the reason for calling the series "The Centaur Chronicles?"

EVANS: "The Duende Diaries" just didn’t have the same ring to it! Just kidding. I teach English riding lessons and I am always telling my students to become a be one with the horse. After several years of using this phrase, I decided it was time to write a story about Centaurs.

FQ: What do you think are the advantages of using a young girl as your protagonist?

EVANS: As a small, delicate creature, she has an uphill battle to win over the larger races. The Silver Breastplate gives her an unexpected advantage and great power. But, remember, she never aspired to be the queen, consistent with both her station in life and her personality. But her personality is changing with each book of the series, keeping her good qualities but developing more confidence and commitment to her calling. I think it is fun to have a young girl in this position as many girls will be asked to accomplish great things in their lives whether it is to raise a strong family or run a country.

FQ: In the graphic scenes for this novel, such as the attack on the Duende village, how do you decide what details to include so the scene is still powerful but not too overly graphic?

EVANS: I like this question because this is one that I struggle with all the time. The second book has some battle scenes in it as well as will the fourth. I try to picture a PG movie as I write. I want to write books that leave a good message but that are exciting. So it is a challenge to balance both. Some fantasies are even too dark for me. I want to keep it light and fanciful even while describing a battle scene. I don’t want my readers to have nightmares!

FQ: Did your experience with horses help when writing about the centaurs in this novel?

EVANS:I mentioned this in the 2nd question. Yes, I love writing about horses and their personalities. It is so fun using the technique of Anthropomorphism in my writing. My brain just goes right to putting human characteristics on horses because I love them so much and am so familiar with them. For example, when a horse is irritated, he will swish his tail. I had the centaurs do this in the book. They stomp their hooves, rear and kick, just like a horse would.

FQ: Which part of the book did you enjoy writing the most, the beginning, the end, or a specific scene in the middle?

EVANS: I think my favorite scenes are any scene where the Wizard appears. I like that character. In addition, I had fun writing the scenes with the Commander at Fort Heilodius. The bad guys are fun to create!

To learn more about The Stone of Mercy: Book 1 of the Centaur Chronicles please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.