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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Author Interview: Ross S. Simon

Interview with 
Ross S. Simon, 
author of 
Red Dahlia!

Today we're welcoming author Ross S. Simon, author of horror and paranormal books, to The Happy Book Reviewer.

In Red Dalhia, Commodore Clifford Selickton takes beautiful priestess, Virhynda, for a wife, and they bear a darling little child…a child prophesized to become the very incarnation of the dread Kali-Ma, East Indian goddess of blood sacrifice. The mind-bending examples they witness of random people receiving their doom are, in fact, only preludes to the hideous, demonic goal of the Blood-Mother: conquest of the Earth. It might take a miracle from the gods themselves to stop her once and for all.
Okay… yikes! How did you come up with this creepy idea? 

       Simon: I came up with the idea from a combination of pop-horror factors: the movie "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" introduced modern America (and my consciousness) to the worship of Kali as an evil deity, plus information on her background also came from the "Monster in My Pocket" figurine line, and the plot device itself for "Red Dahlia" was more or less copied off of David Seltzer's "The Omen."

Did you already have an interest in the Hindu religion and know about Kali, consort of Shiva, and the goddess of time and change and, thus, death? Or did you have an idea of what kind of goddess you wanted and then researched this mythology in preparation for writing the book?

       Simon: The above factors had me interested in Kali, and much of the data on her mythological principles came from online sources such as Wikipedia, and also from a textbook on Asian religions I was lucky enough of which to come into possession during the writing of "Red Dahlia's" second draft.  I also researched Hinduism, the post-WWI Raj, and other such topics online.

I know that my characters get into my head and my dreams, and I have all-mortal stories (albeit with some bad guys). But the goddess of blood sacrifice? Do you ever have nightmares about your own characters and stories?

       Simon: I'd never involuntarily allow my horror villains' essences to drive me insane; that's done much more in effect by certain TV cartoon characters from throughout the past quarter-century, but I won't get into that as a subject.

You’re also the author of The Snow, which is a horror novel centered around Norse mythology and Loki. I’m seeing a trend… are you a fan of mythology in general?

       Simon: In terms of myth, I'd stop well short of calling myself another Joseph Campbell.  In legends told throughout global cultures, however, I'm well aware that gods and monsters go hand in hand, and what fuels my exploits of horror writing, or at least the way it's started out, is knowing that certain "evil" gods—Kali, Loki, whoever—have been generally underrated in their malevolence.

Will you explore other myths in your future novels? Any specific myths or legends you’re particularly interested in?

       Simon: The momentum of myth in my horror, alas, is perhaps winding down, at least for the moment.  Even so, I've contemplated doing a supernatural thriller set in Scotland, based on one of its children's rimes: "Arthur O' The Bower."

Since you're only on the contemplating phase of the Scotland story, I'm guessing you're working on some other next book. Tell us a bit about it.

       Simon: My next novel, in fact, my next trilogy, entails a vampire hunter, the swashbuckling Sebastian Stander, combating the worldwide menace of the bloodsucking night creatures on both the lives and the society of humans.

If you could be sucked into any novel, I’m guessing it wouldn't be your own books, since they’re pretty gruesome! So… which book would it be?

       Simon: This is a hard question to answer; there isn't any particular book I would like to populate for the mere thrill of it...but I guess I would choose, if I absolutely had to, the book of Genesis, to be the character of Abraham, who held direct communion with God when the world was young.  But that's only for the sake of being cute, in this instance.

Do you read horror and paranormal books, or do you write in a different genre than you read?

       Simon: Oh, I read horror, all right; I enjoy it, too.  It serves both equally as fuel for the mind of a "fright-write," and as entertainment for it.  I just remember to spread my tastes around to some of the slightly lesser-selling names in the genre, and not go overboard on His Majesty.

Ah, His Majesty... in the case of horror, that must be Stephen King. So, what book have you read that that you wish you had written?

       Simon: Another tough question about books and myself, this is.  I suppose I wish I'd written His aforementioned Majesty's "It," which, without even having read it, I can tell is 190-proof horror.  Whoa.

Finally, a change of subject to wrap up… I hear that you’re a fan of pinball! We have a Whitewater pinball machine at home, and my favorite is probably the really odd but cool Orbitor-1 (available to play at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas). What is the coolest pinball machine you've ever played?

       Simon: To date, the pinball "ne plus ultra" in my hobby would be "Tron Legacy."  It's not all that easy to play, but it has a lot of great features. 

Readers can find your book in e-book and print at:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Who took YOUR breath away?

The most recent Goodreads review of Deep Green says: 

"I believe that by the end of this book Leah became one of my all-time favorite female protagonist in a YA book. She's just sixteen (turns seventeen while stranded) and despite all that she encounters, all that she has to do to survive, she isn't whiny. She only had one true breakdown in the entire book and it is well deserved! The other characters I loved as well. I felt that Haddad did a wonderful job creating them. With just a few sentences she is able to paint a picture of what these characters look like and how they act... And Musir! I loved him. He is a recent immigrant to America with his parents and speaks little English though he understands it well. And boy was Leah (and I) taken with him!
I could have sworn it was silent all over the ship in that moment. The ocean stood still, the wind slowed, and the other passengers walked silently. It must have been so. I certainly couldn't register a sound. It was as though the world awaited his voice and words.
I think every teen girl has felt that way about a boy at some point in their life. I know I did! "

Read the full review here!   Or check out the e-book hereor print books here!
*Use the promo code 20EPdb14 at check out for 25% off your entire e-book order!

This review has spurred today's question for YOU in honor of Valentine's Day:
What boy or girl took your breath away? 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Author Interview: Tony Thorne

Interview with 
Tony Thorne, 
author of 
Points of View, and more!

A warm welcome to author Tony Thorne, visiting The Happy Book Reviewer all the way from the Canary Islands!

You have quite the unique background, Tony! You were raised in London but now you spend summer and fall in Austria, and winter and spring in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. You've been a lecturer for the British Interplanetary Society, and a pioneer in the fields of computer graphics set to music, as well as the development of intelligent software for creating business programs. You also made developments in the fields of low temperature (cryo)surgery instruments, and very high temperature processing furnaces for carbon fibre and nuclear grade graphite. For this work, the Queen of England even awarded you an MBE!

How did you make the leap from "real life" science to Science Fiction writing? Was it a matter of daydreaming all the "What Ifs?"  

Thorne: That’s a fascinating question. However, I was writing SF from quite an early age and my first published stories, back in the 1950s, were written soon after I graduated as a design engineer. Then my whirlwind, worldwide, business career took over and I had no time for writing fiction again until I retired in the late 1990s. Then the ‘what-ifs’ inspiration came as a result of all my experiences in hi-tech product design and marketing.

You've been published in magazines and anthologies, but also have several books out. Can you tell me about your YA Thriller Points of View?  

Thorne: It’s all about previously blind young Horace Mayberry, who gets fitted with artificial nanotronic eyes possessing superhuman abilities. He soon discovers the price he must pay for them when he is appointed as an assistant to a real life government secret agent, and embarks on a series of hazardous adventures, including being kidnapped by a sinister gang of international terrorists.
However, his new eyes are intelligent and develop amazing new abilities as and when he needs them... which is often!

It is currently a stand-alone book, but I hear there is another on the way to make it into a series. Is the second book complete? 

Thorne: It has just been published, by Amazon, as Points of View – The Weapons. In this first sequel terrorists have stolen five new nanotronic weapons developed from Horace’s prototype eyes.  Only he can locate the different hideouts where they have been hidden, using new abilities provided by his eyes, and the team of agents must recover the weapons before the terrorists discover how to activate them. The action takes place in several countries and builds up to an exciting, and unexpected, climax in Austria.

Now, I've written novels but I've never seriously written short stories. How was the process different between writing full-length novels versus short stories? 

Thorne: Very different! I enjoyed having room to develop my young hero’s personality, but especially I had a great time thinking up his various dreams and the way they were influenced by his adventures and apprehensions. Yes, should anyone ask, I discovered James Thurber’s Walter Mitty creation many years ago and enjoyed the Danny Kaye film back in the sixties, but I haven’t yet seen the new film version of the tale. Any similarities are purely coincidental.

Tell me a bit about your Macabre tales. (Wait… should I cover my eyes so I don't get nightmares?) 

Thorne: As one kind reviewer wrote…Macabre Tales is a collection of hypothetical, scientific and even theoretical short stories. The author has observed some daily life events and written speculative stories around them. Each story is entertaining, full of suspense, and is short and to the point. The author’s imagination coupled with his scientific knowledge has made this book totally different.” 

Another wrote… “I found Tony Thorne more droll than truly gruesome. His concepts are clever, his writing sharp and quickly to the point and he closes with a quiet flourish... He delves into personal areas, our daily lives and asks you to consider the alternatives that are conceivably possible, if only...”

What inspired these tales? 

Thorne: That’s a tough question, because I really cannot say what inspired many of them. For example, I woke up on several occasions with a new tale almost completed. My imagination doesn’t seem to need sleep. Another one however was inspired by my long interest in the many Clthulhu Mythos tales by H.P.Lovecraft. Another evolved as a tribute, but different, to Alfred Hitchcock and his Psycho film.

If a high school class were reading your Points of View series someday, what themes would the teacher be wanting the students to pick up on? 

Thorne: How each of Horace’s adventures affected his personality, and also his vivid dreams, which before he regained his sight, were the only way he had of ‘seeing’ anything.

You've had a long writing career, but The Happy Book Reviewer has plenty of readers who have just published their first book, or are still writing that first manuscript. What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a writer? 

Thorne: Never give up writing, especially when nowadays the marketing of your work seems to take up most of your time! Take notice of what readers think about your work and try to improve it… constantly.

I know you're a big fan of Sci-Fi. What book (Sci-Fi or otherwise) have you read that that you wish you had written? 

Thorne: Almost anything by Harry Harrison, my late mentor, especially the Stainless Steel Rat series of hilarious Sci-Fi novels.

Are you working on a next book? Can you give us a hint on what it is about? 

Thorne: I’m about 65% through my next novel in the Points of View series. With a lot of experience as assistant to top secret agent, Major Aubrey Jackson, behind him now, young Horace Mayberry travels with the team to visit the CIA Headquarters in America. He gives a limited demonstration there, of his eyes’ superhuman abilities but is soon abducted by a gang working with a Hi-Tech Corporation with connections to his earlier adversary, Rudoph Beckmann.

Readers can find more about your books on your website, www.tonythorne.com and in e-book and print at the below links:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Something's coming... Something romantic...

Ooooo... it is the Eternal Press Valentine Blog Hop!
(And yes, there are PRIZES!)

Here's how it works... Come on back here to The Happy Book Reviewer anytime between February 9th and February 15th (5 pm EST) and leave a comment on one of my Valentine Blog Hop posts for a chance to win one of 3 grand prize packages of 7 e-books from the fabulous authors listed below!

Then... head down the list below and visit each author (and comment there too, to put your name in the hat again!) to increase your chances of winning!

*PSSST*... many of us will also be holding bonus drawings as well...so check out our temptations!

Oh yeah, and scroll all the way to the bottom for another little surprise.......

Here's that other little gift! 
Hop over to http://eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781629290713 and use promo code 20EPdb14 at check out for 25% off your entire ebook order!

And don't forget to keep hopping and commenting!