Book Review Beneath the Lake by Casi McLean

Beneath the Lake (Lake Lanier Mysteries, #1)Beneath the Lake by Casi McLean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beneath the Lake by Casi Mclean is a paranormal/timeslip romance with elements of suspense in which lovers weave their destinies across three time periods to be together. The story begins in suspense as a mysterious man slips forward in time and is resolved to reinvent himself and to target Lacy. A year later in 2012, we are introduced to Lacy, a lawyer, attending a party where she finds her longtime boyfriend cheating on her. Enraged, she leaves the party in the midst of a raging storm and her car crashes near a cursed lake where there was once a town and people vanish without a trace. Tracy falls into the lake and time slips back to 1949 when Bobby finds her injured near the lake. As their relationship evolves into something deeper, Lacy faces the risk of losing him if she unexpectedly travels forward in 2012. All of the narratives in the various time periods tie together for a riveting climax with unexpected twists.

Author Casi McLean masterfully weaves the narratives of a mysterious man targeting Lacy at the beginning of the story and Lacy finding herself in the past. It is an inspirational story in which Lacy not only finds true love, but she also finds her purpose by helping residents in the small town negotiate prices for their properties before these are covered by the lake for flood control. The author nimbly juggles the narratives and time periods, keeping the reader in suspense. What I like most about the novel is the fast-paced beginning that hooks you and the compelling ending that ties everything together. For romance readers, the development of the relationship between Lacy and Bobby, an alluring blue-eyed hero, is the centerpiece of the story.

I highly recommend Beneath the Lake for readers who enjoy reading paranormal romance with elements of suspense.

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M. J. Bell Author Interview

M.J. Bell Author Interview

M. J. Bell, Fantasy & Science Fiction Writer

Introduction

It is my pleasure to introduce M. J. Bell, an award-winning Science Fiction & Fantasy author from Colorado. I met M.J. at the 2018 Denver Comic Con, where I had the opportunity to learn more about her books. Check out my Goodreads review for her newest time travel book, Next Time I See You, which was recently released.

 

Tony Soehner, M. J. Bell, Linnea Tanner 2018 Denver Comic Con

2018 Denver Comic Con: Tony Soehner, M. J. Bell, Linnea Tanner

M.J. Bell graciously accepted my invitation to interview. Below is her biography, responses to my interview questions, and ways you can contact her. Click on the book covers below to purchase her books at Amazon.

M.J. Bell Bio:

M.J. Bell is an award-winning author (Gold from Mom’s Choice Awards) of the Teen/YA Fantasy trilogy, Chronicles of the Secret Prince, and the Science Fiction & Fantasy, Next Time I See You.

Having escaped the mosquito-infested land of Iowa where she grew up, and the scorpion-infested land of Arizona where she was transplanted for way too long, she now lives happily ever after in Colorado, spreading magic wherever she can as a full-time writer, full-time babysitter, full-time cheerleader, full-time cook/housekeeper, and full-time taxi cab driver.

M.J. Bell Author Interiew

Would you provide an overview of the newest book that you have released this year?

Next Time I See You is about a University of Colorado student, Kat, whose life has been turned upside down by the murder of the man she planned to marry. She feels there is nothing left to live for until she encounters an intriguing stranger who leads her to the discovery of a time machine. Kat takes this as a sign and convinces herself that she is supposed to go back in time, kill the murderer, and then she will get back the life she was supposed to have and no one will be the wiser. Unfortunately, once she steps out of the time machine, she discovers it’s not that simple and things don’t quite go as she plans.

What inspired you to write Next Time I See You about time travel to the past so the main character can stop the tragedy of a mass murderer killing her beloved boyfriend and other victims.

I love time travels and have always wanted to write one. But I wanted to make it believable, which meant I needed a time machine that a normal, everyday kind of person could use. Regular people can’t just jump into a rocket ship and travel faster than the speed of light or close to a black hole or along the cosmic strings—those were the only ways physicists said one could time travel. But I kept searching and a couple years ago, I stumbled upon an article about a professor back East who had developed a hypothesis that stated light could bend the space time continuum into a loop in which a person could then travel forward in time. He was even working on building a real time machine. I was so excited. I had finally found a feasible way to get Kat back in time, and I immediately dropped the story I was in the process of writing and started Next Time I See You.

How much research is involved in writing your books? How did you go ABOUT researching the grieving process and common traits of a mass murderer in Next Time I See You.

I did a TON of research for this book, not only on time travel and quantum physics, but also on grieving and James Holmes, who I modeled my killer after. And I have to say, it was really hard. My brain is 100% creative and trying to make sense of the equations and technical terms of quantum physics would put my head in a spin in a matter of minutes! But the hardest part was researching Holmes and getting inside his head to make my killer real. It really affected me in not so good of ways reading and learning all that I did about him and I was so glad when I finished the book and could put that behind me.

Provide an overview of other books you have published.

I also have a fantasy trilogy out—The Chronicles of the Secret Prince. It’s about a young boy, Deston, who is lured into the mystical realm of Tir na-nÓg, where the fae reign. Merlyn the magician then persuades Deston to join the epic battle of the light VS the darkness. It’s a fun high fantasy with swords, battles, monsters, and a lot of King Arthur characters and references, because I’m a huge fan of the Arthurian legend. The three books in the trilogy are: Before the Full Moon Rises, Once Upon a Darker Time, and How Dark the Light Shines.

Do you have a favorite character from any of the books? Explain why.

Gosh, when I’m writing a book, that character is always my favorite. But I’m going to have to say that I really love Merlyn. He was also my favorite character in King Arthur, so that may have something to do with it. I didn’t like that he just rode away and disappeared in the Arthur legend and nothing more was ever said about him or what happened to him after. So I decided to bring him back in my books and let the world know just what did happen to Merlyn!

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

Oh my gosh—ALL the time! I’m not an outliner, so my characters totally write their own stories. It’s as much of an adventure for me to write it down, as it is for my readers to read. (though something that gets a little stressful when I don’t know how a character is going to get out of a situation they’ve put themselves into!)

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

Actually, I have and the first instance that comes to mind was a real shock to me. Someone reading Next Time I See You immediately took a disliking to Kat and thought she was a horrible person because she was going back in time to kill someone. This reader didn’t understand how broken Kat was and that the complicated grief she was going through affected her way of thinking. Kat never want to kill anyone and it tortured her to think about doing so, but she couldn’t see any other way to stop the mass shooting. And though Kat isn’t a real person, it bothered me that she was seen as a bad person, when I know she isn’t.

Do you have any other books planned?  If so, would you give an overview of what the book(s) are about?

I am going back to the book I was writing when I learned about the time machine. It’s an urban fantasy with three young adults, and it’s title is, Three. Since I’ve picked it back up, though, I’ve decided to change it up a bit, so I’m still in the process of getting it put together and don’t really have a full overview of it yet. But it’s going to involve an ancient alien race, pyramids, special powers, and a villain, of course, and that’s about all I can say for sure at this point.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I would love to know how to paint or draw. One of my sons is an amazing artist, though he doesn’t believe he is. But I love art and am in awe of those who can bring their imagination to life on a canvas—like my trilogy cover artist, Aria Keehn. She’s an amazing talent and I love her work.

What might we be surprised to learn about you?

I  didn’t read as a kid, other than what was required of me for school. I was too busy playing outside, riding my bike, spending my summers on my aunt’s farm with the animals and all the chores involved with that to read. I was in my thirties before the reading bug hit me and then it hit me HARD, and I couldn’t get enough. Still can’t get enough!

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Spending time with my kids. They’re all grown now and so I don’t have to be so much of a mother around them and can just enjoy them for the amazing people they have grown to be. Nothing brings me more pleasure.

You can contact M.J. Bell as follows:

Website

Facebook

Books by M.J. Bell can be purchased at Amazon. To purchase, click on the book cover below.

Chronicles of the Secret Prince (3 Book Series) by M. J. Bell

Next Time I See You by M. J. Bell

Book Review Next Time I See You by M.J. Bell

Next Time I See YouNext Time I See You by M J Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Next Time I See You by M.J. Bell is a contemporary science fiction, time travel story with elements of romance. It is a story of a young Colorado woman, Kat, whose life is shattered when the love of her life is senselessly killed in a mass murder. After more than a year, Kat has “complicated grief” and is struggling to get her life together. In a deja vous moment, she is strangely attracted to a young man, who she follows to a University of Colorado physics lecture where advances in a time machine are discussed. After that, she becomes obsessed with traveling back in time to stop the mass murderer from killing her boyfriend and the other victims in the heinous crime. When Kate finally finds the way to travel back in time, the suspense heightens. She only has a limited a time to stop the mass murderer. The tale takes unexpected twists and the ending will tug at your emotions.

Author M.J. Bell has masterfully crafted a story that is both suspenseful and poignant. It is obvious the author has done research on the grieving process and the common traits of a mass murderer. The story is told from first person perspective of Kat in the present, but then switches to third person in the past to introduce another character who aids her. The story is relevant to our modern times and shows the perspective of a person who has lost a loved one in the heart-breaking tragedy of a mass murder. It is rare that a book moves me like this one. It is thought-provoking and has a universal message that a person can survive a tragedy and still find love and meaning. It asks the age-old question as to whether events in life are fated or do we have the ability to change what happens to us.

I highly recommend this book to both adults and mature young adults who like the elements of science fiction and romance which are relevant for our times.

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The Labyrinthine Journey Available April 1

Exciting news! Australian Author Luciana Cavallaro is releasing The Labyrinthine Journey at 99 cents on October 1st.

 

eBooks can be purchased from: Amazon

For all other eBook formats: Smashwords

 

 

 

 

 

If you haven’t already joined Luciana Cavallero’s Facebook event, click VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH PARTY and join in the fun from around the world.

Chance to Win Prizes. Giveaways. Meet New Friends!

Join other authors of historical fiction and historical fantasy from around the globe. Check out the time when each author will be on Facebook helping Luciana launch her 2nd book in the Servant of the Gods series.

I’ll be on line at 7:00 p.m. Colorado time Oct 1st [9:00 a.m. Oct 2nd Perth Australia; 3:00 a.m. Oct 2nd London; 9:00 p.m. Oct 1  USA Eastern].

Follow Modern-Day Hero on The Labyrinthine Journey

Follow the modern-day hero and time traveler, Evan, as he continues his odyssey as Servant of the Gods in The Labyrinthine Journey. The quest to locate the sacred object adds pressure to the uneasy alliance between Evan and the Atlanteans. His inability to accept the world he’s in, and his constant battle with Zeus, both threaten to derail the expedition and his life.

Traversing the mountainous terrain of the Peloponnese and Corinthian Gulf to the centre of the spiritual world, Evan meets with Pythia, Oracle of Delphi. Her cryptic prophecy reveals much more than he expected; something that changes his concept of the ancient world and his former way of life.

Will Evan and his friends succeed in their quest to find the relics and stop the advent of Christianity?

Meet Luciana Cavallaro 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, likes to meander between contemporary life to the realms of mythology and history. Luciana has always been interested in Mythology and Ancient History but her passion wasn’t realised until seeing the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. From then on, she was inspired to write Historical Fantasy.

She has spent many lessons promoting literature and the merits of ancient history. Today, you will still find Luciana in the classroom, teaching ancient history and promoting literature. To keep up-to-date with her ramblings, ahem, that is meaningful discourse, subscribe to her mailing list at luccav.com.

JOIN THE CELEBRATION AT LUCIANA CAVALARRO’S  VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH PARTY!

Author Interview Paul Schumacher

INTRODUCTION

It is my pleasure to introduce Paul Schumacher, Colorado author of the debut novel, The Tattered Box. I first met Paul a couple years ago in a writing workshop sponsored by the Northern Colorado Writers and was moved by his heartfelt and poignant writing style in another story.

During the day, he works as an electrical engineer and at night, fits his writing into an active lifestyle with his wife, three children, and two cats. I’m honored that I had an opportunity to learn more about Paul and the background to his debut novel. Below is my interview of Paul.

Paul Schumacher Head Shot

Paul Schumacher, Author, The Tattered Box

INTERVIEW

Tell me about your latest book, The Tattered Box.

It’s a story about a grandson who travels back in time to hang out with his grandpa. Initially, he’s doubtful of his grandpa’s never-ending stories, and frankly doesn’t even believe some of them happened. But then he’s granted this wonderful opportunity to experience them firsthand. Through his experiences, he learns to love and appreciate his grandpa for who he really is. Much of the story is told through innocent items in a raggedy old box from his grandpa.

What inspired you to write a story about the relationship between a grandfather and grandson and the memories they share? Are these characters based on people you know?

The day before my father-in-law passed away, I was taking my then 13-year-old son to school. We were reminiscing about his grandpa, and he said something that really struck me. He wondered how cool it would be to somehow go back in time and hang out with his grandpa. Not only was his grandpa a fun-loving storyteller, he also loved his sports: baseball, bowling, golf, or anything with a ball. My son figured they’d be the best of friends, if only he was somehow granted that wish. Writing this book was one way to fulfill that.

Once I heard my son’s comment and started crafting a storyline in my head, I was hooked. I simply had to share it with the world. I started writing down many of my father-in-law’s stories and eventually fashioned them into a complete novel. Thus much of the book is based on real events. It became a not-so-gentle reminder to me (and hopefully others who read it) that time is short, and I need to learn to better appreciate my fleeting moments with others. Make the most of life! We never know how much time we have left.

Is there a special item in the tattered box that evoked a personal memory for you?

Probably the muddy ball. The story of the ball, which is told in the first chapter, is based almost entirely on a true story that I heard many times from my father-in-law. Every time I read that chapter, it’s like he’s sitting next to me telling me the story. The elaborate hand motions, the strong fluctuations in his voice, the glimmer in his eye as he reveals the punchline. I can see it all.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

I’ve heard so many wonderful stories from people who reminisce about their own grandparents. Most have such wonderful memories of getting to know loved ones who lived in an entirely different era. Like a complex jigsaw puzzle, attempting to decipher the life and times of someone you barely relate to. Many also had regrets: if only they’d asked more questions. If only they’d spent more time with them.

Specifically, one of my favorite feedbacks was from someone who had an elderly parent who lived far away. As she finished the book, she felt inspired to fly out and visit with her ailing father. Spending time with him while she still could. I felt honored that I played a role in that.

Are you currently working on another book? What are your projects for the near future?

My second novel is a story of secrets and redemption. The working title is I Wish I Had Known and is partly based on some of my own life experiences. It’s about a teenager who mentors some boys younger than him, and he also falls in love with a young woman along the way. But there’s a darker side. He needs to learn to forgive the drunk driver who killed his father, and others need to forgive him for his past missteps. I continued with the inter-generational aspect of The Tattered Box that I find so fascinating. I guarantee you’ll love the ending!

Are you an avid reader? Which books are your favorite ones? Which books inspire you?

I’ve always loved reading, and my list of books is always quite diverse. I read everything from classics to murder mysteries to Christian non-fiction. Lots of topics can capture my attention, and I always enjoy learning from the opinions and writings of others. As far as favorite books, the two that come to mind are A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Jesus I Never Knew. I laugh as I write this as those two books alone are very different, but they have both taught me (in their own unique way) to be a better person and writer.

What is your life like outside of writing?

My family is very important to me. We spend a lot of time doing fun stuff like golf, tennis, watching movies, playing games, or just hanging out. Of course, like all modern families, my kids are involved in their fair share of activities and sports, and I play the role of the proud spectator. My life isn’t about me, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I also fit in work when I can to pay for it all. I’m an electrical engineer by day, husband, father, and author by night.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

This might sound funny, but the first one that comes to mind was a sand wedge I received from my brother when I was a teenager. He filled a shoe box with sand, placed a ball on top, and included a ‘coupon’ for a sand wedge which I desperately wanted at the time. Maybe it was its uniqueness or its presentation, but that Christmas was one of my favorites.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I certainly don’t look like one, but I used to be an avid runner. I actually completed a marathon a long time ago, a badge of honor I’m darn proud of. I also used to bike a lot, and finished eight MS 150 bike tours (yes, they’re 150 miles).

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Writing. In my sunroom, on my deck, in a coffee shop. Wherever I find inspiration, that’s where I am. Writing is such a creative process and is such a dramatic shift from the analytical tasks I perform at work. A blank page with no rules on what to say next is pretty exciting to me.

CONTACT PAUL SCHUMACHER

You can contact Paul at the following sites:

Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

You can purchase his printed book and e-book at Amazon

Book Review: The Tattered Box

Book Review: The Tattered Box 

Below is my Goodreads book review: The Tattered Box by Paul Schumacher, a Colorado author.

The Tattered BoxThe Tattered Box by Paul Schumacher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Tattered Box by Paul Schumacher is a memorable coming of age story of John, a young man coming to grips that his own father left him when he was a young boy. However, his elderly grandfather Bill leaves him a tattered box full of items evoking memories of his past. After John is hit by a baseball and knocked unconscious, he mysteriously time travels to 1941 when he again meets his grandfather as a young man the same age as him. It is as if the past, present, and future join into one time. All of the items in the tattered box are still left intact at the beginning of John’s journey in the past. As he adjusts to the pre-WWII culture, he becomes friends with his grandfather whom he fondly calls Bill and shares the moments that the items in the tattered box represent. By learning more about his grandfather, John learns about himself and the importance that memories have for the future.

This is a beautifully written story that is multi-layered with rich symbolism. One of the more poignant scenes is when John and Bill observe an eagle protecting their helpless eaglets in the nest. John comments, “Their father would teach them everything he knew, then suddenly push them out of the nest, forcing them to flap their wings in one death-defying leap.” This is a pivotal scene that will tie into the heartfelt ending, leaving a visual memory that will forever be embedded in a reader’s mind. I highly recommend this book for the rich message it offers that moments of the past, present, and future co-exist between generations.

View all my reviews