WHOOMP! WHOOMP! WHOOMP! (4 Chapter Short Story)

Whoomp! Whoomp! Whoomp!

The Day the World Stopped Making Sense

by Nina Soden

Dedicated to Wayne and Tanja Miller

©2019 Nina Soden

Based on the character Lynne Loveless and the fictitious facts of the play BAMGILA written by Wayne Miller the leader of Evil Cheez Productions

CHAPTER 1

I’m sure you’ve heard the story of the tragedy that befell Southern Alabama on the day Bamgila made his way out of the bay. It was over twenty years ago, August 2019, and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

Thousands were killed, more were injured, and hundreds were left homeless as billions were reported in property damage. It was a miracle how the community came together, over the five years following the tragedy, and rebuilt the city from the ashes left in Bamgila’s wake.

In order to explain what happened, I first have to tell you how it was that I came to live in Southern Alabama. I wasn’t born there, nor did I choose to make Mobile, Alabama my home; it was forced upon me. The journey had started ten years before Bamgila’s invasion in the summer of 2009. My husband, David, moved me, and our then 4-year-old daughter, Darby, from our home in Northern Washington to the depths of Alabama.

David’s work was transferring him, whether I liked it or not. He had cheated and I had considered letting him go without us, but for Darby’s sake, I decided to give our marriage one more chance. I had hoped that a new start would do us both some good. Besides, I had learned that my best friend from high school, Susan Miller, now Susan Garrison, had moved down to Mobile, Alabama about fifteen years earlier after marrying her husband. I hadn’t seen her in over twenty years, but we still talked from time to time and of course, we kept in touch through social media. Susan was a very successful real estate agent, with her own firm and a wall full of awards. She helped us find a home, my dream home, with a wrap around porch and a backyard pool.

Susan’s husband, Gill, helped get me a job at WCHZ, a local radio station. I quickly made a name for myself at the station and my co-workers became my family. I worked as an anchor, along side Walsh Chandler, one of the world’s most conservative republicans. He made Rush Limbaugh look liberal. Walsh and I never really saw eye to eye, but I suppose our disagreements made for entertaining radio. Deep down, I always knew Walsh had a soft side. That night, in the basement of the station, Walsh showed his true colors. He proudly exited the closet and came out to all of us while declaring his love for his secret lover, Douglas. If only he hadn’t died that night, I think we would have become fast friends.

Working in media, you’re trained to hold your composure. Don’t show fear or emotion, that’s the number one rule. It’s to easy to evoke mass panic if the audience hears fear in your voice or see’s it in your eyes.

It’s hard… It’s hard trying to encourage others and spread hope when you know people all around you are dying, if not already dead.

That night, the world grieved for the loss of thousands, but in that basement, we grieved for the loss of our co-workers—our family.

Until you’re in a situation like the Bamgila Invasion, which is what the history books are now calling it, you can’t possibly understand the pain and suffering that comes with such a loss. The decisions I made, hoping to keep myself and those I loved alive, and the relationships lost in those endless moments of fear will forever haunt me.

CHAPTER 2

The day started like any other Tuesday, except instead of dropping Darby off at school on my way to work she came with me. She was suspended, three days for skipping class. I suppose I can’t blame her; kids tend to lash out when their feeling stress. Darby’s life had been turned upside down, not once but twice. The most recent being the summer before she started ninth grade when her father decided to leave, moving into a flat in the city with his twenty-three-year-old mistress, Bambi.

Bambi had been Darby’s nanny, up until she turned twelve, and had spent many family vacations and backyard BBQs with us over the eight years she worked for us. It turns out her benefits package was better than my own. She walked with a new condo, money in her pocket, and my husband at her side. I got the house, 75% custody of Darby, and no alimony because David lost his job a month before our divorce became finalized.

When I found out Gill was cheating on Susan, with Crystal one of the stations anchors, I lost it. I gave him an ultimatum, tell Susan before their next anniversary or I would. That gave him five and a half months to decide how to do it, but it didn’t take that long. About two months later, Susan had cornered him in the den, demanding to know the truth. In Gill ultimate wisdom, he confessed thinking he had no other choice. It turns out, Susan had no idea about the affair and only wanted to know how he could possibly spend $2500 on golf clubs without talking to her first. I’m only thankful that Susan didn’t have to live with that pain for too long.

The very next day, Bamgila came walking out of the bay. I won’t go into the gory details of how Susan died, I don’t want to relive those memories. Over twenty years later and her death is still just as painful today as it was then. In fact, I’m tearing up just thinking about her now. If you had known Susan; her passion for life, her extraordinary lust for excitement, and her never ending love of friends and family, you’d understand the gaping hole her death left in all of us.

CHAPTER 3

Darby and I made it into the station about seven o’clock, in the middle of Sunny Storm’s morning weather report. She was a twenty-something, brunet with dreams of one day becoming an actress. The problem she ran into wasn’t a lack of talent, no, it was that no one was looking for fresh talent in L.A. That’s lower Alabama to those of you who haven’t lived in the south, not to be mistaken with Los Angeles, California.

Sunny’s personality was much like her name, sunny. She was eager to learn and although many of the men in the office saw her as a ditz, I knew better. She was a social media wizard. She had over ten thousand followers on Instagram and double that on Twitter. I’m not sure why they were so fascinated by pictures of what she ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner which she posted on a daily basis. However, I will admit I often found myself getting lost in her ramblings whenever she posted videos.

Gill was always the first one in and the last one to leave at the end of the day. He greeted Darby and I moments after we walked in. I could tell something was wrong, but with Gill you never know if it’s a stubbed toe or a plane crash, everything is over the top with him. Either way, I had my own drama going on, trying to deal with Darby and her recent acts of defiance. By the time I got Darby out of the lobby and settled into a quiet place to nap before hitting the books, Gill was half way into his story about how Susan had pulled the truth out of him. I wont lie, I was glad she finally knew. I hated lying to her.

By the time Gill was done ranting, I had barely finished my first cup of coffee. Kenny Kramer, the WCHZ office intern, came bumbling into the lobby in a very Cosmo Kramar way. If you’ve ever seen Seinfeld, the early 1990’s sitcom, then you know what I mean. The irony that his mother named him after Michael Richard’s character Kramer is not lost on anyone who meets him.

Kenny proceeded to bombarded Gill and I in the lobby, going on and on about something he found amazing and world altering. It wasn’t until Gill turned on the television and the image of Bamgila filled the screen that I realized Kenny had no idea how right he really was. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t excited about Bamgila’s existence, not like Kenny was. No, I was terrified, much like the rest of the world.

In a matter of hours, less than twenty-four, Bamgila had appeared as if out of nowhere. He walked out of waters of Mobile Bay defying all laws of physics and whether maliciously or not, wreaked havoc across the state. Fire exploded from his mouth, vehicles and buildings were crushed under the weight of his mass, and lives… so many lives were sacrificed to his will. The whole city fell under his shadow. We were all at his mercy, but Bamgila showed no mercy.

CHAPTER 4

Skip Starke was the sports anchor back then. No one really took him to seriously, though. He presented himself like a has been football player who thought he should have been more. To be truthful, the only reason I even remember his name was because he had professed his feelings for me only thirty minutes before Bamgila took his life. He didn’t go without a fight though.

Charging toward the fire breathing monster, Skip managed to put two bullets right between the monster’s eyes. It didn’t make a difference, they barely penetrated the skin, but that isn’t what mattered. What mattered was that he had done it, bravely and selflessly, in an effort to save us all.

The weather girl, Sunny Storm, or rather Ethel Eugenia Furbish as we learned that night, was never found after the attack. Members of the National guard were sifting through bodies for months, identifying those they could and contacting family members if any were still living. Sunny’s body never turned up. There have been reports, over the years, that she had run out of the building, heading west, and never looked back. Some even say she kept running until she reached the Pacific Ocean. Considering she only owned four-inch heels, I find it hard to believe she could have run that far. I’m sure she called an uber as soon as she was out of the state, but you never know. Secretly, I hope she did make it all the way to California. I hope she changed her name, again, and took up acting out on the golden coast.

Crystal and Gill ended up throwing a huge party a few months after the event. They called it a funeral, to honor Susan’s memory, but it was a party. The only thing Susan would have liked about the party was all the alcohol. Everyone was drinking in her honor and somehow it felt like she was there too. I couldn’t stomach it, I still missed her too much. Life just wasn’t the same without my friend. I ended up leaving thirty minutes in, just after Crystal announced she was pregnant… with twins. Somehow that didn’t stop her from taking shot after shot of Gill’s expensive tequila thought.

Kenny, the WCHZ intern, who Walsh had hired must to my chagrin ended up being my hero. When Darby and I attempted to get away from Bamgila, I lost hold of her hand. She slipped right out of my fingers. I searched through the rubble for what felt like days trying to find her. Then, after hours of interrogation by General Stone of the U.S. Army, Kenny brought her back to me. I will forever be grateful to him.  In the twenty years since the incident, Kenny has continued with WCHZ, moving his way up the ranks until just five years ago, I heard he had been promoted to General Manager in charge of all programing. He has turned into a fine man and has done the station, and all of us old-timers, proud.

The high school my daughter attended, like most of the city, was demolished. She ended up completing the year, and her next three, through a virtual academy out of Texas. She graduated with honors and moved back to Washington to attend university. She came down every few months to visit, but once she got married, I decided it was time to pack up and move back up north too. I let go of my wrap around porch and backyard pool, in exchange for living just down the street from my two beautiful grandchildren; Sydney and Ethan. I wouldn’t give that up for all the world.

Whoomp! Whoomp! Whoomp! ©2019 Nina Soden

Author Interview ~ Michael J. Sahno

I’d like to welcome Michael J. Sahno, author of Whizzers, to my blog.

author

Michael was born in Bristol, CT, where he began writing stories at an early age. He obtained a Master of Arts in English from Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY at the age of 24, then went on to become a full-time professional writer in 2001. Whizzers is his fifth full-length work of fiction.

Alright, lets get to the good stuff!

1. What is your name and do you write under a pen name?
Mike Sahno. No pen name, but I do use my full name, Michael J. Sahno, on my book covers.
2. Where do you call home?
Tampa, Florida, USA
3. Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
I have been a full-time professional writer since 2001, so I’m rapidly approaching the point where I can’t imagine doing anything else ever again. I like what I do, and I’m very, very good at it. Lucky for me, as I’m not good at much of anything else!
4. What is your family like?
I’ve often referred to them as “my lovely dysfunctional family.” That’s accurate. They are dysfunctional, yet they are lovely.
5. If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
Middle class.
6. Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing?
Running, collecting music, attending concerts. Pretty boring.
7. What is your greatest dream?
Would it be too beauty pageant-ish to say “World peace?” How about just world tolerance and politeness?
8. What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
I’ve reached the age where I don’t wish to be any other kind of person than the one I am.
9. Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love?
Oh dear, I’m afraid so. One of many minor errors in judgment, which were followed by many major ones. Thank God for my current wife.
10. What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
In 2011, I developed tinnitus; broke my ankle; my first wife left me; and I had to have a parotidectomy surgery (don’t Google it; it’s gross). So, it wasn’t one thing, it was nearly an entire year of garbage.
11. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
Been writing since I was in high school. Inspired by so many: Kurt Vonnegut, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Balzac, Dickens…a slew of classics.
12. What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
My dream was to be a writer, and I’ve achieved it. I didn’t expect to have to work so hard on finding readers and making sales, but that’s evolved in a positive direction over time.
13. Who is your role model?
No one anybody reading this would know.
14. What is your greatest fear?
Being buried alive.
15. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books?
I prefer paperbacks, but I’ll take an e-book. I don’t listen to audiobooks at all, and hardcovers are too hard to handle for me.
16. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so, what was it?
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.
17. What is your opinion of novellas?
I think they’re fine. People have such short attention spans these days, and a novella is not as much of a commitment as a door stop book. My latest novel is just slightly longer than a novella.
18. Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
Probably not.
19. What is your favorite film based on a book?
Sophie’s Choice
20. What is your favorite book genre at the moment?
Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction
21. What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why?
The Hook by Kathleen Doler is at the top of the list—because I just bought it!
22. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
Just about to start the above mentioned ebook.
23. If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
Frank Zappa, Jerry Garcia, Gandhi & Martin Luther King, Jr. Come on, who wouldn’t want to be here that conversation?

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

1. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say?
Whizzers. A recovering alcoholic, Mike, discovers his six-year-old nephew, David, travels through time as a whizzer to bring comfort to those in need.
2. Is the above book part of a series?
No.
3. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?
My designer, Robin Vuchnich came up with a variety of concepts, and this one spoke to me.
4. Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?
A lot of classic jazz, ECM label stuff, ambient. Mostly instrumental so I’m not distracted by lyrics while writing.
5. How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
The subject matter of each is relevant to the titles. Nothing really weird or mysterious here.
6. Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it?
Not yet.
7. In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her?
The lead character is a thinly-disguised fictional version of yours truly. I’m really, really nice.
8. What is your character’s greatest strengths?
Empathy.
9. And what are his/her greatest weaknesses?
Empathy.
10. What are some of his/her favorite foods?
I don’t think Mike ever eats anything in the book. Probably Thai curry.
11. What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Courage.
12. Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
They will absolutely love him, because he’s so much me. If they don’t like him, they can buzz off.
13. What first gave you the idea for your latest book?
A very interesting conversation with someone else in recovery.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

1. What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
I am a plantser. First, I let the characters lead me down all sorts of dark alleyways. When I no longer have any choice, I do some planning.
2. Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?
Platform building and finding the right audience. I did this time all the things I wish I’d done initially.
3. Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?
Self-published/indie with my own publishing company (not Amazon-only).
4. If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?
I wanted to have complete creative control, and I don’t have any desire to give 15% of what I make to an agent.
5. What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? “Want to be writer?You’d better learn to dig ditches, too.”
6. Where can your readers follow you?
Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.

https://msahno.com/novels/

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B018PTN964

https://twitter.com/MikeSahno

https://www.facebook.com/

https://www.instagram.com/MikeSahno/

https://www.youtube.com/chanel/UCDX22D5ZSrNL5Bw3UOGBRfA/

INSERT BOOK COVER HERE

Whizzers Book Blurb: A recovering alcoholic, Mike, discovers his six-year-old nephew, David, travels through time as a whizzer to bring comfort to those in need. Mike soon finds himself along for the ride, and while he gets the opportunity to bring solace to some of his greatest heroes, he must also confront his own greatest demons.

OTHER BOOKS BY MICHAEL J. SAHNO

Click on the book title to purchase your copy!

Brother's hand

BROTHER’S HAND by Michael J. Sahno

“Engaging.” “Masterful.” “Radiant.”

Small town upstate New Yorker Jerome Brothers loses his hand in a tragic fall, then falls even harder for his physical therapist, Maria Santisia. Can even the most romantic one-armed man get the girl…if she doesn’t get his full cooperation in therapy?

If you like character-driven fiction written with humor, heart, and compassion, then you’ll love Sahno’s work. Discover the fictional world of Carverville, New York today.

*Mature audience. Contains scenes of violence, sexuality.

– “Sahno writes with humor, heart, compassion, and a radiant energy all his own.” – Liz Rosenberg, Beauty and Compassion
– “A deeply felt tale and one entirely worth the telling.” – Jay Lemming, Billy Maddox Takes His His Shot
– “Not only an engaging story, but a masterful piece of writing.” – Amazon review

* * * * * 

Miles

MILES OF FILES by Michael J. Sahno

“Riveting.” “Fascinating.” “Hilarious!”
In Miles of Files, the main character, Paul Panepinto, an employee at Flambet Insurance, learns that his manager Graham Woodcock is stealing from the company. Paul struggles with whether or not to report the boss at the risk of losing his position. Eventually, Graham fires Paul anyway and Paul is forced to pursue justice, but the story doesn’t end as expected. Readers move through a fast-paced adventure with many twists and turns, including high points, drama, comedy, and an edge that Sahno captures through his writing.

*Mature audience. Contains adult language and situations.

“This is great writing.” – Quill Ink and Parchment
“When it comes to prose, I recommend every writer read his work.” – Amazon Review
“A great author. You definitely don’t want to miss out on reading this one!” – Long and Short Reviews
“This novel is so well written, I was blown away.” – Amazon Review

* * * * *

Jana

JANA By Michael J. Sahno

“Lyrical.” “Evocative.” “Totally captivating.”
Because of her sexual orientation, Jana Odessi loses her child care job. It’s not until she is halfway across the country on a road trip with her partner that Jana realizes she must decide whether she has the strength to return home and fight for her right to be herself.

Jana appeals to the LGBT audience because it depicts the struggles of young gay people in the mid-1990s with humor and heart. Sahno’s second novel leads to a dramatic courtroom showdown that will leave you breathless.

If you like character-driven fiction written with humor, heart, and compassion, then you’ll love Sahno’s work. Discover Jana’s world today.

*Mature audience. Contains scenes of discrimination, homophobia.

“This book kept me turning pages.” – Amazon Review
“A journey of discovery.” – Amazon Review

Author Interview ~ Mansu Edwards

I’d like to welcome Mansu Edwards, co-author of Plush Couches, as a guest to my blog.

Let’s start by just getting to know you a little before we dive into Plush Couches and find out what your story is all about.

  • What is your name and do you write under a pen name? Omar Glenn. My pen name is Mansu Edwards
  • Where do you call home? Brooklyn
  • Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do? I’m a Brand Ambassador. It’s a freelance gig. I’m very good at what I do. It’s cool.
  • What is your family like? My father likes reading online news articles. My mother watches movies on the Internet.
  • If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like? My room was plastered with hip hop posters. I had the N.E.S. and S.N.E.S. consoles and video games. The apartment was cool. It was a typical apartment.
  • Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? I enjoy reading and visiting new places in New York City. Also, I enjoy watching videos, listening to music and podcasts on YouTube.
  • What is your greatest dream? To leave a positive and powerful legacy.
  • What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you? Nothing is stopping me. Right now, I’m transforming into the person God wants me to be.
  • Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love? My first love is food. I love to eat.
  • What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? I had an Asthma attack in the 2nd or 3rd grade. My Mother took me to the hospital.
  • What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing? When I was young, I loved school writing assignments. It gave me the opportunity to use my imagination. I’ve been writing for 10 plus years.
  • What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not? I was a big wrestling fan. I wanted to become a Wrestler. I discovered that Wrestling was scripted and I think that’s what swayed me away from pursuing it. I eventually replaced it with video games and Hip Hop.
  • Who is your role model? Jay-Z, M.F. Doom, Jay Electronica
  • What is your greatest fear? Not having enough time to achieve all my goals.
  • Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? Paperbacks.
  • Have you ever read a book more than once? If so, what was it? Yes. “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen
  • What is your opinion of novellas? I like an engaging story. A great story doesn’t have to be 200+ pages. Quality is key.
  • Have you ever read a book just based on its cover? Yes.
  • What is your favorite film based on a book? The Talented Mr. Ripley
  • What is your favorite book genre at the moment? I don’t have one.
  • What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why? “Outwitting The Devil” by Napoleon Hill. I like reading self-improvement books.
  • What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format? I’m reading, “How To Talk To Anyone At Work”. Paperback.
  • If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why? Nipsey Hussle, Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah, Bishop Nehru. I would invite them because they’re innovative risk takers. Our ideas can change the trajectory of the Art world.

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

  • What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say? The name of my most recent book is “Plush Couches”. On the way to a job interview, Rio Akuba experiences a critical and unsettling case of gas on the train after eating organic, Sweety Berry Bears.
  • Is the above book part of a series? No.
  • How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)? That’s a good question. I believe I left the idea up to the Illustrator.
  • Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)? I didn’t listen to music while writing “Plush Couches”.
  • How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? God gave me the title.
  • Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it? I don’t have a book trailer.
  • In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her? The main character is Rio. He’s unambitious and lives with his parents. Rio is the type who needs external motivation to take action.
  • What is your character’s greatest strengths? His greatest strength is emotionally connecting with people.
  • And what are his/her greatest weaknesses?  He’s too dependent. He doesn’t trust himself.
  • What are some of his/her favorite foods? He doesn’t have any favorite foods.
  • What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has? He’s observant and perceptive.
  • Will readers like or dislike this character, and why? Readers will like the character because he’s charismatic and witty.
  • What first gave you the idea for your latest book? God gave me the idea.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

  • What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter? I’m a Panster. I prefer writing the story instead of using an outline. It’s more enjoyable.
  • Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time? My challenge is selecting the best idea from several. I’m still looking for a solution to the problem.
  • Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company? I’m a self-published, indie author.
  • If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route? I spent an exorbitant amount of money with a Vanity Publisher which made me switch to self-publishing.
  • What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? Finish the story. It’s only a draft.
  • Where can your readers follow you? . www.twitter.com/Ohassa, Instagram: @mansuedwards , www.facebook.com/Ohassa

Scourge of the Fallen by W.M. Martin

Would you prefer to watch the video, instead of reading the review? CLICK HERE

Fallen

TITLE: Scourge of the Fallen
AUTHOR: W.M. Martin

RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4)

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:
Following the events of Shadow of Okeaous, the Fallen have been scattered. Whispers of the Hordes searching for something, around many of the Havens on Earth, has reached the ears of the Guardians. Meanwhile, the students of the Kindred Academy have been striving to further their knowledge of the incredible power lying dormant within themselves. With the aid of their Clan Leaders and an odd, new instructor, the dubious young Guardians-in-training will learn to harness exciting and dangerous new abilities. The worlds of the Kindred, no longer separated by the Veil, are equally unaware of an ancient darkness which has been steadily rising to drown out the light of the living; both Guardian and Fallen, alike.

Buy the book HERE!

MY 2 CENTS / THE CRITICAL POINTS:
WRITING (★★★★): Scourge of the Fallen is a self-published fantasy novel. I’ve said it before; fantasy isn’t my favorite genre and probably isn’t even in my top three favorite genres’. However, I read the first book in this series, Shadow of Okeaous and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I really enjoyed it. That meant I was destined to read book two.

Martin has a very energetic writing style. His books are filled with action, adventure, and leave you almost longing for a few peaceful quiet moments. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy this book, I did. It is a page turner with a lot going on and a lot of character arcs to follow.

One thing I really like about Martin’s writing is that he isn’t afraid to kill off his characters. Yes, some of the main characters die. I won’t tell you who, I think you need to read the book to find out, but prepare yourself.

I’m not sure how this book is marketing, but after reading it I would say it is good for Middle Grade – Young Adult readers. However, there are a number of times when Martin uses words in very obscure ways. Once example would be the word ‘purchase’ in the example below:

“Maggie could not get her swards out in front of herself enough to slice or to stab the large and imposing Fallen, so she kicked at him as hard as she could, but like her sward strike, her attack failed to find purchase.”

There were a number of references like that that I think some of the younger readers may not understand. The meanings are evident in the context of the story, but not always clear just by the typical meaning of the words being used.

STORY (★★★★): Scourge of the Fallen is the second book in Martin’s series and follows pretty closely behind where the first book left off. In book one, our main characters were 1st year students in the academy. In book two, they are second year student. They have already gone through a lot and have many battles and trials to face throughout book 2.

Martin gives us battle after battle and just when the reader is given a little hope that something good might happen, he throws another wrench in the story line.

CHARACTERS (★★★★): The reader is given numerous characters to follow in Scourge of the Fallen, maybe too many. There are so many storylines to follow and different characters to keep up with that I found myself loosing track at times. Not to mention the fact that many of the character (and location) names are difficult to pronounce, which makes it a bit harder to relate to and remember. I have the same issue when reading large epics like lord of the rings and Game of Thrones.

I only had two character-related issues with this story. The first was with Henry (human) who is introduced in Chapter 9. There was a lack of character development and nothing that really allowed the reader to connect with him much less care for him. Thus, when he died, we were left with an uneasy feeling of not really caring. It didn’t seem, to me, that Henry served much of a purpose or propelled the story along in any way. I think he could have been edited out of the story without a negative impact on the final storyline.

The second was Martin’s need to weaken our lead character, Maggie. Instead of Maggie being the hero at the end, which is what the series seems to be guiding us toward, another character (one we love to hate and love all at the same time) steps up and ends up being the hero. I like Lucy, I do, but it didn’t feel natural that she would be in the position she was in at the end, instead of Maggie. Just my opinion – I’d love to know yours after you read it. So, make sure you click on that link above to get your copy and then come back and tell me what you thought after you read it.

APPEARANCE (★★★★): The cover is great. Very eye catchy and inviting. It was designed by Anca Gabriela at BROSEDESIGNZ who I believe did a beautiful job of creating a cover that would inspire fantasy lovers to pick up the book.

FAVORITE QUOTES:
“That’s it! We’re all going to die. I knew it, we’re going to die. Thank you, Kylie, for delivering me to my death. Would anyone else like to say thanks to Kylie before we die?” ~ Klause

AUTHOR BIO: 

familyW. M. Martin is a writer of fantasy novels and a lover of his black lab, Willow. He’s also quite fond of his wife, Stephanie, and their four daughters. The stories he writes are inspired by his children. They are the first and last line of defense in regards to ensuring that his readers are certain to enjoy his works. He enjoys writing about female heroes, because his daughters are his.

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

ALSO BY W.M. Martin:

Shadow

Shadow of Okeaous
hen a teenage runaway named Maggie Bennett is drawn to the small but odd town of Thieves, she is unaware of what adventure awaits her. Maggie must journey to a world beyond the one she knows to undertake the trials and train to became a Guardian, all while an ancient and malefic presence is secretly haunting her every step, and it desires, more than anything, that which it once held. Journey along with Maggie as she learns about the world of the Veil, her place within it, and the Fallen hordes who want to watch it burn.

Author interview ~ Audrey N. Lewis

I am very excited to welcome Audrey N Lewis, author of Everybody has a story… These are ours to my blog. If you have questions for Audrey, that aren’t covered in the interview, please comment below and she will be sure to get you the answers. 

Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you…

  • What is your name and do you write under a pen name? My name is Audrey Lewis and I am very comfortable putting my own name on anything I write or create.
  • Where do you call home? I live in a Northern Chicago suburb, but any where I am with family or at one with nature is where I call home.
  • Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do? Besides writing, I refurnish and repurpose furniture with my family and I love doing it, I also am an artist/creator and while not perfect really do like what I do.
  • What is your family like? I have been married for 42 years and have 2 adult children whom I remain very close to.
  • If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like? I lived in a red-brick house that was always kept clean and I hated to get anything dirty or out-of-place.
  • Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? I am a collector, I find interesting and lonely pieces of furniture and or art and repurpose them. It’s a great feeling when I find pieces that call out to me to save them. I like photography and building fairy houses and creating.
  • What is your greatest dream? This is a very difficult question. If I am talking about writing it would be that my written words are read and that good discussion might arise. My global dream is rather trite. It would be for a world without hate.
  • What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you? I think that I am the kind of person I want to be, kind, sympathetic, compassionate and generous.
  • What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? Discovering the darkest sides of people I love.
  • What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing? I have been writing since I was 4 so it is a difficult question to answer.
  • What is your greatest fear? Losing the people I love.
  • Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? I personally like paperbacks or hard-cover there is nothing better than the feel of turning a page.
  • Have you ever read a book more than once? Many but the first one I can remember reading more than once was A Wrinkle in Time.
  • Have you ever read a book just based on its cover? Probably at one point or another, but can’t remember what it might have been.
  • What is your favorite film based on a book? To Kill A Mockingbird.
  • What is your favorite book genre at the moment? General fiction
  • What book are you reading at the moment? My grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry. And in what format? Paperback

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

  • What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say? My most recent book is a collection of short stories, “Everybody has a story… These are ours” that are full of everyday events with complex emotional issues that will have you questioning yourself.
  • Is the above book part of a series? It is not part of a series, however I am expanding the first story, “The Closet” and will see where it goes.
  • How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)? Creative Designs did the final book design using a photograph I had taken years ago that I felt was the title itself.
  • How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? It came to me, after all it was everybody’s story.
  • What first gave you the idea for your latest book? They were stories that followed me over the years, as if they needed a voice and I was chosen to give it to them.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

  • What is your writing style like? That is a difficult question, since it seems to change a bit with everything I write. I have just completed my first novella, a contemporary fiction “The Tapestry” and am working on a fantasy fiction as well as a literary fiction. Doing so many different styles at once somehow seems to keep me sane.
  • Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? I would make sure that I ALWAYS back up my writing!
  • Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company? I am a self-published / Indie author.
  • If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route? I think the fear of not completing a project helped make that decision for me.
  • Where can your readers follow you?
    https://www.audreynlewis.com/
    https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
    https://www.facebook.com/Everybody-has-a-Story-These-are-ours-by-Audrey-N-Lewis-951751178202620/

Week 4 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the fourth edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Writing Wednesday

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

• Read the writing prompt below,
• Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
• DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Kim, a character in my upcoming novel The Beast Within (This is not a selection from the novel, but part of my character development journal.)

Today’s writing prompt:

Come up with a mathematical formula to express something you know/believe.
(Example: Relaxing Saturday evening + Movie + Popcorn = Happiness)

I’m a hard worker, for the most part. I moved cross-country, on my own, at just seventeen. I’ve known what I want to do with my life since I was thirteen. Fashion isn’t an easy business to break into, but I did it. I have my own clothing line, my own boutique, and my spring line flew off the racks last season. Honestly, success is all about hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude.

Hard Work + Dedication + Positive Attitude = Success

Sure, things haven’t always been easy. In fact, lately they’ve been harder than normal. Trisha up a quit on me after that girl was found dead down the street, so now I’m training a new girl, Sophie. She seems nice though. She’s definitely a hard worker, but most days it seems like she’s daydreaming about other things. She’s from somewhere down south, Georgia or Alabama… some place like that. I don’t think she’ll last very long. If she does, I’ll be surprised. Don’t get me wrong, I like her. I do. I think we could actually turn out to be friends, but she’s kind of jumpy, she scares to easily.

© 2019 Nina Soden

* * * * *

Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with!

Come up with a mathematical formula to express something you know/believe. (Example: Relaxing Saturday evening + Movie + Popcorn = Happiness)

* * * * *

51gqQbGYyAL._SX398_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Are you working on a manuscript, but need a little help getting organized? Check out SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ~ An Indie Author Guide to Outlining and Planning Your Next Novel

Author Bullet Journal 8x10 Front Cover

 

Want help meeting your writing goals? Check out JUST WRITE: The Ultimate Author’s Bullet Journal

Self-Defense: How Prepared Are You?

Self-defense may seem a bit off topic for me, but as I research and plan for my next novel, self-defense strategies keep coming up. When I think of self-defense I always think of walking down a dark alley and what I would do if someone jumped out at me. The truth is self-defense is so much more than that.

self def.There are three different elements of self-defense:

Defending oneself from harm
Defending one’s property from harm
Defending the well-being of another person from harm

I’ve taken self-defense classes at different times throughout my life – the kind of classes that really kick your butt and makes you realize you have muscles in places you never knew. The thing that always amazes me is that typically the instructors of these courses don’t actually condone “fighting”. They teach you how to defend yourself “physically” but stress that the first and most important thing you want to do if you are ever in a position of physical danger for you or someone else is to GET AWAY!!! Put as much distance between you and the attacker as possible and as quickly as possible.

There have been studies showing that the amount of distance needed, in order to deter an attacker from continuing his/her attack is 15-18 feet. That’s right 15-18 feet. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but pull out your tape measure and take a look – it is a lot longer than you might think.

If you sign up for a self-defense class, you’ll do a lot of cardio and strength training, you’ll learn kicks, punches, even slaps to help protect yourself. These are all great things to learn and remember, and honestly I recommend taking a self-defense class to EVERYONE! You are never to big, to small, to old, or to young to learn to defend yourself. It is also important to remember – for those of you that have had training – reacting in a real life situation isn’t always as easy as reacting to an attack you know is coming in class.

MY REAL LIFE STORY…
During my freshman year in college – I won’t give dates – I had an apartment just off of campus. As in so close it was practically on campus. I was a Theatre Major, and my apartment building was directly across the parking lot from the theater building that I spend most of my nights in. That’s right, I would be there for rehearsals, set builds, etc. etc. etc. until long after the sun went down. My campus had on-site security that you could call up at any time. Someone would then come and walk you to your car if you were parked on campus. It was a safety measure. Well, me being the “tough-independent girl” that I was, I never used their services. I figured I could see my apartment building from the theater building and therefore, I didn’t want to waste the security guards time just to walk me fifty yards.

**Big Mistake**

Yes, I can admit that now. I was young and stupid, and full of pride. One night, as I was making my way home someone grabbed me from behind. Lucky for me – I was also a Military Science ROTC student, which meant I was actively involved in self-defense classes and training on a regular basis. My brain told me to get away, but he had ahold of my arm and wasn’t letting go. I turned and stepped into him – he wasn’t expecting me to get closer to him because most victims just struggle to get away – I grabbed his arms and used them for leverage as I lifted my knee as fast and as hard as I could. I connected directly with his groin and he went down, letting go of his grip on me as he fell. I turned and ran the rest of the way home as fast as I could.

You might be wondering what I learned from that experience. I’d love to say that it reaffirmed my “tough-independent girl” nature, but in reality it showed me the importance of never putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation no matter how tough you think you are. From that point on I always used the “Buddy System” and I made sure my friends did the same. I didn’t let my pride get in the way of my asking for help or asking to have someone walk with me. I never wanted to be seen as the girl who needed a man to protect her, but I also never wanted to be a victim of my pride. The situation above could have gone so much worse, I was very lucky that my instincts kicked in and I reacted the right way, but had he been ready for me to defend myself things could have been so much worse. I believe my guardian angel was watching over me that day, but I know that I can’t always rely on that.

I will leave you with a few things you can do TODAY to help protect yourself and your family:

– Have a safety plan at home –

Do you have a safety plan for emergencies in your house? If there is a fire do you and our family (including kids) know where to go and how to get there? Do you have a plan for if there is a break-in in the middle of the night, or if you come home and the door is open – Do your kids know what to do? If you answered NO to any of these questions – then you need to sit down, as a family, and put your plan in place.
Having a home safety plan and practicing what to do is important not just for adults but for children too. More often than not people panic in emergencies – if you know and practice your plan you are more likely to make it out of the situations safely.

– Have a safety plan for when you’re out of the house –

First off, if its late – you’re alone or with your kids – and you need something from the store make sure you park close to the building AND under a light. If that isn’t possible GO HOME! There is nothing so important that it can’t wait until tomorrow.

Second, you and your kids need to have a plan (A SAFETY WORD) for when you spot or sense danger. Yes, kids are kids and they will argue and bicker from time to time, however, in a store or parking lot isn’t the time to only focus on them and lose sight of your surroundings. Make sure you have established a ‘safety word’ that your kids know and understand to mean ‘Get close, hold hands, and be prepared to run.’ This is helpful for when your walking to your car and spot someone suspicious lurking close by. Once that safety word is said, everyone should know their role – be it grab hands, run to the car, run directly back to the store, etc. If you have a son that feels like he should be the protector make sure he understands that his role is one of the most important… instead of fighting, tell him to run back to the store and call for help. Whatever their role is – you as a parent need to remain calm and make sure they know what they are doing. Practice these procedures, when there is no danger, that way they feel comfortable in cases where there may be danger.

What other self-defense/safety tips do you and your family use? Have you taken self-defense classes and if so what did you find more valuable about the training? Share your tips and thoughts by commenting below!