The Odd and The Strange by Harvey Havel #giveaway

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The Odd and the Strange: A Collection of Very Short Fiction by Harvey Havel ~ Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Surrealist, Fabulist

A Collection of Very Short Fiction from a variety of genres, including but not limited to horror, science fiction, politics, and the surreal. These celebrated very short stories have been collected over a number of years and have been published in a variety of online e-zines and posted on various websites.

THE ODD AND THE STRANGE by Harvey Havel is a collection of urban tales that toe the line of reality.

The subtitle of Harvey Havel’s THE ODD AND THE STRANGE is A Collection of Very Short Fiction. A better one would be A Very Long Book of Normal-Sized Short Fiction. There are 89 stories in all, most 5-10 pages long (though a few stretch to nearly twenty), with unassuming titles like “Visitation,” “Girlfriend,” and “Daughter.” Though set in the real world, the stories tease reality with nameless characters–the candidate, the doctor, the Big Man–and fantastical occurrences, similar to the parables of Jorge Luis Borges (Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Spanish language literature).

Being a librarian, I was eager to read the story “The Librarian.” A young male librarian–unnamed, naturally–looks into a mirror in his office and sees not his reflection but a woman with “walnut hair luxuriously long and her skin as supple as a young girl’s.” He has seen her many times, and though the two cannot touch, they can talk. What do they talk about? The books he steals from the library and passes into the mirror for her to read. Eventually, his boss confronts the librarian over the missing books only to be told that the latter he gave them to his mirror-world girlfriend. To prove this claim, the librarian tries to summon the woman, and when she doesn’t appear, the librarian smashes the mirror. You can imagine the rest.

Some stories are less Borges and more Stephen Crane (author of The Red Badge of Courage): bleak, violent. Like “Lightning Love,” narrated by a wife whose husband changes into . . . something (the twist at the end is brilliant). Others are political fables, like “Santa Claus and Madam Secretary,” which makes Havel’s proclivities as clear as the image on a 98-inch TV. His style can be clunky–one woman’s breasts are described as “shaped like a queen’s”–and some endings are telegraphed. A few stories, like “Sex Toy,” are more like story fragments. Yet THE ODD AND THE STRANGE is quite an accomplishment: unusual, provocative, and honest.

Mixing the fabulism of Jorge Luis Borges with the bleakness of Stephen Crane, the tales contained in Harvey Havel’s THE ODD AND THE STRANGE draw the reader into a world they won’t soon forget.

~Anthony Aycock for IndieReader

**Get this book at 50% off at Smashwords and check out Harvey’s other books – a lot of them are FREE or on sale at Smashwords too!**

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Would you like a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card or an ebook of your choice from the author (1 winner each)? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Harvey Havel is a short-story writer and novelist.

His first novel, Noble McCloud, A Novel, was published in November of 1999. His second novel, The Imam, A Novel, was published in 2000.

Over the years of being a professional writer, Havel published his third novel, Freedom of Association. He worked on several other books and published his eighth novel, Charlie Zero’s Last-Ditch Attempt, and his ninth, The Orphan of Mecca, Book One, which was released several years ago. A full trilogy of this work had been completed a few years after Mr. Big is about a Black-American football player who deals with injury and institutionalized racism. This book was published in 2017. It’s his fifteenth book.

The Wild Gypsy of Arbor Hill is his sixteenth book, and his seventeenth is a non-fiction political essay about America’s current political crisis, written in 2019. He has just now published his eighteenth book, The Odd and The Strange: A Collection of Very Short Fiction.
Havel is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. He also taught writing and literature at the College of St. Rose in Albany as well as SUNY Albany.

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An interview with Author Harvey Havel:

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I went to a tiny college in Hartford, Connecticut.  In my sophomore year, I joined a fraternity.  In my senior year, there was a fraternity brother of mine named Jason Morfoot who told me this story about a group of guys who wrote poetry and literature all the time, smoked a lot of pot, dropped a lot of acid, and drove around in a psychedelic-painted bus with the Grateful Dead.

Once I heard this story, I asked Jason to tell it to me over and over again, probably to his chagrin.  I was so charmed by what the Beats did way back when that I said to myself, ‘Gee, maybe this writing thing is for me.’  Of course, it never turned out the way it turned out for them, but I never would have gone into writing had Jason not told me about the Beat Generation.  At the time, it sounded like they lived a fairy-tale life.  Perhaps they did.

Where were you born/grew up at?

I was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1971.  I immigrated to the United States when I was just a newborn.  My family first moved to Buffalo, New York, and over the years, we found ourselves in New York City by the mid-1970s.  Back then, New York City was in dire straits – high crime, intense poverty, drugs, etc.  I still can’t believe how my mother got through it all, living in the toughest neighborhood in the city at the time, which was then known as Alphabet City, or what is currently known as the Lower East Side.  God must have been with her the entire time.  I am really amazed at how she persevered. She was incredible woman, even though our relationship was not.

What inspired you to write this book?

Interestingly enough, these stories were somehow stored on my computer for several years before I accidently found them in a hidden file on my hard drive.  I discovered nearly ninety short stories that I forgotten I had ever written.  It turns out that nearly seven or eight years ago, the poet, John Allen of Albany, New York, had asked me to submit stories for his website, The New Surrealist Institute, which is now defunct.  This site had really been thriving, and a core group of authors had submitted avidly to it.  It was also quite popular with many readers.  When the website went offline, I had simply forgotten about the stories.  When I found them, I just knew I had to compile them into a book.

I wouldn’t say that anything in particular inspired me to write these stories, though.  The ideas came to me out of nowhere, which is why it took a lot of effort to construct them.  Some of the political stories were inspired by the 2016 elections, for instance.  There’s a science fiction story that is more a personal response to my past relationships with friends who have now grown up to do amazing things with their lives.  A couple stories are tributes to old friends of mine who had passed on: a painter friend of mine who had committed suicide in the 1990s and also a Black-American bluegrass musician who had recently passed away a couple of years ago.  But I can’t say exactly how I got the ideas for them, which is strange.  They are very diverse and, I hope, fun to read.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Right now, I am working on a book about September 11, 2001, when the Word Trade Center in New York was hit by a terrorist attack.  I haven’t been working on the project consistently as of late, though, but I hope to have it done in a couple of years.  Sometimes, life gets in the way of writing every day, which is something I made sure to do.  But I really do want the September 11th book to be my finest publication, so it is always on my mind, and when I am working on it, I am working really hard.

Who designed your book covers?

I have to do everything on the cheap, as I have self-published for a long time.  I usually find ready-made covers on the web, purchase them, and use them for my book covers.  I use a site called www.selfpubbookcovers.com.  There’s a guy named Rob there who runs the show, and he has always been very responsive and helpful.  He has hundreds of covers to choose from.  Hiring designers for the job is just way too expensive for me.  Ready-made covers from great designers are a great way to package my books.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Never give up!  Never give up!  Never give up!

How long have you been writing?

I have been a professional writer for nearly 30 years without much success.  While I have published 18 books, it seems that it is hard to attract the public to read them.  I am definitely not able to make a living off of any of these books.  Instead, I have a fixed income every month from a variety of sources, including Social Security Disability, that has sustained me for all of these years.  While I am very happy to see all of my peers succeed and do very well in life, it has been equally as difficult to remain within the same income bracket for so long.  But then again, if you are concerned about the money, writing is definitely not the right career path to choose, or so is my experience.

Lately, I have been taking it easier.  I hope to continue writing for the rest of my years, but I do admit that I am a bit tired of always being broke and pinching pennies all the time.  That is the hard part.  But somehow, I have made it through, and my books are all out there, should anyone find them.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

I invest a lot in the research process.  After a general story idea comes to mind, I refine that idea into a plot outline.  Once that is done, I target those parts of the plot that I know nothing of. 

For instance, I wrote a book about football.  While I had known about football from playing it in my youth, I needed to investigate how professional players practice, not generally, but specifically.  So, with that example in mind, I had to go to the library, or surf the internet, to find books that detailed the drills that professional coaches used in their practices.  I took this information and then put them on notecards.  Then, I added this information to the plot outline and created a chapter-by-chapter outline with the research included in every respective chapter.  That’s how it has worked for me thus far.

Also, I find it extremely important to include a bibliography at the back of the book, should I use research.  That way, the writing is based not only on my imagination, but also cold, hard facts.  One should always cite one’s sources anyway.  Plus, I have found it really fun doing the research.  It’s incredible how much I have learned about a variety of subjects over the years.  When writing historical fiction especially, research is always key.

What do you think about the current publishing market?

Not much.  But then again, I haven’t read much of what is out there.

Pen or type writer or computer?

I usually hand-write a manuscript, revise it on paper, and then I type it into the computer, constantly revising it. I then print out the manuscript and revise it again.  But I usually do this chapter-by-chapter, not the entire manuscript at once.  I find it easier to break it down into manageable parts.

I used to hand-write it and then use a typewriter, but luckily for everyone, the personal computer came along.

Advice they would give new authors?

Definitely do not put all of your eggs in the one basket of writing.  If you are going to write or edit for a job, or work as a journalist for a decent salary, that’s fine.  But please do not make the same mistake I had made by banking it all on writing fiction novels at an early age.  Even though I have developed as a writer through hardship, I don’t think it was really all that worth it. 

If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen a career with a good salary, so that I could have afforded a good car, attracted a nice girlfriend, afforded a simple house, and did what most of my peers have done, or at least developed how most people are portrayed in the media of today.  I wouldn’t have had such a cavalier ‘all or none’ attitude about a becoming a writer. 

Betting it all on the one hand and winning at it is the stuff of dreams and fantasy and not reality.  I am definitely not saying that it won’t happen, though, because a new author definitely could hit the big time with a book or a number of books.  But if you find yourself broke and on the street in the freezing cold, as I have witnessed in every city I have lived in, you should really stop and reassess where you are heading.  In my opinion, it is not possible to write under conditions of abject poverty for too long.  Better to get a roof over your head before writing that next line.

I am happy to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about The Odd and The Strange by Harvey Havel.

UNIQUE ~ Book Tour and Giveaway

Ordinary (Ordinary Series Book 1) by Starr Z. Davies
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Dystopian

Fans of Powerless, The Testing, Hunger Games and the Maze Runner will crave this world of iniquitous secrets, intrigue, and desire to find a place in society.

Divinic. Somatic. Psionic. Naturalist. Who will you be?

Having a superpower is ordinary. Your Power determines your job, social class, and future success.

But Ugene doesn’t have a Power. The only thing special about him is that he isn’t special at all. Ugene is Powerless.

So when the most prominent biomedical research company in the city offers Ugene a solution, he jumps at the possibility to be ordinary. All he has to do is agree to allow them to use him in their research. But the longer he stays at the research facility, the more he realizes something isn’t right.

Friendships are forged. Trust is broken built and broken. And everything Ugene thought he understood and believed is called into question.

Who can Ugene trust in his search for answers? What is he willing to sacrifice for Powers?

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Unique (Ordinary Series Book 2) by Starr Z. Davies
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Dystopian

He lost everything. His dad, his best friend, and the woman he loves.

Ugene and the other test subjects escaped Paragon. They thought they were finally safe. But the battle for freedom is far from over.

When a rouge group calling themselves the Protectorate offers to help Ugene, he worries that his friends are falling into another dangerous trap. The struggle for freedom becomes a desperate fight for survival. Ugene is determined to stand up for what’s right and save the oppressed citizens of Elpis from persecution by Paragon and the Directorate.

The deeper Ugene digs, the more he uncovers about the Directorate’s sinister secrets, the Protectorate’s true goals . . . and the dangerous game he is about to play.

It’s time for the  deception  to end. It’s time for the truth to finally come to the surface. And it’s time for everyone to finally learn that being Powerless isn’t weakness.

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Would you like a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!


STARR Z. DAVIES is a Midwesterner at heart, and lives in Wisconsin with her husband and kids. From a young age, Starr has been obsessed with superheroes like Batman and Captain America, which inspired her novel, ORDINARY. If Starr had a superpower, she would be an Empath, because she is an emotional sponge and easily relates to how others feel.

 While pursuing a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin, Starr gained a reputation as the “Character Assassin” because she has a habit of utterly destroying her characters both emotionally and physically.

In her free time, Starr loves watching Doctor Who or anything with superheroes, reading books (duh!), writing about her favorite fantasy stories (Song of Ice and Fire, Mistborn, The Wheel of Time), and staring out the window as she dreams up more stories. Oh, and sometimes she steps out the door.

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5  F U N  F A C T S  A B O U T  S T A R R Z . D A V I E S

1. Starr is short for Starrburst, her given Native American name.

2. Starr is a big fan of cheesy puns and 5th grade humor and will often laugh at her own jokes before anyone else. Ex: What’s ET short for? Cuz he’s got small legs!

3. Starr’s favorite quote is from Batman Begins (of course, a superhero!): “It’s not who you are, but what you do that defines you.” She tries to live by this ideology.

4. Starr loves to fantasize about who would star in a film as her characters. In fact, she sometimes “casts” actors on her social media feeds by posting pictures. After seeing Detective Pikachu, no one else but Justice Smith would satisfy her as Ugene.

5. If she were to choose a superhero whose personality is most like her own, Starr would be Spiderman—nerdy, awkward, and witty, but always eager to do the right thing to help others.

I’m excited to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about Ordinary by Starr Z. Davies

Inception ~ Movie Review

Title: Inception (2010)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Screenplay Writer: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, and Ken Watanabe

Genre(s): Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi

Runtime: 2 hours 28 minutes

Rating: PG-13

IMDB STORY LINE:

Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible, inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea, but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming. Written by Warner Bros

Now let’s talk about the movie… That’s why we are here, right?

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
Writing/Story:★★★★★ | Cinematography:★★★★★ | Character(s)/Acting:★★★★★

Writing/Story: ★★★★★

Nolan not only wrote a script that is incredibly brilliant and unlike anything else out there, but then he went and directed it to perfection. There are so many plot twists and story arcs that you could easily get lost in this story and yet, it is filmed in such a way that you know exactly where you are and who’s dream you are in at every moment.

Watch this film with an open mind and just give in to the adventure and suspend your disbelief. For as long as the film is (2hrs. and 28 minutes) it doesn’t feel that long at all.

Casablanca (1942), Chinatown (1974), The Usual Suspects (1995), Vertigo (1958), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), and of course Citizen Kan (1941) have all been deemed the most perfect scripts of all time. Now, whether you agree with that list or not no skin off my back. My point is, I would argue that Inception is damn near perfect as well and should be included on the list.

Christopher Nolan has given us Memento, The Dark Knight, Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk, and so many others. The man is a fantastic writer, an amazing director, and at his core an artist.

Cinematography ★★★★★

How they did so many amazing shots, I have no idea. The fight scene in the spinning hallway… WOW. I understand how it works, having a background in theatre and film, but to pull it off as flawlessly as they did is unbelievable.

Inception was nominated for a total of 8 Oscars, but only won 4: Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects. I agree with all of these wins, but do feel the movie still got robbed as it should have won more!

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

This film was packed with amazing, talented actors! It was so much fun to watch them dig into their characters and let the unusual plot twists take them for a ride. Their performances sucked you in and kept you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

I won’t rant about this, but I have to share my two cents… Leonardo DiCaprio deserved an academy award for this film. He was robbed.

FUN FACTS:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt performed all but one of his own stunts during the fight scene in the spinning hallway.

Christopher Nolan has said that the snow-based third-level dream was inspired by his favorite James bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Leonardo DiCaprio was writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan’s and producer Emma Thomas’ only choice for the role of Cobb.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE:

“You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.” ~ Eames

“Dreams feel real while we’re in them. It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.” ~ Cobb

TO SUM IT UP:

Inception was made 10 years ago, I’m sure you’ve seen it by now. However, if on the off chance that you haven’t, I highly recommend this film. I don’t give a full 5 starts to just any film and honestly, I’d give this film a much higher star-rating if I could, but 10 out of 5 just doesn’t sound right.

So, have you seen Inception yet? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If not, I highly recommend seeing it for yourself and forming your own opinion.


Gemini Man ~ Movie Review

Title: Gemini Man (2019)

Director: Ang Lee

Screenplay Writer: David Benioff, Billy Ray, & Darren Lemke

Stars: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong

Genre(s): Action | Drama | Sci-Fi

Runtime: 1 hour 57 minutes | Rating: PG-13

IMDB STORY LINE:

A retiring assassin, Henry Brogan, finds himself pursued by a mysterious killer that can predict his every move. Discovering that he’s being hunted by a younger clone of himself, Henry needs to find out why he’s being targeted and who the creator is. ~ Written by Bixy Gello

Now let’s talk about the movie… That’s why we are here, right?

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★★★ (4.75 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★★★ | Cinematography:  ★★★★★ | Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★ | CG: ★★★★

Writing/Story: ★★★★★

I loved this story. The whole concept of the assassin, created as a clone, sent to kill the man he was created after. WOW! The script was fantastic, fun, and just packed with action. There were just enough twists and turns to keep me on the edge of my seat. I loved it!

Cinematography ★★★★★

With all the action shots, this one could have tanked, but it was great. There were some beautiful shots, but that isn’t really what you watch a movie like this for. For me, it was all about the action and the fight sequences and the camera work in these scenes was magically. As a viewer, you really feel like you’re right there in the thick of it.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★★★

This film features an amazing cast. With Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong… WOW! They were all fantastic. I loved every second and was sucked in from the very beginning. Usually, when I watch super stars like Will Smith, my mind wanders and I think about other roles they’ve played. Not with this film. Will Smith instantly became Henry Brogan and there was no looking back.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead was perfect as Danny. She was completely natural as the touch girl but also had a very appealing innocence to her. I thought she did a great job and the subtle chemistry between her character and Will Smith’s character was charming.

Computer Graphics (CG): ★★★★

Sure, you can tell the Will Smith clone is CG… of course he is, Will Smith can’t be two different ages at the same time. However, I think they did a fantastic job of making him look as real as possible. As with all CG characters, I find the mouths never are quite natural, but it didn’t distract from the film at all.

FUN FACTS:

* The original script was written for Clint Eastwood.
* Johnny Depp turned down the film in 2012.
* From 2003 to 2010 Nicolas Cage was attached to this project, but he convinced Jerry Bruckheimer to work on The Sorcerer's Apprentice instead.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“You can tell me now or you can tell me in five minutes without all your teeth.” ~ Danny Zakarweski

TO SUM IT UP:

WATCH THIS FILM!!! Seriously, if you haven’t seen Gemini Man, I highly recommend it, but don’t take my word for it, see it for yourself and form you own opinion.

Have you seen Gemini Man yet? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


Spider-Man: Far From Home (Review)

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

Title: Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Director: Jon Watts
Writers: Chris McKenna and Eric Sommers
Based on the Marvel Comic by: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Stars: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, and Jacob Batalon
Genre(s): Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Runtime: 129 minutes
Rated: PG-13

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW [Overall: ★★★★★ (4.5)]
Writing: ★★★★★ Cinematography: ★★★★★ Story: ★★★★ Acting: ★★★★

STORYLINE:

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.

Read my review of Avengers: Endgame HERE!

Watch my video review of Avengers: Endgame: HERE!

MY 2 CENTS:

Writing: ★★★★★ Spider-Man Far From Home is an action packed follow-up to the previous Spider-Man Homecoming that takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Peter Parker is back after the snap – back from the 5-year blip that made half the world’s population disappear and he just wants to be a normal kid. Unfortunately, his is quickly called into action by Nick Fury who manages to hijack Peter’s class trip bringing Peter and his friends directly in the middle of all the action and danger.

Cinematography:  ★★★★★ There are some extremely well-done shots in this movie. The fast-paced movements were edited perfectly. The awesome part… and this is a SPOILER… we get to see it as if we are backstage on a movie set. SO COOL!!!

Story: ★★★★ The story telling in Spider-Man Far From Home is like no other superhero movie that I’ve seen. It plays games with not only Peter Parkers perception of reality, but that of the viewing audience as well. This movie is all about escape, wonder, adventure, heroism, drama, characters. This story dovetails off of Endgame and shows us what the world is like today after everything that happened in Endgame.    

This has to be one of my favorite Spider-Man movies ever made. I think one of the main reasons I really enjoyed this story, and the movies in which Tom Holland has played Spider-Man, is because we actually get to see Spider-Man as a kid learning what it means to take on the responsibility of becoming a superhero.

They gave us a mid-credit scene that is incredible… it changes everything you thought you knew about what would be next for Spider-Man. SPOILER – It turns things around and sets up Spider-Man to be the bad guy. Then, they take it one step further and spill his identity to the world by broadcasting his name and photo. So, make sure you stay to watch it!

Acting: ★★★★ Tom Holland is my Spider-Man! He feels completely natural in this role and does a great job.

I loved that they brought in Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) because we only got a little glimpse of him at the end of End Game. Samuel L Jackson just oozes control and he plays the part of Nick Fury so well.

Jake Gyllenhaal playing Quentin Beck (Mysterio) does a fantastic job… You believe him as this hero fighting this massive enemy. You want him to win… you want him to take Peter Parker under his wing, now that Iron Man is gone, and teach him everything he knows… SPOILER – WRONG!!! He is so good a making you believe he is the good guy and it just rips you apart when you find out you were wrong about him the whole time.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“I just want to go on my trip with my friends. Europe doesn’t really need a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.” ~ Peter Parker

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

View the Official Trailer Below!


Avengers: End Game (2019) Review:

Avengers: End Game (2019) Trailer:


Author Interview – Arlene Lagos

Author ArleneArlene Lagos Author of Beyond EarthBEappcover

  • What is your name and where do you call home? My name is Arlene Lagos and I live in Medway, MA
  • Do you have a pen name? I don’t have a pen name
  • 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? “Beyond Earth” just launched two weeks ago. It’s a young adult science-fiction fantasy novella
  • Is the above book part of a series? Yes, it is Book I in the Beyond Earth Series. Book II “Beyond Planets” will be launching in August.
  • What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing? I’ve been writing my whole life, mostly poems, plays and short stories. When I moved to Charleston I began writing a tv pilot and a few short films. I didn’t write my first novel until two years ago and it was “Beyond Earth”.
  • How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)? I was looking for a model for my cover and a friend of mine suggested her friend’s daughter. The minute I saw a picture of her (Rayn) I knew she was the one to play the character. My good friend Angela Cannistraro took the photos of both the cover and of my headshot. Then my boss Almont Green designed the cover for me!
  • Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)? There’s always Aerosmith playing in the background. In fact, you’ll find a lot of Aerosmith references throughout the book as they are my favorite band still.
  • How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? I went through so many different titles. Then finally I asked some teenagers I used to teach theatre too and they said, “keep it simple, how about just calling it Beyond Earth?”
  • Do you have a book trailer? If so where can we watch it? Yes, I have a book trailer, the URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2IyOtVOyug

  • Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? I like the convenience of an eBook, but nothing beats holding a book in your hands and that new book smell of course!!!!
  • Are you a self-published/Indie author? Yes!
  • If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route? The industry is so crazy right now. I didn’t want to spend the next year of my life begging people to read a query when I could spend that time begging readers to read my book!  I think people don’t realize how much they really can do on their own. It’s a lot of hard work and you need to be committed; but if you are, you’ll see the fruits of your labour.
  • Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it? “The Alchemist” and “Tipping Point”. I’ve read them both several times. “The Alchemist” moves me and the “Tipping Point” really makes me think.
  • What is your opinion of novellas? I think every new author should consider starting with a novella. All the great writers of the past started that way. In my opinion, readers are more likely to take a chance on you if it’s a quick and easy read with low prices and little investment time. Then if they like you, they’ll come back for more.
  • Have you ever read a book just based on its cover? Absolutely. Covers are very important in this highly visual world!  That’s why I put so much time and energy into my cover. I think that aspect is often overlooked and that’s another reason I self-published. I wanted more creative control.
  • What is your favorite film based on a book? That’s a tough one. My first instinct is to say “Hunger Games”, it was really done well.
  • What is your favorite book genre at the moment? I love to write Sci-Fi but I love to read Historical Fiction.
  • What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why? “30 Pieces of Silver” was recommended to me by my brother-in-law and we both always enjoy the same books so if he is loving it then I know I will. I also want to read “Creatura” by Nely Cab and “Inferno” by Dan Brown.
  • What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format? I actually just finished “Wanted: Wife” by Gwen Jones on my nook and plan on starting “Creatura” next.
  • If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why? Johnny Depp because he’s a creative genius, Steven Tyler because he’s a musical genius, Joss Whedon because he’s a creative genius and because he believes in writing strong female characters and I want him to direct “Beyond Earth” as a feature film, and finally Alice Paul who of course is no longer with us but she was a strong voice in the Women’s Suffrage Movement and a key player in us winning our right to vote. I wish I could’ve met her.
  • What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? Keep writing.
  • Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to reading & writing? I am a karaoke junkie (I love to sing) and I also love to dance although I don’t move quite as well as I used too.
  • Where can your readers follow you? See below!

Blog: http://www.beyondearthseries.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BeyondEarthSeries

Goodreads author pagehttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5819544.Arlene_Lagos

Twitter: BeyondEarth_

LinkedInhttp://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=32317937&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Arlene-Lagos/e/B00DH829PQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Createspacehttps://www.createspace.com/4198095

YouTube Book Trailerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2IyOtVOyug