Bound: Book 1 in The Crystor Series

“The characters in this book are well written and make the story come alive.” KrissyJ82

Amazon Kindle US: BOUND (#1 in The Crystor Series)

Amazon Kindle UK: BOUND (#1 in The Crystor Series)

Author: C. K. Bryant
Publisher: Dragonfly Press; First edition (October 8, 2011)
Print Length: 346 pages

Blood, death, torture, heartbreak and fear.  The young adult novel ‘Bound’ offers it all.

Kira’s life turn hectic when she joins her best friend Lydia for a walk through the forest for a photographic assignment, and they’re suddenly attacked.  When Lydia shapeshifts into someone and something Kira has never seen or believed possible, Kira’s first instinct is to run.  But how can she?  This is her best friends.

Even upon learning that her best friend is from another world (time or place?), Kira is loyal and will always protect and be Lydia’s best friend and the feeling is returned ten fold.

Octavion, Lydia’s older brother, is bent on a promise to keep his little sister safe at all costs, including sacrifice of his own life or those he loves if it came down to it.  Unfortunate love in these times tears Octavion’s heart in two as he protects his sister and Kira.  The shapeshifter, cursed by family blood line of Royals has his own tricks too and not to mention his pet companion, a snow leopard.

When scouts finally find Lydia on earth her entwined kindred spirit is revealed as the form takes Lydia’s body over and fights with precision and determination.  Shandira, the eldest sister, the traitor and death dealer will stop at nothing to claim the throne.  As she enters our world pain, suffering, blood and death shall flow with the forever cursed Dark Lords by her side.

Now, Kira’s loyalty and stubbornness may be the only thing that saves her, and her shapeshifter friends.

Amazon Kindle US: BOUND (#1 in The Crystor Series)

Amazon Kindle UK: BOUND (#1 in The Crystor Series)


Shards of the Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder

“The Brothers Grimm meets Lord of the Rings.” –Patrick Thomas, author of The Murphy’s Lore series

Amazon Kindle US:Shards Of The Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder

Amazon Kindle UK:Shards Of The Glass Slipper: Queen Cinder

Author: Roy A. Mauritsen
Publisher: Padwolf Publishing Inc. (April 16, 2012)
Print Length: 320 pages

Shards of a glass slipper pushes beyond the boundaries of alternative history.  But not our history, the history of fairy tales and fables. Well actually it creates a whole new world.  I was amazed to find CGI pictures of characters and scenery throughout the Kindle Version.

In the beginning we are taken to a secluded hut on a beach inhabited by a crippled young woman.  A young woman who hides a secret and her identity from the world.  Yet her disability has far from broken her will and spirit which is shown when she attempts to rescue a shipwrecked soul.

The scene shifts to a travelling pair, Patience and Hamelin, who are on a journey to deliver the shards of the much fabled glass slippers to the grave of Cinderella’s mother. Their travels are interrupted at the scene of the grave and both travelers, and they are thrown into the battle if tyranny, rebellion, and self-doubt.

Throughout the novel, we meet many characters from our childhood stories, with a whole new venture in the after-times of the stories we once known.  Hansel and Gretel turned witch hunters, Goldie Locks travels with her three furry companions, Snow White commands the rebellious army of dwarves battling against Queen Cinderella who has been corrupted with power.  Plus many more characters and sly yet quirky hints and mentions.

As the Frog Prince commands Queen Cinders army they also are searching for powerful artefacts in which they can restore the magic back to its full capacity.  In the process, they break an ancient treaty and the evil army and its leaders are faced with a whole new threat on the horizon.

I have to say the book is mostly ‘believable’, with the exception of the characters and creatures from An End World. Though many characters have already been pre-developed,  we find ourselves reading the development of Patience and  Hamelin as they find themselves adapting to their new lives. Thus being said we also follow the changes of the other predominant characters as challenges, heart ache, old and new love are thrusted upon them.

John The Aussie Interviews Jessica McHugh

Interviewer: John The Aussie

Author: JessicaMcHugh, writer of Rabbits in the Garden

I was recently suggested to read a book by an author friend of mine (Because I’m in the know and all).  “Jessica has been around for a few years now and is getting quite popular.  Listen if you don’t like her book, delete it from you kindle and ignore my suggestions.  If ya like it, you may prefer to get into her alternate history and fantasy novels.”

So obviously I took his sketchy advice, downloaded it to kindle and read it.  At first I was honestly wondering what I was reading without checking what the genre was, who the author was or even what the book was about… I was nearly ready to kick the referer to the curb “This barstard sent me a soap opera book!”  Well that was until the main character beat some rabbit to death with her hare bare hands, walked into her cellar and later woke up to find herself at the steps to a mental asylum (paraphrased).

All of a sudden I am thrown into a world of psychosis, murder, sex, affairs and MORE murder.  I didn’t put the book down, and I found it a relatively easy to read.

So I got onto the author and after much debating on which time suited us both, being on opposite ends of the world, we finally caught a moment where we both could catch up for some coffee via chat…

: G’day Jessica. Thanks for giving me the oppurtunity for this interview. I was recently recommended to purchase your book ‘Rabbits In The Garden’ and I must say, it was a whole new genre for me to break into. It was a real page turner.

Avery Norton, the twelve year old girl in which was accused of multiple murders and sent to an asylum, how did you create such a victimized character?

Jessica McHugh: Thank you so much for this opportunity, John. I’m so happy you enjoyed the story.

The story and most of the characters in “Rabbits in the Garden,” came from two distinct places. The first was a story I started writing when I was 21. That is where the “rabbits in the garden” storyline originated, including Avery Norton and her mother Faye. At this point, I knew she was going to endure a lot, although I had no idea exactly what until I finished the book several years later.

The other piece of the story, which centers around Avery’s time in the asylum came from a dream I had. The morning after the dream, I wrote it all down and added the idea “1950s Asylum Love Story” to my corkboard. There was also an “Avery” in the dream, as well as a domineering mother. The stories fit so well together that I decided to merge the storylines. That’s when Avery got her depth and I was able to see what kind of character she would be. It was tough at times to write her. I felt very bad for what I put her through…and not so bad.


John : Avery was admitted to Taunton State Hospital (formerly known as the State Lunatic Hospital at Taunton), a psychiatric hospital, where she is promptly given the nickname of Lizzie. The alias given to her by her roomate, was from Lizzie Borden from the infamous Fall River, Massachusetts massacre.

Did Lizzie Borden have any influence in the design of the story?

Jessica McHugh: Not hugely. I did read up on Lizzie Borden’s hijinks, (Has it been long enough that we can refer to them as “hijinks?”) but Lizzie was brought into the story because my mother and father mentioned her being confined to Taunton. My parents grew up in Massachusetts, my mother actually on Martha’s Vineyard, so their input was invaluable while I was doing research.

John: I find a lot of authors have invaluable input from their families and friends. Of which however Avery’s father dissapeared at a young, her sister was sent to boarding school and she is left at home with an overbearing mother. The bond between Avery and her sister Natalie have such a strong union between them and although they were kept apart, their bond stayed relatively strong. Who inspired this sibling relationship?

Jessica McHugh: I grew up with two older brothers, and I think only sisters could have the kind of bond Avery and Natalie have, especially considering their mother’s harrowing lessons. I never had an especially close relationship with either of my brothers, not even close to the Norton sisters’…but, in a way, our distance helped me create the closeness between the sisters. Sometimes you write about what you have. Sometimes you write about what you wish you’d have.

John : The influence of absense, that really surprised me. Though this isn’t the only relationship that Avery has and the other I would assume nearly comes close to sisterhood. The roomate mentioned earlier in which gave Avery her alias was Francine, aka Flint. Such a befitting name for a pyromaniac, or arsonist as Flint prefers. Though a rocky start to the friendship, their friendship blooms to how I would describe as a tangled rose bush. Avery’s innocence has her refuse to acknowledge, or simply assume that everyone in the hospital is normal, especially Flints. After a great loss, she finally realizes that everyone once around her when Flint sacrifices herself to help Avery escape. Did you find it hard to essentially ‘kill’ off some of the characters?

Jessica McHugh: Absolutely. I cried when I wrote Flint’s death scene. Also when I realized that in burning down the hospital, I had also killed hundreds of others I’d never even met. I didn’t even know their names. Avery’s realization that she’d really become a murderer was my own. Of course, I don’t think of writers as murderers, but hey, I think a lot of us take some delight in it. Even through the tears of cutting Flint out of Avery’s life, I was tickled at knowing that my readers would feel the same pain as I felt. It is amazing to twist the hearts and stomachs of people I’ve never met, and may never meet.
This is book with a high body count, and I suffered at writing every death, even the ones that deserved it. But I also rejoiced. It’s one of my favorite parts of writing horror.

John : “I suffered at writing every death, even the ones that deserved it.” is this to mean you take Faye’s stance (Avery’s overbearing mother), or just those that were actually evil enough to deserve their fate?

Jessica McHugh: I’m not sure anyone was truly “evil,” but I think Faye definitely got what she deserved…in Avery’s mind, at the very least. To herself, Faye was a saint. A martyr. There are probably some people out there in the real world who agree with her, which is even more disturbing than the character, I think.

John : Faye was disturbing enough as it was, to start thinking about people who would actually martyr her.

We come to the last of Avery’s major relationships, which is with Paul, her childhood sweetheart that forever truly believed her innocent of her accused crimes. A true roller coaster ride of a relationship which the love never disappears from. Paul, after growing up, faces his fears head on, face to face, which was such a change from when he was young and made his promise to Avery. The internal growth inspired by personal experience or witnessing a friend grow into their ‘zone’? Was there a moment when you thought “This is so when….”?

Jessica McHugh: Honestly, the emotion between Avery and Paul was straight from the dream. It was one of the most amazing dreams of my life, in that an entire story was revealed to me. Obviously, there were some parts that had to be changed. For instance, Angelina Jolie couldn’t be in it.

But Avery and Paul were “a thing” when I started the book. Writing them was a breeze because I felt for them. It was the same for Faye and Avery. I felt like I knew those characters so well, writing dialogue was an absolute delight.

I still love reading that original journal entry about my “1950s Asylum Love Story.” It’s very close to what “Rabbits in the Garden” ended up being.

John : Is the Journal available for everyone to see, if so where do we find it?

Jessica McHugh: Ha! No, it’s not online right now, but I’m not opposed to sharing the the entry.

John : Can I be the first to release it?

Jessica McHugh: (2009)

Idea for story from dream

Story of unrequited lovers in the 1940s/50s.
The daughter is locked away in a nuthouse even though she isn’t really crazy, and she gets frequent visits from her mother who teases her with information about the man her daughter loves (ie when he marries her older sister.)
When the man is discovered having a male lover on the side, the sister steps aside, but the mother, furious and trying to kill both lover and man, kill the lover and her eldest daughter instead.
The youngest daughter finally gets out of the asylum and is prepared to find the man she loves, to be with him and help care for the baby he had with her sister, but her mother blows up the boat he is on: killing him. But the daughter jumps in and saves the baby. The baby’s cries sound like voices to her, voices telling her the story of how she actually has been driven insane and telling her what she needs to do to finally be at peace. Those who have died come to her, including a badly burned man that she loved, who finally “makes love to her”. (Angelina Jolie, James Duval singing part) The people are still talking to her when she leaves the room for a while, and when she comes back and sits down, she is confronted by another dead person: her mother whom she has just killed; perhaps burned alive. (teeth- no lips)
The last scene is her crying tears of joy (which she has never been able to do before) as she rocks the baby to sleep.

Clearly, I changed the “male lover” bit…a bit. 

John : It’s amazing of what become of an entry and a dream; such a dark story to be told, with so much emotion involved.

So I have two questions left to finish up with one being for you and one for Avery.

You – Naked writing is it for you?

Jessica McHugh: Nah not so much. Although I do dig thin summer dresses, tall frosty beers, and writing outside at patio bars.

John : A good drink helps the words flow…

and Avery – with so much compassion and story to be told, what is the one thing you’d like to share with those that shared your life?

Jessica McHugh (as Avery): Sometimes, the opportunity to deny the past may give someone the ability to have a future, to *have* something for the first time ever. Second chances are a godsend.

John : Thanks Avery, and thank you again Jessica for joining me over cyber coffee for a chat.

Jessica McHugh: Thank you for having me, John. It was a lot of fun!

You can purchase Rabbits in the Garden from:

US Amazon: Rabbits in the Garden

UK Amazon: Rabbits in the Garden

You can also find Jessica McHugh and her latest news in the following places.
Rabbits in the Garden – Facebook page
Twitter: @theJessMcHugh

John The Aussie Interviews Kenneth Cain

Interviewer: John The Aussie

Author: Kenneth W. Cain, writer of These Trespasses (The Saga of I) and it’s sequel Grave Revelations (The Saga of I).

John: Kenneth thanks for taking the time to do an interview with me, can I call you Ken?

 Ken Cain: Absolutely. My pleasure.

John: So let’s jump straight into how you got into writing horror, I believe we can blame it on your grandfather?

Ken Cain: Well he certainly played a large role in storytelling. He used to tell fantastic stories of cowboys and Indians, the Old West. These were the sort of things that sparked a young mind. But, it was actually one of the tellings of Baba Yaga that first got me interested in the darker fiction.

John: The Russian Folklores?  An interesting spark, which of the tales still remains at the forefront of your mind?

Ken Cain: Yes, that is the one. The story had actually been told several times over the years, with each telling a little different I suppose, but at the heart it is a story of a witch that lives in a hut that has chicken legs.

As for my Grandfather’s tales, the one that sticks with me is one he told of shooting two men and killing them in cold blood. He cried telling that one, so I believe it might have been true, as this was back in the coal mining years and he was a Union leader for the miners.

Most of his tales were derived from pieces of his life, though, that had merely been stretched to tall tales.

John: A good yarn keeps the young enthralled, and the details are kept fresh in the mind.  You’re also a family man, a wife and a couple of younglings, how do they respond to the horror portrayed from your own tales?

Ken Cain: My children are very proud of me. They like to tell their teachers and friends their dad is a writer. They take my bookmarks in and give them to everyone. My wife has been my backbone. When I decided to write full-time she pushed me and every time I talked of giving up she was there to push me onward. She is the sole reason I am still writing today.

As for how they are portrayed in my stories, my tales are little pieces of me. I detail many of my own fears in my stories in one way or another, slight or full on, but they are there in my thoughts always.

John: Behind every great man…  I’ve enjoyed a few of your book, but I’ve lured you in to talk a little about yourself and your relationship with your book “These Trespasses, Book One: The Saga of I”.  Set in days very shortly after ‘shit hits the fan’ we find ourselves reading how a small band of survivors join together to get the hell out of dodge, only to be presented with strategic obstacles…  Marty inadvertently become the decision maker of the group and is hit with trials of personal conflicts and group conflicts pretty heavily.

Was it hard to write about Marty and his conflicts, more so about his family?

Ken Cain: Well, Marty is really a big part of myself and my own struggles. I am very close to my brother and we are separated by a great distance, so I was thinking about him one day when I saw this video about the Bot fly. It was terrifying and so I put it all together. But his brother Jake is also a big part of me, so there is a bit of inner war being shown there.

I wouldn’t say it was difficult to write about his family, though. When I write I come up with an idea and dial into that world. From there I become a bystander and let my characters show me the things they want to share. I don’t let them hold anything back and so actually it was quite easy. I grew very attached to that little group of people.

John: Andy, the hot-headed youngster.  Bernard the loyal ox.  Ike, the semi-useful asshole. Were these survivors a part of yourself as well?

Ken Cain: Definitely! When I was Andy’s age I thought I knew everything. Turns out I was wrong. And I am loyal to those I care about, and as was the case with Nancy and Bernard I nearly needed to be struck over the head to see my wife was interested in me. As for Ike, who doesn’t like to be a bit of a smartass? It has a time and place, though. But the main goal with Ike is to show someone can change…and he does, to some degree.

John: Nancy, Sheila and Sandy are also very different in character, though each loyal to their own cause, it got me wondering if this was a part of yourself or tendencies you see in your wife?

Ken Cain: They all have pieces of her as well as other significant women in my lives. More so, of significant scenes in my memories of these women. Sheila’s plight to push Marty onward is of course my wife pushing me to write. I guess that is what makes it so personal when you write and shows you how attached you can become to these characters.

In saying that, though, it reminds me of something I was once told. To make an interesting story you have to make it personal. You have to dig deep and expose your inner self, get “naked’ to a degree with your feelings.

John: It truly does bring out some deeper emotions.

How did you get the concept for the ‘monsters’ of These Trespasses?

Ken Cain: That actually came from a nightmare I had. I took what I was given and I added in some details from The Creature From The Black Lagoon (my first 3D movie). Then I looked at what I had and said, “Something isn’t right.” This was when I decided the mouth needed to go on top.

John: The cover does the creatures justice.  “Project Grasshopper” truly finds some groundbreaking findings, but as always with a catch, as there always is with the military.

Jake and Marty, while Marty being overshadowed most of his life by Jake, have a strong bond, even until the end.  Yet other relationships blossom throughout the book, you mentioned Bernard and Nancy earlier, yet Marty finds himself in a conflict of falling for someone he believes is too soon after losing his wife and daughter in an unfortunate disaster.  We also find relationships (and sanity) are not quite what they seem.  The development of betrayal is thrown upon us, which walks the readers along with the group into “The Hive”.

How did ‘The Hive’ develop and all its tweaks?  Was it created from the mind of ‘I’ or something that had developed elsewhere?

Ken Cain: Well, I always knew there was going to be a hive in the story. I had predetermined that much. It was Marty who exposed what it looked like to me and I thought, “Hell, why not?” It was a pretty outrageous idea. Then I put it all together and things started to work out thank to I, as to how the hive worked and why. Together, the brothers really put that part together for me and when I explained this scene to my artist Philip R. Rogers I was a bit nervous, but he knocked it out of the park I think.

 John: Jake and his development of the name I, had me stop in my tracks and thought “Brilliant!”.   Where’d did this idea form?

 Ken Cain: Thanks! I tried to bring out a really conceited character, one very full of himself and laying it on thick. He had to be the sort of character who wouldn’t be able to understand why something he wanted wasn’t being satisfied. So I actually struggled with a name for a while before I came up with the Infinite. Then it was the monster who said, “I am not going to let you call me that.” I guess he is a lazy creature because he shortened it to just ‘I’.  I was impressed myself by the guy.

Of course, it also fit in well with the religious themes hidden in the story, which are shown in more detail in the second book.

John: I gotta admit, I am yet to read the Grave Revelations as of yet.

Ken Cain: People tend to enjoy the ‘I’ depicted in that book a lot more.

John: I hope to join their ranks, and hope to convince you to come back for another interview once I’ve breezed through the pages.  I gotta ask one last question before finishing up however.  Naked writing, is it for you?

Ken Cain: Thanks. I would look forward to it. Naked writing might not be so enjoyable as pleather and bare skin conflict. But, being naked (transparent) with yourself to some degree, showing people what’s inside, is what writing is all about.

John: A great answer, thanks for your time Ken.

Ken Cain: I much appreciate the opportunity. Thanks!

You can purchase These Trespasses on Amazon.