Seeing Evil by Jason Parent

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Fate in plain sight.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Detective Samantha Reilly has been struggling with the death or her partner.  The only person who knows her truly is Michael Turcotte who is an eleven year old boy she rescued from the aftermath of his parents’ murder-suicide.

Seeing Evil is the story of Michael, an orphan who witnessed the murder of his parents when he was just a child and now he has the ability to see people’s futures. Not just any futures, but dark ones.  No one believes him when he gets his first visions until his visions become reality.

A strange girl named Tessa Masterson asks Michael about her future, and what he sees sends him back to Sam—is Tessa victim or perpetrator?

The real test comes when a girl Tessa approaches Michael for help and a mysterious body washes up at the shore. Are these two incidents connected?  Is the frightening future Michael sees when he touches Tessa’s hand destined to come true?

This book had me hooked from the start.  It was a mixture between thriller, paranormal, murder mystery genre!  The story is completely unique, I haven’t read anything like this before.  The author’s writing is superb!  The cover of the book is great too, it brings together the story for readers.  I look forward to reading more from this author!

 

The Dover Demon by Hunter Shea

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The Dover Demon is real…and it has returned.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book will scare the pants off you as well as entertain you!  I have watched shows about the Dover Demon, what it is and the fact that no one really knows where they came from or what they are here for.  Several people have actually encountered this bizarre being.  Seriously. This book however is a work of fiction, but knowing the background source, made this read even better!!

In 1977, Sam Brogna and a few of this friends stumbled upon on one of these creatures on a desolate road one night.  There weren’t as scared as I would have been!  What the seen, shook them to their cores and swore themselves to silence.  Little did they know, this encounter would change their lives forever.

Several years later, their hometown of Dover has been hit by a blizzard.  Sam’s son and his friends are bored and decide to go and search for the demon they have read about in books.  Sam has never told his son about his actual encounter with one of these cryptids. Soon, his son and friends disappear into the secret underground lair of the Dover Demon.  What they find out though, is there isn’t just one…….

Sam and his friends, who were there the night of the sighting, come back together to help find Sam’s son and the others.  What they find is far worse then they had ever imagined, the Dover Demon is deadly.  As the story takes hold of you, you cheer on the characters in hopes they will all make it out alive!

With the secrecy of the Dover Demon is wove into the story, you wonder if something like this could actually happen, or if this really is the true story of the demon.  On that note, you come to realize how this author has tricked you with his amazing writing!  I look forward to reading more of this author and his grand trickery of stories!

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The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I had read Jennifer’s book, The Winter People and absolutely loved it.  The Night Sister had me excited to read more of McMahon’s work!

The Tower Motel used to be a thriving attraction for the likes of all sorts located in rural Vermont.  There was never a vacant room.  Unfortunately it now stands in disrepair after the highway was built, visitors became sparse.  Holding many memories there is Amy, Piper and Margot.  The three friends played there often, skating the empty pool.  One day, the girls discover a dark secret about Amy’s family.  Something the girls will never speak, that ruined their friendship forever.

As much as they want to forget, the past comes back to haunt them when Amy’s family is discovered in the old motel, a crime that Amy is being blamed for.  Piper and Margot are forced to remember what they had found that summer so long ago.  They know exactly what happened and what must be done.

What horrible secrets have been lurking in the Tower Motel all of these years?  What is Amy’s family hiding from the world?  Something truly monstrous that cannot be tamed.

I read this book in two days!  I was blown away again by McMahon’s work and her ability to ensnare my mind in her stories.  This is a must read, no doubt about it!

The Dogs by Allan Stratton

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Out of the corner of my eye, I catch something moving by the barn.

When I look, it disappears. Wait. There it is again, at the cornfield.

Some movement, some thing.

Mom and I have been on the run for years. Every time he catches up with us, we move to a new place and start over.

But this place is different.

This place is full of secrets. And they won’t leave me alone.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I stumbled upon this book in an e-mail that provided the first few chapters of this book.  I was hooked so I had to find out what was going to happen next!

The Dogs is an amazing paranormal thriller that will have you turning pages fast!  Cameron and his mom have been on the run for several years from his dad.  Always keep themselves ‘off the grid’ so he can’t ‘hunt’ them down but somehow he always finds them.

They finally settle in an isolated farmhouse where Cameron starts to see and hear things that aren’t possible. Soon he’s questioning everything he thought he knew and even thinking he is becoming crazy like his dad.  The kids at school have been telling Cameron stories about murders and a pack of wild dogs that have lived in the farm house.  Is this why he is seeing the ghost of a boy?  Is this why he is hearing dogs howling in the woods? Is he truly going crazy?

This book will give you chills.  The authors writing was excellent!  I would love to read more from Allan Stratton, he has a true talent of making your blood run cold with excitement and mystery!  This is a highly recommended read!

Check out my interview with author Allan Stratton here:

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*New Release!* Blade of the Destroyer: The Last Bucelarii Book I by Andy Peloquin

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Andy Peloquin brings us a unique story about “The Hunter”.  The Hunter is a ruthless contract killer, who always finishes his tasks and always demands payment.  I sure wouldn’t want to double cross him, that’s for sure!  Rumors of his deadliness have spread far and wide, creating the idea that he is invincible.  After he finishes an assassination of a high-ranking lord, The Hunter’s trust invincibility is tested.

The book is very well written with interesting characters with an original story line.  I love how even though The Hunter seems like a ruthless killer, he does happen to have a heart.  We see that he does care about the people under his ‘protection.’  Party mystery, fantasy and thriller brings together a perfect beginning for a series.

Andy Peloquin’s writing skills have me seeing him go far.  His characters were well thought out and the extensive research he must have done, shows he is serious about his talent as a writer.  I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did!  Check out this new author and his release of “Blade of the Destroyer: The Last Bucelarii Book I”!

Author Interview….Erika Swyler, author of “The Book of Speculation”

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I’m a in love with learning. I’m happiest when I’m figuring out how to do something new. Sometimes that means I know just enough to get myself in serious trouble. Generally, it means I’m looking at something and thinking of how I could make it myself, better, and on the cheap. That’s probably how I wound up being a writer who draws, bakes, binds books, and does calligraphy.

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Erika:  I’ve always been writing. I recently unearthed a pot boiler thriller I wrote in the third grade. I didn’t start pursuing writing as a career until my twenties. Final edits on The Book of Speculation were completed in 2014, though you never really stop working on a book. Every time you pick it up to read, you change a word. I’m still writing it, though no one’s paying attention to my little edits.

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

Erika:  The Book of Speculation is about a librarian who receives a mysterious book that reveals a curse that’s been killing women in his family for 250 years, including his mother. His sister is poised to be its next victim. It follows Simon as he tries to break the curse, and his ancestors—a mute tarot card reader and a carnival mermaid—who live and work in a traveling circus in the 1790s. It’s a book about the magic of books and families.

Click on the book to see my review!

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Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

Erika:  I tend not to write in a single genre, instead pulling elements from many. I like the romanticism of fantasy, the pacing and thought that comes with mystery, historical fiction’s escapism, family saga’s emotional intensity, the allegory of fairy tales, pretty much everything magical realism does, and literary fiction’s devotion to language. I read all over the map, so it only made sense to try to use what I like best in what I write. I find the idea of trapping something in a single genre to be more limiting to readers than helpful. The word genre also comes with a stigma. To me, labeling something as a particular genre is the best way to ensure that lots of people who might otherwise enjoy a book won’t find it. That’s a shame.

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

Erika:  I got to write some truly terrible weather in this book. Writing bad weather is a joy. When you’re writing terrible weather you know you’re writing something everyone can connect with, because we’ve all suffered through it. Weather spares no one. Essentially, huge storms or weather events are scenery chewing, going-for-the-Oscar moments. Late in The Book of Speculation I decimate a historic building, which was deeply satisfying in a way I shouldn’t examine too deeply.

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Erika:  The fictional town of Napawset draws heavily from the area around where I grew up. If you drive along Long Island’s North Shore after reading the book, it will feel achingly familiar. The contemporary storyline has emotional roots in my own experience of growing up in a small shore town. The 1790s narrative is entirely imagined, save for the historical details. Much as I wish that I’d run away with a traveling circus, I haven’t. I’d still like to though. Desperately.

Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Erika:  Geek Love is the most influential book in my life. I picked it up in college and was totally smitten. To this day I haven’t encountered another book like it. The voice is fierce, unapologetic, and bawdy. Olympia is the boldest narrator—male or female—I’ve ever read. It’s impossible to read it without having a very strong opinion about it. That’s what I want from every book. I’ve been known to judge whether or not I can be friends with someone based on their opinion of Geek Love. I like to gift it to people and watch them squirm as they read.

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

Erika:  All the time. There are plenty of days when I sit down and it just won’t happen. I swear a lot. I try to do other things, draw, read, take walks, anything that will get my brain moving away from feeling stuck. The antidote to writers block is change. And forgiveness. You have to forgive yourself for not being brilliant. That said, working on those two things is as difficult as the writing process itself.

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Erika:  I’d very much like to meet Kirsty Logan. The Gracekeepers was recently published and it’s perfect. I’d love to be able to tell her that in person. In my imagined meeting there is tea, and we get to talk about folklore, fairy tales, and trashy television. Sadly, there’s a large ocean preventing that meeting.

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

Erika:  I’m in the very early stages of my next book. I can tell you that I’m exploring concepts of time, that it’s set in Florida, and it revolves around a young girl and science. Everything else will shift as I go. Books have a way of turning themselves inside out as you write them.

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

Erika:  I wish I could have worried less. It’s so easy to become neurotic during editing and prepublication. I wore myself out with worry. During revisions, editing, and the period before launch you get these intense fears that you’re letting people down. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that your book isn’t just yours anymore. It belongs to you, and everyone who works with you. The sooner it becomes less me and more we, the better.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Erika:  Get off the computer and write longhand when you can. You’ll worry less and write more. You’ll edit when you type it up later. If you write longhand, you’re far less likely to lose a draft to a ham dinner colliding with a keyboard.

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Erika:  Thank you. May you all one day write books and have people be as kind to you as they’ve been to me. It’s humbling, and I’m profoundly grateful.

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

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The book is a beautifully broken window with an obstructed view of what is killing us, and something is definitely killing us.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I would like to thank the author for sending me her book! Right from the start this book draws you in and I simply couldn’t stop reading.  This unusual story, revolves around a very old book and the people connected to it.

Simon Watson lives under the weight of his family’s past. His mother, a circus performer, drowned when he and his little sister Enola were children, leaving the family heartbroken and even more dysfunctional. Her death is strange because as the circus’ mermaid she was able to hold her breath for long periods of time. When Simon receives an old book from a complete stranger, he discovers that his family’s cursed past and present are blended in unexpected ways. The book leads him to suspect that Enola may be in danger.

After doing some digging, Simon discovers that the book is a daily diary of sorts detailing the events of a travelling circus in the 1800s. Moving back and forth in time between Simon’s current life and the story of the people within the book, this is a fascinating story that is both well developed and well constructed.  Fans of “Water For Elephants” and “The Night Circus” should find extreme enjoyment from this book!  I loved the writing style, the incorporation of sketches and passages in handwriting.  This book is haunting and certainly builds in tension and intrigue.  I can’t wait to read more from this talented author!

*Featured Author of the Month…Ronald Malfi* Interview & GIVEAWAY!

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Praise for Ronald Malfi and his novels

“One cannot help but think of writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King.”
—FearNet

“Malfi is a skillful storyteller.”—New York Journal of Books

“A complex and chilling tale….terrifying.”—Robert McCammon

“Malfi’s lyrical prose creates an atmosphere of eerie claustrophobia…haunting.”—Publishers Weekly

“A thrilling, edge-of-your-seat ride that should not be missed.”—Suspense Magazine

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Ronald is a 38, a native New Yorker who transplanted to Maryland when he was just a kid, married to a psychologist (read into that what you will), and the father of two young girls.  His newly released book “Little Girls” is amazing and you should check it out!!

(Click on the book to read my review!)

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(Click on the book to read my review!)

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Ronald:  I started writing, at least with some sort of discipline, when I was around 10 years old or so. I had an old manual typewriter and would hammer out scores of short stories, for which I would draw covers and staple the “books” together so I could pass them out to friends and family to read. My first published book was released in 2000, a year after I graduated college—it was a desperate attempt to stave off having to get a real job after graduation—but I had written several novel manuscripts much earlier than that. I was probably in my early teens—maybe 13 or so—when I finished my first novel-length manuscript. I still have all of these stories packed away in steamer trunks in my basement.

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your newest book, “Little Girls.”

Ronald:   Little Girls is about Laurie Genarro’s return to her childhood home after the apparent suicide of her mentally unstable and distant father. Along for the ride are her husband Ted and daughter Susan. While staying in the house, Laurie begins to uncover secrets about her family’s past while Susan befriends a peculiar little girl living next door—a girl who is the spitting image and, as Laurie comes to believe, the possible reincarnation of a terrible little girls who had lived (and died) next door when Laurie was a child.

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

Ronald:   I’m not sure any writer actively “chooses” their genre. I’ve always been attracted to dark things, even when I was younger and afraid of those very same things that also piqued my curiosity. I’ve written some more “mainstream” fiction in the past, but even these stories tend to have a darkness about them.

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

Ronald:  Very interesting question!  There’s a section late in the novel where Laurie ruminates on the fears she had when she first learned she was pregnant with her daughter Susan.  There’s a passage where I relate those fears, and describe how she began to see young children in the wake of those fears—children as horrid, disgusting, tiny people, so strange and unappealing that they’re depicted almost like aliens or monsters.  For some reason, I love that passage.  I think I managed to touch on some of the things childless people might think about other people’s children—the rudeness of them, the brazen effrontery, the grubbiness of their little hands and dirty clothes. It was a lot of fun to write.

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Ronald:   There’s always a little bit of real life that seeps in—the occasional anecdote or character trait, something like that. But for the most part, the characters are wholly fictional creations, and the stories that they populate come from that place where all stories come from—which is to say that, perhaps subconsciously, there are parts of real life tucked away beneath the veneer of fiction. But I rarely use real life experiences in my fiction.

Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Ronald:  Oh, there are so many. I’m still influenced by authors and books, almost every time I read a new author or a particularly wonderful book. Early on, Stephen King was a huge influence, of course. Later, I grew to love the works of Peter Straub. And while I still adore Ernest Hemingway’s fiction, there was a period of time, right after college and a few years thereafter, that I was obsessed with his work and reread his novels until the pages of the books fell out. “The Sun Also Rises” still stands as my favorite novel.

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

Ronald:  You know, I used to joke that I was too unimportant to suffer writer’s block. I think maybe that was a glib answer at the time. I’ve gone through periods of stagnancy, questioning what I’m writing, if it’s good enough, if it fits what my current editor is looking for, that sort of thing. But at the end of the day, I somehow manage to get over that hump and get back to the stories.  And once I start writing, I’ll go off and knock out maybe 20 or so pages at a time.  When I’m really cooking, I can finish a whole novel in about two months.

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Ronald:  I guess it would be something to meet Stephen King, more for bragging rights than anything else.  I’ve met Peter Straub, albeit very briefly, a few years back in New York, but I would certainly welcome the opportunity to sit down with him and pick his brain about his books.  His writing is very layered and seems to allude to hidden truths between the lines, and I’d love for him to wink conspiratorially at me and let me in on all the little secrets that make his books so brilliant.

Sierra: Will you have any new books coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

Ronald:  Next year will see the release of a novel called The Night Parade. It’s about a father and daughter on the run from the government and police during the final stage of a disease epidemic that has wiped out much of the population.  While it’s arguably an end-of-the-world novel—something I thought I’d never write—it’s much more intimate in its scope and is really about the relationship between the father and his daughter. I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

Ronald:  I think my drive for having a book published superseded my ability at the time. My first novel was a thing uncooked, and should have remained in the steamer trunk with the other early attempts. However, it was published and was instrumental in starting my career, as it helped me gain a small audience and ultimately led to my second book deal with a better publisher. Thankfully, that first novel is long out of print, though I’ve been alerted to a few copies for sale out there on the secondary and tertiary markets for exorbitant and ridiculous prices. Save your money, folks.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Ronald:  The advice is always the same—if you want to write, you must read.  Read everything, and read a lot. And when you’re not reading, you should be writing, of course.

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Ronald:   I’ve just been overwhelmed by the positive responses from my readers and with the wonderful emails I receive from fans.  The horror community is a wonderful brotherhood (and sisterhood) of supportive peers and dedicated fans. It’s great to be a part of it.  And thanks for your time, too, Sierra. Much appreciated!

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Links to Purchase

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Girls-Ronald-Malfi/dp/1617736066

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/little-girls-ronald-malfi/1120137979?ean=9781617736063

Or pick up or ask to order at your local independent bookstore or anywhere e-formats are sold!

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Sign up to win one of two paperback copies of Little Girls by Ronald Malfi by clicking the link to the Rafflecopter link below. Be sure to follow the specifics you can do each day to gain more entries.

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Or the code is

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A Sudden Light by Garth Stein

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With a book—presuming it’s a good book—you can depend upon an outcome that adheres to the necessities of drama. The question will be answered. It has to be. The answer may not be happy; we can’t guarantee a comedy. Sometimes tragedy strikes. But there will be a conclusion. Of that we can be sure. That’s the whole point of a book. But in real life, there is no guarantee that any question will ever be answered. Real life is messy because we don’t know where it’s going to go.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The first book I have ever read of Garth’s was “The Art of Racing in the Rain”, which was a tear jerker for me, but an amazing story!   The cover to his new book “A Sudden Light” caught my eye first and I knew I had to read it!  The year is 1990 and main character Trevor is just shy of his 14th birthday when his world comes to halt.  His families financial situation is not so hot, leading his mother to head off to a different country to stay with her parents and Trevor and his dad to the Riddle House, built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound.

Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel, whom they think has dementia, to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development.  Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House..a ghost with an agenda of his own.  Although the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.

I was entertained the entire time of reading this story.  It was in depth, but not so much that one would get lost while reading.  A Sudden Light is a very enjoyable read: it is part ghost story, part detective story, interlarded with historical and environmental topics and of course a coming-of-age book. There are lots of twists and turns, some expected, some very sudden.  It was simply beautifully written. There is something incredibly magical about author Garth Stein’s style of writing. A natural storyteller, he’s woven a haunting and sentimental tale with a touch of whimsy.

 

Featured Author of the Month…Michael Golembesky

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I am honored to introduce to you my featured author of the month, Michael Golembesky,  author of  “Level Zero Heroes”.  Here is my review for “Level Zero Heroes”  if you missed it!

Born in 1976, Michael moved from his home town of Levittown, Pennsylvania to Colorado in 1997 to begin a new life. There he worked as a truck driver for a local dairy before enlisting into the Marine Corps shortly after the events of 9/11 to help support the United States in the global war on terrorism.

Upon graduating MCRD San Diego in 2002, he was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 10th Marines as a field artillery cannoneer, deploying to Okinawa (2003) and Iraq (2005) with Regimental Combat Team 2, where he served as a provisional rifle company squad leader.

Upon returning from Iraq, Sgt. Golembesky made a lateral move in primary MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) to become a Fire Support Man (0861). He served his following two deployments attached to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines as a forward observer and Fire Support Chief as part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (2006) and Task Force 2/2 in Iraq (2008).

While on his second deployment in Iraq, SSgt. Golembesky was selected to become an aircraft controller with the newly formed Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC). He reported to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion in January, 2009 and immediately attended the Joint Terminal Attack Controller course in Norfolk, Va. After graduating and obtaining 8002 MOS, he was assigned as a team JTAC with Marine Special Operations Company G, Team 2. His fifth and final deployment was served in Afghanistan (RC-W) with Marine Special Operations Team 8222 from 2009 through 2010 in the Bala Murghab River Valley.

Honorably discharged in Oct. 2010 after eight years of military service, Michael, along with his wife Sabrina and daughter Devlyn, returned home to Colorado where he works as a defense contractor and writer.

Michael’s personal military awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (Valor), two Navy and Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbons and the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign Medals.

Check out my interview with Michael and if you have not read this book, I highly recommend you do!!

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Sierra:  How did you begin writing “Level Zero Heroes”?  Did you intend to become an author?

Michael:  Becoming an author was probably the furthest thing from my mind. I started writing the book for myself, slowly building upon events from my memoir and emotions. After writing about 30k words I realized that this would make an amazing book.

Sierra:  Considering the contents, where there any occupational hazards to writing this story?

Michael:  No, not really. I wrote the book in my spare time as I juggled family life, being a father and working a fulltime day job.

Sierra:  Who is your intended audience? 

Michael:  Anyone willing to take the time to read it. John Bruning and I wrote the book in a manner that would make it easy for non-military people to understand and enjoy it, because we wanted the message of the story to reach a larger audience than just military veterans.

Sierra:  When working with different chains of command you describe in the book, how did you keep a strong hold on procedures? Especially when certain situations came to light that didn’t exactly sound logical to you.

Michael:  I wrote the book in a way so not to draw any conclusions for the reader. All I could do was tell the story as it happened and let the reader decide what is right and wrong, good or bad.

Sierra:  What was the hardest part in writing this book?  Was it the real life situations you endured and put onto paper or something more?

Michael:  I had most of the material collected before John and I even started writing the book. I guess the hardest part was making sure the book had a solid structure and flow to it. We wanted to keep the reader engaged and make the book hard to put down.

Sierra:  What cultural value do you see in telling this story?

Michael:  I wanted readers to finish ready the book feeling like they were a part of the story, not just looking in on it. Hopefully they walk away with a better understanding of modern warfare and the brutal reality that extreme Muslim ideology poses on the civilized world.

Sierra:  What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  Did anyone discourage you from writing this story?

Michael:  There were some people within the MARSOC community that didn’t want me to write this book but I told them the same thing I told everyone else that had an issue with it; I am not writing this book for them, I am writing for my fellow team members and they are the only ones I answer too.

Sierra:  Tell us a little about your cover art.  Who designed it and why did you choose that particular image?  Was the image a photo that you collected from your service?

Michael:  Lisa Pompilio at St. Martin’s Press can up with the final design, but it had been a work in progress for a year or so. I intentionally placed the original photo used on the cover inside of the book because I wanted readers to know that it is ‘real’, the look on Mark’s face is what war is and feels like.

Sierra:  What inspires you as an author and a person?

Michael:  Freedom and choice to aspire to be who you want to be, regardless of the events in your past. The future is as bright as you make it.

Sierra:  If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first book or getting it published that you would change?

 Michael:  Nothing. It was a lot of hard work and long hours but in the end, holding the book in my hands made it all worthwhile.

Sierra:  What can we expect from you in the future that pertains to writing?

Michael:  The future is wide open, but like I said, I never intend on become a writer. Maybe if people are really interested, perhaps there could be a follow-up to Level Zero Heroes that covers the rest of the deployment. We will see.

Sierra:  Having seen your film, “Infil Exfil” which brings to light the mental struggle that goes on within all combat veterans, did this inspire you to write the book about your experiences in Bala Murghab?

 Michael:  I wouldn’t say directly but many of us veteran struggle with the same challenges after leaving a war zone. Hopefully this story and my success outside of the military helps to offer hope to someone who may be struggling with the change.

Sierra:  After watching “Infil Exfil”, I have followed along with you via Facebook awaiting the release of your book.  I am a dog lover and loved learning about your dog “Bear”.  You write about him in the story of how you came to find him, or how he came to find you.  In the book, you don’t exactly say how you brought “Bear” back to the states.  From following your page, I learned about Nowzad, the non-profit organization who help soldiers get pets they have rescued while serving, back to the United States.  Would you like to shed some light on the process you went through to get “Bear” to Colorado with you and your family?

Michael:  It was a long process and took the help of many people. The first hurdle was raising about 3k to cover the travel and sheltering expenses for Bear’s trip to the states. I hitched a ride on an Italian helicopter to get him to Herat City where he was handed off to a local national that Nowzad had coordinated with. From there he traveled to Kabul, Flew to a shelter in Pakistan, where he stayed for about a month before making the long flight to New York. It took a lot of coordination and faith with Nowzad and other forgiven agencies to get him home, but well worth it.

Sierra:  Michael, I cannot express how thankful I am for you to take the time to answer some of my questions.  Not only that, I am honored to have gotten to read your book.  Words cannot explain how a person feels after reading about such experiences and realizing exactly what it is that you men do for our freedom here in the United States.  Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Michael:  We are thankful for all of our veterans, but it is the combat veterans that have endured the weight of war. The next time you meet a combat vet from Iraq or Afghanistan, shake their hand and offer to buy them a beer. -Ski

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