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Indie Saturday – Author Matt Posner on his “School of the Ages” Series

September 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Today, we have author Matt Posner featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for his magical fantasy series School of the Ages (Of a planned five,  three of the books from the series are already out: The Ghost in the Crystal, Level Three’s Dream and The War Against Love)


Matt Posner writes:

Hello. I’m Matt Posner, writer, teacher, and Dean of School of the Ages, American’s greatest magic school. Thanks for hosting me on indie Saturday.

I released the third book of the School of the Ages series in August 2012. Although I began to publish these books in 2010, I have actually been working on the series since 2002, so it is now ten years since the whole thing started, and I am now much older, now an independent author in the United States (I have a publisher in India), and I am working within the context of decisions I made ten years ago.

It was so different then. I was under forty, I was a yeshiva high school teacher, there was a new hole in the Manhattan skyline, and my greatest longing in the literary firmament was more Harry Potter. So different. These books were always intended to be about young people growing up, but I know that in 2002 I could not predict the ways they would grow, even more than I could do so for myself as I moved from a callow man not long out of graduate school and not long transplanted to this daunting city called New York, to whatever sort of man I am now, which is not for me to say. I think I am still shocked when people talk to me like an adult and a professional; I still feel like my teen characters a lot of the time!

School of the Ages is a magic school on a hidden island in New York Harbor. The students come from New York City and other places in the world and they are very multicultural. Half of the school consists of Chasidic Jews studying Cabala. The magic is mostly invisible, and based on meditation and inner focus.

The world is our own world, full of real-world places and events. There is no whimsy and more darkness than humor, but on the other hand, there are no prophecies, no “chosen ones,” no “dark lords” to take over the world. That has been done too much lately; I for one need a break from it. Instead, in my stories, teenagers are growing up, as teenagers do, dealing with their feelings and their increasing ability to cope with the world, as well as their recognition of how hard that can be.

The War Against Love, which is the third School of the Ages book, was inspired by my desire to work with very grand epic themes. They are in the title. War is one, and love is the other. Thus the book has two plotlines that run parallel for the majority of the book.

In one plotline, my protagonist Simon and his allies are forced to grow up too fast when a group of nasty wizards from Europe begin to attack them as part of a mortal struggle against their teacher, Dr. Archer, and School of the Ages itself. Simon is fifteen when he has decided that he is ready to kill an enemy. In a lot of fantasy literature, killing people is a routine fact of survival, but Simon grew up peacefully in Bayside, Queens and has never had to contemplate the consequences of taking life, what it means emotionally or spiritually. Yet at the same time that he has these doubts, he is also looking at enemies who have performed heinous acts of violence and with whom there is no possibility to reason or reconcile. And he decides to sacrifice a part of himself to do what has to be done. The book follows the consequences of this decision.

In the other plotline, Simon has been grieving for over a year (throughout the second book of the series, in which he is pretty much an emotional zombie) about the loss of someone he loved, when that grief is challenged by meeting Ana, the daughter of the Arch-mage of Prague, a girl who represents an escape from that grief and a chance for emotional renewal. But she is not the easiest person to deal with and he does not know if he can ever gain her affection. And even if he does, there is still this war going on, and being in love raises the stakes. Should he put aside the commitment he made, and focus only on his intense motivation to win Ana’s heart? Or continue the battle, knowing how much greater the stakes are are when he has something he wants to come home to?

As always, these themes for Simon are accompanied by similar content for the supporting cast. I am a big fan of dramatic foils and echoing motifs, and so the book looks at many romances troubled by war and strife, including Goldberry and her slimy boyfriend William breaking up over a perceived infidelity, the usually cute and goofy couple of elementalists Robbie and Avery strained by the arrival of an enemy from her past, and the consequences of Dr. Archer’s own relationship history.

So what kept me going as I was writing this book? I think I was drawn mainly by the desire to write the kind of book I would want to read. This has been my favorite book ever since I began drafting it, because I have poured into it the best cast of characters I could, including lots of horrendous foes human and monstrous, and lots of true heroism and intense tragedy. I wanted to hit all the notes with this book that perhaps books by other authors have not hit when I wanted them to. I can remember a moment of great cinematic excitement from 1999 that represents the feeling I was going for. When I was first seeing X-Men 2, I was really struck by the scene in which Wolverine leaps from the second floor landing and attacks the men invading the school. The audience in the theater where I was cheered wildly. That was what they wanted to see, their hero being a hero in the style they had always longed for on screen. I want this whole book to provide that feeling. I want my readers to be thinking, “Yeah, that’s perfect. The heroes have real courage, the villains get what’s coming to them, it’s just what I wanted, and I will remember this part for a long time.”

That being said, you will also leave The War Against Love with a sense of loss. War produces tragedy, in real life of course, and also in fiction.

All my books are available for Kindle, and many for Nook. The School of the Ages series has three books so far of a planned five. Start with The Ghost in the Crystal, and then Level Three’s Dream. Then you may wish to dip into the two short story books, Tales of Christmas Magic and Sara Ghost, which are Kindle exclusives. And then there is The War Against Love. Book four, Simon Myth, is set for next year, and book five, The Wonderful Carol, is tentatively for 2014.

Matt Posner is a writer and teacher from New York City. Originally from Miami, FL, Matt lives in Queens with Julie, his wife of more than ten years, and works in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Matt teaches high school English, with a fondness for special education students, and teaches world civilizations at Metropolitan College of New York.

His interests include magic and the paranormal, literature, movies, history and culture, visual arts, world music, religion, photography, and professional wrestling history.


You can check out Matt Posner’s Amazon Author’s page for more info!

To learn more about Matt, follow Matt on his official website: schooloftheages, Twitter: @schooloftheages and Facebook: schooloftheages. Drop by and say hi!

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Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!

Read an embedded sample from “The War Against Love” after the jump!

Read more…

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‘5 Questions’ Interview With Deanna Roy! @deannaroy

September 27, 2012 2 comments

5 Questions

Today I’m thrilled to welcome indie author Deanna Roy to the blog as part of the ‘5 Questions’ with authors interview series!

If you are an author who would like to participate in the series, fill out the questionnaire here! And if you are a reader who wants to suggest an author for the series, just send me an email!


Stella and Dane: A Honky Tonk Romance by Deanna Roy

Describe your book Stella and Dane: A Honky Tonk Romance in ten words or less

Stella & Dane keep their small town talking with their dangerous romance.

Where or how did you come up with the idea for your story?

Stella and Dane were characters from my first novel, Baby Dust. Their backstory was so rich with crazy stunts and wild behavior that my fans asked if I would write a book just about them.

What was your favorite part to write and why?

No doubt there is one part of the book that has all the reviewers talking, and if you Google the title, you’ll see this excerpt all over the place — the water tower scene.

In my own small town, the water tower was the only tall structure. You could see it from any house and any street. Lots of us climbed it to spray paint the sides. In my novel, Stella and Dane’s first, well, uh, “encounter” occurs on the water tower ladder several stories in the air. This makes for tricky positioning, and to make sure it was actually feasible, I had to take my husband out to try it! (He HAS to wonder what he’s gotten into–we’ve only been married three months.)

Do you have a day job? If yes, tell us about it and how did that affect your writing / publishing process?

I have gone part-time on my day job as writing is quickly taking over, but I am also a photographer.

I’ve photographed families, babies, and weddings for over a decade, and watching how people behave before and after the shutter clicks is a useful study in how people wish to be viewed versus how they really are.

Tell us about an upcoming book or project you’re excited about

I never thought I’d write romance, but after the crazy success of Stella & Dane, I’m launching a 10-book series set in a party shop, where all the employees and customers find love, one holiday at a time.

Bonus Question! Fill in the blank: If you like ___, you’ll probably like my book too!

If you like author Susan Elizabeth Phillips, or indie writers of upbeat romance like “Practice Cakes” by Dalya Moon or “Hooked” by Polly Iyer, you’ll love Stella & Dane.


Thanks again for stopping by, Deanna Roy! You can learn more about the author via her website: www.deannaroy.com, Facebook: deannaroy, and Twitter: @deannaroy.

 Stella and Dane: A Honky Tonk Romance is available on Amazon (Kindle, Paperback).

Check out Deanna Roy’s Amazon author page for more info!

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Amazon MP3 – Share Your Favorite Song, Get a Song for a Nickel (Need Facebook)

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

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We’re celebrating Amazon MP3’s fifth birthday by giving our customers a gift. For a limited time, you can get a song priced $1.29 or less for just a nickel. All you have to do is let your Facebook friends know what your favorite song is right now.

Upon completion of the “Share & Claim” action, a promotional credit to purchase any song priced $1.29 or less for $0.05 will be automatically applied to your Amazon account. Promotional credits must be redeemed by 11:59 PM PST on October 10, 2012.

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Categories: Deals Tags: ,

‘5 Questions’ Interview With Katherine Amt Hanna! @amthanna

September 25, 2012 1 comment

5 Questions

Today I’m thrilled to welcome 47North-published author Katherine Amt Hanna to the blog as part of the ‘5 Questions’ with authors interview series!

If you are an author who would like to participate in the series, fill out the questionnaire here! And if you are a reader who wants to suggest an author for the series, just send me an email!


Breakdown by Katherine Amt Hanna

Describe your book Breakdown in ten words or less

A post-apocalyptic story of love and redemption, not zombies.

Where or how did you come up with the idea for your story?

Years ago I had an incredibly vivid dream of a short scene: a man and his son walking through a market in a city that had begun to crumble, yet the people were persevering.

That dream stayed with me, and I wrote a short story about it. Eventually, I added characters and background, and expanded the story into a novel.

Which of your characters is closest to your heart and why?

The main character, Chris, has a lot of me in him. While his main grief–the loss of his wife and child–is not one I’ve experienced, his secondary loss of a deep childhood friendship is something I struggled with for many years.

Do you have a day job? If yes, tell us about it and how did that affect your writing / publishing process?

My day job is making costumes. I work from home and sell medieval costumes at fairs, and I sell biblical Nativity costumes for Christmas plays. I have my busy times and my slow times. The build-up to Christmas is so hectic for me, I rarely have time to write from about October to about mid-December. NaNOWriMo is a no-go for me.

Tell us about an upcoming book or project you’re excited about

My novella “The Work of the Devil” will be released by 47North on October 16. It’s another post-apocalyptic, but entirely different from Breakdown. This one has more of a horror element to it.


Thanks again for stopping by, Katherine Amt Hanna! You can learn more about the author via Facebook: Katherine-Amt-Hanna, and Twitter: @amthanna.

 Breakdown (published under 47North) is available on Amazon in a variety of formats (Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook).

Check out Katherine’s Amazon author page for more info!

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New Kindle apps! Games and a Vocabulary Trainer!

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Here’s some new apps for the Kindle!


Fling It (A Game for Kindle) by Nice Games

Fling It (A Game for Kindle)‘ by Nice Games is available on the Amazon Kindle site for $0.99. Just click here to download!

Game Description

Fling it! is a great puzzle game. The goal of the game is to remove balls from the board until there is just one left. Balls are removed by flinging them – either horizontally or vertically. You can fling a ball only towards another ball. However, you can’t fling the ball directly off the board or towards a ball right next to it. You must also watch out for walls or one-way signs which block your movement.

The game contains 120 levels – bringing you hours of mind-challenging gameplay. Challenge yourself with Fling it! today and try to solve all the 120 puzzles!

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And check out the other new Kindle apps after the jump!

Read more…

Categories: Games Tags: ,

Indie Saturday – Author Corey Guerra on “The Dragon’s Eye”

September 22, 2012 1 comment

Today, we have author Corey Guerra featured on the blog’s ‘Indie Saturday‘ for his fantasy novel The Dragon’s Eye.

“The story takes place in the land of Fael-wen, a land with humans, elves, magic, and of course, dragons. Hundreds of years ago, during The Great War, The Dragon’s Eye was used to help rid the land of evil. Believed to be lost, The Dragon’s Eye has since become legend.”


Corey Guerra writes on how he wrote his book:

It all started in a bar.

It’s amazing how a story forms for a writer. If you polled writers I’m sure you’d find a vast amount of answers as to how their book was formed, or what was their starting point. For some it could have been a character they wanted to see develop, or it may have been a theme they wanted to get across to the reader. For me it was two characters in a bar.

I grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons as a kid and many of our quests always started in a bar when someone would approach our characters and ask us if we wanted to go on a quest. It just seemed like a natural place to start. So when I was in high school and wanted to write my own book, it was where I started my book; two characters in a bar who are suddenly thrust into the story. It’s amazing how much of that has changed.

I have always been driven by snippets when I write. When I have I line a character says, or the detailed action of a sword fight, or how a person feels at a certain point in the story I want to try to incorporate that into the book any way I can. I feel that many times those small scenes are what people remember the most about a book. No one remembers every detail of The Hobbit, but there a certain scenes and lines that everyone knows. When I wrote The Dragon’s Eye I wanted to include as many memorable lines or scenes as I could.

This of course can prove to be problematic as I found out. If you try to force a line or plot point that doesn’t fit you end up with a crappy story. I think this is what took me so long to write my first book. I became attached to certain items I wanted to include, and like a square peg in a round hole, I tried to squeeze it in to no avail. It was once I took a step back to see the whole picture that it became easier.

In The Dragon’s Eye, the main protagonist is Makayla, a druid who discovers she is more important that she could have ever imagined. What really drives the story is how she evolves and copes with her newfound destiny. The way the other characters and the setting weaves with her is what makes the story so fun. Then it became easier to have some of my scenes and lines into the story without taking away from the overall theme of the book.

Corey Guerra was born in Milford Massachusetts in 1977. He has been an avid fan of fantasy and medieval fiction all his life. He began writing the basis for what became The Dragon’s Eye back in 2001. After building the continent of Fael-wen and it’s rich history, his first book was born.


The Dragon’s Eye by Corey Guerra is available on Amazon in Kindle format.

You can also check out Corey Guerra’s Amazon Author’s page for more info!

To learn more about Corey, follow Cory on his official website/blog: thedragonseye and Facebook: The-Dragons-Eye. Drop by and say hi!

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Do you want to be a featured ‘Indie Saturday’ author too? Go here for more info!

Read an embedded sample of “The Dragon’s Eye” after the jump!

Read more…

‘5 Questions’ Interview With MJ Ware! @MJAWare

September 20, 2012 Leave a comment

5 Questions

Today I’m thrilled to welcome indie children’s author MJ Ware to the blog as part of the ‘5 Questions’ with authors series!

If you are an author who would like to participate in the series, fill out the questionnaire here! And if you are a reader who wants to suggest an author for the series, just send me an email!


Tribe by James Bruno

Describe your book Zack & Zoey’s Alien Apocalypse -or- Alien Busting Ninja Adventure for Reluctant Readers (Z&Z Book 1) in ten words or less

Kids take on human gobbling aliens armed with only umbrellas.

Where or how did you come up with the idea for your story?

It was one of those rare instances when an idea pops into your head and just sort of writes itself. I wrote it in a week with no outline.

What was your favorite part to write and why?

I had lots of fun writing the scene where Sunny has to stick her hand down an alien’s nose (way down).

My favorite paragraph:

“With a long, drawn out sucking sound, Sunny pulled her hand out of the monster’s nasal passage. Glops of green, stringy snot slid down her arm in gooey, sticky strands.”

Do you have a day job? If yes, tell us about it and how did that affect your writing / publishing process?

Yes, I own a business building classic video arcades. Anyone who’s owned a business knows it takes long hours; sixty hours is a light week. So, I do most of my writing after midnight.

Of course being the boss, I can occasionally ditch work to spend the day writing.

Tell us about an upcoming book or project you’re excited about

My next book is Zack & Zoey’s second installment; it’s about the kids getting trapped in a theme park, and pulled into the future where they are chased by evil robots. Their only way home is to team up with one of their grown-up classmates and defeat an evil corporate overlord.

Bonus Question! Fill in the blank: If you like ___, you’ll probably like my book too!

I aspire to have all the action of Rick Riordan’s Lightning Thief, but with illustrations and layout like Wimpy Kid–geared for reluctant readers. That’s an extremely high bar, but as long as kids enjoy my books, I’ll be happy.


Thanks again for stopping by, MJ Ware! You can learn more about the author at his website: mjware.com, Facebook: MJ-Ware, Twitter: @MJAWare.

 Zack & Zoey’s Alien Apocalypse -or- Alien Busting Ninja Adventure for Reluctant Readers (Z&Z Book 1) is available on Amazon in Kindle format (Note: Formatted for the Kindle Fire as well as black & white kindles).

Check out MJ’s Amazon author page for more info and browse through his other published children’s books!

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