Independent Author Spotlight – Carol A. Park. Writer of Dark Epic Sword and Sorcery Fantasy

Asking a fantasy author to write 400 to 800 words about themselves and their works is a bit of a dangerous proposition! I’d like to thank Beth Tabler for the opportunity to have a spot on her blog and for hosting the #indiespotlight project to bring more exposure to independent authors.

My name is Carol A. Park, and, as you have already deduced, being the astute readers that you are, I write fantasy. To be more precise, I write secondary world epic and sword & sorcery fantasy. To be even more precise (I did say it was a dangerous proposition, didn’t I?), I write character-driven sometimes-dark epic and sword & sorcery fantasy that likely has a strong romantic subplot and definitely has a nuanced magic system tied to some sort of made-up mythology.

It’s that last bit that I’d like to go into more depth about in this post.

I’ve always loved writing, I’ve always loved fantasy, and I’ve always been fascinated by mythology. And since I read my first Brandon Sanderson books, I’ve been intrigued by what has come to be known as “hard magic.” Since I have two master’s degrees in the areas of ancient near eastern history, language, and mythology, I suppose it makes sense that it all coalesced into my absolute favorite aspect of creating secondary world fantasy: making up magic and mythology—and in particular, magic and mythology that are deeply intertwined.

My debut book, Banebringer, which released in May 2018, is the first book of The Heretic Gods trilogy, an atmospherically dark sword & sorcery. It features a detailed magic system and, as you have once again deduced, heretical gods. The magic is closely related to this pantheon, which I had great fun making up (who wouldn’t have fun making up a pantheon, after all?), since these gods are the ones who bestow a variety of powers on certain mortals based on the deities own “profiles.” Of course, that the gods doing the bestowing are heretical complicates life a little for the unfortunate recipients of these unasked-for powers, the titular Banebringers, who do not—and never have—worshipped their “patron” deities.

You might be asking, “And how does one make up a pantheon, Carol?” Well, I can’t offer definitive advice, of course, but one way to go about is to find a fun-sounding example in our own ancient mythologies and run with it. In the case of Heretic Gods, I took inspiration from the Aztec pantheon for my heretical gods. (Me being me—a scholar of a few subjects in my own right—I now feel compelled to note for the most likely non-existent scholars of the ancient Aztecs that might be reading this: this is inspiration in the same way that a moving piece of music might inspire a musician to create something similarly emotive but wholly new—not an attempt to be historically accurate in any way, shape, or form!)

I’ve had even more fun with the sequel, Cursebreaker, which releases (fingers crossed) Dec 2019, because I’ve had the opportunity to expand on both the magic and especially the mythology in some ways that were fun for me, and I hope are fun for readers looking forward to the next installment.

Obviously, I have other stories bubbling about in my brain, and by way of a teaser, the next series I’ll be working on is an epic fantasy which also features a nuanced magic system, once again intricately tied to a (different!) made-up pantheon—and is in some ways the opposite of Banebringer in how that plays a role in the plot.

I must mention before I wrap up that I also have another book available, Sweetblade, which delves into the backstory of one of the characters from Banebringer. It can be read by itself, or before or after Banebringer. Sweetblade epitomizes the character-driven aspect of my books, which I (alas!) lack space to delve into here.

I could go on, but I won’t, mostly because I want to behave myself and stick to my word limit (said no epic fantasy author ever). Once again, thanks to Beth for hosting this series and providing me the opportunity to blab about some aspects of writing near and dear to my heart.

About the Author – Carol A. Park

Author Bio:
Carol A. Park is a fantasy author who lives in the Lancaster, PA area with her husband and two young and active boys–which is another way of saying, “adorable vampires.” She loves reading (duh), writing (double-duh), music, movies, and other perfectly normal things like parsing Hebrew verbs and teaching herself new dead languages. She has two master’s degrees in the areas of ancient near eastern studies and languages.

Amazon links:

Amazon author page:

Amazon link to Banebringer:

Amazon link to Sweetblade:

Online excerpts of both books are available through the Amazon “Look Inside” feature on the Amazon product pages.

Goodreads links:

Goodreads author page:

Goodreads link to Banebringer:

Goodreads link to Sweetblade:

Social media/contact:



Website/Newsletter Signup:


Author Daniella Shepard Talks about The Program Covenant House

For those of you that follow me, I often post pictures of the beautiful winters that we have here in the state of Alaska. I love living here, and my husband and I often get out into the weather and enjoy what Alaska has to offer, even in the cold of winter. But we are able to come home to a nice warm house. There are those who cannot. It’s even more heart-wrenching when it’s kids who are living out on the streets, often the victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking.

Covenant House Alaska’s mission is not just to give kids a bed and food for a night, but to help these kids find a sustainable path off the streets. They do this through collaboration with other organizations in the community to provide mental and physical health care, job training, and support to these at-risk kids. You can read more about their mission below.

Covenant House

I think many of us as can agree that reading and writing is a form of escape. I know it is for me. I can lose myself in a book or in my writing for hours. Recently, I reviewed Ryen Leslie’s book, River. Afterwards, I really started to think about who it would resonate with. Some of my coworkers (and myself, indirectly) are volunteers for Covenant House Alaska. I felt strongly that her YA Fantasy would really connect with these kids. In addition, from my interactions with Ryen, AKA: The Witch, she is always connecting with other writers and offering support through our very unique writing community.

I reached out to Sam Hendricks, of Kyanite Press, and asked if I could buy a few copies of Ryen’s book in bulk so that I could donate it to the shelter here in town. Sam, being the amazing person she is, was more than happy to work with me. The books will be making their way to Alaska as soon as they are off the press.

Meanwhile I reached out to Alison Kear, the Director of Covenant House, Alaska and pitched my plan. Ideally, we would distribute the books and see what reaction the kids have. Between the multiple shelters here in town, they have many kids who are avid readers and writers. Many of them are highly creative and write poetry, stories and music there at the shelter. Once the kids have read the books, if they have questions about writing, getting published, or even what Ryen has planned next in her series, we plan on setting up a live chat. This would allow these kids to connect with a newly published author. They can see that the path to publication success can be difficult, it is achievable. We can also help them define success and show them ways to utilize social media to their advantage to market their own ideas. This is in line with Covenant House’s Mission of helping these kids to find a sustainable path away from the streets.

When I deliver the books to the shelter, I plan on doing a Facebook live event, to give the organizers an opportunity to speak to all of the amazing things they do to help these young people.

I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out. If we get participation (like we hope), I’ll be reaching out to you, my fellow authors. We’ll share your writing and stories with the young adults at the shelter. Speaking with the directors of the shelter and outreach center, there is an interest in just about every genre.

The Outreach Center here in Anchorage also has a coffee shop that is run by some of the teens at the shelter as a way for them to learn how to run a business. We plan on doing poetry and story readings to encourage the kids to share their writing.

Thanks for reading, and hope to share your writing with these wonderful young adults and encourage them to get their writing out there too!

About the Author

Daniella Shepard is an electrical engineer and ex-navy nuclear electrician’s mate who pulled up anchor at eighteen in California. Through many twists and turns, she made her way to Alaska. When she’s not playing with live electricity or writing stories about women in STEM saving the day, you can find her in her cabin off the grid in the interior of Alaska with her husband Ray building and trying out something new. If you want to read more about her latest Alaskan adventure, or her current work-in-progress, check out her website and sign up for her newsletter: You can also find her on Twitter, participating in writing prompts and sharing tidbits of stories: @dmshepard13.

Connect with the Author


Twitter: @dmshepard13


Independent Author Spotlight – Kiersten Hall

KIERSTEN HALL has been writing stories all her life… in her head.  She is finally taking the time to put those stories down on paper for others to read.

Her first book, “I Do” Fifteen Years of Wedding Misadventures, is a humorous memoir of the 15+ years of memories from her experience of being a professional wedding videographer.  With 1,400+ weddings to choose from, there are plenty of entertaining stories to share with the readers!

Corner Confessions – A Novel is Kiersten’s second book, comprised of an unusual cross-genre of fiction and non-fiction: The non-fiction comes from the confessions of real people* Kiersten has known over the years, while the fiction follows the characters and storylines of those involved with the coffee shop where the confessions take place. Since the release of the initial fourteen confessions, people have been snapping up this book fast, finding it hard to put down.

The second book in the series, The Lies We Live, released in Nov. 2018 and served up sixteen more confessions from the people Kiersten has known over her lifetime, thus far. Compared to the first book of fraud, blackmail, and quirky happenstances, The Lies We Live offers up in-depth confessions of obstruction, divisiveness, and death. The reader’s experience takes on a more somber tone.

December 2020 sees the release of the third and final book of twenty confessions, …And The Burdens We Keep. The reader will experience a ride on the psychologically dark and emotional roller coaster of keeping burdens, as well as closure on the characters’ unanswered questions throughout the first two books of the Corner Confessions series.

*  Confessions are true but names have been changed.

Most recently, though, and for something completely different… Kiersten claims to have ‘channeled’ Dr. Suess on October 16, 2018. Much to her surprise, and in a matter of 45 minutes, a thoughtful and sweet poem promoting kindness and inclusivity geared toward children ages 0 to 8 years, bubbled to the surface of her thoughts and wound up on a Google Doc. Kiersten will be the first one to tell you she isn’t a very poetic person, too. JELLYBEANS is her first children’s book and is set for a June 2019 release. Since she also claims she’s not very artistic, she brought in Illustrator – Shaina Ryther, and Graphics Designer – Chelsea Farr, to help bring this special book to the world. Opening up this vein of youthful creativity, Kiersten now has six other children’s books in the works. Next year, young readers will get to meet Ollie – an octopus she used to have thirty years ago, as a pet!

Besides the books listed above, there are 11 other titles waiting in the files to be written with more ideas entering whenever something piques Kiersten’s ‘vivid’ imagination.  She is striving to release one book per year, and is looking forward to sharing her stories with the world!


2017: Guest blog found @
2019: Kiersten has a short story and dessert recipe included in the current release of ‘Cooked to Death, Volume IV’: A crime & foodie anthology filled with ‘delicious’ crimes and recipes ‘to die for!’  Found @



Amazon: Goodreads:


A Christmas Horror Story by Author Lennie Grace

This is the writing prompt that changed my life forever.

I’ve always loved writing and reading, especially fantasy, mysteries, horror, and historical fiction focused on Robin Hood. I’ve written a few things before, but nothing I felt confident enough to publish beyond giving stories as gifts to my family and close friends and posts to Wattpad that I always took down after a while.

I’m a very self-conscious person, and I always worry about what people will think of me. I blame middle school bullies. Kids going through puberty are the worst!

Besides sharing copies with my family and friends, and those few posts to Wattpad that quickly came back down, I was never confident to publish my works.

Then, I stumbled across a Wattpad writing contest featuring that simple prompt.

I was feeling really good at the time I found it. It was the holidays. I was surrounded by family. I had recently finished therapy sessions that taught me a lot about dealing with the anxiety of not being perfect and liked (leftovers from those middle school bullies). Also, that prompt simply sounded fun. On a whim, I said, “What the hell?! I’ll try!”

So, I started writing.

Two stories were born from that one, simple holiday-themed idea: Blood Moon and All That Glitters.

Blood Moon is the story of a woman who is attacked by a werewolf, and things get terrifying around Christmas. All that Glitters in the tale of a young woman who gets a haunted music box for Christmas and must deal with it before it drives her mad.

I submitted both stories. All that Glitters won! Besides Blood Moon, there was only one other entry, but I didn’t focus on that part. I was still thrilled. Something I had written had won a contest! Someone out there in internet land liked what I had written, and I’d had such fun creating those scary stories.

I wanted to write more. So I did. I wrote another short story. I started work on my first full-length horror novel. It was fun creating scary stuff. I realized I wanted more people to see my work. If one person had enjoyed those stories, maybe more would like them too.

I started editing as best I could. Then, I set up a Kindle Direct Publishing account and got to work. I created my covers, wrote the best blurbs I could, and I self-published my first book: Darkness and Bloodshed. A collection of my three first short scary stories.

I was so nervous, but I was determined to get it out there.

It’s not perfect. I did all the editing and designing. There’s probably still a few typos and errors. It’s a self-published book. The cover is a simple design I made myself with Amazon’s cover creator. But it’s mine. I created something. And perfect or not, those stories are something I’m proud of.

It’s all thanks to one person’s prompts. Without that one simple idea to write scary Christmas stories, I would never have realized just how much I love writing horror. Without seeing that prompt, without that one person saying that they liked my stories, I might have never have dared to fulfill a life long dream of becoming a published author.

I dedicated my book to them. I’ve never met that Wattpad writer, but know I like them.

Blood Moon and All that Glitters are my first born literary twins. Even as I move on to new projects, new stories, new novels, these two will hold a special place in my heart. Even if I never make a lot of money writing and publishing, even if only a few people read and enjoy my work, I’ll be happy. It’s the greatest honor as a writer I can think of. Knowing something I wrote brought a little spooky fun into someone else’s life.

About the Author – Lennie Grace

Lennie Grace writes horror short stories and novels and looks forward to sharing her love all things creepy and spooky with the world. She works two jobs now, but someday hopes to write full time. 

Lennie loves to write fiction that focuses on dark and creepy things, but is extremely nice and non-creepy in real life.

She is a lover of books, reading, and writing. She enjoys reading a little bit of everything, but really likes horror, mysteries & thrillers, fantasy and manga. Along with reading and writing she also loves animals, coffee, pizza, and all things cute and cuddly.

She lives in Oklahoma in a home filled with books and family members, both human and furry.

here’s a link to her facebook page, if anyone wants to follow her! 😀 


Links to Her Books: Amazon

Indie Spotlight – Chandra Press


Firstly, we want to thank Beth for the opportunity to be part of Indie Spotlight on Beforewegoblog. When she mentioned that she was thinking about creating a forum for independent authors to share their stories and showcase their work, we were like, “Hell yes! That sounds awesome. You should totally do it!” When she reached out to us, a startup indie scifi publisher, and asked if we’d like to participate, we were totally flattered and thrilled to do it. We are incredibly grateful for the chance to tell our story, highlight the books we’ve published, and talk about our next release.

So, just who are we and what are we doing? To answer that, I’ll share our mission statement:

We are a science fiction publishing house that brings new authors and amazing stories to readers of sci-fi around the world. Chandra Press is based on the spirit of passion, innovation, collaboration, respect, honesty, and integrity. We firmly believe that the best work comes from a place where creativity, diversity, inclusion, discussion, daring leaps, and the power of dreams are fostered. We believe in ourselves, each other, our vision and our ability to make a positive impact on everything we do. We are Chandra Press.

We started Chandra Press to address 2 major problems in the science fiction publishing space. Foremost is the incredible challenge new authors face in getting their books published by a traditional publishing house. An author needs an agent to get the attention of publishers. But… in order to get an agent, an author needs to be published. We believe this byzantine paradox keeps amazing stories from being told by fresh voices in the genre. To address it, we have an open manuscript submission policy. We don’t need an agent to tell us if something is good. We can do that for ourselves, thank you very much.

The second problem is the focus on paper books and old distribution models. We love our paper books, don’t get me wrong, but the old publishing model is outmoded. There is simply no reason why it should take a year from final draft to the hands of hungry readers. Additionally, the need for investment in physical inventory and the logistical costs of the classic distribution model keeps publishers from investing in new authors.  It is simply too risky financially. By embracing the digitization of content, we are able to invest our capital, time, and energy into making great books and fulfilling our goal of bringing new authors to the world. It’s pretty sweet. 

We officially opened for business on April 18th, 2018. We received our first manuscript that led to a published book on May 9th. It has been an amazing year with many wins.  It has also been incredibly challenging. We wouldn’t want it any other way. Challenges lead to learning. And, we’ve learned a lot. Overall, we’re very pleased with our progress over the last year. 

We published three first books from three new authors so far with our next release on May 3rd. Two of our three books have been Amazon bestsellers and ranked in the top 1% of books across the platform. While that is exciting all by itself, it also proved our business model. We were convinced that readers wanted new work from new authors. Fortunately, we were right (massive sigh of relief). “So, just what are these books?” you ask.

Our first book, Fusion World by Joseph Lewis Tamone, is a thrilling adventure of revenge, teamwork, and how a small group can make a big difference. If you like a science fiction novel with strong character development, a plot that keeps you guessing, and a dose of dystopia, you’ll love Fusion World.

Meet a character: Raven

Raven is a ruthlessly effective assassin for Vyndral. She hunts the former members of the Iota Corps, the group who managed to deploy an anti-terran device and bring an end to the Universal War. The device left Vyndral a cold, dystopian wasteland. Raven grew up after the bomb ruined her homeworld and knows how to hold a grudge. Her preferred method of dispatching her targets: stealth and poisoned blades.

Grab a copy of Fusion World:

Rijel 12: The Rise of New Australia

Our second book, an Amazon bestseller – Rijel 12: The Rise of New Australia by King Everett Medlin, is a riveting, galaxy-spanning space opera of rebellion, piracy, world building, and the quest for redemption with a rich cast of human and alien characters that will keep you turning pages long past bedtime. 

Meet a character: Archibald Hicks

Hicks is the first general of the New Australian Resistance on Rijel 12 and a human. Gruff and blunt, his no-nonsense approach to matters rubs some the wrong way. His strategies are ingenious but incredibly risky. Can he and the rest of the council convince the gangs of Rijel 12 that they’ll work? And what happens if they don’t? It all rides on Hicks shoulder and he wouldn’t want it any other way.

Grab a copy of Rijel 12:

Thad Saves the Galaxy

Our third book, another Amazon bestseller – Thad Saves the Galaxy by C.T. Fleck, is a humorous galactic adventure with a vibrant cast of human and alien characters, space battles, and outrageous good times. If you like a hilarious dark comedy and sci-fi parody with a weed smoking, carefree, and comical main character who eventually rises to the challenge, you’ll love Thad Saves the Galaxy.

Meet a character: Zinka

Zinka is an Aldinian on the run from the tyrant, Derask. Zinka is an outspoken critic of Dreask’s policies and advocate for the oppressed. She has one goal in mind: taking Derask down. When Thad saves Zinka from a gang of rednecks and takes her in, she thinks he just might be able to help her in her quest. She tolerates Thad’s bizarre antics and tries to keep him on a short leash. Zinka is tough, reliable, smart, and proves herself to be the leader that can give Derask the fight of his life.

Grab a copy of Thad Saves the Galaxy: 

Our next release, Sworld: The Chronicles of Malick is a thrilling science fiction adventure with excellent character development, planet-spanning exploration, epic discovery, and perilous danger. The reviews have been awesome:

“Sworld is a sprawling epic that can be enjoyed for all the ingenuity of creation.” – Paul’s Picks

“Sworld was a brilliant read, and one I highly recommend for all science fiction fans out there.” – Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks

“If you enjoy science fiction in all its glory, this is the novel for you.” – Anthony Avila

Malick, the genetically modified captain of The Pioneer, and his crew are on a scientific expedition to the far reaches of the solar system when they received a highly unusual distress call. The source is unknown, no other ship has been out this far. Compelled to investigate, Malick and his team discover an alien vessel with a mysterious cargo that ultimately leaves them hopelessly marooned on the unexplored planet Sworld.

With no way home, they begin a journey of discovery into a rich and vibrant world with new life forms and intelligent species, but also dark mysteries and perilous danger. An ancient race, once peaceful, has turned to violence and aggression. Plunged into a quest for answers and an end to the bloodshed, Malick and the crew must solve the enigmas of Sworld or perish.

Sworld will launch on May 3rd and is available for preorder: 

We continue to be blown away by the quantity and quality of manuscripts we receive. We’ve had to grow the editorial team to keep up with all the amazing stories we want to publish. We’ll be announcing some new additions to the team in the coming months. Our pipeline is full of wonderful stories that we’re sure readers will love. We’ve got the bases covered from epic world builders, to exciting explorations, to the grueling hardships and wonderful discoveries of colonization, to perilous adventures. And, new stories continue to come in.

In closing, we’d like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to our authors, readers, and friends. We really couldn’t do this without you. Your support means the world to us. Thank you.

If you’d like to learn more about us, you can check out our website:, follow us on Twitter:, Facebook: and Instagram: If you like to be in the know and get access to cool stuff before others, you can subscribe to our newsletter: You can also contact us directly:

Indie Spotlight – R.E Houser

Books are like people.

They come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. Some books are thick and full of knowledge and lessons to be passed from generation to generation, helping each to advance their thinking or abilities. Some books are thin and designed for nothing more than for the simple and innocent purpose of entertaining.

Every book has those that love it, their copies pages worn thin from being flipped so many times. That exact same book can sit on a shelf, a gift given but it’s reader just couldn’t get past the first chapter. Then there are those who hear the mention of that book and hate and anger rise in their hearts. Just like people, books hit everyone differently.

They have personality, they create relationships, they have the ability to infect the minds of the readers and steal their thoughts. They can be as close as a dear friend.

These days they come in many different forms; printed, digital, audio, but in their core they remain the same. Stories and knowledge issued forth from one person’s mind and transferred into another’s.

The first books that I ever read as a youth were the Hardy Boys mysteries. My parents would check them out from the library for us, and that day was always special. We would peruse the shelves, mentally checking off what stories had already saturated our minds and prepared ourselves for what was to come.

We also loved the “Choose your own adventure” books, as they gave us re-reading ability, but the story would change every time. Although I have to admit, I cheated. When I made a bad choice, I may have flipped back and tried again. You know you did the same. Yeah, I’m looking at you!

As I grew, I started writing my own stories, penning the strange thoughts that bounced around inside my head with grand aspirations of one day handing this book to my own children, and seeing the same expression on their faces that I had each time I walked out of the library with a new adventure in my hands. I craved to see the look of wonder and excitement but this time knowing that the story they were about to read came from my mind, and my heart.

I wrote several short stories and poems, and quickly found how fun it was to hide messages in my writing. Little hidden phrases and coded thoughts, clues to a mystery that only the shrewd and attentive could discover. (My love for this continues down to this day… *hint hint, points at the Anthology of Resuoh*)

As I grew, my reading and writing slowed down, and an adult life set in. Work, bills, social life, religious responsibilities, children, mow the lawn, clean the garage, mow the lawn… wait again already? Life got busy, as it does for us all.

But then one day I was telling a story to my kids and being silly. Talking of the crazy adventures they could go on if this, or that were to happen, and little bits of old stories that were locked away in the darkest recesses of my mind started resurfacing. I figured, why not throw it down on paper, see where it goes? Thus, the Anthology of Resuoh was born.

Originally, I intended it to be a young adult trilogy, and just small ones at that. As the story developed however, it soon became seven books! I have absolutely LOVED writing again, getting the story out and hearing people talking about the discoveries they made, or the process of trying to figure out the book’s mysteries.

It’s so much fun when someone stumbles upon one of the hidden word puzzles hidden within the story, and suddenly has a hint or a clue that nobody else does. It’s not even about making money, although that is nice. For me, I love sharing the story, and hearing from those who enjoyed it. To me, that’s finer than gold!

So, what is the Anthology of Resuoh? Well, I could tell you, or you could read it yourself! Currently Book one and two are available, and book 3 will be released on May 1st on,, and on my website! My website has contests every month with opportunities to win free copies of my books in print, digital, and audio book. And I run free kindle promotions as often as they let me! Follow me to see when you can get your free copies! Or buy them if you don’t want to wait!

I love feedback; good or bad and welcome the comments. I know I’m new, and I know I’m no where NEAR the caliber of many writers, so anything that helps me to grow as an author is welcome.

Where to find my books:

My website:


Goodreads: REHouser

Where to sample my books:

Forged in the storm:

Remnants of Tomorrow:

Jade Horizons:

Eons of Elijah:

Or on

Where to find me:

My website: – you can connect with me live on the chat here

Twitter: @BooksHouser


Review of Forged in The Storm by R.E Houser


There is absolutely nothing unique about the Resuoh family. A father, a mother, and three children who love each other and try to live a normal life in rural Nebraska. When a well-meaning scientist attempts to thwart a scheme of world-changing proportions by an elusive employer, he inadvertently throws the Resuohs into an epic adventure that will change them all forever.

As they work to pick up the pieces, they find that the nefarious corporation, ExTek Labs, is developing a slew of new technology that is altering mankind. Unwillingly affected, the tech begins to alter one of the children into something superhuman, but with lethal consequences. His parents are forced to accept the help of a mysterious hooded man to save the life of their son. Does he have their best interests at heart, or is he working toward his own veiled agenda?

Join the Resuohs in their attempt to find their way back to normalcy as they watch destruction rain down upon their small town. Will they succeed or will the future of the world be forever changed?


  • 3.5 very enthusiastic stars out of 5
  • Paperback
  • 111 pages
  • Independently Published
  • ISBN1731220669 (ISBN13: 9781731220660)
  • Edition Language English

My Thoughts

“I Stood at the window in the living room, watching as the storm outside continued to worsen. Rain streaked past me flying nearly horizontal, like angry, little wet bugs feeling for their lives. The clouds moved quickly and made my fear continue to grow, but I could’t look away. It didn’t look like storms I had seen in the past. There was a beautiful yet terrifying display of light as bolts of lightning danced from cloud to cloud. The mesmerizing show only eased my growing tension slightly; dad and Lijah were still not home.”

Forged in the Storm by RE Houser

RE Houser wrote a charming story in Forged in the Storm. The Resouh (Russo? Not sure how to pronounce this name) family is cute and unremarkable. Completely ordinary white picket fence Nebraska family regular. I have a feeling that some of these characters were written from life, Houser seems very comfortable in them. The family consists of the parents, Rus and Nichole. The kids: James, Elijah, and Jade. All of various ages. Each of the chapters in this too short story is written from the perspective of whomever that section is talking about. This type of writing can be a challenging task, and for the most part Houser does well with it. One of the fallbacks of doing this sort of narrative, and I think he runs into trouble with this, is that if you give so much “screen” time to so many characters, you end up with no lead. With no lead, the reader can feel unattached to the characters and thus cannot empathize with them. It can feel scattered.

The plot involves the Rusouh Family, a tech company creating far-reaching Earth Shaking technology, and portaling from place to place around the world. It is a little Star Trek, a little Leave it to Beaver and a little James Bond. Crazy mix but fun. I wish that Houser had fleshed out the story more instead of doing short novella like bursts. It is hard to keep a solid narrative going in this format when the book is novella length. Had it been one main character, I think it would have been a more cohesive plot. I ended up feeling unsatisfied because I wanted more of both character, dialog, and story. I needed each chapter to explain more and show more than it did.

I know it sounds like I am complaining about this, I am not. It is a cute idea and a fun story, it just needs some editing and reformatting. The love the family feels for each other is infectious and sweet. They are thrown in some insane predicaments in short succession. The science fiction elements are fun, a little cloudy at this point, but still very enjoyable — all in all a decent read hence the 3.5 stars. I say very enthusiastic stars because this story has promise. It isn’t perfect, but it is fun and it made me happy to read. I am curious as to where the story is going to go and if Houser is going to flesh out things a bit more. I will read the next installment and see where the story takes us.


I received a copy of this from the author in exchange for my open and honest review. Thank you!

Support independent authors! Buy a book, and leave a review.

About the Author

What to say about me? I am a family man, devoted and true. The beautiful woman whom first you noticed in the profile picture (yes, I know you saw her first) is my partner, editor, and wife. We have 3 beautiful children, and they are my life.

Writing has been a passion of mine since I was just a pup, but was not something I decided to actually pursue until Summer of 2018. I love my stories, and the characters within, and I just hope that there are some out there that enjoy them as well. Please, sign up for my newsletter and follow my blog. I love to hear feed back, good or bad!