Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Honeycomb: Boljelam by Junior Sokolov Genre: SciFi Action, Adventure


Get to know Junior Sokolov

•            Tell us your latest news.
 I just completed my first solo novella in the Honeycomb series. Honeycomb: Boljelam
•            What inspired you to pen your first novel?
 Wren Cavanagh, good friend, knows me well.
•            Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
 William Gibson and working in the technology environment
•            What genre are you most comfortable writing?
 Sci-fi Horror
•            How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
 It was supposed to be Honeycomb: Dock Lizards, a reference to lot lizards, the sex workers in the trucking industry. As the story grew so did my appreciation for the characters and the term Dock/Lot lizard started to feel disrespectful. Also Boljelam, the huge space station where the action takes places grew in presence as I kept writing.
•            Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
 Everyone should be treated humanely and with respect. Unless they are the bad guy. Then you shot them into space.
•            What are your current projects?
The sci/fi-horror  scify/horror-colonization full length novel in the Honeycomb series.  Quint, the chief lawman for the town of Revaltion will have to deal with native monster, an incoming religious faction crash landing nearby and human turned monsters. It’ll be great!
•            What is the hardest part of writing?
 Making the event timelines work, and doing your best to entertain the reader.
•            What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your books?
 Recognizing that some of my characters defects, were in fact my own. It helped me address those flaws in myself.
•            Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?
Be excellent to each other.

•            What are you reading now?
 Radium Girls, Endurance and of course I just finished Midnight in Chernobyl
•            What scares you?
 Serious illness, poverty the loss of loved ones. The current condition of the planet. Letting people down.
•            Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite horror book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of the horror genre?
 Ghost Story by Peter Straub is one of my favorites. The Stand of course. House of Leaves is not quite horror but I enjoyed thoroughly. There are just so many.
               

After a life lived for parties, sex and drugs spiraled into grief, she went to selling herself  and fighting for survival.

Now one Boljelam's angry rebels, she leads a cheapened life on one of the most unjust space station in the universe. Then, she finds an unexpected way out.
An escape from a life of abuse and hardship in the form of a ticket on a ship set for Honeycomb. Taken from a dead woman's purse, it's a one way ticket to a new pristine planet, to heaven.
Will she be able to pull it off and get out alive?
Or will two rabid cops, a zombie AI and a level full of monsters in her way keep her escaping?
And what about that bio-engineered murderer dogging her steps. He wants out as bad as she does!






Reclusive writer from the Pacific Northwest. Hates peanut butter loves Mojitos (sin alcohol, por favor). Sometimes found around 60 feet (ca. 18 m) underwater in the Puget Sound or at about the same depth in the blue and clear waters of Cozumel hovering over a coral reef and hoping to see a shark or a large majestic green turtle."I love thinking of the intersection of new science and horror, the future haunted houses could be space stations or our own scientifically enhanced and hacked bodies,"







Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!






Lizzie Borden by Elizabeth Engstrom Genre: Historical Mystery, Thriller

How did this book come about?
My editor at Tor Books called me one day and said they were interested in publishing a book about Lizzie Borden, and wanted to know if I knew about the case. Of course I knew. Everybody knew. It remains one of America’s great unsolved mysteries. She said, “Who do you think did it?” I told her my theory, and she said, Wow, I’ve never heard that one before.” And we struck a deal.

Then I had to write a factually-correct book that ended the way I speculated. Not an easy task. I combed through old newspaper articles, trial transcripts, speculative articles published in psychological books and magazines—everything I could find about her and the case. There are certain undisputed facts, but there was hardly anything known about the personalities of the Bordens. So within that realm, I was able to design the characters who could accomplish the denouement of that Fall River tragedy.

Fun fact about this book
The editors at Tor, the original publisher of Lizzie Borden, went through this book with a fine-toothed comb, and made certain that every word in it was in use during 1892. Many of the words we use in American society were coined during by journalists during WWI and WWII, and they are so much a part of our lexicon, that we tend to think they were always in use. Not so.


Did she do it?


A hundred years ago, it was the Trial of the Century. A young woman stood accused of brutally murdering her father and stepmother in a crime so heinous that it became a benchmark in human tragedy.

A hundred years later, the Lizzie Borden case still resounds in the imagination. There are those who staunchly defend Lizzie’s innocence while others vehemently declare that she did it, and that the murder was justified.

In Elizabeth Engstrom’s brilliant novel, the dark psychology of the Borden household is laid bare. Lizzie, her sister Emma and their parents Andrew and Abby Borden, are sharply illuminated—as are the paranoia and concealed hatred that secretly ruled the family. Domestic violence and dysfunctional families are not inventions of modern times.

Every door in the Borden house is metaphorically locked, and each room holds the terrible secrets of its occupant…Engstrom skillfully and subtly builds a psychological plot, moving the reader inexorably toward the anticipated savage denouement.” —Publishers Weekly





Elizabeth (Liz) Engstrom grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois (a Chicago suburb where she lived with her father) and Kaysville, Utah (north of Salt Lake City, where she lived with her mother). After graduating from high school in Illinois, she ventured west in a serious search for acceptable weather, eventually settling in Honolulu. She attended college and worked as an advertising copywriter. 


After eight years on Oahu, she moved to Maui, found a business partner and opened an advertising agency. One husband, two children and five years later, she sold the agency to her partner and had enough seed money to try her hand at full time fiction writing, her lifelong dream. With the help of her mentor, science fiction great Theodore Sturgeon, When Darkness Loves Us was published. 

Engstrom moved to Eugene, Oregon in 1986, where she lives with her husband Al Cratty, the legendary muskie fisherman, and their Duck Tolling Retriever, Jook. Liz holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and a Master of Arts in Applied Theology, both from Marylhurst University. A recluse at heart, she still emerges into public occasionally to speak at a writers conference, or to teach a class on various aspects of writing the novel, essay, article or short story. An avid knitter and gardener, she is on faculty at the University of Phoenix and is always working on the next book.





Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!





Monday, July 29, 2019

SILENT KINGDOM by RACHEL SCHADE

How the Writing Life Chose Me…No, Really
by Rachel L. Schade 
Every time I try to answer questions such as: When did you decide to become a writer? or When did you fall in love with reading? I struggle. The truth is, it’s hard to trace my love of all things bookish back to a beginning. My parents read to me as a child, which must have left the huge impression on me that everyone says reading to children can leave.
To be honest, I barely remember learning how to read. I barely remember not knowing how. I remember pulling off any and every book from my first and second grade classroom shelves and devouring them at my desk in every spare moment I had. In fact, I stuffed my nose so literally in books that when the school coach stopped by my class once, he expressed a concern that I might have sight problems.
I didn’t. I just liked to live with my nose literally stuck in a book, like Belle. I guess I was so caught up in whatever I was reading, I couldn’t help but hold it as closely as possible.
And as for writing? I know at the age of ten I was typing out short children’s mystery books on the family computer. I know at the age of eleven Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, which my mom read out loud to my brother and me, inspired me to begin writing my own fantasy novel, scribbled in endless notebook pages and then eventually typed on our computer.
But when did it start? I don’t know. I’ve actually come across mini “books” I’d illustrated as a child and then, because I couldn’t write yet, dictated to my mom. So there you have it: proof I was even writing before I could actually write.
I guess the short and cliché answer is that writing and reading is an integral part of who I am. It’s been a lifelong passion, instilled in me by the parents who read to me. I simply can’t imagine my life without books!
Silent Kingdom
Silent Kingdom Book 1
by Rachel L. Schade
Genre: YA Fantasy 
Some fates can't be escaped
Chosen by truth. Marked for death. Halia must choose to save her kingdom, or let it fall.


Misroth's king has died, and the entire kingdom is in mourning--or so it seems. After her father is crowned regent in his brother's stead, Princess Halia discovers a terrible truth that could end her life. But when she flees to live in hiding, she discovers that the Royal Guard are not all she has to fear. Dark creatures stalk her, reports of oppression and war reach her ears, and her burden to protect her kingdom--at any cost--will not be silenced.

Lovers of fantasy adventures such as Throne of GlassAn Ember in the Ashes, and The Remnant Chronicles won't want to miss this exciting new series. Filled with heart-pounding action and thrilling courage, supernatural powers and nightmarish monsters, readers have trouble putting this book down. Start your adventure today!






Forsaken Kingdom
Silent Kingdom Book 2
An empty throne. A ruined kingdom. Is she their deliverance or their downfall?


Halia's fight for her kingdom is only beginning. With Misroth's rightful king in danger, Halia is forced to trust her enemy and embark on a dangerous journey into Toryn to find her cousin. But Toryn is in ruins, its people plagued by terrors and fighting for survival. As death stalks them all, Halia must face the darkness in her past and her deepest fears, until at last she is faced with one terrible question: How much is she willing to lose?

Lovers of fantasy adventures such as Throne of GlassAn Ember in the Ashes, and The Remnant Chronicles won't want to miss this exciting new series. Filled with heart-pounding action and thrilling courage, supernatural powers and nightmarish monsters, readers have trouble putting this book down.





Rachel L. Schade was born on the first day of summer in a small town in Michigan, only to end up in another small town in Ohio. She attended The Ohio State University to learn how to write obnoxiously long papers, cite people who use big words, and discuss her passion: books. She has a great love for the color blue, sunshine, chocolate, and not folding her laundry. Currently she lives with her husband and surrounds herself with coffee and books on a regular basis.





Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!





Interview with M. Billiter author of the Adult Psychological thriller A DIVIDED MIND


A Divided Mind 
M. Billiter 
Published by: Tangled Tree Publishing
Publication date: July 27th 2019
Genres: Adult, Psychological Thriller
Sometimes that little voice in your head isn’t always yours.
What if the only friend you have isn’t real? When the voices in his head begin to make sense, high school senior Branson Kovac turns to the one friend he’s still got… only to discover he’s not really there.











Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.

Hello! I’m M. Billiter. “A Divided Mind,” is my 15th book, but my first work of domestic fiction. After writing more than a dozen romance stories, the universe brought a different type of story into my life that I knew had to be told and one I was uniquely qualified to write.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

“A Divided Mind,” started with a phone call. It was the day before a major college kickoff event I had helped plan for more than a year. I was crazily finalizing last-minute details when my son, Kyle, called saying he needed to talk. I still remember my exasperation from being bothered at work. What? What could it be now? With four children to support, I was finally getting my boots on the ground as an adjunct professor. My placement on the planning committee was a huge step forward in my career. An interruption at work meant a disruption in what I was trying to build.

When I pressed Kyle for an answer, he started to back away from the conversation. That's when I knew. I knew it was more than a phone call. And suddenly, I couldn't breathe or stop my mind from racing - pregnant girlfriend, drugs, failing a class? What I heard in reply wasn't at all what I expected.

“I’m hearing voices.”

I didn't understand what was happening to my son. I only knew I wanted it to go away. The campus event no longer mattered. In trying to build "something," I let what truly matters - family, children, home life - break down. As I sat in the waiting room at the counseling center while Kyle saw an emergency intake specialist, my only focus was on my little boy.

At, 6'1 my 18-year-old was far from little. He was my gentle giant, my brave heart. Together we navigated the world of mental health without any clue what was ahead. During this time, the journalist in me surfaced. I asked a lot of questions, which I wasn't always sure I wanted to know the answer.

By delving into the darkness, Kyle shared with me demons I never knew he battled. It was heartbreaking and heroic. The story we lived became the story we told - with a twist. What started as a quest for answers turned into, “A Divided Mind,” a fictionalized, chilling story of what could happen if a divided mind was left untreated.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

Lately, I’ve traveled a lot for work. When random pockets of time present themselves, I’ll pull out my phone and start writing. The “Notes” section on my iPhone is my go-to for writing. Whether I’m in line for coffee or the Metro, a note is open and I’m text/typing or voice messaging into the folder. It’s amazing how much I can accomplish in a short period of time - like answering a Q&A for a book tour! I cut and paste the questions into the note section, answer them and then email myself the file. That’s key! I backup my work by emailing or texting myself the file.

What authors, or books have influenced you?

When Oprah began her book club, I discovered a lot of great authors – Tawni O’Dell (Backroads), Elizabeth Berg (Open House), or Wally Lamb (I Know This Much Is True). Her monthly book selections that focused on domestic fiction, women’s issues, and literary works were gems that expanded my library.

I’m also a admirer of short stories. Benjamin Percy’s short story work is phenomenal. Authors like Percy, O’Dell, Berg and Lamb, who are at the top of their game with superior craftmanship – character development, engaging plots, and emotion that is palpable – challenge me to put my best work on the page.

What are you working on now?

“The Divided Twin,” is a stand-alone work of domestic fiction. For readers of, “A Divided Mind,” the story picks up four years later in the lives of the Kovak family.

What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?

Great question! I find book tours and book blogs reach readers more effectively than any social media I post!

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Chose to stop listening to that doubtful voice in your head. That voice is a bully that stops you from thinking and worse, creating.

Stand up to that voice. If your little brother or sister were being bullied, you’d stand up for them. Do the same with that voice. Talk to that doubt – address that doubt – with all you’ve already accomplished. Let all those certainties become your guiding belief.

Doubts are traitors that steal from us. Choose to stand up to those doubts. It’s our choices that show who we really are.

What is the best advice you have ever heard?

Hmmm. My sister likes to remind me of all the authors who didn’t hit it big until much later in their career, which always makes me laugh. However, what I’ve always remembered was something Alexandra “Bo” Fuller said during a writing conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, “Write to keep drunks awake around a campfire.” If I can do that, then I’ve done my job!

What are you reading now?

“What We Keep,” by Elizabeth Berg

What’s next for you as a writer?

The New York Times Bestseller’s List and a featured spot, in Oprah’s magazine. You know, nothing too big – just everything I dream and hope will happen!


If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?

“Time Traveler’s Wife,” by Audrey Niffenegger
“Open House,” by Elizabeth Berg
“Back Roads,” by Tawni O’Dell
“On Writing,” by Stephen King

What inspires you to write?

I’m not going to lie – when I meet a reader, who shares with me something about my work they connected with – it makes the long nights, lost weekends, and all that time I devote to writing worth it. I’m so immensely grateful when readers take the time to approach me, email or leave a review – those connections feed my writer’s soul and inspires me to bring my “A” game.

Tell us about your writing process

I steal pockets of time – while I’m in line at Starbucks, in between work meetings, and always during my lunch hour – I write. Whether it’s on my phone, scribbled on meeting minutes, or on my laptop – I write. I don’t have a set number of words I write in a day, but I do focus on completing chapters within a day or two of starting one. Once I begin a new chapter, the storyline and characters consume my thoughts until I finish what they’ve started. And honestly, THAT’S the best part of writing – when the characters take over the story. I’ve often described myself as a stenographer because it often feels as though I’m simply transcribing what they show me.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?

Good question. Since my first book was agented and published in 2011, I’ve seen great changes. Authors have more accessibility to agents, editors, and publishers. As with any growth in an industry there are advantages and disadvantages. Vetting the source that will market your work and you as an author is paramount.




EXCERPT:
For everyone’s concern about me hurting myself or someone, cutting into a frozen frog didn’t prompt any crazed thoughts. Now the kid next to me who kept tapping me on the shoulder like he had a nervous tick, he deserved a beatdown just for annoying me.
“Branson, help me out. What is this?” He pointed to a part of the frog.
“For the hundredth time, it’s the liver.”
“Oh, that makes sense.”
No shit.
I was identifying the other parts of Kermit’s anatomy when tick boy tapped me again on the shoulder.
“What?” I glared at him and he backed away. That sudden jolt of anger triggered the shadow people. I shook my head, but it was still there. I saw a shadow of a person pick up the scalpel and attack tick boy with exact precision, cutting him across the throat. The only color I could see was red.


Author Bio:
M. Billiter is the alter ego of contemporary, award-winning romance author, Mary Billliter.
After writing more than a dozen love stories, she is exploring the other side. Best known for her emotional honesty, Mary doesn't write about well-adjusted people, but rather the wounds in life.
M. Billiter writes with clarity and raw emotion to explore difficult subjects and issues close to her heart.

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

INTERVIEW with author Michael Okon about Witches Protection Program a YA Urban Fantasy

  • Love the title Witches Protection Program- How did you come up with it?

The idea of a secret government agency that protects witches was born out of the one place I do all my thinking. The bathroom. I was in my bathroom one lovely evening in the fall of 2014 and gazed at my wife’s pile of trashy magazines. Since I’m more inclined to read a screenplay or novel while doing my duty, I figured I could take a break and peek through some entertainment pop culture. I flipped the pages and noticed a picture called Wetless Protection Program in some script font above Neil Patrick Harris’s head. I think it was NPH. But in my eyes, I read it as Witches Protection Program and said, what a great title. I then realized I goofed and it said Wetless, not Witches. What a silly idea. A government agency that protects witches. I turned the page to some story about Brangelina or whatever, and my eyes popped open. I turned the page back to Wetless. That’s it. I got my next book idea. Witches Protection Program.  I began creating the story that night and within a week of that fortuitous encounter in my master bathroom, I had a full beat sheet following the adventure of Wes Rockville and Morgan Pendragon.

  • Wes, the protagonist is dyslectic., why did you make that part of his character?

Perfect heroes are rarely heroes. Heroes must have flaws, tics, issues, that they must overcome. That’s what life is all about. We are all heroes and have to overcome the obstacles in life. I wanted people to identify with Wes and his struggles because we all have them. It really is that simple. If I would have made Wes into this beefy hunk that could solve a riddle by snapping his fingers, the readers wouldn’t identify with that. Wes has to have real human issues, and not being able to read is one of them.

  • Does Morgan Pendragon embrace her witch skills?

Well, you’d have to read the book to find out, but the short answer is YES.

  • Both the frog and gummy bat scene were hysterical if not a little mocking of magic. Why did you write them that way?

I have a wicked sense of humor and I wanted to incorporate everyday items that readers are familiar with (i.e. frogs, gummy spiders…etc…). I wanted readers to see the gummy worms come to life in their minds, to see Wes and Morgan shrink down to frogs to break into the Pendragon labs in Jersey. I wanted the readers to feel that if Wes and Morgan can go through this, they could as well. I didn’t want the magic to feel cheesy or fake. So I used real things to make it feel real to the readers.

  • If it was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main roles?

Easy. Channing Tatum as Wes. Christoph Waltz as Alastair. Zendaya as Morgan. Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, or Halle Berry (whoever is available) as Bernadette. Emma Stone as Scarlett.  They can reach out to my film agent with their availability.

  • You built a world where witches exist alongside everyday people. Do you see this as even possible?

Absolutely! I drive around NYC frequently and I’m always wondering if the woman who just passed my car was a witch, or if that dude in a business suit is a warlock (hint, hint at the WPP sequel). That happens more times than you can imagine.

  • Everyone loves the character, Junie. What made her so enjoyable?

Junie is a mish-mash of my great-aunt Junie, and my aunt Marilyn. The real Junie has since passed, but my aunt Marilyn is a character in real life. She is gruff, cool, funny as hell, and will tell you exactly how she feels. And if you go to her house, she’ll cook you something right off the stove (just like Junie in WPP). I feel safe with Marilyn, who is a Bronx native and she’ll tell ya about it.

  • Where do you find the characters you write about? Are they pure invention?

Characters speak to me. Most characters have a piece of me in them. But others are actors/actresses in my head or people I’ve known my entire life.  For example, I’m no cop. I can’t shoot anything if I tried, but Wes is. And he is based on this friend of mine who is an NYC Police Officer. I incorporated Channing Tatum, and voila, Wes is born. Alastair was an amalgamation of Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained and my own father. A stern, yet sympathetic father figure who will stop at nothing to protect his family, and what is right in this world. All my characters are mishmashes.

  • The book was originally published under the author Micheal Phillip Cash, your pen name. Can you give us the back story.?

It’s a pretty incredible story that I have a hard time believing. I wrote Monsterland and self-published it in 2015. My mom is my publicity manager and she blitzed the bloggers with my book. That fall I was reading a book called Selling a Screenplay by Syd Field. In the book, there was an entertainment attorney named Susan Grode who seemed very knowledgeable about the publishing and film industry. I told myself, when I receive my first contract, I’m going to reach out to her to see if she could help me. About two months later, I received a post on Facebook from an agent in London who asked to represent me. I said sure and asked him to send me a contract. I emailed Susan and introduced myself and mentioned that I had someone who wanted to rep me and I was hoping she could read this contract. She told me before I sign with this London agent, why don’t I meet her friend in Brooklyn, an agent named Nick Mullendore with Vertical Ink Literary Agency. I met Nick for lunch and he signed me that day as his client. That evening, Susan brought me on as her client as well. Nick began trying to sell my book Monsterland to the big publishers and, it was rejected. Throughout his attempts of selling, he had a call with a film agent and he was pitching her a romance novel. She said she wasn’t really into romance and was looking for something with monsters. He sent her my book Monsterland, she read it over a weekend, and we had a call that Monday. She told Nick and me if we get the book published, she will get it into a producer’s hands to make into a film. Nick found a publisher called WordFire Press owned by Kevin J. Anderson, who has written all the Star Wars and Dune canon books. WordFire signed me to a two-book deal for Monsterland 1 & 2. After the deal was signed, my film agent did what she promised and got my book into the hands of a billion-dollar grossing producer who is now shopping my book to certain studios.  In two years, I went from a self-published author to a published author with a literary agent, an entertainment attorney, a film agent, a two-book publishing deal, a publicist, and a producer who is interested in turning my book to a film. It’s been one wild ride, to say the least.


  • Is this version different?

A few things have changed, but not much. However, there are some changes. The script I submitted to my agent who is shopping it around to the studios now is NOTHING like the book.

  • What are you working on now?

LOTS of projects! I have 5 manuscripts completed including Monsterland 3.  A few new screenplays I’m playing with. Exciting things on the horizon, so stay tuned.


Witches Protection Program
by Michael Okon
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy 

Wes Rockville, a disgraced law-enforcement agent, gets one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he’s reassigned to a 232-year-old secret government organization.


The Witches Protection Program.

His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar cosmetics company’s diabolical plan to use witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt’s evil deeds. Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in witches…and believe in himself.

Filled with adventure and suspense, Michael Okon creates a rousing, tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern-day New York City.






Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.




Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!










Saturday, July 27, 2019

MEET THE CHARACTERS of THE DREAM DEFENDERS a YA Fantasy by Neal DenHartog

Meet the Cast

Nolan Erling is a fourteen-year-old boy who does well enough in school, but doesn’t really fit in. It probably doesn’t help that his best friend is his elderly next-door neighbor, Frostee. Home life used to be great even though Nolan is adopted, but the recent addition of a younger brother—a miracle baby—to the family has caused him to grow apart from his mom and dad. Then there’s the headaches. He’s been waking with them for four straight days, and the only person who claims she can help him with them is the mysterious new girl at school

Aeryn Sandman is fifteen and a Junior Agent with the DREAM Institute, a secret organization tasked with protecting the world of dreams while the population sleeps. This is her first mission, and she’s trying to recruit Nolan by integrating into his life—and his dreams—to bring him into the fold at the Institute. She’s driven and wants nothing more than to impress her superiors, including her father.

Geoffrey Sandman is the Director of the DREAM Institute. He runs the day to day operations, overseeing all of the various departments. He is a precognitive dreamer, meaning he occasionally sees glimpses of the future. He’s seen Nolan in a few of those dreams, but he won’t disclose why. He is the father of two children, Aeryn and Marshall.

Marshall Sandman is Aeryn’s slightly older twin brother, by a whopping five minutes, which he likes to rub in when he can. He is on a research tract at the Institute, preferring to spend his time learning about dreams rather than manipulating them while asleep. He’s pulled into the Nolan and Aeryn’s quest due to his knowledge of the dream world.

Jade Melody is Aeryn’s direct supervisor and she travels with Aeryn on her recruitment mission to offer advice and make sure everything is going okay. She is one of the few adults sympathetic to the kids’ cause when thing ultimately go awry.

Penchant Downing is the Institute’s finest oneironaut, or O-Naut for short. O-Nauts operate in the dream world and are experts at manipulating dreamscapes. Penchant is assigned to Nolan’s case early on, mostly as a cleanup crew while Nolan tries to get a handle on his dream powers, and later as a protector from the dangerous creatures stalking the kids.

Crispin Devereaux is Penchant’s boss, the Head of the Maintenance Department. His group is focused on maintaining and repairing dreamscapes within the dream world. But the dream world is a big place and his work force too few, especially so when one of the worst breaches in history occurs.

Lester Bogman, or the Bogeyman as he is known around the Institute, runs the Nightmare Department. He has a reputation of being a jerk and often suggests harming the kids to remedy the crisis they’re facing. This utter disregard for the well-being of Nolan and his friends puts him at odds with Geoffrey, and Nolan is pretty much convinced Lester caused the entire situation himself.

Frostee Shupert is Nolan’s eighty-year-old next-door neighbor and substitute algebra teacher. He and Nolan get along great, and when he’s not hanging out with the boy, he’s sleeping an inordinate amount of time in the hammock in his backyard or playing with his adorable chub of a pug, Scranton.

Julia Grimm runs the Death Department. Yes, there is a Death Department because people die in their sleep all the time, and someone has to make sure that happens as naturally as possible. Unfortunately, a major oversight by her subordinates is partially to blame for the events of the story.

The Shadow was once the most feared nightmare in the dream world, stalking and terrifying his victims by being able to meld into shadows and turn into smoke with ease. He begins the story imprisoned, a result of becoming too good at his job. But someone wants to set him free, and he wants revenge…

Gearby Stelensnarf is a nightmare specializing in stealing people’s clothing while they dream so they end up in their underwear or nude in terrifying situations. He is recruited by the Shadow, but if the right garment comes around, he’ll switch sides at the drop of a hat.

Bolt is another nightmare, a small demon with a pair of bolt cutters larger than he is. He uses them to disable the brake lines of vehicles so dreamers experience the terror of driving with no brakes. He and Gearby are rarely seen without each other.


A vivid, dangerous dream world. Real-life consequences. Better ready your defense.


When fourteen-year-old Nolan Erling wakes up with a headache for the fourth straight day, he suspects the likely culprit to be any number of things—from his annoying baby brother, to vehicular crashes with his elderly neighbor, or even his questionable late-night food choices—not his dreams.


Aeryn Sandman knows the true cause, though. She is a junior agent with the DREAM Institute, a secret organization tasked with protecting the world’s population while they sleep, and she’s on her first assignment.

Her mission: infiltrate Nolan’s life—and his dreams—and keep him safe, all while persuading him to join their protective force.

But recruitment missions are no walk in the park, and Aeryn’s goes horribly wrong when Nolan’s powers unwittingly unleash two dream creatures locked away in a restricted area of the dream world. While Aeryn and Nolan search for ways to contain the escaped beings, they uncover a much greater conspiracy.

For these dreams can kill, and someone is orchestrating their actions in the dream world. If Aeryn and Nolan can’t figure out who is behind it, no dreamer will be safe, and neither will the organization that defends them.


Discover a book with a fresh voice, genuinely humorous characters, and a compelling, original storyline. The Dream Defenders will appeal to readers of all ages.
★★★★★ - "A spectacularly imaginative story." - Indies Today



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Neal DenHartog was born, raised, and currently resides in Iowa. After a fifteen year career in the sciences he decided to rekindle his childhood passion for writing. Now, when he's not donning a lab coat, he writes stories about dreams.







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