Crystal Lake


Crystal Lake is the sweeping story of one American family, facing ordinary challenges amidst extraordinary events, while continually being drawn back to a single location, Crystal Lake. From the shores of Normandy during one of history’s most consequential events, to the villages of equatorial Africa rattled by political and ethnic upheaval. From the drug-infested streets of Honduras, to the peace and tranquility of Big Sky Country in America’s Midwest. And from the ultra-modern skyline of Dubai in the Middle East to the farmlands of western Ireland at the beginning of the twentieth century. Crystal Lake follows the journey of a father and son as they search for purpose and meaning across the globe.

Attempts (Author Interview)

Attempts looks like a great book.  What can you tell us about it?

From one perspective, Attempts is about a young man’s challenges and journey, about persistence and finding one’s path. From a broader perspective, it is about the difficulties we face, humanity in general that is, in finding solutions when faced with larger conflicts, with wars. The story is set in a fictitious but contemporary world where these issues present.

Any plans to turn it into a series?

Not at this point. With each story I write, I tend to delve into different facets of our lives, and different challenges, so I tend to work with new characters and settings.

That’s an amazing cover.  Can you tell us about it?

Thank you. The designers and I wanted to express, first, the ideas of a journey and companionship; we also wanted to express the idea that at times it may feel you’re in it on your own, in a lonely and lifeless place, I think those are some of the impressions deserts and very dry places leave us with; on the other hand, such places also leave us with a sense of mysticism, and that is part of the story – mysticism and magical realism. Near the top of the cover, we wanted to express other aspects of the story. On the left is the idea of a violent conflict, a war; while on the right is one of light and hope.

What scene or section did you have the most fun writing?

Tough question, because many different parts were fun to write. That’s one great thing about writing, especially fiction. It’s a blank canvas, one that allows you to bring to reality and to explore whatever you can imagine or wish. Taking it a step further, and to try to answer the question, a part of the story deals with the supernatural and metaphysical. Those scenes were definitely loads of fun exactly because they pushed me to test my imagination; to think about and picture what might be if we were to access what we cannot see with our eyes.

What inspired the idea for the book?

In part my work as an attorney. I’ve been working on civil rights issues for a few years, and before that it was criminal defense. On most days, it was too painful watching, for one injustice, but also unreasonable and unproductive approaches in our judicial system. It’s as if we want to punish those struggling with poverty. It doesn’t make sense. And, to add to this, we often run into conflicts, on an individual level and on a much larger scale, where we don’t even try to find solutions. We don’t make sincere attempts. Instead, it’s as if we actively choose to jump the gun and seek punishment and conflict. So with this story, I wanted to express that punishment more often than otherwise is counterproductive. I also wanted to explore the idea behind finding solutions, behind sincere attempts at negotiating and seeking solutions rather than persisting with conflict.

How did you come up with the title for the book?

The story starts out with an attempted robbery. So the original title was Attempted Robbery. A few friends, however, commented that that title limited the book. I put a little more thought into it and worked with a good friend on the various ideas in the story. The ideas of making effort and persistence came up near the top. So Attempts… that is, working and making attempts toward redemption, toward doing good, toward finding solutions.

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Attempts?

Yep. A few things, to be honest. But one in particular was trying to express a fear in one of the main characters. For example, what fear would drive a person to leave his, or her, country? What fear so strong would push them to a foreign land? Working on that part, trying to express it, and be convincing enough so that a reader can connect with this character and understand the character’s reasoning, I found that tough.

What do you like to do when not writing?

Definitely read. There are some great books out there. One Hundred Years of Solitude is incredible. Also Salinger’s work. I hike often, and also like to volunteer as a sports coach for kids.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

For now, Amazon, Apple, and Kobo, and I am working to get my work into bookstores. A few bookstores in my area and Los Angeles are carrying Attempts.

Trials of the Serpent God (Book One of the Tomes of Pirudus) (Author Interview)

Trials of the Serpent God looks like a great book.  What can you tell us about it?

Thanks! ToSG is the first book in a fantasy trilogy, and is about an exiled warrior – named Gol – on the quest for redemption. What starts as a simple desire to lead a life of humility and devotion to the serpent god Ky quickly leads Gol down a tumultuous path that could change the fate of the entire country.

What can you tell us about the rest of the series?

The rest of the Tomes of Pirudus series follows Gol, as well as his friends and foes, in his quests as the world adapts to the cascading havoc invoked in the first novel. Alliances shift and sacrifices are made in the ensuing war that rages across the land.

That’s an amazing cover.  Can you tell us about it?

I was really pleased with how it turned out and highly recommend the artist – nskvsky, who can be found on Fiverr. It actually details one of my favorite scenes, where Gol meets with Ky for the first time in his pursuit of faith.

Can you tell us a little about Gol?

Gol is a man of grit and perseverance. Raised by a single father as his eventual successor in political leadership, Gol spent his days of young-adulthood rising through the ranks of the provincial military. After drastic actions during a Civil War caused his proverbial fall-from-grace, he was exiled and self-imposed a life of simple religious devotion as a means to escape his shame.

What scene or section did you have the most fun writing?

Both the beginning and the end were fun to write. Being able to bring my vision to life with the beginning scenes and watching the buildup of the book culminate in the final few chapters was awesome – and it really inspired me to continue writing.

What inspired the idea for the book?

As a teenager, I was involved in a homebrew version of the nerd-centric activity of LARP (Live Action Role Play). Gol Senz, the main character, grew from a desire to flesh out my own LARP character. His lore quickly expanded into the Tomes of Pirudus series, but it also joins up with that of my LARP friends.

How did you come up with the title for the book?

For the first novel, I really wanted something that summed up the events that would lead Gol down the path to the climax of the Tomes of Pirudus series. Trials of the Serpent God fit the bill nicely...and it has a solid ring to it.

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Trials of the Serpent God?

As the story went on and started to draw to a close, I found it challenging to find and resolve all of the plotlines I had set forth at the start. Characters that played a part behind the scenes needed to be brought into the light, but also needed to be balanced with the knowledge that two other books would follow.

What do you like to do when not writing?

My wife and I love to travel when we can, both domestically and internationally. When we get the chance, we prefer to find ourselves in a place we’ve never been. Personally, I also enjoy a healthy dose of video games (currently playing Death Stranding) and time on the golf course.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

I’m most active on Instagram (@cole_labar), but can also be found on GoodReads – where I post more about my writing and active works. I’m open to curious readers, so definitely leave me any questions you may have!

The Willow Roses

‘The Willow Roses’ is a true, fact-based story depicting Lithuania’s resistance against Soviet domination in the post war period. The narrative develops in the Lithuanian village of Ažugiriai where people noticed willow trees ‘blooming with red roses’ in the winter after World War II. It is a natural phenomenon where the leaves of the willows left hanging on the branches in the winter become red and shrunk and reminiscent of roses. In Lithuania, it is believed that this incredible natural process prophesies tragedy, blood and death. The prophecy came true when the terrible machine of Soviet terrorism unfolded all its supremacy in post-war Lithuania and the politicians of the time did not manage to resist, leaving citizens to deal with the situation on their own. The author, however, does not go deep into historical analysis. Instead, he reveals the emotions and dramatic experiences of people, who had to take fatal decisions and withstand their outcome, to choose between their beliefs and keeping themselves and their families safe, to suffer or to obey.

The Butcher of Allasar: A Fantasy Novelette (The Big Beyond Novelette Series Book 2)

The Revenants tackle a murder case in the great city of Allasar.

Rayne, the Hand of Death, and his young apprentice, Zato von Oliveira, are trying to solve a string of murders happening in the Wingtide District. The evidence is lacking and the circumstances strange, but our heroes will stop at nothing to catch the perpetrator and deliver them to justice.

Aerin Luna, another Revenant, decides to help Rayne with his murder investigation, determined to prove her competence, only to end up witnessing something much more sinister than death.

Senior Thesis (Author Interview)

Senior Thesis looks like a great book.  What can you tell us about it?

Senior Thesis is a romantic comedy in screenplay form that’s perfect for fans of John Green with its mixture of humor and thought-provoking ideas. The story centers on Landon and Aurora, two seniors who get off to a very disagreeable start at the beginning of Senior Week but slowly become confidants with chemistry. They have very different post-college plans, and the question becomes whether they will alter their plans to continue to get to know one another.

In that way, the story is similar to the movie Before Sunrise.

Readers shouldn’t be intimidated by the book being in screenplay form. In the introduction, I explain how to read standard screenplay elements. And the reader will find, I think, that reading a screenplay is more fun than reading a novel because a script moves much faster. Although there aren’t chapters, the reader can still find natural stopping points.

Any plans to turn it into a series?

No, this book is a standalone story, which I think is refreshing because the reader gets a true conclusion to the story. My next book, a novel, will be part of a series, but the series will be an anthology series, similar to The White Lotus, in that, for each book, the characters and story will change, but there will be some shared elements between books.

That’s an amazing cover. Can you tell us about it?

I wanted to create a cover that would communicate the story premise in a very visual and clear way, so the cover shows these two seniors as each one heads toward their specific vision of their future. But as they head in different directions, a connection is budding between them. I worked with a wonderful artist, Kaitlynn Jolley, who I found on 99designs, and she executed my vision beautifully.

What scene or section did you have the most fun writing?

There’s a sequence about a third into the book that involves a Senior Week game night, and our two leads go head to head, along with other seniors, in a battle involving Nerf guns and an inflatable jousting event. That sequence was fun to write. The sequence also results in a climax that changes the direction of the story and rewrites what we think we know about one of the characters.

I also had a lot of fun writing the story’s climax, which has a mixture of romance and visual humor.

What inspired the idea for the book?

I thought it would be interesting to set a story during Senior Week, the party- and activity-filled week before college graduation when finals are done. And having two characters with very different plans meet and begin to like one another during that limited window seemed like it would be a story with strong stakes and urgency.

How did you come up with the title for the book?

The title works on both a figurative and literal level. In a figurative sense, both of the leads have different theses as to what will bring them happiness in life. So, they each, in effect, have a senior thesis. But then there is also a character who has a literal published senior thesis, and that character’s senior thesis contains the wisdom of the story.

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Senior Thesis?

So many things. One challenge, though, was writing the romantic rival character of Maggie, who has to be likable enough to plausibly maintain Landon’s interest but still not be the right person ultimately for him. That balance was challenging. But there were plenty of other things that were challenging. And while I think there are choices I made that some readers might find fault with, the overall story is one that will entertain and move them.

What do you like to do when not writing?

I enjoy spending time with my fiancée and our maltipoo. I also enjoy reading, of course, and I like watching movies. I grew up in New Jersey and love to bodyboard, and my novella features a brief scene at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. Growing up, we did a lot of day trips to that beach, and it’s a beautiful beach.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

My Amazon author page is a great place, and they can also read more about me on my website, which is for my freelance writing business. I’ll eventually create a website devoted to my work as a book author, but I haven’t done so yet. And if readers would like a free novella from me, they can find it here.

Outshining Reality (Author Interview)

Can you tell us a little about Outshining Reality?

Outshining Reality is a book about self discovery. It is about finding love and holding on to things that matter most.

What motivated you to write the book?

I was motivated to write the book partly out of boredom, let's face it boredom is a great motivator. But I was also motivated by a mixture of my childhood watching Star Trek, Star Wars, and as an adult watching Firefly. I feel those were the main motivations I tried to include.

What type of reader did you write the book for?

I wrote the book for anyone who loves space, but also for those who are interested in a good, clean love story that takes place in space.

Can you tell us a little about Britain Bronx?

Britain Bronx isn't your typical hero. He abandons the only home he's ever known with no intention of going back and is continuously self sabotaging his efforts to get away because he has abandonment issues and doesn't want to abandon anyone else.

How long did it take you to write Outshining Reality?

12 plus years with school, marriage and kids happening in-between beginning and end

How did you come up with the title for the book?

My friend found a sentence in an older version of the book that she felt embodied the

Shadow of the Soul Blade (Author Interview)

Shadow of the Soul Blade looks like a great book. What can you tell us about it?

This is a high paced epic fantasy adventure that will take the readers side by side with our heroes, as they battle ferocious new monsters and deadly enemies. The four protagonists, Bastian, Xander, Reinhardt and Kumori, are forced to fight for their lives in an epic quest to discover why they’ve become entangled in a plot to overthrow the kingdom, which could ultimately threaten to destroy the whole world. One of the things my beta readers like best is that it’s full of twists and turns. As soon as you think you know what’s going on, a new fact comes in to reshape the perspective of the whole story, while keeping it all cohesive, and lining everything up to make sense.

Any plans to turn it into a series?

Yes, I created this world about twenty years ago, and have since been using it as a platform for running role playing game campaigns. I have reams of paper filled with information on this world, and this first book only scratches the surface. Shadow of the Soul Blade, is the first book in the Darkthorne trilogy, which I’m hoping will result in two more trilogies after this first set is completed.

That’s an amazing cover.  Can you tell us about it?

The cover was drawn by my friend John Ric Detoon. He’s an amazing artist, and one of my many friends from the Philippines. The cover features a commissioned piece depicting two of our heroes, Bastian (right) and Xander (left) skulking through the woods, while one of the Shadow Assassins from the infamous Ashino clan is lurking behind them, holding the Soul Blade. But to find out how the blade connects to the Assassin clan, you’ll have to read the book. And after I received the artwork, I went to work designing the style and layout of the text over the artwork.

Can you tell us a little about the world of Ashana?

It’s so difficult to just tell a little, but I’ll do my best. This is a brand-new world, with none of the previously expected fantasy species or creatures. It’s home to seven continents with various climates, and over half a dozen sentient species with a range of cultures, which have to survive amongst nearly a thousand new beastly creatures.  The Kandari of Eastern Aestaria are the closest to humans, but still not quite human. They’re the common species and speak the common tongue, referred to as Kanish. They share the Aestarian continent with a sentient feline tribal people called the Selece, from western Aestaria. The world was once ruled by a pair of all powerful beings, whose disappearance around ten thousand years ago, has now resulted in their vulnerability from extra-dimensional beings.

What scene or section did you have the most fun writing?

There’s a scene where all of our heroes end up in prison together, after being captured for thoughtlessly using aggressive magic openly in a public area. Once they land in jail, everything around how they end up getting out of that situation, and all the discussions that happen between Reinhardt and Xander was the most fun to write. It’s also where the characters took on their own personas, and started making decisions where it almost felt more like I was watching a movie than actually writing a book. There’s a part where the characters will feel like they have their own minds separate from mine, and that’s when that first happened.

What inspired the idea for the book?

After running twenty years’ worth of campaigns in these various realms, I had considered in 2018 that I may go back and try to publish the Darkthorne RPG that spawned the creation of Ashana to begin with. But while I was revisiting the original material that I had saved, a series of brand-new stories just kept popping into my head. Different scenes, different characters interactions. So I just jotted them down. After a while, I was able to string them into a story, and eventually I was able to elaborate on that story and turn it into an epic novel.

How did you come up with the title for the book?

Well, in the book, there’s a clan of assassins that is able to “swim” through shadow, allowing them to pop out nearly anywhere and kill their victims. Simultaneously, there is an ancient relic called the Soul Blade that was crafted by the Ashuun for the purpose of killing the old gods. Without giving any spoilers, I can only say that the Shadow Assassins have a mystical connection to the Soul Blade, which drives the majority of the plot.

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Shadow of the Soul Blade?

Yes, since I was fifteen, I’ve practiced sword combat. I’ve studied Historical European Martial Arts, with the manuscripts of Pedro Monte, and later Vincentio Saviolo. I’ve done stage combat and choreography. Along side my studies of various eastern systems that use the Katana. So, my original attempt to write combat scenes was surprisingly difficult because I was having problems getting out of the technical headspace, and only giving the reader exactly what they needed to know. The original manuscript had enough detail that I could have handed it to a choreographer, and said, here’s the fight scene, run it. But the average reader doesn’t care if the swords bind on the strong, or the weak part of the blade, or where the attacker’s toes are pointing. Thankfully I got most of that fixed before it went to my beta readers, and my professional editing team helped me with the rest, so now it’s just fast paced action from the opening of combat, until it resolves. But that was one of my biggest challenges.

What do you like to do when not writing?

When I’m not writing, I have a loving wife and five awesome children, the oldest of which is already out of the house. But that still leaves me with four kids, three dogs, two cats and a bearded dragon. So much of my time is spent taking my daughters to Karate, where one just became a second-degree Shotokan black belt, or violin practice, or you’ll find me on the soccer fields. In my own time, I fly drones, practice archery, or you’ll find me at the nearest axe throwing range.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

If someone wants to find out what I’m up to, they can find me at That’s where I post all my updates, or they can use one of the links there to find me on social media.


While on a family vacation in rural Wyoming, 17-year-old Eva Clark falls beneath the iced-over Snake River and drowns. Before her consciousness can fully rekindle in another world, paramedics revive her mortal body and she returns, aware of the paused immortal life she—and everyone else—will one day resume. When she explodes the plumbing in her hospital bathroom, Eva discovers she has also returned with disastrously malfunctioning immortal abilities. Now she must mask and master her worsening condition or risk the safety of her chaotic but lovely mortal family and her best friend’s dreamy older brother—who unfortunately is her soulmate. But when her abilities become increasingly dangerous and immortality looms closer than ever, Eva straddles the line between living the life she wants and accidentally destroying it.

WORLDTORN is a wistful but bright YA Contemporary Fantasy Novel available on Kindle Vella (link). It features an out-of-her-depth heroine doomed by increasingly dysfunctional immortal abilities yet unwilling to buckle under the weight of failure and disappointment. Readers can expect compounding disasters and epic failure, big-family dynamics and friendships, secondhand embarrassment and awkwardness, and a slow burn friends-to-lovers romance with impossible longing. Those who enjoyed the dual worlds and convergent story threads in the TV series ONCE UPON A TIME, Simon Snow out-of-his-depth and trying to control explosive powers in CARRY ON (Rainbow Rowell), and the out-of-control telekinetic powers that plunged Sydney Novak’s life into disaster in I AM NOT OK WITH THIS (Charles Forsman), will be right at home with WORLDTORN.

The Pale Huntress (Author Interview)

The Pale Huntress looks like a great book.  What can you tell us about it?

It is a dark fantasy following the tale of a monster hunter, who happens to be a Dhampir, a child of a Immortal vampire and a human being. It is the start of a journey for Angela Dragos, our main character, as she discovers more about who she is, who she can trust, and just what she needs to do in order to overcome not just the monsters she hunts, but the monster inside of her.

Any plans to turn it into a series?

Absolutely. As mentioned before this book is only the beginning; the world of Lunokean, Angela’s history and her new partnership with Jacob Tepes as they work for The Black Hand. I have a few of the books written out already, but they are far from ready to be considered the true continuation.

That’s an amazing cover.  Can you tell us about it?

It was done by adeebasial0, a graphic’s artist from Fiverr. As you can see, you see our main characters, Angela and Jacob, on a rooftop of the city of Irondell, all under the gaze of the vampire they hunt in this book. It gives a little foresight into what exactly they will be dealing with.

Can you tell us a little about Angela Dragos?

Other than the fact that she is a Dhampir, she is a very reserved and private woman with an unknown past at least to anyone else. She is very independent as well, hence why she will have to overcome not only her pride but her distrustfulness of mankind who for the most part scorn her existence almost as bad as the vampires themselves. All she knows is what she is not and it will take a lot for her to learn to let someone else have her back and I always look forward to revealing little hints as the books go on to reveal more and more about her.

What scene or section did you have the most fun writing?

That’s a tough one, this story had been a blast to write through and through. But if I had to pick one it would most likely be between when Jacob introduces himself to Angela for the first time and how she treats him, and the final battle which I won’t go into detail but I thoroughly enjoyed the test both physically and mentally that Angela and Jacob go through in order to finally slay the Immortal Vampire.

What inspired the idea for the book?

I was in the mood to write a new fantasy novel and I knew I wanted it to be about monster hunting, my only problem being how I was going to make it unique without it sounding like every other monster-hunting story. When I decided on who Angela Dragos was going to be, I wrote down her character, how old she was, what specific dates defined her and molded her, and through it I ended up creating the world of Lunokean and the lore within it, which pretty much wrote the story for itself, and it only got bigger the more I went into it. In short, I wanted to write a good monster hunting story, and focus on the effects of vampirism as a way to explore how it is for even most people who come from completely different backgrounds, heritages with family, or even experiences.

How did you come up with the title for the book?

One of the biggest things that constantly come up in the book, is how inhumanly beautiful and pale Angela Dragos is (part of her bloodline), and it just felt like a fitting title when you say it. I wanted to make sure that someone could pick up The Pale Huntress, and when they read the same title as a tagline for the sequels they would know exactly what they were getting into.

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing The Pale Huntress?

I’d have to say one thing that was challenging was the rewriting. A lot of planned scenes were either cut or altered in order to fit the rhythm, and even certain scenes between Angela and Jacob just so that their relationship could really stand out. But I found that the more fat I trimmed the more expansive the world and story became. It was just one of the things that was necessary to polish and make it shine.

What do you like to do when not writing?

Cooking definitely. I like trying out new recipes with my wife if not in the kitchen then outside on my smoker. I also like to play guitar and I obviously like to read and watch movies. It’s always fun to explore them in depth.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

They can find out more presently on my authors page on I’ll provide a link