Friday, September 27, 2019

The Witch Port Video Game by Leonard Bassed

Author: Leonard Bassed
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 108
Genre: YA

Leonard Bassed had no plan to write a novel titled THE WITCH PORT VIDEO GAME when he set out to create a movie script with a similar name.  “I had written the pilot script first and I kept the same ending for the novel…everything from the script I wrote found its way into the finished book version of ‘The Witch Port Video Game,’ said writer-singer-actor Leonard Bassed.  “I was able to spend more time developing the characters and their world…the whole thing was just such an organic experience and extremely enjoyable, creative for me.”
THE WITCH PORT VIDEO GAME tells the story through the lives of three ordinary teens who live in the fictional town of Cradle Creek, USA – a small town they hope to one day escape, attracted by the bright lights and promise of the Big City.  All three are students at a prestigious performing art school with hopes of one day making names for themselves in the entertainment world.
Mr. Bassed continued about his story, “A chance encounter the three have with a girl named Bianca Morris threatens to derail their plans. Bianca introduces them to an enticing video game, ‘The Witch Port Video Game’.  This encounter, coupled with the arrival of the MacQuoid brothers sets in motion a series of bizarre events that spins their lives into chaos and disarray as the three head into a world of sorcery with an ultimate fight for survival.”
As a young boy growing up in South Africa, Leonard dreamed one day of working in the arts.  He wanted to write, to act, to sing.  While drawn to acting and song writing, he was also a good story teller.  “The auditions I would go out for as an actor were never reflective of the kinds of roles I was after to play. It was this realization that led me to writing the pilot script which I planned to pitch to TV and movie producers.  But, once I finished the script I’d grown too attached to the characters and the wonders of their world that ultimately led the script into the shape of a full novel,” he went on to say.
“While the book’s final moments leave us with a rather sudden, enigmatic ending, an end note does indicate a sequel Witch Port Igniting the Coven on the horizon. For those who enjoy the entertaining literary chemistry that results from inquisitive teens and their foray into the mysterious world of sorcery, Bassed’s venture should prove an intriguing reveal.”
--Pacific Book Review

“Filled with cheeky references to famous pop-culture stories of sorcery and mixed with some classic teenage angst, this book is a fast-paced, suspenseful story. The novel’s premise that some teenagers gain special powers through a video game is an updated, modern take on magic and suits the story quite well for a 21st-century setting. The author sets up the story mechanisms so that everything that happens through the students’ video game play also happens in real life. The author states that this novel was originally a screenplay, and those elements shine through, from the descriptive settings to the fast pace in which the action occurs on the page. It will be interesting to see how the protagonists grow with their powers in the sequel.”
--The U.S. Review of Books
Book can be purchased at the author’s web site at

Book Excerpt:
“I begin to hear an eerie chant being recited in unison as the first three naked women make it to the dark summit. Holding long, makeshift brooms, in their right hands, they chant: “Drink the flight broth, wood in hand. Burn the root ...” An elderly woman with lanky hair picks up the goblet, takes a sip of its contents, and inhales the smoke of an already burning smudge stick. The chanting continues: “Then dive from the cliff...” This is perhaps the most startling scene I’ve ever witnessed. The woman runs off the edge of the cliff, seemingly to plummet to her death, but I hear “Not by wind nor by wings, airborne sisters thou shall soar.” Suddenly, the woman who vanished off the cliff reappears, hovering in mid-air on a broom. She begins cackling, and the louder her cackles, the higher she floats. Soon a host of other women mimic her actions, cackling into the night air.” – By Leonard Bassed

·        This is one of my favorite excerpts from my novel, ‘The Witch Port Video Game’ because of the imagery it conjures.
·        My novel begins with Martin’s recollection of a vision he once had. In the vision women are seen diving of a cliff and flying on their brooms, true to the stereotypical portrayal of witches in the media and western folklore.
·        The women are depicted inhaling something resembling a smudge stick this leaves the reader unsure whether they’re indeed flying or having some sort of hallucinogenic experience brought on by the smoke.

Writer-actor-singer Leonard Bassed was born in the town of Middleburg, Mpumalanga and raised in Johannesburg.  He started taking vocal lessons at age eight and studied drama throughout his high school years.  A mentor encouraged him to pursue an acting career.  Leonard went on to complete acting classes in both South Africa and later Los Angeles.  Currently, when not writing or singing, Leonard continues to study acting techniques with the renowned Margie Haber Studio in Hollywood. In his free time, he enjoys travel, reading and movie going.


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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Book feature: Quest to the Unknown and Darkness and Light by Annelies George

Title: Darkness and Light
Author: Annelies George
Publisher: BI Publishing
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Format: Paperback/Ebook
On Tour: September 9-November 29

DARKNESS AND LIGHT is set five years after the brutal attack in Jessie’s apartment. From Miami to the Seychelles, the now married journalist continues her life journey. The metaphorical meaning of darkness and light are central themes throughout the story. Hatred, greed, betrayal, lies, the desire for power, far reaching jealousy, unconditional love, forgiveness and the noticeable changes in today’s climate are some of the spellbinding features of this plot.In the second part of the Jessie Golden Earth series once more today’s business jungle is intertwined with the intangible world of the other side. This results in an easily readable exciting story set in various countries around the globe, leading to a surprising unexpected end to this part in the series.


Title: Quest to the Unknown
Author: Annelies George
Publisher: Hybrid Global Publishing
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Format: Paperback/Ebook
On Tour: September 9-November 29

Quest to the Unknown revolves around up-and-coming Dutch reporter Jessie Golden, ready for her first holiday with business mogul and playboy Carlos Gomez, with whom she is engaged in a budding romance. Her journey begins when she finds a folder full of information on a mysterious woman named Nancy and her son Paul, leading her to an unexpected quest. Soon thereafter Jessie is confronted with a series of unexplainable supernatural occurrences. She realizes there is no such thing as coincidence, although she can’t unravel the true meaning of her quest nor her link to Nancy and her son. At the same time Jessie believes Carlos’ father has ties with some questionable characters. Startled by a series of unexpected events she reaches out to Ed Turner, Carlos’ right-hand man. In order to protect the one she truly loves, Jessie starts an investigation that points to the murky world of the mob. When a stranger is constantly following her, Jessie’s life is in serious danger. Can the ones she implicitly confides in, still be trusted? The first part of the Jessie Golden 21st Century Earth Series, introduces the main characters of the saga in an intriguing story of exceptional mother love, the far reaching consequences of choices in life, genuine feelings, blind faith and brutal deception, set in a multitude of countries in today’s fast moving business world.


Annelies George was born on 4 August, 1964 in Bussum, After the gymnasium, she followed a one-year course as an international secretary in Amsterdam. Immediately afterward she started to work for a law firm, studying finance, management and law during the evening hours with the goal of becoming a lawyer herself. A move to a different town brought her into the fast IT world, where she was employed by GE Capital, marking the start of a successful career in the international IT Finance world. Due to the intensity of the job and long working hours, she abandoned her plans for a law degree. At the age of 30, she was appointed to Benelux managing director of a US based lease company, a rare phenomenon at the time, since few women were holding similar positions in the specific branch in the Netherlands. Thereafter she accepted a variety of EMEA and regional management and sales roles with Cisco, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard. Annelies still lives in Bussum and is taking care of her 83-year-old mother. She loves, among other activities, to paint and design necklaces when she is not writing. On occasion she likes to travel to discover new places and understand the different ways of living around the globe.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Interview with Rosemary & Larry Mild, Authors of 'Copper and Goldie, 13 Tails of Mystery and Suspense in Hawai‘i'

ROSEMARY AND LARRY MILD, cheerful partners in crime, coauthor mystery, suspense, and fantasy fiction. Their popular Hawaii novels, Cry Ohana and its sequel Honolulu Heat, vibrate with island color, local customs, and exquisite scenery. Also by the Milds: The Paco and Molly Murder Mysteries: Locks and Cream Cheese, Hot Grudge Sunday, and Boston Scream Pie. And the Dan and Rivka Sherman Mysteries: Death Goes Postal, Death Takes A Mistress, and Death Steals A Holy Book. Plus Unto the Third Generation, A Novella of the Future, and three collections of wickedly entertaining mystery short stories—Murder, Fantasy, and Weird Tales; The Misadventures of Slim O. Wittz, Soft-Boiled Detective; and Copper and Goldie, 13 Tails of Mystery and Suspense in Hawai‘i.

ROSEMARY, a graduate of Smith College and former assistant editor of Harper’s, also delves into her own nonfiction life. She published two memoirs: Love! Laugh! Panic! Life With My Mother and the acclaimed Miriam’s World—and Mine, for the beloved daughter they lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. On her lighter side, Rosemary also writes award-winning humorous essays, such as failing the test to get on Jeopardy; and as a writer for a giant free-spending corporation on a sudden budget: “No new pencil unless you turn in the old stub.”  

LARRY, who was only called Lawrence when he’d done something wrong, graduated from American University in Information Systems Management. In 2019 he published his autobiography, No Place To be But Here: My Life and Times, which traces his thirty-eight-year professional engineering career from its beginning as an electronics technician in the U.S. Navy, to a field engineer riding Navy ships, to a digital systems and instrument designer for major Government contractors in the signal analysis field, to where he rose to the most senior level of principal engineer when he retired in 1993.

Making use of his past creativity and problem-solving abilities, Larry naturally drifted into the realm of mystery writing, where he also claims to be more devious than his partner in crime and best love, Rosemary. So he conjures up their plots and writes the first drafts, leaving Rosemary to breathe life into their characters and sizzle into their scenes. A perfect marriage of their talents.

THE MILDS are active members of Sisters in Crime where Larry is a Mister in Crime; Mystery Writers of America; and Hawaii Fiction Writers. In 2013 they waved goodbye to Severna Park, Maryland and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where they cherish quality time with their daughters and grandchildren. When Honolulu hosted Left Coast Crime in 2017, Rosemary and Larry were the program co-chairs for “Honolulu Havoc.”

Over a dozen worldwide trips to Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Great Britain, France, Italy, Israel, Egypt, and more have wormed their way into their amazing stories. In their limited spare time, they are active on the Honolulu Jewish Film Festival committee, where Larry is the statistician and recordkeeper for their film ratings.   

Interview with: Rosemary and Larry Mild, coauthors of Copper and Goldie, 13 Tails of Mystery and Suspense in Hawai‘i

Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
LARRY: Homicide detective Sam Nahoe takes a bullet in his spine in the line of duty. Disabled, his career with the Honolulu Police Department shattered—what now? Jobless, lonely, and unwillingly divorced, Sam becomes a Checker Cab driver. Seeking a partner, he adopts Goldie, a rescue golden retriever—with a dollop of Doberman, and trains her to perform neat tricks like growling at a fare who doesn’t tip. He and Goldie cruise Oahu for fares, encountering thieves, kidnappers, vengeful wives, and even killers, compelling Sam to get his private investigator license. His Sunday visitations with his daughter, Peggy, can turn a magical park day into a hair-raising crime scene, but his shrewd little kid becomes a miniature sleuth in her own right. Sam’s Hawaiian heritage provides him with spunk and street smarts. With the bullet still in his spine, he hobbles around on two canes he’s dubbed Cane and Able as he orders Goldie to chase down the bad guys. His favorite snitch, card-sharp Sophie, asks him: “You still walkin’ with them giant chopsticks?” The book includes thirteen individual detective mysteries with pictures.

There really wasn’t any inspiration involved. Writing is a work of love. Copper and Goldie was the next book we were looking for. An ex-cop, a disabled native Hawaiian, and the darker streets of Honolulu produced the mix that mattered.

Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
LARRY: We are Indie publishers. Rosemary and I prefer to write our first drafts using the Microsoft Works (.wps) word processor, because we don’t have to change screens quite so often as in MS Word or deal with its many quirks. When a story or book is text-ready in MS Works, I format it with Adobe’s InDesign software, which governs strict margins, headers, footers, pagination, images, and justification in accordance with a specific book’s trim size. I design the interior text. I transfer the .wps output into this software. The pdf interior text output is what we send to the printer. Using the page count, we obtain a cover template with the correct spine size from the printer, and purchase the bar code image from Bowker Identifier Services. We send the cover template, the bar code image, our preliminary cover design, and back-cover blurb off to our cover designer. After several proof exchanges, we wind up with a pdf of our new cover. We then upload this and the interior text pdf to our printer, Lightning Source, Inc., a division of Ingram, the largest distributor of English language books in the world. After at least one exchange of proofs, we order copies to sell locally. Others are sold through Ingram, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. I also use InDesign’s html output to format two types of e-books, Kindle and Nook, through Amazon Kindle Create and Nook Press.

How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing it or did it come later?
LARRY: We hadn’t even written the first story yet, but we had identified the ex-cop and his female golden retriever partner. Her color wasn’t brown or tan, it was gold; and so the name Goldie emerged. Goldie and the Ex-cop didn’t have a ring to it, but Copper and Goldie did, so it became our title. Our subtitle, 13 Tails of Mystery and Suspense in Hawai‘i, wasn’t added until we put the short story collection together. We used a friend’s dog named Tavi for a few of the book’s photos, Goldie’s stand-in, so to speak. In the book we quote Tavi as saying, or is it woofing, “….By the way, these authors do know that a tail is something that follows me around wherever I go, and a tale is a story told about a dog like me. Rosemary grew up with a golden named September Blaze. She devotes a chapter to him in her memoir Love! Laugh! Panic! Life With My Mother. Rosemary and Larry also immortalize a golden in Locks and Cream Cheese, their first mystery novel, where Shana helps catch a vicious thug….”

Tell us about your cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
LARRY: We knew the cover to Copper and Goldie had to have four elements: A classic Checker Cab, a golden retriever, a mention of police, and a palm tree as a symbol of Hawaii. We located stock pictures of the cab and I came up with the idea of using a picture of seated Tavi for the “I” in Goldie. To denote that Copper meant a policeman, the word was colored deep blue as the word Goldie was colored gold. We had all the elements for our cover. By the time we ship our cover suggestions off to the cover designer we know exactly what we want. Prior to becoming an Indie publisher, we had no say in what was on the cover. Our cover designer selects the font and font size, the background and the basic colors, and adjusts the layout within the confines of the printer’s template.

Who is your cover designer and how did you find her?
LARRY: Marilyn Drea, Professional Graphic Design Services, in Annapolis, Maryland, has designed our covers ever since we bought back our rights from our original publishers. She was referred to us by a friend in the Maryland Writers’ Association.

How was your experience working with the designer?
LARRY: Marilyn is knowledgeable, talented, and a pleasure to deal with. She’s a pure graphics designer, not an artist. None of our covers ever required specific artwork, so she was the perfect match for us.

What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
LARRY: The first batch of books arrived only two days ago. The first few friends to see it loved the cover and bought copies, so we have high hopes for Copper and Goldie. When all fifteen of our books are on display for signings and sales, we find even passersby are stopped in their tracks with titles like Locks and Cream Cheese, Hot Grudge Sunday, Boston Scream Pie, and more.

What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
LARRY: “Don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply here. Do check out the designer’s workmanship and experience. First, look at past covers. Decide whether you need an artist or a graphic designer. Discuss the technical aspects to determine whether the designer is easy to work with and compatible with what you are looking for. Check out pricing on former work before you commit to anything. Speak with a former customer if possible. Good luck!

Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
LARRY: We published ten of the thirteen short stories in an online e-zine. A recent email from the editor said, “Your stories are fun and a great addition to Mysterical-E—keep sending!” A reader of “Carnival Caper” wrote: “I loved the detail. ‘Spam musubi,’ ‘intentional shortage of gunpowder.’ I was rooting for Sam all along. Glad he got his man.” Author Lizbeth Hartz commented about “A Dead Man Isn’t Fare”: “Really enjoyed the story, Rosemary and Larry. Couldn’t stop reading from the first word to the last. Clever and engaging, Well done.”