Thursday, May 19, 2022

NBtM Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Blood of Azure Series by Jonathan J. Michael

Welcome to my stop on the NBtM virtual book tour for the Blood of Azure series by Jonathan J. Michael. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the first book in the series as well as a character interview with the villain of the story. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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ABOUT THE SERIES:
Four races with powers dictated by the seasons seek balance and prosperity. However, life instinctively primes itself for survival, and when one race commands the touch of death, all others fall in line. Tyranny plagues Azure as an immortal ruler governs the knowledge of the seasons and those wielding its power.

Four young protagonists, Stone, Jaymes, Goose, and Astor, each navigate their way to escape his shadow and reclaim their freedom. Simple ambitions for young souls. But little did they know, they would uncover the secrets the realm is built upon, and the unique talents they each carry. Their ignorance allows the knowledge of the seasons to escape into the world around them little by little, and with it, a power loosing anarchy upon the realm. A power most aren’t worthy of wielding. It is up to Stone and his companions to tame that power and reclaim the balance.

Four seasons to balance the land. Four sages to balance the life.
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Title: Season of Sacrifice
Series: Blood of Azure #1
Author: Jonathan J. Michael
Publication Date: March 20th 2021
Print Length: 561 pages
Genre: Epic Fantasy
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Courage is for the bold. It is not for Stone McLarin. He’s been in hiding for four seasons after being orphaned by the Taoiseach. He doesn’t care for the heroic antics of avenging his parent’s death or securing his freedom. He only desires one thing—to protect his sister’s life.

This proves challenging when his sister, Jaymes, possesses a rivaling power of decay to that of the tyrant ruler’s. She’s a threat to his dominance, and there will be no escaping his shadow.

When the Taoiseach manipulates his way into Jaymes’s life and steals her away, Stone has no choice but to follow. He must venture into the heart of the tyrant’s domain and figure out how to penetrate the impenetrable. And if he succeeds there, he will have to slay the most powerful man in Azure.

In a world ruled by decay, what chance does life stand?

Season of Sacrifice is part one of the Blood of Azure series—an epic fantasy full of grim encounters, heroic adventures, unique magic, and a captivating world to explore.

Author’s Note: Contains explicit language and some graphic descriptions.

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EXCERPT:
I rush back to Ellia and Persia, bracing myself for another duel.

Ellia sits propped up against Persia. The last of the wolves are toppled over her. One with its lower jaw removed from its skull and another with her claymore protruding from its spine. She looks up at me with a cold, empty stare.

“You’re alive,” she mumbles.

I help her remove the dead weight and pull her to her feet. She’s missing a chunk of sinew on her thigh. If it were me, I wouldn’t be able to stand.

Then, I remember the damage done to my own body. I look down to see I’m covered in blood. Much of it my own. My calf has a small bite, and my lacerations have reopened. The pain drops on me like an anvil as my berserk emotions fade. Exhaustion swathes over me, and my body gives out.

Ellia, on the other hand, not only remains standing but walks with a half-eaten thigh. She pulls a small jar from a pouch at her waist and rubs the contents onto her wound. She does the same for my wounds.

“Persia is worse off than us,” she comments.

I can’t help but admire her courage and strength. I’ve never met a woman I’ve aspired to be.
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Title: Season of Suffering
Series: Blood of Azure #2
Author: Jonathan J. Michael
Publication Date: March 20th 2022
Print Length: 547 pages
Genre: Epic Fantasy
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A villain in his own mind, Stone McLarin is labeled the hero for murdering a man.

Not only is Stone weighted down as a hero, but he’s idolized by the dominant religion, and he’s the sole protector of the knowledge of the ages. The pressure of the entire realm is on his shoulders.

Carib Reign, a shapeshifter building an army of immortals, plans to purge the Crimson Capital to find this hidden knowledge. His motive, to give the people of Azure the freedom they deserve.

With many adventures along the way, Stone will lead the charge to defend the Crimson Capital against the Immortal Army. Should he fail, anarchy is inevitable. Death for all Azure, a possibility.

Where there is life, death anticipates. But what if death is abandoned? Life will rebel.

Season of Suffering is part two of the Blood of Azure series—an epic fantasy with both light and dark hearts. You’ll experience many fantasy tropes, clashing swords, unique magic, fantastical beasts, and a wide range of Azure’s scenic terrain.

Author’s Note: Contains explicit language and some graphic descriptions.

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CHARACTER INTERVIEW:
Interview with the Villain

To preface this character interview, Harris is the primary antagonist in the first installment of the Blood of Azure series. The knowledgeable are all villains in the eyes of the ignorant.
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Two men sit across from one another in the hollow of a tree. One: tall, dark, and full of mystery. The other: a shorter than average, white male. This isn’t just any hollow. This hollow was crafted from the wonderous races of Azure. A wood giant as old as time, grown by the Sprhowt, carved out by the Dihkai, and reinforced by the Hiberneyt, to create a vast shelter larger than any common structure. It overlooks the snowcapped Arrow Peaks and the setting sun in the east. An evergreen scent sits in the air. Thunder lanterns light the common space. And a small fire burns in the hearth.

Author: Who are you, Harris Martelli?

Harris: I am an oversaturated sponge.

Author: [Perplexed grin and a hiked brow.] How so? Why are you oversaturated? And a sponge? Seriously?

Harris: An analogy, of course. I’m not a sponge. [Shakes his head. Looks toward the exit, then rolls his eyes.] I’ve been around far too long. And in that time, I’ve experienced more than anyone I know. More than I can retain. The days of old have fallen out. Cultures have come and gone. Accepted behaviors have morphed into something grotesque. Beautiful memories fade. I thought I would have all of it forever. For, who can take your knowledge? [Looks upward to the heavens.] I’ve come to find out someone can.

Author: So, you’re oversaturated in the sense that you cannot hold onto everything you know? Your knowledge is slipping?

Harris: Yes. Thus, I write. A depiction of our first days is where I began. So we can prevent repetition, you see. Or so I thought. [Hand balls into a fist and drops to his knee.]

Author: What do you mean?

Harris: We repeat our mistakes whether the knowledge is documented or not. Because we forget. We stop looking. We stop reading. We find new priorities and forget the old ones were there for a reason. New generations want to make their mark on the world, so they intentionally throw out the old. I used to document our days in this world, but it has become irrelevant. Don’t misinterpret me—we do grow. What I am saying is, we do not learn.

Author: Why has this molded you into an ‘oversaturated sponge?’ [Mocking smirk.]

Harris: I have lost my ways. Once I realized the new replace the old, whether we like it or not… Whether we live forever or not… We are replaced. So…I stopped documenting my observations. I stopped recording the days. Waves of new would replace old. But the ideology of it all was the same. It was relabeled. Our ways were, and always will be, the same.

Author: Give me an example.

Harris: Okay. [Hand to chin methodically.] Leaders are an easy one. Kings. We started with kings. Not in this world, but previous histories. [Roll of the eyes.] I’m old. A king’s word was rule. They had counsel from others, but ultimately their word was rule. Then, we did away with royalty and landowners because there was no equality in it. We recognized this. What replaced it was democracy and capitalism. Good intentions. The new replaced the old. There was growth, but we went full circle. Democracy morphed into authoritarianism. There were checks and balances, sure. This was equivalent to the king’s counsel, but the authoritarian state always manipulated the world to their liking. And the landowners from the days of royalty, they transitioned into monetary value. Wealth was given precedence because everyone else wanted what they had. There is no difference. Maybe one. Life expectancy has increased. But I question whether we deserve it.

Author: And now you’ve become that authoritative figure. And a bitter one, I must say. Why do you do it?

Harris: To protect them. Of course. Lions and sheep. Not all are fit to lead. But all are fit to follow. I have tried, and I have failed.

Author: So, you’ve given up?

Harris: In a way, yes. No need to lie to myself. I have given up. This is why I seek a replacement. I have always felt a responsibility toward the life of Azure. As a deity, a tyrant ruler, or just an observer, whatever role I must play, I felt an obligation to see it through. But…I’m aware now, life is not my responsibility. Whether I created it or not, it is not my responsibility to safeguard. [Looks to the heavens again.] It is theirs. [Waves his hand across his body.] Every individual harnessing that life has a responsibility to the world around them. And they need to discover that responsibility. It cannot be handed to them or shown to them. They need to discover it, or it holds no value. So, I decided long ago we would need a passing. The new must replace the old.

Author: So many more questions. But it might have to wait for another time. Thank you, Harris. For opening my eyes to who you are, and what the world is through your ancient perspective.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jonathan J Michael was born and raised in the greater Seattle area in the scenic state of Washington. Jonathan is an advocate of science, nature, and exploration, which has a heavy influence in his debut series, Blood of Azure.

When I drive down the freeway, I often want to veer onto the backroads and head for the mountains. When I'm at an evening gathering, I'm eager to step outside and gaze at the stars. When I'm on a ferry, I'm at the guardrail staring into the depths wondering what kind of leviathans lurk below. I'm an explorer, and since I'm not on the next Crew Dragon headed for the ISS, fantasy novels let me have what I seek. I write to explore a world of wonder. ~ Jonathan

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GIVEAWAY:
Jonathan J. Michael will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to one randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions and the author assume all responsibility for this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

274 comments:

  1. Thank you for hosting. I'm available for questions should there be any. And I appreciate the kind comments.

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  2. How do you handle writing slumps?

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    1. I drop a few tears into my coffee. Lol. I'm a very formulated person, so as long as I have a beginning and an end in mind, I'll be able to push through any slump. With that being said, I've never experienced one. My struggle is not having enough hours in the day to get it all on paper.

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    2. I love it ! My kind of humor, LOL. I agree and try as well to push through the slumps with a game plan.

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  3. This book sounds really good.

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  4. When you were a child, who were some of your favorite authors?

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Admittedly, I didn't read much as a child. I was too busy catching bugs and snakes. Brian Jacques' Redwall Series was probably my favorite as a child, though. Those books sucked me right in. It probably had an influence on why I have a wide variety of animals within this series, now that I'm thinking about it.

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  5. this sounds like a great book

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  6. Looking forward to reading about each of their unique talents

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  7. Thank you for sharing the interview with your villain, was he your favorite character to write or was it one of your heroes?

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    1. This is a fantastic question because it's tough to answer. It's like choosing a favorite child, right? I don't know if he was my favorite character to write, but he was certainly easy to write. Something about his solid persona and not having flexibility in how he would behave in varying situations, it was easy to follow him through his story and put it on paper. My favorite character to write was Chief Graytu. Not a hero or a villain. Just a supplemental character who is borderline insane. I was able to do anything with him and it didn't matter because it all made sense in his world.

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  8. Looks like a fabulous fantasy. Good work

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  9. Sounds like a great fantasy series. I like the covers.

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  10. Do you have any tattoos or piercings?

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  11. I enjoyed the character interview and the excerpt, the Blood of Azure sounds like a great series that I want to read! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a spectacular day!

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  12. This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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  13. Looking forward to reading these books

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  14. This sounds like an exciting read with matching genre & title!
    Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  15. Thanks for the great excerpt! The book sounds very interesting..

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  16. The book sounds interesting, Deb Pelletier

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  17. David HollingsworthMay 20, 2022 at 2:39 AM

    Happy Friday!

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  18. This book sounds so interesting!
    Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  19. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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  20. Replies
    1. Not a chance. But I do believe in quantum physics. That's probably where all your ghosts originate. That, and maybe smokin' too many banana peels. Haha. I also thoroughly appreciate Bill Murray (Dr. Venkman - Ghostbusters).

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  21. I hope you had a great weekend!

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  22. How long was the writing process?

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    1. Too long. The world building for book one took me about ten years (casually working on it, not my day job). Then book two was produced in a year. Book three will also be produced in a year, depending whether my other work in progress steals time from it.

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  23. I enjoyed the synopsis and excerpt

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  24. I hope you had a relaxing day!

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  25. David HollingsworthMay 21, 2022 at 5:45 PM

    Happy Saturday!

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  26. I am adding this book to my read soon list!

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  27. Season of Sacrifice in the series Blood of Azure #1 by author Jonathan J. Michael sounds like a fascinating book.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  28. I'm asking my library to carry your books.

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  29. How did you practice self care this Sunday?

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    1. Sunday self care? I tend to work in the backyard. It's my playground. Doesn't matter if I'm ripping out weeds, spreading bark, building a retaining wall, or ripping out sod for more garden space. I enjoy the hard work and the peace it brings me. Cheers!

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  30. David HollingsworthMay 22, 2022 at 8:56 PM

    What was the inspiration for this book?

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    1. The inspiration behind the series is passion. We all have it, and it's different for all of us. If we come to accept that, maybe we'll learn to live with those who differ from ourselves. By the end of the series, you might find yourself wondering who the heroes and villains are.
      And on the surface, the inspiration was the seasons. I love the change of seasons. I'm always ready for the next as soon as it comes. The seasons are incorporated heavily within the magic system.

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  31. I hope you had a great day!

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  32. Excited to read this over the Summer

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  33. David HollingsworthMay 23, 2022 at 8:42 PM

    What else do you do besides writing?

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    1. I hike, hack on the golf course, snowboard, bike, camp, anything outdoors and away from the city. I recently discovered I thoroughly enjoy snorkeling (in warm, clear waters).

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  34. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

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    1. Depends how much sleep I've had. Typically it energizes me whether in the morning or the evening (I rarely write mid-day). But it doesn't energize me so much that it cures lack of sleep.

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  35. David HollingsworthMay 24, 2022 at 9:23 PM

    Happy Tuesday!

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  36. What's your favourite word in the whole English language?

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    1. At the moment—asinine. It's one my mother would always use, and she used it because her mother always said it. It's not commonly used, it's fun to say, and it's stuck with me. A close second would be curmudgeon. Because I am one at my day job and it's also fun to say.

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  37. These books sounds like they are full of lots of interesting adventures!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  38. What do you like to eat for breakfast?

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    1. Children! Especially the ones who follow my breadcrumbs through the forest of swirly, twirly gumdrops and over the chocolate volcanoes spewing bread pudding. They're nice and plump when they reach my cauldron of stew.

      That or a yogurt parfait with granola.

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  39. David HollingsworthMay 26, 2022 at 2:05 AM

    Happy Thursday!

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  40. Quite the active group on this site. You guys must really want that $50 GC. LOL. I'll do my best to keep up and respond to the relevant questions like what I like to eat for breakfast. These are the important things in life, and I truly appreciate the thoroughness within this group.

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  41. David HollingsworthMay 27, 2022 at 9:36 PM

    Happy Friday!

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  42. What is the first book that made you cry?

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    1. Authors don't cry. We're warriors. Lol.
      I've never cried while reading a book.

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  43. What advice do you have for writers?

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    1. Keep writing. The world needs books to read.

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  44. David HollingsworthMay 29, 2022 at 2:06 AM

    Happy Sunday!

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  45. How did you decide on the cover for this book?

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    1. I don't know if I've decided on anything yet. Lol. There was so much indecisiveness that went on with this cover. First, I tried to do the cover myself, thinking I was the best graphic designer ever. Failed. Then I paid for a cover that wasn't quite fitting the genre, it was a bit too abstract. Failed. Then I finally paid a professional. Line drawings of the medallions were created by me and Seventhstar Art took the reigns from there.

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  46. Are any of your family members also authors?

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  47. Aside from this one, what giveaways have you hosted for your readers?

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    1. This is my first giveaway. Consider me new. I started writing because I enjoyed writing. Then I found out there's marketing involved (i.e. giveaways, social media, etc).

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  48. David HollingsworthMay 30, 2022 at 8:58 PM

    I love the excerpts of your books!

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  49. How did you decide on the cover for this book?

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  50. What was the first video game you ever played?

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  51. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  52. David HollingsworthJune 1, 2022 at 3:46 AM

    Happy Wednesday!

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  53. How many hours a day do you write?

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  54. About how long did it take you to complete your first book?

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  55. David HollingsworthJune 2, 2022 at 2:10 AM

    Happy Thursday!

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  56. David HollingsworthJune 3, 2022 at 1:29 AM

    Happy Friday!

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  57. What age were you when you first started writing?

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  58. What are some of your favorite snacks?

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  59. David HollingsworthJune 5, 2022 at 2:26 AM

    How many books have you written?

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  60. How do you select the names of your characters?

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  61. Do you have any extreme hobbies, like extreme couponing or cave diving?

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  62. David HollingsworthJune 7, 2022 at 3:34 AM

    How many book do read a year?

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  63. David HollingsworthJune 8, 2022 at 2:06 AM

    This book sounds riveting!

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  64. I love everything about this book - genre title and cover!

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  65. What's your signature alcoholic drink?

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  66. What has been your favorite road trip?

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  67. David HollingsworthJune 10, 2022 at 1:56 AM

    What's your favorite food?

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  68. How do you think we should warn future inhabitants of earth about nuclear waste?

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  69. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

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  70. Thank you for sharing the excerpt.

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  71. David HollingsworthJune 11, 2022 at 3:11 AM

    Happy Saturday!

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  72. If you could stay one age forever, which one would it be, and why?

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  73. Would you ever be willing to take a cruise? To where?

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  74. David HollingsworthJune 13, 2022 at 3:59 AM

    Where do you go to relax?

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  75. When do you think you could have used a second chance in life?

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  76. David HollingsworthJune 14, 2022 at 6:43 PM

    Happy Tuesday!

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  77. Who is your favorite character that you've created?

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  78. When I find a new author I like, I am always glad when the book is the first in a series!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  79. What is your favorite genre to read?

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  80. How many books do you plan for this series?

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  81. David HollingsworthJune 18, 2022 at 11:01 PM

    Do you enjoy the sound of rain?

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  82. How long have you been writing?

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  83. What triggers youto set the story just before you begin writing it?

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  84. Sometimes I have heard authors say that their characters took over the plot of the book...did that ever happen to you?

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  85. Happy Monday! Do you have an all time favorite book?

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  86. David HollingsworthJune 20, 2022 at 5:48 PM

    What's your favorite type of ice cream?

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  87. Any advice for someone starting a new job?

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  88. Do you have a go-to comfort read?

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  89. The Blood of Azure series by Jonathan J. Michael sounds like a series of fascinating books.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  90. What is a surprising fact about you?

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  91. David HollingsworthJune 22, 2022 at 5:19 PM

    Do you any talents besides being an author?

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  92. Who inspired you when you were growing up?

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  93. David HollingsworthJune 23, 2022 at 7:52 PM

    How do you feel about Summer?

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  94. Did you always want to be a writer?

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  95. David HollingsworthJune 24, 2022 at 6:57 PM

    Happy Friday!

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  96. Do you have any advice for getting some sleep?

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  97. It was interesting to read the About the Author information on Jonathan J Michael.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  98. Is there a writer you'd ever want to collab with?

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  99. David HollingsworthJune 25, 2022 at 7:02 PM

    Do you have any advice for writers?

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  100. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

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  101. If you weren't a writer, what would your occupation be?

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  102. sounds like a wonderful series

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  103. David HollingsworthJune 26, 2022 at 4:45 PM

    Happy Sunday!

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  104. When you're writing a book, what does your workday look like?

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  105. David HollingsworthJune 27, 2022 at 4:55 PM

    Happy Monday!

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  106. I like the continuing shield theme on the covers of your books.

    Nanchy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  107. Is there a character you've found really difficult to write?

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  108. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

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  109. David HollingsworthJune 29, 2022 at 5:22 AM

    Do you have a favorite character?

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  110. What famous person would you find it inspirational to meet?

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  111. What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?

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  112. What is your favorite place that you've visited?

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  113. Do you have a favorite character from a movie or tv that you wish you could incorporate into your books?

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  114. David HollingsworthJuly 1, 2022 at 5:10 PM

    Happy Friday!

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  115. What is your favorite way to relax?

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  116. David HollingsworthJuly 2, 2022 at 6:50 PM

    Happy Saturday!

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  117. What is the best book you've read so far in 2022?

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  118. do you have a favorite author?

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  119. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

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  120. It was interesting to read about the life of the author in this article.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  121. David HollingsworthJuly 3, 2022 at 10:20 PM

    Happy Sunday!

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  122. If you celebrate, how are you spending your fourth of July?

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  123. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

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  124. David HollingsworthJuly 4, 2022 at 9:24 PM

    Happy Monday!

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  125. What story of yours did you find it difficult to write?

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  126. how long have you been writing

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  127. David HollingsworthJuly 5, 2022 at 6:34 PM

    Happy Tuesday!

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  128. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  129. What's your best memory from 2022 so far?

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  130. was it hard to choose the cover?

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  131. David HollingsworthJuly 6, 2022 at 5:46 PM

    Happy Wednesday!

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  132. I'm so ready for good reads for the summer, this is on my list!

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  133. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

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  134. What are you looking forward to in the second half of 2022?

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  135. David HollingsworthJuly 7, 2022 at 5:29 PM

    Happy Thursday!

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  136. What fiction tropes are your pet peeves?

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