Author: M.D. Neu
Book: The Calling
Page/Word Count: 366 pages, 108 K words
Release Date: January 1, 2018
Publisher: NineStar Press
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Being a nobody isn’t Duncan Alexander’s life goal, but it’s worked for him. He has a nondescript job, a few good friends, and overall he’s content. That’s until one fateful trip to San Jose, California, where he is “Called” to meet the mysterious Juliet de Exter. Juliet is a beautiful, wealthy, powerful Immortal who is undertaking The Calling—a search for a human to join her world of Immortals. Inexplicably, Duncan’s calling is more dangerous than any of the Immortals, even Juliet, ever thought it would be.
There is more to this nobody, this only child of long-deceased parents, than anyone thought. When Duncan experiences uncontrollable dreams of people he doesn’t know and places he hasn’t been, Juliet and the other Immortals worry. Soon, his visions point to a coven of long-dead witches. The dreams also lead Duncan to his one true love. How will Duncan navigate a forbidden romance with an outcast Immortal? How will he and the others keep the balance between the Light and Dark, survive vicious attacks, and keep the humans from learning who they truly are? More importantly, who is this implacable foe Duncan keeps seeing in his dreams?
What is death?
I once believed there was only one definition: your body stops functioning, your soul leaves and what’s left turns to dust. That was what I thought, until it wasn’t.
I’ve discovered when you’re a nobody, the world can be an amazing place if you want it to be. Your life can change in a heartbeat and not make the least bit of difference to anyone but you, or so it would seem.
That was my case.
I’m by no means whining or complaining. I had a job, a small place to live, and friends, but no real family, and that was something I desperately missed and wanted. My life wasn’t bad and I was happy. However, I was just a random person, one of the many faces you see on the street and never glance at twice. It was dull. Of course, as with me, the majority of society didn’t know our world had hidden secrets, unseen by most.
The other important thing I want you to realize about me is that before I met her, I wasn’t a lucky man, not with money and certainly not with love. I made enough to live on, but never enough to take fancy trips. My idea of travel was staying at home and watching movies. That was my price range. And as for love, it was forgettable.
The day my life changed was like all the others, until it wasn’t. It was August 19. The year isn’t important. But we had finished celebrating the Olympics, and in a few short months, the country would be picking between the lesser of two evils for president.
I sat at an outdoor café in Santana Row. I’d spent the afternoon going on a tour of the Winchester Mystery House. Once my stomach had started to growl, I decided to grab a bite to eat.
I had come to San Jose, California for a vacation that I couldn’t afford and didn’t particularly want to take. Why San Jose? Why not San Francisco or Monterey or Vegas or Yosemite? To be honest, I don’t know, but it’s like everything inside and around me pulled me there. Out of the blue, I got emails from the San Jose Visitor Bureau. My dreams were filled with images of the city and the surrounding hills and mountains. It seemed that old song, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” by Dionne Warwick constantly played. Still, San Jose isn’t the place most people consider for a ten-day vacation, especially someone alone who had never been to the Bay Area before.
Despite my apprehension, from the moment I arrived, I immediately felt at peace. I’d never been this calm or relaxed anywhere before, not even at home. There was another reason for me coming here, one I didn’t understand yet, at least not on a conscious level.
I would find out why soon enough.
3.5✨s from Abrianna – I kind of went back and forth on what to rate this book. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or if I just couldn’t look away. This book doesn’t say it’s the first in a series, but it’s set up that way. Most of it is setting up the world the characters live in, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it and think it has great potential, but the actual story didn’t happen until the last half of the book. We got hints of it, but we didn’t get to see it. I would have preferred all the set up to be in a novella where Duncan learns about the immortal world and then have a book come after it with a more fleshed out plot.
Duncan is a good character, if not a little over dramatic at times. There’s almost zero romance, there is a romantic interest but it takes a backseat to setting up the world. I feel like this book ran a little long for what it was. I can only pray that there’s more. Because I’m interested in reading on. The world is set nicely and all the characters have potential to make a whole series.
About M.D. Neu:
M.D. Neu is a LGBTQA Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing. Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world. When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of nineteen plus years.
Interview with M.D. Neu:
- What was the inspiration behind The Calling? The Calling came from several places. As a kid and even today, I’ve always loved vampire stories and vampires. They are the perfect monster. They can blend into society with little effort and are exceedingly dangerous. There is also a certain amount of sex appeal to them, which gives them even greater ability to prey on us. Also, I just found them super cool.The one thing I could never understand about vampires was how they existed in our modern society, especially now with cell phones and cameras everywhere. All it would take is one YouTube video of someone being attacked and that would be that. Even before Social Media and cell phone cameras I never understood how missing bodies, missing blood, or other tell-tail signs of vampires never alerted the media or authorities. The, ‘how would they live in our modern world?’ always made me wonder.The last ingredient to the cocktail that became The Calling was; I wanted to tell a story about a character who just so happened to be gay. It wasn’t a big deal to him. It wasn’t a big deal to anyone else. He just so happened to be a gay man. I hadn’t really seen a lot of that before and I wanted to change that.
With those three elements tumbling around in my head, The Calling finally started to come together. The characters came to life and I quickly had to start writing their story.
- There’s a big leap a writer takes from putting words down on paper for the love of it and actually publishing those words for public scrutiny. What was that journey like for you? My writing journey, I believe, is a little unique in that as a kid I hated reading and writing. I would have done anything to avoid it. When I was in First Grade, I was diagnosed with Dyslexia. I couldn’t read or write, but what I could do was memorize things. So, if I heard a story, even once, I could pretend to read it from the book. Sure it wasn’t perfect, which is how my parents and teachers figured it out.After they found this out. My parents and the school decided to hold me back, and have me repeat the First Grade. Which would allow the school to put into special classes that would teach me to read, write and learn to see letters and numbers correctly. I stayed in those classes all through grade school so that I would be ready for Junior High and High School.Once I got to High School, I was forced to read for English and my other classes so I slowly found books I enjoyed and started to read for fun. When I was in High School I had the opportunity to become a Foreign Exchange Student. I went to Germany and lived there. While I was there I kept a journal. That is when I started to enjoy writing. When I returned home, I continued to write in the journal and it grew into writing poetry and short stories. I found that writing was a way for me to process my emotions and my thoughts.
Fast forward a whole lot of years and I found an on line writing group (after some really rough feedback on my first story) I edited my work. From there I continued to work on that story and slowly other stories came to mind. After several years of working on my two stories (at the time I was working on a Sci-Fi series and The Calling) I decided to see if I could find a publisher. I didn’t hold out much hope because I knew how hard the publishing industry was. Still I figured why not try. My stories were turned down by several publishers, but I kept at it. One day I saw a submission call from NineStar Press (my current publisher) and I sent in The Calling (The Sci Fi story didn’t fit with the submission) within a few weeks I got an email saying that they would like to publish the novel. I was shocked and of course I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a huge joke, but it was real.
From there the story went through more editing, proof reading and all that, and then on January 1, 2018 The Calling was released to the world. I still don’t believe that not only did NineStar Press pick up The Calling but they also picked up two of my short stores; A Dragon for Christmas and The Reunion. I count myself lucky.
Since The Calling came out reviews have been good and people seem to enjoy the world and the story I created. Not too bad for a kid who could barely read.
- What do you think makes a good story? This is difficult because taste very greatly. What I may think makes an amazing story someone else may hate. That said, for me what I look for in novels are rich worlds created with a mix of descriptions and believable characters. I want the author to hit on all my senses; site, smell, taste, touch, and sound. The more you can fill the novel with these types of details the happier I am. For me I want to be able to see what the author sees when they are crafting the story. Of course even with the best descriptions and details there has to be a story there. Plot and characters are so important. I need to care about the people I’m reading about.One thing I can’t stand in any book (even though I’ve seen it down well, I still don’t like it) is when a book starts with a person running because they are being chased or whatever. I hate when an author feels like they have to hit you over the head with action right off to get your attention. Why would I care about any of this especially if I don’t even know the characters yet. Anyway, that’s just a pet peeve of mine and, as I mention, I have seen it done well. So, it can work.
- What can readers expect from you next? Oh goodness, there is a lot happening. Currently I’m working on the sequel to The Calling. I have it all outlined and segmented into acts. So, that is coming together, a bit slower then I hoped but it’s fine. In January 2019 my new novel A New World – Contact (Part 1) will be released and in March 2019 I have a second novel coming out called, T.A.D (The Angle of Death). I’m really excited about both novels and I think people will enjoy them. I’m also in the process of finishing the edits on the next book in the, A New World, series. Not to mention I have a few more stories stewing around.
- If you were ice cream, what flavor would you be: Cake Batter Ice Cream or Cookie Doug Ice Cream
- Ask for permission or ask for forgiveness: Ask for Forgiveness.