About Me

My Photo
Mike Mehalek writes fast-paced lyrical books that can be enjoyed with one reading but have enough substance for re-reading. He brings stories to life that demand to be told, regardless of the hopes/dreams/fears/desires of his characters--the Story first--always the Story.

In 2008 Mike earned his masters degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University

Visit Mike on twitter @mikemehalek

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Author Interview: Sabrina Benulis

Today, is a real treat, an  interview with The Books of Raziel trilogy author Sabrina Benulis. Come take a journey to hell and back and learn a little bit about Sabrina, of her writing process, and of book two of the series: Covenant.

If you like stories with demons, angels, and other creepy crawlies as well as stories of romance and true friendships which are woven together flawlessly, read on.

If you like stories where setting comes alive in your mind, read on.

If you want to learn more about one heck of a writer and one of the sweetest ones that you'll ever come across, read on.





First tell us a little bit about yourself.

I guess besides what's been going on with my books, the most exciting thing taking place in my life right now is that by summer I'll be a Mom for the first time. It's forced me to pause and really consider who I am and the journey I've taken through life so far. Since I was a kid I loved books and stories and fantasy. When I was in high school I wrote fan-fiction for some of my favorite television shows, and then by college I began to really ponder about stories I would like to write myself. By the end of my college years I was convinced I wanted to be an author, some way and somehow. I've been lucky enough to publish two books with Harper Collins since 2011, but of course I have a ton of ideas swimming around in my brain and filed away on my laptop.

Now, tell us a little bit about the world you created in the Books of Raziel.

The setting of The Books of Raziel is a gothic, near-future version of Earth. Global disasters have rearranged the world a bit, and the Vatican has more power than it does right now. There has been a legend developed within occult circles about a messiah figure called the Archon. Many prophecies cite her to be a personality of doom with symbolic blood red hair who will be responsible for the Universe's ultimate downfall. She is said to be a reincarnation of an angel who tragically died and left behind a great artifact--the Book of Raziel. Most supernatural beings in Heaven, Hell, and all the realms between are eager to claim this artifact for their own personal gain. The most dangerous of those personalities is Lucifel, the Devil herself  (yes, the devil is female in this series). The Archon is the only being with the power to open the Book, though, and this makes her a target for good and evil forces alike. Yet if the prophecy comes true, the Archon will defeat Lucifel only to become new ruler of Hell instead. To prevent this, the Vatican has taken over an island city called Luz and developed an institution there meant to find the Archon and get rid of her before she can be a threat. Their suspicion falls on all qualifying students with red hair. The derogatory name for them is 'blood heads.'

What was your inspiration for the series and why you first wrote Archon?

Long before the current angel craze in fantasy fiction, I wanted to write a story with angels and demons myself. However, I wanted these angels to be more than attractive people with wings. I wanted them to be the angels who fascinated you, but at the same time terrified because they were still inhuman and otherworldly. The story itself has gone through too many changes to count since I first wrote it. Originally, it would be accurate to say it was all one big novel that ended up getting split into three. However, I will always feel the scope of the story is too large for just three books. But that is the publisher's domain and not mine.

Who do you most identify with?

I'm going to say the main character, Angela Mathers. But keep in mind Angela has a lot of growth to do first! She has a noble heart and strong convictions, but her past causes her to be mistrustful and hardened at the beginning of the story. It takes strong friendships to bring the softness out of her.


Plotter or Pantser?

I'm a little bit of both, actually. I always need at least a rough, general outline of where a story is headed before I begin. I need to know the beginning, end, and major plot points, for instance. But I've learned to be flexible about getting there. Too much outlining can write you into a corner or stifle the voice of your subconscious telling you where the story really needs to go.

What advice can you offer to any budding authors (blood heads or not) out there?

Haha. Well, the most important thing is to just never stop writing. No matter how many times you are knocked down, you need to pick yourself back up. And also, try not to make a habit of reading reviews. That's very difficult in this day and age when so much info is available instantly through the internet and everyone and anyone has an opinion, but it's also very important in order to keep up your sanity and confidence.

Why don’t you tell us a little bit about Covenant?

Covenant is the second book in the The Books of Raziel trilogy, following Archon. The story begins a little over a year after the events in Book One. Angela Mathers's best friend Sophia (who is also the Book of Raziel personified) is kidnapped by a formidable and scheming demon. Angela must then enter the very Doors of Hell in order to save her friend, because if she does not, the entire Universe will suffer. Covenant has a lot of action and tension, and I felt it was a great way to transition to the enormous revelations in Book 3.

Where can go to learn more about the Books of Raziel, Sabrina Benulis, or anything else that catches your fancy?

My official website is http://www.sabrinbenulis.com. From there you can find links to character profiles, some short stories, and connections to my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SabrinaBenulis, my Twitter page https://twitter.com/SabrinaBenulis and my blog at http://sabrinabenulis.blogspot.com.



Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Sure! Thanks for taking the time to host me in an interview today! I also love hearing from readers and fans, so feel free to drop me a message on my FB page, Twitter, or even through my email sabrina@sabrinabenulis.com. Thanks again!



About the Author:  Sabrina Benulis graduated with a Masters in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She currently resides in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania with her husband and a sweet but spoiled cockatiel. When Sabrina isn't writing, catch her reading a book, wasting time on YouTube, or better still, getting some much-needed sleep.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Please Give a Warm Reception to Amy Kaufman Burk


One of the most enjoyable parts of posting covers and new books for other authors is getting introduced to great new fiction and to meet wonderful new people.

Today is no exception.

Let me introduce to you, Amy Kaufman Burk and her debut novel Hollywood High: Achieve the Honorable.

I found Hollywood High searching the top 100 Kindle books in gay and lesbian literary fiction and saw this title at number three. I backtracked Amy to her blog and read a few entries.

I was impressed with both her personal story and inspiration for the novel (I was shocked and saddened when I read it).


Also, as I get older, I become more and more intrigued with the 70s, the decade in which I was born.

For those reasons, I just had to give this one a read.

Currently I’m about 20% through the novel, and I am enjoying the characters Amy has brought to life. I’m reminded of my own high school days, although I must admit they were a littlelotless intense. I can't wait to pick it back up.

I reached out to Amy and asked to include her book on my blog and was thrilled to have her agree.

So allow me to turn the mic over to Amy Kaufman Burk and welcome you to Hollywood High.




Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable is a fictionalized account of my first year of high school, inspired by the violence I witnessed targeting gay students. I was deeply affected by this bullying, and at 15 years old, I promised myself I'd write about it some day.

Hollywood High tracks Caroline Black, a straight LGBTQ ally, as she transfers from an all-girls prep academy, to the local public school, Hollywood High, with gangs, over 40 native languages, teen prostitution, and extreme violence toward the gay students. The story follows Caroline's group of friends as they grow aware of homophobia, both in their environment and in themselves, and find paths to becoming allies.

I posted on my blog about he original bullying incident that inspired my novel. "Everyone Can Be An Ally" 





Amy Kaufman Burk grew up in the Hollywood Hills.  Her father was a screenwriter and her mother, a social anthropologist.  Amy was raised in a home with thousands of books.  She was an avid reader as a child, and still is.