29 June 2022

This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey Book Tour and Guest Post! @mackeywriting


This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey
This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey 

Publisher:   D.X. Varos (March 15, 2022)
Category: Horror, Vampire Thriller, Dark Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Tour dates: June 16-July 22
ISBN: 978-1955065238
Available in Print and ebook, 350 pages

  This World of Love and Strife 

Description This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

 It is the duty of the Vanguard to protect the world from unseen demonic forces.

But what if the organization falls to corruption? Their reformation is up to Cato, a disgraced former member who discovers many of the elite using their powerful positions and martial skills for ill-gotten gains rather than fulfilling their true purpose: aiding mankind in a secret war against their eternal foe.

Aldous is a Vanguard who fell from grace after being stricken with vampirism by a mysterious figure known as the White Lady. His increasingly vile appetites are tolerated because his knowledge as an alchemist is vital in the Vanguard’s battle against the demons. When those desires lead to the abduction of the woman Cato loves, Cato wages a one-man war against Aldous and his werewolf henchman.

Review This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

Guest Review by Laura

“Wherever I’d go, Lucian would find me. I don’t know if he’d kill me. Probably depends on how long it’d take to find me. He sure as hell wouldn’t give me a second chance. I took a vow. I’m in this for life.”

In 'This World of Love and Strife,' author Shawn Mackey creates a rich, detailed world containing vampires, werewolves, angels and, most importantly of all, demons.

The main character Cato used to be a member of an elite organization called the Vangaurd. Now, the Vangaurd is responsible for finding and destroying demons and in Lumina City, there are certainly a lot of demons to find. The city is full of different terrorizing and blood-sucking mythical monsters who prey on the population, most notably, a rich vampire named Aldous who was, himself a member of the Vanguard before being bitten.

Cato recently had a bit of a disagreement with the Vangaurd that ended with him on the run and them putting out a hit on him. Only a few people who know about the Vangaurd, including his friend, Reggie, currently know where Cato is living. This is a bit of a problem, because at the beginning of the novel, Cato is given a vision of a horrifying hell that he believes humanity is headed toward—and the only people who can help him prevent this are the Vangaurd themselves.

Between trying to save the world, and trying to rescue the woman that he loves from Aldous, Cato has a lot on his hands in this book, and the reader is taken on his thrilling journey right along with him.

I definitely plan to add Shawn Mackey's books to my 'must read' list in the future. This was one hell of a ride and well worth the price of admission! 

Guest Post by Shawn Mackey

Why I Like Scary Stories

The horror genre is one of the most enduring in literature. Elements of it appear as far back as ancient myth, such as the story of Actaeon. The hunter witnessed the goddess Artemis bathing in a stream and was turned into a stag by her, leading to him getting chased down and then devoured by his hunting dogs. The giants of the Norse Eddas and the Fay of Celtic myths are the inspiration of many monsters. Even Rome had ghost stories at the height of its empire. It’s easy to imagine the earliest humans telling similar stories near the camp fire long before civilization as we know it. If stories of the heroic helped mankind strive for greatness, they could not be without a tradition of monsters and ghosts. In order to rise, these nightmares needed to be defeated.

Yet some of the best horror stories have no heroes, let alone survivors. One can argue that a story can have horror elements and a happy ending, but no horror story can have a completely happy ending. At the very least, those who triumph are scarred physically and emotionally, and most of all, worse off than when the story started. How could people possibly enjoy this?

The answer hasn’t changed since primitive mankind told stories by the fire. To quote HP Lovecraft: The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” Like any other emotion, for some it needs to be expunged through catharsis. Even in the safety of a group near a warm fire, fear finds a way to rise to the surface. Death is a guarantee. The world is full of predators and the environment is as harmful as it is helpful to our existence. Hunger and thirst are constant reminders of our mortality. No matter how much you tend to your health, we are not meant to endure life for long.

One can argue that an unconscious fear is the driver of all people. If it rises to the conscious mind, it can have a paralyzing effect. This is also a common reason some people don’t like horror stories. They prefer the “out of sight, out of mind” approach to such things. However, those who enjoy them are able to detach themselves from the dread and appreciate its stirrings. In these people scary stories are created and transmitted. This led to its development as an art form.

The horror genre’s contrast with the heroic tradition is why fantasy and horror make for the most potent crossover. Whereas horror highlights the mortality of the mankind, the heroic highlights the potential to transcend it. Though they exist as separate genres, they work more effectively side by side. A horror story without an understanding of the heroic is an exercise of futility, easy to discard as soon as it’s finished because of its tendency to say ”for naught” regarding life. A heroic tale is sterile and equally vacuous without believable monsters to overcome. These must not be merely men in scary costumes, but forces of nature to be wrestled with and even conquered.

It may not always take earthly form. The supernatural is especially potent in arousing fear because it requires the reader’s imagination, which is a tremendous factory of horrors. However, this can be severely impoverished without a keen sense of the transcendent. Ambiguity works wonderfully, but with a mere materialist perspective, ghosts and other phantasms seem to be little more than products of feeble minds rather than workings of a beyond. Even the best stories can be laughable through such a lens. Though there is nothing wrong with a grounded horror story, those which attempt to depict the supernatural are of the highest caliber and those who understand the futility in the attempt are by far the most worthy of praise.

The greatest of these attempts is found in Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan. In this story, the offspring of a young woman and the god Pan initiates rich socialites into the mysteries of Pan as something akin to a priestess. The precise method of these initiations is never specified and often alluded to as sexual and vaguely grotesque acts. It leads to the suicide of every man who becomes intimate with her and upon discovery of the woman and a trail of bodies by the protagonist, she is revealed to be a formless entity masquerading as a human. It discards the earthly form and disappears, the true purpose or meaning behind the woman and the events left shrouded in mystery. Those who came across her and survived only know that she was pure evil.

Naturalistic attempts to explain the supernatural dispel much of the horror. Placing ghosts in the category of radio waves or particles only satisfy a materialistic urge to explain the unexplainable. The horror is diminished, and though the spooky invisible phenomenon can still harm the characters, it’s now just a thriller with a less believable plot than a standard psycho killer. Evil is no longer an otherworldly force, merely something that hurts people.

This is why the main character of my novel, This World of Love and Strife, rejects the naturalistic explanations for the evil entities that surround him. Taking a cue from the heroes of the past, he has a keen sense of good and evil and knows when to attack the latter. Of course, this doesn’t make it a pure horror story, but I certainly used my love of the genre to craft the novel’s world and its villains.

And that is why I love horror. Whether I write fantasy, science fiction or mystery, I can’t help adding a pinch of my favorite genre. It may not be the best on its own, but it’s certainly played a part in all the best works throughout literary history.

This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

About Shawn Mackey

Living in New Jersey for all his life, Shawn Mackey has been writing since childhood. Though his favorite genre is horror, he has a deep appreciation for fantasy influenced by mythology and science fiction that questions the modern world and its future.

Website:  https://mackeywriting.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mackeywriting
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Shawn-Mackey/100073414053488/

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Giveaway This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

This giveaway is for 1 print or ebook copy. Print is open to the U.S. only. eBook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on July 23, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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 This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey


  1. I'm so glad Laura enjoyed 'This World of Love and Strife! Thanks for hosting!



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