Category: Author Interviews

Author Interview: S. E. Anderson

Posted April 25, 2018

S.E. Anderson

S.E. Anderson can’t ever tell you where she’s from. Not because she doesn’t want to, but because it inevitably leads to a confusing conversation where she goes over where she was born (England) where she grew up (France) and where her family is from (USA) and it tends to make things very complicated.

She’s lived pretty much her entire life in the South of France, except for a brief stint where she moved to Washington DC, or the eighty years she spent as a queen of Narnia before coming back home five minutes after she had left. Currently, she goes to university in Marseille, where she’s studying Physics and aiming for a career in Astrophysics.

When she’s not writing, or trying to science, she’s either reading, designing, crafting, or attempting to speak with various woodland creatures in an attempt to get them to do household chores for her. She could also be gaming, or pretending she’s not watching anything on Netflix.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing? 

I don’t think there ever was a moment when I wasn’t writing… or, at least, telling a story. Even before I could hold a pen, I’d tell my parents or family friends to write down stories I would tell them. The love has just not stopped growing ever since! 

  • Do you have a favourite place to write? 

In my comfy armchair, by the window. I’m perfectly poised and always ready to write! Definitely helps that there’s no side table or place to put the computer down, which makes it so that I have to just keep writing. 

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to? 

I wish I did, but my life is too hectic at the moment! I do enjoy writing in the evenings after dinner and before bed, but it depends on if astrophysics papers require my attention. 

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to? 

Too many to list. I would love to one day be a talented enough writer to run in the same circles as Neil Gaiman. 

  • What inspired you to write Starstruck? 

Starstruck was really a writing project between me and my best friend Joanna. She and I both wanted to have more badass women in Scifi that we could aspire too, so we decided to write one ourselves. 

  • Can you tell us a little about your book? 

They’re books about adulthood, anxiety, and… aliens?

Starstruck, and its sequel, Alienation, follow the adventures (or misadventures) of Sally Webber, a college dropout and all around anxious person, as she gets thrown into the insane reality of Aliens among us. Trying to get your life together and save the world at the same time isn’t the easiest! 

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

That would probably have to be Blayde. She’s much more than her no-nonsense, adrenalin junkie appearance might project. I can’t wait to dive into her character! 

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider? 

A few ones:

  • The universe is absurd and chaotic: it’s just the way it is, entropy is literally always increasing. Deal with it.
  • You might not be living the life you want to be living. That’s ok. It’s still your life and for you to take advantage of.
  • It’s ok to be afraid. If you manage to work through that fear, it’s ok to feel proud. That’s a massive accomplishment. 
  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 


  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing? 

The biggest achievement is simply getting it published! It’s been a long road since I’ve started writing it. The most challenging aspect has to be dealing with the fact that it will never be perfect, only the best I can make it. I was not ready to stop tweaking it, because I’m never happy with what I do! 

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing the Starstruck saga?

It’s interesting, writing a book is like holding up a mirror to your face, but ignoring the reflection. It’s only when I re-read my drafts years later that I saw elements of myself I just hadn’t yet learned to recognize. What those elements are might be too personal for right here, right now, though. 

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors? 

I always get this advice, and it’s the best advice: Just. Keep. Writing. Don’t give up until you have a book! 

  • Anything else you would like to say? 

It’s a massive pleasure writing this saga. I really hope the readers connect with it as much as I want them to. Please feel free to connect with me if you want to chat about my books! 

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned? 

LOADS. Starstruck is going to be quite a long series… and I’m going to continue writing YA scifi and fantasy for the rest of my life. Look out!

Author Links:






Starstruck by S.E. AndersonAlienation

Book three of the Starstruck Saga (Traveler) launched in just TWO days:




Author Interview: Dawn Chapman

Posted December 20, 2016

The Secret KingDawn Chapman has been creating sci-fi and fantasy stories for thirty years. Until 2005 when her life and attention turned to scripts, and she started work on The Secret King, a 13-episode sci-fi TV series, with great passion for this medium.

In 2010, Dawn returned to her first love of prose. She’s been working with coach EJ Runyon from 2012 who’s encouraged her away from fast-paced script writing, to revel in the world of TSK and Letháo as an epic prose space journey.

Dawn lives in a country village in the UK with her husband, parrot and 30 koi.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing? 

My earliest memory is of wanting a typewriter, I was 6. And I wrote my first story titled ‘Roger the Fox’ I couldn’t use the typewriter well so my next door neighbour typed it up for me and I paid her from my earnings as around the village, shopping or car washing.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

I pretty much write anywhere, but a couch is as good a place as any. I do prefer no noise. Though the other half will put the TV on as soon as he comes in. I’m good at blocking out anything he watches, but if he puts a Sci-Fi program on I’m soon distracted.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I am usually home at 3:15 pm so anything from 4  pm onwards is my writing schedule till 8 pm when I’m usually too tired and turn to social media or critiquing for my team-mates.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

Not really, of course, I’d love to earn a living, but I will do everything I can in my own time till I get to that point.

  • What inspired you to write the novel of, The Secret King- Lethao

It was a friend who pointed out NaNoWrimo (after scriptFrenzy was culled) and she said, have you ever thought about a TSK novel? I hadn’t but I was soon able to write it up after all the work on our TV show. 

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Set 18 years prior to our penned TV series, is where book 1 begins.

Kendro, King of the Aonise, can do nothing to prevent their sun from collapsing, consuming their home planet Letháo in a single fiery blast. Running out of time and options, he evacuates the entire population, setting off into the unknown galaxy in four crowded ships. Under constant danger from their ancient enemy, the Zefron, treasonous dissent seeps into his inner circle. Threatened inside and out, Kendro struggles with whom to trust, until a mysterious vision finally brings hope to the distraught King. A new home awaits the Aonise, if Kendro can only unite them long enough to survive the journey.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

No matter where I am in the whole series, I have to still say Taliri is my favourite character. He is the secret prince/king after all. His story is the first I wrote, back in 2007 when I broke my hand at work. I penned a feature film (yes, one handed) and after joining a website called Zhura and meeting my co-writer Steven it is where the TV series stemmed from. I spent a lot of time with Taliri, my co-writer, and the world around them. Everything else, of course, I still love, and my other two fav characters are Ainoren Broki and the human character – Sarah Mendoza, whose story is set far into TSK’s timeline. 

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider? 

I like to think there are a few hidden messages. The world around us, how we accept people no matter the race or religion, who they love. But mostly the story is about normal and some extraordinary people who struggle through life, and hope to protect those around them they love. Pretty much what most of us go through on a day to day basis.

  • Because we’re about to launch book 2, First Contact, I’m including a short excerpt from there.

A loud ringing echoed through the house. Prime Minister Robert Walker bolted upright. His wife, Christine, still slept, her chest rising and falling in even breaths. Is that… the…

His heart pounded in his chest, as the ringing stopped. Silence. No…

Glancing at Christine, he let out a breath seeing she hadn’t stirred. The chemo from yesterday had wiped her out. They were trying to rest, and now, he was terrified what little rest they’d had at their country holiday home would be ruined. As the phone rang again, Walker threw the covers off and reached out for it. Damn, this will wake her.

Monday, 23rd Sept 2041 – 1:14 AM flashed on his clock.

Picking up his phone. Walker hit answer and slid out of the warm bed into the cooler air of their hallway.


Christine murmured, turning over, and searching blindly in the bed for him.first-contact

“Robert?” The Chief of Defence’s adrenaline-pumped voice almost screamed across the line. Walker listened to words he never thought he’d hear. “We’re at Threat Level Critical. A copter is on its way. Suffok will meet you at the nearest hotel conference room.”

What? Critical? The UK hadn’t issued critical status ever. What on Earth is going on?

“I’ll be right there.” Then, Walker thought of Christine. He couldn’t leave her alone. Not tonight. Phoning his sister-in-law, he asked her to come over and stay with Christine.

There were highly trained nurses stationed in the house, but they weren’t family. Guilt clutched as his conscience, as he headed back to the bedroom and dressed.

Christine had settled back, and he perched on the end of the bed, stroking the back of her head. “I’ve got to go out. Ani is on her way. She’ll stay with you tonight.”

His wife turned to face him. “At this hour, seriously?” The annoyance on her pale face and bloodshot eyes spooked him.

Walker sighed. Christine knew his job came before lots of things. “I’ll see you for dinner.” He kissed his wife gently on the forehead.

Christine didn’t respond. She turned her head away from him. Concern filled him, as he gave her one last look before hurrying to the door. He had no way of knowing if he would be home for dinner today, or next week.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing TSK?

The biggest challenge for me is and might always be I’m a born script writer, it’s the style I much prefer, writing prose is hard for me, and takes me a good amount of effort. I do think with my writing and editing regime that it is the best I can do though and I’m proud to put these books out there.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Secret King?

That not everyone will love your work, same as with writing scripts, there will always be a difference of opinion. But I do like to think I can take on board those opinions and learn and keep trying.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Just practice every day, join crit groups, make friends and grow together. The more you do for others the more you get back, don’t be selfish. Don’t expect people to read your work without helping them back in some way, supporting this community is very important. 

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Please click the link and download book 1 for free, from 12/12/16 to the 15/12/16 and if you’re an audiobook fan, the whispersync deal will be 2.99! bargain. I love Greg Tremblay’s voice, and for the first person to ever speak our conlang (beside its creator) sounds just perfect!

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Of course, the release of book 2 – December 20th.

We’re also working on two more audio shorts from Doctor Brie and Lieutenant Hadi’s story line. Narrated by Holly Adams and Greg TremblayJ
And a fully illustrated anthology, with illustrations by the very talented Andrew Dodd.
And also 50k novella from one of our TV episodes, penned by my co-writer, Steven Kogan!

I’m totally excited for next year! We’ve so much more planned and ready to launch, you have to follow us though to keep up.

Please click the links below for regular news and updates.

Sites: Production Website & Main TSK Website
Twitter: Production & TSK
Facebook: TSK Productions Ltd & The Secret King Fan Page




Author Interview: Penelope Wallace

Posted December 7, 2016

Penelope Wallace We do not kill childrenI have lived in St Andrews, Oxford, Aberdeen, and Nottingham, and am old enough to remember black and white TV. I am a pedantic bibliophile, a sometime lawyer (in both England and Scotland), a not-completely-orthodox Christian (and churchwarden), a wishy-washy socialist, a quiet feminist and a compulsive maker of lists. In the distant past, I invented a world where the buildings and manners were medieval, but the sexes equal, and a few years ago Dorac Kingsbrother walked into this world.

1) When did you first discover your love for writing?

I wrote my first book at the age of six. It was a shortened version of “The Jungle Book”, in a notebook with a spotty orange cover.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write? The sitting-room.

The sitting-room.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Not really. The great question is scribble first, or go straight to the keyboard? On the whole, I scribble illegibly first.

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I admire the concept of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Darkover” series: books that are all set in the same world, but not necessarily at the same time period or with the same characters. I love world-building that feels solid and plausible (JRR Tolkien, George RR Martin), and also distinctive prose with a light touch (Jane Austen, Nancy Mitford). I also like stories where the author’s beliefs can be deduced but are not rammed down the reader’s throat. But these are high aspirations!

5) What inspired you to write We Do Not Kill Children?

For about a month in 2012, I experimented with writing daily snippets of description, story or dialogue in an unused diary. Then I forgot about it. A year later I picked the book up again. Two pieces gripped me – the condemned warrior Dorac, and the Place to Die, and I put them together. After a while, I realised that Dorac needed a time and place to live in, and remembered the continent of Ragaris I’d invented twenty or so years ago.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?

It’s a story of murder and intrigue; a fantasy without magic; an attempt to see what would happen if women really were valued the same as men in a pre-modern society; and in places a courtroom drama.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Dorac is my protagonist. He is a xenophobic, violent, surly nerd, and I love him very much, but I’m not sure I’d want to meet him in a dark alley. Kai or Hassdan or Makkam would be better conversationalists. In the next book, the king is a bit of a scene-stealer…

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Every criminal justice system needs a court of appeal.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

The King stood up. Silence beyond imagining.
“Dorac Kingsbrother, I find you guilty of the murders of Ilda aged twelve years, Gaskor aged nine years, and Filana aged five years.”
It still seemed impossible.
Hands pressed on his shoulders, pushing him to his knees. Blood pounded behind his face. Possible and actual. At least he would soon be dead.
“You have served my mother and me and this land with great loyalty for many years. I do not doubt that you thought what you did was for the best. Words were spoken at Council that may have helped you to believe this. But whatever your motives, it was an abominable act.
“From this day, and forever, you are exiled from this land, and from the fellowship of the Thirty. If you are still within the realm one week from today, or if you ever return without the King’s word, I will have your life.
“I take back your companionship, I take back your land and your gold to comfort the bereaved, I take back your horse and your armour.” He paused. “Your sword you may retain. Go from here, make a better life, and may God forgive you.”
That was all. He barely noticed the eyes now. As he stood up, he overbalanced and had to steady himself on the floor. Someone almost laughed. He bowed to the King, turned, met Kremdar’s eyes one last time and walked out of the Hall.
So his life ended.
But still he walked and breathed, and had to decide what to do.

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing We Do Not Kill Children?

Getting to the end, and making the plot fit together.

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing We Do Not Kill Children?

That I love writing emotional dialogue…

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Dreaming is fun, but you will never write a book without sitting down and doing the work. Anything you write you can remove later. The first draft is not a finished book.

13) Anything else you would like to say?

Thank you for having me on the show!

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?

We Do Not Kill Children is the first of the Tales from Ragaris. I am currently waiting nervously to see what my publisher makes of the second, “The Tenth Province of Jaryar”, and trying to write the third.

Publisher: Mightier than the Sword UK

Author Interview: Nan Klee

Posted October 15, 2016

DreagonstarNan Klee’s resume as a writer includes eight years as a weekly newspaper columnist, while she worked as a freelance writer, editor, reporter, photographer, and technical writer. She used her Navy flight simulator training and knowledge to become a computer technician while working toward a Master’s degree in Writing and Rhetoric.

Nan worked her career as a technical writer, contracting with corporations that design and build combat aircraft and warships for our US military. She spent a few years as a college composition professor while she worked toward her Master’s degree in Rhetoric and Writing.

Nan Klee grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and later lived in Southern California for 37 years. Today, Nan has retired and lives in Eastern Tennessee with her 2 cats, a red kayak, and her 4 computers.

Published Works:

  • San Marco Beat – North County Times newspaper (now The Times Advocate), Escondido, CA. – a weekly newspaper column 1992-2000
  • Cranial Soup – monthly column, StellaNova magazine 1987-1996
  • Assist Syndrome – short story, StellaNova magazine 1995
  • Again Christmas – poem, StellaNova magazine 1994
  • Sweatpea – short story, StellaNova magazine 1992

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?  

When I was 8 years old , I discovered an antique typewriter in the basement. I wrote Spider-Man and Man from U.N.C.L.E. (TV show) stories – and home work – on it for several years.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

My office desk or my kitchen table (boring, huh?)

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

No, but there is often special music associated with piece I’m working.  None for DreaganStar that I recall.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

Authors = Shakespeare (I teach it) and Mark Twain.

  • What inspired you to write DreaganStar?

A dream that I was a stowaway on a spaceship

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

DreaganStar (volume 1 of a trilogy), was published in August 2016.  It introduces readers to the fascinating universe of the first experimental faster-than-light (FTL) starship. Set on the moon in the five subterranean lunar colonies, DreaganStar tells of the espionage, intrigue, romance, and mad science surrounding the starship during its experimental stage.

Synopsis:  Doctor Samantha Alexander is the Senior Psychologist of the five Dreagan Corporation lunar colonies.  She is given the task of proving Jonathan Dreagan, the founder and Chairman of the Board, to be insane. This seemingly easy task is complicated by Dreagan, who is the architect of all of the technology around her, a brilliant scientist, statesman, celebrity, and a recluse. Samantha’s supervisors, knowing that she may fall in love with Dreagan, restrict her usual methods of inquiry, complicating her task.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

“Uncle Dan’l” Girdner

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?   

Just tells a story

  • What would you say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing DreaganStar?

Challenges? Getting the science Achievements?  It is my first published novel.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing DreaganStar?

I tend to spend more time writing in the winter. Also, sometimes a character takes on a life of its own. This happens in the DreaganStar It’s a trilogy.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Know where/how your story ends by the time you start writing it.

If you’re blocked on one project, go and do something creative in a different medium, to “get the juices flowing”.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Thank you for your time.

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

DreaganStar is a trilogy. The 2nd book, DreaganThing, will be out in November 2016.

Next week, Vinakti Duet will be released – Unrelated to the DreaganStar trilogy.  This is a separate story, in a separate universe.

The final book of the DreaganStar Saga, DreaganFriend, will be released during the first half of 2017, and then I will focus on releasing MadMen – a 4-book series which occurs in the biblical “End Time”. See Revelation 3: 11.


Author Websites:

Email: nan @



Author Interview: J.B.Rockwell

Posted October 14, 2016

SerengetiHello there! I’m J.B. Rockwell, archaeologist cum IT geek cum sci-fi and fantasy writer. Also, eater of chocolates and collector of cats. There’s a lot more blah-blah-blah about me and my latest novel, SERENGETI, on my website ( and you can follow me on Twitter (@Rockwell_JB) if you like pics of dragons, foxes and other beasties interspersed with the occasional writing update and snarky witticism about the vagaries of the universe.

Oh, and cats. I post pics of my cats. Lots and lots of pics of my cats…

So, without further ado…The Questions!

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

Well, I first started writing about five years ago after spending pretty much the entirety of my life being a huge SFF fan and devouring books by the bushel. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I liked writing, much less loved it, at first. Writing’s hard folks, and 100,000 words…that takes a long time to write. Plus there’s plot holes and typos, character design…it takes a lot to string everything together and create something interesting and original. I’d say I really started to enjoy writing and eventually grow to love (and, at times, hate) it once I found my writers group (Anxious Appliances) and started swapping betas. I honestly think I like beta reading and providing feedback on my friends’ work more than writing my own stuff sometimes!

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

Two, actually. When the weather’s nice (sunny and warm): my patio, with the trees overhead and the crows giving me hell. When it’s not nice (especially cold and snowy) I like to sit in my living room by the fire. Both writing spaces come equipped with cats who don’t always help but often demand attention.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

BWAHAHAHA…oh, ahem. Sorry. Not really. I’m a complete trainwreck of a pantser—no process or routine at all other than I only have time to write on weekends. I work full time like most writers so there’s really no time during the week to do anything writerly other than think deep thoughts and scribble a few notes. So, I guess you could say my process is…DOWN WITH PROCESS!!!

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

C.J. Cherryh is my favorite writer and the one writer I most admire. It’s hard to say you ‘aspire’ to be like another writer without coming off like a copycap but she writes the most amazingly complex and broken characters and I just love that. Also a big fan of Elizabeth Bear who seems all around awesome in addition to writing some kickass stories. And I have to mention all my writer friends. There’s an immense amount of talent in the writer community and so much imagination.

  • What inspired you to write SERENGETI?

A somewhat random idea about a sentient being who dreamed of death but never died. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that for a while so I stuck it in a drawer and eventually wrote a short story about an AI warship that later became SERENGETI. I also wanted to write a story with a badass female lead that didn’t come across as male or some sex toy—I see that happen too often when a writer tries to make a female lead tough. Always disappointing.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

So, the basics: SERENGETI’s an AI warship that gets wrecked in battle and ends up abandoned by her fleet. The kicker is, no one knows where she is and she’s too damaged to contact anyone. Plus, her power’s failing and her crew’s cryogenically frozen inside her so she has to find a way to fix herself enough to get her crew home. So, it’s one part big space battles and one part Robinson Crusoe with a whole lot of other things thrown in in between.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

SERENGETI, obviously—she’s a kickass and caring and never gives up. I also love her Captain, Henricksen—a gruff, scarred soldier who cares just as much for SERENGETI and their crew as SERENGETI herself.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

I wish I was that deep! Not sure about a message, but I tried to show a different view of AI than you usually find. To that end,  I invested SERENGETI with a lot of emotion rather than making her cold and cerebral or just plain evil—so many stories present AI that way. Basically, I wanted to challenge the reader to think about the possibilities of such an advanced intelligence and what she could learn.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 

Serengeti dropped out of hyperspace into a quiet, empty section of the cosmos.

Too quiet. Too empty.

Sensors drank in data, feeding it to Serengeti’s AI brain. “Something’s not right,” she said.

Henricksen cocked his head, looking up at the camera. “Because we’re here or because the ships we came after aren’t?”

Serengeti shunted the sensors’ feeds to the bridge. “Take a look for yourself.”

Henricksen frowned and stabbed at a panel, parsing through the information it displayed. “Nothing.” He shook his head. “Doesn’t make sense. There should be something here.”

“There should,” Serengeti agreed, studying him through the camera’s electronic eye. “That’s what has me worried.”


If you like the sound of that, you can get more on Amazon—the whole first chapter for free, I think, and an audiobook excerpt besides:


  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing SERENGETI?

Well, writing it in the first place—putting that in both the challenge and achievement columns. SERENGETI also got me my agent (the always amazing and ever patient Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media Group)—that’s a major achievement I’m proud of. The challenges are many—writing a sequel worthy of the original, marketing myself and my book, dealing with bad reviews—but I love connecting with readers and seeing them enjoying reading SERENGETI every bit as much as I enjoyed writing it.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing SERENGETI?

THAT I’M A TRAINWRECK PANTSER! Seriously, I tried outlining and being all squared away and prepared but it completely stressed me out and killed my creative flow. I don’t always write linearly and tend to jump around as ideas come to mind but I always get there in the end, and the lunacy works for me somehow. I’ve also gotten really good at queries, weirdly. I think I’ve even come to enjoy writing them *shudders* SERENGETI definitely made me up my game, though—seek out more and different marketing opportunities, put myself out there and take some risks. I’m still learning and I have a long way to go but I’m a better writer today than a year ago, and that writer better than the year ago writer before that.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

RUN AWAY!!! Just kidding. The biggest thing is to be patient because everything takes a long time. It took me 5 years and five manuscripts to finally find an agent but in some ways I’m glad it took that long because I’m a better, smarter and more educated writer now. Plus, Mark’s an ace—couldn’t ask for a better agent. Also, don’t be afraid to screw up. I have. Often. The contract for my first couple of books was not good but I learned a ton of things from that not-so-good contract that helped me be smarter about contracts I signed later on. And connect with other writers and learn to both give and take. One way I learned to be a better writer was beta reading my friends’ works and seeing how they wrote. Oh, and when you’re ready to query, try out a pitch contest or two. They’re loads of fun and a great way to meet other writers. I’ve got my first opportunity to mentor this year with Nightmare on Query Street 2016 and I’m really excited to be on the other side. I was lucky enough to score an Author Spotlight on Reddit Books a few months back and got a lot of questions from new and aspiring authors and it was a lot of fun interacting with them, answering questions and offering advice. I couldn’t wait for an opportunity to be more hands on.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Vote Quimby!

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Yes-yes-yes! I’ve got a sequel to SERENGETI written and just waiting on my agent and another, unrelated manuscripts he’s looking at to see if it’s ready to sub to publishers. I’ve always got two or three other projects going between books and short stories and novellas—I like to have a lot of options in the hopper in case an opportunity presents itself.




Twitter: @Rockwell_JB



Author Interview: Steven M. Caddy

Posted October 12, 2016

Steven M. Caddy Author InterviewHi, I’m Steven M. Caddy, or just Steve – only my sister calls me Steven. I live with my wife in Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, UK, a beautiful, if rather unknown town in the east midlands, that boasts a busy market square dominated by the spire of the parish church is St Mary Magdalene, views of the river Trent, a castle (where King John I died), and thriving café culture. When I’m not writing stories, or writing computer programmes for a living, I enjoy playing the church organ, square dancing, and broadcasting on hospital radio. I like to write adventure stories that are either science fiction (with a liberal dose of science fact), or light fantasy.

1) When did you first discover your love for writing?

I used to love writing when I was at school, but I was never very good at spelling, and as a result of negative feedback from my teachers, I was put off developing my skills. I came back to writing in my early thirties, when I found I had more spare time, and I wanted to try something new.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?

No. I’m one of these people who can write anywhere! I think I do most of my writing sitting on my sofa, but I’ve been known to write in pubs and cafes, and often I’ll write when I’m travelling by train.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I have to carefully plan my stories. I’ve tried to write without a plan, and I end up with a story that goes nowhere. So I’ll spend some time setting out a series of writing prompts to keep me on track. I then try to write a chapter each day based on each prompt. After I’ve written my first draft, I then re-write the story, throwing away ideas that don’t work, expanding on good ideas, and fixing the mechanics of language. Gradually, over several re-writes, I end up with a novel. In Exchange took a bit over four years to write from starting my first draft to publication.

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I like different authors for different reasons. I like John Green, because he’s not afraid to let the reader “own” the story. He creates scenes in the story where a character will go off to do something, but without saying what they actually do in that time. As a reader, you can make your own guess at the missing detail, which could be as wrong or right as any other reader, or even the author himself.

I’m currently very fond of Susan Kaye Quinn’s books. She has the wonderful ability to create new slang that her characters use to describe their world. I think that’s really “mesh”.

5) What inspired you to write In Exchange?

It’s a cliché, but if I’d not read the Harry Potter books, or The Famous Five, I wouldn’t have written In Exchange. There’s something so charming about young people discovering their world through adventure. I also have a lot of time to think about what sort of story I’d like to write. I’m a church organist, and I often sit at the organ console with a notebook, dreaming up ideas in the near silence when I’m not actually playing. In Exchange was just a collection of random ideas for about seven years before I started writing the first draft.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?

In Exchange is the book I would have wanted to read when I was ten or eleven. I loved adventures and I loved the idea of travelling in space (and I still do). Michael Morgan is the boy I would have loved to have been, living in space. But for someone who lives in space, I could imagine their dream would be to live on Earth. Peter Davies, is the Earth-bound reflection of that life. In Exchange is the story of these two boys’ dreams, and their adventure as they discover each other’s lives, and more about themselves.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Max is only a supporting character, but probably the person I’d most like to spend time with. Max is loosely based on several of my teachers from school and university. In Exchange is dedicated to my former tutor, Professor DavidIn Exchange Steve M. Caddy Author Interview Barnes, who unfortunately died suddenly before I finished writing the story, and so he only ever knew me as a software engineer, and not an author. The name “Max” was the name of a hexapod robot that was one of Dave’s showcase projects (for Dave was a space robotics expert). Max, the character, oozes wisdom and charisma, while not letting you in too close to his personal situation. I’ve kept back a lot of his story because it would over-shadow what the boys get up to. But maybe we’ll get to explore Max in the future?

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

I’ll let the reader decide. The story means something to me, but I’d rather readers discover what it means to them. One of my favourite authors taught me the importance of letting go of your story like that.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

“Good morning, Michael,” said the well-built, and rather formal looking man in the middle of the group.
“Morning, sir,” Michael replied.
“Commander Marcsom.” Max gave a nod of acknowledgement to the mission director.
“Have you both had a good week?” Marcsom asked, trying to sound casual.
“Not bad,” Michael said with a little shrug, “Apart from the cosmic rays. One woke me up rather early this morning, so I managed to get ahead with my exercise programme.”
“Oh, good,” interjected the green haired man.
“Dr Kleets?”
“Err, yes?” the green haired man responded, sounding a little less confident.
“What happened to your hair?”
“Err. I wondered if you’d ask me about that. Everyone else has. Bit of a long story. Final year medical students having a bit of fun. You know,” Dr Kleets’s face turned a contrasting shade of red that clashed with his shocking green hair.
Michael wasn’t convinced, but it’d give him something to laugh about later.

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing In Exchange?

In Exchange was the result of my first attempt at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This became badly derailed a couple of weeks into the challenge after I met Lorna… who is now, five years later, my wife. That wasn’t conducive to writing 50,000 words in 30 days, and why it took me three months to complete the first draft.

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing In Exchange?

Mostly that I can do it, and that my I shouldn’t have been discouraged by the criticism that I gained earlier in life. I’ll admit it took a lot of hard work, and I did have a lot to learn in order to transform my ropey first draft into a publishable product, but it wasn’t beyond my abilities as I originally thought.

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Find a writing buddy, someone else who is an author. You need someone who isn’t frightened to be brutally honest about your work, and is willing to let you pull their work apart at the same time. It took me a few years to find my writing buddy. She warned me that she might appear rude when she commented on my work, but I was so glad she was. Everyone else told me that my story was “good” or “nice”, and failed to tell me that my American characters sounded British, or that I wrote over complicated sentences. I think my writing (and editing) has improved as a result of that experience.

13) Anything else you would like to say?

I love this question. J K Rowling wrote the best answer to this question in one of her books: “There are great many things I’d like to say”. I think I’ll save my “many things” for future works, though.

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Yes. I originally said that I wouldn’t write a sequel to In Exchange, but I left so many ideas unfulfilled at the end, I left the door open, possibly for several more adventures. Just before I started my final re-write of In Exchange, I wanted to explore my characters a bit more, so I decided to write some new material to do that. And I changed my mind. So there are about 40,000 words on my laptop right now, and several thousand more in my head. Some of those words make me cry, sometimes with laughter, and sometimes in sorrow. That’s all I’m saying right now!

Amazon UK:
Amazon US:
Mightier Than The Sword:

Author Interviews

Posted September 29, 2016

Author Interviews are available if you are an author of science fiction or fantasy, have a book published independently or with a small press or are in pre-launch.

The interview and encourages discussion about yourself, writing challenges/achievements and allows ample opportunity for you to discuss your book(s). You are not required to supply an author photograph, but I would require an image of some form (book covers are fine).

To request an interview, you can either download the Word document listed below, or email: michelle AT

Click link to download:


Author Interview: Roxanne Bland

Posted September 23, 2016

roxanne1) When did you first discover your love for writing?

Writing was a hidden passion for me. I’ve written stories since I was a child, but I didn’t take it seriously, even after I won a writing contest when I was about ten. I wanted to be a musician. Well, that didn’t work out, but though I still wrote little things to pass the time. Then I fell ill, and was basically bedridden for about a month. I started writing—to pass the time—and discovered I loved it. I haven’t looked back.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?

I write in my office. I have trouble using laptops—the keyboards just seem so small—and besides, my office has a lot fewer distractions. I really don’t understand how people can write in coffee shops, outdoors—too many distractions for me.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Not really. I just plunk myself down in front of the computer and write.

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I would love to be able to write as fluidly as Edgar Allan Poe.

5) What inspired you to write The Moreva of Astoreth?

In a way, you could say this book was over thirty years in the making. While in college, a friend and I collaborated on a story, the details of which I will not bore you. Years later, I read Zecharia Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles series, in which he posits that ancient astronauts came to Earth, created humans, and founded the Sumerian civilization. Years later, I got the idea to meld the two stories in some way, and the result was The Moreva of Astoreth.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?

In imperialistic Kherah, gods and science are indelibly intertwined. Moreva Tehi, priestess, scientist, healer and the spoiled, headstrong granddaughter of a powerful goddess, is banished to a volatile far corner of Peris for neglecting her sacred duties, only to venture into dangerous realms of banned experimentation, spiritual rebirth, and fervent, forbidden love.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

The hero, Laerd Teger. He can be cold and harsh, but under that exterior is a warm and loving person, whose desire is to protect those he loves. My ideal man, really, which only makes sense since I created him!

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

About bigotry—it’s a soul crushing affliction. I think that sometimes our bigotries is but a reflection of what we hate within ourselves. If we look at those bigotries, examine them, and face them, perhaps we can practice self-love, and through that self-love, allow real love into our lives.

9) Would you be interested in sharing an excerpt?

“I could have you executed for this, Moreva Tehi,” Astoreth said. My Devi grandmother, the Goddess of Love, scowled at me from Her golden throne in the massive Great Hall of Her equally massive Temple.

Sitting on my heels, I bowed my head and stared at the black and gold polished floor, trying to ignore the trickle of sweat snaking its way down my spine. “Yes, Most Holy One.”

“You blaspheme by not celebrating Ohra, My holiest of rites. And this one was important—the worthiest of the hakoi, handpicked by Me, celebrated with us. ”

“I can only offer my most abject apologies, Most Holy One.”

“Your apologies are not accepted.”

“Yes, Most Holy One.”

“Where were you?”

“I was in the laboratory, working on a cure for red fever. Many hakoi died last winter—”

“I know that,” my grandmother snapped. “But why did you miss Ohra? Did you not hear the bells?”The Moreva of Astoreth

“Yes, Most Holy One. I heard them. I was about to lay aside my work when I noticed an anomaly in one of my pareon solutions. It was odd, so I decided to investigate. What I found…I just lost track of time.”

“You lost track of time?” Astoreth repeated, sounding incredulous. “Do you expect Me to believe that?”

“Yes, Most Holy One. It is the truth.”

A moment later, my head and hearts started to throb. I knew why. My grandmother was probing me for signs I had lied. But She wouldn’t find any. There was no point in lying to Astoreth, and it was dangerous, too. Swaying under the onslaught from Her power, I endured the pain without making a sound. After what seemed like forever the throbbing subsided, leaving me feeling sick and dizzy.

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing The Moreva of Astoreth?

For me, the hardest thing was dealing with time. The planet where the story takes place has a twenty-eight hour day. I’m so used to thinking in twenty-four hour segments, I had to draw a clock to keep me straight. As always, the achievement lies in finishing the book. I’ve learned it’s very easy to put a work aside and work on something else, and the next thing I know, months have gone by and I haven’t done a thing with the work I’ve put aside.

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Moreva of Astoreth?

That there are some things you write that just won’t work in the story, and you have to be a tough enough editor to pull them out. Save it for another story.

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write. Write as often as you can, every day, if possible. Don’t worry if it’s garbage; that’s called a first draft. Like any other skill, from music to calculus, you must practice if you’re going to make it into something. Read. Read everything that interests you. Take what you like and weave it into your own writing style. That’s how you develop your unique voice.

13) Anything else you would like to say?

Believe in yourself, follow your passion, and one day, you might find yourself living your dreams.

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Right now, I’m working on rewriting my first book, The Underground, to release as a second edition. Then I will continue working on its sequel. And then…

Website: (under construction)


Worldwind Virtual Book Tours

Author Interview: Richard Paolinelli

Posted September 17, 2016

MaelstromRichard Paolinelli began his writing career as a freelance writer in 1984 and his sports writing career in 1991. After retiring he returned to his fiction writing roots, releasing two short stories and a full-length sci-fi novel, Maelstrom. He has since released a sports non-fiction, the first book of a mystery-thriller series and was a part of a Sherlock Holmes anthology.

He currently lives in Thousand Oaks, California.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing? 

I started reading at an early age and we started moving around the country a lot with my dad’s business so to pass the time in the back seat of the car, I started writing my own stories. It just kept growing from there. 

  • Do you have a favourite place to write? 

I have a pretty nice home office setup that gives me a nice environment to write in. 

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to? 

Not really, no. 

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to? 

No one specific author, but I try to take a little bit of what I like most from the writing styles of Frank Hebert, Jack McDevitt, Harry Harrison and Edgar Allan Poe and work it into my writing. 

  • What inspired you to write Maelstrom?

There had been a lot written about the possibility of a meteor striking the Earth and there had been two films, Deep Impact and Armageddon, released. I got to wondering what would happen if someone figured out a way to prevent such an event but in doing so actually caused the very extinction-level event he was trying to prevent. 

  • Can you tell us a little about your book? 

It tells the story of Dr. Steven Collins who devises a way to use the Earth’s own magnetic shield as a way to deflect any foreign object from penetrating the atmosphere. But when he tests the device it tears open a hole in space and time and hurls him forward a century into the future. There he discovers that his creation has very nearly destroyed the Earth and only one million human beings have survived and the numbers are dwindling under the shield as they are trapped underneath it. Collins now has to find a way to shut down his creation and save what is left of humanity. 

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters? 

Man, that’s like asking me to pick a favorite of one of my kids. I am kind of partial to a species of telepathic miniature polar bears that Collins runs into on Europa though. 

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider? 

Redemption. No matter how far you fall, no matter how bleak and dire things may seem, there is always a chance to win through as long as you keep fighting. 

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?  



“Where am I?” he asked, trying to comprehend what he was seeing.
“You’re still in San Francisco, Dr. Collins, just one hundred and two years later. A lot has happened since you last saw the city.”

“You have a talent for understatement.”

The hellish scene outside bore little resemblance to the San Francisco he knew. There were bits and pieces strewn about, the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance with the northern half of its span missing, a building here and there that he recognized, but precious little else. The rest of the city that was laid out before him was like nothing he’d ever seen.

Where the city had once been a collection of skyscrapers towering above the bay, now there were only a handful of buildings that stood above six stories in height. Instead of reaching for the sky, they were buried into the hills like bunkers. No doubt they were buried into the ground below as well, but he couldn’t tell how far down they went. There were barely any pedestrians on the streets below and even fewer ground cars. Most of the traffic, he noted, was in the air. Flying boxes with windows flashed by in silvery streaks. There was a pattern to their flights, as if there were paved streets in the air.

But the real horror lay in the sky behind the flashing streaks. The sky he grew up under was blue, spotted with clouds and the occasional gray overcast of a storm. The sky he now beheld was an angry orange, as if the atmosphere was on fire, shimmering and dancing in waves and laced with the occasional purplish-white fingers of lighting that ripped through the air. The bolts never struck the ground, silently lacing through the upper layers of the sky. It struck him that the combination of strange colors reminded him of the ball of energy that had formed in his lab just before the explosion. When he could no longer stand the bizarre sight and the sickening hue that it cast below, he let the drape fall back over the window, sealing him away from the nightmare outside.

“What happened?”

“History tells us you did, Doctor,” she answered, “or rather, your shield did.”

“But if there was an explosion, how could it be working like that? The lab must have been badly torn up…”

“It was. In fact the entire building was leveled. There was hardly anything left of it and no trace of your body was ever found. It was assumed that you died in the blast, but apparently that is an incorrect assumption, for here you are.”

“Then how…?”

“How is the shield functioning over a century later, if you never built it?” she finished. “In the aftermath of the accident Microtech’s ties to the military were exposed and you were accused of developing a super weapon. Your brother Scott and your assistant came to your defense and fought to prove that your project was intended for peaceful purposes.”

“That sounds like Scott and Laura, my assistant’s name,” he added for Elizabeth’s benefit. “I had a sister, Mary. Does your history tell you anything about her?”

“It does,” Elizabeth replied, a strange looking passing over her face. “She joined with those denouncing your project. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, that sounds like her, too. She never could see the big picture…,” he paused. “Well, I suppose she’s dead now and I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. Her middle name was Elizabeth. You know, you remind me a little of her.” He paused, again blinking hard against the moisture building in his eyes. “You were saying?”

“Your brother was able to recreate the equipment in your lab with your assis… with Laura’s help,” she continued as that sad little smile reappeared on her face. “He came up with a plausible theory about what you had done to trigger the accident and made some minor corrections. Then, much like you had done, he tested the generator without telling anyone first.

“He intended to show the world that you had been right, that such a shield was possible and that it would do what you had intended,” she continued sadly. “Only he chose to do so on a much grander scale than you had. The shield he generated covered the entire Bay Area, an impenetrable dome centered over San Francisco that extended one hundred and twenty miles in every direction. Your shield.”

“Son of a bitch did it,” Steve muttered under his breath, a look of joy on his face. “The damned thing actually worked!” Then, remembering where he was and what he had just seen, he suddenly sobered. “But how did it lead to that?” he asked, pointing at the window.

“Your first test had every military branch of every government on alert, many still believed you had developed a weapon, others believed you had created a defense that gave the United States an advantage that it would use against other countries without fear of reprisal, ” she explained. “At any rate, when your brother erected the shield over San Francisco somebody, history does not tell us who, hit a button and launched their arsenal of nuclear missiles at the shield. Others launched their missiles in support or in defense against the initial launch and it dominoed from there. Within minutes, every nuclear weapon in the sea, on land and in space had been launched. World War III had begun.”

“Oh, my god.”

The holocaust he had been trying to prevent, the complete extermination of humankind, had happened and it had been he, not some mindless piece of rock from space, who had caused it. He sat back down on his bed heavily, trying to come to terms with what he had been told. But she wasn’t finished with him; there was more to come and he was sure it wasn’t going to be any better than what he’d already heard.

“If it’s any consolation, your shield deflected the missiles aimed at it. The Bay Area was spared death by fire,” she continued. “But the rest of the planet suffered mightily. No corner of the globe was spared from the explosions, the fire, and the fallout that followed. Very few people, we estimate less than a half million, living outside the shield survived. At some point after the missiles struck, the shield expanded to encircle the entire globe. We haven’t been able to determine how or why.”

“It was part of the original programming,” Steve explained, his voice barely above a whisper. “The shield was designed to use the magnetic field to protect the entire planet. It probably expanded in response to the missile strikes and all of the energy being released from the explosions.”

“San Francisco didn’t escape unscathed, as you have noticed,” Elizabeth continued. “For the next ten years the Bay Area was ravaged by quakes, the last one occurred in twenty-nineteen and was so savage that nearly half the population perished. California was split into two separate pieces. The entire Los Angeles Basin is underneath two hundred feet of water….”

On and on she went, reciting the death toll and damage done, how they tried to rebuild over and over, only to have it destroyed by a new catastrophe, until they finally started to get it right in the third decade following the war. A ruling council was in place now and she was its president.

At the end she added that their records showed Laura’s remains had been found at the generator, her body torn apart by electrical discharge. Elizabeth’s security advisor had silently entered the room — when, Steve couldn’t recall — and had kept quiet during her recital. He had offered to show Steve the record regarding Laura’s death, as if Steve would take some pleasure in seeing firsthand the suffering he had caused. Steve declined and asked instead about Scott’s fate.

“No sign,” the advisor answered. “Much like you he vanished and no body was ever found. Perhaps he suffered the same fate as you and he’ll miraculously reappear. Then you both can take a tour and celebrate your wondrous accomplishments for humankind.”

Steve shot an angry look at the man, but otherwise let the comment pass. They were telling him the truth; the view of the outside world left no room for doubt. Billions dead, the planet’s population down to just barely above one million and an entire planet ravaged. Nice going, Steve, he accused himself bitterly.

“There’s more,” Elizabeth added softly. “If you’d really like to hear it.”

As if what he’d heard so far hadn’t been hard enough to take. He nodded for her to go on.

“We have made great strides in extending the human life span in the past few decades to well over one hundred years. Even so, there are only two people remaining who were alive when the war began who are still alive today. I am one and the other is a man named Andras. He’s the other reason why you are not much of a celebrity here.

“He’s out there, on the other side of the shield, pinning us down here and keeping us from establishing colonies on the moon and Mars until we can repair the damage done to Earth and make it livable again,” she explained. “There is one good point about the shield. While we are trapped down here, at least it keeps him out there.”

“The shield was designed to keep objects out, not to prevent objects from leaving,” he said, puzzled. “But I don’t understand; it was also designed to be lowered to allow for spacecraft re-entry.”

“Perhaps,” she conceded. “But that is not how it has functioned over the years. We can send ships through the shield and into space. We’ve even found a way to navigate through the shield to allow a ship to reenter. But the shield cannot be turned off or lowered. Even if we could find a way to do so, we wouldn’t dare.”

“You mean the shield has been up and running non-stop for over one hundred years?” he asked incredulously. “Impossible, it was never designed to do that.”

“It seems your shield has done quite a few things you never intended it to do,” Carel jabbed.

“Intended or not,” Elizabeth interjected, “that is what it has done. There are as many theories as to why it has as there are as to why the shield expanded in the first place. I believe the leading theory agrees with your assessment that of all of the energy simultaneously released by the thousands of missiles caused an arc between the shield and the magnetic field. It seems your generator merely followed its programming once a pathway was established to its intended destination. Now the shield seems to feed off the generator for its energy and vice versa. A never-ending feedback loop of power that has no on-off switch.

“And, as I said, even if we could find one, we wouldn’t dare use it,” she added. “For Andras waits outside that shield and he has sworn to finish the job you started. He went insane shortly after the war, partly from the injuries he sustained, and swore he would have his revenge. We managed to drive him off the planet years ago, but he still remains a very real and dangerous threat to humankind. He looks more like a monster than a man now and he is the reason why we cannot leave Earth.

“We try to establish bases outside the shield, he destroys them. We send emissaries to seek peace, soldiers to destroy him. They never return and he is still there, waiting, probing for a way to penetrate the shield. When he finds a way through, or if it should ever be shut down, we are doomed. We may be doomed already.”


“Because we are slowly dying off,” she answered sadly. “I told you earlier that our population count was a little over one million, that’s down from two million just twenty-five years ago. Attrition and dwindling resources have been chipping away at us. The classroom of twenty-five students you appeared in represents half of the population under the age of fifteen years. We are not reproducing enough to maintain our population, another effect of living a lifetime under the shield. The human race is on the brink of becoming an extinct species unless we find a way to get out from under the shield. The last estimate, provided Andras doesn’t break through first, gives us less than thirty years before the last human being dies on this planet.”

Steve struggled to his feet again and returned to the window. This time he drew the drape back and tied it off to the side. He looked long and hard at the scene outside, at the hellish world he’d created. He’d killed billions, condemned uncounted millions more to an unacceptable existence and how many more had never been born because he’d killed off their parents. He’d even managed to create a pair of monsters, one an unfeeling terror in the sky that kept its victims pinned to the ground and the other an uncaring madman waiting beyond to consume any who managed to escape the first. For some insane reason, a quote from an old book he’d read as a child burst from his mouth as he stared out the window.

“My name is Ozymandius,” he began, his tone thick with bitterness, “King of Kings. Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”


  •  What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Maelstrom? 

The biggest challenge was trying to find the time to write it while working full time as a sports writer and editor and also making sure I was involved in my kids extra-curricular activities at school as they grew up.

The biggest achievement was finally finishing it about 15 years after I had first started on it. 

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Maelstrom? 

How to be more disciplined in setting aside time to write and not taking any easy excuse to “write later”. 

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors? 

Don’t worry that not every reader will love your work. No one in the history of writing has ever had a 100% approval rate.  Write what you love to write and never stop just because of someone else’s negativity. 

  • Anything else you would like to say? 

Just that I hope the reader, whether they are reading my science fiction story, my mystery-thriller or sports non-fiction, was entertained. 

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned? 

The second book of my Jack Del Rio series, Betrayals, is due out later this fall as is another Sherlock Holmes anthology that I have a story in. My second sports non-fiction, Perfection’s Arbiter, will be released on October 8th and I am almost finished writing another sci-fi novel, Escaping Infinity, that I hope will be out sometime in 2017.



Twitter: @rdpaolinelli








Author Interview: Christopher D. Abbott

Posted September 17, 2016

Christopher D AbbottMy name is Christopher D. Abbott and I live in Connecticut, USA. I’ve been in the USA for 6 years–I emigrated from the UK. I’m an author of cross-genre mystery, horror, and fantasy. Hobbies include music (playing and recording), cooking, charity works.

1) When did you first discover your love for writing?

When I was about twelve or thirteen I used to write little stories and staple them into books. My friend and I spent days making a small library of these books for our class mates to read. We had an entire series. Of course they were terrible, but I think I can trace my desire to write back to there.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?

I’ve travelled around a lot, so I’m quite used to writing wherever I can set-up my desktop. Oddly, I never quite got the hang of or used to a laptop. My most creative time is late at night.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I prefer solitude and usually listen to music on headphones whilst I write. A fellow author friend of mine, John Templeton Smith, suggested I do this – I thought it was absurd at the time, but the score and tempo of certain music can seriously influence the scene you are writing. I always have my trusty writer’s handbook nearby, and my ever expanding library of plot ideas and notes. Other than that it’s fingers to the keys!

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

In every genre there are well established authors whose success you obviously want to aspire to and emulate – my book Sir Laurence Dies has been compared to Agatha Christie in style which of course is flattering – and that’s important when you’re establishing yourself in the genre. I’m known for mystery stories so starting out in fantasy is fresh and new. I’m influenced by a number of fantastic writers, Tolkien being number one, but there isn’t a specific author or book I aspire to.

5) What inspired you to write Songs of the Osirian

Songs of the Osirian started life as a short story entitled Songs of Beast. It was published by Media Bitch Literary Agency and Productions in April 2016. When I first started writing for this allegorical world, I had no idea that it would end up becoming the monster it did.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?

The story depicts a catastrophic event that wipes out most of mankind. But this event has a science-fiction twist. I envisioned beings from another universe that were so far evolved they were godlike in powers. Over millennia these beings (known as the Ardunadine) developed a transcendent idiolect of symphonic communication – referred to as the Power of Song. This phonological power allowed them to create and weave patterns in the universe, brought to vision by Arrandori–for want of a better reference the “Father of All”–and thus created the universe we live in. The character of Beast is a fallen Ardunadine banished to Earth for unspeakable crimes. As the story unfolds, we discover Beast wove an escape plan into his banishment and although he is cut off from the Celestial Temple of Song, his darkness taints the world in such a way, that what we now understand as evil seeps into its fabric and slowly manifests in all life throughout the planet’s evolution.

Jump forward millions of years and Beast now has an army of dark creatures born of his own dreadful being. Terrible behemoths known as Faulgoth rampage and lay waste to our world with neither compassion nor remorse.

That’s when the Ardunadine, who are forbidden to directly interfere, send the people of Earth teachers known as the Osirian. These beings are equally godlike to man, but lessor in power than their Ardunadine masters, who the Osirian themselves consider divine. The Osirian, led by Osiris, having no direct contact with Man’s enemy, imbue Kings and Queens of the world with the Power of Song, thus enabling them to fight on equal terms.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

The Warrior Goddess Neith and the Osirian Akhet are particular favourites. The character of Doctor Mary Wilson has human connection and I’m fond of her evolution. On the side of darkness, there is Sam, Prince of Darkness and Shadows. Some incidental characters that sprung out of the story were developed beyond their intial conception due to the fact that I fell in love with them. There’s Lethor the half-man half-jackal Guardian of the Prison of Song, and Melrah – originally a stray dog – tainted by the living evil that spews from beneath the Earth, he goes on to become much more …

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

This review gives a good idea of the message within the book.

Reviewed By Ray Simmons for Readers’ Favorite

Songs of the Osirian by Christopher D. Abbott is an epic tale of good and evil. It is a tale of the enduring power of light in a world where darkness is relentless. I like the idea of a force for good quietly teaching men a better way through age after age of the rise and then fall of civilizations. There is a great foreword by Chase Masterson, and I think Songs of the Osirian will reach a lot of eager fans. If a great novel and a great foreword are not enough for you, then there is a bonus short story at the end of the book. The Last of Us by Rob James is a great tale too. Some great Christian allegory here.

What struck a chord for me as a reader was the almost biblical, end of days tones the writing in Song of the Osirian evoked. Christopher D. Abbott knows how to add a sense of drama and high consequence to his clashes between Beasts and the Osirian. The sense of the fall of great civilizations was very strong, but more importantly, the sense that goodness endures was always present too. Complex characters and a plot leading to an epic battle between Good and Evil will make Songs of the Osirian a must-read for fans of epic fantasy everywhere. I especially liked the conversations and scenes where Beast gives his side of the story. He is a little more than just evil incarnate and feels wronged by God and the forces of good.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?


‘Poor thing, lost in shadow,’ a voice hissed from around him.
Sam froze.
He searched for the source in his mind, finding nothing but void. He held out his sword, but his reaction was of little use, as he was not sure in which direction he should point it.
Loud cackles reverberated around the cavern.
‘Lost and senseless, that’s just how I like them.’
A different high-pitched voice said, ‘Is it juicy, sister? Will it be sweet?’
Then the first voice said, ‘It is much stronger than a man, I can feel that. It smells sweet. Perhaps it will taste that way, too? I suspect it’s not quite as putrid as the babbling things we caught last night.’
High-Pitch hissed. ‘Shall we not try it, and find out?’
Sam cleared his throat and in a steady voice said, ‘I am neither sweet nor wholesome, vile creatures of rancid odour. You would not want to eat me, for if you were somehow able, Underblade would render you ash before you were able to swallow.’
‘Ah, it speaks.’
‘Very sure of itself it is, too,’ High-Pitch remarked.
The first voice asked, ‘What is Underblade?’
Sam put his back to the wall.
‘You’ll know its sting soon enough. Tell me, what are you?’
‘What are you?’ An indignant voice responded.
‘My apologies,’ Sam said, and meant it. ‘I am the Prince of Shadow, wielder of Underblade bestowed upon me by Beast, lord of all things dark. Brother and servant to Arnold, King of Darkness. I am your destruction, and you shall fear me.’
They laughed.
‘That was a very nice introduction, truly, and such wonderful accolades and titles, Sam of Lies. But I will tell you, since you mention it so, that I know nothing of any beast ruling my darkness, teller of fantasy. Come now, if you are all you say, why do you not see us?’Songs of the Osirian
‘Yes … stand before us, if you can, Prince of Blindness.’ High-Pitch hissed a cackle.
Sam was thoughtful. ‘Oh Mighty Ones, I dare not stand before your grace, for then our eyes would meet, and my Lord was most insistent I bring back the head of anything seen. You seem violent and foul, and I do not wish to appear rude by chopping off your heads, so I choose to keep my sight to myself.’
They hooted and gurgled in delight.
‘You have a good tongue, young one. It flaps like a banner in the wind. It’s a long time since anything caught was so courteous. I like the cut of you, and I shall enjoy eating you enormously.’
High-Pitch said, ‘You say Prince of Shadow? You need no eyes to perceive us, foolish thing.’
‘Well,’ Sam continued, ‘I spent time on my introduction maybe you would grace me with yours?’

There was a dreadful unnerving silence. Odd feelings rose up from the pit of his stomach, into his mouth as bile. Sam spat out the bitter taste. Fear had now frozen him to the spot and he could no longer function. He remained still, his back firm against the wall. Although his courage was gone the ability to reason was still intact, and he fought a hard battle over his mind.
Sam considered possibilities. If he were to exit in failure, having fought hard in attempt, his master might be merciful. But if he were to flee in terror and come before that same master, what might be his response? Sam knew there would be no mercy, for King would deal torment upon him, the likes of which Sam couldn’t conceive of, and that was a far more terrifying thing to fear.
It helped. The shame of weakness boiled into anger, like fire in a cold boiler. Slow, at first to warm, it cascaded through frozen veins melting fears, allowing limbs to move. It didn’t stop there. A chain-reaction within sent strange sensations throughout; they made the skin of his entire body tingle. Fear of unknown voices in darkness no longer held him. The strange warmth of his anger spread through nerves until it reached into his head, stabbing hard behind his eyes.
Sam took a sharp intake of breath. Instinct forced his hand to rub away the pain, and when he removed it, the cavern immerged into focus as new sight filled him with courage once again.
He could see them now; their truth visible in hideous terror. He was deep inside a cavern littered with centuries of waste and filth. The things he saw made him–almost–wish his sight had not been returned. The dread he felt before was nothing compared to the horror now standing in front him: Two giant spider-like creatures with rows of black eyes and sharp teeth. Both as large as houses, they sat on plump bellies. …

10) What would you say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Songs of the Osirian?

Getting the pace of the book right was a challenge. I’m one of those people who struggle with the introduction phase of a book, so I made a conscious effort to try and tighten and get to the action as soon as I could. I think I got the balance right. A lot of my beta readers were very positive about it. My biggest achievement for this one is creating a brand new world that’s all mine.

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Songs of the Osirian?

That I can write fantasy fiction far quicker than I can mystery! This story told itself, it amazed me. When I write mystery (especially whodunit style) the preparation and planning, the character twists and developments, the intricate red herrings … all this takes weeks and months to flesh out before I can start telling the story. But with this story, once I’d developed the world and its characters, it went very fast indeed.

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Read, read, and read some more … that’s what I was told by my mentor and it’s true. Also, when the moment takes you, write something, anything. Even if you don’t use it, store it in an archive for use later. Don’t throw anything away, ever!

13) Anything else you would like to say?

I was very fortunate and humbled to have a delightful foreword written by actress Chase Masterson, who has most recently been seen guest starring on CW’s The Flash, which won the People’s Choice Award for “Favorite New Drama.” Chase best known for her break-out role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, one of the highest-rated syndicated shows of all time, Chase is loved by millions of fans worldwide.

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?

I’m currently working on book 2 of the Songs of the Osirian, and book 3 of the “Dies” Trilogy. I’m also working on concepts for a project with Chase for her charity, the Pop Culture Hero Coalition – “The 1st-ever 501c3 organization to use stories & celebs from TV, film & comics to make a stand for real-life heroism over bullying, racism, misogyny, cyber-bullying, LGBT-bullying, and other forms of hate at Comic-Cons, and in schools & communities” – so I’m pretty busy right now!


Author Interview: Alex Gates

Posted August 30, 2016

ExtraOrdinary- Alex Gates -eBookMy name is Alex Gates and I grew up in a small town in Northern California. I enjoy a wide variety of things as long they include my wife or some friends. I love the Sacramento Kings and Dallas Cowboys, so you can say a hobby of mine is being disappointed often, which has helped temper my expectations throughout life. I write in the science fiction/fantasy genre because it’s my closest to Narnia, to a new world.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I’ve always loved books, and I remember being young, grade school age, and reading the Scooby-Doo Mysteries. I started writing my own little mysteries. Unfortunately, I never showed them to anyone, including the parents, which meant they weren’t saved. Well, maybe that’s fortunate. I continued dabbling with the pen in high school and college, then decided to write my first novel. It sucked! But I hope to clean it up, add some Mascara, clip its nails, and publish it in the same world as ExtraOrdinary.


  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

I wrote ExtraOrdinary on a small desk while sitting on a box. It was the worst. My wife and I had just moved into a new house and had ZERO furniture, so I had to work with what was available. My second novel (not released yet) I wrote on a breakfast nook table, because it was our first real piece of furniture, and I finally had a place to sit. I think my favourite place to write is a comfy chair with a movie or tv show playing the back. Football season starts soon, expect me to get a lot of writing done then, while on the couch, possibly in very little clothing.


  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

No. I’m the worst with routines. I’m not a morning person, so I’m slow at finding motivation and being productive until I’ve had a massive breakfast and copious amounts of coffee. Then I like a little cartoon action to spark the old imagination, or maybe read a few chapters in a book. Unless I’m teaching. Then I write in the afternoon/evening, sometimes in my office, sometimes on the couch, sometimes in bed, or a coffee shop, maybe a bar. It’s quite chaotic to be honest, but it works for me.


  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I love Stephen King, and would love to write something like the Dark Tower series. I plan to do that on some level with all my books, as he did, connecting each story so they fit in one world. I get such a rush finding commonalities between unrelated books by the same author.


  • What inspired you to write ExtraOrdinary?

It was summer of 2015. All these superhero movies were coming out, and I was reading The Amazing Spider-Man, and I connected some thread, put the graphic novel down, and stared at the wall (I do my best creative thinking staring at walls). What if, I thought, superheroes weren’t the extraordinary, but someone without a power? What if the world was filled with super-powered humans, but the hero of the story didn’t have anything? It was the opposite of everything we have been taught to love. The title came immediately. I loved the play on words. The tricky part was figuring out the world they lived in.


  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

As mentioned above, the book is about Braiten, the hero. He doesn’t have an ability like every other person on Earth, and must navigate through a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by the corruption power breeds. It also follows Drake, the most powerful human ever, as he struggled with his internal weaknesses. Drake is…. (Read the answer to question 7.)


  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Drake is my favourite character. The most powerful person a world where everyone is powerful, and he is a wreck. He’s scared, insecure, shy, and he doesn’t know how to survive without depending on others. He was meant to be the bad guy of the book. It turned out he wasn’t bad, just scared and alone in a dying world. He’s by no means “good,” but I think that’s why I enjoy him. All he wants is to find the girl he loves, and he pays steep prices for that.


  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

I don’t know. I didn’t write it intending to give a message, but if they can take, that’s awesome. Strength and power are two different things? I don’t know. You read it and let me know what you think! That’d be awesome!


  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 

When Braiten reached the body, his skin dripped with sweat. The sun was relentless, had been for years, and the black rubber didn’t mesh with his anger, nor did it go along with his thirst. His tongue rubbed against his upper lip like a dry sponge trying to absorb any type of moisture. Sweat dripped from his forehead, chin, and arms, and steam simmered from the tires’ heat.

Braiten settled into a tire, locking his lower legs into the hole to help keep his balance. He knelt and inspected the body. It belonged to a male in his late teens or early twenties, about the same age as Braiten. The dead man’s facial hair was still patchy and scarce. Where his skin should’ve been, bones and scales grew.

“A Survivor.”

A breeze came through and touched his sweat-stained skin like a cold kiss. He shivered despite the heat.

Survivors had the ability to adapt and overcome anything attempting to hurt or kill them, which often came by growing excess body parts or gaining reinforced skin. Because of their disturbing appearance and often unwanted presence, they’d formed a gang and were rarely found alone.

Braiten’s knees popped as he kneeled next to the body. The sunlight reflected from an item in the young man’s mouth. He put a finger on the upper teeth and pulled the jaw wider, then turned his head in a fit of gagging. The rotten stench smelled worse than his dry mouth tasted.

With his head turned away, he inhaled and kept the breath, then faced the boy again. The jaw had locked, and Braiten tried to pry it open. It snapped under his force. Braiten held down vomit from the sickening noise and regained his composure.

I should’ve gone to the bar.


  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing ExtraOrdinary?

The biggest challenge was putting together a website to start a little promotion for the book, and formatting the manuscript to look professional on an eReader and paperback. My biggest achievement was doing the aforementioned in a half-decent manner. And publishing a book, of course!!!

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing ExtraOrdinary?

ExtraOrdinary went through two round of professional edits, by two different editors. I learned I’m patient and flexible, willing to sacrifice my words for the betterment of the story. I also learned I need to start outlining before I begin writing!


  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write. Then write. After that, write!

Read. Then read. After that, read!

Failure is like an alarm clock, either don’t set it, or hit that snooze button forever so that you can dream and dream until that dream turns to reality.


  • Anything else you would like to say?

Thank you to Michelle Dunbar and IndieSciFiFantasy for hosting me. Thank you to my readers for reading. Mostly, thank you to my wife for making my dream possible.


  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?


Book of Raziel: Chapter 1 will be out early 2017. You can go to and subscribe for my newsletter to get the blurb, cover reveal, and promotional material about that. It is connected to ExtraOrdinary.

ExtraOrdinary Volume 2 will release middle of 2017.

A young adult connection to ExtraOrdinary focusing on the Rulers will be released late 2017.


I also have two stand-alone novels and a nonfiction book that I hope to have done by early 2018.


Facebook: @SuccessFreeLiving

Twitter: @AlexGatesAuthor

ExtraOrdinary- Alex Gates -eBook


Ten Things I’ve Learned Since Having a Book Published by Madeline Dyer

Posted June 3, 2016


So, a few days ago I celebrated the one year anniversary for the publication of my debut novel, UNTAMED (Prizm Books, May 2015). During that year, I’ve learned a whole bunch of things and thought I’d share ten of them here with you.


1: Not everyone realises having a book published is a big deal. 

You feel great about your book being published, but some of the people you excitedly tell just don’t ‘get’ it. You see their faces fall and realise that when you told them you had ‘big news’, they were expecting something much bigger. And it’s hard not to let that upset you.

But writing a book—and getting it published—is a huge achievement. And we know just how many months (and even years) of hard work, sweat, and tears have gone into this… but not everyone gets this.  To some, writing a book is nothing, and publishing it is just a shrug-your-shoulders kind of moment. But you shouldn’t let the reactions of non-knowers (as I affectionately call them) get you down.

Just because someone doesn’t understand that you’ve poured your soul into this book and spent months and months labouring away over it, it doesn’t mean that your achievement is any less validated.

You still rock—you wrote a book! And don’t worry, there’ll be other people who do understand why this is a shout-from-the-rooftops moment.


2: A lot of the non-writers who you tell about your novel will suddenly confess their dream to you—that they, too, wish to write a book.

Often this statement is followed by some sort of justifier, that they will write their book ‘when they have time’. And time seems to be the only thing a lot of non-writers think is necessary to have when writing a book…

At first, I was surprised by how many people seemed to think I had managed to write my book because I apparently ‘had the time’ to do so. In their eyes, skill and motivation didn’t really feature that highly. And didn’t they realise that I was busy with other stuff too?

I mean, I wrote the first draft of UNTAMED when I was 18—whilst I was at school and studying for A-levels. And then I worked on in-house edits with one of my publisher’s editors alongside doing my degree. It was tough to fit it all in.

But part of being a writer is having the determination to write, and the determination to find time to write. That fifteen-minute break? Well, I can write a couple of hundred words then. That bus journey? Yes, I can get some outlining done.

Writers don’t magically have more hours in the day than everyone else in the world. We have the same amount of time. But we just have to find the time to write, and we organise ourselves in such a way that we do have time—even if it means less sleep, or not going out to see that film.

I’m a firm believer that if someone’s a writer, they have to write as much as possibly they can. Writers don’t have any choice, and they can’t put off their writing dreams for a more suitable time—say, in ten years. There’ll never be a more suitable time, and writers write whenever they possibly can.


3: You also won’t feel like a proper writer.

Even now, after signing a second book deal with my publisher, I still feel like I’m not the real thing. From talking to other writers, it seems the aptly named Imposter Syndrome is common among us all. We all feel like we’re not good enough, and that soon someone is going to realise it—but, according to some, that’s a sign of a proper writer. It’s when you’re certain that your writing is spectacular and that you’re the next J.K. Rowling that you might need to worry…

So, I guess the thing that I’ve learned here is that it’s okay to feel like this. It’s normal. And other famous writers feel like this too.


4: But once you’ve got one book published, writing your next can be harder.

I’ve certainly found this to be true for me. Having already had one book published, I feel there’s a great amount of pressure on me to write one that readers love just as much—if not more.

And these expectations we think people have makes writing a follow-up book an incredibly daunting task all of a sudden. And all your doubts about your writing ability come flooding back. After all, what if that first book was a fluke? What if you can’t produce the stunning sequel that you know readers are waiting for?

Well, don’t worry. That’s my answer, and that’s what I’ve been telling myself every time I start fretting. I think the main problem for me is that I’m now comparing my patchy first draft of book two to the final version of book one. And of course, the writing’s not going to be great in a first draft. And there will be holes in the plot, and characters who aren’t that well formed.

But I know I can fix all this. I have to tackle it one step at a time, just as I did when I was rewriting and editing Untamed. And I have to believe in myself. If I wrote one book that readers loved, then I know, deep down, that I can write another, even if my first thought is that I can’t. I’m still the same writer. And it’s all about self-belief and not becoming intimidated by what you achieved before.

So, just write. And get your first draft done. That, for me, is still the hardest bit, and becoming a published writer hasn’t made it any easier.


5: Now onto reviews: don’t read them!

Okay, I’m not very good with this one. I know I shouldn’t read the reviews that my book garners, but I just can’t help it. There’s something exciting about realising you have a new review on Goodreads, or Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. And you just find yourself clicking through to read it, whilst anxiously wondering whether the person loved or hated your book.

And there will be some negative reviews. Whether a book is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is, after all, subjective. And you won’t be able to please everyone.

But as soon as you come across a negative review, you suddenly feel as if this review speaks the Ultimate Truth. All the good things you’ve previously read about your book are washed away, and all you can focus on now is the less-than-favourable thing that someone has said. And this really fuels that feeling that you’re not good enough, that you’re not a proper writer… that you’re an imposter.

And it can hamper your creativity.

That’s why I know that no author should read their reviews—and NEVER respond to any. Seriously, don’t.

But, if you must read those reviews then definitely do the next thing on my list.


6: Save your good reviews.

Print out a hard copy of your favourite reviews and stick them in a scrapbook. Then, whenever you come across a negative review and end up feeling like you’re the worst writer ever, read through your book of positive reviews. I promise they’ll make you feel much better, and you won’t (hopefully) spend days crying.

But, at the same time, don’t fall back into the trap of reading your best reviews and thinking, ‘but what if I can’t write a sequel that readers love as much as my first?’

So, yes, even your good reviews can be a double-edged sword. They certainly make me feel better and motivate me to write, but at the same time, I worry about disappointing my fans with my next manuscript. Ah, it gets so complicated…


7: Finding readers can be hard.

Even when your book is traditionally published, finding readers can be tricky. There are so many books out there competing for readers’ attention that many unfortunately do get lost.

But this is where promotion and marketing come in—trust me, marketing your book is important. And marketing it correctly is even more important.

You need to know your audience, and you need to engage with them. You also need to seem like a real person, so talk about your everyday life and share funny anecdotes. And always engage with your readers as an equal—never talk down to them.

But you also need to make sure that readers can find information about you quickly. A website is a must—and if you can host it on your own domain, even better. You’ll seem more professional that way. And make sure that you have clear links on your website to where readers can buy your book—don’t make it hard for them to find this information.


8: The number of reviews you have is important.

Once you reach certain numbers of reviews for a single work, many retailers include your book in different lists—and even on newsletters. So, the number of reviews you have is important. And the more reviews you have, the easier it is to sell your book.

But getting genuine reviews can be difficult, especially when you need unbiased reviews from people who you don’t know. Amazon removes the reviews from reviewers they think know the author, believing these to biased and untrustworthy.

And finding readers who will review your book can be difficult enough in itself. Especially when only around 1 in 100 will write a quick review of your book off their own back.

But book bloggers are great. And there are thousands of professional reviewers and bloggers out there who will write an honest review of your book in exchange for a free copy of your book—and include that disclaimer in their review. Plus, many of these reviews can also be used as editorial reviews, and often you can use snippets from these reviews in your marketing.

And also; NEVER buy reviews. I mean it. NEVER do it. When I hear that others are considering it, I cringe so much. Buying reviews can destroy everything—and cause retailers to block all your reviews (even any genuine ones). Never do it. Your reviews need to be genuine and unbiased, from actual readers who have actually read your book.


9: Nothing sells your last book like your next.

This is actually something I’ve read a few times now, in many different places. But it seems to be true. And it makes sense: the more books you have out, the more people will see your name, and the more readers will look for your other works having read one.

So perhaps the best marketing you can do for book one is to produce book two.

It seems so simple, and it emphasises an important part of being a writer—you know, the writing part.  Just because you’ve got one book out, doesn’t mean you need to stop writing. Quite the opposite, actually!

(And again, don’t let you success with one book intimidate you and make you feel under pressure with your second—I’m definitely struggling with this, now that we’re less than months away from the release of my second book… but what if readers really don’t like the direction I’m taking the Untamed Series in?)


10: And the final thing to mention here is that reading (and relaxing) is still important.

All writers, whether they publish or not, need to read widely. Don’t stop reading—and having fun—just because you’ve had a book published. Sure, it can be harder to find the time, now that your days (and nights) are filled up with marketing, promotion, answering interviews, writing, editing, researching, and booking events—plus other life commitments!

But you still need to read.

So please, don’t stop. Make sure you have time.

For me, reading is also a way of relaxing. And it is so important. Don’t overwork yourself—you still need some time off. And you still need to do what you love.

Madeline Dyer lives in the southwest of England, and has a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal. She can frequently be found exploring wild places, and at least one notebook is known to follow her wherever she goes. Her debut novel, UNTAMED (Prizm Books, May 2015), examines a world in which anyone who has negative emotions is hunted down, and a culture where addiction is encouraged. FRAGMENTED (Prizm Books, Sept. 2016) is her second novel.

Author Interview: Greg Spry

Posted May 14, 2016

Greg Spry was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1978. He majored in industrial engineering at the University of Wisconsin—Madison before earning a graduate degree in space systems from the Florida Institute of Technology. When he’s not writing the next epic sci-fi adventure, he enjoys playing kickball and cheering on the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He currently resides in the United States.

1) When did you first discover your love for writing?

In late elementary school, I wrote my first novel, Crystalia, which filled 365 pages of two 5-subject notebooks (writing on physical paper really takes me back). I followed that up with another short novel, Bear Wars, in middle school, and wrote the very rough draft of Beyond Cloud Nine in high school. Further details about my early works can be found at

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?

I write at my desktop computer at home most of the time. While I’ll occasionally take my laptop somewhere, I find that I’m most comfortable and productive at home.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

My larger publication process for a single book is as follows:
1) Write first rough draft
2) Refine characters/plot, self-edit, and polish second rough draft
3) Submit cover specs to designers
4) Submit chapters to a critique group and/or beta rears for feedback and apply to draft 3
5) Work with a professional editor to apply developmental and line edits (drafts 4 and 5)
6) Cover reveal
7) Have proofreader revise the book, apply changes to draft 6
8) Have beta readers provide feedback and apply to the final draft 7
9) Three-month pre-publication / ARCs / promotion period
10) Publication and promotion

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
Arthur C. Clarke. The master had a way of writing easy-to-understand prose and dialogue while still including the hard science. You know he invented the geosynchronous communications satellite, right?

5) What inspired you to write the Beyond Saga?

My primary influence for Beyond Cloud Nine, Beyond the Horizon, and the upcoming final two books in my Beyond Saga actually came from an Anime series known as Robotech in the USA or Macross in Japan and abroad. I wanted to do a similar grand-sweeping, fate-of-the-universe-hangs-in-the-balance space opera series with the beginnings of FTL (faster-than-light) travel, first contact, space combat, time travel, and more. I also draw influence from Star Trek: The Next Generation in that I want the plots to deal with higher-brow ethical dilemmas rather than cliché good versus evil.

I talk about my motivation and influences in more detail at and

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?

My latest release, Beyond the Horizon (Beyond Saga Book 2), is the story of a young ensign who must foil an attempt at genocide during humankind’s first interstellar mission.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

I certainly have an affinity for Brooke Davis of Beyond Cloud Nine and her tough demeanor. Lyana, the main character of Destalis (book readers won’t see until after I’ve finished the Beyond Saga), is a self-doubting introvert and martial artist who must get out of her own head in order liberate her home world.

In general, I think it’s important for an author to like their main protagonists. After all, the author has to spend multiple years with each character while writing his or her story.

8) Do your books contain a message for readers to consider?

Always. The main theme of Beyond Cloud Nine and the Beyond Saga is “Would you rather be happy living a lie or be miserable knowing the truth?” The antagonists have a plan to bring about a utopian society for the human race but it requires lies and deception to achieve. Every reader has to decide for themselves whether they think the ends justify the means. The Beyond the Horizon press release at discusses the theme in more detail.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

The below excerpt is from the inside flap of Beyond Cloud Nine. In chapter 3, ten-year-old Brooke Davis accidentally kills her father:

I did it. At the age of ten, I killed my father.
It was an accident, but it was still my fault.
Nothing I do can ever make up for the heinous mistake.
But I will spend the rest of my life trying . . .

The canopy blew away from the flyer. A spring-loaded mechanism punched her out into open air.

Brooke plunged and spun out of control. Rushing air pummeled her in the face. Gravity shoved the terror-stricken screams back down her throat.

The automatic parachute blew open, jerking her body upward. Her orientation righted, Beyond Cloud Nineand her descent slowed.

The Little Angel disappeared over the nearest mountain, but she couldn’t locate her father’s chute anywhere in the sky.

Where is he? Didn’t he jump out? Did his seat malfunction?

The wind whipped through her hair. Water trickled through a stream far below her hanging feet. A flock of birds glided past her.

A thunderclap jolted her heart.

An explosion mushroomed upward from behind the mountain, burning the image into her memory forever.


10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing?

Publishing my first book, Beyond Cloud Nine, was a big deal as I’m sure it is for most authors. I spent ten years (2004-2014) educating myself and learning how to write until I felt my craft was ready for prime time. Now, my biggest challenge is promotion, and I’m learning more and more each day about how to generate exposure and sales.

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing your books?

Based on reader and reviewer feedback, I’ve gained confidence and validation in knowing that my books are of sufficient quality to stand side-by-side with many traditionally published works.

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Absolutely. My writing process and advice for new authors can be found at

Also, know that the process of being a successful author begins only once you’ve published your first book.


13) And finally, do you have any future works planned?

I’m currently writing the third book of the Beyond Saga, Beyond Yesterday, in which Maya heads back in time to figure out how a piece of modern technology ended up 200,000 years in the past. Then the saga will conclude with book four, Beyond Existence, in which Maya must travel to alternate timelines and time periods to prevent powerful exobeings from wiping mankind out of existence. Learn more about the Beyond Saga at

After the Beyond Saga, I’ll resume work on the first full-length manuscript I wrote as an adult, Destalis. Set several thousand years in the future, Destalis will be the unofficial sequel to the Beyond Saga and finish exploring the concepts introduced in Beyond Existence. I haven’t yet decided whether Destalis will be a single novel or multi-book series. Visit the Destalis official website at to learn more about it.

I also have plans to write a sci-fi comedy series of short stories entitled Bears in Space, the concept for which can be found at

Author Links

Beyond Cloud Nine (Beyond Saga Book 1) Links
Amazon (Kindle):
Amazon (Trade Paperback):

Beyond the Horizon (Beyond Saga Book 2) Links
Amazon (Kindle):
Amazon (Trade Paperback):

Author Interview: J.D.Cunegan

Posted May 14, 2016

J.D.CuneganFresh off his debut novel Bounty, J.D. Cunegan introduces his intense follow-up, Blood Ties, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that re-introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, enjoys reading, and is an avid auto racing fan.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?


When I was 11, I picked up my first-ever comic book, an issue of X-Men from the Chris Claremont/Jim Lee era. I’d never been much of a reader up to that point, and I certainly had never entertained the thought of writing, but once I got into comic books, it was like a switch had been flipped. By the time I got to high school, I was creating my own characters and crafting stories for them. By the time I got to college, I started studying journalism, and my career as a sports writer kept me writing, even when the creative juices weren’t there. But I’ve been writing, in one form or another, since I was 11 years old, and I have comic books to thank for that.


  • Do you have a favourite place to write?


I don’t really have a favourite place to write, purely out of necessity. My day job is extremely time-consuming, and it keeps me on the road for days or weeks at a time, so I have to be flexible about when and where I can write. I’ve written in my office, in airports, on planes, in hotel rooms… if I have the time and the space, I can write almost anywhere.


  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?


Much like I can’t afford to have one place in particular, I don’t really have a set routine. I don’t outline my novels beforehand; outside of a general idea of a book’s plot, I’m very much a pantser. It can sometimes make the editing process a pain in the butt, but I find the less I plan, the more freedom I have when writing. Sometimes, that freedom leads to some pleasant surprises – and if I’m surprised as the writer, something tells me my readers will be surprised, too.


  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?


Not necessarily. If I spend too much time aspiring to be something or someone other than myself, then my work suffers. Reading helps my writing in several different ways, but at no point have I sat down and thought “I want to be the next so-and-so” or “I want to write the next insert-title-here.”


  • What inspired you to write Bounty/Blood Ties?


I created Jill, the protagonist, when I was in high school… and it’s a character and a universe that’s grown over the years as I’ve grown. Of all the characters I’ve created, Jill is my favourite, so it’s only right that my first published works are with her in them. The cop doubling as a superhero angle had always intrigued me, and I’m glad I get to play around with genre convention a little bit in that regard.


  • Can you tell us a little about your book?


Blood Ties centers around the mystery of Jill’s father. In the first novel, Bounty, we Blood Ties ebookestablish that Jill’s father had once been a detective, like her, but that he had fallen from grace after being convicted of three murders and sentenced to death. Blood Ties finally answers the central questions: 1) Did Jill’s father actually commit those murders? 2) Will he actually be executed? From there, Blood Ties unravels a grand conspiracy involving a shadowy cult called The Order, and they’re quite intent on making sure Jill doesn’t survive long enough to properly deal with what happens to her father.


  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?


Jill is the obvious favourite, but I want to point to a character making his debut in Blood Ties: Detective Earl Stevens. He’s a former college football player who’s been on the force for about 15 years, and his dialogue is some of the most unique and colourful I’ve ever written. He’s not a great interrogator, but I found myself writing a few chapters in which Earl interrogated someone, just so I could see what kind of stuff would fly out of his mouth. I wasn’t disappointed, and I don’t think the readers will be either.


  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?


I haven’t gotten too heavy-handed with messages in either Bounty or Blood Ties yet… though through Jill, I do convey the message of even one person making a difference (and conversely, how much can one person really do, in the grand scheme of things?). But my next book, Behind the Badge, will be message-heavy, tackling the issues of police brutality and racism.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing these Bounty novels?


The biggest challenge is always knowing when the book’s ready. There’s no solid end point when it comes to editing and revising, so it’s hard to tell sometimes when it’s ready to be published. There have been times where I’ve felt my book was ready, only to discover there was a lot of work still to do on it. The line is hard to see, harder to reach, and sometimes, you don’t realize you’re there until you’ve blown right past it.


  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing these first two novels?


That I can actually finish a project. The last decade or so has been littered with WIPs that held a lot of promise and were just… abandoned at some point. I never even finished the first draft. But now that I have two full-length novels and a digital short (Boundless) under my belt… I know I can see a project through to completion, and that really helps on days in which the words aren’t coming.


  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?


The best way to improve as a writer is to write. Simple as that. The second best way? Read. Read as much as you can, as often as you can. Don’t just read stuff similar to what you’re writing, either; read everything you can get your hands on. Even reading the newspaper can help. Also, I’m generally loathe to recommend books on writing, but Stephen King’s On Writing is as close to a must-have as it gets.


  • Anything else you would like to say?


Never sweat the quality of your first draft. You’re not going to be Stephen King or James Patterson on the first draft (hell, Stephen King and James Patterson aren’t Stephen King and James Patterson on the first draft). Trust the editing process. Trust someone else, more than one if possible, to read your work at some point. Another pair of eyeballs will always catch more stuff than you will.


  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?


Behind the Badge, the third Bounty novel, is set to be released in June. I’m also writing the fourth novel in the series, Behind the Mask. I also have two separate projects in the works: a political thriller titled The Pen is Mighty and a supernatural epic titled Notna. I hope to have all three of those out by the end of 2017.

End with links to Blog /FB & Twitter etc








Author Interview: D.R.Perry

Posted April 2, 2016

Barely AwakeD.R. Perry lives in Rhode Island, where all her books are set. Although she’s not a native New Englander, once up north she got so inspired she couldn’t leave.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I’ve been writing since I could read. At first, I made scripts of books I loved for me and my friends to act out. At one point, I wrote a story about a Star Trek food fight. The evidence of these is lost forever. I put them in a wardrobe when I was fourteen and haven’t seen them since.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

I write wherever I can. Anywhere with space for my laptop will do. In particular, I like anyplace that smells like coffee or tea.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

The only rule of my Write Club is: write something every day. Sometimes it’s a grocery list in limerick form or a parody of my latest earworm’s lyrics. More often it’s part of one of my series or a poem.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I prefer admiration over aspiration. There are too many to list. Here are some in no particular order: Robin McKinley, L. Frank Baum, Peter S. Beagle, Mario Puzo, Ursula K. Leguin, Robert Aspirin, Jane Yolen.

  • What inspired you to write Barely Awake?

I read through some Paranormal Romance books a friend of mine recommended. A bunch of these were about bear shifters, taking place in winter with no mention of hibernation. I’d already thought of writing about a magic college in Rhode Island. The snow we had last winter made me wonder how a bear shifter who’d never been up north might react to 30 inches of snow. It also draws on my own experience seeing show for the first time after growing up in South Florida.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Sure! Barely Awake takes place just a few years after the only Ivy League school for Magic and psychic education opened its doors to anyone. This is part of the world’s adjustment to The Big Reveal, when Extrahumans like magi, shifters, and vampires came out to the rest of the world. The main female character in Barely Awake, Lynn Frampton, is the first human to attend. The fact she’s the only human makes her feel isolated. And the main male character Bobby is completely out of his element once it snows. As the plot progresses, they start to suspect they’ve been singled out and targeted on purpose. We get some clues about that at the end of the book.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

That’s the toughest question you’ve asked me. I like all of them in this series, even the antagonists. In this particular book, though, I have to go with Bobby’s dragon shifter roommate, Blaine Harcourt. Not only is he fun to write, but the way the other characters interact with him makes me laugh out loud. I can’t wait to write his book, which will be the fourth one in the series.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

One phrase kept going through my head while working on this book. You’re never as alone as you think you are.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Barely Awake?

Time. I’ve got such piecemeal timeframes to write in. That’s challenging. Going for a couple of hours at zero dark thirty in the morning before everyone else wakes up helps. Also, I have almost three whole hours in a row when my husband gets together with his friends to slay Internet Dragons twice a week. Thanks, Jim! And I have the best Mother-In-Law ever. She brings my daughter to the library once or twice a week so I can get more writing in. Thanks, Patty! I couldn’t crunch through this series without you.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Barely Awake?

I’ve learned that I love getting my humor in my fantasy. It’s better than getting chocolate in my peanut butter. Reeses, eat your heart out. Writing has way less calories than candy. But seriously, I worked a few years on a darker Historical Urban Fantasy series. It took me longer to write the same amount of words in that project. I take to the fun stuff more readily, I guess.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Keep writing. I’m not alone in saying that, of course, but writing something every day is the only way writers get to practice. Don’t be afraid to grab an idea and run with it either. If I hadn’t, I’d still be figuring out how to start the Provdence Paranormal College series.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

I’ve prepared a few words. Elephant. Sloth. Riesling. Thanks!

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Lots! There’s ten books outlined in Providence Paranormal and I will write them all. My Historical Urban Fantasy series is tentatively called Tree of Life and that’s got four books planned. I’ve also been slowly adding to a project I call the Poeticalendar. It’s a 365 day geek-culture influenced collection of poems and flash fiction under 100 words. Thanks so much for the interview!






Author Interview: Tom Fallwell

Posted March 12, 2016

Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1951, Tom Fallwell had always had a love of fantasy Role Playing games and was a game master who created adventures for other players to enjoy. Now, since retiring as a computer programmer,  he is writing the fantasy stories he had always wanted to write and enjoying every minute of it.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?
    Shortly after retiring, in 2014, I met a friend who immediately saw my love of creating stories and recognized my talent. Through her encouragement, I wrote a short story, a sort of Christian/Fantasy/Romance. It was well received by those who read it, and this encouraged me even further. I had a story in my head that I had only thought of a beginning for, with a simplified plot that I had in mind. I decided, why not? So I sat down and started to write. The story took on a life of its own and within six months I had a novel. The whole experience was so much fun, I never stopped. I kept writing, and I’m still writing.
  • Do you have a favourite place to write?
    I only have one place. Sitting at my computer. I use Microsoft Word and do all my writing at my desk, which is in my bedroom. I have no wife or children in the house, so I find plenty of solitude. I have a 42” flat screen TV as my computer monitor and a custom built quad-core computer running Windows 10. I may slosh stories around in my head all the time, but my desk is my only place to write. I don’t play music or have other distractions when writing.
  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
    Not specifically. In general, I have an idea and I form a rough outline of the plot, then I start writing. Almost inevitably, that plot changes as I write. I am not sure how to explain with words, but it is as if the story tells itself. I start down a path, then the story and characters take on a life of their own, and before long I feel like I am just writing what I am told to write by the characters and the story itself.
  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
    I have always been fascinated by the world that J.R.R. Tolkien created with his stories of Middle Earth. It is my greatest desire to create a world with the same rich lore and history, a world that is fascinating to the reader as much as the characters, and to create characters who come to life in the reader’s mind, just as Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf and others. Tolkien is my hero. I aspire to be as well-read and remembered as he is.
  • What inspired you to write the Rangers of Laerean series?
    Back in the late 1980s was a phenomenon called the Black & White Comic Boom. There was an explosion of writers, artists and publishers to get comics on the shelves, and many made it to comic stardom. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for example, became an overnight success and has now been two live action movies, at least. Back during that time, my brother, David, and I created a Black & White Comic called Dark Regions, which was a fantasy story that I was involved in writing. We created a trio of characters that I have known intimately for many, many years. One of those characters, Baric, I had always considered a Ranger, sort of like Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, though not exactly the same.After writing my first novel, I knew I wanted to create a world like Tolkien. I wanted to create the whole things, politics, economy, races, all of it. I wanted to create a series of novels based on this world, and it just seemed logical to include Baric. So, the idea for the Rangers was born. Also, I loved heroic fantasy stories, again like what Tolkien did, so I created a group of heroes as the Rangers to be able to keep telling stories about this world. Not just about Baric, but about others as well. So, Rangers of Laerean was born and the Lands of Hir were created.
  • Can you tell us a little about your book?
    The first book, A Whisper In The Shadows, is an introduction to the Rangers and to Baric in particular. Baric agrees to help what is supposed to be an emissary from the region called Vaar’da, where a dark-skinned, elf-like race dwells. But Baric soon discovers that theWhisperInShadowsCover2_SM emissary, and exotic female who deems humans as barbaric, is not an emissary after all, and she has used deception to get a Ranger at her side for an entirely different reason.The Vaar’da, Whisper, is an assassin, but she is having nightmares that are tearing her soul apart and she is seeking help to journey to a place her drams seem to be pulling her. What she and Baric discover is something that neither expect, and they soon find themselves on a quest to save the entire world of Hir. Baric gathers a small army of fellow Rangers to assist them as they delve into the depths of an active volcano, Mt. Scorch, to prevent the destruction of all of Hir.Upon writing this book, it became apparent that this story was going to require more than one book to tell, so it has become a trilogy. Book #3, Where Shadows Fall, was released in February and is now available. I am currently writing book #3, The Shadow of Narwyrm. This trilogy tells one story, and I have many more in mind for the series as a whole. Future novels will cover different times, different places and characters.
  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
    Currently, I have to say Baric is definitely my favourite. That may change in the future. Who knows? I have created many characters on this journey, and I expect I will be creating many more.
  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
    My main goal is to entertain, though I have no doubt I subconsciously do have messages in my writing. Upon reading the finished first book, I could definitely see a theme about prejudice that became quite apparent. But I don’t consciously try to instil messages.
  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

    As his torch lit up the interior of the cell, he saw that last thing he could have expected. Inside the cell, chained to the wall, standing upright, was a fur-covered figure, as big as himself, with a lion-like face and ears, and a long, flowing mane. A Zumarian.

    The Zumarian’s eyes were closed, and he appeared to be unconscious. He wore a loincloth, but his chest, arms and legs were covered in soft, golden fur, fading to white around his chest. His leonine face bore a human-like nose and cat-like mouth, with a slight hair-lip appearance. The claws on his hands and feet looked formidable.

    His long mane flowed down around his shoulders, golden brown with braids on the sides that held the fringe back and out of his face. As they eyed him, his eyes suddenly popped open, showing sea-green irises around an overly large, black pupil. His mouth formed into an angry expression when he saw Whisper.

    “The gods are cruel indeed if they send a Vaar’da as my rescuer,” he snarled. His voice was guttural, but understandable.

    Almost instinctively, Whisper immediately assumed the air of self-importance that she had once displayed for Baric and other humans. “I would just as soon finish what someone else has started,” she hissed.

    “Wouldn’t it be to the benefit of us all to concentrate our fury on the Manenase instead of each other?” Baric asked in a determined tone.

    The Zumarian and Whisper both looked at Baric with surprise, as if they both had forgotten he was there. Whisper nodded, her gaze still focused on the Zumarian.

    “Sorry,” she said. “Old habits.”

    “Who are you?” asked the Zumarian.

    Baric looked back to the prisoner. “I’m Baric, a Ranger from Laerean.”

    The Zumarian suddenly grinned, showing a mouthful of sharp, pointed teeth. The grin could easily be mistaken as menacing, if not for the obvious delight conveyed by his eyes.

    “Then my luck has indeed changed,” the Zumarian chimed in a soft growling voice. “My name is Shaha. Mercenary and warrior. Can I assume you will set me free?”

    “Can I assume you won’t attack my companion?” asked Baric.

    Shaha chuckled, a growling sound, but definitely a sign of amusement. “You have my word,” he said.

    Whisper snorted and rolled her eyes, but she said nothing more. Producing some lock-picks from her robe, she went to work on the cell door. After about a minute, the lock clicked and the door swung inward.

    “Can you get the shackles?” asked Baric.

    “Of course,” she huffed, acting more like the Vaar’da Baric had first met back in Ronan’s office those many months ago.

    “Do you have weapons or armor anywhere?” Baric asked as Whisper began to work on Shaha’s shackles.

    “They took them from me,” said Shaha. “Where, I do not know.”

    The shackle around one of Shaha’s hands clicked open. He held it up and flexed his claws a few times, trying to restore the blood flow. “I can use these for now,” he grinned.

    Baric nodded. The claws were at least an inch long and looked razor-sharp.

    Another click, and Shaha was free. Whisper stepped back, returning her picks to their pocket inside her robe.

    “Remember who freed you, Zumarian,” she said with no small amount of contempt. Shaha just grinned, baring his teeth.

    Baric broke the tension. “Come, we’re still deep in the demon’s lair.”


    • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing the Rangers of Laerean series?
      With this first story as a trilogy, I think my greatest challenge has been to tell the story so that a reader does not have to read the previous books in order to enjoy the current one. I try to give enough information about what has transpired, without becoming a boring documentary about the past. So, that has been a challenge for me. To make each book able to be read as a stand-along novel, but still have all three tied in as a trilogy.
    • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing the Rangers of Laerean?
      I’ve learned a lot more than I could relate here. It has been a fantastic learning experience. I’ve learned about the whole writing and publishing process, about the roles of copy editors, cover artists, formatting, and on and on. What I really learned about myself is that, I can’t do it alone. A good novel takes more than one person. I may do the writing, but to be a good book, it needs a whole lot more.
    • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
      There are many people writing and publishing out there. If you want this to be something you can enjoy, then you need to take your mind off fame and riches. If your stories are good, and people like them, then word will get around. You have to promote, sure, but what I learned was to concentrate on writing what I wanted to write, and writing to please my own sense of style, not to try and become someone else. True, I love Tolkien, but I know I am not him, and I don’t want to be him. I want to be me, and if I am to become known as a good author, I want it to be because of what I wrote and enjoyed writing. It’s been a lot more fun that way.
    • Anything else you would like to say?
      Just thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions. I always enjoy interviews and meeting others. I ‘ve made many new friends since I started writing and I look forward to meeting many more in the future. It is always a pleasure for someone to tell me they enjoyed on of my books.
    • And finally, do you have any future works planned?
      As I noted earlier, I am currently working on book #3 of the Rangers of Laerean series, The Shadow of Narwyrm. I am also currently working on a science-fiction short story that I hope to enter into a contest. As well, I have more stories in mind for the series and other books in general. I have plans for much more. I’m still having too much fun.




Author Interview: E.A.Copen

Posted February 26, 2016

Guilty by associationE.A. Copen is the author of the Judah Black novels, an urban fantasy series. She’s an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy and other genre fiction. When she’s not chained to her keyboard, she may be found time traveling on the weekends with the Society for Creative Anachronism. She lives in beautiful southeast Ohio with her husband and two kids, at least until she saves up enough to leave the shire and become a Jedi.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I must have been five or six. I wrote this short story about a girl who ran away from home to live in a rose garden. At the time, I was in a rough place. I was a foster kid and I was always trying to run away. I didn’t have a sense of home. Writing about a girl who runs away from home only to discover how tough life can get when you don’t have a mom…It was cathartic, even if I didn’t understand it at the time. I’ve been writing ever since then. It’s my therapy.

  • Do you have a favorite place to write?

In my head because everything sounds way more epic in there! Seriously, though…I’d like to have a tiny little soundproof room but I make do with the desktop in the dining room.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

The only thing I absolutely have to have when I’m writing is music. I can’t write without it. In fact, I generally pick a single song for each scene and just put it on repeat. While that might be annoying to some, I think it kind of helps me zone out. It doesn’t matter to me if it has lyrics or not as long as the mood fits what I’m writing about.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I’d like to be as good as Jim Butcher one day. Considering that each book he releases is written better than the last, that’s never going to happen. He’ll always be about thirty times better than me. What he did with Changes…That’s what I want. That’s just beautiful writing, cover to cover.

  • What inspired you to write Guilty by Association?

That’s kind of a long story and it starts with Twilight. Wait a second and hear me out. See, my step-daughter was obsessed with those books and I just didn’t get the appeal. At about the same time, I was taking a class in college where we had to read Dracula. I’d read it before but, this time, one question really stuck with me. How had Van Helsing gotten so good at vampire hunting? How did he know so much about vampires? The answer I eventually arrived at was that Van Helsing had to be at least half vampire himself. Who better to hunt vampires than a half vampire, right?

With all that in mind, I entered a writing contest where I had to plot, write and edit a novel all in 72 hours. I challenged myself to write a story about vampires that explored the answer I’d come up with and, if it was better than Twilight, I was going to publish it. Back then, it was much more Constantine meets Underworld than it is now and the protagonist was male (and a half vampire exorcist). I’ll leave it to the readers to decide if I succeeded.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Well, having just talked vampires to death in the last question, I can tell you there aren’t really any vampires in it. I think there are one or two but they don’t play a major role. This book is mostly about what it means to be a monster. Where do you draw the line between man and monster? Which one is really scarier?

It starts out as a murder mystery but evolves into a story about the people who slip through the cracks, the ones who live on the edge of society because there’s nowhere else for them to go. That’s where monsters are born. It’s also where heroes are made. Sometimes, they’re one in the same. That’s kind of the idea behind the whole series and it starts with the murder of a homeless guy.


  • Do you have a favorite amongst all your characters?

I have a particular soft spot for Ed, one of the werewolves. I like to take popular tropes and kind of turn them on their head a bit. Werewolves are supposed to be strong, fierce and threatening. Ed’s anything but. He plays fetch and would rather be at home playing WOW than hunting monsters. Just the same, he gets caught in the middle of everything and shows a certain strength of character that wouldn’t be there if he were big on the machismo.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Newton’s third law of motion says for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I think that applies to more than just physics. We create our monsters and our heroes. We build them with our words and our actions. Every person you interact with needs a hero, even if it’s in some small way. You’ve got to choose whether or not you’re going to be their hero or their monster. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as it is in the book. Simple acts of kindness can ripple a long way.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Guilty by Association?

The biggest challenge has been overcoming my extreme self-doubt. There’s always this little voice in my head that tells me that I’m not good enough. One day, I decided not to listen to that voice. The voice didn’t really go away or anything. I just ignored it for one day. On that day, I hired an editor. She eventually told me what I had wasn’t complete crap and continued to make it better. I love my editor. My greatest achievement is sort of linked to that big step. By reaching out to others, I’ve gotten to be a part of this amazing community of writers online. I’m no longer that socially awkward grammar nerd writing about werewolves at 2am…Okay, so that hasn’t changed. But I’m not doing it alone anymore. I have friends that understand why 2am is the best hour for such things.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Guilty by Association?

I really suck at romance except when I’m not trying. This book has no romance. I tell everyone that who reads it. Yet everyone has come back to me with favorite character pairings. I find it really funny how much chemistry is there even though I actually edited a major romantic arc OUT of the story!

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

If you want to write bad enough, you will find a way. The devil himself won’t be able to stop you. My oldest has moderate to severe autism and I was his primary caretaker while writing this. I also went to college full time and worked full time. Finding time to write is only an obstacle if you let it become one. All the talent in the world isn’t going to make up for the time you need to sit down and spend writing. As my mother would say, “Do it, don’t talk about it!” Tough love, sure, but you didn’t think this was going to be easy, did you?

  • Anything else you would like to say?

I just want to remind people to leave reviews for the books they read on websites like Amazon and Goodreads. Those reviews really help indie authors become known and they do make a huge difference. Please don’t forget to leave reviews!

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Oh, yes! If all goes well, the Judah Black series is plotted to include at least 16 novels. I also have a space opera series of 4 novels in the works called Broken Empire. The first book of that will probably come out between books 3 and 4 of the Judah Black novels.

End with links to Blog /FB & Twitter etc



Twitter: @authoreacopen



Author Interview: Brady Koch

Posted January 20, 2016

Guns Gods and RobotsBrady Koch is an independent sci-fi writer that lives with his wife and children in Westchester County, NY. A constant presence in the flash fiction scene, he has curated his first collection of novellas and short stories into Guns, Gods & Robots: Seven Curious Tales.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?
    • I’ve always dabbled, but didn’t really love it until I found the courage to take some of my stories to a local writers group. Somehow their feedback validated my work enough to really allow myself love my work. I was a little insecure about it beforehand.
  • Do you have a favourite place to write?
    • Some people like to be at the bar until last call, I prefer closing down the library. There’s zero distractions and the librarians are great at enforcing a quiet atmosphere.
  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
    • I tend to writer about 30 mins in the morning then again on my train back from work. I might get another hour in at night time after everyone’s asleep. This schedule lends itself nicely to writing shorter works is a good fit as I prefer working within these smaller spaces.
  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
    • I like Kurt Vonnegut’s conversational tone, Bradbury’s economy of storytelling and Brian K. Vaughn’s ability to world build while anchoring his work in humanity.
  • What inspired you to write Guns, Gods & Robots?
    • My wife is discerning with her sci-fi likes. It was fun to write my stories in such a way that hooked her on a human connection with a character, then transition in sci-fi concepts in such a way that when she was finished with the story, she’d say “I didn’t know I would ever like a story like that.” It’s like if Rocky Balboa trained and trained for his fight with Apollo Creed then he was challenged to a bout with that robot he bought Paulie for his birthday in Rocky IV. An awful analogy not indicative of Guns, Gods & Robots, but I want to see how many more readers like her I can win over.
  • Can you tell us a little about your book?
    • Guns, Gods & Robots is a collection of seven sci-fi novellas and short stories centred around the themes presented in the book’s title. They can be read independently, but there’s enough of a shared world in the diverse set of stories that they also build off one another.
  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
    • Cid the engineer is likely my favourite. He has a job that requires him to hold a certain blind faith, but he’s analytical at heart. The challenge he faced with his broken robot forces him to find a balance between both sets of needs.
  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
    • I don’t like leading the reader too much. Guns, Gods & Robots is full of strange scenarios and unusual circumstances and I want the reader to see if they agree or disagree with the choices my protagonists are making. I know I don’t approve of many of their decisions. Having stated all of that the closest message I’ll commit to is how can we preserve our core of humanity while the world evolves around us at an accelerating pace.
  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Guns, Gods & Robots??
    • Honestly just picking the final seven stories was an achievement. Like a music album, I had more than enough to pick from and creating the perfect playlist was daunting and rewarding. The good news is I now have a lot of “b-sides” to share with my readers as a result of curating this collection.
  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Guns, Gods & Robots??
    • I’ve always been happy when laying out a really unusual scenario in such a way that it seems common place in the universe these characters inhabit. It would be an exhausting read if every character was constantly shocked at the fantastical events transpiring in the stories. The reader may flinch at a robot missionary, but to a blue collar maintenance worker in my story, that’s just another day in the office.
  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
    • I encourage writers to write with one specific person in mind. I’d rather please one person really important to me, than try and create something that is meant to be everything to everyone. That specific person is as important to me as whatever my “author’s voice” is supposed to be.
  • Anything else you would like to say?
    • Give an independent writer a chance and compose a nice email to them after you’ve finished their book. The letters I would get early on in my writing career, really kept me motivated to continue to hone my storytelling.
  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?
    • Of course. I’m about halfway through a new novel about a crime writer involved on the wrong side of a bank robbery scheme he inspired.

Twitter: @BradyTheWriter




Author Interview: M. LaRose

Posted December 17, 2015

The Flower Eater

  1. LaRose is the pen name of an American writer of fantasy who lives in the New England state of Vermont, an area known for beautiful woodlands and bucolic farms. Like many of the characters in the old-world fairy tales that she admires, LaRose lives in a forest that constantly inspires her imagination with its mystery.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I have always loved stories.  The first thing I can remember intensely wanting, was the ability to read.  Before I entered elementary school, my mother was friends with another woman who had taught her daughter to read at the age of three. When we visited them, I’d sit with this other little girl, who was younger than me, and she would read her books aloud while I hung on every word. One day I asked her to read a certain picture-book and she agreed, but added, “I’m picking the next book.” This was totally fair, but I hated the fact that I had to rely on someone else to read to me.  It felt like someone else held the key to the garden of stories that I wanted to enter.

By the time I was in second grade I had written my first story (about some fuzzy monsters) and decided I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I used to wander around with stories playing in my head, and whenever I told them to other children, they would listen with great attention – I guess you could say that I started creating and sharing my own garden of stories way back then.

  • Do you have a favorite place to write?

A: I write at home (rather than out in coffee shops or other public places).  I live in a very small cabin without an office, or even a desk, so I write on my laptop, either sitting on the couch or at our breakfast bar. In the summer I would love to write outside, in my quirky flower garden, but so far I don’t have a spot outside where I can read the computer screen clearly!  I hope to someday have a covered porch or awning that will allow me to write outside.

  •  Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Not really! But when I was writing the final chapters of The Flower Eater I did write every evening, as I felt the momentum of the ending pulling me along. Ideally, I would like to write every day, but I don’t always find the time, or the feel the urge strongly enough, especially since I have a full-time day job. I’ve recently begun writing short stories and entering them in contests, and the contest deadlines have helped me finish some good stories.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

There are so many writers I admire that this is difficult to answer! I tend to skip around among writers and genres, rather than focusing one.  But I know I’ve been deeply influenced by fantasy books I read in childhood, including The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; and The Hobbit, as well as Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass.  As a teenager, I read The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo, and was very intrigued by the scene where a priest declares his love for a gypsy, and begs her to run away with him.

  • What inspired you to write The Flower Eater?

When I was a child I read a lot of old-world fairy tales that had been collected in a huge series of volumes that were available in our town library. The intensity, emotional depth, and magical elements of those fairy tales really appealed to me. My parents divorced when I was six years old, and there was a largely unspoken but tacitly powerful belief, on my mother’s side of the family, that after my father left her, my mother never fully recovered from the heartbreak.

In my novel, The Flower Eater, I explore ideas around heartbreak and emotional breakdown, as well as the concept of taking and breaking vows. I’m also very interested in psychic powers and the possibility of alternate dimensions, and those feature in my novel, The Flower Eater. The title came to me first, and hovered around in my psyche for many years before I finally began to write the book. The plot came to me over the course of fifteen years, as I slowly wrote the novel in my spare time. Certain scenes came to me very suddenly, out of the blue, and felt very much like magical or divine gifts for which I am very grateful.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book? 

Here’s the “elevator pitch” for The Flower Eater:

In a world of medieval magic, a young priestess is enthralled by a handsome blacksmith into breaking her sacred vows. A crisis of faith and passion launches her into an astral dimension where mysterious flowers beckon and an evil prince flexes his psychic powers toward world domination.

  • Do you have a favorite amongst all your characters?

Trilla, the heroine of The Flower Eater, is still on my mind. Her story continues in the sequel that I’m currently writing. I’m also fond of Trilla’s best friend, Brea, and Trilla’s true love Venn. Recently, I wrote a short story about a mermaid and I enjoyed conjuring that character so much that I may write a novel, or a collection of short stories, about the mermaid.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Yes. As the reader follows the main character, Trilla, they’ll see an over-confident young priestess wrestle with the darker sides of herself and the world she inhabits. The Flower Eater is about overcoming one’s lowest, self-centered, potentially evil, desires, to see the larger picture and work for the greater good.

  • Q: Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Here’s a brief teaser from The Flower Eater:

In the pattern of the watching crowd, a spot of pale blue began to catch my eye each time I passed it.  A gentle color, vividly pale.  The Song-Sister’s voice and the Bell-Sister’s music reached a crescendo.  I leapt into the final steps of the Dance, twirling rapidly to the spot on the stage where I’d begun.  With a flamboyant twist of legs and skirts, I kicked and jumped, then fell to a sudden landing with my sisters.  Chests heaving from exertion, arms raised, we were done, our features glowing but as still and composed as the faces of the statues above us.

I looked out into the crowd and saw the swatch of pale blue color that had caught my eye.  It was a woman’s dress, worn by a maiden of my age: a stranger, someone from other parts, come to see the new Priestesses dance.  Near her stood Brea’s parents and siblings, and her aunt Rissa.  Next to them, I spied Uncle Verd and Aunt Fara gazing at me with awed smiles and shining eyes.  I smiled back, very slightly, to show that I saw them.  Then, suddenly, my eyes were drawn upward, toward the back of the crowd, where a dark-haired man fixed me with his gaze.  Harnn was there, staring at me.  For a moment, I stared back without thinking, my heart jumping inside me at the sight of his handsome features, fixed on mine, from across the throng.  The memory of his passionate kisses flared through me like a flaming arrow.  Then I tore my gaze away.  The serenity of the Trance was gone in an instant.

  • What have been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing The Flower Eater?

Besides finding the time to write, my biggest challenge was dreaming up the plot. When I began to write The Flower Eater, I had only a vague premise about forbidden love and broken vows, and knew I wanted to write in the fantasy genre, but the plot was not clear in my mind. Because I had come up with the title first, that title stimulated my imagination to ask questions that eventually led me to write various plot scenes and twists. There is one major plot twist that I resisted when it first came to me, but the idea wouldn’t go away. Once I allowed myself to take the story in that direction the plot began to open itself, like a flower, in my mind. That was an amazing experience, but it also took years for me to put all the words down on paper.  My greatest achievement is that I finally completed the story to my own satisfaction – and that most readers so far have enjoyed it.  It also felt good when Kirkus Reviews called The Flower Eater a “magnificent debut” and “delightfully entertaining story” – that was really nice!

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Flower Eater?

The Flower Eater is the first complete story I’ve written since childhood, and it took me about fifteen years to write, during which I was not writing any other fiction. I learned a lot about perseverance, editing, and trusting my imagination. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with procrastination, so learning to persevere and complete my writing is probably the biggest thing I’ve learned.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write a story that appeals to you. And if you’re easily shaken by criticism, do not share it with anyone until you’ve finished it to your own satisfaction. If you want to sell your writing, you will have to handle feedback and criticism at some point, of course, but first just get the words down on paper. Then set it aside for a while and re-read it later, as if you were a stranger who knew nothing about the story. If you don’t like editing, hire a good editor.

  • Anything else you’d like to say?

Just my thanks for this interview!

  • Do you have any future works planned?

Yes, I’m working on the sequel to The Flower Eater, and hope to get that largely completed by next summer.  I just finished writing my first short horror story (about an evil clown).  And I have a short fantasy story in progress that features a woodland nymph. And, as I said earlier, I may write more stories that feature a mermaid.

Twitter @TheFlowerEater

Facebook: The Flower Eater by M. LaRose

Thank you for your interest!




Author Interview: C.C.Hogan

Posted December 12, 2015

C.C.HoganC.C. Hogan was dragged up in North London in the nineteen seventies and spent many years in the media industry doing whatever it took to not kill clients. Making the leap into novels, he is working in two directions at the same time – a massive fantasy project called Dirt that is a saga spread over twelve books, and a series of novels set in London.

1) When did you first discover your love for writing?
I suffered a series of teachers when a child who punished me for my spider writing, bad spelling and general inability to write the rubbish they wanted me to write. For some reason, it did not kill my interest in words and communication and I have been playing with ideas ever since. The invention of the word processor probably was the most liberating thing that has happened to me, and I have been attempting to write something for years.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?
I have a dream place to write which I have yet to realise; a tiny, two-roomed cottage overlooking a welcoming sea. You will find it in The Fight for Dirt. In lieu of that, I have a big, comfy chair sat before three large monitors and a large rug covered desk. My monitor wallpaper is the key maps of Dirt so that I am always reminded where I am meant to be and what I should be doing.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?
Not especially. Since I am writing full time at the moment (while pulling in bits of panic work to pay bills), I just wake up, switch on and write.
I am, at heart, a story teller and believe that the written word is a poor substitute for the spoken word. In consequence, I read out loud constantly, sometimes even as I write. This probably makes me pretty antisocial, but then isn’t that what writers are meant to be?

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?
Two: Illiwhacker by Peter Carey and Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake. Both these writers have the ability to take the fanciful, exaggerated and incomprehensible and make it sound perfectly sensible. This is a rare talent and a powerful one. Although my current books are not as mad as those, I hope I have managed to make my characters believable and plausible, even if they have wings…

5) What inspired you to write Dirt
I should answer this by saying that I was out walking on a desolate moor when I looked up and saw, pushing against the highest winds, the beautiful form of a flying creature. Watching as the sun caused the vision to shimmer and distort, I thought of the dragon and how beautiful a world with such creatures would be.
However, the truth is that I sat down one day and wrote down a pile of ideas for books, each of them little more than a sentence, and I stopped when I got to the one about a young man trying to rescue his sister.
Yeah, I know, boring, but most brilliant ideas start that way. That is the joy of creativity; wonder out of the humdrum.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?
In essence, Dirt is fantasy road-trip as Johnson Farthing races across the world of Dirt, hanging onto the back of a beautiful Sea Dragon, to rescue his captured sister. Yet, this is only the first small wing-beats in a huge saga that will take the young man from the poverty of his life and thrust him and his friends into war.
This is a tale of heroism, but the heroes are ordinary; they are pie sellers, well-diggers, goat-herders, all working together with dragons who are intelligent and cultured and do not live in damp caves.
As the story unfolds, the world of Dirt opens up for the reader and becomes, perhaps, the central character; a multi-layered persona of good and bad, beauty and ugliness, wonder and simplicity.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?
Mistry, who we first meet partway through Dirt, which is the first book in the saga, is a very important character for me. She is only fifteen when we meet her, but she is thrust into the role of a hero as much as anyone. She has been working with her father from the age of ten and she is responsible and clever, but she is also young and being the hero weighs heavily on her and she does not always cope well.
She may be the bravest of them all, but she is also the most reluctant, and I think she represents how many of us would be in real life – we might do the brave thing, but it would scare us stupid and we would battle an inner fight not to just run away.

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?
I have always been puzzled why in this world where we celebrate the hope of democracy, so many of our fantasy novels are about kings and queens. Even in Narnia, the young heroes run a feudal society.
So in Dirt, high fantasy it may be, but my heroes are fighting for freedom and equality. My main characters, male, female, human and dragon, are strong, but they are also ordinary. They are not super-sexy or scantily clad, but they are you and me and they want to do what is right.
More importantly, they are all looking for what we all look for – a home.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 
This is a very short extract from the first book of Dirt and is just to give a sense of a couple of the characters. Picking an extract that is not simply the first chapter is difficult because there are so many twists and turns that would be either inexplicable or a terrible spoiler.

“Weasel!” Mab-Tok shouted out as he landed nearly on top of them. “I need your help; Fren-Eirol has broken a wing!”
“What?” Farthing was dismayed. Suddenly all their plans were collapsing again.
“Magician, if we can hurry, we can fix it before it becomes a serious problem, she just caught it a few minutes ago. Jump on my back.”
“Can you take me?” Weasel had never flown on something so much smaller than a sea dragon.
“Of course, or I wouldn’t suggest it and I don’t have the hang ups of those big lumbering idiots on the hill.” Weasel shrugged, and pulled himself up on the back of the small dragon, like a child climbing onto a parent. To Farthing’s complete amazement, the small dragon just jumped into the air and headed straight off as if the magician weighed nothing. He and Jipperson stood watching the dragon disappear into the distance toward the village.
“So, a healer too, your Mr Weasel.” Jipperson said thoughtfully. “And a Bach-Iachawr and a sea dragon? My, but you have collected together an interesting crew, Mr Farthing.” He looked at the young man. “Come on lad,” he said in a much less formal tone. “Looks like they be headed for our Inn. Suppose we should be hurrying along?” Farthing nodded and the two headed up the road.
Fren-Eirol was leant back and braced against a tree with pain in her huge eyes as Weasel had hold of her wingtip and pulled.
“Harder, magician, I have to have it straight!” Mab-Tok could be a bully, but he knew what he was doing.
“Fren-Eirol,” started Farthing.
“Shut up boy!” the large sea dragon growled from between clenched teeth. Suddenly there was a sickening snapping sound and Map-Tok slapped a soaked dressing over the wing bone near the tip.dirt1

“Got you!” he shouted with triumph. “Okay, let it go … slowly!” Weasel gently released the dragon’s wing and she sagged against the tree with an audible sigh of relief.
“I haven’t done that since I was young,” Fren-Eirol said with a note of dismay as Mr Jipperson the elder appeared from the pub with a big pale of what looked like steaming warm water. “Oh, bless you, sir!” the dragon exclaimed and downed the contents in one gulp. Farthing blinked; he had rather assumed the water was for the wing. “Oh, and that had rum in it too!” A broad smile grew over Fren-Eirol’s face. Now it was young Mr Jipperson’s turn to look dismayed. He picked up the bucket and sniffed.
“Mr Jipperson,” he addressed his brother a little more abruptly than usual. “Exactly how many bottles of my rum did you empty into this pale?”
“Not enough for you to fret about, Mr Jipperson,” the elder brother replied with a smile. “Just the two…”
“Two!” Any pretence at formality disappeared in a flash. “Ronald, if I am short at the end of the week, you will be brewing me a new batch personally!” So, they did have first names, mused Farthing.
“Brother mine, I would never deprive you of your precious tipple, I have three crates in store, just in case.”
“Really?” The younger brother looked taken aback. “Well, Mr Jipperson, in which case, the large young lady here can have another to ease the agony.” But the large young lady was already out like a light, her head tilted backwards and her tongue lolling out.
“Strong spirit and dragons are an ill-advised mix,” Mab-Tok explained. “Don’t get me wrong, we like the taste, but we don’t handle it very well. Still, it will help the healing, which is why I ordered it.”
Farthing’s smile became a frown as he walked over to Mab-Tok. “Thank you Mab-Tok, but how long will it take to heal?”
“Well, it is not as dramatic as it sounds. What she did was catch the top of the tree and she had torn a bit of the cartilage. The dressing I have put on will set hard and that means she can fly, with a little care, but we should delay a day, I am sorry to say.”
It was much less worse than Farthing had feared. He had worried that they had been effectively grounded. The elder Jipperson was looking at the sea dragon with interest. She had slowly slid off the side of the tree and was lying on the ground belly up. Weasel had taken some of her cloths from the bag she had brought back and laid them over the dragon.
“Will she be alright, Mr Weasel?”
“She will be fine, Mr Jipperson,” Weasel told the older man. “Her headache should take her mind off her broken wing,” he added with a grin. “And not wishing to leave her feeling like an exception in the morning, shall we adjourn to your outside tables? Mr Jipperson, would you oblige us with some flagons of your finest stout?”

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Dirt?
Keeping track of a complicated and rich world. I realised part way through writing book one that I was running into trouble in several ways. I was naming everyone I met, I had no real idea how big the world was and I did not know how fast dragons fly. If I was to write a story that took in an entire continent, then I had better get organised. So I stopped and started that horrible process of planning properly.
I have written a few articles on planning and one of the most regular comments I get is, “I am an instinctive writer and planning gets in my way.” Well, rubbish. Good planning, I have discovered, does not get in the way, it liberates. Because I know exactly where I am heading, chapter to chapter, and I have complete notes on every character, place, weather pattern and time line, my writing has improved.
In particular, it has helped my dialogue. My characters talk a lot and it is the strongest area of my writing; removing the worry about where I am going has allowed me to have a lot of fun!

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Dirt?
Much to my surprise I have found that I could be far more dedicated than I have been at any time before in my life. My world has been wrapped up in the media industries working with journalists, actors, musicians and some other amazing creatives, but most of the work has been glimpses of a whole and I have suffered from boredom very quickly.
With Dirt, it has been different. After many years of writing, I actually finished my first novel, The Stink (the first of the London novels) in 2014. It was a huge achievement for me and I was keen to write another, though I was fairly certain that I might not actually manage it. Fun to try!
Now I have published four more and have two more waiting to be edited and another part written. I just can’t let go. As I sometime say, I am addicted to it now and it might be a problem.

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
Pretty much what I have just said – let yourself become addicted, become obsessed. Keep writing, even if it is rubbish. Don’t stop for anything. In my old job, commercial pressures kept you on your toes. Writer’s block didn’t exist; clients did not believe in it and so neither could you. So, whatever we all did, we kept creating, knowing we would have to sort it out in the edit.
Same applies to writing a novel. Plan fully – I mean, write pages of notes – and then just write and write and write. At some point, it will just go Click.

13) Anything else you would like to say?
I have gone the self-published, indie author route for my books. Why? Simple; I could not find an agent. It has been an interesting learning-curve and one I am only part way up, but I have learned several very important lessons. The first is that there are a hell of a lot of really, really good writers out there that cannot get agents, and a lot of really bad writers who have.
Secondly, we live or die on reviews and they are terribly difficult to get. A part of me thinks that we have become our own worst enemy and indie authors are continually on the lookout for the lengthy, great review. But actually, any review or comment of any length is brilliant.
If you read a book by an indie author and you liked it, just post on Amazon, Smashwords or wherever you bought it a quick note. “I loved it,” or “Great book,” or something simple is all that is needed. You don’t have to spend hours writing a huge commentary dissecting every word. Just a thumbs up – that means so much to us all!

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?
I have another six (or more) Dirt books to write and that is going to keep me occupied for some time, however I have other projects too.
I wrote a Young Adult book called The Stink which people love, but I haven’t managed to shift. I want to get that moving and write the sequel. This is not fantasy, but about a group of young people starting a band in 1976. The sequel is set two years later when they go on tour in the back of a knackered old van. Should be interesting.
I also have planned more London novels and possibly a tome of poetry too.

Dirt website:
The Stink website:
Amazon Author Central:

Video Links:
When Be-Eirol met Mab-Aneirin and Weasel

The Stink trailer

Author Interview: Patricia Loofbourrow

Posted November 26, 2015

Patricia LoofbourrowPatricia Loofbourrow, MD is an SFF and non-fiction writer, PC gamer, ornamental food gardener, fiber artist, and wildcrafter who loves power tools, dancing, genetics and anything to do with outer space. She was born in southern California and has lived in Chicago and Tokyo. She currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three grown children.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I began writing in high school, mostly journals and poetry.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

At my desk, upstairs. We have a large room where most of my family keeps their computers, games, music and so on.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I’m more of an addict. I write when I feel like it which fortunately is most of the time.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I love what George RR Martin has done in his Song of Ice and Fire, mainly because I love books with multi-dimensional characters and political intrigue. I also love the Dune series by Frank Herbert for much the same reason. Every time I read Dune I learn something new.

  • What inspired you to write The Jacq of Spades?

I just recently wrote an article about that: A couple of years ago, a couple of sentences popped into my head which struck me as reminiscent of film noir. Since I also like steampunk, I decided to combine the two. On plotting the story, I realized I was starting in the wrong place. The Jacq of Spades is really a prequel to the book I originally wanted to write.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

The Jacq of Spades is the first book in a series about a female private eye in a neo-Victorian domed city split between four crime families.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

My protagonist’s mortal enemy is a man known as “Black Jack” Diamond. He has about as bad a reputation as a man can have (and is quite possibly insane) but is protected by his Family, who own the prison and most of the court system. Jack Diamond is very fun to write.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

I try not to write moralistic stuff. But it’s intentionally noir. As such, it deals with choices and how they may or may not make a difference to anyone but yourself.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 

The once-beautiful domed neo-Victorian city of Bridges is now split between four crime families inThe Jacq of Spades an uneasy cease-fire. Social disparity increasing and its steam-driven infrastructure failing, a new faction is on the rise: the Red Dogs.

Jacqueline Spadros has a dream life: a wealthy husband, a powerful family. But her life is not what it seems.Kidnapped from her mother’s brothel and forced to marry, the murder of her best friend Air ten years before haunts her nightmares. She finds moments of freedom in a small-time private eye business, which she hides in fear of her sadistic father-in-law.

Air’s little brother disappears off his back porch and the Red Dogs are framed for it. With the help of a mysterious gentleman investigator hired by the Red Dogs to learn the truth, Jacqui pushes her abilities to their limits in hope of rescuing the child before the kidnapper disposes of him.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing The Jacq of Spades?

I had to rewrite it a lot to get to where I wanted it. I wrote one large section of the story at least six times, trying to understand a certain character’s background and motivations. Moving around scenes and adding subplots three months before publication was pretty harrowing: I feel like I went through almost as much as my characters did! The achievement, I think, was pushing through and getting the book to where I wanted it.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Jacq of Spades?

I have a lot more grit than I thought I did.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write a lot. I feel that the “million words” advice is good. You need to find your confidence and perspective, and you need to learn how to write. It’s hard to do either if you’ve only written one or two stories.  I began writing novels in 2005 and I think I’m close to the two million word mark. I’d have to go back and check.

Find a team. You can’t do this alone. You need readers you trust who will tell you the truth. You need the best editor you can afford. You need a fan section. This takes time. Start participating in writing groups while you write your million words, making friends, finding who’s good and who’s not.

Don’t try to publish a novel unless you really feel ready, because it’s a lot harder than it looks. You have to really want this bad and have a story you really believe in. That said, once you decide to do it, put a realistic deadline for your book and draw a line in the sand. Tell everyone you know. Doing that made me step up to the plate in a way I never thought I could.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Self-publishing a novel is like being the first one on a new rollercoaster in the dark. You don’t know what is going to happen – you just sort of have to trust that it all will work out. But it’s fun.

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

I’m plotting my second book in the series and plan to write it during NaNoWriMo 2015.




Author Interview: Panda Johnson

Posted November 24, 2015

robertBorn in the East End of London during the late 1960’s, to a fairly typical London family of that period. Yes, within the sound of Bow Bells, so yes I am authentic Cockney, though now living in Cornwall it is not somewhere that I miss, after all who wouldn’t swap the traffic hewn streets for the cold wintered coast?
Age is not a kind companion, for 13 years (Since I was 35) I have suffered from Reiters Disease. This is a form of Arthritis, and for the last 5 to 6 years, from IBS as well.
I never let them get the better of me though; I have a dog, a Collie, Jess. She is the scattiest 7 year old dog I have ever seen and as loyal as you could wish for.
I am an avid record collector, though this is something that my dear wife would argue with… I am also an avid archer and air rifle enthusiast, plus I love my dirt/pit bike. Though, all of these are things that have to be done in moderation, pain allowing so to speak.

1) When did you first discover your love for writing?

I remember writing my first story when I was very young, I had this great big red book that I kept everything in, lists of records I wanted, music I loved, pictures that I drew and stories that I wrote. It was awful, three pages long and no grammar at all. But then I was only about seven so I don’t put too much credence on that. I really got into writing about twelve years ago, I was working the late shift at a Royal Mail sorting depot and had lots of free time in the mornings. I could not afford a PC or Word Processor at the time so the entire story was written long hand in small notebooks purchased from my local WHSmith.

It was a hard, hard process and ultimately the book was never finished. The idea was good, solid but it lacked the grammar and detail that was needed. I put the notebooks away and forgot about them. A few years later in the middle of my divorce the notebooks resurfaced. After reading through them I knew it was no good and threw them all away. There was nothing new for a years, then in early 2014 I found myself once more with the time to indulge myself. I went back to College, did a refresher course on writing and grammar and started anew. Though this time the book was totally different and far better than anything I had ever attempted before. The love of writing has always been in me, but it’s only now that I have time and confidence to put my work out there for the world to see.

2) Do you have a favourite place to write?

I love to write sat in a café by the sea, though this is much harder than it sounds. Living in Cornwall the sea is never far away but there are not many café’s with a sea view, and the ones that are don’t much like you sitting there all day drinking their free refill coffee. It’s not so bad during the winter as there are not that many tourists, but during the summer the coast is flooded with people and it’s not an environment that is easy to relax and write in. So I tend to most of my writing sat in the armchair at home with my headphones on.

3) Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

As I also work twenty-five hours a week it’s hard to have a routine, you what it’s like. You set a routine out, either on paper on in your head and then life happens and the whole routine goes to pot. But I try and write everyday, whether its on my book, my blogs or just ideas, I write. I think maybe that’s one reason I have not yet suffered from the dreaded writer’s block. It keeps my mind active and the ideas flowing.

4) Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I think a lot of people know who my favourite Authors are, if not then have a look at the website they are listed there (yes that’s a blatant plug!). In all seriousness Douglas Adams and James Herbert are two that I read as a teen and have stuck with me until their deaths and beyond. I know they are both different, but they produced work that spoke to me. If I can do that to just one person, then I am a very happy Author.

5) What inspired you to write The Monuments of Panda Johnson?

I knew I wanted to write, as you have already seen I have tried before, but this time I had a plan, the name of the mainPanda Johnson protagonist, don’t ask me where it came from. I was thinking of the names used by Adams in HHGTTG, I wanted it to be unique, memorable but not too unpronounceable. The surname came first, and then the first name, just literally popped into my head. I had the basics of the story in my head and once I had that, well I was off and running with it.

6) Can you tell us a little about your book?

That’s like asking someone to describe a Monty Python sketch in Dutch when they have never spoken a word of it. However, it is the first part of a trilogy involving six main protagonists. Panda being the main and lead character, they are opposed through their adventures and travels by a Dark Queen and her husband. There are lots of twists and turns, dozens of side characters not to mention sub plots. There are parts when even the Editor and staff get involved. If you want to know then you will have to read it.

7) Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

I knew that you were going to ask that lol. I love Bambii due to her uniqueness, I also adore Lord Overworn because of his lacklustre nature and basic failure as an evil deity to be. But I cannot really separate them, all of the characters have the same level of adoration. After all I invented them and to show one more favouritism than the other would be rather unfair.
Now if you had asked do I have one that I don’t like then I would have immediately said Oareo the dog…

8) Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Only insomuch as life is short, never take it too seriously. Have fun, let your mind run free and see what worlds are inside your own mind, you will amazed at can happen.

9) Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Yes of course.

“That’s it; you all just run amuck why don’t you?” Oareo was letting his temper get the better of him. After all, this was his kitchen and he had rights!
“O.M.G,” screeched Dang like a small girl discovering dolls for the first time, “They have Mongolian Beach Duck, and it’s crispy too.” Dang looked as if he may pass out from sheer over excitement.
Misty watched him, her brow furrowed. “When I was still a Monk for Ohm, this food was on the banned list and if found even in possession of a menu with it on, you risked the act of Derision by Gul.”
Misty shook her head totally unimpressed, “I don’t think I’d be too bothered if a Gull was mocking me.” Her now loose glasses slipped a little more.
Dang sighed, muttering to himself, “And people wonder why I sleep so much?” Then in a louder voice, “Not Gull as in seagull you over chested woman, Gul single L, he was an 8’7″ Severn armed Demon from the 5th dimension, hardly a white and brown stain on your car windscreen.”

10) What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing The Monuments of Panda Johnson?

The writing part is simple, it’s everything else that is a challenge. When I first decided to be Independent I did foresee the complexity of the other aspects of the book. Editing is first and foremost. Plot and character consistency are the hardest and biggest challenges. After that comes cover design, promoting, setting up your own business. The list is endless.
I could have gone with time, I think a lot of Authors would have said that and as I have already mentioned it is hard at times to fit it all in. But when you have something to write you find the time, even if you’re falling asleep with your fingers on the keyboard at two am.

11) What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing The Monuments of Panda Johnson?

That I am capable, that I am better than I thought and that my work has a place. I feel that I have achieved something I never thought I would. I have learnt how to tell a story, a good story in my own unique way. Not only that but this is something I will not be giving up.

12) Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Do not give up, write the book. Leave it a month once you have finished, then go back and read it. If you have an Editor use them, listen to their advice. If you don’t make sure you work on that book over and over. There will always be things that you think could have been better, or you may want to change. But don’t change for changes sake.

13) Anything else you would like to say?

You mean other than but the book, it’s fantastic. No, not really.

14) And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Oh yes, I am currently around 40,000 words into book two, Panda Johnson and the Death of the Gods, book three will be here late 2017, Panda Johnson and the Child of a Thousand Mothers. After that, well I have a number of projects. One is a supernatural thriller, no comedy in that one I can assure you. The other is about a Victorian detective stuck in time and wakes up in 1979. Though that one still has a lot of planning to do. There are also at least eight other Panda Johnson related books in the pipeline so I think I will be busy for quite some time to come.

Author Interview: P.F.Davids

Posted November 17, 2015

pfdavidsphotoI’m P.F. Davids, fantasy writer and author of Lesser Evil.  I write from my little place in Central Florida.  When I’m not writing, I’m playing tabletop games, or watching numbers go up in the latest RPG.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

When I was very young.  Some of my earliest memories are of making little picture book stories for my mom.  It’s really all I’ve ever wanted to do.  During High School, I did novelling as my senior career project.  College saw me take a path through the IT field, but I never stopped writing.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

A boring answer, but my bedroom.  The more unique thing is when I write: typically 90% of my writing has gotten done between 12 AM and 5 AM.  I’ve always been a night-owl, and those hours after everyone has gone to bed and before the sun rises are so peaceful and free of distractions that I can really focus on putting my thoughts to words.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

My programming professor probably gave me the best advice (or worse, depending on your point of view): keep some candy or other snack about you, so if you reach a problem that is particularly frustrating you can take a bite and keep your calm.  This advice has worked for me in writing as well, keeping a nice stack of snacks about really helps me when I struggling with writer’s block or a certain paragraph that I know what is supposed to be said but just won’t get phrased right!  Course, probably not the healthiest habit, but it helps.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

Joe Abercombie’s First Law trilogy really opened my eyes to modern fantasy.  Or I should, shattered my perception as to what good fantasy had to be.  While I’m not really a student of the Grimdark style (as I still like my stories to have a more hopeful or heroic overall tone), it did shape how I view my writing drastically.  I’m hoping to eventually find that perfect balance between classical fantasy elements and modern fantasy as inspired by him.

  • What inspired you to write Lesser Evil?

I was told by a certain friend that he liked my villains more than he liked my heroes.  So I decided to do an exercise where I told a story from villain’s perspective to see what I could learn from that in terms of telling my heroes story.  I ended up really liking some of the characters that I came up, so I retooled them for an upcoming NaNoWriMo challenge.  I actually failed my goal that year, but by that time I was determined to see the project through. 

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

The book is a play on the classic story of good versus evil,  with the question at the forefront being, “If a good man does evil to fight evil, can he still be considered good?”  Kester Belisario’s order is on the verge of extinction at the hands of the Serpentine Empire, and the only hope they have is to assassinate the Empire.  To this end, Kester must recruit an old enemy of the Church, a man cloaked in darkness whose evil deeds are legendary.  If they can work together without killing one another, they might just succeed.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

I don’t like to play favourites with my characters.  There are some who are easier to write than others, though.  Writing a character like Reis, who plays naturally on my darker side, and whose sarcasm matches the way I normally think, is fairly easy for me to write for.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Each book is different for every reader.  I will leave it to readers to decide what messages to take from it.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Taken from Chapter 3, the first Reis point-of-view chapter.

Why did his research always seem to take two steps back for every step forward?

Reis sighed and leaned back in his chair.  He tried in vain to wipe the sleepiness out of his eyes with his hands.  He had worked through the night, as he often did, and had been positive, as he often was, that he was on the verge of a major breakthrough.

Well, I suppose a result is a result.  Now if I could just figure out what it means.

            He could feel himself getting frustrated, a familiar anger rising up inside him.  It would not do.  Anger had its uses.  It could drive you in combat, it could motivate you to press on against rough conditions and impossible odds, it could blind you to pain and sorrow.  But alchemy required a cool, logical mind.  Reis closed his eyes and forced himself to take a few deep breaths.

Green and red, saved from the dead.  Blue and black, a life you now lack.

The annoying little rhyme played over and over again in his head.  With his eyes closed he could even see the thick spectacles of his alchemy teacher staring over him as he was forced to repeat the rhyme until it was burned into his mind.  Elixirs should all turn one of those four colors.

So why the hell is it purple?

            Reis opened his eyes, looking again at his unusual concoction.  It was not the strangest result his experiments ever yielded, but it was certainly among the most puzzling.  The color told him nothing.  At least when a failed experiment turned blue or black he could get an idea of what went wrong based on the shade.  But purple?  That was meaningless.  For all he knew, the experiment was a resounding success and he had just discovered a new type of elixir.

He raised the vial up to his nose and took a deep sniff.  The smell turned out to be just as useless as the color.  It smelled sour at first, but then he began to notice a distinctly salty scent.  None of that made sense.

Was one of Lesser Evilmy ingredients contaminated?

            He had no choice but to check all his ingredients for purity.  He grumbled to himself when he thought about the amount of tedious work that would require.  There was no getting around it, though.  Alchemy had zero room for error.  Even the smallest contaminants would cause a concoction to take on unwanted properties.  Any future experiments could be compromised if he did not ensure his stock was up to quality.

Reis got up slowly from his chair behind the lab desk and stretched his legs.  It was good to move around again after being cramped in the lab for so long.

He stepped out into the second floor hallway.  He was greeted as always by the strong smell of sulfur from one of the rooms down the hall.  For all the advances he made, he had yet to come up with a solution to stench.  Fragrant candles, perfumes, even scented cloths held to his nose failed to alleviate the stench.  He had grown mostly used to it by now, and fortunately it saw no use in his recent elixirs, so he had no need to smell it up close.

The doctors who had built this mansion had the clever idea to do so in two layers.  There was the outer layer, which encompassed the hospital and other public areas.  To separate their home from the hospital they built another layer inside it, almost a house within a house.  It made sense; it helped keep their personal and business life separate.  Plus, in the winter it was easier to warm just the living area as opposed to the whole mansion.  When Reis had found the mansion the outer layer had already fallen to disrepair, the roof rotting, the hospital leaking, the walls seemingly near collapse.  The inner layer had fared much better against the elements and Reis had been able to perform some basic repairs to get it into livable condition.  He also spent quite a bit of coin procuring quality furnishings, so he could continue to live the lifestyle to which he was accustomed.  As Reis walked down the hall he passed several comfortable chairs, their cushions plump and ready for him should he desire a break.

It had seemed like the perfect arrangement to him.  The mansion’s outwards appearance of rot and disrepair discouraged visitors and enemies alike, while inside he had all the comforts he desired.  At least, until the Empire decided to pay a visit.

The pushy colonel had left Reis little choice.  He would have preferred not making such a powerful enemy, but he was not about to be pressed into the Empire’s service either.  There would undoubtedly be consequences; the Empire knew where he lived and had surely learned of the colonel’s demise by now.  Reis wondered how long he would have before they came marching in force towards his home.

He would have to move on before then.  It would be a pity abandoning the place he had lived in so long, but Reis was not one for sentimentality.  The worse part would be abandoning his massive stock of alchemical components.  Even if he hired a cart to assist him, his stock was too large to take with him and many of the ingredients would become contaminated in the process.  Which is why it was so crucial for him to make some progress in what time he had left.

The first store room came up on the left.  The occupants before Reis had likely used this room as a child’s bedroom.  Now it was filled with shelves containing jars of powders, oils, plants, preserved animal parts and insects, dried leaves and grass, solid crystal fragments.  All the common alchemical ingredients, as well as some that were not so common, such as blood and gemstones.

Reis checked each container in turn.  He checked the seals, smelled the contents, ran the powders through his fingers.  He found no signs of contamination.  He checked the next store room, and the last one down the hall.  In none of his inspections did he find anything that suggested contamination.

No closer to solving this mystery.

            Reis was running out of options.  At this rate the only way forward would be to test the elixir, and he sure wasn’t going to drink it with no idea of what it would do.  He was going to need to find a ‘willing’ test subject.

            And he knew just where to find one.


  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Lesser Evil?

Getting the book ready to be published was a brand new challenge for me.  Going from cover design, interior formatting, editing… oh, editing.  Thankfully, I had great help from talented cover designer and an editor who cut me deal.  Oh, and many friendly proofreaders.  Couldn’t have done it without them.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Lesser Evil?

I learned I am capable of a complete book, from beginning to end to publication.  Really, something I was not sure I would be able to do.  Now that I know I can, I can’t imagine anything stopping me going forward.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Yeah, write.  It seems simple, but just sitting down and writing is much harder than it sounds.  Getting those words on pages is a great struggle for all writers, particularly new writers.  I suggest taking a crack at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) one November if you are the kind whom a deadline would be beneficial.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Support your local bookstores!  (Also, small bookstores, I wouldn’t mind your support as well)

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

I’m currently working on the second book in the Lesser Evil trilogy, which I will make an official announcement of in a couple of day.  And being a trilogy, you can expect a third book as well.  I’m also in the planning stages of major series, which I can’t go too much into right now (mostly cause the notes are such a jumbled mess right now), but it is a single series with each book telling the journey of a single character.

You can find Lesser Evil on Amazon:

And Goodreads:

You can follow me on Facebook:

And Twitter:



Author Interview: Lindsey Williams

Posted October 29, 2015

self portraitLindsey Williams is a sci-fi, horror and fantasy writer living in sunny Florida. When she’s not writing, she’s been known to engage in numerous forms of self-torture such as participating in philosophical debates or translating things into ancient Egyptian.Some of her other hobbies include researching and/or analyzing pretty much everything to death, conducting culinary experiments, and listening to really loud heavy metal while relaxing in her pool.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I have always just… been a writer. Since I was a young girl, I wrote. Poems, journaling, letters, short stories, anything. I was actually that kid in school who would get excited when we had to do an essay. I’ve always found it easier to express myself through writing. It’s who I am. The rest of my family was always physically artistic- music, painting, crafty or handy things. I was horrible with all that, because writing is my medium.


  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

Well, I live in Florida so it’s nice most of the year. My ‘office’ is usually my back porch. I love it. It’s a screened in pool deck where we house our orchid collection. Very peaceful. Unless the neighbor is mowing the lawn or something…


  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Hmm. Yes, of a sort. I have a list of ideas that I refer to, with little blurbs about the general concept. I expand upon these, one by one, into a more detailed outline. Then I work off the outline, but basically just wing it. It’s a nice compromise between organization and chaos that works for me. I need a bit of both.


  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

Stephen King, Laurell K. Hamilton (though I enjoyed her books more before they became mostly focused on the ‘romantic’ aspects of the stories, shall we say), Douglas Adams, Mary Shelley, Christopher Moore, Hunter S. Thompson, Neil Gaiman. I have and will always be –and want to be- a proud weirdo. I can only hope to one day be as weird (and awesome) as these guys.


  • What inspired you to write Motherhood?

Well, there were a few different inspirations for Motherhood, but as with most of my stories, it started out as an idea from a dream I had. You would laugh really, if you saw what I had initially written- it was just this one scribbled, barely discernible little line ‘something about aliensMotherhood cover-page and being trapped’. I happened to decide to filter this through the lens of my own rather horrifying custody experience, which led me to the basic concept. It’s kind of crazy how I come up with my concepts, because I don’t really, they just happen, like a lightning bolt. If only the actual writing part was that easy…

But once I got started I realized I wanted to explore the darker possibilities of being a mother, the helplessness of parenthood and the despair of separation. It snowballed.

Our society is so focused on the ‘positive’, the ‘yang’, the outer world and there is this huge stigma against women having negative or even strong emotions and we’re certainly not allowed to be ambivalent about children. How far can I stretch that limit?

We’re supposed to be pure, perfect, well behaved. What if we were allowed to be whole people, and have our own darkness? What does that look like? What happens to a woman who deals with it? What’s the worst case scenario?

And there were some other social issues that I wanted to touch upon as well, while still offering an entertaining and hopefully thought-provoking story. So I hope that comes through to readers. There is a good bit of nuance to it.


  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Without giving away too much, Jess wakes up to discover she’s been abducted by aliens. Then she is forcibly inseminated and carries the child to term. She doesn’t ever expect to love the child at all, but for some reason she is able to to partake in the alien’s telepathy and so she is ultimately unable to avoid a growing connection with her son during her captivity. It’s the only relationship she has access to so she comes to depend on it. Unfortunately, this causes her even more heartache in the end. You’ll have to read it to find out the rest of what happens!


  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Well, the star of the show is obviously Jess, who is very much an anti-heroine. She really goes through a lot and as I was writing, she took on a personality of her own. It’s a pretty character driven book, focused on her experience.


  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Oh, several. But I will leave it to the reader to decide what exactly the messages are.


  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Motherhood?

Probably getting past my own fear, finishing it, and putting it out there. I know Motherhood won’t be for everyone (and isn’t this all just one big popularity contest?) but my hope is that it will inspire people to think about the way we view certain stigmas and taboos, the way we treat things we don’t understand. I would consider it quite an achievement if Motherhood can in any way help even one person confront their own fears and limitations, question the status quo or why things are the way they are.


  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Motherhood?

Writing Motherhood was an experience that solidified something that I’ve always known, in the back of my mind. I am a writer. I have somehow avoided this realization for over a decade of trying to do other things and figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  About halfway through the book it just clicked into place and I literally had a moment where I was like ‘Ohhh, ok. Yes, HERE it is, here’s what I’m supposed to be doing…” and I finally realized that for me, doing anything else is a waste of my time.


  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Just keep writing! Keep going, don’t get discouraged. This is a tough business, and it’s a challenge to not let things get to you. But the rewards are worth it. Connecting with people, offering ideas and creating lives, exploring pain and beauty, love and fear, emotion, vulnerability, sharing a part of yourself- it’s truly unlike doing anything else. It’s exhilarating and amazing and terrifying all at the same time.

One of my favourite pieces of advice comes from Jaxon Wolfe (on Twitter of all places): “If you don’t write the classics of the future, then who will?”

My second favourite piece of advice is something Brian Rathbone said: “Sometimes writing involves taking a nap”.


  • Anything else you would like to say?

Stay tuned! I’m just getting started. Also, the print version of Motherhood is coming soon.


  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Tons! As I said, I’ve got a running list of ideas. There is MUCH more to come, for sure. I’m currently working on two stories, Dragonfae – a medieval style fantasy and Astralis – a futuristic action sci-fi.





Author Interview: Julius Bailey

Posted October 23, 2015

Julius BaileyJulius Bailey is a proud though unobtrusive resident of Oklahoma, and though many have seen him at some point or another few might acknowledge the fact. His interests include a list of things considered archaic, strange, and/or beguiling. Having delved into the realm of fantasy many years past, he now finds it one of his most steadfast allies. His debut fantasy novel, Strife Of The Mighty, can be found on Amazon.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

I’d say that it was somewhere around twelve or thirteen years of age. It was back then that I unearthed my up till then unknown love for reading; unexpectedly a love for writing followed. I read a lot of fantasy, and the different worlds I was introduced to and the numerous adventures I discovered pulled at me. No, they enthralled me. That’s when I found my calling. These uncharted worlds and fantastical tales were marvelous to me; they transported me from the current world I inhabited to another. By and by, the thought occurred to me, Well, if other folks can do it, why can’t I have a try?

So I did. And, wouldn’t you believe it, I really enjoyed it! It was incredible, wielding the power to create new things. Entire continents were at the mercy of my pen (ok, pencil), whole races of people or creatures were subject to my whim, and a fantastic tale was mine for the weaving. As I delved the deeper into my stories, I gradually came to realize that I was also delving deeper into myself, and I found that interesting. My skill increased with time, but when I first began writing, and even for a while after, I did not write for the purpose of simply getting better. I wrote because I enjoyed it.


  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

Yes. In my bedroom with the windows shuttered and silence all round. Occasionally, if I am in a writing standstill or a certain mood, I’ll listen to soft music to aid my creativity. But unlike some people I don’t write my best in areas that are too open, such as outside or in a large room. I need closeness and privacy to function at my top capacity.


  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Not really. I do make it a point to set aside an hour or two every day, but the time of the day doesn’t really matter (unless it’s early in the morning; the words simply won’t flow at 7am). I also try to write whenever I’m hit by sudden inspiration, but as we all know that doesn’t always work out. I find that trying to adhere myself to a strict routine makes me feel unnecessarily bound, and that should never be the case with something you love.


  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

The two authors that have had the heaviest impact on me are C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Of the two, Tolkien’s influence has been the heavier. Unlike a surprising number of people my age, I take a keen interest in the lengthy eloquence of what many call ‘archaic language’. Tolkien is a master of this. His tales of Middle-earth were rife with action, suspense, lore, and even some romance, yet it is the way in which he describes all of these things that makes them especially enduring. He brings his world to life in vivid imagery, and his characters in striking imaginings. His battle scenes are an especial gem. Also, Tolkien’s world-building was wholly complete. He had his own languages, his own histories and legends, and they were all believably applicable to whichever of his invented cultures were using them.

I learned from him and his style, and it inspired me and my writing. By the time I had seriously begun the work that would become Strife Of The Mighty, I was earnestly regarding the formulas that Tolkien used to craft his craft.


  • What inspired you to write Strife Of The Mighty?

The desire to mold a realm of my own and then have the pleasure of reading about it is a good answer, I think. It was about a year (give or take) after I discovered my love for writing that I decided it was time to take the next step— time to write my own full length fantasy novel.


  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Strife Of The Mighty is the first book in what will become a collection of several books in an epic and exciting fantasy series. It tells the tale of the toils and adventures of the people of the kingdom of Vrandalin, in a time when threats from legend arise, hope decreases, and those who are thought weak discover their strength. It is epic fantasy in its truest form, catering to the olden, high style.


  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Oh, come now. You know I can’t answer that. I love all of my characters, even the evil ones; for me to choose to set one on high above all the rest in this respect would be sooo wrong. However, I will say that there is a special place in my heart for Brandegan, Parma, and Merch (I know, I know, that’s three characters.).


  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

It does. Several actually, but most of these are left up to the reader, and I would like to leave them so. But a few of the main things Strife Of The Mighty focuses on are perseverance, choosing one’s own path when all other influences seek to squelch that choice, and daring to hold to something that is shunned by all.


  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Of course! Here’s an excerpt from Strife Of The Mighty:

Brandegan quickened his run. Ahead of him the lights had begun to recede, melting into the night like wraiths. There were no more shouts either. All around silence again crept forward. Just before he could reach them, the last of the fires vanished. Brandegan was just about to dash after them, but something halted him. The heavy forestry round about was still, too still. Brandegan became aware of an intense watchfulness, and as he listened, a shroud of dread descended upon him.

     Suddenly he felt, rather than saw, a shadow shift beside him. Next moment, he was hurled forward, heaved from the earth as though he was weightless, and tossed like a wind-blasted reed. Hardly had he struck the ground when a dark weight fell on him, crushing him down. He heard a snarl, and then four enormous claws, sharp as blades, raked his side. He fought back, lashing out with Rithlir, but a great, hirsute paw gripped his arm and, with a massive strength, pinned it to the ground.Strife of the Mighty

     Then Brandegan saw the eyes. Hovering just before his face, they shone as red fire, feeding the darkness with their terror and harboring within them the insatiable spirit of the Dread Palace. Even as they gazed down on their prey, the malice behind those eyes was kindled to sudden wrath, for here at last was their scourge, here at last was the thorn long sought.

     But just before teeth as deadly as the edge of Rithlir found their mark, there was a dazzling flash. Shadows leapt up and fled, the darkness was pushed back, and in that moment Brandegan’s adversary was revealed. Greater in stature than any beast of the wild stood Daugruil. As other Gragmarr, his forelegs loomed up, broad and strong. His back, arching downward near his hind-legs, was covered in coarse, crimson fur, and his great muzzle was lined with dagger-edged teeth. Now he stumbled backward, thwarted from his intent by the blinding, silver flare.

     Brandegan leapt to his feet as soon as the weight was lifted. His side throbbed in agony, and blood had already soaked through his raiment. But he heeded it not. The insatiable spirit of malice that burned in the eyes of this Gragmarr he knew…


  • What would you say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Strife Of The Mighty?

That’s easy: Writing it! Had I known, when I started out, that writing a novel would have been so very difficult I think I might have quailed. I’ve learned so much along this journey, and I’ve gained and lost much as well. I’ve sweated, slaved, wept (almost), roared, whispered, coaxed, and I’ve spent and lost money by reason of things I knew not of. But the pros vastly outweigh the cons. I’ve grown both as an individual and a writer. I’ve discovered those things that can either make or break a novel. I’ve found new friends and formed alliances, and have been introduced to the wonderful community of indie authors. But greatest of all I believe (besides the first reason), is the fact that I’ve learned how to write. Properly.


  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Strife Of The Mighty?

That I can literally write until my brain aches like a drum’s nerves after it has been beat on all day in a tribal festival (if a drum had nerves). Okay, in all seriousness. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that it is essential to never believe that you have reached the pinnacle of your skill; you can always push for something greater. And if you try hard enough, really try, and are willing to learn and sift the rubbish advice from the golden advice, you will continue to rise. And also patience. I’m not naturally all that patient. I like to see results to things quickly. Sometimes it’s a marvel to me that I was able to make it through Strife Of The Mighty at all! The rewrites were painstaking! The filling in of the plot was torturous! The constant editing was indescribable! Yet I stuck with it. I had to. By an inner sense I knew that I had to. I had to see this work to the end. Several times I almost rushed into certain decisions that would not have turned out well for me, but something always withheld me from these ill opportunities. Patience was a main factor that saw me through.


  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Be hardworking, be resolute in your craft, and be patient. A big thing I encounter in aspiring authors is the lack of determination. They find that they enjoy to write, launch into writing a novel, and then, upon discovering how difficult writing said novel is, waver and eventually drop off the tracks. Being a writer takes dedication and patience. These are the two most important things. No, skill is not the most important thing. If you have real dedication to your craft you will always be seeking to hone it; you will ever be striving to make yourself better and in doing so you will become better. And patience will see to it that your determination has two legs to stand on.


  • Anything else you would like to say?

Just that I enjoyed this interview, and wish all of my fellow fantasy authors the best of luck! And also I render a heartfelt thank you to all the indie author supporters. The reviewers, the bloggers, the interviewers, and the fans. All of your help is never forgotten, and you guys are more important than words can describe.


  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Yes indeed! I am currently working on Book Two of the Chronicles of Vrandalin, in which the adventure continues, new things are revealed and discovered, and sacrifices are made. And upon its completion, I shall delve into a few new realms. The Lael chronicles have only just begun!


Strife Of The Mighty is available here!

Julius’ blog

Julius’ Twitter

Julius’ goodreads

Author Interview: Houston Havens

Posted October 22, 2015

seriesmediakit2Hello Everyone! For those who don’t know me, my name is Houston Havens. I’m a Best Selling Author of the series Psychic Ménage and I welcome you to my world of Scifi-Paranormal-erotic-romance where fantasy becomes reality…if only for a moment in time.

When did you first discover your love for writing?

About the age of 6 with my Barbie dolls. My sister and I would stage entire plots each day for our Barbie and Ken’s to play out. I remember years later hearing my mother tell a friend she used to listen to us play, so she could hear what our stories where about and how our dolls got through it all. At times, Ken was a spy like 007 who had to save Barbie, other time Barbie was a model trying to break into the business and Ken was the agent she needed to get to the top. My stage plays turned into writing books at the age of 34.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

Every day in my den.

Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

Yes, trying to get some words written on the book once I get through all the business end of this business. Once you’re published it’s very hard to find the time you need to spend on a book because social media and promotions takes up a lot of good writing time. An author wears more than one hat in this writing world, 16 hours days are normal days for me.

Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

OH, I love Kayelle Allen, she writes sweeping sagas but also individual books like me! She goes from erotic to mainstream and I’ll read whatever she writes. I love her author voice. Here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at what relocating to the Tarthian Empire would be like for the immortals in her books. A bit of fiction, written in a non-fiction way, the book offers guidance from Joss Avaton, one of the immortals. Provides dire warnings about who not to cross, and what to do about pesky Mundanes (namely, those annoying humans), and who among the Chosen is not to be trusted.

If you are intrigued by this hop over here and find An Immortal’s Guide to Tarth Amazon Barnes and Noble

What inspired you to write XXX? I don’t write tripleX I write erotic-romance…I’m not an erotica writer. Each one of my books has three main storylines:

1– A Dystopian series plot,

2– A story (Love/sex) plot

3– A book’s individual characters goal subplot to the series plot.

I weave three tales into one sizzling tale of intrigue…you can’t have love without great sex so my sex scenes are seductively described but done with class. My stories are books a wife can read to her husband and the two can steam up their bedroom after I get the balls rolling! LOL

OOOH (smacks hand on forehead) my girlfriend just pointed out you weren’t talking about XXX style of writing- I’m supposed to fill in the xxx with the title of my book.  Hey, ok ya said to “be me” and my friend will quickly point out I’m a “blonde” and a retired “model”. Well, being a model I can’t deny…it’s how I earned a living before I got into writing…as far as the blonde…well, ahum…I’m blonde now! ;-D Can I still use that as my excuse for this hand smacking forehead moment?

Can you tell us a little  about your book?

I’d be happy to but first you have to understand how I work. Being that I’m an Irish lass, I can’t stand being “normal” I couldn’t be happy writing mainstream romance and I didn’t want to be an eroticA writer…I wanted to mix them together a little bit of each and a step above both. So I added a mainstream genre to the mix. But I couldn’t be happy with just a Sci-fi erotic-romance. I wanted to give my readers something different. So I came up with a series that covered ten genres: Yes, everything and the kitchen sink!

I blended Paranormal Time travel (ghosts, remote viewers, and shifters) with Futuristic Fantasy Sci-Fi Space Opera odyssey (space aliens, giants, and faeries! I happen to be a geek and love science and myths) so I had to add that. I then tossed in a touch of historical western (Humans beginning again after a culling). And to make that all work I had to add in a wee bit of Political Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic (to make it all believable – why men would share a woman – most ménages never give a good enough reason why the brothers or friends shared a woman and why a woman would go along with being shared! As you can tell, I’m a strong Irish woman and I’m sorry, I’m not going to fall into being SHARED or passed around or being in a ménage relationship unless there is a good reason for it. So, I had to make a good LOGICAL reason.). After creating one, I then added a touch of mystery to the series plot that I hope will intrigue my reader enough to take them through the entire 7 book series.

Book 1 Sinful Surrender is about a top psychic spy. Fay Avalon is on the run from her post-catastrophic dystopian government, searching for the truth. She escapes only to land in the arms of the enemy. Once Logan and his brothers discover who she is, will they make her their wife or execute her as a spy?

Book 2 Phantom Desire is about a mind traveler Chandra Lamar. Who is on the run, not only from her post-catastrophic dystopian government, but from a past she can’t remember. A psychic vision pushes her to recall her purpose for being, but it’s a ghost that awakens her desires for a life she fears she’ll never have. Does Chandra find true love in the arms of the Nodin men or does her Phantom Desire forever own her heart?

Book 3 Exposed Ecstasy is about Tessla Reto escapes the Underworld after she finds the two men sent to help her are dead. She’s rescued by a handsome stranger…or is she?

Faerydae’s search for truth and peace abruptly ends when a woman who stirs everything he’s spent a lifetime denying, falls into his life.

Will Shomar be able to win the woman of his dreams or will a Faery always have her heart?


Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

In Sinful Surrender, my fav is Drakker. In Phantom Desire, I fell for Nikias and in Exposed Ecstasy of course it’s Faerydae. Who did you fall in love with?

Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

Yes, very much so! All my books have a deeper meaning because I work FACTS about our real world (like HARRP, Remote Viewers, Underworld cities and military bases and other such things that my book plots are based on and around) that we all should be keeping an eye on. I am trying to make my readers curious enough so they will go on the internet and research things I put in my books – what they think I’ve created in fiction is not fiction at all but fact. It’s real already! A lot of the weapons and abilities I put in the books are already being used by our government(s)…things they won’t pass on to the ‘average’ person.

Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

I’d love to! I’ll give only tame ones out of respect for those of your readers who do not like erotic-romance.

Sinful Surrender: Tag Line: Why be tempted by one man’s seduction when you can be loved by three?

“What do you think, Drakker? Is that beautiful filly alive?”

Alive? The words she thought she heard sounded as if they were spoken underwater.

What’s a filly? Fay felt her body jerk with the thought. I can’t be alive. I hit too hard. The damn gel wrap didn’t work. What’s a Drakker? The last thing she remembered seeing was a dried, cracked brown surface racing toward her. It reminded her of the land she’d seen on mars in one of her mind travels.

“…’s a spy?”

She flinched at catching the word spy. Her world was fading in and out. Had she been rescued? She knew she was flat on her back Sinful surrenderinstead of strapped into her seat and was only hearing parts of a conversation.

“…Dwellers’ don’t have craft.”

Who’s talking? Am I imagining it, or have Reto’s men found me? Is that why I’m lying here? Did the Dirt Dwellers drag me from my craft already? There was a pressure under her nose and then a distant moan. Oh no, did I hit someone? She tried to move, but nothing worked.

“Hey, she’s coming around.”

There it is again. A deep tone, but it was more distinct this time. Someone’s talking, but who? How many people have I hurt? Why didn’t I see them before I crashed? The thought of such a tragedy drew her back toward full consciousness. She had to help them. Every effort she made to open her eyes failed. Someone moaned again. Who was that? She would know if she could only see. Damn. It felt like someone had placed two monolithic stones on her eyelids. The more effort she put into opening her eyes, the more her world spiked with stars and swirled around in her head. She was woozy. Pain had settled into every bone she had. Again with the moaning, and she realized the moans she heard were her own.

“I was afraid she might be dead,” a deep masculine voice said.

I can’t be dead. She scoffed to herself. It’s impossible to hurt this much and be dead. With one last-ditch effort Fay forced her eyes open to the blinding radiation of the sun. A shadow blocked the glaring rays. To her astonishment, she lay gazing up at a strong-jawed man kneeling beside her with a pitch-black curl of hair draped over his forehead. The rest of his sexy locks were slicked back on both sides, accented with a cowboy hat sitting on the back of his head at a cocky tilt. His sharp electric-blue eyes held a sparkle as he glided an admiring glance over her breasts and down her frame. He arched his dark eyebrows, wrinkling his tanned forehead as he watched her studying him.

He smirked, tugging on the end of her long black braided ponytail that lay askew between her breasts. “I hope you like what you’re looking at. They call me Drakker.”


Phantom Desire: Tag Line:  Can the promise of eternal love from a phantom win over the physical passions of real men?

 His gaze traveled over her from head to toe, confusing her. They were angry at each other, weren’t they? So why was her heart fluttering and why did she see lust rather than loathing in his stare? His mumble perked her ears. “I can’t take my eyes off you.”

“Wh-what?” She exhaled her words on a deep breath.


“What did you say?”

The second she relaxed, his grip tightened around her shoulders, anger curled his lip. “I said, I won’t take my eyes off of you.”

“You’re an idiot.” She attempted to twist away from him, but his countermove caused them to tumble onto the bed. Before she could get up, he straddled her waist and pinned her arms above her head.

The bastard tricked me! “Get off me!” Her body trembled with anger as he leaned over her.

His voice cloaked in aggression. “Are you telling me, you and Ortello had sex?”

“Yes!” She bucked her hips trying to get him to release her arms. “My heart is his.”

The victorious glint in his eye made her nerves jump. His sensuous mouth slipped into a side-slanted leer, stretching out above his strong jawline. “Out of your own mouth you confess Ortello sealed the deal, do you?”

Deal? What deal? Something was telling her not to say a word, but she didn’t listen. “I do.”

“Well then, it’s settled.” He straightened, releasing his hold on her wrists.

She shot up to her elbows. It was as far as she could move with him still astride her hips. “What’s settled?”

“By our laws, you are mine and Nikias’ wife whether we ever fuck you or not.” He got up and escaped to a safer spot across the room. “That same law grants me the power of protection over you.”

“Protection! I’ve protected me and Fay all these years without help. I don’t need protection now, especially by you!”

He pointed a finger at her. “You will abide by the law.”

She shoved all the way up to a sitting position at the edge of the bed. “Wanna run the small print of that law pass me one more time? Because, husband or not, I won’t be told what to do. You’re an Airborne not a Dirt Dweller. From what Fay told me, an Airborne wife is a partner to her husbands, not a slave. Got it? Besides, I don’t remember doing any kind of deal or taking any vow with Ortello. We made love, that’s it!”

“By our laws a man doesn’t sleep with a woman unless they are committed to marriage. If he takes her before a marriage ceremony is performed, and they later decide to go separate ways before the vows are spoken, the brothers can agree to release the woman of the unvoiced promise–”

“Then release me.”

Phantm DesireHe held up his finger to silence her and make his point. “But, should any one of the brothers refuse to release her, the commitment is valid, and must be honored. It appears Ortello committed us to each other without telling any of us.”

“Like I said, release me.”

His bottom lip pressed up forcing the corners down as he shook his head. “Sorry. I’m not of mind to do that.”

“What?” she shrieked. Was she wrong or was that sparkle dancing in his eyes delight?

“You’re mine.” A cheeky smirk sliced across his face. “Like it or not.”

Betrayed, Chandra clinched her fist, shaking it at Andonis’ retreating back as he fled to open the door. “Bullshit! Pure bullshit!” She screamed flying off the bed as he stepped out of the room. The minute she grabbed the candlestick holder from the nightstand, he drew the door to within an inch of closing. It was clear he’d guessed her intensions and sought to protect his head from any flying objects coming his way.

“You’re not going, Chandra,” he said from behind the door. “Final word as your husband.”


Nikias stood in the hall listening to all the commotion. He backed up at his brother’s quick exit from the room. A loud thump and then a crash splattered against the closed door. Andonis looked at him with a devilish twinkle in his eye. “Do you think she’s angry with me?”

He felt his brow pull up in amusement. “Just a little. She’ll be even angrier when she finds out you lied about the common-law thing.” He pressed his brow into a tight pinch.

Andonis moved like lightning down the hall.

“Where are you escaping to?” Nikias followed him to the foyer. He watched as Andonis grabbed a shirt and slipped it on while stepping out the front door.

“To have a word with Logan. Keep her busy until I get back.”

“Andonis! Please don’t do this.” He threw his hands up in a pleading gesture. “Don’t leave me with an angry woman who’s seven inches taller than me.”

“You’ll be fine.” He vanished around the corner of the house.



Exposed Ecstasy Tagline: Words can never express the emotions needed to be heard by the heart.

“Can ya be explaining to me how ya’ve been claimed without being tattooed?”

She brushed past him. He spun around and grabbed her shoulders, cinching them as he pushed her back until the end wall of the row houses stopped her.

“Faerydae, stop! I let Shomar decorate my finger with a stamp. It just looked like a tattoo, but as I said, it washed off.”

His breath left his lungs as if he’d been hit in the gut.

His reaction made her nervous. “What? Why do you act like that?”

“So,” There was a sudden hardness in his eyes. “Shomar laid his claim on ya.”

She shoved at his chest; feeling irritated with his insinuation Shomar would lie or trick her. “I told you, no one has claimed me. Shomar was just showing me–”

“No, Tessla!” Faerydae pulled her from the wall, leading her in the direction of their quarters. “There is no showing. Did he explain the reason for it?”


“And yet ya allowed him to tattoo ya?”

“Yes. He said if we got separated while shopping everyone would know who I was with and–”

“Don’t ya get it? He claimed ya!” He pressed his glass card to the door’s center glass panel. It vanished as it had before. The minute the circle appeared on the glass, he placed his palm over it. The familiar yellow glow scanned his hand, as the white laser flashed his eye print. The door gave that same humming sound before going silent. His card reappeared and he dropped it in his pocket as it hissed open. He nudged her through the doorway. Before she could escape to her room, he backed her against the wall. “Ya’er his now. Do ya bloody well get that?”

“You know what?” She shoved at his chest. “I’m getting tired of having my back slammed against a wall when I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Faerydae leaned down into her face. “Yes, ya did.” He was so close his mouth brushed against hers when he said the word ya. His eyes fell to her lips. His mouth followed, pressing ever so gently at first, before turning demanding when she responded to his kiss. Exposed EcstacyPulling away he whispered, “Why did ya kiss me the way that ya did?”

“I don’t know.”

“I do.” He pulled her hips against his hardness. “Ya were toying with me. Flaunting ya now belong to Shomar.”

“I was not.” She poked her finger into his chest. “I was teaching you a lesson. Women are people too.”

His brow rose in disbelief. “If that be so then what was all that grab-assing about? What lesson was I supposed to be learning from that?”

Okay, so I got carried away. Kill me.

At her silence, he hooked his hand behind her neck and pulled her face to his, kissing her hard before she could make up a good reason. He ripped his lips away. “Ya couldn’t be leaving it alone, could ya Princess?”

He came in for another kiss and she held her fingers over his lips preventing him. “I didn’t start it. You did, space cadet, with your stupid suggestion–I kiss you.”

“I didn’t come up with the asinine idea, Zorid did.” His sneer turned into a sheepish grin. “I had no other bloody options but to be taking him up on it.” His hands found her arms and placed them around his neck. “But ya had to being pushing it further–confessing to exposing ya’erself to me. Ya did it just to stir me up and it worked.”

She should have brought them down when his fingertips roamed over her breast, but she didn’t. She couldn’t, his touch filled her with a passion she wanted to explore.

“Ya shouldn’t be getting involved with me.”

“I’m not.”

“No?” He dropped his hand farther down and lifted the hem of her skirt, pulling it up to her waist to slide his fingers into her panties.


What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing XXX?

Oh no…I’m not falling for that trick again! My biggest challenge and achievement in writing the Psychic Ménage series was blending in all the facts without info dropping or boring my readers…I wanted to balance the facts and merge in the fantasy to entertain them as they learned. Apparently, I have done all right with this method. The books are all getting most 4 and 5 star reviews. 

What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing this series?

That I can share my interest in the Sci-Fi genre and turn those who think they’d never understand or enjoy Sci-Fi into fans of my work. I learned that the readers are willing to let me share my stories with them and lead them down the path I want to lead them and they will go and be glad they trusted me to do this. I never leave them dangling (unless you’re in the middle of my series- lol) I will always give you an HEA when I’m done…BUT the trick for my readers will be knowing when I’m done…I don’t like to let my readers go once I have them.

 Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Don’t rush your work to the market. Enjoy learning your trade and learn it well. Realize one very important fact – you can really hurt your chances with the readers if you (self-published) put your work out there before you’re really ready to be out there. Once they attach “bad writing” to that name…they’ll never buy another book. Even when the books is just ok…don’t put it out there until it’s perfect…once you believe it’s perfect…that’s when you write it again and find your voice…then it’ll be ready for the market. Don’t believe those who say they write a book in two weeks and are doing well in the publishing world…they’re selling to one time buyers….the sales won’t last! Go for the fan, the reader who will buy every book you write because it’s the best book they’re ever read. 

Anything else you would like to say?

OMG…I’m Irish…I can talk forever! But I would like to thank my fans for being there for me while I found my place in this writers world. I thank all my reviewers who gave me such kind words and all those wonderful 4 and 5 star reviews! So many of you have touched my heart with your reviews! Thank you! And for those readers who have reached out to me on twitter and Facebook…thank you…I promise to always give you my best!

And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Of course, I have two other series that will be following the Psychic Ménage Series. I also will be publishing a “How to write a Best Selling Novel” in which I’m telling ALL the SECRETS published authors and publishers NEVER share with aspiring authors. I have a book coming out at the start of the year in a multi-author box set.

Oh, gosh there’s so much, if you want to know all that I’m up to…come visit my website or blog – and

If you want to hear everything FIRST become (it’s free) a member of my VIP lounge and get two free books when you join (I don’t spam info to you every day – I respect my VIP’s too much to do that. I send out a notice only when I have news to share):

If you think you’d like to take a wonderful journey with me to worlds you’ve never dreamt of, and meet people you’ll think of long after the journey is done, you can find your escape from reality here:

Other Links:












Author Bio:

Houston Havens retired from a successful modeling career and an adventurous jet-set lifestyle to set the world on fire with her erotic romance books. A tenacious Irish lass, she strives to entertain with seductive stories created from her decadent imagination and traces of a provocative lifestyle she may or may not admit to.

Her interest in the paranormal, fascination with quantum science, passion with myths, and the lure of her mysterious Celtic Irish-Druid bloodlines are combined with generally unknown truths, strange facts, and questionable fiction. Her novels reflect a mix of the past, present, and future, with sexy blends of futuristic science fiction, paranormal fantasy, western romance, and always love everlasting. An author of six romances, a seven book erotic romance series and numerous articles in literary magazines.

Stop by for a visit and leave a comment at


Author Interview: Kayelle Allen

Posted October 20, 2015

Kayelle AllenKayelle Allen is a best-selling, award-winning author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr. She lives in the metro Atlanta area where she leads a critique group for local writers. Kayelle is a collector of movies and loves scifi, drama, and anything with action and things blowing up. She attends scifi conventions and holds a lifetime honorary membership to OutlantaCon, a local event.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

The minute I picked up a pencil. I wrote my first full 400-page book at age eighteen. As a whole unit, it has never seen the full light of day, but parts of it are in every book I write.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

I have a basement office where I’m surrounded by things I love and the books I keep. I use a desktop computer that I customized myself. I make notes by hand, and also use a tablet. When an idea strikes, I will jot it down on a napkin using coffee and a straw to write with if necessary. I always try to record ideas. When I need one, it’s easy to flip through the list, and put this one and that one together. The truth is, I am never short on ideas. I record them all the time. I think the act of doing so encourages me to create more of them.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I lead a local critique group which requires submission of any material by Thursday each week. Knowing that keeps me on my toes. If I’m going to get my chapter in on time to get feedback by Tuesday, I have to stay on target.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I love reading good books. I’ve heard some people don’t read the genre they write to avoid accidental plagiarism. I love the genre I write far too much to ever give it up. I also don’t think we can avoid being influenced by what we read or see. I’ve been inspired many times while reading. If we are lifting scenes from another person’s book, we are plagiarizing. I would not do that. But am I inspired to create my own scenes based on ones that I’ve read. I think that’s what good writers do. We see something that appeals to us and that we get enjoyment from, and figure out a way to use something similar. Plagiarism is a piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and presented as your own work. Keep in mind, there is nothing new under the sun. If I write a character getting a tattoo because I loved a scene in a JR Ward book of one of her hot Black Dagger Brotherhood guys getting a tattoo, that doesn’t mean I stole her work. My idea came from reading her scene. After that, the comparison ends. There is nothing wrong with that. If we have never read a book, how would we even know how to write one?

When I read Sinful Surrender, book one in the Psychic Ménage series by Houston Havens, I was astonished. Not only is Houston a gifted writer, but she creates books like I do. She has a huge over-arching theme and saga, but also writes individual books that stand alone. Like me, she can take you on a long journey through multiple books, giving you a big story that you can follow. At the same time, you can read just one book and enjoy it. JR Ward writes that way also. While one of her books ends with everything tied up neatly, you are left with the awareness that another character might be in a predicament and you want to read the next story to find out what happens. Am I copying either of them? Absolutely not. But their work inspires me. Inspiration is one of the best things about being a writer. I’m free to absorb ideas from everywhere, use them, change them, recreate them, and bend them to suit my will. I hope to always be inspired by other writers. I know how hard they work to be unique. So do I. That respect and knowledge makes me appreciate what they do far too much to ever give up reading them, but also far too much to ever violate their copyrights.

  • What inspired you to write At the Mercy of Her Pleasure?

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure first came out in 2004. One of my favorite writers at the time was Mary Renault. Her story The Persian Boy, about Alexander the Great, is a classic. My book is science fiction romance, but my scifi was inspired by her historical novel. How did a story about a eunuch who loved Alexander the Great inspire a book about a young thief attracted to the genetically enhanced woman who hires him? That’s the beauty of inspiration. The stories are nothing alike. One of my characters is a futuristic version of a character I loved in The Persian Boy, and in my book, he is only four years old. I plan to write him into many books, and let him “grow up” in front of my readers.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

The original version of At the Mercy of Her Pleasure was written as erotic, but the new, fully edited version available now is sweet romance. There is no on-page sex. It’s sensual, but doesn’t have graphic content or profanity. A simple plot carries the book, but the characters are far from ordinary. NarrAy is a by-the-book captain in the rebel army who hires a thief to take back a prototype the armada stole from her murdered parents. Senth is a professional thief who lives for risk and danger, and loves locking himself into things so he can practice getting himself out. NarrAy is a Better, an enhanced human with addictive pheromones. She is disciplined and rigid, and keeps herself out of danger by ensuring she never touches anyone. That is, until she meets Senth. Our thief, Senth, is a HalfKin: half feline, half human with all the cunning of a lion but the playfulness of a kitten. When a military leader and a trickster thief are thrown together, what can happen? Oh, mercy.

  •  Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

I used to think it was Luc, who is Senth’s father in At the Mercy of Her Pleasure. But I’ve recently realized it’s Pietas, who is behind many of the problems in my books. He’s a shapeshifter who doesn’t actually change shape. He switches places with another creature, Stormsinger, a magnificent, intelligent dragon in another dimension. I’m working on a book for Pietas now, so he’s taking up most of my creative thought.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure conveys the message to be yourself, and to accept yourself as you are. When you can accept yourself, you can accept others.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

How about the first chapter? Here’s a link to download the entire first chapter of At the Mercy of Her Pleasure. Because there’s a sequel to this book, For Women Only, on my website, you can also download the first chapter of that story as well. It’s about Senth’s big brother, Khyff. And for anyone who wants to know more about these brothers, you can download the free book Bro, the Story Behind the Antonello Brothers by joining my Romance Lives Forever Reader Group.

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure


  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing At the Mercy of Her Pleasure?

Because I edited this book from an erotic romance to a sweet romance, I faced several challenges. One, I had to make sure I didn’t remove the sweet sensuality that was already present in the story. Senth is a virgin, and he’s younger than his heroine, who is a sexually experienced woman. I wanted to keep that aspect of the relationship front and center, because it colored every part of their relationship. Second, I wanted to omit nothing about the plot. There are twists in this book that had one reviewer suggesting it should be read twice in order to savor the plot twists and to look for all the hints and redirects that had been placed in the book. Third, I wanted to make sure I kept the scenes with Khyff, Senth’s brother. His book came next, and it was important to lay the foundation for his deep mistrust of the Kin. He hates the alien race for what they did to him and his mother, and to Senth. So of course, I had to give Khyff a Kin heroine. It was the perfect conflict for him to overcome.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing At the Mercy of Her Pleasure?

That the story within me stays important through the years. I wrote the book in 2003 and it was published in 2004. I later took it to a new publisher, edited it, and added more sex to make it fit their requirements. When I decided to go the self-publish route and take full control of my career as an author, I removed most of the added scenes, or at least the graphic content. The story was the same, but the details and quality of the storytelling had improved. I had learned many things by writing and publishing other books. Now, with more than a dozen to my name, I am a different writer, but I still love a good story. At the Mercy of Her Pleasure is one of my favorites.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

If you want it, find ways to make it happen. If it doesn’t work with plan A, keep going. Get to plan ZZZ if you have to, but don’t quit until you get what you want.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

I found your site on Twitter, because that’s where I spend a lot of time. I read tweets, follow hashtags (#Thranduil #Loki #MFRWauthor) and track certain type of accounts. I like gamers and gaming (#gamedev #gamer), and am developing an RPG (role-playing game) for my books. My immortal characters are gamers. I’m also a fan of art in any form. I invite any of your readers who are on Twitter to come over and follow me. I follow back.

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

I’m working on several things, in fact. I’m currently writing Bringer of Chaos, the Origin of Pietas, and I’m doing semi-final edits on Surrender Love: the Wedding, which is a sequel to my EPIC award-winning book Surrender Love. That one is gay scifi, and its re-release will be mainstream heat level (non-erotic). I have a sweet contemporary feel-good holiday romance called A Romance for Christmas, which is on sale right now. I’m plotting a Christms sequel that should be a lot of fun to read. All of these will be out next year.

Author Social Media


Unstoppable Heroes Blog






Buy links for At the Mercy of Her Pleasure

Hired to steal back a prototype taken by the imperial armada, Senth Antonello retrieves it, but his brother is kidnapped to force Senth to surrender the device.
Now he has to rescue his brother, outsmart the armada, and keep the item out of imperial hands. All doable, except for one small problem. He must do it in the company of NarrAy Jorlan, a genetically altered woman whose pheromones could enhance the mission or crumble it into dust with a single siren kiss.
He’s a thief. She’s a soldier. Do opposites attract? Oh, mercy!

Barnes and Noble
Coffee Time Romance
CreateSpace (Print)



Author Interview: Steve McCardell

Posted October 19, 2015

  • Darwood and SmittyWhen did you first discover your love for writing?

I’ve loved writing since early elementary school. By first or second grade, I knew I wanted to grow up to be a writer or a baseball player. Turned out to be a writer, which I do professionally for clients and do for fun when writing books.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

It’s pretty cliche, but I love to work at coffee shops. Gets me away from the things at home that take my attention and lets me slip into my own little world.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

No, because my work and family schedules are always changing. Besides a full-time job in writing and digital marketing, I almost always have one or more clients that I work with on a freelance basis, and I have to take good care of them.

But after caring for family and clients, I have such a passion for writing that I will always try finding at least an hour a day for writing. More than that on weekends. Besides my books, I have several business ventures that need writing. So I let the energy take me where it will. I don’t push a project that doesn’t want to be pushed. I believe this is what keeps me passionate about it, because there’s always something that fits my immediate interests. And since I’m not just writing books, but also writing blogs and articles and so on, I get to enjoy a finished product on a regular basis.

This wouldn’t work for writers with publishing contracts of course. But it works for me, as I self-publish my books.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

Probably like most science fiction authors, I have this warm fuzzy for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and while my first science fiction book — Darwood & Smitty and the Multi-World Agenda — doesn’t try to be anything like “The Guide,” it’s similar in the sense that it’s a humorous science fiction adventure that doubles as a social commentary.

  • What inspired you to write Darwood & Smitty?

I was on a plane in the early 2000s and just sat to start writing whatever came to me, as I often did. And I started writing about a metallic, magnetic road system that looked like a bunch of cheese graters butted end to end. It looks that way because there are holes in the metal to allow water drainage, but these holes also caused arguments between those who bought that story and those who felt they were really for releasing gas when the government wanted to take over. And the first side wanted to know — and rightly so — how the government could take over any more than it already had.

This scene later became part of the second chapter in Darwood & Smitty, a book in which you often have mainstream thought arguing with conspiracy theories; and a book whose two main characters somewhat have these differing views, even though they’re best friends.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

The story is set in 2045, though it gives a brief history of our current time — our passage through the economic crisis (underway when the book was published in 2010), the drop of gas prices in the mid-2010s (now), the emergence of the solar system life (aliens) in 2020, how the government goes global and why Earth’s capital ends up in New York City. It also touches on a number of products, their names, a few laughs at marketing, and tidbits like why we’re still using today’s style of fingernail clippers 30 years from now. (It’s not pretty.)

Like any good future vision of the world, surveillance is everywhere, and it talks about how we’ve adapted to it … for better and for worse. And corporations have reached new heights of power, which is something the latest president has promised to address with his special interest legislation.

Oh, and did I mention that we have a global police force made up of Jovians that tower above us and look like trolls?

The story revolves around Darwood and Smitty, who are deliverymen asked to hand deliver a package to Earth’s president. From a man in solitary confinement. And things are suspicious to ever-cautious Smitty because he’s wondering why several teams before them have failed. In the end, they’ll have to figure out why and help address some problems that are bigger than this world.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

I really love a lot of my characters. There’s one guy whose name I don’t even know who just about brings me to tears with his bravery. There’s an overlord who reminds me of Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants. And the president — boy, if politicians could take note. But after spending so much time with them learning about their story, Darwood and Smitty are my favorites for their humor, philosophy, and bravery.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

From my perspective, anyway, a lot of my writing is more about looking at things in order to ask questions, not to give answers. I’d rather make readers ponder a question rather than sort of push my own point of view. The book, however, hovers around a couple of themes that are important to me, which are freedom and unity.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 

When the global government took form in 2020, life from the rest of the system made itself known. Considering the technology of Earth’s planetary neighbors, you’d think the smog problem wouldn’t last. But there were precisely two problems standing in the way: the Martians, who had fits of laughter about humans using oil, were mercenaries. All they liked to do was trade. And they had plenty of oil they wanted to get rid of. With our supplies starting to trickle, they were happy to feed the addiction.

But a little more grievously, the Venusians had tried presenting a magnetic grid solution for powering our vehicles. And they presented to the wrong politicians, who were in the wrong pockets and saw to it that such a thing wouldn’t happen on their watch. It took a while for the Venusians to finally understand, but when they did, it was an easy answer: give the politicians more power than oil was giving them. Let New York raise funds from every car tapping into the magnetic grid. Then the oil cats couldn’t pull their strings and — with so many funds available — New York could cut back on taxes, providing relief to the people, and still fund extra programs.

It was a nice idea. In fact, it was a great idea, and put in place by 2030. But of course the taxes weren’t lowered. The government just reached its arms out further for a kind and smothering embrace.

It’s a long way of saying that the roads were metal now and, looked at from above, appeared to be so many cheese graters jammed end-to-end; this, because of the myriad holes across each section of road. The holes, it was said, were for drainage, and there was no question they worked in that way. But there were those who swore that they’d be used to release gas “when the government wants to take over.”

“But they’ve already taken over. They control everything!” said the opposition.

“Well … they want to control us more,” murmured the first side. Even Smitty, who was suspicious of everything, doubted this position. There really wasn’t much more power to take.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Darwood & Smitty?

The biggest achievement, for me, was finishing a novel that was intended for the public. I had written several books for clients in the past, but this was the first with my name on it. But once it was published, I never treated it as a business, so the challenge has been giving it exposure and attracting readers. Obviously we’re in an age when there are more books published than ever, and they’re competing with YouTube and apps and social media and streaming TV shows and so on.

But I continue sharing its message in a casual way, when opportunities are present and by continuing to build my own website. And I do this not only because I love the idea of being able to share it with others, but because it seems like it gets more and more relevant to our political and corporate world as time goes by.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Darwood & Smitty?

While I also do some fantasy writing, I learned that I really like science fiction. I love pondering “what if,” and thinking about crazy possibilities in how the world works, and science fiction allows you to explore so much of this. I didn’t consider myself a science fiction writer before this, even though when I look back, I remember loving a science fiction project I worked on for a client in the early 2000s.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

There’s a lot of information out there from writers to other writers. I would add something in for younger people, especially those in school. When you can, read good books slowly. Even read out loud. Hear the words and the rhythm in your head or in your ears. Understand how the best writers have used language. And do this in a variety of genres. If you really want to write, learn from those who have succeeded. I think it’s sad that supposedly advanced English classes these days demand that students speed read — I think they lose so much from books when they have to devour huge amounts quickly.

So go slowly when you can, devouring quality time with books instead. And like with any sport, where you keep repeating until something is in muscle memory, read and write to the point where the words flow in your mind and onto paper any time you need them. If you haven’t consciously digested writing, if you’ve read for speed rather than deep comprehension, I believe you’ll have a much harder time becoming a great writer.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Only to mention a thank you for this chance to talk about my book. As with so many writers, this is my art. How I express myself. And it’s nice to have a chance to share it with others.

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Maybe too many, but yes. I expect a sequel of Darwood & Smitty at some point. It’s been taking form in my head. I’ve also begun work on another science fiction book that frankly cracks me up and I expect to be the funniest thing I’ve written. I’m almost done with the second book of my youth fantasy series, and two more planned that might be sort of a spiritual science fiction. And I have others in different genres that are and will be written under pen names. So I have a lot to get done, but again, love that there’s always something waiting for me to work on!

My personal site can be found at This includes my blog, pages on Darwood & Smitty, many pieces of short fiction or poetry, and some of my music as well. I’m on Twitter at and my Amazonauthor page is

Author Interview: Brenda J. Pierson

Posted October 16, 2015

BJP Author PhotoHey there, Indie Sci-Fi/Fantasy! I’m Brenda J. Pierson, epic fantasy author hailing from Tucson, Arizona. My bio pretty much says it all: writer, bookworm, avid gamer, lover of tacos, and crazy cat lady. If the term “geek” is associated with it, I probably like it. I’m into everything from Doctor Who to Magic: the Gathering. If I have to pretend to be normal, I like to hike, camp, and crochet too.

  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

My first foray into writing was when I was six years old, believe it or not. I was desperate for a pet rabbit, so I wrote and illustrated a “book” called My Take Care of Bunny Book in order to convince my parents I was responsible enough to have one. It didn’t work out—I did draw a picture of me walking the bunny on a leash, after all—but I’ve never really stopped writing. I started my first fantasy novel when I was 19 and I’ve been at it ever since.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

My amazing husband has helped me turn the spare bedroom of our house into an office, and him and my dad (an amazing carpenter) worked all summer making me a giant writing desk. It’s my own private space where I can think and work, and I only have to share it with the kitties. I’m so blessed to have it.

  •  Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I do my best writing when I’m half asleep, funnily enough, so I try to get to work as soon as my husband leaves for work. 2-3 hours 5 days a week is usually my standard writing schedule. Too much more than that and my creative juices run dry, and that’s just ugly.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

When I grow up I want to write like Brandon Sanderson. His Mistborn novels, and more recently his Stormlight Archive books, are sheer brilliance. But my very first writing inspiration and still one of my all-time favorite novels is The Demon Awakens by R.A. Salvatore. There’s something magical about that novel that just gets me all excited, no matter how many times I read it.

No Hill Without Treasure Cover

  • What inspired you to write your first book?

My debut novel, Soul of the Blade, was inspired by a piece of driftwood and a nap. I’d found this awesome root in a creek while on vacation, two branches joined at the bottom. Being the weirdo I am, I kept it. On our way home I dreamt this piece of driftwood was a magnificent double-bladed sword with the soul of a snarky assassin inside. It took me several tries and about four years to figure out how to make the novel flow, but it was well worth the effort.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

Soul of the Blade is about an assassin who gets his soul stuck in an enchanted sword, and in order to save himself he has to save the world. My second novel, No Hill Without Treasure, is about a man who has to battle half-sentient Destruction magic monsters while fighting the same magic within himself. I’m also the co-editor of Wings of Renewal: A Solarpunk Dragon Anthology, which is a massive collection of stories revolving around dragons and green energy.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

Oh goodness. I love all my characters, but I do have a bit of a soft spot for the villain of Soul of the Blade. He’s just really, really evil and loves it.

  •  Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

I write a lot about overcoming inner darkness, breaking out of what the world expects you to be, and finding your true self and living the life you want. Soul of the Blade has a running theme of trust and acceptance, while No Hill Without Treasure strongly focuses on creating your own destiny rather than following what fate seems to have set out for you.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 

Sure! Here’s the opening to Soul of the Blade.

Aeo stormed into the king’s dining hall, sword bared, a trail of muddy footprints in his wake. It had taken little more than a glare and a grimace to send the ornamental guards scurrying away. Pathetic. They were supposed to protect the king? They were a waste of good armor and steel.

The massive table, a single slab of cedar polished to a mirror shine, was set with a feast that could have fed a small village. Haunches of meat, loaves of bread still steaming from the ovens, bowls of custards and more things Aeo didn’t care enough to identify. The smells combined until it was a sickening mixture of grease and sugar.

Fewer than a dozen posh noblemen were seated around the table. Aeo’s sword-arm itched to slay these gluttons like the stuffed and basted carcasses they gorged on.

He lifted his sword, letting the gleaming steel reflect the firelight. A few of the men glanced at him, but the meal continued more or less uninterrupted.

Aeo walked up to the table and dropped his sword directly on its center. Metal clanged against wood and table settings, upsetting several goblets of wine and splattering pudding on the nearby nobles.

The decadent meal was forgotten. Conversation hushed as every eye turned to him.

“Next time you send me on a contract, at least make it a challenge.”

He pulled a nobleman’s scarf, emblazoned with the crest of Halkron, soaked in the wearer’s blood, from his pocket. It followed his sword onto the table. Aeo smirked as the noblemen around the table blanched and fingered their own scarves.

He turned his eyes back to his employer’s. The man was short and pudgy, soft from a life of rich food and richer pockets. Aeo could reach him and slit his throat before he even realized he was in danger.

The king of Arata dabbed at his chin, leaving a smear of oil on his face. He tried to intimidate Aeo with a steely look of power and control. Aeo did his best to contain his laughter. That might work on politicians and sycophants, but Aeo was an assassin. The world’s best assassin. Empty threats didn’t scare him. But then again, not much did.

The king waved his guests away. They tried to maintain their composure as they scurried away from Aeo. Aeo just smiled. He could smell their fear even through their suffocating perfumes.

When they were alone, the king leveled his gaze at Aeo. “Do the words ‘secret mission’ and ‘tell no one’ mean nothing to you?”

Aeo stepped around the table, helping himself to tender duck and soft, fresh bread. “Please. Anyone could have infiltrated that camp. Your nephew may have been the prince of Halkron, but he was a miserable strategist and an annoying little twit. No one will miss him.”

“My sister may!” the king replied, slamming his ham-sized fist onto the table. A moment later he winced and rubbed it. “Don’t doubt the harlot’s love for her son. He was the closest thing she had to civilization in that barbarian’s court.”

Aeo rolled his eyes. The king acted like Halkron was some gods-forsaken land filled with heathens and animals, when all that separated its people from Arata’s was a river and a slightly darker shade of hair.

“That boy was her life.”

“And now he’s dead.” Aeo licked grease from his fingers.

“If anyone were to find out I was involved …” The king stood and started pacing, pausing to pick up the bloodied scarf with two fingers. “You were supposed to eliminate my nephew and make it seem as if another Halkronian was to blame. How can that plan work if you show evidence such as this to anyone you run across?”

The scarf fluttered back to the table.

“Are you saying you don’t trust those whom you dine with, Your Majesty?” Aeo teased.

“I can’t afford for this plan to fail,” the king replied. He fiddled with his many rings, sending flickers of gold and gems sparkling around the room. “Arata desperately needs a reprieve from this war. Halkron’s first strike caught us off-guard, and we’ve yet to recover from it. If it became known I had my nephew killed, Halkron will hit us with everything they have. Our army can’t stand against that.”

Aeo snorted and reached for a goblet of wine. “Families.”

He continued to pick at the nobles’ plates while the king paced and muttered. Aeo ignored him. The man may be ruler of the richest nation on the continent, but he was an idiot. The only reason he still held his throne is because of Aeo’s subtle political influence. Or his blade. Whichever.

While Aeo enjoyed eating the king’s feast and watching him sweat, another man entered the dining hall. He was close to Aeo’s own not-too-impressive height, but where Aeo had the solid look of a well-muscled warrior, this man was thin like a scholar. He held himself rigidly, as if the serenity plastered on his features masked the tension of a drawn bow. Aeo kept himself calm by sheer willpower. There was only one person in Arata who could make Aeo feel like a guilty child, and this was him.

Even the king, who was supposed to be the ultimate authority in all of Arata, did his best to remain invisible around this man. “Mage General,” he greeted.

“Your Majesty,” he replied. Somehow he managed to make the title sound like a mockery instead of a respect. It might be the only thing Aeo liked about him. “Allow me to extend my regrets at the loss of your nephew.”

The king shot a glare at Aeo. “I just received the news myself. How did you hear?”

“I am a mage, Your Majesty. Surely you can’t think Halkron is out of my reach.”

“Of course not.”

Aeo shook his head. He may as well kiss his boots and offer him the throne at this rate.

The Mage General looked toward Aeo. He inclined his head in the tiniest, most insincere greeting Aeo had ever seen. “I trust you are well?”

No thanks to your training, Aeo thought. Years of conditioning to turn me into the king’s assassin didn’t set me up for the happiest life in the world. “I do my best with what I have,” he replied.

“And that is all we have ever asked of you.”

The Mage General turned away, brushing Aeo off as if they had never spoken.

Even though the mage’s eyes were averted, Aeo didn’t dare release the shudder building inside him. Any contact with the Mage General, no matter how trivial, always left Aeo with a sheen of cold sweat on his forehead. One look into his eyes and Aeo could almost feel the man’s magic intruding into his thoughts, twisting and tearing them apart in order to make him obey. It didn’t matter that ten years or more had passed since his conditioning had been deemed complete. Aeo would never be able to hold onto his confidence in that man’s presence.

While Aeo tried to maintain his composure, the Mage General grasped the king’s pudgy arm and pulled him aside. From the tone of their whispers and the king’s scowl, it was clear he wasn’t happy with the topic. The Mage General grew more animated as he pushed his point, waving his arms toward the west and pointing to the ground as if to stab it with his forefinger. The king shook his head, without much conviction, not even trying to argue after the first few attempts.

“I’d hoped it wouldn’t come to this,” he said aloud, his tone weary beyond imagining. He didn’t look back to the Mage General. Instead, he raised his eyes to meet Aeo’s. “I have another contract for you.”

“So soon?” Aeo asked. “I’ve not had any time to enjoy my coin.”

“Your drinking and whoring will have to wait. This is urgent.”

Aeo sighed. “Of course it is.”

The king glared at his sarcasm, but Aeo just stared back. He took another drink of wine, not blinking.

The king looked away first. Coward.

“You say you want a challenge. I’ll give you one. Have you ever heard of the Bok’Tarong?”

Aeo shrugged. “Rumors. It’s supposed to be some kind of enchanted, double-bladed sword. Wherever it shows up, people die.”

“Do not discount such legends so quickly,” the Mage General said as he approached. The intensity in his eyes made Aeo put his food down, at least for a moment. “The Bok’Tarong is very real.”

“If you say so.”

The Mage General glared at him like he was a child in need of a good beating. Aeo had seen that look–and received the corresponding beatings–many times in the past. It took all of his willpower to return the glare without flinching.

The king interrupted their contest of wills. Aeo wasn’t sure whether he did so to stop it or because he was unaware of it. “How would you like to take that blade for your own?”

Aeo paused. That would be plunder worthy of his skill. And if the rumors were true, Aeo would never have competition for the title of best assassin in the world again. Not like there was much as it was, but still.

“You know my rule. I will not slaughter without reason. My target must have earned his death.”

“Yes, yes, the assassin with a conscience. I remember. The one thing we couldn’t beat out of you.” Aeo quirked an eyebrow at that, but said nothing. The king didn’t seem to notice. “I assure you, whomever bears the Bok’Tarong has more blood on his hands than you do.”

“And with the Bok’Tarong in your possession,” the Mage General added, “the tide of war will turn in our favor.”

Aeo saw something he didn’t quite understand in the Mage General’s eyes. He wasn’t just supportive of Aeo taking the Bok’Tarong–he was pushing for it. For reasons Aeo couldn’t begin to fathom, the Mage General needed Aeo to have it. “What’s so special about this sword, anyway?” he asked, forcing his tone to be one of calm and disinterest.

“It is, indeed, enchanted,” the Mage General replied. “One of the few enchanted weapons in the world.”

“What does the magic do?”

A pause, no longer than the blink of an eye. “Only the bearer of the weapon can be sure of that. The communion between bearer and blade is what makes the magic so potent.”

He was hiding something. Aeo was sure of that much. He knew more than he was saying, and that didn’t bode well for Aeo. The magic didn’t worry him, but the Mage General’s intensity did. If this was some plan to be rid of him …

The king, in a rare moment of insight, had noticed Aeo’s hesitation. He stepped in front of Aeo, leveling as firm a gaze as he could muster on him. “Your next target is the bearer of the Bok’Tarong,” he announced.

The order reverberated in Aeo’s head. The words burrowed through his thoughts and into his heart. Whether or not Aeo would have accepted was no matter anymore. The king had ordered–Aeo would obey. He didn’t have a choice anymore. His conditioning as the king’s assassin guaranteed that.

Aeo rose from the table and drained his goblet. “Where can I find this man?”

“He travels without reason. Who knows where he is now?”

Aeo glared at the king. “Then how am I supposed to find him?”

The king shrugged as if he couldn’t be bothered with details like that. “Ask around. Commoners love to tell tales. Someone who’s seen this sword will want to brag about it.”

“That isn’t much to go on.”

“You say you’re the world’s greatest assassin,” the king replied. For the first time in their long partnership, Aeo heard something bordering on true authority in his voice. “Surely that means you can find one man with a remarkable sword.”

Aeo squared his shoulders. If the king would challenge him, then Aeo would show him just how great he was. “The next time I see you, Your Majesty, the Bok’Tarong will be mine.”

He spared a glance at the Mage General, but little else. He wouldn’t say anything to him until he returned with the Bok’Tarong. Then he’d have something to rub that arrogant look off the Mage General’s face with.

Soul of the Blade Cover

  • What would you say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing?

One of my biggest challenges has been against myself. I have a host of medical problems which leave me constantly fatigued and in pain, so putting in the time day in and day out to actually make progress is a huge achievement for me in the first place.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing?

I’ve learned I really do need a plan. At first I’d get a single idea and start writing without a clue where I was headed. Years of painful rewrites and deleting entire chapters has taught me to take it slower and figure out the story I want to tell before I charge in blindly. But I’ve also learned to trust my instincts. Some of my favorite plot twists or unique elements have come from an off-hand comment I made while writing, or a phrase I put in without thinking. Sometimes I think my subconscious is a better writer than I am.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Write a lot and read even more. Take every opportunity you can to learn more. And never, ever, ever give up.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Just thank you. Thanks to everyone who reads indie books, who writes reviews, who works to spotlight the little guys. The fight against obscurity is demanding and sometimes it feels like we’ll never get noticed. So to everyone who supports indie authors: y’all rock. Thank you.

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

I do! I have a prequel novella to Soul of the Blade, titled Soul of the Guardian, that’s due to release very soon. I’m also working on a new novel called Joythief. It’s set in a Persian-inspired fantasy world, with a poison that kills the part of a person they love the most. My protagonist is a princess-turned-thief who has to fight to preserve magic and save the world while losing her skills and identity as a thief.

WoR Cover


Buy my books here:







Author Interview: Cara Bristol

Posted October 15, 2015

Cara Bristol 315 smallCara Bristol, author of Stranded with the Cyborg (A Cy-Ops Sci-Fi Romance)

Multi-published, Cara Bristol is the author of 22 erotic romance titles. She writes science fiction, contemporary, and paranormal erotic romance. Her most recent book is Stranded with the Cyborg. No matter what the subgenre, one thing remains constant: her emphasis on character-driven seriously hot erotic stories with sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara has lived many places in the United States, but currently lives in Missouri with her husband. She has two grown stepkids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling.

When did you first discover your love for writing?

I’ve always loved to write. I wrote my first “novel” at age 10. Way before that, when I first started learning to read and write, I used to list all the words I knew how to spell. By high school, I knew I wanted a career involving writing, and I got a college degree in journalism and went to work worked as a news reporter. But writing romance is my great love.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

My home office. My husband and I used to share an office and a computer, but now I have my own computer and my own office and it’s wonderful.

Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

I hit the computer by 5:30 a.m., answer email and check social media and then start writing. My daily goal is 2K a day. There’s also assorted promotion tasks to attend to.

Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

I admire lots of authors for their storytelling and writing ability. I care about what I write, and I want to be the best that I can be and continue to improve my craft.

What inspired you to write Stranded with the Cyborg?

I fell in love with cyborgs when I read Eve Langlais’s C791. I though, ooh, I want a cyborg! Part man, part machine, cyborgs are the perfect blend of brawn and brains. My cyborgs are secret agents working for the covert Cyber Operations or Cy-Ops. Brock Mann, the hero of Stranded with the Cyborg, is like a cyborg James Bond.

Can you tell us a little about your book?

Love to! Here’s the blurb: Penelope Aaron, the former Terran president’s daughter, regrets how she got Agent Brock Mann booted from the security force. But now that she’s an interplanetary ambassador about to embark on her first diplomatic mission, she still doesn’t want him tagging along. Especially since he seems to be stronger, faster, more muscled, and sexier than she remembers. And pretending to be her husband? This mission couldn’t get more impossible!

Ten years ago Penelope Isabella Aaron had been a pain in Brock Mann’s you-know-what. Much has changed in a decade: “PIA” as he code-named her, has grown up and is about to attend her first Alliance of Planets summit conference, and Brock has been transformed into a cyborg after a near-fatal attack. Now a secret agent with Cyber Operations, a covert paramilitary organization, Brock gets called in, not when the going gets tough, but when the going gets impossible. So when he’s unexpectedly assigned to escort Penelope to the summit meeting, he balks at babysitting a prissy ambassador. But after a terrorist bombing, a crash landing on a hostile planet, and a growing attraction to his protectee, Operation: PIA may become his most impossible assignment yet.

Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

I’m definitely in love with Brock Mann. He’s tough, macho, but noble. He’s willing to go to the mat to protect the woman he loves.

Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

I drew inspiration from recent real world events involving terrorism. I’ll let readers draw their own conclusions.

Would you be interested in sharing a teaser?

Ten years have passed. Penelope is different now,” Carter said.

Brock doubted that. “Does she know about me?”

“That you’re a cyborg? Of course not. She hasn’t been told anything about the program or even that you’re the one who’s been assigned to her.”

“Yeah, spring it on her. That will go over well.” He could envision the tantrum, and, after she calmed down, the scheme she would devise to circumvent the decision. The last time he’d seen her, she’d been emerging from his quarters half-dressed, a triumphant smile tilting her lips. Shortly thereafter, two fellow agents had come to arrest him.

President Aaron had exonerated him, the transcripts from the investigation had been sealed, and he’d been offered reassignment. Instead, he’d taken a position with an anti-terrorist investigative organization. His unit got attacked; his fellow operatives had died. Carter, who’d been working with Cy-Ops all along, had swooped in and saved his ass.

“I’m not saying I’ll do it, but, hypothetically, if I had a computer meltdown and agreed, what would be my cover story? I couldn’t tag along as her bodyguard because that would unsettle the Xenians.”

Carter poured another shot of Cerinian brandy and downed it. He met Brock’s gaze dead-on. “You’d accompany Ambassador Aaron as her husband.”

“Oh, hell no!”

Cara Bristol

What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Stranded with the Cyborg?

I’ve written science fiction romance before (The Breeder trilogy), but there’s a space opera style to Stranded with the Cyborg that was new to me. Even though it’s erotic romance, and the focus is on the growing relationship between the hero and heroine, there’s a lot action.

What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Stranded with the Cyborg?

I’ve learned that making things difficult for my characters challenges me as an author. To raise the stakes, I have to put my characters through dire situations—but then I have to get them out of it! How do I do that? It’s a challenge. But I think it makes the “dark moment” more dramatic.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

This is the best time ever to be an author. There are many more publishing options than there used to be. Learn your craft, work hard, and don’t give up.

Anything else you would like to say?

Thank you for the interview! It’s a pleasure to talk about my book. I really do love writing romance. Stranded with the Cyborg is my 22nd title, and my 7th indie title.

And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Mated with the Cyborg, the second book in the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series will be published January 5, 2016. I’ll probably have a third Cy-Ops book next year too!

Cara Bristol web site/blog

Author Newsletter

Facebook Author Page

Amazon Author page



Stranded with the Cyborg Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

All Romance | Barnes & Noble