Author Interviews Alphabetical by Last Name

Zacharias Bartholomew Adams, but please just call me Zach.

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

When not plotting my inevitable rise to power as a supervillain, I’m working on recording an original soundtrack for Dead Man Walking with my creative accomplice, Jon Valentine.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Dead Man Walking is a contemporary fantasy/horror story about Isaac Falcone, a wannabe writer and library assistant. When the universe around him gets bent in all the wrong directions, strange monsters appear and immediately add him to their menu. He must panic his way through all the craziness and hope that he can walk away alive.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!).

This is tough, as there are so many moments during any project where I question all of my life choices leading up to that point. The worst is probably when I get multiple pages done in a short time only to run face-first into a metaphorical brick wall as I try to make one character walk across the room.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

When the character I mentioned above runs into the brick wall instead of me.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I would absorb them all like Kirby and evolve into my final form as the ultimate frankenauthor.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Unfortunately, for this sort of story to be entertaining, characters have to suffer. Now get back behind the fourth wall and do your job.”

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

I don’t actually know how to play poker, so I assume that Isaac doesn’t either. The last book I read was The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and I suspect Arthur Dent would win by default. If he didn’t know how to play before, he could easily have learned some cosmic variant while hitchhiking across the galaxy.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

My worst habit is self-editing so harshly that nothing makes it to the page. It can be difficult to ignore that critical voice and let the first attempt for anything be as terrible as it has to be, so that there’s something to polish up later.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

If I gave away details about my plots to take over the world, then someone would be able to stop me. To stay updated for when those plans are finally ready to announce, Jon and I have a free emailing list at www.adamsvalentine.com, and a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VadamsAlentine.

Alma Alexander

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Well, CURRENTLY, working on a 20th anniversary edition of a book that is very dear to my heart – a fat, lush High Fantasy full secondary world novel called “Changer of Days” which runs to a quarter million words and which, when it was first published, the original publisher insisted be split into two volumes. As a duology it had limited success especially when half of it (the second book) was declared OOP by the publisher and then the front half was left to flounder on its own for a LONG time. But now it is being reissued as the book it was always meant to be, a single volume, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I am also thinking about writing a companion volume, a brand new book in the same universe, which would follow the release of this re-issued edition very closely…

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Three currently to be lifted into the light.

“The Second Star”, my first serious science fiction novel, surfaced in the summer of 2020, and created quite the splash. I’d love to nudge it back into the spotlight now that it’s a year old and so much else has crowded it out into the wings – in a nutshell, it’s a First Contact Psychological Thriller Science Fiction novel, and it is pretty much about what might happen if there is nobody to intercede between people in no position to control their lives and other people who are just “following their orders”… and what happens when somebody DOES get in the way of that. Don’t expect flash bangs and high-velocity chases – but if you like the sort of story that shines a light into shadowed corners, this might be your ticket.

“The Were Chronicles” is an omnibus edition of the three novels in that cycle, (Random, Wolf, and Shifter). I’m using my science degree for this (I hold an MSc in Molecular Biology) and part of the draw here is that I posit perfectly workable science behind the existence of were creatures. But it’s the characters who are the joy in these books, they’re very character-driven, and they are also part of a story which highlights some of the less savory parts of human nature (discrimination, bullying, prejudice…) and reveals how they can hurt, and perhaps how they can be fought.

“Fractured Fairy Tales” appeared this April, a collection of told, re-told, re-imagined, or simply re-invented “fairy tales” which are definitely not for children. This is a box of dark chocolates, reminiscent of Hans Christian Andersen and Oscar Wilde, and it is for absolutely everyone who loves the mystery and magic of the fairy tales which they thought had been left behind in the busyness of their lives.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

The rewriting/line editing (and finding all the mistakes)/proofreading part. I’m a storyteller, and I love telling the story – that, to me, is not work at all, that is the joy of it. My reserves of patience have always been on the thin side, though, and by the time I have to read through the story for the fifth time I’m really ready to go on and write the next story instead. Particularly since I think typos actually hide in plain sight and then breed if left undetected – and absolutely no book in print is free of them, no matter how carefully you proofread it during the editing process, which is maddening.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

The first glitter of the new idea. The putting together of the story (which for me often happens as I’m writing it – I’m not a plotter, I’m a thoroughly organic writer who starts a story and then just goes where it leads me – I often tell people that I just plant the story seed into the ground and until it sprouts even I don’t know what is going to come up, a cabbage or a redwood. The fun lies in finding that out, and then watching it GROW and become BEAUTIFUL.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Heh. I’ll take Tolkien, for the worldbuilding, but let me just say that I want to be Ursula Le Guin when I grow up. And leave it at that…

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I can’t. Half the time I didn’t know what was going to happen to them until it happened. Don’t blame ME, it was your life and you lived it. All I did was listen to you telling the story and take dictation…

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Oh that’s easy, they will, because I have absolutely zero ability to gamble. Honestly, just take my money. The book I just finished reading is actually non-fiction, “The Year of the Nurse” by Cassandra Alexander (no relation) RN, about the travails of one ICU nurse during the Covid year (and I am sure she is not alone). She isn’t in any kind of mood to pull her punches right now and I don’t blame her, but I have a feeling she will cheerfully take up the cards if the stakes were that empathy, wisdom, and science would win the day and selfish and ignorant people could be prevented from making the epidemic far worse than it is turning out to be… and I would be the one cheering her on from the sidelines.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

If there is one thing I really want people to remember when they write is that just because you’re in a fictional world that doesn’t mean that suddenly everything’s yours for the asking – from horses who can magically gallop all night and still be fresh and sweet in the morning to using any kind of magical gift and expecting it to carry no price, to affect you not at all. TANSTAAFL, people, there really IS no such thing as a free lunch, and unless something your character does is tough enough to affect and change them… you’re not telling a story, you’re just piling words on the page. If your protagonist does not end the book a different person than the one which they were when they began it, you have not done your job properly at all.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Look out for the special 20th Anniversary Edition of “Changer of Days” this Christmas! In the meantime please browse my Book Table (with ALL of my books! Buy them right here!) and my blog at www.AlmaAlexander.org. Concerning chocolate cake recipes, I am actually going to be doing a series of essays containing recipes from my grandmother’s recipe files on my Patreon page (https://www.patreon.com/AlmaAlexander) and this will probably include reflections on the recipe that calls for EIGHTEEN EGGS. That’s Eighteen. Eggs. In a single recipe. You’d better start your own chicken coop for this one.

Brand J. Alexander

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I am currently in between two projects. I am writing book 3 of my Tears of Hatsunae series, Tears of the Fallen. My main focus for 2021 is to complete it by this year. But in between writing sessions, I am prepping book 2 of my Guardians of the Tide series, Call of the Rising Deep, to hopefully publish by this summer.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I have three separate series available currently, with a few instalments on the way.

Tears of Hatsunae is my debut epic fantasy series and the literal genesis of my fantasy universe. The first two books are currently available with a third in the works.

Book 1 Rise of Tears

Asahn thought he knew what to expect when he came of age among his people, the Kahn Shogal. As heir to the tribe’s chieftain, his new status of manhood granted him greater authority and standing, and he was anxious to accept his place. However, Asahn is about to discover that not even his father is prepared for the hardship and challenges his people will face.

The world of Elerea is dying, and the secrets of his tribe’s history may be the key. But those secrets have attracted a new threat. A rising religion seeks the blood of the Kahn Shogal, forcing Asahn’s people to flee into the withering harshness of their homeland. Pursued by enemy forces and struggling against a land coming undone, Asahn must learn to be the leader his people need. For the stubborn pride of his father may doom them all before they ever have a chance to challenge the threats aligned against them.

Book 2 Fall of Tears

Fall of Tears picks up right where Rise leaves off. After the clash between father and son, Asahn must leave the safety of his tribe to seek answers to the threats facing his people. With a small band of allies, he travels behind enemy lines into the city of his people’s ancient rivals in search of the truth behind the dying world and the Order of Light that is hunting the Kahn Shogal.

Every ten years the clans of Kahn Shogal gather in a sacred place for the Daharra, and Asahn must race against time to find answers and return to his people before the Order finds them first. But the answers he learns and the salvation he finds may be too great for him to accept. For the power required to save them may be the power that will destroy them all.

Book 3 Tears of the Fallen is in the works.

Guardians of the Tide is my Fantasy Novella series which explores the grand adventure of a young man becoming a hero over the course of his life by focusing on the individual struggles that led him there with each new tale. The first book Moonrise’s Call is currently available for purchase, and book 2, Call of the Rising Deep, is set for release this summer.

Moonrise’s Call introduces a young man named Aust, struggling to survive and protect a small band of orphans in a world gone mad. Nix is a world completely covered by oceans and beholden to the erratic forces of its three roving moons. Massive waves called Moontides follow in the moons’ wakes, devastating all attempts at civilization and erasing the history of a better world that once existed.

As a darkness stirs within the deep, and the moons’ destruction grows, the world of Nix will cry out for champions. And as they have for generations, the Guardians of the Tide will heed the call. Perhaps, a young orphan name Aust will as well.

Ravenfell Chronicles: Origins is my first completed series, although it is one that does not take place within my literary universe. I am a Halloween fanatic, and every year I design and construct a yard haunt for my community called Ravenfell Manor. Ravenfell Chronicles: Origins is a dark fantasy series of short story and novella length tales that follow the origins of the Ravenfell family and the manor that bears their name.

Book 1, The Peculiar Raven, tells the tale of how a curious raven peered too closely beyond the veil and was changed forever by the secrets he found there. His experience will transform him into a being known as the Raven King, the founder of the Ravenfell line.

Book 2, The Raven’s Fel, picks up in the aftermath of the Raven King’s transformation and the consequences of the bargain that granted him such power. His attempts to keep his side of the bargain will threaten the worlds on both sides of the veil and nearly destroy the wall that divides them. The Raven King’s efforts to remedy his mistake will bind him forever to the humans he despises and found the line of Ravenfells with their pact.

Book 3, The Rise of a Matriarch, is a stand-alone tale that introduces a character destined to join the line of Ravenfell, but first, she must embrace the darkness within her and the power it promises. Katerina is a young disciple of a fading religious order. As civilization wars against the forces of magic in an effort to exterminate them, Katerina’s people struggle to protect the fragments that remain. But their struggle is about to come to a violent bloody end. Only by turning from her people’s teachings can Katerina hope to save what remains of their work but doing so will forever change her fate.

Book 4, The Dark Heart of Ravenfell, is the culmination of all the tales that came before. The Raven King’s pact with the Ravenfells created a weakness in the veil that divides the worlds of life and death, and a few ancient spirits, resentful of their banishment to one side, plot to use that vulnerability to unmake the veil and merge the two sides. A Ravenfell child, born within the world of death, may be the key to it all. But whether he is the force that will destroy the veil or its only salvation is uncertain.

Once more the Raven King will be called to join with the bloodline of the Ravenfells to protect the barrier between worlds.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

My least favourite part would definitely be all the work that goes into prepping for publishing. I love building the worlds and writing the stories. But once I start editing, designing the cover, and planning promotions, the work becomes a lot less enjoyable. I live on a very fixed income, so I end up doing most of that work on my own. Unfortunately, that takes a lot of time away that I could be using to write new stories.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love the worldbuilding. I have notebooks filled with notes that will never even make it into stories, but it helps to flesh out my worlds and the people and cultures that exist there. I have numerous worlds designed just waiting for me to write the adventures that take place there.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I love the suggestion of Douglas Adams’ humor. Although, I don’t write a lot of funny stories. For me I think it would be Robert Jordan’s ability to create distinct identifiable cultures. In the Wheel of Time series, he fleshed out the people of the different lands so well that their descriptions and personalities often identified where they were from well before it was actually mentioned. I hope to one day create worlds so defined that readers can claim the same familiarity with the people.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Above all else, Asahn does what he thinks is best for his people, even at his own expense. I truly believe if I imparted the danger and darkness that is coming for them and the fact that their only hope resides in him accepting the power that he fears, he would choose to do the right thing. Now he may wish to still seek a bit of revenge for everything I have put him through, and some of it is understandable. Revenge is an emotion he will be struggling quite a bit with in the next 2 books. And he hasn’t yet dealt with that darkness within him, so it could be touch and go for a bit.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Wow, that is a difficult one. The protagonist from the last book I read would have to be Kaladin from The Way of Kings. I can’t really think of him as a gambler, although I assume that he would be wagering to save his men and gain their freedom.

I can only imagine that my own main characters would be wagering for control of their own fates. But I decide those. As the god of their universe, I have final say, so they lose no matter what cards they play. ‘

But in the end, Durn would likely win, no matter what I do. He is way too smart and good at reading people to be outmatched, even by the god that created him.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I definitely think that I can get lost in the world building at times. I am an old school fantasy fan and am deeply attached to those styles. I tend to fall heavily into those older methods and avoid some of the newer styles of fantasy. That is something I am trying to work on.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Definitely a few plots to take over the world. Just as soon as I finish this next book. And maybe the next one too.

This year’s goal for me is to increase my interactions with readers and fans, so I am really hoping to build my social media presence. I imagine the best thing to share would be all my links.

You can find all my currently published work on my Amazon author page.

https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B07KBDBRQC

You can follow me at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrandJAlexander

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrandJAlexander

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/brand_j_alexander

Website: https://brandjalexander.wixsite.com/website

 

Contact Brand J. Alexander Brand_J_Alexander@mediacombb.net

Kayelle Allen

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

My upcoming release (Feb 20, 2021) is Surrender Love – Antonello Brothers: Immortal. In 2014 the book went out of print when the rights reverted to me. I planned a sequel called Forever Love, but had so much trouble with getting the hero and villain to do what they were supposed to do that I gave up and wrote other things. After several years, I figured out what was wrong, fixed it, and began a complete rewrite of the story. Re-releasing Surrender Love means I’m close to releasing Forever Love as well. That book comes out May 13th. In between those two books is a short story called Forbid My Heart, which will be exclusive for readers of Surrender Love. There will be a link to the story at the end of the book. Anyone who loved Luc and Izzorah’s romance will want to read that. Forbid My Heart leads directly to Ring of the Dragon. You can skip that book and go straight to Forever Love, but if you read it, you’ll have a much greater experience and see deeper into the overall story. Plus, Ring is told completely from the viewpoint of the immortal king, Pietas. It’s a don’t-miss story. There will be a sequel to that book in the near future.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I have multiple books set in the same story universe. The Antonello Brothers: Immortal series is a spinoff from the Antonello Brothers series. Those books are A Stolen Heart, Bro, At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, For Women Only. In that series, the focus is on Senth and Khyff, half-brothers who are reunited as adults. The immortals are in the background but vital to the story. In the spinoff, it focuses on the immortals and the brothers are in the background.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Tracking everything. I do it, and it helps me, but going back and seeing how sales are going and what promotion or sale worked is a bit boring. But it’s part of the job and it’s important.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love plotting and figuring out how to connect various parts of the story to another part. Because my books are all interrelated, I have a chance to write in characters from one book into another. When I realize I wrote something in book C that can work in book K, it’s exciting.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Heather Gladney and Mary Renault’s magic with words. I love their writing.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I must say it is not unexpected. They know better than to try strong-arming me. I don’t budge when it comes to story, but I will give them what they want if they insist. When I wrote Surrender Love, it was supposed to give Luc a quick fling and heal his broken heart after a breakup. I didn’t expect that Luc would demand that I give him Izzorah forever. I know it’s weird, but characters can be so intense in your mind when you’re writing them that you know you’re not going to win unless you give them their way. I found a way to make Izzorah immortal like Luc, and the happy-ever-after was born.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

They will beat me like a dead horse. I have no idea how to play poker. It will always come out in the other person’s favor, I’m afraid.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Don’t worry about how the opening sounds until you’ve written most of the book. Chances are, your first few chapters will end up somewhere else. Even when outlining, writers don’t always see the right structure for a story. It takes delving into it a ways to figure that out. So if you can’t think of a hook for that opening line, write anything and just get started. Remember, you will edit the living daylights out of this thing anyway! Give yourself permission to write a rotten first draft. The point is to get it onto the paper / screen. You can edit in your head but no one can read it there.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Subscribe to my newsletter and you can take part in a brand new adventure: the Citizen’s Journey. Once you go through all the steps of the journey (reading inside secrets and picking up freebies along the way), you can then take the Immortal Journey and be declared an official immortal. That gives you access to a different part of my website plus membership to an exclusive Facebook group. The immortal king himself interacts with readers there. Pietas has his own Facebook page, and readers get to ask him questions.

To sign up, visit my website and click on Free Starter Set in the menu. Readers choose between my romance titles and my strictly science fiction titles. If you join the romance side, you get everything. https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups/

PD Alleva

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I just started writing The Rose Vol. 2, the second instalment in my dystopian science fiction series. I’m about two thousand words into the story, setting up the infrastructure for what’s to unfold and getting ready for the first battle between Phil (a rebel freedom fighter) and Sanos (the main alien vampire). Then I’ll be creating the alien vampire city in hollow earth. I’m stoked and can’t wait to discover those little unexpected turns and character twists they seem to enjoy throwing my way. I’m shooting for a July 2021 release. And then there are my horror novels, Golem and Jigglyspot and the Zero Intellect. I finished writing Jiggly about a month ago and he’s waiting to be sent off to my editor soon. Golem is a bit further along in the editing process, I’m just about to complete the content edits and send it off for a line edit. Golem takes place in late 1940’s and early 1950’s New York City, and follows a young detective, John Ashton, on a missing persons case whose only lead is a psychiatric patient, Alena Francon, who tells Ashton how she incarnated a demon into a statue she created named Golem whose infiltrated every aspect of New York’s infrastructure in an attempt to take over the city. It really is disturbing how far across the line the imagination can go.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

The Rose Vol. 1 is a dystopian science fiction thriller novel released worldwide on October 7, 2020. The Rose features a sophisticated although primal species of underground alien vampires who have conspired with elite human beings and telepathic evil greys to turn the human population into chemically altered zombies in order to achieve planetary and interstellar domination. But there’s a glitch in their matrix, a fly in their ointment, and a bat in their belfry. The rebellion, shrouded in mystery and led by the even more mysterious Robyn Winter, has dispatched the youthful Phil to seek out and find WW3 safety camp survivor Sandy Cox before the unholy trinity is able to secure her unborn child for genetic experimentation. When Sandy is captured and taken to an underground genetics lab, Phil is forced to enter the compound. Armed with The Blades, a sacred alien martial arts weapon, and the rose, a superpower with the ability to transform chemical structures, suspend gravity, and move objects with a thought, Phil battles through the compound against genetically mutated monsters, aliens, and humans. But the elusive Sandy has a plan of her own, finding her stolen child is all that matters. But nothing is as it seems in the underground complex. Sanos, the leader of the vampire faction tasked with overseeing military operations, gets a taste of the New Blood concocted from the pharmaceutical that turns human beings into the zombies the unholy trinity desires, turning Sanos into a primal ravaging vampire. And he’s grown weary of the unholy trinity, pitting vampire against vampire, grey vs human, and Phil against the world. Joined by a crew of rogue soldiers, Phil and Sandy must escape the underground compound in order to keep the rebellion hope alive. Will they achieve their mission? Will the new blood destroy the vampires? Will hope survive? Get ready. Strap in. And be warned, the Alien Vampires have landed in an action adventure unlike any other.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Getting there, those months just before a new book is published. Working for sometimes years on a project, it can be a real nail biter tying us loose ends and making sure everything is just right. Perfection being an attribute so few have mastered, if any.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Everything else. I love what I do and wouldn’t change any part of it.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Ernest Hemingway’s minimalistic style. He’s the master with providing information with character depth and a play on words where the reader understands there’s so much more happening beneath the surface. For a long period of time my favourite writer, my family even nicknamed me Hemingway. Not bad at all.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I’ll choose Jigglyspot for this answer. Jigglyspot being the main character in Jigglyspot and the Zero Intellect, a horror thriller novel. Jiggly’s a four foot nine half human half warlock lackey for the demons of Xibalba, so I’d have a difficult time convincing him that what I’m doing is for the best. More than likely he could give two shits and would whether he agreed with me or not he’d cut off my skull and devour my brain (while I’m alive). Jiggly can’t help himself; it’s a true character flaw he’s been grappling with for centuries. Plus since it’s better not to leave any loose ends, he’d hack me up and turn me into hamburger for the next neighbourhood gathering. Mmm! Tasty.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The Players: Charlie Parker (from author John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series), Phil, the rebel freedom fighter from The Rose, Golem, Jigglyspot, Sanos, and myself. The stakes are high; winner takes control of the planet and decides the fate of the human race. Golem wins of course, he’s just too clever and his way of cheating is always grounded in the art of manipulation, for which Golem is a true mater; works like a literal charm for that damnable demon.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Is it passed or past? and all those little grammatical concerns we learned about in middle school. Thank the gods for a good editor, that’s for sure. Also, be careful with old tropes, actually to hell with that, do what comes natural, with 8 billion people on the planet chances are a few million will love what you do.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Yes, once my alien brethren arrive, we will release the human race from the ever constricting vibrational frequency that is wrapped around the earth and continually suppressing human intelligence, squeezing a third dimensional reality onto the human population. In doing so we will release magic back into a world of wonder, freeing the human mind and catapulting human evolution into the stratosphere. Stay tuned. But in the meantime follow me on social media; links are below including a link to an awesomely massive Alien Vampire Contest and Giveaway with over $1k in prizes. Enjoy.

Contest Link: https://pdalleva.com/the-rose-contest-and-giveaway

The Rose Vol.1 Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Rose-Vol-Dystopian-Science-Thriller-ebook/dp/B089JTPJ8G/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pdalleva_author/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pdallevaauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PdallevaAuthor

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/pdalleva

Website: www.pdalleva.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7634126.P_D_Alleva

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/p-d-alleva

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gxKH7P

Christiane Joy Allison

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m currently working on the sequel to my new novel, Infinitus. Infinitus is Book 1 of The Infinitus Saga, so I’m working on Book 2, Chimera Rising. In this book, the chimeras make a move to form an independent nation while my main characters continue to be hunted across the globe. Spoiler Alert! Below is the teaser for Chimera Rising.

For three months the world has held its breath with no word of the Red Queen after her bombshell broadcast exposed the horrific Community exploitation and maltreatment of chimeras—human-animal hybrids born of the reemergence of Old World genetic experimentation. Word of their unexpected champion’s message spread like wildfire through the GRID and galvanized chimeras worldwide to unite against Global Fellowship control. Loyal chimeras spurn the Red Queen’s message and fight, in the name of their fallen comrade-in-arms, to safeguard their Community from the anarchy unleashed by her mind. As the Global Fellowship deploys scorched-earth tactics to eliminate her, an uneasy alliance forms between the traditional freedom fighters and the very Community operatives and assassins they have fought for so long.

Hector ‘Hawk’ Warrenson, former covert chimera operative, waits at the bedside of the woman he failed to protect. The Global Fellowship wants her dead. The rebels want to control her. He wants her free and safe. But is he already too late? As Hawk fears his deterioration into Obsessive Attachment Syndrome, he’s determined to find a way to protect her—no matter the cost.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

The Infinitus Saga is a series of cyberpunk adventure novels following the Mallorey family’s struggle to survive in a world run by the Global Fellowship and their Global Reform Interface and Database (GRID) computer system. The series is jam-packed with futuristic technology, tech-savvy rebels, and genetic animal-human hybrids known as chimeras.

The Global Fellowship rescued the Earth from the chaos of hundreds of nations at war. Now, united in peace, all Community citizens have free access to food, housing, education, and medical care. In return, for a few hours a day, they contribute their brain power to the worldwide computer system known as the GRID. Those who don’t contribute are the disconnected, shirkers who live destitute and on the edge of starvation in a world where GRIDcoin is beyond their reach. Among them are the Mallorey’s who are forced to live outside the GRID to hide their genetic disability, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, or risk being never seen or heard of again.

The Global Fellowship is the prelude novelette for the series. After his parents’ sudden death, Arthur Mallorey, a severely disabled teenager living in the largest shirker camp in Central Continent, knows he has to find a way for him and his sister to survive. Battling pain and exhaustion, he looks for salvation in the very heart of the Community he was raised to fear.

Infinitus is the saga of Gina Mallorey, a young freedom-loving tech dealer living in the Dregs on her own terms, hiding her disability from the Community. When an explosion forces her into the GRID, powerful forces make her a target. The Community operative sent after her hides a genetic secret of his own, but only time will tell if he’ll choose to be friend or foe.

The world of Infinitus brings together several of my favourite elements into a single story. First, the main characters from the Mallorey family have my genetic condition, hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS). Their experiences are drawn from real life stories of struggling with that disability and persevering. The story gives the reader the perspective of what it’s like to live in a body like that and connects with those of us who live with the condition. The story also takes place in a society where such disabilities are put away or hidden by the government, putting the characters at additional risk.

Secondly, the world of Infinitus is full of a colorful cast of chimera characters that are human-animal hybrids born from emerging genetics from Old World super soldier experiments. You get to see both their advantages and disadvantages.

Thirdly, the world explores the relationship between people and technology. In the world of Infinitus, people are literally wetwired to the world’s computers and their brains are used as temporary servers. Think about what it would be like to close your eyes and dim the lights or turn up the temperature in your apartment. What would it be like to have an AI that was attuned to your every whim? What happens when there’s no tactile form of money? All of these amazing things and more are explored in the story.

Finally, even though this is not a romance novel, there is romance. The story explores the draw and connection between these characters in a world where long-term relationships are considered mental illness.

Aside from The Infinitus Saga, I have also published two children’s picture books in my Where is Uncle? series. The series is designed to help children who are experiencing the adverse childhood experience (ACE) of the incarceration of a loved one. The first book, Why Can’t Uncle Come Home?, is the first picture book to address the subject of wrongful conviction for very young children. The second book, Timmy & Kate Go To Visit, addresses prison visitation.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

My least favourite part is formatting the book for print. There are so many details that influence other details, and you end up going back and forth a lot trying to get your files just perfect for each book format. It’s very time consuming, but the end result is worth the effort.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Writing the first draft is the biggest buzz of the project for me. It helps that I know from the beginning that it’s going to need a lot of work, and let’s me explore without my inner editor screaming at me. Because I’m a “pantser” in writing lingo, I’m often discovering the story for the first time as I write each scene. My characters often surprise me, and I have as much of an adventure writing it as any reader will have reading it.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I would steal Dean Koontz’s skill with description. He has beautiful skill when describing details from the weather to the character’s clothes. In my first drafts, my books are detail and description poor. I always go back in and layer the description in with the dialog as part of the editing process.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Wow! My character could definitely make that claim. I would have to explain that they need to have faith. By the time they arrive at their final destination, all the pain and challenges they’ve been through will lead to a life they couldn’t have dreamed of before I started messing with it.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Hawk will definitely win, but he’s probably only winning freedom from chores. He’s one of the main characters from my novel and he’s a chimera with heightened senses who’s spent his lifetime as a covert operative. He’s playing against: me, who hates household chores; Gina Mallorey who has no money and has the same illness I do, thus hating chores; and Cate Nightingale from Linda Howard’s book Cover of Night, who owns a Bed and Breakfast and has to do extra chores every day. However, if you throw the hero of the book in, Calvin Harris from Howard’s book, then we’ve got another operative at the table and things get dicier. Overall though, I doubt anyone could beat Hawk’s heightened senses and familiarity with living in the global underworld.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I tend to write sagas, where the characters and conflicts carry across multiple books. One of the pitfalls to avoid in this style of writing is knowing what the conflicts will be one, two, or even more books ahead. Weaving those details into the first book and throughout the series will make a much richer experience for the reader and help avoid you suddenly throwing in conflicts or changing the world rules you’ve established to make your story work. Trust me, readers notice.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

In addition to being an author, I’m also a criminal justice reform activist and public speaker. I’ve been personally affected by wrongful conviction and encourage everyone to learn more about the issue and how you can become involved in positive change in your community in this battle for justice. You can find out what the nearest Innocence Project is to you by visiting https://innocencenetwork.org. Donate, volunteer, talk to legislators, and support local exonerees in their fight for freedom and transitions home. You can make a difference.

Anthony Almato

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’ve just finished the second book in my series. Well, the third draft of it, at least. Book 1 took me 4 years to release, and I finished the attached novella – Free Worlds of Humanity 1.5: Short Stories from the Free Worlds; at the same time, that book will come out in January of 2022. Book 2 in the Free Worlds of Humanity saga, Tensions Rising, is where most of my focus is now. I’m refining it through my process to make sure all my characters stay in character, and I don’t leave any plot holes.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Free Worlds of Humanity occurs in a distant future society throughout a region known as occupied space that includes Earth. The exact time is unknown because an event had happened thousands of years earlier, known as the Great Darkness, where the whole of humanity on every single air-breathing world abandoned advanced technology and lived in the shadows of their former glory. When the light returned, only a shred of humanity returned with it. As the new civilizations of the Free Worlds of Humanity rose, they all had forgotten what it meant to be good-willed and true to each other. The Great Darkness caused such devastation and loss that those who survived did so through brutality, force and subjugation. Only the Free Worlds of Humanity are considered enlightened now. Each of them is unique, with a common theme of its people living within some form of caste system where most of the population live at the bottom.

In the colonized planets forming the Free Worlds of Humanity, everyone falls into a caste of some kind.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Book 1, Free Worlds of Humanity, released on 9-17-2021. I began concepts for this story during my senior year of high school in 2001. My original thought behind world-building was to turn it into a real-time strategy (RTS) video game. I drew concepts and wrote in my free time on the physics within the story. I would spend random amounts of time doing it through the years. Then put everything back on the shelf until I felt like doing it again for a few months here and there every year. Around 5 years ago, I found over 300 pages in a storage box that included story detail, world-building, societies, characters and more. My wife raised an eyebrow and wondered where I found all the free time to work on so much stuff. I had no idea what to do with all this stuff. Who would? I had wondered if I should make it into a comic book, try to pitch it as a game concept to developers, or maybe make a tabletop board game from all the details. For the life of me, I can’t remember where the idea to write a book came from, but I spent lots of time researching what to do, which included second-guessing myself numerous times because I had never ever read a book, let alone written one. It wasn’t until I reached out and got a response from Mercedes Lackey, a NYT best-selling published author with over 135 books on the market. She convinced me to write this book myself, which is what I did. Without her push, it might never have happened. I started writing the first draft 4 years ago and finished it within 90 days at 300,000 words. Then the refining started.

What I found interesting through the process of writing it out was how much real-world events started taking shape with similarities to how the rich politicians of Free Worlds acted and responded to public affairs. The reason book 1 took 4 years to write was because I had gone through it nearly twenty times from start to finish and kept tweaking and refining. It also went through four rounds of professional editing/proofreading. That extended everything by another year.

I spent more time on my story bible wiki page to expand on the world-building for the series. I’ve always found that when I enjoy a show or movie, the first place visited afterward is Wikipedia or somewhere that has more rabbit-hole falling details that no one would know unless they did a deep dive into it. I wanted that for Free Worlds and created www.FreeWorldsofHumanity.com – a complete detailed lore page filled with everything about the societies, characters, battles, ships, planets, and tons of illustrations.

Something about the story must interest people because I had nearly four hundred sales within the first ten days of release.

The worst part for me is not writing. Because of this crazy process, I’ve spent the last three months working on marketing and networking. It’s left little time for doing what I enjoy most, which is writing the darn thing! Lol. When I get into my flow, nothing stops me at all. I’ve never had writer’s block and don’t understand what that concept even means. Once I sit down and focus, it all flows from my fingers quickly.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

The hard twisted nature of my story. These characters literally crawl through crap, evil, and terrible things occurring within their stories. These people are so strong and keep moving one leg in front of the other to get out. It’s not over the top to the point of being unbelievable. The sense of realism from my advanced readers was something I was complimented on besides my writing style.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I really wish I could answer this question without feeding you a line… but I can’t because I’ve never read a book in my life. From community stories I’ve read across places like Reddit and Quora, I’ll say that GRRM’s TV version of Game of Thrones was something I tried to model my story after in the sense of the corruption level. If I could learn to do that better with some added humor, that would be cool.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Considering that my story follows five main character story arks through individual POVs, I’d have to refine it down to one of them. I’m picking the one that wouldn’t kill me without hearing me out first… lol. Mace Applegate, an employee from the Federate Corporation, 5th and final of the recognized Free Worlds governments with seats inside the Capitol Forum on the relations station. He’s a calm, calculating man who slowly evolves throughout book 1 to a person who becomes numb to things, and while he might hate me forever, I don’t see him or any of the characters ever believing what I did to them was for the best, he’ll at least let me live.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

While I’ve never read a book in my life, I can associate it with the last TV show I watched, which was Foundation. I’d say between Hari Seldon, Gaal Dornick, and Brother Day, around a table with Henry McWright, Kathryn, Mace Applegate, Isabel Sideris and Master Gunnery Sergeant Askar; the stakes are rather interesting.

Math genius might be able to count the cards in such a way as to calculate the odds of winning (Hari and Gaal.) But I could see them being intimidated, sitting across a table with a Dolrinion sentinel in full battle armor with countless markings of battle across his war plate. Henry McWright can manipulate any situation, including people, bending them to his will, and Kathryn, oh Kathryn, wouldn’t spend five minutes playing this game. She’d want nothing to do with it. Mace is a math guru himself, being the best programmer within the Federate Corporation. He might put up a good fight.

The stakes would be simple. Brother Day would want to kill anyone who beat him, Henry would meet the challenge by calling in a Colonial Hellfire assault, Askar might kill everyone if the mood strikes him, and Isabel would be plotting her way of motivating anyone outside to her cause.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

My process is part sprinkling and part winging it. I have a general sense of the direction I’m going in while writing, but as the words come out onto the page, let’s take a general conversation between two characters, it comes to life on its own. I’m not thinking in my head about how the conversation is taking place. It’s literally happening in real-time as I write it. I’ve changed directions numerous times through book one. I also hit a few plot holes square in the face, but it took no more than five minutes to write myself out in a believable way each time. The world-building for me took place over twenty years, so I had a solid foundation in my head on how everything worked without the need to check through pages of writings for reassurance that what I had put on the paper was legitimate to the lore. I’ve never experienced writer’s block. My first draft of book one took 90 days and ended at 275,000 words.

Refining everything is the hardest part. That takes patience and stamina. The only trap I can think of is a trap you set for yourself. Stay off social media, don’t watch the news, or fall into a rabbit hole of arguments posted in your feed. Immerse yourself into character and write. That is also something I do while writing. I turn my brain into the character chapter I’m writing at that moment. I become the character. I think like them and try to sound like them in my head. Character acting in a sense. That’s how I spend each day of writing. One day is a chapter of Henry McWright. I give myself an accent (in my head) and become Henry for the day. Even in real-life dealings, I respond and act as if I were the character for that day. My wife can tell you all about that. I’m a peach on days when I’m pretending to be a 63-year-old warrior who is grief-stricken from endless wars.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

The world-building of Free Worlds of Humanity was very important to me and took 20 years to develop. I’ve got so much fun stuff for readers to explore at www.freeworldsofhumanity.com – be warned. There are spoilers there that will give you details from book 1. The attached novella for book 1 will release on January 14th, 2022, followed by book 2’s release in August of 2022. I’ve already started on the attached novella for book 2, which I think will excite readers because of its direction to expand on the lore of Free Worlds. The characters all have distinctive and independent voices, and I think your listeners would enjoy their personalities. Even if they don’t approve of one, there are five to choose from 😊

P.M. Amaras and Paul Driggere

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

We are currently working on the sequel to “Shadows in Light”, titled “Shadows in Mist”, a “cozy” paranormal mystery called “Magic Blocked”, and a re-write of our first fiction novel we published back more than a decade ago, called “Exiles of Dal Ryeas”, which is now renamed “Edgeworld”, and will be completely updated to more modern times.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

“Shadows in Light” is a fantasy-crime thriller, with a heavy dose of magic and romance. Without getting too much into it, a serial killer is wandering the streets of Nysi Affalon, a hub kingdom for all the otherworlds, a home for the gods, demigods, fae, and all the supernatural and mythical beings who used to live on Earth. Into this world steps Maia Anemois, a would-be-detective sent from Earth to help a couple of demi-god brothers, Lord Kai Eurus and Aidan Eurus, track down the killer and bring him to justice.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

EDITING! We are always editing, coming up with new ideas, new dialogue, new directions, etc. and it’s a pain because we just want to get these books finished!

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

World building, character building and plotting. We love every step. We build the world, we build the characters within the world, and from there we can create the most amazing stories.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

Paula thinks she would like Douglas Adams’ humor, and Paul would be happy to have Stephen King’s incredible story-telling. (Although he likes to claim he already has it.)

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Ardyn, we are trying to reunite you with Asta, even though her ex is trying to kidnap your stepson. So if you just calm down and lay low for a while, maybe even shift somewhere, we’ll make sure that Rafe handles everything okay. Trust us, Asta is going to prove to be the best thing that ever happened to you.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Well, the last book Paula read was “Three Charms for Murder”, so we would be playing poker with Jamie Edwards and Dr. Henri Davenforth, Maia Anemois and Kai Eurus. We’re already losing, because it’s strip poker, Jamie is super smart, and we can’t keep Maia and Kai’s hands off each other. We asked them several times to magick themselves a room but to no avail.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

Being derivative. By that, meaning lazily copying people’s plot points without developing your own. Also, if you’re doing something that is similar to other books or stories, make sure you have an original angle. Yes, okay, your character can do magic. Now explain why that character is different from all the others, etc. World building tends to always fall back on old, used cliches. Make the world stand out. Everyone has written everything already. Now you need to make something new – or at least entertaining enough to gain a following.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

We tried to take over the world some time ago, but the weekly meetings were a drag, no one brought snacks, and it was just chaos trying to figure out who would own Sweden. So, we dropped it. We do have a release hopefully coming for our new edition of “Edgeworld” (formerly “Exiles of Dal Ryeas”) in time for Valentine’s Day. We are small-press publishers of our own, called “Scribes Unlimited”, and we can safely boast we are the oldest publishers of the World Wide Web, having done our first website in 1994. Our site is: https://www.scribesunlimited.com (currently being re-designed too!). We are also truly grateful for this opportunity to reach out to new fans so thank you very much.

Kristin Bapst

    1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

      I’m currently halfway (almost) through writing “Davingale” which is a YA fantasy, Tolkien-esque in its nature of adventure. I’m also writing a very rough project that centers around the themes of faith and deed vs. intention.

    1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

       

      The Six of Salem” series was a first attempt at writing paranormal romance/horror/urban fantasy. “The Magic Awakens” explores the idea of the first accused witch in the Salem Witch Trials having descendents & I kept asking, “what if?” and it led to the horrific legacy of a family through the years. The main character discovers her family history & her powers, finds others along the way, and falls in love with someone dangerous. It culminates with a battle that, I think, was prep-work for the end of the second book.

      Salem Moon” centers around the concept of the God & Goddess they worship in a way. Rose, the daughter of Rayna and Matthew, grows into womanhood through some traumatic events, but finds her soulmate, who also suffered his own trauma. And she discovers she has even more powers than she thought.

      Davingale” centers around a teenager coming of age who lived secretly through the books he read while his parents always wanted him to be serious. It takes place in a sort of medieval age although there are a lot of liberties taken & fantasy elements incorporated. I tried not to be like “Middle Earth was my main inspiration!!” but I’ll let the reader decide how well I did avoiding that. A letter arrives for him, and…that’s as much as I’ll reveal; the rest has to be a surprise. It is a journey, which I did say before, and it is definitely a page turner.

    2.  

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Marketing and promotion. As an author with limited funds, it is hard to get word out about your book without having to spend the dough. I use Twitter, Facebook, and KDP to the best of my abilities, but “The Six of Salem” didn’t do too well, even though my free promotions often sold more books than I ever sold for money.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

When I sit down at the computer, put on music that fits the book I’m writing, and an hour passes without notice. The ideas flow onto the page & my excitement and adrenaline pump when an interesting concept serves as a catalyst for something bigger & better.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Definitely Tolkien’s language skills. I am currently using Google translate for parts of my book; I am not brilliant enough to create my own langauge! And Jan Karon’s style. She is so descriptive yet so simplistic. You feel like you are standing there in the town of Mitford, you taste the food, you feel whatever the characters are feeling. She is very talented.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I would tell him, “Look, you had to leave. If you stayed where you were, you would become bored, be stuck in stagnation, and never ever have experienced these amazing places and met such interesting people. And you found what you only read about in a storybook! Who else can say that?!”

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The stakes are the magic of Davingale, my beautiful, illustrated copy of Treasure Island, and Rose’s powers. I would win because I know exactly how they will react & emote and when they are bluffing; the perks of writing your characters.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

My biggest problem I’m still working on is pacing & also I fail at showing & not telling sometimes. So I would say make sure you slow things down and don’t go through almost an entire journey in 100 pages unless you can go through a whole post-journey rollercoaster afterwards. Well, I guess everyone knows what I’ll be working on in the next few months! Lol

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Davingale”, I am guessing, will be out late autumn/early winter; which makes it a great Christmas gift for any teen or any adult that is into YA fantasy. As an interesting tidbit, I’ve learned cooking up a chopped apple or pear mixed with Saigon cinnamon is like a pie filling without the calories & sugar. If you want to follow me on Twitter, which I’m on more than Facebook, my handle is @dreamer984 – I tweet about my life, writing, my books, so it’s like having a close, personal connection with an author. And I’m currently being sucked into the David Tennant series of Doctor Who – when he did Scrooge McDuck I was in awe because I had only seen him as Kilgrave in Jessica Jones, so seeing him as an alien doctor makes me REALLY realize his versatility and range.

Kevin Buckner

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

At the moment, I am working on the second book in my series. I’m calling the series The Cudomerie.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I have only published one book so far. It’s called The Advent of Zón, Book One of The Cudomerie. It is a fantasy story about demons, druids, necromancers, and thieves. It deals heavily with undead and a little more with other fantasy creatures. It has action, adventure, horror, suspense, betrayal, revenge, and a little bit of romance.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Editing/rewriting. I do most of it myself and it is so tedious. That being said, I do recognize the importance of it and am glad I did it.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love it when I sit down to write and the story takes off, practically writing itself. It’s times like those that I find I lose track of time and suddenly, two hours have gone by and I’ve written over two thousand words.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I love the banter the characters in David Eddings’ Belgariad and Malloreon have. I try to have similar interactions between my characters. That’s what I would steal to make my writing better.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I’d tell him to be patient with me because I know what his ultimate goal is, and he will eventually meet that goal. I’d help him see that the things that have happened to him are necessary for him to achieve that goal. I’d warn him that he has to go through hell to get there first, though.

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The stakes would probably be cookies or candy because I don’t see Danny Torrance being allowed to play for money. Of course, he would win because he would be able to read everyone’s thoughts and know what cards are in their hands. After he wins, the main villain in my book, Zón, would probably plot some way to murder the boy in a gruesome manner to get his treats back.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I think the biggest trap to avoid would be to rely to heavily on tropes and cliches. There are numerous fantasy novels out there, and a lot of them seem to do this. You hear that a character is an elf, and you can practically see everything about that character with no other information. Same with dwarves or orcs. If you fall into those traps, it will make it more difficult for your work to stand out from all the others.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

In the course of writing The Advent of Zón, two characters were having soup for dinner. They were in the ruins of a city, so the one had to scavenge for ingredients. The other liked it a lot and asked what was in it. As I was writing what was in the soup, I thought it sounded really good, so I made it. I included the recipe in the back of the book.

I’m currently writing the second book in the series, and would like to have it ready for publication in late 2021 or early 2022. I have another book that I wrote the first draft of in 2013. I’m hoping it will be ready for publication in mid-to-late 2021.

E. Paige Burks

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m currently working on the 3rd book in my fantasy series, Return to War! I’m hoping to have it finished soon, but I’ve been saying that for like…two years… *insert crying face*

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Currently available are The Heart of the Guardian (a middle grade book about a princess and a guy who can turn into a wolf fighting a bad guy), Return to Royalty (book one) and Return to Gexalatia (book two) in my YA fantasy series (about a girl from Texas who isn’t really from Texas and her trying to make her way back to her home – in another world!), as well as a science fantasy short story called Jewels for Gemma (about a cursed jewel). If I ever finish my YA series, I plan to write more in the Jewels for Gemma world, including a story about what happens afterwards!

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Marketing. And maybe writing. I have such great ideas! Why can’t they just appear on the page without me needing to put them there??? lol

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

When I write a scene that I think is particularly cool or badass or is going to drive my readers nuts. I start doing the evil fingers thing and laughing maniacally.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Probably Tolkien’s language skills. I would love to be able to create my own language for my fantasy series. I try to create words now, a blend of Latin and made-up stuff, but having a fully-fledged language would be so cool!

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Listen, Nyx, this really is for your own good. You’re a badass and you just don’t believe it yet, but when you do…’erybody better watch out! You could burn the place down if you wanted to. Also, sorry about Jet, but it is what it is.”

PS I love this question!

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Oh man, this is a hard one. The last book I read was Saturn Run, and the protagonists are a toss-up between a hardcore marine with PTSD and a by-the-book spaceship captain. I think I’d have to pick the marine, and the stakes would probably be booze. The captain would be too straight-laced to gamble.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Hm…this is a hard one! Don’t feel like you have to be shoe-horned into using cliches and stereotypes if you want to write a genre but want to do it differently. Your particular flavor of writing and imagination is what makes your story worth telling!

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I’m going to be at the St. Francis Wolf Festival in October, so if you’re in Texas come support the wolf sanctuary and stop by to see me!

Michael Camarillo

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

I am in the final stages of publishing my debut fiction novel called Keeper 829. It is a dystopian fiction set in the year 2098 and incorporates elements of historical storytelling and science-fiction imagination. Ultimately, it boils down to an alternate reality where humans are a crop for reaping in a scheme of genetic engineering.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

As I mentioned above, my novel Keeper 829 is coming out on December 31, 2021. It is the first book in a series called The Keeper Program. In this dystopian society, I created an autocratic organization called The Institution who restructured the world into four geographical zones. Faith and states were eradicated, and society operates under the thumb of this shadowy organization which goes the whole nine to portray freedom and rights, including a World Panel of “representatives.” All of this emerged after an apocalyptic nuclear conflict called “The War.” Society is advanced using AI bots (IDA Units) to handle most low-skilled jobs, and The Institution uses a satellite apparatus called “The Eye” to spy on the world and manage it accordingly. What humans don’t know is that much of The Institution is comprised of extraterrestrial AI units who were sent to Earth millennia ago.

My MC is a Keeper, a biomimetic being who looks like a normal female human. She, like other Keepers (and their counterparts, Warders), was sent to Earth to “keep” an intelligence species until necessary information is extracted and the resources of the planet are exhausted. In her home galaxy, a massive civil war resulted in the collapse of the harmonious system and remnants of both sides raced out to various “yield planets” (places where intelligent species are being grown and engineered) to regroup. My MC was in a production batch that was infected with a virus, thus has lost many of her memories and can no longer receive updates from the SAGE Central Command System. This has made her adapt and become more human than robot, hence she has a deep connection to the humans.

She ultimately meets other Keepers and Warders and the veil is lifted as she finds out that she is an unwitting player in this game that ends with the extermination of humans. —

I also write non-fiction travel books focusing on Culture and Education for a business I own and run called Novel Excursion Travel. I have one out on Amazon now, called “Explore! San Antonio Your Culture Guide to Educational and Service-Oriented Travel.” I also have plans to write a children’s book series focused on purposeful travel, hopefully in 2022.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Selling books

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

Creating ideas and world building

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

Anne Rice’s ability to jumble timelines and jump between different characters’ perspectives without confusing the reader. She is my spirit animal and I would love to be able to tell a vivid and intricate story like she can.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I will ask her to watch all the Matrix movies with me, then say “You are the one, I am merely the Architect. Ergo, the choice is yours.”

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Gabriel (Warder 516) , Nesha (Keeper 829), Mary (Keeper 704), the Vampire Lestat, and I are playing for the survival of humanity. I win because my perception determines their reality and I wrote what hands they have. 🙂

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

I think becoming stretched too thin by overcomplicating my world building. My character building is very personal to me, so I also need to avoid letting my perception of my characters’ models cloud my judgment.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I once wanted to be a dictator but then I realized how much work it would take and decided instead to write books.

https://michaelcamarillobooks.com/shop

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09MJJPRSN

https://www.facebook.com/groups/camarillobookclub https://www.instagram.com/michaelcamarillobooks

Can’t say I have a favorite chocolate cake recipe, though…after living in Europe for three years, I can say my favorite food ever is Langos (Hungarian Sweet Bread). Khachapuri from Georgia comes in a close second!

  1. Name, please!

Crystal Cherie

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Haha, I appreciate that. At the moment, I am working on drafting book two of my newest series, The Divine Houses. I’m also working to do hefty revisions on a fan-favorite from Wattpad, Lucky and the Killer.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I just released House of Pluto (literally this week). It’s brand new, and I’m so excited to see how that goes. It’s the first book in my new six-book series, and I’m honestly rather proud of it. It’s my hope that it will appeal to fans of both Harry Potter and Sailor Moon. There’s a little bit of magic and stars with just a dash or two of evil.

Book two is coming in December of this year. I do also have a stand-alone book, Deleted, that’s available. It was my first novel, so take that with a grain of salt.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

My least favourite bit is definitely formatting and editing. Formatting feels tedious to me, even when there is a template from a publisher, and line-editing is delicate work.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Why, the writing, of course! Drafting is my favourite part, hands down. I love the imagination aspect to it, and it’s really neat to watch my characters come to life.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Cassandra Clare’s skill for world building and plot. I loved her Mortal Instrument’s series and have always thought she does a good job in those areas. It also wouldn’t hurt to have Jude Watson’s pacing and character development.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

“Haha, look now, you’ll be stronger for it in the end, and I’ve been through some crap, too. You’ll survive. But yeah, please let me go. We’ve still got work to do.”

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Lennox will win because he’s cool, calm, and mostly collected, and we’re probably playing for keys from the series. Either way, I’ll lose because I’ve never played poker.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

*Show more than you tell.

*Don’t kill characters for no reason.

*Most people don’t dig love triangles (“MOST” not all, don’t murder me).

*If you’re a pantser, learn to plan even if it’s just a little bit.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Keep reading, keep writing, and it’ll all work out in the end. Much love to everyone and thanks for having me!

You can find House of Pluto here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09FKQ3N54?pf_rd_r=C9CJWK7E0NRWBBP0EE9R&pf_rd_p=8fe9b1d0-f378-4356-8bb8-cada7525eadd&pd_rd_r=7d759ddd-4444-4ed1-ac1b-4f162e704cb1&pd_rd_w=PaxWc&pd_rd_wg=G9kgS&ref_=pd_gw_unk

House of Neptune (Book 2) should drop December 2021, so keep an eye out for that!

 

Stephen Christiansen

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

My spy/thriller novel. It’s about a shadow government and a global extinction level threat.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

I have just completed a 17 book dark elf series. The series follows a set of dark elves, free from their corrupt society, in a set of their own adventures. They must learn to trust each other while facing the prejudices of their surrounding societies. Along the way they uncover a plot by the Spider Queen that threatens everyone’s very existence. They need to put aside their differences, build allies, and utilize everything in their power to stop the Spider Queen or all will be lost. Their journeys will take them from the lowest levels of the Abyss to the highest levels of Heaven and across even time itself. Wars will be fought. Friends will be lost. Bonds will be broken. Scarifies will be made.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Marketing. It’s easier for me to write the book than it is to tell everyone that I have written it.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

Believe it or not, it’s when I’ve realized that I’ve written my character into a corner. Sometimes I let the story write itself and come to a spot where a character is in a situation that they can’t get out of. That’s when I have to really think about the story as a whole and find a way to get them out without just deleting the event. It gets my creative juices flowing and usually creates a depth in the character while tying in to previous events.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

Stephen King’s ability to create suspense and then terrify, in other words, to capture a reader’s attention and make a lasting impression. I’ve read several of his books where he has implanted an image in my mind that has stayed with me for a long time. I want to be able to impact people like this, to hold their attention like this, and for them to remember what they have read.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

It would be Istobarra. She is a dark elf necromancer that might be facing certain death in the latest book. “Isto, look, I know that you are scared and concerned about all that has happened and what might happen. I know that you’ve seen the upcoming war and the possible consequences. But know this: you have impacted those around you and have brought out their best. They will work together and do what needs to be done. Now you must trust, or as Isilme would say ‘have faith’. I know it’s not easy with all of the things that has happened in the past, but if you can find that strength within you, then, and only then, will everything turn out for the best. The decisions that you make today will not only impact the result of the war, but will be far-reaching to those who thought different of you. Only you can pull everyone together. Only you can impact those who are prejudice against dark elves. Only you can make that difference. But you can only do this by letting me go and having faith that everything will alright.”

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The players would me Istobarra (a necromantic dark elf), Quithxell (a succubus), and myself. The betting would be for cash at first until I realize that I really don’t know how to play poker (especially around these two) and I would fold. Istobarra would raise the stakes: “Let’s make it interesting. The player who wins gets to kill the losing player.” Quithxell would smile knowing that she had cheated to get a better hand. “It’s a deal. I’ll enjoy killing you.” It would be Istobarra’s turn to smile. “Good, because I’ve just had a potion of Lichdom. This means that the moment I die, I will become a powerful undead that will feast on your soul.” Quithxell will then realize that this isn’t something she would want to face. She would fold and teleport away. Of course, Istobarra hadn’t taken the potion, she would have lied. But then, she is a dark elf after all.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

One of the greatest traps that I fall in is deviating too much from the plot and letting the book and characters write themselves. While some of this makes for an interesting depth of character, sometimes it goes way too far off of the plot. It is best to have some sort of structure and stick to it as much as possible. Allow some free reign, but letting a story go wild can destroy the plot. Another major trap is being distracted. Make sure you can spend undistracted time to write.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I’m about a quarter way into the spy novel and will finish early next year. At that point I’ll probably write the third book of my Star Wars fan fiction series. From there? Who knows. Perhaps I will plot to take over the world. Ok, maybe not. I was thinking either another thriller “Monsters” about a man being haunted, or perhaps part two of my time traveling thriller. The second book will take place in Whitechapel (I’ll let you imagine from there). Perhaps I’ll write a follow up third book to the sci-fi series I have going. I don’t know, there’s so much to choose.

  1. Tiffani Collins

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Right now, I’m tying up all the loose ends getting my third book, Reflections of a Tigress, out. I’m also hammering out the barebones of the plot of my next book so I can get started on it once Reflections of a Tigress can walk on its own.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Well, the first book I wrote was set in a purely fantasy world I created with a long-time friend. Though this world was not earth, we still pulled from many earth cultures, myths, and legends that we then tailored to our needs. My main character for Dark Wood is Nící, who I based very loosely off of Japanese kistunes. I also got to play with kappa and Tanuki, but foxes have always been my favorite, so the kitsunes—or Kitsüns—got all of the love. Nící’s story in Dark Wood is of a woman who’s been broken by betrayal and how someone who has lost family, innocence, and faith learns to love, trust, and believe again.

Nící’s tale was meant to be the first in a series I’d planned to write with my friend, but unfortunately Dark Wood has become a standalone novel. The series I’m currently writing is the story of Danny North Star. She’s a character I’d first come up with as a freshman in high school when I was writing with an online fan-fiction author’s group, but she kind of got side-lined when I bucked down to my college courses in pursuit of my Veterinary Technician licence. Ten years later, I decided to bring Danny back, much different and, I’d like to think, better developed in a world I’d built just for her from scratch.

The Traveller’s Journal series is set in a universe filled with alternate versions of earth, organized by those in the know into what they call the related worlds. Danny’s world of Ten A is a lot like ours, Ten B, in some ways, but vastly different in many others. Their historical timeline diverged from ours about 2,000 years ago, with Judas’s decision not to betray Jesus. Obviously, that’s made for some pretty big differences, but one of the largest is Ten A’s embrace and mastery of magic. It’s allowed them to explore, colonize, and basically govern many of the related worlds.

Now, there are three types of humans in Ten A and most of the related worlds: the Gifted, those who can use magic; the Nulls, those who can’t; and the Conduits, whose own significant reservoirs of power have been exploited by the Gifted for centuries. Danny is a Conduit—one of the strongest her world has seen in millennia—a product of generations of careful breeding by her family who have built their empire of mirror enchantments on the backs of Conduits like her. Reflections of a Runner is the story of how she managed the first escape from her powerful family in centuries.

Reflections of a Tigress, the next instalment soon to be released, is the story of how Danny begins to build the foundation of an organization that she intends to use to help everyone like her, starting with finding a base of operations hidden within a traveling circus. But what I love best about the second book in the Traveller’s Journal series is that we get to see some familiar faces again, from a world no one has heard from in living memory. If Danny wants to go into the business of stealing people like her out from under some of the most powerful and influential members of Ten A society, she’s going to need some help from a certain crafty vixen and her kin.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Oh, that is as easy a question as they come!

The book’s synopsis. I’d rather re-write the whole novel rather than try and distil it down to 300 words or less. If it didn’t mean my book would be dead on delivery, I’d find a way never to have to write another one!

Sadly, for me, the book’s description is as important or more so than the cover, so I’m forced to contort and torture myself to produce something that will entice people to buy my book.

The struggle is real, people. Oh, how it’s real!

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Again, easy as it gets!

The world building is my favorite part. Creating the systems that run things, from magic to culture, to government, to criminal underworlds, to wildlife, to destiny. I love coming up with unique characters and how they shape the world around them, not the other way around.

For instance, I have a character who is a syphon, someone who’s very existence is banned nearly everywhere she or those like her might try to go. She’s currently hiding in the circus where Danny has her base of operations, not that Danny knows her. I don’t have a role for her yet in the series, but she’s one of my favorites. I hope to make her into a character with a purpose strong enough to a lot her some word count that won’t get cut to ribbons on the editing floor, but even if I don’t, she’s still a lot of fun for me to think about when I can’t sleep some nights.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Oh, now, see, there’re two abilities I prize above all others and it’s really hard for me to choose between them. One is humor. Tanya Huff once said that humor was the hardest thing to do well in fiction because it is so subjective, and I believe her. But it is also the one thing that, if an author can master it like Huff has, will convince me to forgive almost any flaws in the rest of the book.

Then again, the ability to plot out a series like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files or J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is something I passionately wish to develop in my own writing. It’s finding all of the breadcrumbs a skilful writer leaves behind in an intricately plotted series that has me devouring book after book and raving about the series to anyone who loves to read. Even books that make me laugh on a regular basis, like the Ilona Andrew’s books, don’t inspire the same level of devotion and obsession as a well-laid planned series full of fun clues to chew over while waiting for the next instalment.

Which is probably why I idolize Jim Butcher so much. If I could wake up one morning and be able to write like him, I would be the happiest author alive!

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Man, I think if I ever found myself in that pitiable situation, I wouldn’t even try. I’d beg for mercy and a swift death instead of the fate they had in store for me, which they would gleefully describe in excruciating detail.

See, it’s like this.

I write because I love it and because writing fantasy fiction is about the only way I can create a place in which people mostly get what they deserve, for good or ill, and where I can set whatever rules I want and enforce them. In theory, that means I could write a perfect world in which no one suffers, there is no tragedy, no injustice, where everyone gets along and lives in peace.

But let’s be real—that wouldn’t sell very well, and as much as I write for me, I also write for others, who want to spend their hard-earned money on something that will entertain them with high personal drama, the satisfying resolution of a fierce dogged conflict, overcoming tremendous adversity despite impossible odds, maybe even a story of bloody vengeance visited upon a horrid monster who had committed grievous crimes against a good and worthy hero. Which pretty much guarantees that if you want to tell stories that grip a reader’s imagination and won’t let go, you have to be ruthless and more than a little bit sadistic.

Think about it.

How do you justify putting innocent people through intense mental, emotional, and physical pain and hardship purely for the purposes of entertaining the general masses, not to mention for personal profit? I don’t think you can, really, hence the plea for a merciful beheading, thank you.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

So, in this scenario, Me, Danny North Star, Alice Sinclair, Nící VinLíena, and Simon, son of Kalman from Will Wight’s Traveler’s Gate trilogy are all playing a game of poker, right?

Well, instantly, I can tell you who will be the first person who’s out of the game: me! I’m terrible at poker, especially if there’s real money involved. I can set records in how fast I can lose my money gambling, especially if I’m playing poker. Which is why I would only play if the most valuable things being wagered were M&Ms and fun-sized candy bars. And even then, I would still lose my ass within the hour.

Alice would be the next out, lasting maybe all of a half hour longer than I would. We both have glass faces and a pathetic grasp of the game or the rules of betting. Danny would last longer. She’s been forced to develop a better poker face and she has had to be a real quick study to distinguish herself in her chosen occupation of abductor and smuggler extraordinaire, but even she wouldn’t be able to hold out against our final two contestants.

Simon has the best of poker faces and the aid of Caela, a little girl’s doll who can speak to him telepathically and who “listens to the wind,” a lofty way of saying she sees pretty much everything within a couple of miles and reports it all to Simon. There’s no such thing as keeping your cards close to the vest against a player like that.

Unless, of course, you’re a talented illusionist who lets you see only what she want’s you to see. In the end, Nící would take the whole pot, not only because she’s had over a hundred and fifty years to master the bluff, winning wagers against dangerous adversaries through sheer cunning, and accurately calculating the odds of any situation she’s in including card counting. More importantly, she follows the motto all Kitsün’s live by: “’Cheater’ is a term only used by those who’ve lost the game.” She’s good enough at that style of play that few of her victims even know they’ve been had.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Oh, geeze, I actually don’t know. I don’t consider myself savvy enough at writing to tell other people about traps to look out for.

Well, maybe I would say that one thing to watch out for is the idea that your story has to be perfect before you send it out. And by perfect, I mean when people delay sending their manuscript out into the wider world—whether that’s to an agent, a publisher, or clicking that “publish” button as an indie author—because they are attempting to write then next great American novel, or the next Twilight bestseller.

I’ve known a few people who have great ideas, have written awesome stories, but who never seem to work up the nerve to call it worthy for public consumption. There’s no such thing as perfect. There is such a thing as good enough. Ideally, you will continue to grow as an author the more you write. Well, what that means is anyone looking back on their earliest works will likely cringe and wonder what possessed anyone to buy that book. I think one of the saddest fates for a writer is the one in which they never publish anything because they could never overcome their own inner critic.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Please, taking over the world if for workoholics with control issues. I like my me-time waaaay too much and have a live and let live mentality. I’d be terrible at world domination. I’d much rather write books. And sell them, of course, so here comes my shameless self-promotion of the books which I’ve already published.

Here is the universal link for:

Dark Wood: https://books2read.com/u/mgzaLz

Reflections of a Runner: https://books2read.com/u/bQJBED

These links will show every online location people can find my books. Keep an eye out for Danny’s second book, coming in August. Readers can find sample chapters for all my books as well as bonus material and short stories from the related worlds on my website tiffani-collins.com.

Leslie Conzatti

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Haha, I don’t actually mind telling a bit about myself–I’ve done a fair few interviews by now and I’m pretty practiced at knowing which bits people are actually interested in, and how much qualifies as “TMI”!

But anyway, moving on to the question of “what I’m working on”: Lots! At the time I’m writing this (mid-October), I’ve worked my way down to “only” three projects in-progress, and I’m trying to get as much of those out of the way as I can, before I commence the new one!

Two of them are serials for my blog, The Upstream Writer–usually I try to keep them pretty short, but sometimes I hit a premise or a group of characters that are just way too much fun to work with, and things kind of explode–but in a “glitter bomb” kind of way, not the “firebomb” kind!

The first is called “Priscilla Sum”, and it’s about a girl in college studying archaeology, when she accidentally exposes the fact that her adoptive parents are a pair of minor gods disguised as mortals… just when their arch-nemesis, a powerful demon, escapes from his ancient containment and is about to acquire the amulet that will enable him to control said gods–and by extension, the entire minor pantheon. She ends up on the island dedicated to the worship of her parents, at an archaeological dig orchestrated by followers of the demon, with a handful of classmates, and they’ve got to find the ancient hidden temple where the amulet was hidden, get to it before the professional archaeologists do, and try to smuggle it off the island without the demon finding out! I’ve been writing this one since January, and I’m still only “almost done”!

The second project is the serial I’m going to be posting more frequently after “Priscilla Sum” is done–I started with the first couple installments already, when I thought I was closer to the end of “Priscilla Sum” than I actually was… But anyway!

It’s a continuation of a serial I ran a couple years back, called “The Clan of Outcasts.” That, in itself, was inspired by a bunch of “character inspiration” pictures, fantasy artwork shared by an author fan-group I’m in. I envisioned this story of super-powered individuals (called “Gifted”) in a very generic fantasy-type setting, except it’s more of a “fantasypunk” treatment, as there are things such as electricity and guns. When it first began, I thought it was just going to be a story about a small group of these individuals who band together (the “outcasts” who become the “clan”) and use their abilities to find the missing Crown Prince, overthrow the corrupt government who took over when the king died, and reinstate the Prince as the rightful king. Well! That was “season one”, anyway… but the villains weren’t finished, and their escape revealed the existence of two even more powerful beings on either side–one trying to use the Gifted to foster chaos and pit the people against one another, and the other trying to stop this from happening and restore balance–and after “season two” I was sure that was going to be the end of it.

Well, the character inspiration images just kept coming, and I couldn’t resist the idea of continuing the story, revisiting old characters and incorporating new ones–and so Season Three of “The Clan of Outcasts” is underway! Three years since the end of the last season… And what has happened in those three years? Plenty! Peace and harmony still seems such a long way off, as a new threat emerges, along with new allies, and new villains–the Gifted must band together once more, because the fate of The Realm is in their hands!

The third project is the first novel in a fantasy series I started working on, back when I thought that my first-ever publication was going to be a stand-alone. It’s called The Last Inkweaver, and the premise is something like: a girl living in a world where academic study and factual representation is seen as the height of intelligence is experiencing dreams and visions she can’t explain. These dreams end up connecting her with an ancient group of crafters (Wordspinners, of which the “Inkweaver” is a sub-group) who imbued their wares with the stories they told, giving the objects and those who received them special abilities–or so the rumors state. This one has been through about three drafts in the last five years or so, and the third is still underway and will likely warrant a fourth draft–so this one is nowhere close to publishing, but I’m definitely working on it!

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

In the category of “already out”, I have one self-published novel, and short stories in a few anthologies!

The first anthology I ever submitted to was called Dreamtime Dragons, produced by the Dreamtime Fantasy Authors–various members of a group I’m in. The story I wrote is called “Arthur and The Egg”… a dragon-themed twist on “Jack and The Beanstalk”, only instead of a young boy selling his family cow for five magic beans, climbing a beanstalk and gaining a goose that lays golden eggs, we have Arthur, who is forced to sell his father’s beat-up old truck, and the only offer he gets is a strange old man who gives him five gold coins, and he climbs a rock known as “The Egg” (but in reality, the rock is an egg, a dragon’s egg to be precise), and Arthur ends up with a newly-hatched dragon who bonds with him and takes the name Truck! The Dreamtime Fantasy Authors teamed up again a couple years later, to produce a second volume of stories, Dreamtime Damsels and Fatal Femmes, and for that one I wrote a twist on “Little Red Riding Hood” which I called “Red, The Wolf”–as you can probably tell, I made Red a wolf-shifter, and she’s the guardian of a small mountain village, protecting their shepherds and flocks from attacks from other wild predators, and defending the people from miscreants and malevolent passersby. Side note: the anthology version is an “abridgment” of the full story, which I had to kind of cut short in the interest of word-count limits and deadlines. I did go back later after the anthology released and write the complete story as a serial on my blog.

The other anthology that is out and available for purchase is called Cracks in The Tapestry, produced by another writer’s group I’m in, The Tapestry Group. For this one, I submitted the short story “Heartsong.” It was also originally a short serial I wrote for my blog, inspired by a writing prompt about the origins of sirens being the women who were cast overboard by superstitious sailors, according to the legend that a woman aboard a ship is bad luck. My concept was that these rejected women could be “reborn” as sirens, aquatic creatures with spectacular singing voices and the ability to hear the “heartsong” of any creature–like, the frequency on which their psyche operates. Singing the creature’s heartsong creates a hypnotic connection between the siren and their victim, and then the siren can change the heartsong, bending their victim’s psyche to their will, which is often encouraging them to drown. The story focuses on one particular siren who attempts to drown a potential victim–but for some strange reason, though she hears his heartsong, she cannot bring herself to sing it and finish him off. She holds him prisoner till she can figure out what makes this man so different. The Tapestry Group is currently in the process of producing a second volume of stories, called Warping the Tapestry–this time, with more of a sci-fi focus. Stay tuned for my story in that one, which is a unique take on the “superhero” genre!

Then, finally, we get to my solo project: Princess of Undersea, a fantasy re-telling of The Little Mermaid. I actually originally wrote and published it with a small-press publisher four years ago, but back then I was treating it like a stand-alone. Early this year, I decided I wanted to turn it into a series, so I worked out a plan with the publisher to kind of “branch off on my own”, made the necessary alterations to the existing story (plus a few other trouble spots that had me absolutely stymied four years ago–but by now I’d figured out how to fix them!), commissioned some cover art, hired a formatter, and voilà! “The Undersea Saga” is now a Thing That Exists!

Princess of Undersea tells the story of Ylaine, a mermaid princess with a magical Gift of Song she received from the fairies not long after she was born. Her father blames the humans for the disappearance of his wife, the Queen, and has used that anger to provoke the Merfolk into declaring war on the humans–and all that remains is to figure out the best way to make that happen. He uses Ylaine’s songs to convince the other Merfolk to agree with him and support him, while ignoring Ylaine’s own assertions that perhaps a solution can be reached if they knew more about what the humans were actually like. She’s convinced that if her father ever met an actual human, he wouldn’t be so furious at them–but the only way this could happen is if a Merperson could somehow become human. The opportunity comes along, and Ylaine is so desperate that she gives up her magical singing voice for the chance to be human. She finds an island kingdom falling apart and languishing from neglect, and meets Nathan, a prince who is dreading the day when he’ll have to assume his father’s throne and by extension the responsibility for the well-being of so many people. Not only that, but the two royals also uncover a plot that not only spells danger for those within the human kingdom, but threatens the lives of the Merfolk as well.

Starting in November, I’ll be commencing the sequel, Fugitive of Crossway. The fairy tale I’m using for inspiration in this one is the story of “Pinocchio.” It won’t necessarily focus on Nathan and Ylaine–they will appear in more of a “cameo” role–but definitely this will be the kind of sequel that expands the fictional world overall, and brings in characters and concepts that will have an influence on later books in the series!

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favorite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Um, probably the worst part for me is when I have an idea that could (and probably should!) require a lot of preliminary research–like I don’t “already” know enough about it to use common sense and bluff my way through the story itself, and just fill in the specific details with research after the fact. I like to know general trivia about stuff, and I don’t mind looking up random things that fall under that category… but as far as the meticulous, rock-solid, comprehensive-type research, I tend to just put off those projects until I can accrue enough “general knowledge” to get by!

One second part that absolutely crushes me so much that my “Inner Muse” would rather come up with a billion-and-one ideas to write instead of focusing on doing it (and also where most of my procrastination happens) is rewriting. Going back over a “finished” draft and trying to figure out those parts that cannot stay as they are, that must change–or (worst of all) looking at a completed scene and knowing it needs to be different, that the way it came out was not quite the way it happened in my head… but at the same time not knowing what words could be the right ones. Sometimes, it could take anywhere from days to weeks to even months to figure out what I was trying to say! In the case of Princess of Undersea, for example, it took about four years to figure out how to communicate what I actually wanted to say in some of the dialogue exchanges!

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

When I have a premise, a “target scene”, and a climax–and I figure out the way everything works together! It’s a big moment for me when I have all these problems, perils, and scattered scenes–and I know exactly how everything is going to go down, and I know exactly why it works together so well! That’s the part of the process that keeps me happy and motivates me to write and finish a story: as long as it’s all working together, I can stay excited about it! I’m less motivated when I don’t have a clear picture of the how/why in mind ahead of time. It’s why I’ll never be an out-and-out pantser!

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Ha! I know exactly who I’d pick!

I am very envious of the researching skills of both David Baldacci and Michael Crichton. Crichton, especially, just litters his books with quotes from scientific journals and academic papers, so thickly that you’re not entirely sure if the research is bogus or not, and it really lends an air of authenticity to even his most “far-fetched” premises! And everything that goes into a Baldacci thriller is detailed and specific enough to be vivid–I wish I had a stockpile or network of resources I knew how to use to make my writing just as believable!

I adore the enchanting fantasy styles of Naomi Novik and Cornelia Funke. Both of them create worlds and invent lore that has a gorgeous, folkish, steeped-in-tradition feel to it, and the words and mental pictures they use are just stunning. I want people to read my books and find them just as enthralling!

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Hoo-boy! Well, as you can see from my answer above, I have multiple to choose from–but I think my MC from The Last Inkweaver, Callista, deserves an answer the most! I can pretty much guess at which point in her journey she’d choose to just punch right through that fourth wall and throttle me.

Callista, dear–I know it’s a lot! The dreams and the visions, the way I keep thwarting every attempt to just get back to your “old life” and try to “fit in and be normal”–the difficult decisions you find presented to you, when you don’t think you’ve had enough life experience or you don’t feel qualified to what people are asking of you…

Guess what? You are qualified. I gave you the visions and the Tales and had the Inkweaver leave you that Tapestry because you are worthy of it. Your tenacity, your intuition, the incredible burden you willingly shoulder to do the right thing–those are all hallmark traits that, in you, turn into the strength to bring about the biggest change Gramble has ever seen! Keep following that inner voice, and it will lead you to the Deep Truth that has been rooted in the back of your mind since your very first thought!

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Let’s see… The last book I read was Devotion by Katika Schneider–and the main protagonist was, for the most part (since it’s in the middle of a series), Matthias the White Paladin. My main characters–we’ll say of Princess of Undersea, and the sequel, Fugitive of Crossway, which gives me a handful of names: Ylaine, Nathan, Mellisande, Yssandra, Nykkola, and Simon. I don’t have a whole lot of knowledge of poker, so the stakes… We’d probably just use the chips, not actual money. It would be a friendly game, after all. Ylaine and Yssandra would be at a disadvantage because the Mer-Realm doesn’t have poker, so they’d just be fascinated by the cards and keeping track of their values and all the rules of gameplay, without being able to actually strategize; Matthias and Mellisande would actually be capable enough to strategize, Simon would be too timid to place any kind of substantial bet, and would almost never bluff; Nykkola would be the only one to have an advantage with her magical ability to glimpse into the future, and I… would be too busy trying to explain the game to the two “former Mermaids” to pay any attention to my own gameplay beyond average. Nykkola would win. (Unless Mellisande occasionally chose to use her connection with Nyk to attempt to thwart her by taking the advantage for herself)

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I discovered my “writing voice” early on–ironically, by writing fanfiction and mimicking the “voices” of the different actors or writers I was “copying.” I wrote a Chronicles of Narnia fanfiction spin-off that had some unwitting siblings-of-friends convinced that Lewis himself had written it. I’ve had commenters tell me that they can read my fanfictions and imagine the actors themselves going through those very motions. In my fairy tale re-tellings, reviewers have said I have a knack for bringing in the nostalgia of the original tale, that sense of familiarity that readers find so comfortable–while at the same time throwing in my own unique twists that keep it fresh and lively and unique. I guess you could say that my skill comes in that sweet spot between “the first inkling of an idea” and “actually having enough of an idea to start writing it.” The ability to take familiar things and concepts and turn them into something that makes a reader go “Well, actually… I haven’t heard this one before!”

I think the traps that I manage to avoid are things like “going the expected route”–I start my re-tellings by going over what exists already, reading through the original stories that are going to inspire my story, and then choosing only a few things that I can do, in order to keep the “traditional” feel of the original (Things I kept from the “original” Little Mermaid, both the Disney version and the original fairy tale: the golden shell necklace, inspired by the one Ursula wears; a boating accident that leads to the mermaid and the human crossing paths; a mermaid turning into sea foam at the end), and then looking at the rest and thinking “how can I change this?” and “If I changed this one thing, how would that change the whole story?” (For example: How would The Little Mermaid change if she actually could speak to the human prince? How differently would Beauty and The Beast turn out if the “Beauty” was actually a vain, superficial, self-obsessed debutante who cared a whole lot about appearances?) Fanfiction also gave me practice in avoiding the “expected” things, because I didn’t want to just rewrite existing canon. I approached every project with the thought “how does my headcanon actually fit within the existing canon?” I would hash out as many details as I could to ensure that my work stayed as near-canon as I could make it–which was the thing that lent an air of credibility and realism to my work.

Another trap I actively worked to avoid in developing my own voice is what I call the “reader bleed” fallacy–the mistaken idea that one must not read in the same genre one writes in, or another author’s “voice” will “taint” the writer’s work. Seriously, I’ve read stories by people who say they “don’t read” because they “don’t want another author’s voice to taint the voice in their head.” Those stories were painfully bad. The “voice” of the author had about as much nuance and natural linguistic flow as a robot from the 80’s. The dialogue was stilted and flat, and the narration was a lot more descriptions and outright telling the reader what was going on and how to feel about it, than allowing the reader to experience it and evoke their own feelings.

The way I avoid “reader bleed” is the opposite of what people think is the solution. Instead of not reading anything from the genre I want to write in–I read everything! I read multiple authors, many genres–I try to spend as much time reading as I do writing. As a matter of fact, I find that the more I read, the better I write. I can tell that I’m reading too much of a certain author if my writing starts sounding like theirs–it worked well for the Narnia fanfic, because I wanted my “voice” to sound like C. S. Lewis! But in everything else, I read pretty indiscriminately, and so my “voice” slowly develops from a strange amalgamation of everything I’m reading, into my own truly unique style.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favorite chocolate cake recipe.

I’m not going to take over the world anytime soon… But I would like to share that I have a lot of stories–an eclectic mix of original stories and fanfictions–on Wattpad! Over thirty titles, in fact.

I started with a few stories that I had already serialized on my blog, such as “Protective Custody” and “Cipherstalker”, and moved on to my most popular fanfictions (which quickly became my most popular stories on Wattpad as well!), and as time wore on and I attracted more followers, I started posting some stories exclusively on Wattpad (such as “The Water-Man” and “The Amazon Triangle”). Follow this link to check them out: https://www.wattpad.com/user/KartheyM

If you are interested in reading any of the stories I’ve written, or want to find out more about what I’m up to, what I’m reading, or any sort of writerly thoughts I have, all that can be found on my blog, The Upstream Writer: https://upstreamwriter.blogspot.com/

For a current listing of all the books available (since sometimes I get a story published in a limited-edition anthology, and after a time the editor decides to pull it), head over to my Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Leslie-Conzatti/e/B08C1G68S3

And finally, for up-to-date information about my escapades and notifications of any book deals from authors I follow, cool things I find on the interwebs, and so much more, you can Like and follow my author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeslieConzattiWriter

John Coon

    1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m preparing my novel, Dark Metamorphosis, for publication this summer. It is the second book in the Alien People Chronicles. I published the first book in the series, Alien People, in September, 2020.

    1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Creating Alien People was a labor of love for me. The story centers on aliens making first contact with Earth after discovering an Earth probe on the outskirts of their home solar system. I wrote the original rough draft for Alien People over the summer following my high school graduation. It is a fun fictional world filled with compelling characters close to my heart. Calandra Menankar and Xttra Oogan are probably my favorite characters among all the ones I’ve created. Dark Metamorphosis continues their story, picking up 1 ½ years after the events of Alien People.

    1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

I’m not a big fan of the beta reading process. It serves a valuable purpose and I have a couple of reliable beta readers now. But I’ve had multiple beta readers in the past who flaked out on me and either gave limited feedback or didn’t bother to read the book at all. That can be frustrating for an author when they’re looking at where they need to focus in terms of story development before publishing a final draft.

    1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love creating backstory for my characters and settings. World building is so much fun. It opens a door for me to dive in and learn more about my characters and discover what shapes them into what readers eventually see on the page. With Alien People, for example, I’ve written dozens and dozens of pages on a range of topics ranging from planetary histories to alien animal species that inform my fictional world. These backstory elements have helped me to give my stories a lived-in realistic feel even with action taking place in out-of-this-world settings.

    1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I’ve always admired the ability of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis to take mythology and history and use it as a springboard for epic stories. That’s something I try to emulate in a subtle way with my own stories. My horror novel, Pandora Reborn, draws some inspiration from Pandora’s Box and Cassandra in Greek mythology in setting up the central conflict that moves the plot forward.

    1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Yeah, I don’t think Calandra or Xttra would feel thrilled about any explanation I offered up. I’d do my best to explain what they’ve endured brought them closer together and gave them the strength and courage to be leaders in battling a tyrant. I’m pretty sure they would want nothing to do with me, regardless of how I framed their struggles.

    1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Calandra wins without question. She’s clever and knows how to read the room. She has a knack for getting her own way in the end. Xttra is a bit prone to taking unnecessary risks. I’m good at poker, but I’d probably fall for Calandra’s bluffing one too many times to win enough hands.

    1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

With science fiction and horror, the most important thing an author can do is to create realistic characters who make believe decisions based on the information available to them. When I read a sci-fi story or a horror story filled with stock one-dimensional characters, it drives me nuts. I don’t want to see characters do things because the plot forces them to do that particular thing. I want to see a story grow out what characters do when they are placed in a specific situation. Their personalities and behavior should drive where the plot goes. That’s what makes a story fun and exciting.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Look for Dark Metamorphosis to be released in July. It will be available to pre-order soon on Amazon and other retailers. You can order the first book in the series, Alien People, at all major booksellers worldwide. It is available as an ebook and in paperback.

Anyone who wants to connect with me on social media can follow me on Twitter (@johncoonsports), Instagram (@jcoon312), and on Facebook (@jcoon). I have an Amazon author page and author pages on BookBub and Goodreads.

I also have an author website (johncoon.net) where you can get news and updates about my stories.

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Answer: I’m currently working on my second novel in The Wayward Series, titled The Four Revenants. Keeping in tradition with my first novel, the sequel continues the story and centres on ghosts, hauntings, war, tragic pasts, and star-crossed lovers. It’s a YA dark fantasy with elements of horror. I’m having a blast writing the story. I’m very structured with my writing and have the entire plot listed from scenes and chapters, but sometimes new ideas just pop in my head as I’m writing. Incredibly, they seem to work with this novel. I’m able to weave the new idea right into the scene I’m writing, enhancing the mystery and adventure. It’s like its meant to be and it’s very exciting. I’m about half way through The Four Revenants. So far, I’m on schedule to have the first draft completed by April 2021.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Answer: My first book in The Wayward Series, titled The Wayward Haunt, was published on June 20th, 2020. It’s set in a war-torn world where teenage prisoner, Zaya Wayward, is conscripted into the Haxsan Guard. When malevolent forces start to haunt her, she suspects her ability to see the dead is the key in a sinister plot to annihilate human existence. Throughout the story, she is drawn to Captain Jad Arden. Together the pair are propelled into a breakneck chase across haunted wastelands, desolate ruins, and ravaged cities. But Jad has secrets, and Zaya’s feelings for him could be her undoing. My second novel, The Four Revenants, is the sequel to The Wayward Haunt. There will be four books in the series altogether, but I won’t be revealing book three’s and four’s titles just yet.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Answer: At this stage, marketing is my least favourite part. As a new self-published author, it is difficult to get a name for yourself out there. Writing a novel is hard work. I’ve found marketing to be triple the work. You have to make people want to read your book and constantly find creative ways to get their interest and ensure them reading your novel is going to be worth their time. Building this trust with potential readers is something that I am still learning to do. I am trying to make the process fun, but I’ve accepted this is something that may take years to accomplish. I believe it will be an ongoing learning experience.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Answer: Sometimes I do become self-conscious about my writing. I wonder if it good enough or if it needs more work. Of course, first drafts always need more work. The thing that makes me realise I am onto something good in my writing, that gets my brain all wired up to continue, is sharing scenes or chapters with other authors in my writing group. If there is something wrong with the work, they point it out. If they love what I have written, they tell me. If there is something that I may be stuck on or can’t work out, it’s their feedback and ideas that resolve the issue. Discussing your work with other writers, and sharing your own feedback and opinions on their writing, is a rewarding experience. It gives you the confidence you need to continue on your writing marathon.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Answer: I have learnt so many writing techniques from reading great authors’ works. One thing I am absolutely hopeless at though is poetry. I do not possess that talent, so if I could steal an author’s ability to write poetry and adapt it into my own work, I would. I’d also steal Terry Pratchett’s humour, because that would just be an awesome talent to have. I write dark fantasy and horror, but a little bit of comic relief would help take the edge off.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Answer: That is truly a frightening scenario. My main character, Zaya Wayward, is sarcastic, impulsive, afraid, and angry most of the time, which is understandable. I’ve put her in through some very frightening ordeals. When she kidnaps me, she wouldn’t be thinking about what she’s doing or how it would pan out. She’d only want to know the reason why I’m putting her through such a nightmare. Honestly, I don’t think I’d be able to answer her. I could assure Zaya it’s all for a greater cause. But letting her know that what I’m doing is for own best interest, well, I can’t guarantee that. I guess we’d end up stuck in the same room, broody and irritated at each other.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Answer: So, I am playing, Zaya Wayward is playing, and McKenna Brady from Zoe Aarsen’s novel Light as a Feather is playing. McKenna and I are definitely screwed. Zaya will have all the right cards. She’ll win. She’s too damned determined to lose. And she’s clever. She’s had to be to survive this long.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Answer: I’ve met writers delving into the horror genre for the first time. They put too much emphasis on explaining everything, afraid that the reader will not understand if they don’t elaborate on what is going on, how things work in the supernatural world, etc. They toss a large information dump about their main characters as their introduced. These are all common traps writers fall into. I did too when I first started. My advice is to do the opposite. Horror is scary because of the unknown—because nothing is explained and nothing makes sense. I try to give clues every so often in my chapters, just enough to entice the reader to continue. I keep my characters mysterious, even my main character. Their motivation is not always clear.

Nothing in horror is what it seems. I think the key to writing a good horror novel is to keep your reader wanting to know more, even if makes them afraid. They’re on this journey now, and the only way they will feel safe again is to finish the story and learn the truth. Tiny details and small clues are one way to set up the intrigue, followed by shocking plot twists that tap into common human fears of death, loneliness, and abandonment. That’s what I try to achieve in my writing.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Website: www.casecrowe.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/casecroweauthor/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/casecroweauthor/
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/20457182.Cas_E_Crowe

The Four Revenants expected release – early 2022.

Glen Dahlgren

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

The first book in the my YA fantasy series the Chronicles of Chaos is out. The prequel, the Game of War (which focuses on one of the fan-favorite characters, Dantess) is complete and being edited. And I’m currently writing book two in the series tentatively titled, the Curse of Chaos.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

As much as I love my characters, everyone connects with the world in this series. It drives a lot of what happens. In book one, Chaos was locked away by the gods of Order thousands of years ago—but even they knew that someday, someone would release it. And that terrified them. The Child of Chaos tells the story of the culmination of that conflict that changed the world forever.

That said, I still loved the world before I blew it up, and fans were asking to know more about a certain priest of War named Dantess, so I wrote his story as a prequel. And it’s a good thing I did. Dantess proved even more interesting than I imagined, but the world-building that happened in Game of War directly affected my approach to book two.

And that’s where I am now, writing the Curse of Chaos. Here find out that the Child of Chaos isn’t done affecting the world, and we learn more about the nature of the Dreaming.

Also, I took the chance to narrate my audiobook for the Child of Chaos. I had a lot to learn, but the end result was a great experience and people seem to enjoy my performance. I’ll never launch a book without an audiobook companion from now on.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

I sincerely love most of the steps that involve creating (although I will agree with Asimov that I like ‘having written’ better than ‘writing’). That said, I know I’m not alone when I say that marketing is a bear. Every time I learn something, I realize how much I don’t know. I suspect that marketing will continue to be my arch-enemy throughout my writing career.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I’m a game designer by trade, so I love noodling through problems and fixing them. When you come up with a great solution—something that you know makes everything work and is going to hit the reader just right—there’s nothing like it. When I have scenes like that in my head, I can’t wait to get it on paper so I can read it. At that point, it’s like looking forward to a movie you’re excited to see.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

That’s tough. Ursula Le Guin’s mastery of prose? Terry Pratchett’s humor? Neil Gaimen’s grasp of mythology? I’d love to have more tools in my belt, but honestly, I think I’m writing the stories I need to tell already.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Oh, man. I am hard on my main characters. Dantess, from Game of War, goes through hell in his story. Not only that, I stripped away all of his illusions about the temple of War and his heroes. I would tell him that he has to go through all of this to become the person who can protect everyone, not just the people he’s been told to value.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

So that would be me, Galen (from the Child of Chaos), and Geralt (the Witcher). I think Galen and I would throw our coins to the Witcher and get out of there while we could.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

World-building: Don’t get too in the weeds of your world. People really enjoy my setting, because I’ve identified what’s important to the story and characters. I never overwhelm the reader with backstory or proper nouns. Those passages will become shelf-moments for you.

Characters: Do the work. Understand who they are, what they want, why they want it, and what will happen if they fail. In my first draft, my villain was one-note. He was horrible because he needed to be horrible. But now people have called Horace one of their favorite villains of all time, and enjoyed peeling away his layers. Giving him his needed depth was critical for that story to succeed.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I’m really looking forward to the Wheel of Time TV show coming out soon. I’ve spoken to the producers, and everything I’ve heard about it makes me think they’re doing it right. Keep an eye out for that!

0. Name, please! Madilynn Dale.

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Currently I am working on book 4 in the Fae Shifters Series, The Blood King. I am also working on another piece that does not have a set name yet.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

The Fae Shifters series begins with main character Liz in the first book Releasing Her Power Within. She takes a leap of faith to move into her grandmother’s cabin and discovers a family secret that may cost her life is she isn’t careful. The series continues with book two, Unleashed, and she is faced with more secrets and embracing her magic. Another lover enters the picture, and she must either accept him as her second mate or deny fate and remain with only her first mate. She then faces an issue of restoring the balance to the realms by opening up the gates between them. It puts her in the middle of a long overdue battle of control, which leads us to book 3. Now in book 4, The Blood King, she faces an ancient evil that has been around since the beginning of time. She must face him with the help of her best friends and keep the new life growing within her womb safe in the process. She also has to rescue her mates and a ton of other beings in the process of taking him out.

My standalone novel Breaking Traditions: the Shifter and the Mage is a paranormal romance novel following college student Natalie as she battles to have the love of a lifetime with her true mate Alex. Her parents set her up with an arranged marriage while she was young, and she must overcome family traditions to break away. Fate throws her many obstacles when fighting to share her voice.

I also have multiple short stories published. Each over a different topic ranging from embracing your true self to letting go of depression.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

My least favourite bit is editing. I do a round of self-editing before I send it to the editor and it’s very time consuming. It’s also frustrating because sometimes I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote something out.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

The idea taking form is really what gets my brain running. I have to get it down on something or I feel like I am going to lose the idea. I have notes and pieces written in notebooks and on my phone of my ideas. Some of them I sit and write out the outline. I like to write out that first spark.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

If I could steal an author’s ability, I would steal Sarah J Maas ability to give her lead female characters an impressive amount of sarcasm, whit, and courage. I love how she portrays Aelin/Celaena in the Throne of Glass series.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I would try to explain that peace is in the near future and that her story has a happy ending. There may be more action with other characters and her offspring in the future but overall she will be happy. I may beg her not to destroy me with her magic in the process or eat me in one of her animal forms but eventually I hope she would see my reasoning.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

First off, I hope they would be good at poker. I don’t really know how to play so I would absolutely lose. The stakes would be winner gets all the Oreos and doesn’t have to share. The winner would most likely be Dahlia Nite, from the Nite Fire series by C. L. Schneider because she has been around for a long time. She has probably won a game or two anyway because she is extremely perceptive where Liz has also never been a poker player.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Don’t kill yourself to write your book. Make sure you focus some on self care to keep your creativity flowing. When you feel blocked get up and go for a walk or maybe paint. I like to go sit outside for a bit and then when I need inspiration I look through Pinterest for pictures. It’s a great way to put characters together and get personality inspiration.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

You can find all my work on Amazon or my website www.thechaptergoddess.com. I will have more of my work available on other sites in time. My short stories are available in various places such as Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.

Matthew Davenport

1. 1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m working on multiple projects. Satan’s Salesman 2: The Devil is in the Details is the novel I’m trying to finish. I’m 75% there, but have been distracted by my other projects. I’m also working on a plot for something with my brother that’s best described as Lovecraft meets Hogwarts. Then I’m also working on two anthology projects with my usual Mythos crowd.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I have a wide selection over a few genres. Most people know me for my Andrew Doran series, which is a pulp adventure series during the 1940’s and follows an archaeologist as he protects the world from the artifacts of the Cthulhu Mythos. I mostly tend to write in the mythos, with another novel of that style being The Trials of Obed Marsh, that follows the downfall of Innsmouth. It works as a prequel to Lovecraft’s own The Shadows Over Innsmouth.

My brother and I work together on a series called, Broken Nights, that follows a vigilante who isn’t “Bruce Wayne rich” as his world slowly spirals towards more and more comic book level threats. It asks the question of how a normal man with an Amazon account can stand against super villains.

More in the vein of The Trials of Obed Marsh, but less Mythos, I also have a horror series called, Satan’s Salesman. It follows the sales culture of our modern world by applying it to the trade of souls on the supernatural plane. The protagonist, Shane Lowe, tries to find any angle to justify his dark deeds.

My other books include a young adult story, currently in the queue for republication, called The Sons of Merlin, following the lineage of Merlin as Camelot is thrown into the hands of evil again. I wrote that one with Robert Reynolds who originally came up with the plot back when we were in school.

My earliest works, the Random Stranger series, are an urban fantasy set of books giving personalities to some of the world’s more prevalent ideas. This was the first set of books I had published and I am overdue to finish that trilogy.

Finally, I have started working regularly with a group of writers to put out several crossover/anthology books that gather some of our worlds together. The Tales of the Al-Azif, The Book of Yig: Revelation of the Serpent, The Tales of Yog-Sothoth, and Time Loopers are all included in that.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Scribbling in my notebook is my favorite part of the writing process. I thoroughly enjoy piecing together my ideas, plotting out the story, and building a roadmap. The conception of the idea on paper is the most free my imagination will be in the entire process.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

As happy as the roadmap makes me, I am always surprised by the twists and turns the characters begin making as soon as they start to be typed out. I could have the most detailed notes ever (looking at you The Trials of Obed Marsh), and my characters will do entirely unexpected things and I will have to go back to my notes and adjust for these changes. It is absolutely astounding how much autonomy the fictional characters of my mind can have once they start to come to life.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

If there was any skill that any author has that I wish I could bottle up and drink, it would be C.T. Phipps’s ability to sit down and make himself write. The hardest part of the process, for me, is making myself sit down and take the time to get started. Once I have started, it’s easy peasy, but getting that wheel moving is akin to moving a mountain with a toothpick.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I have most recently been working on my The Esoteric Cavalry stories. It is a set of Weird Wild West tales that are in the same universe as Andrew Doran. Hiram Cartwright is the main protagonist and he is a survivor of the Civil War who fought for the Esoteric Cavalry, defending the Union against the use of Mythos monsters and Dark Wizards. His spirit is damaged and he can’t settle down now that the war is over. He’s hurt and can only keep fighting monsters because he just doesn’t know how to do anything else.

If he kidnapped me, I would explain that his suffering was necessary for the world to not fall into chaos. I would remind him of everything he saw during the war, the things not recorded, the things other minds would have buckled under, and I would ask him what would have happened if he hadn’t been there.

He would probably see me as some omnipotent demigod, akin to Nyarlathotep, controlling his life and ruining others. He would accept my explanation and likely still shoot me dead.

7.You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The last book I read was Lumley’s Necroscope. It is similar to in stakes as most of my stories, so the stakes for a poker game would likely be a bit of esoteric knowledge from Lumley’s Necroscope. Perhaps the knowledge of how to use his Mobius Continuum to travel between worlds. I know a certain archaeologist who might be desperate for that information.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

When writing, the biggest trap to fall into is giving up. There’s a quote out there that I can’t remember who said it but it goes something like this: “The best novels ever written never made it past the first chapter.” Or something like that. Basically, a lot of people, even full time authors, get discouraged, distracted, or just tend to not care enough after they’ve started that first chapter. They hit the wall of “wait…this is actually work?” and they stop. Try not to. Work through it. There is no feeling quite as awesome as getting that first draft completed. Push through the hard parts and clean it up after the fact, but don’t stop.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Book 3 of the Andrew Doran series, Andrew Doran and the Scroll of Nightmares came out in October 2021!

Thomas K Davis

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Thanks for skipping the “tell us about yourself” question. I nearly have an existential crisis whenever I’m asked that ;). At the moment, I’m busy editing the final book in my Versatile Layer series.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

My book series is called Versatile Layer. It’s a 9-part Epic Space Opera. There are 8 books released thus far with the final book in the editing phase. The best way to describe Versatile Layer would be Romeo & Juliet meets Star Wars. Our two main characters meet completely by chance and fall for each other. They’re separated again by a tragedy that leads to a war between their two peoples. Their quest to reunite gets wild. There’s Exo-suits, Elite soldiers, Robots, Alien Amazonian warriors, jet packs, assassins, a war raging in the stars, gangsters, heck there’s even a cowboy. The setting and battles are epic but the heart of the story is personal and character driven.

Each book is self-contained with threads that weave into future installments. Kinda like Marvel movies. In fact, the average read time for my books is about 2 hours. They’re fast paced. I’ve been told that reading my work is like having a movie play out in your head. And that was my intent when I sat down to write them.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

I enjoy writing, editing, working on the cover art with the artist or illustrating the cover myself. Graphic design is always fun as well. But promotion… I think I don’t like it because I don’t understand it. Plus, I’m the most introverted Introvert on the planet. Talking to strangers is tough for me.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love when the story starts to evolve in ways that I didn’t initially plan for. Like, I introduce a character at the end of book 6 just because I need to initiate an action sequence. By book 7 that character has a name and relationships. By book 8 that character is super important to the story and I don’t know how I would’ve advanced towards my endgame without them. I didn’t plan for that character but it was essential. But that’s my process. I have my beginning and my end but the middle fills out as I write. If fact (I say in fact a lot), I always write the first and last chapters at the same time. Then I jump around to different chapters between.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I would steal Hunter S. Thompson’s sunglasses. They had to possess some kind of power.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I put my main characters through the wringer but it’s for their own good. They grow as people because of the adversity I put them through. That’s what I would tell Jake Takeda, after I killed his parents, chopped off his left hand, made him into a fugitive, etc. But it was all for a worthy cause. He’s better for it. Hopefully, he wouldn’t kill me. He’s better than that.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Lucky me, the last book I read was an indie called Appaloosa Days by C. Forrest Lundin. Louise (the M.C.) is a good kid, but I would destroy her at poker. But since my M.C. (Jake Takeda) is sitting at the table, I would definitely lose. He’s a soldier with a genius level I.Q. and he would definitely cheat at poker. Especially if something important was at stake.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I would tell a new writer to identify the source of conflict in each scene. If that conflict doesn’t exist then that scene is unnecessary. You can have the plot elements that the scene was supposed to set up referenced in another part of the story. When I first started writing (way back in 2017) I would rewrite chapters because they were lacking something. I didn’t understand why but it was because the original chapters lacked conflict. I was subconsciously figuring out what a story was. Based on absorbing stories and media my whole life. Without conflict, you don’t have a story. Each chapter is a story.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

The Bloodless Revolution: Versatile Layer book 8 just released. You should read it. I’m really proud of it. Here’s a synopsis:
The final battle for planet Samael has begun. Exiled princess Adeola M’falme has gathered her freedom fighters and is ready to remove her cruel brother, emperor Kupanga M’falme from the throne. But Kupanga’s forces, led by the ruthless Master Mega, have other plans. Will Adeola be able to liberate her world without sparking a full-scale civil war? May Mars have mercy on our souls.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08R1FTSPG/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_vMK3FbPN59C4M?fbclid=IwAR02KNxbdKPHaOdNUGRfcse0QcwX2zq13cnYDwnvpSnBSBtKuT3LMyEAPgU

Thanks very much for putting up with me. For links to my work and social media, go to: https://www.versatile-layer.com/ or follow me on twitter @UmojiLegend

Have an incredible day everyone!!!

C A Deegan (please call me Craig!)

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

Thanks for asking! I am working on Book 4 of my series; 100K and almost done. Apart from the fact that I had a new idea that means some reworking. Bah!

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

I have two books released at the moment, and the third is also almost ready to go (my designer and I are just finishing up the cover for that one; planned release Quarter 1 next year). I am currently writing Book 4 which should be finished by the end of November 2021. Then the polishing, editing and beta’ing will start whilst I jump straight onto Book 5 of the series. That one is all plotted and waiting for me to complete the pantser approach on Book 4 so I can tweak the plotline before I start. The series follows the Cracklocks; a family who can see Faeries. This strand covers Jack; a boy who was glamoured at 4 years of age to hide him from the evil members of the family who want him for their own sinister ends. At 15, he has no idea or memory of what he is; he has no interest or knowledge of Faeries. In Book 1 he gets a rude awakening, following an accident that breaks the glamour on him, and plunges him into a world he knows nothing about. Book 2 picks up directly from the end of Book 1 and continues the mayhem.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Without batting an eyelid…marketing! Its a skill I’ve had to learn through trial and error, although I think I am getting better at it every day that I do it. I try to do something everyday on this front. One day I’ll be bothering bloggers; the next seeking reviews This week I have a competition running on Facebook and Instagram for a whole bundle of Cracklock goodies. Its getting a huge response; I seem to spend most of my time adding to the list of names who want to win it!

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

When a new idea pops into your head that sits oh so lovely in with your current arc. I get my best ideas at either: a) When I’m out walking the dog, with no bloody pen – thank goodness for the Dictaphone function on my cellphone. Or b) At 3.37 am in the morning, necessitating me to get my notepad and try desperately not to wake my wife. She’s very supportive of my writing, but there are limits!

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

Great question! I am a massive Stephen King fan, and his weaving of detail into the story is something I’d love to be able to do better. I do try, but I’ll never emulate the master!

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Ha ha ha! I’d have to say Agatha, the matriarch of the evil Cracklocks. I’d do my best to try and convince her that killing off Faeries is not the best idea, given that they are essentially trying to help us. Not that she’d listen; she’d just glamour my ‘damned flapping lips shut’ and then suck the grackles out of me.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

It would have to be Me, Great Aunt Elsie and the head of the D.O.A, Charles Peterson. The stakes? Release of the Fae from the laboratories deep in their facility. It’s a no-win situation really, although I think that Elsie will have some witty remarks to throw out and that Peterson will lock us up anyway. The D.O.A don’t recognise the sixth amendment!

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

Woah! That’s a thinker, that one!! Okay, I’d have to say don’t be the same as all the others. Create something new and exciting. There are a million variations of the same story out there, be it vampire romances, zombie apocalypse (ex-military unstoppable person etc) or magic users. Find something different that doesn’t follow the same trope. Have an angle. Don’t get me wrong; it’s fine to write in any genre and I tip my hat to all those that do, but you want the reader to finish your book and think ‘Wow; that was awesome. So different.’. If you’re creative enough to write, you’re creative enough to have a novel story. Its why they are called ‘Novels’ after all!

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

There’s a few things…I hope that people will particularly look at the website as there’s all sorts of characters on there! Some info as follows:

Email: thecracklocksaga@outlook.com – always happy to answer questions!

Website: https://www.thecracklocksaga.com [check this out for all things Cracklock!]

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCracklockSaga I

nstagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecracklocksaga/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CracklockSaga

Amazon:

Book 1: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09G9RNMMS

Book 2: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KNDM9YZ

Goodreads:

Book 1: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59024875-fae-or-foe?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=MkRZnpwXGI&rank=1

Book 2: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59557575-book-2?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=w2jeDaQ8Jy&rank=1

Come along and join the adventure!

0. Name, please!

Jason DeGray

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

At the moment I’m working on getting 3vE in front of people and negotiating a new contract for my previously published Ruined Man novels. I’m also finishing up a Space Western that I plan on turning into a series.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

The Ruined Man and The Dark Goddess were my first published novels. This series is best described as Paranormal Detective Fiction. It really relies on magical realism and is set in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the surrounding areas. The protagonist, Victor Wolf, has a nasty encounter with a demon that leaves him a “ruined man.”

I also have a few novellas out. RE: World is a Don Juan in a cyberpunk dystopia. Blaze Against the Machine is a scifi story about reality television gone wrong. And Family Matters is a horror story written in the shared world of The Village of Wicked Creek.

The first novel I ever published way back in 2008 (when self publishing was still in its infancy) was Absolutely True Retellings: The Saga of Shamus. This one is a fantasy adventure that is heavy on the satire. I still love this book even if I do read through it and wonder at how much I’ve grown as a writer.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Marketing. I’m horrible at it and a much more a creatively minded person. The business end of all of this really turns me off.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love every moment of the writing process from conception to editing. It’s an art form to me and crafting a story is no different than creating any other masterpiece. It takes dedication, tenacity, and an uncompromising love for what you are doing. Sure, frustration and obstacles arise, but again this is just part of the process. Overcoming these setbacks gives me confidence to keep going. I can see how I’ve grown as a writer during these difficult times.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I would steal Philip K. Dick’s knack for writing believable and relatable characters. Writing is ultimately telling a story and every story must have characters to revolve around. These characters drive the plot, explore the author’s ideas and themes, and should grow and change from the beginning to the end. PKD had a gift for portraying real people that seemed ordinary—like some random person working at a gas station or something. And these real people get caught up in unreal and extraordinary events without ever losing their humanity.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Look Jacob and 3vE, I know that I’ve thrown a wrench in the cogs of your everyday lives. I’ve taken you from what was normal (even if it wasn’t comfortable) and thrust you into uncertainty. It’s an uncomfortable process, I get that. But that’s the beauty of it as well. Growth only occurs through friction. Stasis equals death and I love you both too much to allow that to happen.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The last book I read was Gilgamesh the King. So Jacob, 3vE and I are playing poker with Gilgamesh, the oldest and greatest hero in human history. This is a man who challenged gods and won, who thumbed his nose at tradition. The stakes are huge as they would have to be. And since Gilgamesh was most afraid of death, we would probably be playing for 3VE’s immortality. Since she is a hybrid of human and machine, she can exist indefinitely. Gilgamesh would love this and very much want it for himself. In return he’d be betting his unconquerable spirit and place in history as the first and greatest hero of ancient mythology.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

There’s a lot of meat in this question. But off the cuff I would say to stick to the story. A lot of people in social media writing groups seem to get lost in the details. Whatever those are. Stuff like “I can’t decide what colour shoes my MC should be wearing” or “I need help plotting the geopolitical history of my fantasy world.” All that’s important is what serves the story. What is driving your characters to grow and pushing them toward that final outcome? That’s where the focus needs to be. Always. I remember reading an interview with Michael Moorcock, the creator of Elric, where the interviewer asked how he built such an expansive and beautiful world. His reply was something to the effect of, “I just needed different elements to make a story work so I added them as I needed them.” So stick to the story.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

After some unforeseen circumstances, my Ruined Man novels are in literary limbo. They found a new home and are on their way back into print, however, and I expect to see them by the year’s end. So stay tuned for that.

Recipe for Perfect Chile con Queso:

1 block of Velveeta

1 small container of frozen Hatch green chile

1 can Rotel

1/3 cup milk.

Directions:

Cut the Velveeta into small cubes and put them into a sauce pan. Add the milk, green chile, and Rotel and continuously stir until melted.

 

Dave Dobson

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

Two books. One is another in my Inquisitors’ Guild series, and the other is a thriller with light sci fi elements. Also, I’m putting together another sequel to my puzzle card game, Doctor Esker’s Notebook. And last but not least, I’m trying to Rule the Universe again on my Attack from Mars pinball machine. Got to do that at least once a year.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

My Inquisitors’ Guild series tells the stories of a set of detectives in a medieval city, sort of a cross between epic fantasy adventure and a mystery or crime novel. Or maybe Princess Bride meets CSI. Each story is a separate adventure, and I change narrators between them, so the books all stand on their own and follow different people in the Inquisitors’ Guild and the world of Frosthelm. I also try to make them funny and warm and exciting, with magic and mayhem and bravery and loss. I’ve got a fourth story done and in the editing process. These are really fun for me to write.

My sci fi book, Daros, is more of a space opera, although it happens on one planet rather than many. It’s set in the far future after humanity has expanded to the stars and then suffered through a destructive interplanetary war. All of that is in the past, though, and the few remaining colonies are prospering. The first main character, Brecca, is the daughter of a trader who’s always a little bit on the wrong side of the law. They end up making a stop at nondescript planet, but suddenly it’s invaded by unknown aliens, and they get caught up in that. The second main character is one of the aliens, a member of the invading fleet, but she’s a secret rebel in their midst. We see the story from both sides as the meaning and purpose of the invasion comes to light.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

The editing process is the hardest for me. I always love my first drafts, and it’s hard for me to cut parts out, especially if I need to lose a joke I liked. But in the end, it will make the book stronger. Or so I keep telling myself as I murder innocent paragraphs.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

When I start a book, I tend to write without much of an outline and sometimes without an idea of exactly where the story is headed. There’s usually a point about halfway through, plus or minus, when I start to see the end and to figure out how it’s going to resolve. At that point, I love finding elements (plot points, characters, objects) that I threw in earlier that were cool but didn’t have a point, and then weaving them into the bigger story that I now recognize.

Another favorite bit is when I am going along and expecting a chapter or section to end one way, and then I think of an awesome twist for it to take. This often leads to one of those elements I need to weave in better later, but it’s great fun.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

That’s a tough one! So many choices. George R.R. Martin for complexity, drama and world building, L. Frank Baum for whimsical magic and adventure, Robert E. Howard for fight scenes, Edgar Rice Burroughs for stirring adventure. If I had to pick one, I think I might go for William Goldman for wit, humor, and dialogue.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Heh. That would be Glynnis Cary, the main character of my thriller. I would only be one in a long line of people trying to ruin her life, and hardly the most important. She definitely wouldn’t believe whatever cockamamie story I came up with, and she’d never kidnap anybody regardless, so it’s difficult to work the hypothetical there.

Actually, I guess I spent much of the book trying to ruin her life, so this isn’t entirely hypothetical. Looked at that way, I really have no excuse, other than it made for a fun story.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

For my characters, let’s go with Gueran Declais and Urret Milton, the main characters of The Woeling Lass, my upcoming Inquisitors’ Guild novel. Gueran is a minor noble who’s joined the Inquisitors’ Guild to make a name for himself outside the dreary and backbiting world of the court, and Urret is the daughter of a tavern keeper who’s an apprentice in the Guild program.

The last book I read was actually a novel by a good friend and fellow professor, one she’s shopping around to agents. It’s a romance novel, and the main character is Olive, a mid-career theater professor. Olive has an unexpected dalliance with a former boy band star who’s aged out of the limelight. We read each other’s drafts and had a great time talking about them, and she helped me a lot with Glynnis in my thriller.

I would lose the poker game, because I’ve been losing at poker since junior high in 1983. I even lost the $50 I was supposed to be saving for our school ski trip. This was not popular with my parents. $50 was real money in those days, especially for an 8th grader.

Urret would bet small and fold early, so she wouldn’t win, but she’d be watching everybody play and looking for tells. She’d probably win her next game.

Between Olive and Gueran, that’s hard to say. Both are very smart, and both are wise-asses. Gueran is very good at spotting lies and at schmoozing, while Olive knows people, is deeply analytical, and can speak at least five languages. I don’t know who’d win, but it would be a delight to watch.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

As a geologist, I get a little steamed when natural objects and systems don’t behave the way they should. I’m looking at you, quicksand-on-top-of-air in Rise of Skywalker and not-very-hot-at-all-lava in The Mandalorian. I’m fine if you break natural rules if you acknowledge it and offer at least a teeny explanation. They did not. It was cheesy.

In terms of writing dialogue, my improv comedy background really helps. Put yourself in the mind of your character and say what they’d really say in response to what happened, even if it complicates the scene or the plot. That makes your dialogue real, and lively, and funnier than it would otherwise be.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

My fourth Inquisitors’ Guild book will be out probably by the end of February, and the thriller with Glynnis should be coming later this year. I’ll be doing a box set with the Inquisitors’ Guild series on Amazon, so Kindle Unlimited folks (or people with a few bucks to rub together, less than a hamburger costs, even) will be able to pick up the whole series.

When my kids were small, I often asked them if they had an evil plan to rule the world. They gave different answers through the years, but the most common one was Blues Clues. They’re still working on implementation, I guess. Maybe that’s what Steve is up to now. Playing the long game.

What is your name?*

Laura M. Drake

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

My first stand-alone novel that takes place in a world between life and death called the In-Between. It’s an enemies to lovers, stand-alone paranormal romance novel.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

My first trilogy is fantasy, and I like to tell people it’s sort of like Harry Potter meets Avatar: the Last Airbender with a touch of Anastasia thrown in. It’s got elemental magic, a magical academy, a country on the brink of civil war, a missing princess, and a group of four best friends. My second series is a quartet of Japanese ghost stories based on my time living in Japan. (No, I didn’t encounter any ghosts, but all the cultural details and even some of the spooky things were from my friends and time there. I love Japan!) Some of the reviews compare it to The Grudge, so they’re perfect for readers looking for something spooky. Another reader had a fun comparison calling it a crossover of Luigi’s Mansion and Persona 4. It’s an interesting blend of romance, lots of suspense, and a hint of humor mixed into the plot and culture. I’m trying to build my brand as an author whose books are completely clean and appropriate for people of any ages. I’ve had kids as young as eight read my stories and men and women in their sixties enjoy the stories, and I love trying to create an engaging world that anyone could enjoy without having to worry about the content.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

My least favorite part of writing is the very end of the revision process and when I read each chapter aloud. Even though I love watching the book get better, it’s so slow and boring. I’m generally facing serious burn-out at that point because I’ve already gone through so many revisions, and I just desperately want to be done.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

I love the very beginning of the writing process when I first talk through my plot idea with my sister. She’s an English teacher and always asks all the right questions. I get completely stoked about the new world and the new ideas for the plot, and I can’t wait to start writing right away! Also, I love after the book is published and I get to hear good reviews. They make me grin like few other things can.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

Ooh, good question. I’d love to take Tolkien’s world building skills, Shannon Hale’s humor/originality, Sarah J Mass’ excellent description, and Julianne Donaldson’s ability to make me fall in love with her male MC.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

haha oh no. It’s hard to explain why having her father stolen by a Japanese ghost is for the best, but I guess I’d tell Selena that in the process of losing (and looking for) her father she grew into herself and found someone else to love and support her.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

If I’m playing poker with Emmie and her friends and and the MC of the book I’m currently reading, I’m honestly not sure who’d win haha. I’ve never played poker in my life and have no idea about the rules, so I’m definitely not going to win. It’s not a game in Emmie’s world, so I’m not sure they’d do much better than me. I guess that means the MC of my current read would win. Hopefully, we wouldn’t play for very big stakes since we wouldn’t know how to play.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

“Area of expertise” haha That seems like a bit of a stretch. If I HAD to choose something I was good at, it’d be cranking words out and not letting worries about not getting it right the first time stop me. I’m all about getting it down and figuring it out as I go, then tightening it up with revisions. I think some people worry too much about writing something perfect or amazing and end up not really writing anything at all. Another thing I’ve really learned to do better at is receiving feedback. I think one of the biggest traps to avoid (especially as a new writer) is being scared of sharing your work and receiving feedback. You shouldn’t let fear of people pointing out your writing flaws deter you but make you into a better writer. It can be hard to hear at first, but when I see how much better my stories get after listening to feedback, I’m always so grateful.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I’m currently on a writing break for November since I just cranked out my entire Japanese Hauntings series in October. I was facing some serious burnout and decided to focus on my marketing for the month. But I’m stoked to jump into my stand-alone novel in a few weeks and get back to writing. I’m hoping to release that book in early 2022, plus another book in a series I’m co-writing under a pen name. (So I’ll keep it a secret for now. hehe) Here’s a link to both of my current series. https://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Magic-Laura-M-Drake/dp/B08BDYHRYT https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HP57917

Julie Duxbury

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

A. Currently working on my first Fantasy novel and the fourth in the Consequences series.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

A. Dark Dimensions has been out since April 2021 and is about a clan of vampires and humans who are lost in dimensions after a scientific mishap. More of a science fiction/military book than fantasy or horror. Its sequel, Dark Reign, is currently in editing.

Heart of Deception has been out since August 2021 and is more of a mystery book about a thief who ends up working for a royal family and helps foil a plot to overthrow the royals. The sequel to this, Legacy of Risks, is being released on 22 February 2022 and the third book, Dangerous Heart, has just been submitted to the publisher. As I said earlier, the fourth book is underway at the moment.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

A. Editing. I’d much rather be creating new works than polishing, although it can be interesting to see the writing being polished. Still dislike it, though.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

A. Brand new writing – whether it’s in the current work or a new piece. Dialogue and action are my favourite parts in the writing of each book.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

A. Any writer who can write humour. I can write small pockets, as in the snips that happen every day but to actually write a funny novel? That I can’t do.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

A. Funny you should say that. My editor keeps telling me off for hurting my characters – or downright killing them off. My answer to them would be that I do it so that they will grow into the best versions of themselves.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

A. Hmm, that’s a tough one. The stakes would be survival. I would like to think my main character would win – whether it’s my thief or my vampire – because of their quick thinking and talking. They’d bluff their way through a game of poker.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

A. Following the “best 10 rules”. A lot of articles come out that say “if you follow these rules, you’ll sell books”. I think that’s a trap to create cookie-cutter books.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

A. As I said, Legacy of Risks, Consequences Book 2 is being released on 22 February 2022. I asked to delay it for a week to coincide with my brother’s birthday. Chocolate cake? Gotta be a mud cake!

Michael K. Falciani

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

My current work is a personal love of mine. It’s a new dwarven novel that is part epic fantasy part steampunk. An absolute joy to write! I was tired of dwarves being so stereotypically cast as fodder for comic relief or dour earth dwellers scraping about in the dirt. I had some fun with them. We’ve got dwarven mages and engineers mixed in with troll seers and orc witch doctors. I have a goblin shaman that is irascibly likable despite his less than savoury nature alongside a dwarven bard and haughty princess who knows a thing or two about the crossbow. This was pure fun to write and, I hope, to read.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

This past summer I released my first novel. It’s an epic fantasy titled, “The Raven and the Crow: Dark Storm Rising” It’s the first of a planned six book series. So far it has recived wonderful reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads. It just came out as an audiobook with the ridiculously talented Joshua Saxon as the narrator. If you are a fan of epic fantasy like I am, it is my belief you will greatly enjoy the book. The second book in the series is titled, “The Raven and the Crow: The Gray Throne.” It should be out in January or February of 2022. I can’t say much about it without giving away too much of the first book, but my earlier readers are raving about it. They are impatiently demanding the third book as soon as possible! I also just released a short story in an anthology put out by my publisher, Three Ravens Publishing. The book is called, “It came from the Trailer Park,” and it just hit #1 on Amazon new releases last weekend. Mine is a story called, “Hell Hath No Fury.” It’s an Urban Fantasy that I greatly enjoyed writing because it was so different from my usual genre.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

 

I will tell you, I used to think, “Hey, I’ll write the book and that will be that.” They say ignorance is bliss and they were right. Marketing, building an audience, getting your name

and work out there—it’s all part of the game. Of all the things that go with writing a book, this is my least favourite. Not because I don’t like it, I actually do, but it takes away from

the creative process which I thoroughly enjoy.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Oh, there are so many things to choose from. I’d have to say creating story arcs for characters is my favourite thing to do. Why do they act as they do? What happened in their lives that influenced their decisions. This takes planning and great attention to detail. However, even with all the planning, things still crop up. I love those little surprises that even take me of guard, because if I didn’t know those twists were going to happen, how can the reader?

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

As a huge fan of David Gemmell, I’d say I steal his knack for creating heroism in his characters. He can bring the most powerful of warrior kings down low and raise a peasant to greatness. There are so many things he does well, I’d wish I’d gotten a chance to meet him.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Knowing my main character, I’m not sure any of my explanations would appease him. However, I’d point out that there is a larger purpose in life and we all have a destiny to fulfil. His is no less or greater than anyone else’s. He can either rail against how unfair life can be, or he can face it like a man should. Shouting at life, “Do your worst, for I shall do mine!”

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Oh that would pit Zedaine and Kildare, my two main protagonists against Parmenion from the Lion of Macedon and myself. The stakes would be who is leading the attack in the morning. Zedaine and I would bow out early, while Kildare and Parmenion, the greatest general serving Alexander the Great, would start betting their children for the honor. Gotta go with Parmenion here as he has the greater experience and training, though I’d wager Kildare and Zedaine would love serving under him!

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I think the traps are just being lazy. Folks complain all the time about tropes and reading about things have been done to death, and all of that is true. However, any writing can be good if you are a strong enough writer. Don’t settle for good, make it great. Romance writers, for example. You know the couple in question are getting together, but make it fun, engaging, interesting. Who cares if you know the outcome? Entertain your reader! Fantasy is not different. There have been a million epic duels, what makes yours stand out? You’re writing doesn’t have to be the most original there is, but make it entertaining.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I wanted to add that my Raven and Crow books have cover art done by students at the local high school here in Carson City Nevada. What a talenting group of kids and that goodness they have such a fantasitic teacher! She has been a joy to work with. My publisher and I are thrilled we decided to ask them to do the art. Here is a link to my epic fantasy, The Raven and the Crow: Dark Storm Rising. The sequel is out this winter! Thanks for you time! The Raven And The Crow: Dark Storm Rising – Kindle edition by Falciani, Michael K.. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Jan Foster

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

Editing my second in series novel, Anarchic Destiny ready for ARC’s

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

Already released are a prequel (set in 800AD when Vikings invade!) which is an introduction to my Naturae world and the creation of the villain, and Book 1, Disrupting Destiny, which is set in Tudor England. The Naturae Series weaves real world history with creatures such as fae, witches, vampires and daemons living alongside, or in, actual settings. The main characters, Aioffe and her husband Joshua, are both winged fae, which, as you can imagine, presents certain problems with trying to remain hidden in a human C16th world! They have to wrestle with events which are playing out for the humans as well as their own realm, one of the Orkney Islands off Scotland, and try to stay alive, and together. Although there are romance elements to the book, that is not the main storyline.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Editing – being dyslexic I rely heavily on a variety of programmes, editors, beta and ARC readers to help me spot blundering errors! I far prefer to just write and write and get lost in the universe in my mind!

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

I love it when I’ve been doing some research which happens to tie neatly into what I was planning for the plotline! I’m a plantster – so I know my rough plot, and characters, but it sometimes takes a twist away from me I wasn’t expecting and then I have to plot my way out of it.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

I find writing humour quite difficult – it’s such a personal thing! So I’d have to say any author who can broadly make the majority of their readers giggle is someone I admire.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

My usual main characters have already suffered being kidnapped, and I’d be pretty petrified of the repercussions if it was tried again. However, in Book 2 (Anarchic Destiny) my third MC, the somewhat morally grey Henry Fitzroy – a reluctant vampire who believes he should be king – would possibly be persuaded by the ghost of his father Henry VIII coming back and reprimanding him for being un-sporting. So, with the aid of some modern fancy audio equipment (which, being in the C21st, I happen to have!), I might fudge a vision and tell him this is simply a trial for him to prove he is worthy, and kind. So he should free me instead of ripping me to shreds….

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Giordano Bruno (SJ Parris) would definitely give Joshua and Aioffe a long and probably tense card battle. While he is wily and reads people, they are very used to deceiving humans, better at bluffing (especially Joshua – lots of practise in the taverns and blessed with a long memory), and – if they are playing poker at all – probably quite desperate for something. The stakes? A life. Probably one of their friends – Nemis the witch, or Jeffries the fallen monk perhaps. As to a winner, the game would be disrupted by Fairfax, a tricky daemon who trails chaos wherever he goes, especially if it involves protecting his precious jam! For sure, he’d bumble in, knock over the card table, and carnage would follow!

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

As an author, my best piece of advice is to grow a thick skin. Everyone likes to read different things (whoopee!) but that equally means that not everyone will like the stuff you write. It can be hard when a friend of family member does read what you’ve written then doesn’t respond to your questions about it – and even ARC readers don’t always like your style although they should read in your genre at least! Try not to take it personally – think of books like bacon – some people like it chewy, some thin and crispy, others thick and meaty, and some don’t like it at all or won’t eat it for various ethical reasons.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Ever wondered what might have happened if Henry VIII’s bastard son, Henry Fitzroy had lived? Find out in Book 2 of the Naturae Series www.books2read.com/anarchicdestiny which launches 30th January 2022

Subscribe to my newsletter https://www.subscribepage.com/mailingsubscribe and I’ll send you a free copy of the Naturae Series prequel Risking Destiny (a full length novel set in Viking Age Orkney!) to enjoy!

Fancy getting Advance Reader Copies of all of my books? Join the Launch Team here https://www.subscribepage.com/naturaelaunchteam

Catch up on what’s happened so far in the epic historical fantasy Naturae Series – Book Links: Disrupting Destiny www.books2read.com/disruptingdestiny Risking Destiny www.books2read.com/riskingdestiny

C.L. Gaber, author of the Ascenders Saga.

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Hello! I’m sitting in my Nevada office with my new puppy biting the bottom of my jacket going over the edits for Ascenders: X-Catcher (Book Five). The pages have tiny puppy bite marks, which is really cute. At this point, I print the book out so I can really spot any mistakes. I’m also cooking up some ideas for “Claires 2” and making sure that a historical serial killer matches up on the Claires’ timeline. He does – which made my writer’s heart soar.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way. My series is the Ascenders Saga! Here’s the as-short-as-possible description:

 

Walker Callaghan doesn’t know what happened to her. One minute she was living her teenage life in suburban Chicago…and the next minute, she was in a strange place and in a brand new school with absolutely no homework, no rules, and no consequences. 

Walker Callaghan, 17, is dead. 

She doesn’t go to heaven or hell. She lands at The Academy, a middle realm where teenagers have one thing in common: They were the morning announcement at their high schools because they died young. 

These high school kids are now caught in a strange “in-between” zone where life hasn’t changed very much. In fact, this special teen limbo looks a lot like life in a quaint Michigan town complete with jocks, popular girls and cliques. “There are even cheerleaders in death,” Walker observes. It’s not a coincidence that the music teacher is a guy named Kurt who “used to have this band.” The drama teacher, Heath, is crush worthy because back in his life, he starred in some superhero movie.

Principal King explains the rules — there are none. Why? You can’t die twice. 

There is no homework.
No tests.
No SATS.
You’re just there to learn because the human brain isn’t fully formed until you’re 24. 

By the way, you can’t get hurt physically, so race your Harley off that hillside. But falling in love is the most dangerous thing you can do …because no one knows how long you’ll stay in this realm or what’s next.

“Losing someone you love would be like dying twice,” Walker says. 

* * * * * *
Walker Callaghan has just arrived at the Academy after a tragic car accident. “Is this heaven or is this high school?” she asks.

She finds out her new life is a bit of both as she falls in love with tat-covered, bad boy Daniel Reid who is about to break the only sacred rule of this place. He’s looking for a portal to return back to the living realm.

He needs just one hour to retrieve his younger brother who strangely never arrived at The Academy. Bobby is an Earth Bound Spirit, stuck at a plane crash site that took both of their lives as their rich father piloted his private jet nose-first into a cornfield on Christmas Eve. 

Walker loves Daniel and risks it all to go with him.

Have they learned enough to outsmart dangerous forces while transporting a young child with them? Can their love survive the fragmented evil parts of themselves that are now hunting them down as they try to find a way back to the middle?

At the Academy, you learn the lessons of an after-lifetime.

Ascenders Books 1-4 are currently available on Amazon.com. Book 5 is due out in February. The first spin-off, “The Claires,” is out now.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Honestly, my least favorite part is time. I’m a journalist, so I have deadlines and assignments that I’m grateful to do – especially since I cover the film beat and interview really cool people. It’s just tough sometimes to balance your fiction passion project with regular work, family and life. I think writers have to just find the time, which isn’t always easy because most of us are pulled in a million directions.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love it when you finally get the first page right after a lot of tinkering. I obsess over openings, tinkering endlessly. You have all these words and then lean it out. There it is! I have one or two trusted people who listen to my first pages and they tell me honestly. Deep in my writerly brain, however, I believe that writers just know. It’s just a relief when you have that part. A book is born.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I admire times infinity Mr. King’s ability to make a portal a door to the storage closet. He makes magic so beautifully accessible and understandable. I love how he immediately draws such brilliant characters that are so defined and unforgettable, too.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Oh, my poor female protagonist in Ascenders. She was living such a lovely after-life (for about five minutes) in the upcoming “X-Catcher,” but then the shit hit the fan from several fronts. She’s stuck in The Other, the wild west of the afterlife. Her boyfriend’s father takes her hostage. A guy with powers of distortion stalks her. Her friends are AWOL. I would have to explain to her that when the fate of the universe – for the living and the dead – is at stake, you just can’t sit on your ass and fake it. You have to run back into the action. I would explain to her that what I’m going is the best for humanity even though she faces certain extinguishment. Sorry, not sorry.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Well, the last book I read was King’s “Carrie,” so I’d say the stakes are her sanity. She would probably lose the game because I’m guessing Carrie can’t play poker, and nobody would want to play it with her because she’s an outcast. Plus, that horrible mother would probably think poker was a sin.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I think one of the big traps is rewriting too much at the beginning. I like to do a few chapters and then go back. Another thing I have found helpful is to have one or two trusted people in your life who enjoy hearing your work in progress. I don’t believe in getting five or seven or ten opinions. I think writers give up when they hear so many conflicting opinions. Also, a great editor is key to make sure you aren’t missing some of the rules of your own world.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Wow, no plots for world domination! 2020 was too exhausting to come up with those kinds of things.

Ascenders is being developed into a TV series, which is cr-a-zy!!! Book 5 comes out in February of 2021, which is so exciting.

And I’m working on a sequel to “The Claires,” the spin-off book, about four sisters who hail from the 1800s, die together at age 17, and then are reincarnated together to a new family.

Please follow me on Instagram or Facebook under CL Gaber. Lots of Ascenders news, plus too many cute dog photos.

Ben Green

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

     

    My debut novel, Forged in the Fallout, comes out July 13th (print) and 27th (eBook). That’s book one. I’m working on a late draft of book two with the help of my amazing editors. And I’m writing the first draft of book three, hopefully sending out to beta-readers summer of 2021. That will be the last book in this series. The last two will be published sometime 2022.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

    Forged in the Fallout is book one in my RIMDUUM series. It’s a YA sci-fantasy dystopia. It grew out of a “what if”. There are a lot of books that deal with fae and elves living in a contemporary world. I asked: “What if dwarves kinda evolved, kept their technological advantage over other races, and carved out cities under the Rocky Mountains. And there’s nuclear metal called mithrium. The main character’s family has a lot of secrets about this powerful metal and it can land him in a lot of hot water. So its action/adventure. Neon and underground cities, with a cool magic system based on craftsmanship and skill.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

     

    Draft one for sure. For me that’s the first time through. It takes me the longest, about 3-4 months solid if I’m working at it every day. Though most of the time I get stuck for days on end and it takes even longer. I’m a loose outliner. I have all the major plot points written out ahead of time, but I write and the story changes. That’s how it works for me. But If I could fall asleep after outlining and wake up with the first draft in my hands. That would be great.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

     

    Magnet ideas. At least that’s what I call them. It’s when I come up with a plot point, a choice that the character makes, or a piece of worldbuilding or backstory that just gathers steam, resolves six other things in one fell swoop, and leave me shook! I’d like to think my reader experiences the same thing when they come across these hinges in my book. They’re magical.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

     

    Brandon Sanderson’s world building. Maggie Stiefvater’s character creation. The Raven Boys is a study in making unique characters and tying them to the world with head-spinning plot reveals.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

     

    So Clayson Spangler doesn’t think things through sometimes and he has a capacity for ignorant decisions, because he’s as new to the world of RIMDUUM as the reader. If I kidnapped him, it would be to prevent him from breaking down the fabric of society and breaking all the rules I make.

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

     

    Okay so, that’s me, Clayson, and Alaric from JA Andrew’s Keeper Chronicles (no spoilers about him. I’ve only just started this series). Let’s say the stakes are like…I don’t know…the fate of typical weekend. Serious stuff. So if I lose, I will have to deal with something terrible like a day of car repair, or an unexpected trip to do something very boring. If I win, I reach all my goals early, get to spend the rest of the weekend chilling with my family, surrounded by delicious food and awesome games. And equally so for them, but with things they loath and love. I would say Alaric wins, because he has the deepest capacity for betrayal of principles.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

     

    I’m an educator by day in an alternative setting with students who are credit deficient and just having a rough go at it. I think if you write YA you need to treat those characters with respect. Sometimes, I read YA that I 100% know was written by an adult with no teens living around them, nor have they made an effort to get to know that age group. Just get on TikTok folks, or whatever the next big thing is, and if you’re unwilling to try new things, stick to writing for adults. Be authentic.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

     

    I currently have my “take over the world plot” on hold so maybe I can walk you through it when it’s active. Total side quest, but I love board games, and got into D&D in 2020 as a copping mechanism. Find the things that make you happy and surround yourself with like-minded people. You can watch me do that kinda thing. Just follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to see what I’m up to. Or sign up for my newsletter. Thanks.

Amazon
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Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58304381-forged-in-the-fallout
I have a short story available for free with newsletter sign up
https://www.loamseedpress.com/short-stories
Also my book is available for preorder from most retailers. My website has all the buttons. 🙂
www.loamseedpress.com

David Green

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m working on a few things! I have some ghostwriting projects that I’m enjoying; they’re related to genres I’d usually write but a little different so I’m having fun with them. On top of that I have a few short-story anthology pieces I’m almost finished with, and on top of *that* I’m working on In Solitude’s Shadow sequel, and book two of the Empire of War series, Path of War.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

So I have two books in two different series at the moment – the Empire of Ruin series with the first book of the trilogy being In Solitude’s Shadow. It’s a character driven, epic dark fantasy which has received strong reviews so far, and I’m excited for the rest of the series. It’s influenced by my love of the Wheel of Time, the Dragon Age video game series, the Roman Empire, the Mediterranean, and parenthood, and has drawn favourable comparisons to Brandon Sanderson’s work, which is always nice.

My other series is the Hell in Haven series; an urban fantasy noir. There are two books – Dead Man Walking, and its sequel The Devil Walks In Blood – but we recently released a special edition of the sequel with a new cover, and it includes both books! The main character is Nick Holleran, a private eye who has a bad day. He’s murdered and realises Heaven is real. Just before he reaches the pearly gates, he’s resuscitated and discovers something else… Hell is real, and we’re all living in it alongside ghosts, demons, beasts, Nephilim, and anything your imagination (and mine) can come up with. It’s Hellrazer meets Dresden Files with a bit of John Wick thrown in.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Least favourite bit is promotion! Or perhaps waiting for reviews… that’s a tough one! I’ll go with promotion, it’s hard. There’s so many authors trying to do it, and there’s so many ways to do it right, and to do it wrong. And then you need luck! But… it’s still quite fun. I love being an author and everything that comes with it, and realise I’m quite fortunate to be doing this.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Talking with my beta readers and editor after the first draft’s done. There’s a story and a book there, and though there’s work to be done, you can discover what works, what doesn’t, and what has potential for more.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Joe Abercrombie’s use of snappy, witty, informative short sentences. I love a short sentence, often if that sentence is just a word, so that would be it.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Hmmm… that’s assuming what I have planned for them is for the best! In both series! You’ve put me in a very tricky position, here. I’ll just tell them ‘I have a plan’ and hope they think I mean it in a benign way.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The stakes would probably be for most of the other characters to clear off and escape Haltveldt (the continent where Empire of Ruin takes place) as quickly as possible for some, and to stay and fight for others. Calene would have no poker face, and neither would Tilo. Arlo’s too young. Vettigan and Kade would hold their own, but I wouldn’t bet against Brina. She’d win. Plus, I’d write it, and I’d make it so!

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I think worldbuilding is essential in fantasy, but if you’re like me and love it but also have severe OCD, you can spend so much time creating a world without sitting down to write a story. You could worldbuild for years. The story has to come first; and the worldbuilding needs to serve that story and those characters first and foremost. Once you have a draft, you can begin building out, and once you have a first book or series, you can plan other tales in that living, breathing world you’ve created. But do get writing!

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Get a free short-story collection, Tales of Fire and Shadow, for signing up to my newsletter at www.davidgreenwriter.com, and if you do check out In Solitude’s Shadow or The Devil Walks In Blood, I hope you enjoy and let me know! The sequels to both will be available in 2022.

Merri Halma

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I am working on 

my second companion novel in my Indigo Travelers Series entitled Ian Temple and the Search for the Wisdom Trees. It is about a 13-year-old teen who hears the voice of the trees. He knows they are in danger, some are disappearing. The trees is hearing are from another world. Ian learns that they, and others, are searching for the original Wood Sprite. A werecat shows up in Ian’s bedroom, tells him he is an Indigo kid. The werecat also points out the shadow in Ian’s room that is moving independently. This sends chills up and down Ian’s spine.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Book 1: Indigo Trave

lers and the Dragon’s Blood Sword is about Xander Veh and his search for why he was created to hear other’s inner most thoughts and wishes. Early one morning, his cat brings him a griffin encased in stone. Xander, who can hear animals’ words in his mind, can hear the griffin. The griffin

, named Geoffrey, tells him about the world he came from that has been torn apart by a king who wants to rule all the countries on that world. He learns they are searching for the Indigo Traveler who will wield the dragon’s blood sword that will be used to remind this errant king of what the dragon’s kindness to his ancestors so their race would survive. Xander has

Book 2: Indigo Travelers and the Keys to the Shadowlands follows the Arimaspians king, Titus, who tried to take over all of Curá in the first book. A raven comes and pretends to be a Crow Court Judge when she is really the self-appointed judge of the Shadowlands. She takes advantage of Titus’ anger at the Albagoth, the Creators of the Worlds. She encourages Titus to be angry and wallow in his regret and self-hatred, finally stealing his soul and taking it to the Shadowlands. The Indigo Travelers gang, Xander is brought back to Curá. He brings with him Milo, his adopted brother and Sarah, who wants to escape the World of Nampa for a while. Though, Sarah has her own questions- like why does she see spiders whenever she closes her eyes? Xander risks losing himself by going to the Shado

wlands with his body. The danger is going crazy from seeing what he has been suppressing all his life played out.

Book 3: The Indigo Travelers and the Lost Murdoc Princess

Sarah dreamed of the circle with many divisions. A voice spoke to her of the lost Murdoc Princess bringing peace to a world where two rival spiritual paths sought to convert each other. It spoke to her of ridding their world of the third, the Murdocs, but she knew she was part Murdoc.
Could Sarah be the Lost Murdoc Princess? If so, her people and her life were endangered because of the other two spiritual groups. After the voice finished, a spider appeared to her, with the symbol on his forehead, telling her to trust him. She hates spiders. She learned they are Anan

si.
Separated from her friends, Sarah must turn to is the one insect she is most fearful of, the Anansi, which look like spiders. Can she allow one to become her best friend?
Does she trust the Anansi to teach her the meaning of the symbol of the circle with the divisions?

Companion Novel 1: Lynx on Fire

Lynx, a werecat, doesn’t remember his birth world. He knows his first caregiver, Alchemist Tarrier, rescued from under a burning wagon. Lynx has no memories of that time. Until he was attending a bonfire with his new family, the Veh’s in his new home world of Nampa. Watching the bonfire brought back memories of being a cub in a world that was foreign to him. A cub, called Runt because he was the youngest and too small for his age, was being bullied by his oldest brother and taunted. The brother threw Runt against the wall, and the young cub’s spirit soared out of his body to see a bear family. The bear cub, Artois, wanted to find the spirit and return it to the body or send it to the Creator of Ohana, the world they were on

. Runt soared on to the humans in the village- many- bear cub remembered Runt’s face. Bear cub knew- but his father said they, the grizzlies, were the true god of the land. Artaois remembered.

Lynx was shaken out of his trance by Geoffrey, his griffin friend- but from then on, Lynx was plagued by more memories of a fire. He heard some distant voice say he would face another fire. He had to face his true self- not the Maine Coon shape he had chosen to hide before he left Curá. Artois, remembered. He knew Lynx in the same world as him, now. Artaois would not be happy until he either gave Lynx that soul his father said werecats didn’t have- or killed him with the fire he could make with his paws- using his god gifts.

Demons are made of Fire. But Lynx swears he is not the demon others say he is. Will Lynx embrace the fire to become what he knows he can be?

Haunting of Powell Hall, not part of the Indigo Travelers Series

Mark Owl Eyes loves to tell stories from his Native American folklore and spiritual paths. He brings his new girlfriend to Powell Hall where his office is on campus, and begins to tell her to the story of Krystal, the ghost of Powell Hall. Krystal hears his voice and flies to him, but sees he is with a new girl. One of them has to go. Krystal believes Mark is her beloved Mike, who died in WWII. Mark finds himself caught between two worlds, one is the white man, path to blend in with that culture and the path of his ancestors. He must find a way to reunite Krystal with her beloved or risk losing the one woman he wants to give his heart to.

Table by the Window by the Caldwell Writers Group.

I have two essays and one horror story in this anthology. My Life, Thirteen Again and the Mysterious Chest.

I am a member of the Caldwell Writers Group.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Editing. I hate editing. It is difficult to back through a piece and painstaking decide what to leave in and what to take out. Or how to rewrite a sentence, paragraph or even a whole chapter.

Currently, the book I am working on now has had so many drafts I feel like I am editing it. I’m probably not working as hard on it as I want to. Other things keep getting in the way. So, right now, I’m planning a lesson for a local writers group. I’m researching that and including footnotes. After I get that done, I will work more on Ian’s Story, as I call it. Until I have to plan my next lesson for that group next month.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Yes, when I can get my characters in the vision quest within the story, like Xander being swallowed by the tree the Wraiths tie him to and he ends up in the chamber where the Sage of the Murdoc trees begins counselling with him on why he feels he has to save Sarah instead of allowing her to save herself. In the end, he realizes Sarah has always been the one to save him whenever he gets in trouble.

Or Lynx ends in the cave deep within Ohana and he is faced with all the facets of his personality. Even the demon part of him, which he does not want to accept.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I would steal Brandon Sanderson’s world building and deep character detail and construction. I’m awed by his ability to create such detailed characters that just pop off the page. They are so real, I want to pull them off the page and interact with them. I would love to sit with Shallan, watch her draw and ask her questions. Or walk with Kaladin, watch him work out with his Shardsword and listen to his stories. Or watch his spren fly around, dancing on the air currents.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Ian, you were not searching deep within you for strengths nor were you willing to talk with your parents to get the truth from them. If I hadn’t taken you on the journeys so you would face down evil, and found the trees, you would never had learned you magic and can do more than turn invisible. You would never learned to trust your parents and see how much they do love you. You have grown so much surviving the ordeals.

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

I don’t know enough about poker to answer this question. I watch Star Trek Next Generation playing poker. My characters are teens, and likely would not play that game. I can see them LARPing or playing D & D.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I would say my expertise is mythical world building. I’m a pantser to an extreme, so I would say not researching enough early on and trying to imagine or create enough and then find out it isn’t as tied to real world so the readers might not accept it. I also try to write my lead characters so they sound older than their actual age. Sometimes editors dock me for that. With my current book, I’ve caught myself a couple times asked me if a teen would actually dialogue with an adult on the same level. Sometimes one teen might. So I decided Ian might not be able to track the whole story time that explains how the worlds were created. I had Ian say to the Sage, who was teaching him, he wasn’t interested and blew it off. Sage allowed the kid to do that, but it bugged him.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Plots to take over the world would be Lynx’s department (lol). Seriously, I hope to have Ian Temple and Search for the Wisdom Trees out by June of 2021.

Wren Handman

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

A paranormal novel for adults about people who can record their dreams, and the monsters that lurk within them.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

I write YA paranormal and science fiction, mostly. Lots of magic and angst, always sprinkled with a little humour. I’m very interested in the intersection of genre and diversity, and as a white queer woman I try to reflect my community and experiences in all of my writing.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Marketing!! I have a lot of book with wonderful reviews from a very small number of people. But finding exposure and helping new audiences reach my writing is incredibly challenging. If only I could write books in a ‘room of my own’ on a mountaintop somewhere in Patagonia and all my readers would just magically receive finished copies!

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

I absolutely adore the meat and potatoes of writing. Once I have a finished outline and I get to dive in and bring the world and the characters to life, seeing the way in which they’ll surprise me and the ways in which I’ll surprise myself. Finding that one beautiful turn of phrase that you want to read over and over, or making yourself tear up a bit as you write, is real magic.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

Catherynne M. Valente’s language skills, no contest! In Deathless especially, where she is diving into the beauty of language as a contrast to the horror of the communist revolution in Russia.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Oh I love this so much! Let’s go with Sylvia from the Phantasmer Cycle. Her powers are the ability to influence the world around her by believing in it, and her journey in the second book is all about responsibility and privilege when it comes to power. I don’t think I would tell her that she was fictional, because that might be a lot to handle!! Instead, I would tell her that I change the world the same way she does, but by imagining instead of believing. I would explain that the hard things she went through paved the way for the positive way in which she changed the world, and that there’s always a happy ending in a narrative arc, which isn’t guaranteed in the real world. And isn’t that worth it all?

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The last book I read was The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik. So Sylvia, El and I would be playing 5 card stud, laying everything on our ability to bluff our way into the winning hand. We’d be playing for the chance to switch narratives and get to live in each other’s lives – myself in Sylvia’s world, where magic exists; El in my world, where it doesn’t, and she can live a normal life; and Sylvia in El’s world, where she can use her powers to reshape reality and make it safer for magic users.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

Read, read, read, read, read! The worst part of bad writing is overused tropes and outdated ideas. The more you read and diversify the kind of writing you read, the better your own writing becomes.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I decided to hold my cat and read from my book and see how long it would take before he escaped. It took a LOT longer than I expected it to and kind of ruined the joke, and he’s a beautiful cat so it’s a good time: https://www.tiktok.com/@singsthewrenauthor/video/7028703341987368198

  1. Name, please!

SL Harby but you can call me Sean!

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Right now, I am working on writing Shadows of the Heart, the sequel to my debut novel. Shadows of a Dream. I hope to have the first draft written by mid-summer. Shadows of the Heart and its prequel, Shadows of a Dream are labours of love for me, a lifetime in the making.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Shadows of a Dream follows Stephen, a tabletop gamer whose life has not gone the way he had planned. He is trapped in a marriage that neither party wants to be in and a job that kills a little more of his soul every day. I know people like Stephen; at points in my life, I have been a person like Stephen. When a seemingly random tragedy strikes, he finds himself caught between his life and the world that he thought was only a figment of his imagination.

Within that world lives a reflection of Stephen that is everything that he always thought he wanted to be. Stephen and his reflection, Hollis, must solve the mystery of his friends’ deaths before he joins them in the grave.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

As far as the writing process goes, my least favorite part is the point between inspiration and getting words onto the page. That blank page can be very intimidating. I find that once I get some momentum and the words begin to flow, I can ride the wave and move pretty quickly through the story that is in my mind.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love when the mood takes you and words flow from brain to page without seeming to pass through your fingers. It is such a rush to allow the story to take over and witness as it unfolds before you. I try my best to remain in this state as often and long as possible as it is when I truly feel alive. I make liberal use of art, music as well as other media to maintain it.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I would steal Steven Brust’s ability to make a character that is at the same time fallible enough to make them relatable to reader on a vicarial level but still heroic enough to make their actions seem eminently plausible. I find that characterization like that pulls the reader into their story in a way that few other things can. The world and plot draw me to a novel, the characters keep me there.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

That would be a hard sell for sure! Stephen is fairly pragmatic, but there are limits for sure. I would need to explain that the deaths of his friends will stop a greater amount of folk coming to harm. As Hollis likes to say: ‘For the good of the many, the few must make sacrifices.’ My fear is that Hollis has had enough influence on him that his gentle demeanour may be put aside in the name of vengeance.

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

A poker table seating Hollis, Stephen, Aristoi, Wade Watts and myself would be interesting indeed. I would imagine that the stakes would be some sort of lore. It would have to be the right to ask ‘the cosmos’ one question, honestly answered. Stephen, Wade and I would be eliminated early as none of us have either Hollis’s gift for deception or Aristoi’s self-control. In the end, Aristoi would walk away with the prize as she would want it more. I could not swear to the fact that knowing that, Hollis would not throw the final hand for his closest friend.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

When it comes to Fantasy, it is so very tempting to make your protagonist a hero in the purest sense of the word: able to dispatch legions of foes with naught but his wits and a dull butter knife. As a reader, the ‘Perfect Hero’ can be thrilling but often erodes their relatability in my opinion. As I have said about Steven Brust, I feel that a fantasy author has to thread the needle of fallibility and heroism so that the reader can see themselves within the characters.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I would love folks to head over to my website: www.readslharby.com. I have background materials on the world that I have built as well as prequel short stories available there to help ‘set the mood’. In addition, I have reviewed some recent books and done a couple of creator interviews with Steven Brust and James Ward.

As far as a recipe, my father made something that we always termed ‘Garbage’ as its origin lies in whatever you had in the refrigerator at the time. It is super simple and super yummy.

Sweat a whole onion and a few cloves of garlic in a wok or frying pan. In the onions, brown 1 lb of ground meat of your choice (Turkey, Chicken, Beef or Meatloaf Mix). Season as you like. I prefer: basil, oregano, salt, pepper and marsala wine. Add a half bag of peas and carrots, 1 cup of instant rice (brown or white) and a cup of water. Cove and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

It is delicious and only gets better the longer it is left overs

Kimberly T. Hennessy

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I always have a full plate. I’m currently writing book 2 of The Pogrom War series, which is a sequel to She Runs with Wolves, but I’m also set to write three screenplays this year for three different producers, which will keep me very busy. I’m currently writing a historical fiction set in Ireland and Canada under a pen name as well, which is based on a screenplay I wrote a while back. I also do some copywriting on the side.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I have my main book She Runs With Wolves, which is about Eira. A prisoner that discovers she’s pregnant and realizes she must escape the evil King Lorcan if she wants to space her child the same fate. Once she escapes, she falls into the hands of this dubious underground sect bent on reviving the old SIDHE religion. Meanwhile, Eira’s physical, and mental health slow deteriorates, and she doesn’t understand why, until she discovers that to save these people, and her child, Eira must relinquish her humanity.

Meanwhile, Ylva an artificial intelligent being is desperate for a chance at life, and will do anything in her power to reclaim what was lost thousands of years ago.

It is the power of three wolves that unite the two in a battle for supremacy. Their inner war rages as they fight for dominion of the frozen wasteland that is now Earth. It’s a mash up of tribal history and artificial intelligence.

I also have a collection of short stories in The Digital Coup. This is a soft prequel to She Runs With Wolves and gives us glimpse at the world before the apocalypse, and how people lived and the problems they faced in the digital age. It also partially explains artificial intelligence and their influence on humanity and the problems that could arise.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!) I love thinking up the concept. I’m really very creative when it comes to imagery, and bits and pieces of story details. I’m not bad at putting it all together in an imaginative way either, but I do struggle with the more mundane passages that are necessary to the flow of the story. The chapters that link everything together to make it cohesive. This is less of a struggle when writing screenplays, but it’s still a factor. I’m not the kind of person that gets hit by the muse bug and the whole thing writes itself in one sitting. It’s more painstaking than that, hence the nickname the Slow Writer. I take my time to flesh out the plot, and it often very very layered. My husband keeps banging that I need to keep it simple, but I’m just made that way I guess.

The other part is the marketing, which I find hard, are interviews, but it’s part of the job. I understand marketing, and good at it in theory. In practice, I struggle. Once I get to know people, then I’m bubbly and conversational, but it takes time to get there.

Finally, making a living as a writer is hard. I wish it were easier, especially if you’re like me a slow writer. The people that have lots of success usually put out many books in a year, I’m not one of those people. Luckily, I have a loving family that encourage me to keep going, and not give up.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning? It’s that moment when all your ideas come together to form a cohesive story. If I’m lucky I get that one lightning strike and I need to work and rework it till it makes sense. It’s a process, but once all my ducks are in a row and have the final layout, I’m very happy. Also, when that lightning does strike it’s an incredible feeling.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.) Frank Herberts political genius. Tolkien’s world building, J.K Rowling’s series building, and Suzanne Collins character development.

I’ve been accused of not enough character development, but perhaps it’s my background in screenwriting, but I don’t like to bog down the story with too many details. I like to keep my writing and my story lean and give the reader the chance to infer some of the reasons behind the character’s choice, although perhaps my background in psychology makes it obvious to me, which is something I need to reflect on for book 2.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best? Haha, my poor protagonist has been through hell. I doubt she will ever forgive me for making her go through some of the terrible, horrific hardship she had endured, but at the end of the day it has made her tough as nails. She is badass, and for that I love and admire her.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why? The book I’m currently reading is a murder\mystery set in the mid 20th century, and the main character is a whiny bloke. Between Eira (my main character) who has endured physical violence, killed to save her child, and conjured up wolves, myself, and the puny bloke, Eira is definitely going to win. For Eira everything is a matter of survival, and I’m just the lackey that follows. 😉

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I learned that world building needs to be layered. The reader must discover it little by little as the story unfolds. A lot of new writers just information dump because they’ve rehearsed it a thousand times over in their head and they want to get it all down in case they forget some elements and want to make sure to convey it all the way they imagine it. That’s a mistake! World layering needs to breathe, needs to take up space, and it needs to happen throughout the book from the first chapter to the last. It involves all of our senses, and how it makes us feel.

I’m still working on character development, but from what I know so far, it’s about making them three dimensional. At least for me, no one is totally evil, and no one is totally good.

Plot is the hardest. The most interesting for me are the ones that have many subplots intertwined. I have no magic trick. These subplots mix and mingle, and if it works it works, if it doesn’t, it gets the boot. I write of list of plots and subplots and see what will work best, hence the Slow Writer.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I love butter tarts, but that neither here nor there. If you love sci-fi\fantasy, dystopian, political intrigue, mysteries, historical fiction, which is dystopian in reverse if you ask me, or you have invented the time machine, let’s connect.

https://kimberlythennessy.com/

We can connect on my author page on facebook, and I also have a monthly newsletter. My readers always connect with me about the latest Witcher episode, or some show on Netflix, or a book they’re reading they think I might like.

Also, my website has a book trailer. If you sign up, you will get to see the entire short film I produced a few years ago.

About Alan J Hesse

Alan J. Hesse

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m working on a lot of different things, but I guess my main activity is to finish the 4th book in my educational comic book series about climate change and the environmental crisis. I’m also spending a lot of time promoting and marketing all my books, and always learning through webinars, courses, etc.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I write and illustrate educational comic books, all with an environmental theme and usually with a message about getting involved and taking better care of nature. It all started about 10 years ago when I was still active as a field biologist living in eastern Bolivia, which corresponds to the southern Amazon basin. One of my mentors, friends and colleagues is a renown ecologist called Louise Emmons. She was doing a lot of research in my neck of the woods and I was always involved. Louise was a big fan of my cartoons, and we decided to write up her research as a comic book. She wrote the stories and I did the artwork. This led to my self-publishing my first comic book, Fables of the Amazon, which is a book of short stories as comic strips, all with an ecology lesson drawn from Louise’s own research, and some from my own. Years later I got my foot in the door for a consultancy with the Charles Darwin Foundation in the Galapagos Islands, and one of the products was my second comic book, all about Darwin and his legacy. I didn’t get back to being an author until about 7 years later, when my publisher asked me to do a comic book about climate change. This was a subject that was not yet mainstream at the time, it was about 2015, and I was myself facing a challenge in my conservation job trying to understand climate change, so I jumped at the chance to create a comic about it. With a full-time job and family life, it took me about 3 years to finish that book, an 88 page comic. I did all the research first, and that took months because it involved consulting experts, interviewing them, reading papers, trawling the news and a whole lot more. It was finally published in December 2018, and I’ve been promoting and marketing it ever since. Around mid-2019 I converted the paperback book to 3 ebooks, thus making a series. Just getting it from paperback to ebook was in itself a huge challenge and I learned a lot in the process. The book is all about climate change obviously, as seen through the eyes of the main character, Captain Polo, aka Polo the bear. Polo is an anthropomorphic polar bear with a gift for human languages, sailing and use of cash. These skills enable him to get around the world and meet many colourful human and non-human characters who range from Colombian guerrilla fighters to the Yeti! All have a story to tell that relates to the global environmental and climate crisis, and in this way Polo gradually teaches the reader more and more about the various ways global warming is impacting all life on Earth. The book also covers many climate solutions that are already underway, thus giving a sense of hope and positivity. It ends with Polo’s climate classroom, where the reader is taken through a glossary of technical terms and a somewhat deeper explanation of the more technical aspects of climate change, in illustrated prose rather than comic strip format. Book 4 that I am now working on is the sequel to this story, and sees Polo once again globe-trotting to different countries. This book has an even more playful feel to it, since I am inserting fictional characters and sequences for pure fun, that have nothing to do with anything technical or serious. For example Polo gets mixed up with a Russian nuclear sub, and spends half the book escaping from a crazy fisherman and his motley crew of ruffians. This book will be produced in two editions: one in full colour as usual, and one in black and white as a colouring book.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Marketing! This is an area that does not come naturally to me, and I found by bitter experience that I actually do have to do it myself; not even my publisher does it, which is why I have actually terminated my agreement with them. I am now 100% self-published, and I have no choice but to learn how to market my books.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love researching my locations and settings, which I do using Google images. It’s like travelling around the world right in my office.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I would steal Albert Uderzo’s artistic ability (he was the illustrator of the Asterix comics, which are legendary in Europe and many parts of the world, if not in the US), and the textual wit of Goscinny, Uderzo’s script writer and co-creator of Asterix. I would also steal Hergé’s, creator of Tintin, story-crafting genius. Lastly I would steal the marketing savviness of Dav Pilkey, the creator of the cartoon Captain Underpants and Dog Man books that are always topping the best seller charts in Amazon.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

In my case this would mean that I’ve been kidnapped by Captain Polo the polar bear. The only way I would have ruined his life is either by setting him up to be a globe-trotting hero whose books don’t sell, or by coaxing him out of his traditional existence hunting seals in the Arctic. I would plead to him that my intention was only ever to draw him out of his harsh existence in a melting Arctic with ever fewer things to hunt (this is a climate-related reality) to actually transform him into a messenger for positive climate action, make him a celebrity and set him up so that he will always have as many seals to eat as he wants!

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

So I’m playing poker with Captain Polo, his arch enemies Conor O Connor the crazy fisherman, Tex Greadyman the oil tycoon (a character from my next book), and Marine Private Riley from Jeff Shaara’s The Frozen Hours. The stakes are my career as an author versus Polo’s precious cap, Conor’s old tub of a fishing boat, Greadyman’s 250 million dollar yacht, and Riley’s combat boots. Naturally I will win because I’m the one who made this whole poker game up, and therefore I can do whatever I want!

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

A big challenge I face is getting that equation right between education and entertainment. Because I write educational comic books that also need to be fun to read, this is something of a pet subject of mine. My comics have to be great to read, full of action, humour, adventure. But they also have to deliver their message, achieve their higher purpose, without overloading the speech bubbles. Large speech bubbles take up space, and so the more text the less cartoon graphic artwork is visible. How do you explain something as complex as climate finance or the relationship between climate and war refugees to 9 year olds in a comic book without losing all sense of fun? I also struggle to define my genre, and indeed my audience. Many adults who have read my books find them hilarious, as well as informative. Most kids nowadays don’t read at all if they can avoid it. Yet comic books like the ones I make are traditionally classed as children’s books. Another trap I often fall into is stereotype. Humour is by definition the use of stereotype, in my opinion. All the stand-up comedians use it heavily. Look at Monty Python, dated yes, but nevertheless heavily oriented to using stereotypes. I get a lot of flak for this, but as I always explain, if I make use of cultural stereotypes I’m not doing it to make fun of anyone in particular; everyone gets hammered, and in any case this use of stereotypes for me is actually a celebration of diversity.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

My Captain Polo character also stars in related books and products, like my climate change calendar, and my short picture book stories and activity books about Halloween and Christmas, all of which feature Polo and have a climate message. I’ll probably soon start making Polo merchandise as well. Another thing to note is that I had to change Polo’s name, which risks causing confusion. At first he was Polo the Bear, but then I found out that the clothing company Ralph Lauren have a product, a teddy bear, called Polo Bear. To avoid potential problems down the line I changed my character’s name to Captain Polo. I hope that will do the trick, but it’s very annoying to have to do that kind of thing.

J.V. Hilliard

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

I am in the midst of promoting my first book, the Last Keeper, a fantasy-adventure novel set in the realm of Warminster. We launched the book globally on January 5th, 2022 and it is available in eBook, paperback and soon to be released audio book narrated by Victor Bevine of Drizzt Du’Orden fame. My publisher is Dragon Moon Press.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

The Last Keeper is a fantasy-adventure novel set in the realm of Warminster. The story features a character named Daemus Alaric, who was born blind but is blessed with the gift of sight by a visiting stranger. The “sight” comes with prophetic visions and when they begin to come to pass, he leaves his noble home to join the fabled Keepers of the Forbidden, wielders of vast arcane knowledge who serve leaders throughout the realm of Warminster.

But Daemus’ ideal life is short-lived as a recurring nightmare takes hold, threatening to catapult him into a terrifying struggle that will leave the fate of the Keepers hanging in the balance.

It is the first in a series of novels and I currently have book two, Vorodin’s Lair in editing and book three, The Trillias Gambit, half-written. I expect book two to be launch in late Spring of 2022 and book three to be launched in Autumn 2022.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

My least favorite item to do as an author is editing—and in particular cutting characters or scenes that I love—as the creator—but that may not be best for the book. I store the “cuts” in a separate folder, almost as an emotional remembrance of what almost was, but will never be. Sad, but true.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

My favorite thing to do is plot and plan. I am not a “pantser,” in any sense of the term as I need to know where every little detail fits so that when the story is complete, every arc connects and the reader leaves seeing the full vision. I have a white board that is nearly the size of one wall in my den where I plot out story arcs, timelines, character intersections and points of conflict. And when it is time to write, I let that story board pop to life.

And yes, I weep gently when I have to erase it and start the next story…

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

This one is easy. I think I write pretty decent battle scenes, but the king of battle scenes in my genre is R.A. Salvatore. His descriptions are always on point, memorable and have a tendency at times to lead to “lessons” for the character (and reader). I would steal his ability in a heartbeat.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

“Daemus, you have to understand what I am doing here is for your own good. As a seer—and possessor of the wisdom of Erud, the Ancient of Knowledge—I am certain you can glean from your visions the path to your own fate. I, your chronicler, am only recording what you already know will come to pass. My pen will ink the story that will make you a legend.

Yes, yes… some suffering and personal growth must come at the cost of those that you love to get you there, but can’t you see what I am doing is all for you?”

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The table is set. As the cards are dealt, Bruenor Battlehammer accidentally reveals his hand to me while trying to avoid spilling beer from his ale-horn. Wulfgar the barbarian, has a hard time card counting and Cattie-brie is shrewd but too trustworthy. Nay, my real opponent at this table is Drizzt Du’Orden, the dark elven Ranger… the drow swordsman of the quickest hands in all the Forgotten Realms. But he’s too honest and can’t bluff. Perhaps he should have used those hands to deal from the bottom of the deck.

Thus, I win. Through patience, cunning and reading the “tells” of my opponents, I scrape the pot in my direction… and in doing so earn the services of one figurine of wondrous power that just happens to be in the form of a certain panther…

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

Keep writing, even it if it stinks. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of laziness, and before you know it, a day with no writing becomes a week. Even if it’s just fifteen minutes or 1000 words, keep at it.

Also, if you experience writer’s block, I always try to call a friend and work through it. Usually hearing others and getting input leads to the free flow of new ideas and breaks that block up quickly.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

www.jvhilliard.com

instagram: jvhilliardbooks

Facebook: J. V. Hilliard

Twitter: jvhilliardbooks

Hugo Hobbs

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

I’ve recently released my first novel in the source war series entitled; “Quest for Fire.” A second book is in progress.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

Quest for Fire begins with the initiation of a young man who’s curiosity leads him to an archeological dig site by the dragon’s armies. This information propels the main storyline forward. The darkness led by a dragon named Ahr-phar-zon has learned that the source of all living fire will take sides in the conflicts of the world. The alliance of elves and men learn of this information, and send a dysfunctional group to quest for the source of fire. This group contains military, a princess, and a notorious convict. All forseen arriving at their destination. The old rivals of light and darkness explode, and war breaks out. parties of orcs, trolls, and undead invade alliance lands. The slaughter is heavy, and victory appears to be lost. They all hope the dysfunctional group will be their salvation in the end.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Editing. It was so detailed. I was very lucky to have the talented Kate Seager to do this for me. However, the final version was a process that seemed to elude us both.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

When I can see it. When my writing makes me laugh, or grimace. Then I’m in the zone so to speak.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

Dean Koontz. His novels just became alive and so hard to put down! That talent of storytelling is something I envy.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Cy-Cryst, the main hero, and leader in the alliance quest party. He does not like this drama filled group, nor the fact that he is falling in love with a wizard assigned to him. He would be angry with me, lol. I’d convince him that though the mission is difficult, in the end it will provide the safety and security of his people.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Cy-Cryst and Malik. The dragon’s armies want the alliance war hero, and have often tried to capture him alive. The stakes of the game would be his freedom. As for Malik the alliance wants him dead. That would be some high stakes poker.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

world building is the trap for me. It’s my world and I can write about every detail, but that would make my reader upset. finding the right balance is often difficult.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Second book in the series is nearly completed. These are large novels, in the area of 700+ pages per book.

Aaron Hodges

Author picture

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I am currently finishing off the third book in my Descendants of the Fall series, titled Age of Gods. I’m really enjoying how the two main characters in the story have developed since I first conceived of them back in March during quarantine, although they’ve definitely made life tricky for me at this book! I just hope I’ve done them justice for my readers!

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Well this series I’m currently working on is about a fallen world where two species of human exist, one that takes after our own peoples, and another called the Tangata who possess inhuman strength and speed. And the two species are in the middle of a decade long war—one which humanity is losing. They will need a miracle to emerge victorious, or perhaps some divine intervention from the mysterious Gods who rule this world.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Haha is this not editing for everyone? I certainly find it exhausting, but also very rewarding as my first drafts are usually VERY rough, so its nice to see how polished and complete the final product is afterwards.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I actually really like outlining. I generally spend a week brainstorming different scenes and characters that will feature in the story, and while I don’t use every idea that pops into my head, its still my favourite part, probably because it really gets the imagination flowing.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Hmmm, I’d probably say Ian Irvine’s world building skills. I really enjoy creating backstories and geographical features in my books—I’m an environmental scientist by trade so I generally have a good understanding of that sort of thing. But the Ian Irvine takes it to another level, his maps are down to the minutest detail, and his histories make you believe this world actually exists!

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Haha considering some of the stuff I put my poor characters through, I’m not sure I’ll get out of this one alive. I guess I’d pull the whole God card and say there’s a reason behind everything that happens!

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Haha the main character would be Erika, princess of the broken kingdom of Calafe, and Archivist to the Queen of Flumeer. She’s extremely shrewd and cunning, and up against her is Jon Snow (I’ve been rereading GoT this week), who might be a great swordsman but lets face it, probably not the greatest poker player! As for what we’ll win…I’d say both would be pretty happy with a dragon, don’t you think?

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I think probably my number one advice for any writer is not to get held up in the early details/editing of your manuscript. Until you finish the first draft, you don’t even know whether you’ll be able to finish and it is so easy to get bogged down reediting what you’ve written before you even reach the end. So my advice is always: finish, then edit. At least for your first book.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I wrote a dystopian in 2016 titled ‘The Evolution Gene’ (originally the Praegressus project). It ah…predicted a civil war after the 2020 election, plus a plague. I’m a little concerned how closely its mirroring real life at this point…

daniel holzman

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

Promoting my new novel “Bud Suckers”

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

I have written two novels. The first one was based on my experience working as a professional juggler at San Francisco’s Pier 39. It is the story of a teenager who is mentored by an street performer in the secrets of passing the hat for a living. My latest novel is a horror comedy about two cash strapped college students who try to raise money by growing a crop of marijuana. Unfortunately, they plant it on a vampire’s grave and the weed causes the smokers to have the munchies for blood.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Trying to get readers. I enjoy the entire writing process, but sometimes don’t think it is worth the effort. It is very satisfying to hear that people enjoy my work, I just wish I could reach a wider audience.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

I love brainstorming. There is something thrilling about taking an idea and bringing it to life.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

I would love for my work to be a combination of Kurt Vonnegut’s intelligence and imagination with Stephen King’s ability to get you hooked in his stories from the very fist page. I want my books to be clever page turners that the reader can’t put down.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I know what it is like to grow up with a sibling that makes your life more difficult. Your half-brother was becoming more dangerous and would have sacrificed your life in his quest for eternal youth as a vampire. I saved you, and made sure you destroyed the marijuana that was tainted by the ancient vampire blood. You are now free to pursue your dreams of becoming an actor, and finally have a family that will support and encourage you.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

It would quite the epic match. I recently read Norm Macdonald’s book “Based on a True Story.” He was known as a gambler who was fearless in betting huge sums of money. I would match him against my character “Domingo” who lived the life of a professional card player for over two hundred years to hide his true identity as a vampire. He would play cards all night and sleep all day. I would have to put my money on “Domingo” his heightened senses and years of experience would give him the edge.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

You have to learn to trust your own instincts. If you try and copy someone else the best you can hope to be is a second rate impersonation of that author. Write using your own twisted imagination and trust that you have the talent to overcome the obstacles facing you as a new author. Avoid perfectionism, get that first draft down on the paper and then remember that the “magic is in the eraser.”

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Learn to juggle. It is a great way to improve your mind. There are scientific studies that shows it increases your grey matter and helps you make connections quicker in your brain. I have been a professional juggler for over 40 years and it has allowed me the opportunity to travel the world and meet famous people.

 

Paul Hoon

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

The third book of The Dark Days Series, Survival.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

Two books of my Dark Days Series, Outbreak and Sanctuary, can be found in Amazon and Barnes & Noble website. The story centers on a boy named Sonny as he fights zombies and bandits to protect his childhood friends, Ashley and Carrie in a dystopian America. Rising Together is a book I co-wrote with a fellow author McKenzie Stark is about a boy named Tim and girl Haze as they run away from Portland to Los Angeles to keep their friendship from a reality that’s trying to tear them apart.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Trying to get the word out and making the book available as possible to readers. It’s a constant struggle to promote and market the books.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

Usually it’s when I get a good idea for a scene or a chapter or even some dialogue. The best part is when I’m able to get out writer’s block, because I write outlines for all the major events that I know I want to happen in my stories, but the hard part is transiting from major event to another. Keeping the flow steady can be a challenge.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

The ability to keep a good flow of words and knowing all the synonyms. I write very crisp and straight forward. I don’t like to dwell too much on details. I write enough to give the readers a picture, but sometimes I have to add extra detail and use synonyms so I’m not using the same word too many times. However, synonyms don’t automatically pop in my head so I wish it could so I don’t have keep doing too many re-edits.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

That’s a difficult one. I’d try to explain that all the dystopian and horrors happening are what inspires and where humanity matters the most when it’s threatened. I’d try to explain to my main character that I’m hoping to make him a symbol of hope and inspiration for humanity and strength to never give up on those you care about or on the things that matter the most.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

No idea what the stakes are and no idea who would win. I haven’t mentioned anything on poker in my books so I don’t know yet on how they would do. I wouldn’t win because I don’t know anything on how to play poker, blackjack, canasta, or any gambling games except for liar’s dice. If it were liar’s dice we were playing then I’d have a better chance of winning.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

I write outlines of all the major events that I know I want to happen in the story. That way I can transition from one major event to another and so I don’t forget. Also, I’d say try to get into the habit of ‘show don’t tell,’ and an easy to do that is to describe it. Here’s telling: “Bobby was mad.” Here’s showing: “Bobby gritted his teeth and clenched his fists. He huffed several breaths while giving glaring daggers in his eyes. You could the big vein in his forehead and the one in his neck.” The same goes for world building, describe it. It doesn’t have to be down to the last detail but give enough where the readers can get a picture in their heads as they’re reading it. As for genre, it’s easier to write a story that’s the kind of story you’re into. If you’re into adventure stories, it’s better to write an adventure. If you’re not into romance, then it’s gonna be more difficult to write a story that you’re not into.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Links of how to find me. https://allauthor.com/author/ccole09/ https://www.facebook.com/Christopher-Cole-102160441641627 https://kingstonpublishing.com/authors/christopher-cole/ https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20048801.Christopher_Cole https://twitter.com/PaulHoon1

S.D. Howarth

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m working on the follow up to my debut novel provisionally titled Gambit of Faith which will bring in my second story arc and like my first book will be pretty much a standalone novel in its own right. Recovering alcoholic High Priest Mexli starts his day discovering his principal underling is exceeding his authority, bullying and spying on him, before attempting to seize control of The Temple of the Sun God. It gets worse for Mexli from there…

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

My debut novel is The Tryphon Odyssey, book 1 in The Voyage trilogy and set within The World of Sanctuary in what would be considered a medieval setting. My twist is a ‘what if in combining elements from ancient myth and the PC games Civilisation and Warcraft, while retaining a practical amount of realism and archaeology/history. It’s allowed to pick cultures from around 1000BC, and evolve them in a different environment, with different races and throw in conflict, magic, religion, expansion and balance it against a delicate ecology.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!) Editing seemed a painful and protracted learning curve, which I hope I can spend less time on in the future.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning? Worldbuilding and setting. It seems to write itself at initial concept, and evolve in depth as it becomes workable and realistic.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.). It would have to be two.

Pratchett had a knack of picking up a feel of the world, weave it into a clever story and make you cry with laughter while appreciating how deep his one liners went.

Michael Marshall Smith is the second, his style and fluidity with an offbeat idea is unreal. Our first Cat was named Spangle for a reason.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best? Quote Metallica “What don’t kill ya make ya more strong.”

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why? Me, or more likely Reichsfuhrer Wagner. I know my character(s) – they haven’t levelled up yet, but the Nazi bugger can tweak ti—(no spoilers, sorry. Blood Red Sand’s just came out).

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.). Just do the worldbuilding you need for the characters. If you bloat it up, you’ll spend time (painfully) removing it to stop things bogging down. If you are researching something based on actual history, consider your sources and any limitations they create with intended or unintentional bias. In my case, if I avoided accounts post Roman & Christian, it didn’t leave much that wasn’t archaeology based and that could be further limiting in its own right. The flip side is that’s great for fiction, and throwing in the escapism of fantasy that is even more wiggle room to play with.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe. I’ve Civ 6 for escapist empire building… and other things are a work in progress at the moment while I pretend I know what I’m doing. Cake is evil and the diabetic nurse told me to behave myself last week…

Contact Links:-

facebook.com/sd.howarth.79

http://twitter.com/Angry_Cumbrian

www.worldofsancturary.co.uk

Goodreads Link:-

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58002807-the-tryphon-odyssey?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=olxYQ2CBRg&rank=1

Courtney P. Hunter

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Right now, I’m taking a little creative break to figure out my next step. My novel, Sentience, took almost three years to write, and before it was a novel, it was actually a dance performance. I’m a lifelong dancer, and I learned story-telling through dance, so the plot and content started on the stage before the page. When you add the two projects together, I spent almost five years learning and creating the characters and subject matter. So now, I’m just trying to figure out what kind of subject I want to tackle next and what different ways I want to let myself explore it. However, my creative goal shortlist has a sequel for Sentience, a new stand-alone novel, and a horror movie screenplay on it.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Sentience is my debut novel, and it explores the ethics of AI through a re-imagined Turing Test. It’s been described as genre-bending by readers, and I think that’s a really accurate summation. It’s obviously a science fiction novel, but there’s lots of thrills, romance, and some darker elements baked in. I love anything Promethean, and it was heavily inspired by the A24 Film Ex Machina and HBO’s Westworld. As I mentioned, the novel started as a contemporary dance performance that was showcased in the 2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and from there, I took the world that I built on the stage and transformed it into the world of Sentience.

Sentience follows twenty-four individuals as they travel through a contained natural preserve to participate in a Turing Test conducted by a tech corporation willing to do anything for monetary gain. Throughout their journey, they face obstacles designed by the experiment controllers to elicit human response and emotion. However, four of these individuals are not human. Romance falls together as the world around them falls apart, revealing the lengths people will go to protect those they love, achieve success, or simply survive. While the humans involved wrestle with where they stand on the polarizing issue of artificial intelligence and its applications, the AI in the experiment must prove their humanity to leave the experiment unscathed. The experience of those within the experiment is juxtaposed against those running it, some of whom struggle with the corporation’s intentions for the AI that pass the Turing Test. All of this leaves readers wondering what truly defines humanity and consciousness.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

EDITING! My goodness, I am a creative writer, but I am NOT a technical writer. I think editing is the most challenging part because it’s the total opposite of creative flow. You need to be attentive and incisive, and reading your own work requires this weird level of vulnerability with yourself. Emotionally, it’s a really taxing process.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I really love character development, which I do almost exclusively in my mind before even getting to writing. So earlier, when I said I’m on a creative break, I have actually been testing out some new characters in my head. I like to spend time acting like them and thinking like they would think. I’ll come up with different scenarios in my head to throw them into and work out how they’ll respond. I think it’s important to know your character’s character and code of ethics before you throw them into the world that you’re creating. Otherwise, they can just become a function of the story rather than them having the ability to own their choices.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

This is probably a bad answer, but I really envy any author or any creative that’s prolific. I look at people with these big, robust portfolios of work. Every project I’ve done, be it writing or a dance production, takes a while for me to execute, and most times, each project is a huge mental battle. I wish I had the ability to create more rapidly, even just to stretch my creative muscles more. I think I think about things too much to create like that right now, which is something I’m definitely working on.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Oh man, poor me. First things first, Leo, my protagonist, probably kicked my ass for all the things I’ve done to her in Sentience. However, I would tell her that one day I want to write a sequel where she does things that could change the shape of the future forever, and unfortunately for her, I had to push her to her breaking point for that to happen one day.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Okay, so my most recent read was Long Bright River by Liz Moore, and if Leo Knox and Mickey Fitzpatrick got together to play poker, it would be so bad ass. It also strangely makes a lot of sense, like I feel like those two could totally have their own little fucked-up, sad girl poker club. It would extremely broody and probably whiskey fueled. If anyone unwanted interrupted their game, there would be hell to pay.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I think when it comes to speculative science fiction like Sentience, it’s really important to not over complicate things. It wasn’t “hard science fiction,” so I wanted it to be really readable and understandable to people who weren’t versed in terminology and theory surrounding Artificial Intelligence. I’m also just a science fiction writer and not an AI expert. I had to walk a fine line between making sure the tech I wrote into the story made sense, but also that I wasn’t showing my lack of expertise. A really helpful tip for me was writing those scenes in a way that I felt like I would watch them unfold on television. Trade technical terminology for vivid imagery!

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I’d just like to stress the importance of remembering that writing doesn’t always look like hours sitting at a computer pumping out words. Brainstorming and daydreaming is writing. Researching is writing. taking care of yourself so that you have the energy to write is writing. Take care of your mind.

Tiffany Joissin

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

I am working on my second book right now. The second in a series.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

So my first book takes place in the world of Ettrea where monsters reign. The first book follows my main character Sanaa. She wakes up after a thousand years and then is sent out to see the world change. She struggles a lot with reconciling the world that she knew with the world that she is seeing and it is a lot of fun to write her. Then we have August our hero and he is a demon. He is very cocky and reckless and he is a lot of fun to write. He loves to play around and fight but he has a hidden thoughtful side to him. Lastly we have Taira, and I am not going to spoil too much about her but she has a secret that she is trying to fix.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

I think my least favorite part of writing is editing. I hate going over my writing and trying to fix it. I usually think the first thing that I write is the best. The more that I look at my writing the more I begin to hate it. So that part of the process is something that I hate. I hate editing so much and I always miss something and then when I read over my work again I find it.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

I love the actual writing part of the project. I love putting words to paper and sitting in front of my computer and writing the story. It feels so good to write and get words out of my system. To be honest it feels more like a release than anything. I feel like I have words trapped in my body and then I get filled almost to capacity and writing lets me let those words out. I feels good to let the words flow out of me.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

I would steal Nicholas Sparks ability to write a romance. I love the way that he weaves words together and the tenderness that his romances are treated with. I want to write something like that and I really admire romance author’s ability to write couples coming together.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

“I promise that at the end of this you will like the end result! You will be happy and at peace after all the pain and suffering I promise!”

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

So the last book that I have read is Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor so Karou would be there. Karou, Sanaa, August, Taira and me all sitting at a table playing poker. We would probably be betting eternal servitude because the humans in the world of Ettrea have no rights. I think that August would win. He loves to play games and knows how to rib people and make them show their hand. He is really good at mind games (he learned from the best) and poker is just a mind game so I think that he would win without a doubt.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

I think one trap is writing stereotypes instead of people. I always recommend that people write about people in their lives and personality traits that they see in everyday life. I love to people watch and see how they act in order to avoid this.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I have the second book of Void coming out 2022! I am so excited for everyone to read it! I hope that everyone enjoys it.

  1. Name, please!

    Billie Jade Kermack

  2. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m currently finishing up the third instalment in my Dark PNR series, It should be released around Halloween. I also have a collection of contemporary stand alone romances n the g.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

AWOKEN and ASCEND are the first two books available in the series, book three HALLOWED will be released shortly. This dark PNR series follows our protagonist Grace O’Callaghan battling after the untimely loss of her father. Girl meets boy; easily the most common occurrence in most YA/NA friendly novels, this union is different though. It is a dark modern-day love story that’s more Grimm than Disney; if singing mice and dancing crabs are what you were looking for, this is not the book for you. Seances, time travel, and torture, however – if that’s your thing, you just might fit right in.

Hidden away most of his life, Beau had successfully managed to mask his gift from the world. Having the ability to commune with the dead wasn’t exactly the best conversation starter, and that was okay, he didn’t much like people anyway, until he walked back into Gallows Wood and into Grace’s life. 

The deeper Grace delves into Beau’s world, the further she wanders from the safety of her own. Plagued by the spirit of a sadistic serial killer long dead, Grace must harness what power she can to defeat him and stay alive. Awakening family secrets that Grace could never have imagined to be true begs the question: Had she been surrounded by magic longer than she had thought?

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Editing is by far the part of the process I dislike the most.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love working with a pen and paper, so my favourite part of the process is before I even sit down at a computer. I have random notebooks and loose papers everywhere in my house.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I’ve never thought about this before, is that strange? What jumps to mind is Dean Koontz ability to scare a reader to the point of questioning whether to continue.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

After saying something sarcastic and highly inappropriate (as is my nature) I would probably try shifting the blame to a more likely suspect.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

I’m currently researching contemporary romances for my next project so I would assume they were playing strip poker, the death of a loved one would be at stake and my protagonist would kick ass with her new witchy abilities because nothing means more to her then those she holds dear.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Firstly you are creating a world that lives in your head, it can be whatever you want it to be so never limit yourself. Secondly you should never worry what people will think about your work, not everyone is going to like your work all the time, you write for the ones that are moved by your creation. Thirdly, know your characters inside and out; things as simple as almost drowning at the age of three or hating the taste of marmite could alter how your character behaves in situations; it’s the little details.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

  1. Taking over the book world would be ace and I’m working my butt off to get there but for now, its just writing, writing and more writing. I’m hoping to have my third instalment completed and ready for consumption by October 2021. I also write a blog offering help, tips and advice for other authors like myself The Sable Scribbler – Tips, Tricks, Inspiration and Next level writing

Instagram – billiejadekermackauthor

Book link – (available in ebook, paperback and Audible)

Awoken: Shadowed Veil Series (Audio Download): Billie Jade Kermack, Heather Vicky Walker, Billie Jade Kermack: Amazon.co.uk

Facebook page

@BJKAwoken-Author

Jeffrey Kippel
1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Right now I have begun writing book 2 in The Ridiculous Adventures of Serbinand series: Godfried’s Turn. While doing that I am also an Ambassador for the RethinkFIT Initiative. It’s mission is to empower and help people love better how they think, feel, act, look and dream. I also coach and mentor individuals who are driven to achieve their potential and enhance their life.
2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Well my book provides an escape from it all with a comedy… well a laugh out loud sci-fi comedy book & audibook 😉 It’s called The Ridiculous Adventures of Serbinand and it’s a true case of humour, escapism and an anything goes kinda of trip to another world. It’s also about self discovery and growth with a bunch of laugh out loud moments in between. It is a blend of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Family Guy, with some Star Wars thrown in 🙂
3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)
editing! yuk!!!!
4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?
the creativity… making stuff up that is fun, funny and expands the imagination…
5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)
Douglas Adams’s humour… and some of Stephen King’s “hook” abilities….
6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Well this kind of thing sort of happened in the book, as the characters did all get together and go on strike as they didn’t like that path I took with them. So they did kinda kidnap me and the story… I gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse lol and let them know how famous they were going to be and the extra “gifts” I would give them to enjoy!
7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?
Well Godfried will surely win! He is holding all the cards… I think. The stakes are the future existence of time, space, the universe and all that is! 🙂
8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Let the words flow… sometimes thinking gets in the way and that can interrupt the entire creative process… so thinking, that is the trap!
9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I love hearing other people laugh when they read what I wrote. My goal is to donate as many books as I can to libraries, schools, hospitals, community centres and partner organizations so that those who really need to laugh, to get away from any sadness, stress, depression, etc they may be experiencing. Also as an ambassador for rethinkFIT I have layered the book with empowerment messages so my goal is to get people to change the way they look at things , one of my favourite quotes: “ when you change the way you look at things, the thinks you look at change” 🙂

my website is: www.serbinand.com and on it there is a sneak peak of both the book and audiobook. The audiobook is awesome, the voice actor beat out almost 100 others in the auditions, and it takes the story to a whole new level!

J W Kiefer, Jason Kiefer

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Currently I am working on Book Two of the Justice Cycle series. Book one, my first novel, was released in March of 2021. In this book we continue our characters adventures moving from the small country towns of Western New York State into bigger and more broader areas. Just as the world is growing, so will the characters.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way. My first novel Death: Book One of the Justice Cycle, was released at the end of March of 2021. It has been out for about 5 months now. The first book is an origin story where we get the end of one character’s story and the beginning of another’s. In book one we follow the Shogun as he hunts a serial killer through upstate NY. His time as the mysterious being known as the Spirit of Justice is coming to an end and another will pick up the sentient sword Tzedakah and start the cycle anew. Jared Caddrett is a police detective in Binghamton NY, and he is tasked with catching the elusive killer. While investigating two murders, his partner Dana and are thrust into a supernatural war that has been raging for millennia in the shadows. Book one primarily centres on the relationships of Jared, Dana and his brother Steve and thrusts them all into a world they never knew existed. Book, two, which has a tentative release date of April 2022, will take our characters further into this mysterious and supernatural world and a war that will change the very fabric of reality. I also have a short story called Dark Matter that is published in Bayonet books Anthology Storming Area 51 Volume Two. In that short piece, we follow Air Force Colonel and Presidential Science Advisor Christian Racene as he is called to Area 51 to advise on a growing problem they are having. There he finds something that will change the very fabric of reality and our place as humans in the universe.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!) My least favourite bit is Plotting. I am a pantser, so I absolutely hate it. I have found, however, that the writing process goes a lot smoother if I at least plot a little. I am currently employing a strategy where I plot 4 chapters ahead and then write them. This way I don’t get bogged down in trying to come up with the entire book in one shot, which I can’t do anyway.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning? I love when my characters do things that I hadn’t planned. As a pantser I kind of sit down with a basic story arc and then let the characters tell me how they are going to handle what I throw at them. This makes it, for me, feel more alive and natural rather then strict and structured. As we all know, the best moments in life happen when we get off the beaten path and do something crazy or unexpected. For me, when my characters do that, I get excited and those are the times when my joy of writing is at it’s highest. For instance, when a side character who was only supposed to have a small part, explodes onto the story to become a key player you never saw coming. I love those moments. I really do. It what keeps me coming back as a writer.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.) Wow, good question. I would steal Jim Butcher’s ability to know where his main character is going to end up. I don’t have any idea where mine will go in the end or how their fate will eventually be decided. I know where the story arc will most likely end, but not the characters themselves. I feel like if I had a better grasp of that, than it would help me create satisfying moments that show their growths. He does that so well in my opinion.

Also, Stephen King’s ability to make his characters feel real and alive. He can take the most mundane or the most unusual traits of humankind and create a fully realized and believable character. I mean, come one, he could make a one-armed, one-eyed half lizard man character and we would all be like: “Oh yeah I can truly see that being a real thing.” I would kill for that kind of talent.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best? Well…as my readers often tell me, I am kind of an evil god. Since, I seem to be kind of sadistic at times, it may seem hard to justify the kind of suffering I put my main character through. All I would say to him is, everything good and lovely in life comes at a cost. Someone must pay that price so others can live in peace. That is what I am asking of you. Hopefully, that would be sufficient of an answer to pacify him. I know him well, however, and know that he would accept this response, but hate it at the same time. He may even try to change his fate and that of the sentient sword. Who knows, perhaps he will. You will have to read the series to find out, just like he will have to live it as I write it.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why? Ok. Well, the last book I read was The Rise of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee. It is set in the Avatar the Last Airbender world, and I absolutely loved it. The protagonist Jianzhu is a companion of the last Avatar and is the most influential person in the Earth Kingdom. He is a tactician and ruthless in his pursuit of what he feels is right. He kills anyone who gets in his way, including his friends and acquaintances. He is a master tactician and a brilliant Pai Sho player. In all honesty, he would wipe the floor with us. Jared may have a chance with the help of the sentient sword, which could pretty much read Jianzhu’s mind or show Jared his cards. It would, however, most likely refuse since it is the spirit of Justice and all and cheating is unjust. I can’t lie and so therefore I can’t bluff. Even if I manage not to say something that will give my position away, it will most likely show on my face. My friends all tell me I have a million tells and that is why they consistently beat me at poker.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.) Well, the most important thing that you will need to overcome is self-doubt. All of us wrestle with this demon, but you will have to overcome it if you want to become a successful writer. It goes hand in hand with being able to handle criticism. No one progresses in live with out first failing. Being able to receive helpful criticism is one of the most essential tools any creator has at their disposal. My book would not have ever been finished or even close to as good as I feel it is, if it wasn’t for the loving criticism of my author friends. Not to mention my editor, who thankfully is the most critical of all.

Also, I feel that writers need to avoid trying to be someone else. I write like I write and finding my own groove is what will make me successful. If I feel like I must write like Tolkien for instance, then I will fail. At best, I will be a lesser copy of him. Be who you are and write the way you write. Your unique voice is what makes you you and what will make people want to read your work. It is ok to glean and learn from other writers about how they do things, but in the end, you must find what works for you. You may be like me and sit down and play music until you find yourself teleported into the world you are writing about; or you could be like Tolkien who created an entire world language and all, before ever writing one page. You do you, and the rest will fall into place.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe. My next book will not be out for a while, but you can sign up for my email list to be kept abreast of what is going on with me and my writing. You can do that at JWKiefer.com.

Links to Book One Death: https://www.amazon.com/DEATH-J-W-Kiefer/dp/B08YRXLVT7/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=jw+kiefer&qid=1629216666&sr=8-1

Links to Dark Mater: https://www.amazon.com/Storming-Area-Bayonet-Books-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07XFV7P9T/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=jw+kiefer&qid=1629216705&sr=8-2

Also check out a few authors that I absolutely love.

JR Handley: JRHandley.com

Tim C Taylor: Humanlegion.com

Walt Robillard https://www.amazon.com/Walt-Robillard/e/B07SZPLTXX%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Scott W. Kimak

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I am currently working on the third book of the “I call him HIM” trilogy. It’s called the “Sword of God” and I’m about 60 percent finished. I’m really excited about bringing the trilogy to its end.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

My first book is called “I call him HIM”. In a post-apocalyptic world, a warrior and his family are driven underground, fighting for their very survival. 

When they do emerge, the futuristic planet they discover is very different from the one they left behind. Ruled by an evil presence which dominates and controls what is left of mankind, Earth has been reduced to a violent place of darkness, grief and destruction.

I call him HIM follows the journey of this unnamed warrior as he loses both his family and his mind. As he hits rock bottom, all he can think of is his insatiable yearning for revenge until he meets a young girl called Angelica who shows him the true power of faith. Her youth, innocence and strength of character reminds him of everything he has lost and the things which really matter.

But as the armies of the world rise up for the ultimate battle of good versus evil, can Angelica help him regain his sanity and rediscover himself before it is too late?

My second book “The Angel of Death” picks up immediately after the end of book one. Angelica and her companions rise from the ashes of the Battle of Houston, contemplating their next move. After their great victory, they should feel at ease, but Angelica’s newfound powers sense a darkness calling to her from the north. 
An evil awaits the young girl and her friends, ready to test their beliefs. An evil a thousand times more powerful than the Master they had faced. Can they stand against this dark power, and more importantly, who is the lone warrior that follows their steps from beyond?

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Definitely marketing. It’s way too time consuming and takes away from what I truly love -writing.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

When I let myself become the character and let him/her tell the story. I can feel their pain, sorrow, and happiness. It’s a very strange feeling when I fall into that zone.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

R.A. Salvatore’s fighting scenes. They are so intricate that it makes me truly envious and I only hope to reach that point one day.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

It won’t matter. I’m already dead. My main character “HIM” can’t be compromised with. He’s a killing machine that doesn’t understand pain, fear, or remorse. At least that’s the way he is until he meets Angelica. So, I better pray that he’s already met her. Otherwise, I’m a goner.

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Lol, I’m reading the Game of Thrones novels and the last chapter I read was about Tyrion. “HIM” and I wouldn’t stand a chance against that smooth-talking trickster. However, if the stakes are truly important then after Tyrion wins “HIM” kills both of us.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

One of the things that I’ve struggled with is the amount of description that can be used in post-apocalyptic fiction. When everything is dead it limits the amount of colours that can be used. You have to be careful that it doesn’t become to monotonous.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Email – stxcheer@yahoo.com

Website – https://www.i-call-him-him.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ScottKimak

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/scottkimak/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/scott.kimak/

Links for “I call him HIM”

https://www.amazon.com/call-him-HIM-Post-Apocalyptic-Survival-ebook/dp/B08C7DPQM6

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1050311

https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1540316466

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940164728878

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9781005847623

“The Angel of Death” is only available for preorder and launches 5/6/21

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08MTMJVTV

Raymond Klein

    1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

At the moment I have completed my first novel, The Interstellar Police Force, Book One: The Historic Mission. And in March of this year I self-published it on Amazon. I will be branching off to other platforms shorty. This will be a three book series and book two, The Interstellar Police Force, Book Two: Beauty of Violence, is now about 98% completed.

    1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

This Science Fiction-Action-Comedy, set on present day Earth, begins in a far-off galaxy. Prodor Moffit and four other prisoners have escaped to Earth and it’s up to two IPF Agents to find them. But, right off, they are met with problems. The first is that they have limited information on the human race that only goes up to the late 1950’s. The second is that the Agents are alien in appearance, so to complete their covert mission they must replicate themselves into humans. The commander’s replication succeeds, but due to a computer glitch his partner is replicated into a Doberman Pincher. With mid-twentieth century information in hand, the agents successfully land. And with the help of a young Earth girl who unwittingly discovers their true identities, the mission to re-capture Prodor Moffit and the other prisoners is on.

 

    1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Well, the story actually came to me in a song I heard on the radio while driving. And I do try to read a lot so the writing process came kinda naturally to me. How the dialogue should flow, the pacing, things like that. Being that this is my first novel I haven’t really come across anything yet that is my least favorite thing about the writing process.

    1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Having an idea just flow on the paper always makes me grin. There were several paragraphs that I didn’t pre-write ahead of time or even thought about. It just unfolded as I wrote, like I was watching the outcome in a movie playing in my head.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

It would probably be Dean Koontz. I just like the way he puts a story together. The guy really knows how to build a world into a book that you just can’t put down.

    1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Not sure how to really answer this one. If anything, I gave him a purpose. I gave him a new police investigation to solve. An investigation that takes him and his partner of many years to a new and unknown world to do what they both do best as police officers.

    1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Ok, I can see this. I’m sitting at a round, green felt covered poker table, chips and discarded cards in the center. Jeff Trent just bet it all and Genghis Khan (the Doberman) calls. Sitting with us is Zoey Drake, the anti-hero from Lisa Unger’s novel The Red Hunter, which I just finished yesterday. She’s thinking that she could upturn the table and karate kick us all into oblivion and run off with the loot. But in reality, Genghis has a full house and wins the pot because he’s the only one who fully understands the game.

    1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I would think you could easily get trapped in your world building. Mine takes place on present day Earth in a town I conjured up. But, I can imagine the difficulties if my story was on a different world.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Right now it will be awhile before Book Two comes out. But you can find Book One on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08YXTFBGT/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_T1YADC62FK9HCDP175MZ

And me on Facebook – The Interstellar Police Force and Raymond F. Klein


Poppy Kuroki

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m working on origin stories for the assassin characters from Oath. Each short story will tell readers how each character came to be a Black Diamond assassin. I’m also working on a “coming out” Steampunk novel, but that’s going on the backburner for now. I’m aiming to get the first draft done by January.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

A Bard’s Lament, my debut, came out in August 2020. It tells the story of a bard named Ella who hides codes in her music for spies. Oath: A Black Diamond novel came out in November 2020 and it’s about a homeless woman who’s forced to become an assassin. Both are character-driven dark fantasy stories that you’ll love if you enjoy sad stories!

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Doing the final check. By then I’m tired of the story and just want to get it out there – and it’s impossible to find all the errors in your own work anyway.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love that moment when it all falls into place. You know what you want to happen, but you haven’t been able to make it plausible. Then that final jigsaw piece fits perfectly into place and you know you have a good story.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Jay Kristoff’s amazing prose. Every one of his sentences sings and he has wit to boot.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I wouldn’t really blame the protagonist of Oath, Colette, for me ruining her life. She thought she’d find her fortune when she sneaked aboard that ship to Ranigh, but things didn’t go quite as planned.

I’d tell her that what she was looking for isn’t so far away, and maybe read between the lines of the rules keeping her in place.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

A pregnant teenager from London? I’d floor her! I’ve never played poker, though, so I’d distract her with a cookie and snatch up the chips.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I don’t know if I really have an area I’m good at, so I’ll give generic writing advice. Read a lot, especially in your genre. Always know that you can improve. Don’t worry about getting the first draft perfect. Take feedback with an open mind and try not to take it personally. Three-star reviews are a good thing. Drop the adverbs and read about writing; there’s a lot of good (and free) advice out there.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I also have a travel blog about life in Japan, poppyinjapan.com. I do love chocolate cake; Godiva has been selling their cakes at convenience stores and it’s dangerously good. Looking forward to winter – you can’t beat a blanket, hot drinks, and a nice long gaming session.

  1. Name, please!

Hey there, I’m Rebecca Laffar-Smith. I’m a Y.A. Sci-Fi & Fantasy Author.

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Right now, I’m working on two books. The first is a Y.A. Fantasy that I’m cowriting with my daughter about a dragon-winged girl who must venture into the land of dreams to save her sister from a sleeping sickness that is ravaging her people. The other is book two in my Shadows of Nar Y.A. Dystopian Sci-Fi series. In this book, they venture to another world where advanced medicine has cured all illness and babies are born genetically perfect or are terminated. They get caught up in an uprising of the divergana who believe it shouldn’t be a crime punishable by death to be born different.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I have three Y.A. titles out in the world. My debut, The Flight of Torque, is about a young woman kidnapped by snake worshippers who, despite her guardian angel’s attempts to save her, is transformed into a serpenthrope, a snake-shifter.

My second Y.A. book, City of Light, is a Dystopian Sci-Fi. After two-hundred years the ship sent out into the Universe to find a cure is finally returning. Aboard are two sisters, genetic clones (mostly) of the former captain and his brother. They’re determined to fulfil the original mission, but not everyone on Nar wants to be saved.

And my new release, Spirit Talker, is a Y.A. Contemporary with a supernatural kicker. After the death of her mother, Sara begins to see things, impossible things, dead things. She’s diagnosed with schizophrenia but starts to wonder if what she’s seeing is real. It’s a coming-of-age story that deals in mental illness, grief, depression, friendship, hope, and learning to trust yourself.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Ironically, the writing part. lol I’m a huge fan of brainstorming and ideas and story outlines. I love Plot Storming my books and fleshing out my characters and getting to know my story worlds. I’ve also been an editor for so many years that I find that part of the process natural and fun. I might be an oddity in that regard, but I love having the raw work to shape into something truly beautiful. And I love connecting with readers and sharing my books with the world. It’s just that middle bit, getting that first draft down on the page that’s hard. I’m constantly plagued by doubts and anxiety during that stage. I’m always afraid I can never do the idea justice. So yes, the writing is my least favourite because it feels the most challenging.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Outlines! It’s the part I love helping other authors with too. I love seeing the shape of stories in the things I read and the things I watch. I love deconstructing great structure in stories, or seeing the way people put their own unique twist on the way stories have been told for millennia. And developing that story arc, finding the parts that make the story sing, and exploring who a character is and who they need to become over the course of the story is so much fun.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Wow, this is actually a really difficult question. There are so many authors I admire and who have done fantastic things with their writing over the centuries. Honestly, although I admire Tolkien’s ability to create whole languages, it’s his world building and the simplicity of complicated characters I admire him for even more. It’s not given as much credit because the languages is something he uniquely did that no one else was doing at the time. I know I’d love to be able to incorporate more humour but it doesn’t come naturally to me and I think it’s important to lean into your strengths rather than try to shore up your weaknesses. For me, I’m a lover of words so I’ve been influenced by the works of Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss, even Shakespeare who all invented words and did unique things with language.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

By the end of Spirit Talker, I think Sara understands the whole point of it. But earlier in the book I imagine she’d want to rant and rave at me about how unfair it all is. Why would I torment her by making her crazy like this? Why would I put her through so much pain? And because she cares about others and Will’s experience is possibly even worse than her own, she’d be angry about that too. How could I do that to him, or to Grae, or to Bobby. But I’d have to tell her that facing the most challenging things our life throws at us is how we grow into who we are meant to become. Her pain, Will’s pain, it’s part of discovering their gifts. For Sara, losing her mother and developing an ability to see spirit gives her an incredible capacity to help people on both sides of the veil. I like to think the books I write help people want to live into ultimate possibility. The universe is infinite and expanding but we exist in our human condition, making the most of the life we’ve been given. The whole point is to live your best life and through doing that make a positive change in the lives of those around you. So yes, I put my characters through hell, because it challenges them to step up into who they are meant to become. Life does that. And sharing that raw, honest experience with readers gives them the opportunity to do it too.

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

This might be a little unfair because the last book I read was a series of contemporary romances where the guys were all expert spies and the women were all extremely brilliant professionals in their own various careers whereas Sara is a normal teenager who loves art and roller skating and spending time at the beach. She hasn’t really had a chance to play poker with any real stakes. In fact, I don’t imagine it’s even something she plays with her family. Her dad would be more into Cluedo. Although, I’d like to think maybe the Norcross Security Agency would play for the right to add her skillset to their team. It would be cool to add a paranormal investigator to the crew and although she’s still just a teen she might be that someday. Trouble is, the deck is stacked in their favour because not only would they likely be deeply familiar with the game, they’re masters at schooling their features and lying convincingly. Thankfully, they’d make sure to make their win something that benefits Sara and her family too.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Because I’m a huge advocate of outlining I tend to be biased here in saying that planning your book in advance can help avoid plot holes and tangents and blank page syndrome. For me, facing a blank page and writing into the void is a pit of anxiety. And I avoid it by planning every scene before I begin. But it’s a two-edged sword because it can lead to the trap of feeling locked into the plan, so it’s important to remain flexible. No matter how meticulously you plan a story it will always deviate, and you need to be able to roll with it and change the plan when it’s no longer working for you.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Actually, since you’ve given me room for my plan for world domination, I’d love to share my TEDx Talk. I’m driven, both in my fiction and my public speaking, to help people face their darkness and find their strength. Be that in dealing with mental illness or neurodivergence, or just facing the tough battles life throws at us. I hope my fiction gives people a place of light to explore strength through adversity. And I hope this talk does that too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1zclgFC99g

0. Name, please! Ron L. Lahr (rhymes with car, of which I have a small collection since I enjoy restoring them)

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment. I am currently working on the end of the third book of my fantasy trilogy, the Kathaldi Chronicles, Destroyers of Kathaldi. Soon I will be editing and rewriting and I hope to release it at the end of April or the beginning of May.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

The Kathaldi Chronicles is an epic fantasy series full of good friends, evil villains returned from history, and a fight to save the world, including the Gods. It is told by a sarcastic thief who accidentally becomes a part of the group trying to save the world, mainly because his best friend needs his help. It may also be a chance to really impress the ladies.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!) The worst part is when things aren’t working out the way I would like whether that is writer’s block or something just not turning out the way I was hoping for. Like everyone I want it to come out easily and perfect the first time. I’m still working on that.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning? There are two things that both make me ridiculously happy. The first is when something turns out much better than I had envisioned it would before starting on it. The second is when the story, or characters, force something to happen that I hadn’t planned on and then I love it.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.) I love this question. I would definitely steal the ability to write copious amounts each day from someone like Stephen King. It takes me longer than I would like to get these stories out.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best? If Dirk kidnapped me I’d just play to his ego. Remind him that ladies love heroes, and that if he’s famous he’ll never have to pay for a drink for the rest of his life.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why? I would never play with Dirk because he cheats and I’m not that good. Plus, he solves most arguments with knives and I hate being stabbed.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.) My biggest issue is writer’s block. To combat that I always keep at least four projects going at once so I can just switch to a different story until things start to flow again. I always have the novel I’m working on plus three short stories. I use those as reader magnets, content for my email newsletter (in serialized form) and for an anthology that will be set in my world and will have stories from a bunch of authors as well as three by me.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe. I encourage people to check out my email newsletter so they can sample my writing. In addition to the serialized short story, Hired by Dwarven Royalty, that is included in most issues you will also receive an additional story, Dirk Goes to Church, which is not whatever you think it is. You can sign up at https://bit.ly/39FIcSu.

The first book of my trilogy, Children of Kathaldi is available as an ebook, paperback, and audiobook. I particularly recommend the audiobook because the narrator, Alan Adelberg, capture’s Dirk’s sarcastic tone perfectly. All of the versions are available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089FNJHB7. The second book, Assassins of Kathaldi, is also available, but only as an ebook. I recommend that people read book one first, and that they buy it for everyone they know.

 

Elizabeth Lavender

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

I just released the third book of my sci-fi/fantasy Sunspear Series, Shadowed Bonds, on October 23, 2021. So now I’ve started writing the fourth book in the series.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

I write a sci-fi/fantasy series, the Sunspear Series. I am told it has more of a YA adult feel. However, I have many readers enjoying the series who would not put themselves in the YA Adult group. There are currently three books in the series, which include The Spinning of Deception, Deception’s Hold, and Shadowed Bonds. The 3rd book, Shadowed Bonds, just released on October 23, 2021. The series starts with The Spinning of Deception. We meet our two main characters, our two spearbearers who will be the inspiration to stand against the Dark Lord’s army that means to crush countless galaxies, one colony at a time, in a bloodbath. Dante stands on one side, determined to stop the threat, even as his father commands the Dark Lord’s army. Across the galaxy, a young girl, trained in secret as a spearbearer, fights against the threat as well. Her gift of visions reveals the truth of a tragedy of the past, and it could be the key to stopping the Dark Lord and his Black Dragon forces. It’s also this past event that creates a deadly task for Dante to complete as it ties into the present terror that threatens the galaxies. A mysterious connection grows between the two spearbearers, but is it strong to defeat the battlefield that the Dark Lord has in store for them? And can they stop whatever the Dark Lord is creating to bear down on the colonies before he unleashes his destruction? This is the stage set as we move into Deception’s Hold. The Girl and her comrade race to discover the terror the Dark Lord is constructing to bring the colonies to their knees. Dante’s group lends their aid with a dangerous gamble to help their friends in their search before it’s too late. Dante’s personal nightmare looms over the horizon as his task nears, and The Girl’s fear for his fate becomes unbearable at times. Dante feels ill-prepared to confront his father and free him from the Dark Lord’s control. But when he comes face to face with the fiend’s petrifying ability to twist truth into deception, the embattled warrior may struggle to resist falling victim to the same power. Can Dante escape following the same descent into madness and bondage? Our journey continues with Shadowed Bonds. The unthinkable has happened. All around is destruction. An unforgettable sacrifice has already been given and what else will be asked? The Girl and Dante longed to finally meet and yet it’s overshadowed by the grief that threatens to imprison them. The battle with the Black Dragon isn’t over, so they can’t let their pain win further. Then there’s The Girl’s own battlefield. She is forced to keep her world hidden from Dante, and her tortured past threatens to overwhelm her. Those bindings entice her like never before, dragging her closer to the edge of a black abyss determined to make her its own. Dante, though, is equally relentless in his pursuit to keep his beautiful sunspear-bearer safe from the shadows that threaten to take her. In the end, will she succumb to the tendrils of Darkness coiling around her, or will Dante’s bond be the stronger claim? Or does it only mark the beginning of the Black Dragon’s galactic conquest turning from a mere shadow to a deadly certainty?

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

It’s the editing/revision process for me. I find it difficult and just plain disagreeable. I know it’s a necessary part of the process, but I end up finding distractions when I’m in the process because it’s that unpleasant for me. There’s a point where I go over it so much and scenes start losing the freshness/wonder of when I first wrote it. Then it’s impossible to tell how to make it better. That’s the point I know it’s time to stop and hand it over to fresh eyes.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

The writing itself. I love the writing. Some authors talk about getting writer’s block. That’s never been me. So much of the story is written inside of my head already. I’ve gotten to know my characters and their world so well now that they write the story. It’s always exciting to step back after a scene has unraveled on the page, seemingly on its own. Sometimes I’m as surprised how it emerged as the reader. I absolutely love that feeling!

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

It would probably be either Frank Peretti or Ted Dekker. I enjoy their ability to create the unseen battlefields that test a person’s core and the way they bring reader into it with the characters.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

That could be either Dante or the Girl, but The Girl could have more of a grudge with me after what I put her through in the 3rd book. So we’ll go with her. I’m not sure that telling would work with her. I could end up with a sunspear through me before I finished trying to convince her, especially if she’s gone as far as kidnapping me. She gets visions, so maybe it’s time to give her a happier vision for a change. I think I would show her a glimpse of what could be if she can struggle through this part of the journey, that the future she longs for is being written if she’ll be patient through the rough parts. If she truly saw it, believed it, she’d fight for it with everything in her. There’s no doubt in my mind. I’d have to hope that worked because if not, that’s probably the abrupt end of the series. LOL.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

So that would be me, Dante, The Girl, and Jerrol Haven (protagonist from The Sentinals Series by Helen Garraway) at this poker game. For me, I’m not putting anything of value on the table. I’m certain to go out first, because I don’t know the first thing about playing poker. Usually it’s all about saving galaxies and worlds, but the other three decide to take the night off from all that for once. Dante feels lucky and decides to put his sunspear in. Jerrol, not to be beaten, puts his special sword in. For The Girl, somehow they convince her to put her secrets on the bargaining table if she loses. Jerrol puts up a tough fight, but he can’t win this one. He’s always had trouble keeping up with that sword despite how important it is. Nobody blames him though with trying to escape being killed every second. Not to worry too much, he does seem to get it back when he really needs it. I’m betting someone gives him a chance to claim it back. Dante, on the other hand, hasn’t ever lost his sunpear… well until tonight. He’ll be enduring a nightmare training from his teacher for ages for losing his sunspear, especially like this. He didn’t have a chance though. He couldn’t stay concentrated on his cards, not with her distracting him every second. He didn’t regret it, at least right now as her fingertips teased his arm yet again tonight. She knew what she did to him too. It didn’t matter. She was the winner from the first moment. Her cover is the shipping dealer, which comprises a world of bars and taverns. She knows all the ways to win a game of poker and more. It comes with the territory. And one of the first rules of this game is know your competition and their weakness. Jerrol was more difficult. She had to use her skill of the game. For Dante though, she’s his weakness every time. She’s okay with that part, because it’s mutual. Tonight though she used that advantage fully and had to admit she enjoyed every moment of it, as she grinned back at him. She’d give him the chance to get his sunspear back. The how could be amusing. However, the biggest reason she won was the stakes. How they convinced her to put her secrets on the table is still beyond her. She couldn’t have let it happen, to have laid bare her world for them. She’d die before she ever tells. She’s already shown that. This was one gamble she wouldn’t lose, and she didn’t.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

The showing vs telling can be tricky. I have to be really conscious of it. It can be doubly hard sometimes with the way I structured the series, with Dante’s group and the Girl’s group having to go their separate ways a good portion of the time to accomplish one purpose. It’s hard when they come back together to share information for it not to bog down in places. Sometimes I feel like it then can become a pacing issue, but others that read it didn’t think so. Maybe that’s because I’ve become more aware of it. Also along with that, when you write a series, you have to be sure you keep your story straight across the stretch. With mine, I have reasons to keep a lot of details hidden about My Girl, so it’s a balancing act of hinting at things, but not giving too much. Certain characters know a whole lot more than others about her, so there’s the extra effort of keeping that part straight as well. The other thing I find I have to be conscious about is keeping my dialogue tags tight/to a minimum.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Here’s everywhere that you can find me: https://elizabethlavender.net https://twitter.com/Elavenderauthor https://facebook.com/elizabethlavender.author https://instagram.com/elizabethlavender.author https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Lavender/e/B07ZLS4G93 https://www.bookbub.com/authors/elizabeth-lavender https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19685019.Elizabeth_Lavender Here are my book links: https://books2read.com/TheSpinningOfDeception https://books2read.com/Deceptions-Hold https://books2read.com/ShadowedBonds

M.C. Leavitt

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

I’m currently working on three new serials and two books. I started on The Forgotten Wife over a year ago, and when Kindle Vella came out, I jumped on the bandwagon – I feel it fits my style of writing. In Summoned Bride, a completed serial I’m uploading and scheduling, I mention one of my main character’s ‘name’ from The Forgotton Wife, so I want to get that finished as soon as I can. I’m also planning a serial for one of the characters from Summoned Bride, giving them a redemption arc.

I’ve written most of Barbarian King’s Bride, another serial, but I’ve hit a slow moment that’s just too… slow. I love action, weaponry, fighting styles, and something always happening (bring on the drama!), so the really slow moment doesn’t work for me. However, I feel it works for this part of the story – slow is actually what it needs, so I’m thinking of pulling inspiration from manga and anime and maybe making it a little cute. Once I finish setting the scene of Riley’s new temproary life at the academy, I’ll be able to bring in two particular characters (I don’t think readers will be expecting it, but I’m a bit inspired by a couple of web novels on a particular cultivater who’s unbeatable and constantly underestimated. I can’t remember the name of the one main web novel (it had two) that inspired me, but I believe The Peerless Concubine on WebComics is based off it.) to show something highly important that’ll cement just how messed up one of them is. And you won’t believe what’s up with the other!

Another serial will be about one of those two characters.

My third serial I’m also working on is (title subject to change) Bride of the God of Fates.

As for books, I’m trying to finish a few projects, actually, but I for sure want to finish and publish books 3-5 in my SciFi-Fantasy series Kaliah’s Hope. I’ve finally decided to go with an option someone gives Nara in book four to her dilema, which will turn it into a reverse harem – this a a pg-13-ish New Adult series.

I’m also working on An Elf’s Quest, the companion book to A Nymph’s Journey.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

Daughter of the Wind is soon coming. It’s one of my favorites – packed with action (different types, but if you love magic, hand-to-and combat, killer battles, I’ve got you covered), betrayal (oh my goodness, everyone and their dog, I swear. But I promise they’re solid and there is justice. Because I love justice and revenge. You have been warned.), awkward moments (in chapter 2 you’ll see the first major moment. I’m so tempted to give spoilers, but my main beta was like, DANG! I, of course, couldn’t help but laugh. And yeah, I so go there with awkward moments. Can’t help myself. Have had plenty throughout my life, so of course I have to torture my poor characters.), and magic. The deadly kind. Because that’s how I roll. Come travel through space with us and to another planet!

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Marketing. Because in this day and age, we have to do it ourselves! Which is where publicists and PAs come in. If you can afford them. And if you can, I highly suggest hiring them. I’d rather sit and write my way out of an impossible situation than to have to sit and post everything everywhere, crunch the numbers for paid ads, and follow the analytics. Okay, so, hire someone who can do all that. But I’m doing this one step at a time as I’m able and learning tons.

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

The inspiration and seeing the story unravel and reveal itself to me.

The vast majority of my stories come from vivid dreams where I can hear, see, feel, and at times, evern smell and taste. For the most part, I’m given enough info in my dreams – the MC’s every day life, the inciting incident, and the main arc of the story.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

I’d steal Piers Anthony’s ability to create such in-depth, rich worlds and cultures, like The Magic of Xanth. I found a huge book (with all three sotries!) in a box outside a used bookstore – everything was free, take what you want. And wow! I was completely immersed in another world. That’s my ultimate goal – to make my worlds and cultures so stunning and believable, readers get sucked up in the reality of the main character(s).

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I, uh… *Swallows hard and raises hands to hold Siren off* I was along for the ride, I swear it. And I gave you everything you need. Your life, it turned out good, right? I mean, sorry about the deaths and huge scares, and maybe the heartbreak. But, like… *Points at head* It was all your fault, really. You got inside my head. Or rather, sucked me into yours and Cam’s. And look, everything turned out… uh, you’re alive?

*Siren from Daughter of the Wind is one of the most understanding and patient people. She’s quick to forgive and give people a chance, so of course she’d hear me out. And she’s a bit logical – she’ll know how and why everything worked out for the best. Especially since her world (both figuratively and literally) is at stake.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Okay, so, the last completed book I finished reading (again) is actually Dinj of Light. It’s one of my favs. A short, fun, adventurous story I can relax and enjoy. Well, except for one really intense part. Okay, two. It’s kind of like a ScifFi-Fantasy fairytale. With action – fight scenes, the possibility of death, secrets…

So, if I were playing poker with Kita and say, her viss, I think she’d try and let me win, but her viss is much too clever. The stakes – gosh, I have no idea. I’d maybe try to play to get her dad’s dagger because it’s awesome, but her viss would no doubt put a fake there instead of the real deal. Don’t get me wrong, the fake would be epic. But if they’re playing to win, he’d win, hands down. Freaking brilliant, that one.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

Stage directions. So, stage directions are when characters do things – action beats and body beats – without any frame of mind to break them up. They’re boring and can be overdone, leading to bad proportions.

Uh, lemme give an example:

Emmie sat at her desk and drummed her fingers on the worn surface. She flicked her pencil between her fingers and starerd at the large textbook with too-small print.

A fist rapped on her door, and she jumped. She spun in her seat and blinked. Ryder laughed.

*To me, that’s super boring. What’s she doing at her desk? What’s her why? We can so take this deeper and break up the stage directions by adding in the character’s frame of mind and their why:

Emmie slouched at her desk and drummed her fingers on the worn surface. Science was so boring. Why’d she have to learn the periodic table? It wasn’t like she’d ever use that knowledge in the future (warning – oh, yes she would! I’d make sure of it because I’m a mean author!).

She flicked her pencil between her fingers–it shot from her grasp and pinged off the wall, the tip chipping off.

Great. Just great. She didn’t have another pencil or a pencil sharpener. It was bad enough the tiny text taunted her aching eyes, but she had no way of making notes on the unimportant crap she had to learn.

A fist rapped on her door.

She jumped and spun in her seat.

A tempting Ryder laughed, a glimmer of mischeif flashing in his hazel eyes. Her heart fluttered as her core warmed.

*See what I mean? Now we’re inside Emmie’s head and know what’s going on. And we’re probably going to laugh when she has to use her knowledge (if she’s able to remember anything about the periodic table, because if she can’t this can be funny and add a lot of tension later).

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Oh, goodness. Um, if I told you about my–er, some of my character’s plots to take over the world (yeah, that’s right. My characters. Not me. *Wipes at forerhead with a tissue*), I–uh, they’d have to kill you. Seriously, though, I’m just writing what I love and I hope others love it too. Whether you like SciFi-Fantasy, Fantasy, Romance, Suspense, Paranormal, I do mashups of two or more in most of my work – I’ve got you covered.


Chris Lodwig

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m currently working on a short story that has to do with transferring emotion and empathy to other people via a social network. I just sent that off to the editor the other day.

I’m about 200 pages into the sequel to Systemic. There are three main story lines, the first of which picks up Lem and Eryn’s story where Systemic left off. I’m starting to suspect it might actually be two books.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I only have the one book so far, Systemic.

Systemic is somewhere between a eutopia and dystopia depending on who you ask. It takes place several generations in the future. We’ve created a massive AI and for years, it’s been solving all of society’s problems. Of course, now the issue becomes, what happens to us when we don’t have any problems left to solve?

The story itself focuses on three strangers who are each making a pilgrimage to a small town in the middle of the Sagelands called Prower. Maik is hoping to find the woman he loves, Eryn wants to make it home, and Lem is out for revenge against the AI hosted in the town’s data center.

Without giving too much away, no one knows the real reasons they’re headed to Prower, but it has something to do with solving the problem of us not having any more problems.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Showing what I wrote to my wife. She always tells me the truth, and that’s pretty terrifying. I’m also pretty uncomfortable selling myself like I’m doing right now.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

So many bits! I love the spilling out, when you let your mind follow its own whims and construct something it finds interesting. Today, I was writing a conversation between 4 kids sitting around the kid table at a banquet. I just got to let them talk and their relationships and personalities just appeared out of nowhere. Those kids, who I hadn’t even known existed two days ago, made my story take an unexpected turn. Totally unplanned. That’s a lot of fun. I also love editing because it feels very tactile to me, sort of like moulding or sculpting.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Neil Gaiman’s ability to write in a million different genres and make all of them interesting, or funny, or clever, or beautiful. All of his work feels so imaginative and rich. Witches in Startdust travelled by candle. That’s a crazy pile of creativity right there.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

An interesting proposition. I have four main characters in Systemic (my recent book) and—as it turns out—I ruined their lives for the better…So, which to choose?

Lem’s life is already ruined by his own hand, he doesn’t need any help from me.

Maik is tortured enough as it is. I’d feel bad messing with him.

The global AI already knows anything I might want to do, so if I ruined its life, it would have manipulated me into doing it. My time in captivity would consist of the System explaining why my ruining of its life was for my own good.

Which just leaves Eryn. The two things she loves in life are being outdoors and her mother. In fact, she’s been planning to call in sick and play hooky from work so she can hike home through the Prower Valley. So, I imagine I’ve ruined her life by telling her boss that she wasn’t really sick. Now I find myself tied to a wooden chair in her tiny apartment. She’s asking why her boss just called her and offered to send a physician over to check on her. As the author, I’m the only one who could have possibly known her plan. Now she wants to know why I screwed everything up for her.

I do feel bad. I know how much the trip meant to her. Work has been tough, and she’s been feeling inexplicably antsy and unsettled of late. But I try, “Trust me when I tell you it was for your own good.” She just scowls at me. Doesn’t say a word. I know her well enough to know she’s struggling to master her anger and think of a way to salvage her trip. Given time, she’ll definitely come up with something. That would be a disaster, “There’s something you don’t know.”

About why you screwed up my vacation?”

No. I mean—in a way—yes. But I didn’t do it because I’m angry or jealous or worried about the old hermit who lives along the trail.”

She wants to appear calm, but she’s breathing heavy through her nose. She’s furious. But she doesn’t interrupt. She just raises an eyebrow in an expression that insists, “This had better be good.”

You’re happy, right?” She doesn’t answer. “Your happiness is rooted in who you suppose you are, and how you understand the past to be. If you go on that hike; if you find your way to Prower, you’ll learn things—about your past, about your memories—and once you know them, you’re understanding of that past will collapse. And once you lose your past, you’ll lose yourself, and once you’ve lost yourself, you’ll lose your joy. Stay here, delay your trip by a few days. A few days is not too much to ask. A few days will provide you a lifetime of happiness.”

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

That would be Horza from Iain M. Banks’ Consider Phlebas. From my book I would choose Lem. Lem is certainly smarter than me, so he’d probably be a better poker player, but as soon as he thought he was going to lose, he’d fold. He’d probably say something like, “This is stupid,” and toss his cards on the table and storm away.

As far as Horza is concerned. I’m pretty sure he’d beat me. He’s gone to at least one Damage game and so he’s familiar with emotional stress, plus as a shape-changer he has precise control of every aspect of his body, so I bet he as an impressive poker face. I’d get my ass handed to me.

As far as what we’d play for, not money. Aside from the fact that none of our money would be compatible, both Horza and Lem come from post-scarcity societies, so anything I could ante wouldn’t matter much to them. So, I guess just bragging rights.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I have two things that are both dangerous for me for the exact same reason. I love imagery and descriptive writing, and I like to geek out on ideas. Induing in either—or worse, both—of these runs the risk of going too deep for the sake of my own entertainment, and at that point I’ll lose the audience.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I have no plots to take over the world that would not be totally ruined by telling the world about them. So…no. Instead, here is my favourite home brew beer recipe.

Recipe Name: Take 5 IPA – Pliny the Younger

Beer Type: IPA

Ingredients

Grains:

  • 0.6 lb (272 g) Crystal 45 malt
  • 0.6 lb (272 g) Carapils (Dextrin) Malt

Extract Sugars:

  • 3 lbs Golden Iight dry malt extract
  • 3.5 lbs of Pilsen Light dry malt extract
  • 0.75 lb (340 g) Table sugar

Water Agents

  • Calcium Chloride – 1 tsp
  • Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) – 1 tsp
  • Epsom Salt (MgSO4) – .4 tsp
  • Irish Moss (Need amount!)

Hops

  • Bittering:
    • 3.50 oz (99 g) Columbus 13.90% A.A. 90 min.
  • Flavoring:
    • 0.75 oz (21 g) Columbus 13.90% A.A. 45 min.
  • Aroma #1:
    • 1.00 oz (28 g) Simcoe 12.30% A.A. 30 min.
  • Aroma #2:
    • 1.00 oz (28 g) Centennial 8.00% A.A. 0 min.
    • 2.50 oz (71 g) Simcoe 12.30% A.A. 0 min.
  • Dry: #1
    • 1.00 oz (28 g) Columbus 13.90% A.A. Dry Hop (12 to 14 days total)
    • 1.00 oz (28 g) Centennial 9.10% A.A. Dry Hop (12 to 14 days total)
    • 1.00 oz (28 g) Simcoe 12.30% A.A. Dry Hop (12 to 14 days total)
  • Dry #2
    • 0.25 oz (7 g) Columbus 13.90% A.A. Dry Hop (5 days to go in dry hop)
    • 0.5 oz (7 g) Centennial 9.10% A.A. Dry Hop (5 days to go in dry hop)

Yeast:

  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast

Quick sheet

Done

Event

Sugars

Hops

Instructions

Notes

 

heat water

  
  • 1 Gal of water to 165

 
 

165f

  
  • maintain heat at 165

  • Add Steeping Grains

 
 

30 min steep

  
  • Remove and rinse grains with hot water

  • top up kettle (as much as possible)

  • Heat to boil

 
 

(boil) 200 f

Add Malt

 
  • water additives

  • add Malt Extract

  • Add Dextrose

  • Bring to boil

 
 

t- 90

 

Bittering:

3.5 oz Columbus

  • Add bittering hops

  • Set 45 min timer

 
 

t – 45

 

Flavoring:

.75 Columbus

  • Add Flavoring Hops

  • Set 15 min timer

 
 

t – 30

 

Aroma #1:

1 oz Simcoe

  • Add Aroma #1

  • Set 30 min timer

  • Add Irish Moss

 
 

t – 0

 

Aroma #2:

1 Centennial

2.50 oz Simcoe

  • Add Aroma Hops #2

 
 

t – 0

  
  • Cool to 67f

 
 

67f

  
  • Remove all hops

  • move to fermenter

  • Oxygenate

  • top off to 5 gal

  • pitch yeast

 
 

Fermenting stops

 

Dry:

1 oz Columbus

1 oz Centennial

1 oz Simcoe

  • Rack beer

  • Dry Hop #1

 
   

Dry:

0.25 oz Columbus

0.5 oz Centennial

Dry Hop #2

 
 

Rack + 14 days

Priming

 

Bottle

 
 

bottle + 4 weeks

  

Drink

 

Cully Mack

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m currently writing the first draft of book five in my Voice that Thunders epic fantasy series.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I write epic/high fantasy and my book series is called Voice that Thunders. To date, I have published four books and a prequel (Sojin). A Voice That Thunders is the first followed by A Scream That Shatters, A Fire That Whispers and A Vow That Clashes.

My series features siblings, Mirah and Gabe, who become central characters along with a band of rebels fighting against immortals conquering their realm. It’s a pre-civilised world filled with monsters and magic influenced by Mesopotamian mythology. In some ways it’s similar to S J Maas because it has multiple character arcs with romantic subplots, but it doesn’t have fae (that is another project simmering in my mind).

Think epic battles with Immortals and beasts of all kinds, throw in some elemental magic, huge plot twists, portals and unique worlds, intense romance and an ever-growing number of characters trying to save their world. If you like character-driven fantasy, you’ll love my books. I warn you now; I don’t go easy on them…

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

During editing, I find there comes a point when I’ve read the same lines over and over and they no longer make sense. It’s frustrating having to put down the manuscript and wait a while.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Those lines that appear on the page and you read it and think, did I write that? When inspiration comes, it’s awesome.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I love the way Patrick Rothfuss uses language. It’s so seamless and filled with fresh imagery.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Funny you should ask! One of my characters would kidnap me right now. He is fuming because the woman he loves left him behind to save their friends. (the immortal helping her reach their friends could only carry one person). He’s stuck on another continent and trying to find a way to reach her. I can see him forcing a quill into my hand and demanding I rewrite the plot.

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Mirah and Gabe wouldn’t stand a chance, but Ammo would win for sure! He’s an Acquisitioner from my series. A man used to getting his own way, a player who loves risks and taking chances. He’d be playing against Cassian from A Court of Silver Flames by S J Maas. I think Cas is a bit preoccupied with his love life right now. As for myself, I’d just sit back and watch the show, mesmerised.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I’ve recently been judging fantasy books in an Indie competition along with development editing for fiction authors. These are some common traps I have found.

Fatal wounds not killing the person.

Blow by blow (right hand did this, left hand did that) accounts of battle/fight sequences are boring. Show the reader the emotion.

Plot holes explained away in unsatisfying ways. Characters existing only for the purpose of the plot.

Make sure your story has conflict! Without conflict, there is no story.

Overuse of adverbs, and filler words like ‘that’, ‘some’, etc.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

If you like character driven epic fantasy, with amazing world building, multiple pov characters, plot twists, myths, magic and monsters, and subplot romance arcs, check out the Voice that Thunders series.

I hope to release book five in the Autumn.

Links:

Amazon link: http://viewbook.at/AVoiceThatThunders

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19033629.Cully_Mack

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CullyMack

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CullyMack

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cullymackauthor/

Ryan Meier

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

    I’m in the final stretch of writing Elements of Creation, the follow up to my debut novel Shadows of Creation. I just finished writing one of the marque scenes earlier today and couldn’t be more excited to wrap up, polish it, and share my next installment with the world.
  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

     

    1. Shadows of Creation is an epic fantasy written for both the adult and young adult audiences. It’s a world full of elves, elemental magic, and (of course) an ancient, mythical creature hellbent on the destruction of Turina. The characters are loveable, damaged, and trying their best to save the world despite themselves. The best comparison I can give is Weis and Hickman’s Dragonlance Chronicles. Shadows is the first in my Creation Chronicles trilogy.

    2. My second novel, The Kept King, is a standalone contemporary fantasy set in a completely different world. It follows the king of a small farming kingdom. Life is boring – with one exception. He battles a mysterious illness that severely impacts his memory and ability to travel. Thomas’ mundane routine continues until a new visitor arrives. All I’ll say beyond that is get ready for a mystery that I’m told will keep you guessing until you realize you guessed wrong.

    3. The manuscript for Elements of Creation, the follow up to Shadows, is nearly completed and has a targeted release window of June/July. I want to yell about the exciting stuff going on in book 2, but its far too soon. All I’ll say is if you have read Shadows, stay patient. If you haven’t? Get going and prepare for summer!

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

    Editing. I have so much hatred for that process. It wears me down and burns me out. With that said, it’s a necessity. My hope is to continue to hone my skills and learn. I imagine it will be more enjoyable over time. Or it won’t and I’ll continue to hate it.
  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

    What I’m doing right now. Earlier today I wrote the marque scene for two of my protagonists and it poured out of me like a fountain. That feeling. Creating something new from nothing and allowing your heart and soul to leak out onto the pages.
  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

    Are you familiar with a Sanderlanche? It’s a common theme in most of Brandon Sanderson’s writings. He slow builds and then it call comes crashing down around you. If I could bring my readers to that precipice? Well, I guess I’ll spend the rest of my life trying!
  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

    I think we as human beings are too quick to want things immediately. I’m sure if I explained that I’m helping him in the long run he’d be fine… Or I’d have to fight him. Spoiler: I’d lose.
  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

    I’m reading CT Phipp’s The Rules of Supervillany right now, so Gary the protagonist would sit down and play some poker with Brenn, a gloomy mercenary from Shadows. I would go all-in for a chance to win that magical cloak! To entice the bet? Brenn would have to put his best friend, Nebulous the Mountain Dolly (the largest and most intelligent breed of horse in Turina). Thinking about it – the bet would never happen. Brenn would never risk his horse, and I doubt Gary would be interested in riding a massive horse around town (then again, he does drive a minivan..)
  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

    I think the biggest trap that writers fall into early on (at least I did) is allowing your artistic side to overshadow the business side. To be more specific, I was a binge writer. I would write like a madman for two weeks, then fall off and not write at all for the next two or four. Without balance and an effective routine, I was doomed to allow myself to fall out of rhythm, lose valuable time, and ultimately cost myself money. Since I’ve allowed the business side of me to manage the creative side – I’ve been more productive and more positive about my potential. In other words, be your own boss. That means kicking yourself in the ass and getting your artsy side on a schedule.
  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

    Thank you for having me. I’m far too busy with my writing my own worlds to take over the world. Besides, who would want that responsibility? Not I.

A. R. Meyering

A.R. Meyering

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Currently I am working on a philosophy paper on determinism for my PhD applications. On the creative side of things, I recently finished the final edit on a manuscript about a shamed king who flies around his country in a hot air balloon looking for redemption and a way to stop a massive celestial body from crashing down and destroying everything. It’s got sky whales!

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

My new book, The Resurrectionist, is about a 19th century surgeon who suffers a curse that will corrode both his body and soul. It’s also a story that solves the mystery of what happened to the infamous murderer William Hare. The Burke and Hare murders were a series of killings that happened in Scotland—the two criminals sold the bodies of their victims as cadavers for dissection. After they were caught, Hare sold Burke out and escaped into obscurity. No one knows what happened to him.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Oof, starting a book is the hardest part! There is so much anxiety leading up to that first chapter, no matter how much outlining I’ve done.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

This might sound strange, but I really love research. I find history so fascinating that I love following rabbit holes when I read an interesting fact. So many of the crazy things I find while researching shapes my writing. I also love writing the scary scenes in my horror books, that’s just pure fun.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Neil Gaiman’s sharp sense of wit, for sure. That man can sure turn a phrase. That or the poetic prose of David Mitchell. Some of his stuff makes my heart ache to read it.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

“You’ll like this life much better than the one you would’ve had, trust me. Now, for goodness’ sake, put that scalpel down!”

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

I recently read The Last Unicorn, so I suppose I’d be up against the titular unicorn and Edgar, my surgeon from The Resurrectionist. It’d be tough to win without opposable thumbs, so the unicorn is probably out of luck. Edgar’s way smarter and more logical than I am, so he’d probably have me beat! Drinks are on me.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I’d say, in horror, know how to use gore and violence in the right way. It can be tempting for writers of horror to go totally wild and let the blood flow with abandon, but I think you need to plan for what you’re saying with violence in your book. It needs to be used as a storytelling tool instead of a shock tactic. Better to use it as a necessary part of the plot and your story’s overall thesis, not just grotesque window dressing.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

My new novel The Resurrectionist is available on Halloween of 2020! The audiobook was just completed, too, and the narrator, Alan R Gron, did an absolutely phenomenal job, so please check it out. If you like the book and want to see more content from that world, I do some (very amateur) drawings of my characters on my Instagram.

Links to my books on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/A-R-Meyering/e/B00HONLSRA

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/armeyering?lang=en

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/_tanpoponoko_/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AlexandraMeyering/

Elizabeth Morris
We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*
I’m currently working on my third book in the “Blood of the Beast” series. The third installment is titled “Return of the Ambush” and it is a fantasy book continuing the story of Kira, Ethan, Noah, Chase and many more characters who come along.
In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*
My first book which is currently out on Amazon and B&N is called “Tiger’s Blood” and is about a world called Bitotem full of half-animal half-human shapeshifters called Bloods. A young girl named Kira discovers early on she is the rare White Tiger Blood and goes on a quest to kill the treacherous Lion Blood King. Andrew Kingsley murdered all of the remaining Tiger Bloods left on Bitotem. On her journey, Kira meets some Bloods who help her along the way. Noah, a kind-hearted Wolf Blood, Chase a clever Eagle Blood and Ethan a rebellious Lion Blood. Will Kira succeed in killing the king? My second book which is also out on Amazon and B&N is called “Rise of the Rebels” and is the sequel to “Tiger’s Blood.” After a tragic event, a new king takes over the Lion Blood Kingdom and is seeking revenge against the group of rebels; Chase, Ethan, Noah and Kira as their leader. The rebels have been on their own, when they meet a pair of mysterious Bloods. When one of the rebels is kidnapped, its up to the rest of the Bloods to save them. Will these new Bloods be friends or foes?
As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*
Editing for sure. Writing the book down with your ideas is the easy part but editing… oh boy. I can’t stand editing but it has to get done. Editing is the crucial part of publishing a book and you want to make your book as perfect as it can be (because no book is perfect).
Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*
Dialogue is my favorite part of writing and always has me laughing or grinning. I’ve actually read my dialogue out loud for some of my peers and loved ones to hear and they adore it. The hardest part of dialogue is making it believable on what the characters are saying. Once you get that down, you’ll have killer dialogue.
If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*
I would steal George R.R. Martin’s character development because he knows how to make his characters change and grow. One minute you’re hating Theon Greyjoy because he took over Winterfell, and the next minute you’re feeling bad for “Reek” because of Ramsay Bolton’s torture. I admire Martin’s ability to really make a character horrible and I strive to be that type of writer.
Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?
Oooh good question. I would say to my main character (Kira) that everything happens for a reason and there are silver linings ahead of her. She may be miserable now, but things will come together in the end.
You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?
Okay, so me, Kira, Ethan, Chase, Noah and the character of the book I am reading (Elara) are all playing poker. I think Chase would win because he’s the clever one and would probably be able to read everyone’s “poker face”
Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*
Characters first, World Building second. When it comes to first drafts, lets face is no one is perfect. What I do to try and avoid traps or blocks are focus on what the characters are doing, and get them to where they need to be first. Then, world building comes second when you are editing your draft. You can write simple on your first draft then add in all the flowery language and details later. That’s how I get through my writing.
 
Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.
I am on chapter 7 of my third book and I can’t wait to finish this novel! I think it’s going to be my best work yet.

Tahani Nelson

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Currently I’m finishing up the editing process for the final book in my fantasy series. Faoii Ascended is the highly anticipated conclusion to the Faoii Chronicles and I’m incredibly excited to share the ending of this tale with all of you. It releases on November 16, and I could not be more excited!

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

My debut series, The Faoii Chronicles, is an epic military fantasy that features strong heroines and matriarchal societies. It follows the evolution of the Faoii Order—the protectors of Imeriel. Wielding both magic and blade, these women have held back ancient evils and maintained sacred rites for millennia. But when a dark war uncovers secrets that even the Faoii cannot keep hidden, it starts a chain of events threatening the free will of an entire continent.

As old leaders fall and new ones rise to take their place, a warrior, a thief, and a launderer all strive to fix what’s been broken. But none can see how their actions affect the Eternal Tapestry—and all are unknowingly bound to the Threads that the others grasp.

In an intricate tale that spans centuries, The Faoii Chronicles is both empowering and immersive. Everyone has the power to forge their own destiny—and even the smallest actions can change the Weave in monumental ways.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

I think that most Indie Authors struggle with marketing. There are so many books out there—it’s nearly impossible to be seen in that literary sea. A lot of the time it feels futile to even try. I do enjoy the parts of marketing I actively seek out, though. I enjoy interviews and meeting new people. I do all of my events, signings, and readings in armor, and that’s a lot of fun. I think even the worst parts of any industry can be made enjoyable if you’re willing to take risks and try new things.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love that moment when a new idea or story forms at the back of my head and starts scratching behind my eyeballs. I love exploring worlds and cultures no one has ever seen, bringing them to life with ink and prose. And, above all, I love seeing other people connect with those words that I created out of nothing. To have someone recognize me at an event or message me on social media just to say that they enjoyed my work? That’s absolutely divine, and it can keep me going for months afterward.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I marvel at Stephen King’s just… complete lack of Imposter Syndrome. He’s able to write without fear or doubt. Never worries that his writing isn’t good enough for those who will read it. And that amazes me.

King has said in multiple interviews that he never gets stuck or feels like he has to go back and erase what he’s already written because it might be a bad idea—only that it can be improved with editing at a later step. He seems so completely unfazed by critique or self-doubt. I would give almost anything for that. I fight Imposter Syndrome constantly, and it’s often crippling. To be able to just… write? That sounds like a dream.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Well, Ehryn. If you hadn’t faced everything I put you through recently then surely you wouldn’t have even had the strength or will to kidnap someone, would you? Look at you. When we met, you were willing to give everything of yourself just so others would accept you. You found purpose only in other people’s joy. You cared more for their happiness than your own. Now you’ve grown into a warrior, able to change the Weave in a million different ways—able to guide others and help them find themselves without the turmoil you had to endure. You’re a beacon of hope for all that will follow in darkness after you, and for once you’re willing to stand up for yourself—to face those that hurt or disregard you. Tell me, Ehryn: Are you not worthy?

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

I just finished re-reading Fahrenheit 451. It’s kind of ironic that Ehryn, Guy, and I would be the three to find ourselves at that table, because we all kind of want the same thing: For stories not to be forgotten. To carry forward something that will outlive us.

As for stakes, I think we would play for stories. Winner gets to pick which ones to carry forward. Not that it would be much of a game. Guy Montag would win hands down, since he actually plays poker in his book. I don’t think either Ehryn or I have ever had the chance.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

There are a lot of traps in the writing industry, but I think Comparison is the worst.

Listen: Don’t spend your time and energy comparing yourself to other Indie Authors—Especially comparing yourself to the version you see on their social media. Comparison is the thief of joy. There will always be someone who writes more each night or who makes more in royalties or who has more awards. There will always be reasons to think you’re not good enough. And focusing on those things will sap the joy out of writing faster than anything else.

Instead, try to think back to the beginning. Those moments of joy and excitement and passion when you first called yourself an author. That person would be so proud of how far you’ve come. And rightfully so.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone other than the person you were a year ago. Or five. Or ten. Make that person proud. The rest will follow.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Faoii Ascended, the last book in the series, releases on November 16. I also have a supplemental anthology filled with stand-alone stories that further explore the universe coming out on October 20. The anthology (titled The First Faoli and Other Stories) is not necessary as part of the Faoii Chronicles, but I wanted to offer a gift to my readers as thanks for them standing by me through this entire journey. I could never have come this far without my Faoii Army.

Shields up!

Brendan and Lori O’Gara

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

We coauthor fantasy stories. Currently, Brendan is working on his part of Book 2 in the Necromancer’s Song trilogy titled The Music of The Bones. I am working on The Remnants of Eden which is a compendium book set in the same universe as Necromancer’s Song. Some of the same characters are in both books.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

We have 11 books out currently. I write contemporary fiction. I have a four book series set in and around Perdido Key, Florida. I also write nonfiction books about God and Faith, that I affectionately call “no B.S. Christianity”. Brendan has a cookbook that started us on the road of fantasy writing. It has recipes and in between the yumminess are stories about five adventurers. After the one hundredth time of a reader telling us, “Hey, the recipes are great, but what happens to the adventurers?” we decided to tell their story, thus The travelers’ Song was written. This project has grown to encompass three short novellas. Those books aren’t true prequels, they are about characters that are in the main trilogy and other interesting people set at different points on the main time line of the trilogy. There is a constant theme in all our fantasy writings that life is the most powerful of all forces in the universe, but fragile and often taken for granted. Most of us only get one shot at life, but what if there was more?

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

I am not a sales person, so for me it is marketing. Brendan hates naysayers. You know the people that say, “You can’t write a book about that.”

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

When someone reads something we have written and gushes about it. That is why we write in the first place. Let someone say, “I loved (insert any of our titles or characters).” That makes me want to write more. Knowing someone gave their time to read your work is a fantastic motivator.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

For me I have always envied Hemingway’s candor, he wrote truth and did not sugar coat it. I have in recent years attempted to emulate that courage in my writing.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

At the end of The Travelers’ Song we kill off one of the main characters, Gadlin. Darr, one of the other adventurers would demand an explanation…”You will explain your actions to me and if you explanation is not satisfactory you will explain it to your maker.” The problem is there would be no satisfactory answer for Darr.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Brendan, Morpheus from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and I are playing poker. The stakes are life and death. I’m certain I am dead since I can’t play poker. It’s the face thing. My thoughts show on my face. I am brutally transparent.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

Fantasy writing is by nature a genre of tropes. It is often difficult to know what tropes are sacred to lovers of fantasy novels. Some should not be changed and others are overdone. Avoid the overdone and be brave enough to make the classic your own. The trick is getting the reader hooked on your take on a classic fantasy element without making it so unbelievable that the reader sees right though it.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

If it is a recipe you want, we have book for that. HA! But seriously, if you want to know more about our work, we can be found here, https://the-ogaras.com…if you are curious about what exactly No BS Christianity means, check out my article here, https://loriogara.com/no-bs/

Caleb Ortega (C. T. Ortega on book cover)

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Beginning on April 1st 2020 I have currently drafted all five books in the series “Warfare of the gods.” Book one is now published (Jan 2021) and each sequel will follow suit every 6 months. I am currently working on a set of children’s books that will use the same characters and locations, but teach morals and coexistence for all as I also begin another YA trilogy taking place with new characters after the events of the Pentalogy.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

The book is a YA fantasy that pushes different philosophies from all different cultures in a fun, respectful way. Odin, the Asgardian and fate driven gods desires to rule the heavens as he sees himself the great leader. Zeus, the King of the Immortals, and believer in free will see Odin as threat to their way of life. Osiris, the Duati and leader of various gods from Hindu to Chinese is trying to mediate with little positive results as his own people are divided.

The book pushes the idea that in war there are no good vs bad, just varying perspectives and there are people of value on all sides. This is the premise of the first book. The series will continue directly after these events.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

 

Maintaining numerous social media presence. I love speaking with people in groups, or one on one, but updating a twitter or posting is like pretending to be witty instead of communication.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

All the rest! I love drafting, editing, marketing, socializing, and the doing it again. I plan to push this Pentalogy, 20 plus kids books, and atleast two more trilogies in the next 5 years.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

 

Beverly Cleary- As a 10 year old boy, she put in the mind of an eight year old pesty girl. Love it. Simple, yet enough to lure you in.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I can’t. I am a panster writer so I would have to explain that their actions were caused by their own doing. I simply put them in the situation. Also, my book really does not have any MC, the plot is the MC and everyone in the story are subjected to its will.

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Control over the Heavens and Earth and all within. It would probably end in a fight…and I would have little chance against twelve foot gods.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I chose an idea, say anger, then ponder the various ways anger reveals itself (Outburst, synic, sarcasm, hatred) and then assign it to a character. That character now embodies anger. Even in loving others they cannot help but be bitter or rude. They are anger, they cannot help themselves.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Pentalogy will be (Jan 21, Jun 21, Jan 22, Jun 22, Jan 23)

Trilogy taking place after the pentalogy will be (Jun 23, Jan 24, Jun 24)

Second trilogy in the world (Jan 25, Jun 25, Dec 25)

I spent 20 years in the Army, deployed to the middle east and asia. I learned a lot about perspective while in.

I had NO aspirations of writing until the idea of this book struck me. Now I cant stop writing. I have written on average 1k-1.5k a day, but haven’t taken a day off since 1 may 2020.

I have two amazing editors Jim Bessey and Emilie Knight who is finishing her own trilogy as two books are out now.

Children books based on in the world will be sprinkled throughout this five year stretch.

www.CTOrtega.com

https://www.facebook.com/CT-Ortega-108177974322708/

https://instagram.com/c.tortega?igshid=1c1zwclmtg23h

https://twitter.com/authorCTOrtega?s=09

 

0. Name, please!

Evangeline Rain

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m working on two books at the moment, actually. It’s not a good thing, not advisable, but sometimes I get so bored by what I’m writing so switching between the two genres helps me stay sane.

One of the books is a Sci-Fi Romance, Book 3 to my series The Chikara Revolution. It features a courtesan who had been trained to do espionage work. Things turned awry, and she got killed, but was brought back to life as a cyborg. This is where I’m at now. Where’s the romance? I’m working on it.

The other book is a Chinese Historical Romance. I don’t know if it’s going to turn out to be a series yet, but this is a Book 2 to a previous book I’ve written. It’s about an ex-soldier who works very hard to protect his ex-captain and family from being assassinated, but this pesky neighbour keeps getting in his way. This is where I’m at now. Where’s the romance? I’m working on it.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out.

I’m a very new writer although I’ve been an avid reader for the longest time. I only published my first book in 2019 and to date, I’ve written three. I’m hoping to write more but I need to rely on my full-time job to feed the production of my books and my family. In a way, I have to budget how many books I can afford to publish in a year.

My first book is from the series – The Chikara Revolution. After twelve years of civil war, a tyrant finally attained his goal of unifying the Planet Chikara under his rule. The people on the planet suffered and were helpless against his cruelty because he had the military backing him. Amidst the wake of destruction, heroes emerge, defying the tyrant’s oppressive rule and unifying rebels to fight for their freedom. 

Book 1 – Fatal Extraction, features a pirate who had a personal vendetta against the tyrant. She did not have enough power to take the tyrant head on, but she irritated him by constantly sabotaging his shipment of weapons and supplying the rebels with firepower to fight the civil war. In a twist of events, she ran into a high-ranking officer who defected and got dragged into the revolution.

The events in Book 2 – Purple Reign, occurred before Book 1. I introduced the main characters at the end of Book 1, and I thought I wanted to give some background to who they are.

I’m currently working on Book 3 now, as mentioned earlier, and the events pick up after Book 1.

The third book I’ve written is Tiger Unbound. I’m a huge fan of Chinese martial arts and swordplay, but it’s such a pain to read all those long novels in Mandarin. This book came about on a whim when I thought I’d try writing a Chinese historical fantasy romance in English. I had a lot of fun and all those who read the book asked for a sequel. So here I am, working on it.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

I dislike the research part of writing. It breaks the momentum of my thoughts and sometimes, destroys the fantasy of a certain story progression I have in mind. Although it’s the fantasy genre, the things I write about must still “make sense” for it to be relatable for the readers. For example, in a fight, it’s absolutely acceptable for a flying dagger to pierce through the skull of the human and cause instant death. However, if this happens in my novel, I’ll get called out.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Plot twists. I love it when I can catch my readers off guard or reveal something unexpected that surprises them.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I love Ilona Andrews’s creativity, Grace Draven’s language skills and the way Monica Enderle Pierce moves her plot. Their books are like my textbooks for reference.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

You fool. You can only get a better life after leaving that wretched one behind. For I know the plans I have for you, since I am your Creator, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Hahahahahahahaha.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

This is a fun question! The last book I’ve read was Jeaniene Frost’s Wicked All Night. I’d love to see Ian play poker with the two main characters I’m writing now. Kseniya is an expert at reading people and body language, while Sher Gu is intelligent and cunning.

However, Ian will definitely win because he has a few centuries worth of experience and an expert at playing poker. I think he’ll enjoy playing with my girls, though. He’ll probably get them make out with each other when they lose.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I’m still navigating this writing business. I’m no expert but I can share with the aspiring writers what I’ve learned so far.

Don’t be shy about asking for recommendations on good editors. Ask the established authors who’s editing for them and go to them. If those editors’ rates are high, save up for it. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys. It’s a hard lesson I learned.

Don’t dabble in advertising without first learning about it. It’s very easy to lose a few hundreds and not get any results.

Do not “buy” an ARC list. There are people claiming they have over hundreds of readers willing to leave reviews for ARCs. You pay them a fee to be the middleman and give out hundred over copies to people who ask for it, but you get at most 2 or 3 reviews in return. Worse still, this is how you get your books pirated. Go through the proper channel like Booksprout or Netgalley.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Please check out my books! Give this newbie a chance!
I really hope to write full-time one day. I love to interact with readers. Write to me at authorerain@gmail.com, or like my facebook page. I’m also a tea fanatic and I write tea reviews on my Instagram.

Name, Isra Sravenheart

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I am currently working on my 7th book in my Blackened Series, Touched by Darkness. This follows my most recently published book Kissing Darkness. This is the book I consider to be the funnest to write as there was so much going on. I actually feel like any book after this, almost in some way, falls short compared to Kissing Darkness because it’s a real vibrant fast paced world.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I have five books so far out in the Blackened Series. The first is Her Blackened Soul. I then followed this with Blackened Heart and Blackened Rose. I then realized I mentioned a significant history between Isra and other characters that needed backstory so that’s where Her Blackened Love and Kissing Darkness come in as these are the books that go back in time.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of ideas all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Least favourite bit for me is the bits in between all the action, I find those a bit mundane for my tastes but what I usually do to make it more interesting is work on the more exciting bits then go back to the bits I may not enjoy as much.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

The moments where I can fully explore my character’s reasoning to fully understand why they are that way. I primarily focus on villains so I really love delving deep into all that. It’s a long, gradual process that I don’t rush.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Hmmm I am not sure if I’d steal from anyone in terms of writing ability but I do like the way Neil Gaiman puts together things and makes it so relatable but yet so dark at the same time.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Isra will probably hate me for this but she’s about to meet another man and get her heart broken yet again. She’s going to be very angry but she should be pleased as it will reintroduce her beau Astrid back into her life of whom has never truly left her side. So she may well be quite mad but I hope Astrid returning softens the blow. Otherwise that would be challenging to negotiate a ransom.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Astrid would likely win. He’s very cunning and you can never know truly what he’s thinking. Isra is smart but I don’t think she’s any match for Astrid. The stakes would likely be the green glowing orb he presents to her in Kissing Darkness but he’d give it to her even if she loses!

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Traps to avoid are definitely creating elaborate plots that you can’t work with because you’ve created too much going on. I have to say I don’t feel writing is hard but for me personally if I’ve done too much, I may be burnt out and have to focus on something else for a little while.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I finished book 6 in the Blackened Series a couple of weeks ago so I would hope to have both 6 & 7 out before the end of this year. After that I’m jumping into a new series that will also involve witches but something completely different to the Blackened Series. As it’s a relatively new project in the works, I shall be tight lipped on it for now. Book 6 also has a whopper of a storyline going on so there may be an 8th instalment. As there will be a lot going on!!! Think, “what you think you know you don’t and all of the players are lined up, not knowing where the hell they are ending up because they’ve just been smacked in the face.”

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m working on a fantasy series called The Big Fairy Adventures. It centres around a slightly overweight fairy called Tinker Tanker (she likes her nectar too much!) but she is brave and has a heart of gold. It is generally set in the huge fairy queendom called Layleamonee.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

The first two are already published on Amazon. Book 1: How It All Began, really puts the whole of the adventure series in order for you, hints of what is coming up. So a case of forewarned is also forearmed. This is also a freebie.

Then Book two is the start of the series proper: The Golden Quandrill. This is the most powerful wand in the cosmos, no charmed piece of stick, no way, here we have a sentient being that incorporates biologically with the person used the wand.

We are introduced to Orcs, Craggs, Grobs, humans, Trolls and of course humans, or specifically so far, one human, a humourist who is Chinese and called Ding Ling.

Half-way through the 3rd Book called Maldranan the fairy witch. Not someone you would invite to your dinner party. Plus an Orc that has a partial lobotomy, but the surgeon hiccupped during the procedure and removed the ‘male’ sense part of his miniscule brain, so now we have a hulk male Orc who likes to wear pink slacks and false eyelashes. Things do not bode well for him. I suspect he comes from the same mould as ex-president Trump!

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

It has to be the very last little bit, from marketing to money coming into the bank. A realist realizes it is rare to become a millionaire to just write books. Why is it that marketer’s will say ‘Pay me lots of money, and I can’t guarantee any success!” Might as well burn my money on a bonfire! Don’t you think I am right? (I’m breaking into song now…) All I want to do is write, and not bother with the other stuff

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I’m a pantser and write by the seat of my pants. My last big project, The Wand Chronicles, an epic fantasy, there are 400,000 words, all happened when I sat down and let my imagination run riot. But is my writing good? Well, so say professional reviewers and readers seem to rave about them

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Well, you only have to read some of the very dark passages of Tolkein to make you want to jump off the river bridge, so I like Terry Pratchett..I like humor, fantasy humor. I also love Jane Austin, the command of the English language, in for example, Pride & prejudice. How the written language can illustrate all manners of emotion so perfectly well

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Well, for me, that is a fairy called Tinker Tanker, she is a little overweight. But she stands at 8” tall. Very tall for a fairy , but her wand packs a powerful fun, and for some reason thinks it is fun to creep up behind a human and touch her wand on the buttocks of that human, and watch them jump in the air with the shock of it all. I will try to explain that I am trying to convince people to love fairies, and that they are real

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

So myself, Tinker Tanker and an elvish sorceress called Elfistra is sat around the table. Not good. She will never trust a human, and has enough magic in one snap of her fingers to cause havoc. She would win, she likes winning. Tinker Tanker is too nice to notice anything untoward. The stakes are the use of the most powerful wand in the cosmos, Elvina. Elfistra will win it, in any case, it will only integrate into her body.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Sitting down to write, for characters to pop up, to plot out a line of action, to construct a chapter with a beginning, middle and an end, is not a problem, so far, for me. Period. It is all the other paraphernalia, the promotion, the marketing that I abhor. All I want to do as an author is write

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I created a board game to accompany my Wand Chronicles Trilogy, with all the main characters in the book. It went on to be voted in the top ten of best board games in the UK.

I also constructed a fairy garden to inspire my writing for The Big Fairy Adventures, I now get visitors who travel great distances to see it.

I will be adding to it and in January have another Grand Opening. Of course I will be proving free fairy cakes!

Leslie Swartz

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m currently plotting out an urban fantasy trilogy while toying with a superhero story and ignoring a finished horror stand-alone outline. To be honest, I’m having a hard time focusing on one project since finishing Seventh Day. I think I’m going to have those characters stuck in my head for a while.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

The Seventh Day Series is seven books of rowdy angels, vampires, witches, and Lucifer fighting monsters and preventing one Apocalypse after another. Really, though, it’s a story of found-family, complex relationships, trauma, and redemption. It’s character-driven, dark, funny, and chock-full of twists.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

What I hate about the writing process are the times when no one will leave me alone to write. I have a husband and three kids trapped in the house during a pandemic that are bored, loud, and impatient.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Fleshing out new ideas. I love sitting with a notebook and listening to playlists while I scribble down character bios and scene ideas.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

It’s probably been said a million times, but Stephen King’s ability to put you in whatever spooky environment he wants to is second to none. Thanks to him, we all know exactly what a haunted fishing village in Maine feels like.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I’d give him a wink and tell him it was job training.

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Winner gets control of every other player’s fate. Wyatt, my MC wins because I don’t know how to play poker and the protagonist from the last book I read, while a serial killer, is just human. Wyatt, as Protector of Humanity, wouldn’t allow him to control anyone’s life. He’d either have him arrested or lightning him to death before the game was finished.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

My biggest pet peeve (aside from people that say ‘pet peeve) is flat characters. I see it all the time and it drives me crazy. Your characters should feel real. Be relatable. You can have an amazing plot and fantastic world-building, but if a reader doesn’t care about your characters, they’ll get bored.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Seventh Day Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08BZL6YJY

Facebook author page:

https://www.facebook.com/LeslieSwartz333

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/leslieswartz333

IG:

https://www.instagram.com/saffie138/?hl=en

Michael Paul Scott

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I am excited to say that I am wading ankles-deep in the work-in-progress sequel to my debut novel: Freewilds – The Cult & the Constable. The title is still undecided, but I am leaning toward Freewilds – The Lost & the Faithful

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

My first ever novel, Freewilds – The Cult & the Constable, is a detective noir mystery set in an original dark fantasy world with elements of horror. It follows Lukarde Alfans, a brilliant detective whose investigations into a string of horrific murders led him to become the next target of the perpetrators of these horrid acts, the Cult of Ebon. Framed for murder and forced into exile, Lukarde travels across treacherous lands and storm-ravaged seas to the Freewilds, a region long ago declared forbidden. There, the former constable seeks answers and evidence, a fresh start, and relief from the terrors that plague his traumatized mind whenever he closes his eyes.

The sequel is still in the works, but I can reveal that it picks up about a year after the events of the first novel, building upon the suspense and intrigue, and focusing upon a tormented anti-heroic protagonist of shattered faith and dubious motives.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

God… this part, if I’m honest with myself. I am trying to embrace the marketing, advertisement, and publicity-based aspects of being a self-published author, but for me, writing the novel was the best fun I’ve had in… maybe ever. Challenging, yes, and harrowing at times when I experienced a few dreadful bouts of writer’s block… but incredibly rewarding. I am hopeful that in due time, I will come to find the business aspects of all this just as exhilarating and fulfilling.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

When I hit a stride. I had a fourteen-hour marathon writing day at one point while working on the first draft of Freewilds – The Cult & the Constable, and I clocked nearly 18,000 words, most of which survived all the way through to the final draft. If only I could have bottled that energy, drive, and inspiration so I could take a sip or two when things slowed to a crawl!

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Can I choose two? I’m going to assume I can choose two. Stephen King for his tenacity and ability to produce quality work quickly and efficiently… and Tom Clancy for his ability to research and master his subject matter so well.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I won’t lie to you; things are going to get worse before they get better, Lukarde… but you chose the exact wrong time to do this, man. One of these days, if the stars align and the Divines smile upon us both… your story will entertain and inspire so many people, and I will be so proud of us both when, and if, that time ever comes.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

So, it’s me, Lukarde Alfans, and Neer from H.C. Newell’s Curse of the Fallen are enjoying a game of poker…

I can’t claim to have the best poker face, so I would fold and leave it to the two of them. Neer is a daring soul who isn’t averse to taking risks, so long as those risks don’t involve endangering her friends. I can’t imagine she would have a problem going all-in if she got a strong enough hand… but I also think that unlike his creator, Lukarde Alfans would have a quite effective poker face. No offense, Nerana… but I think Lukarde’s ability to bluff would win out in the end. (Also, read Curse of the Fallen! It’s pretty great, in my humblest of opinions).

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Being too derivative, firstly. There is so much out there in the fantasy genre, and I think I inoculated myself a bit from this issue by blending dark fantasy with a detective protagonist and some police-procedural flavour.

Secondly, a writer should be bold and take chances… but it is so easy when writing horror to stray from unsettling and creepy into gratuitous and revolting, so including such aspects in my fantasy detective story required a deft and delicate approach at times.

Finally, there is a fine line between trusting the reader to piece things together and painting with too broad a brush and leaving too much to chance when it comes to building an effective mystery. Just as important as show, don’t tell is show enough… but not so much that it all becomes too obvious or insulting to the reader’s intelligence.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Well, how about I inundate you with links to my social media, places to buy my book, my podcast, and sure, I have a great recipe to share as well!

https://www.amazon.com/Freewilds-Book-One-Cult-Constable-ebook/dp/B09FZPJCH6

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/freewilds-michael-scott/1140159160?ean=9781737085522

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/freewilds

https://www.booksamillion.com/search?filter=&id=8337511124263&query=Freewilds%3A+The+Cult+%26+the+Constable

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21805194.Michael_Paul_Scott

https://reedsy.com/discovery/user/michaelscott3674

https://www.facebook.com/TheFreewilds

https://www.instagram.com/TheFreewilds/

https://twitter.com/TheFreewilds

https://michaelscottpublishingcompanyllc.tumblr.com/

https://www.pinterest.com/MichaelScottPublishingCo/_created/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/thefreewilds/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqZQMK7IsnQQf7Q7ph77y6w

https://anchor.fm/michael-paul-scott

A Not-half-bad Chocolate Cake Recipe

2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup of cocoa

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 packet of single-serving hot cocoa mix

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup of orange pekoe tea (brew with three teabags, at least, more if you’re daring!)

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Combine all the dry ingredients, then add all the wet ingredients, then add the wet ingredients. Beat for a few minutes on medium and pour into a buttered bundt pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Cool for a bit (but not too long, because bundt pans can be a pain if the cake gets too comfy in there) before you dump the cake out of the bundt pan. Apply vanilla bean ice cream and devour before anyone’s the wiser. Serves 1. (I kid… kinda).

Peter Servidio

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

Book 1 of a new apocalyptic series titled “The Deliverence”

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

I am fairly new as an formal author, but have been writing my whole life. I currently have a four book, post-apocalyptic series out called Earth Has Fallen, and it has one supplemental short story talking about the main character’s upbringing. I am looking to have 4 or 5 more short stories covering the other important characters.

Along with this I am currently writing a new apocalyptic series called Agents of Tomorrow which centers on an ex-con and his friends 12 year old daughter who find themselves depending on one another to survive in a rapidly devolving world.

Aside from these two series, I have a couple of other dystopian books that are currently stand alone, but who knows, they may evolve. The stand alone books are: The Chimera Project (focus on a dystopian world of psionic people), Chain of Events (focus on how many lives Intertwined in a Tarantino type storytelling), and Souls to Keep (focus on a man who makes a deal with a demon and the unfortunate consequences).

Also I dabble in educational guides and children books at times as well.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Editing. In my mind when I write, my story is perfect. Of course my mind is not always right. Alas, editing shows me my many mistakes 🙂

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

When I get a thought for a new book. It doesn’t matter if I am driving, at my day job, or sleeping. It always lights up my day.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

It’s funny you mention Tolkien as he is one of my favorite writers. But I would not want to steal his language, rather I would love to have his ability to create whole nations, while worlds which seamlessly fit together. He was well before his time.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

That’s a tough one. In my current book, The Deliverance, I would have to try and outwit Joshua and show him that it is because of me he has a life to ruin. Now if we are talking about Loreto Ricker from Return from Darkness of my earth Has Fallen series, I believe we could have more of a father/son type conversation.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

While the last book I read was Stephen King’s The Stand, so I would say with God and Satan sitting at the table, the odds would be the souls of the world.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

I think it can be easy to think that our story is never truly finished. One more word here, or just another thought there. At some point, we have to accept the fact that the story is complete and let it live.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Plots to take over the world, you say? With a wife and three daughters, not to mention a couple of cats and a dog, I am just trying to keep my house afloat:-). If any of your readers would like to follow me, they can visit my webpage and sign up for my monthly newsletter to keep abreast of what I and many other authors are doing at: https://acpete41.wixsite.com/writingsbyservidio-1

All-focus

Bruno Martins Soares

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m working on a psychological thriller/horror story called INSIGHT. For once, it’s a stand-alone, a small book, but will probably be one of the best things I ever wrote. Emotional and strong. I don’t have the pitch fine-tuned yet, but it will be something like this: ‘Strange things begin to happen to Matt, a recent widower: his 10-year-old son develops supernatural powers, apparitions of his dead wife become frequent, and he is being followed by a suspicious man. When his son is kidnapped, he dives into a spiral of events of supernatural and/or sci-fi origin. He’ll have to do the unimaginable to save his family.’

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

It’s a two-part post-apocalyptic novel with a few twists. It’s called LAURA AND THE SHADOW KING. The first volume is out now and the second will come before the end of the year. The title is purposefully deceiving – Laura is a little girl fleeing in the middle of the chaos that emerges after a deadly pandemic; but the Shadow King is not a supernatural being. It’s JJ ‘King’ Berger, the lieutenant leading the Shadow Team, a multinational SF team operating in devastated Southern Portugal and Spain. An invading army has come from the East and is pursuing Laura and her mother, who are very special people (won’t tell you why, but it involves superpowers). Berger and his team will have to face all kinds of trouble to save them.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!) Hate re-writing. I sometimes take a long time preparing and writing, just so I have to do the least re-writing possible. In the past, I used to avoid it all that I could, but now I accept it as part of the process, still, it annoys me to have to do it. So I prepare and prepare, plan, structure, go through the scenes over and over, before I write. Which is sometimes frustrating. Still, I usually don’t have to re-write that much.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning? Dialogues. Love dialogues. I love action scenes and when I get in the rhythm, I really drool over them. But if I must choose just one, dialogues are the thing. I love playing with the relationships and the dynamics between the characters.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.) Ooo! I wish you had asked this one before the previous question!! I would definitely steal George R.R. Martin’s plot talent. The way the guy foreshadows and carefully grooms you over time and then completely destroys you or sends you to the sky is awesome! I love playing with details and create plotlines and storylines that will surprise you later, as they cross and cross. I love it when I can surprise my readers with clever solutions, but Martin is way better than I am. I’d love to have his talent for the thing.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best? Oh, I really can’t tell you that. Suffice to say that if he keeps the faith in me, he’ll be alright.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Probably the fate of the world. But I would win the game with Geralt of Rivia. He’s just too honest. And JJ Berger, the Shadow King, is simply folding most of the time – he keeps playing, but he doesn’t care enough – as long as Laura is okay, he’s okay.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

You usually can’t avoid them, but be ready for the following phenomena: 1) The Emotional Link – if you’re doing the right things, you’re really involved with your characters; and if you are putting them through horrible things, you will feel it in your bones. So be ready to suffer. 2) The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Syndrome – If you’re doing things right, your characters will probably want to follow their own ways from time to time. If your characters are realistic enough, they’ll develop a personality. That will get you and your story in trouble. Get used to that and work around it. 3) The Caesura Effect – for years I didn’t know if it was a real thing, but more and more authors tell me it is. I call it the Caesura Effect. It happens when you’re approaching the end of your novel. It becomes harder and harder to finish, to just sit down and write. It’s like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. But don’t panic. Finish the damn thing. If you have to re-write the last 50 pages, you’ll have time to do that later. But don’t stop.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe. Sure. I was born, raised and live in Lisbon, Portugal. If you don’t know it, you have to come by. I think it’s one of the most beautiful, peaceful and friendly countries in the world and the food is one of the greatest culinary secrets you’ll find. I have many stories in my mind, many of which happen here. LAURA AND THE SHADOW KING happens in the Madeira Island, the Porto Santo Island, Lisbon, and Alentejo. All beautiful places to visit. So, here’s my challenge: pick up my book, get on a plane and check out those places. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised.

0. Name, please! Mark Stallings

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I am working on the second book in my Silver Coin Saga series titled The Animals. It is Wuxia (Woo-sha), basically Asian Fantasy with martial magic, Martial arts powered by magical energy and a heavy foundation in Chinese martial arts. Specifically, Xing Yi. This book is the second year at a school for martial magic fraught with intrigue and a sus history lesson the main character and his companions know is false.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I have two books out. My most recent release is a Sci-Fi collaboration with Matt Novotny titled ‘Prodigal Son’ set in the Four Horsemen Universe. The other was the first book of the Silver Coin Saga, The Elements. It introduces the characters and magic system set in a magic school. I am currently working on book two in the series titled The Animals, where the characters have to navigate learning the next level of martial magic and find out who is trying to kill them.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Editing. I am a firm proponent of putting out the best product, but there is a point in going through edits where you just want to be done with it.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I really love the ideation process. Getting all of the hooks together and the beats in the right order. I am an extreme plotter and work through the concept to story structure to using contour for the beats to building the outline. That is the part where it is really fun for me.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

David Eddings had the knack for building believable characters from diverse cultures and weaving it into a cohesive story that created characters we cared about.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

In order to put you on a path where you could realize your potential, and see there is a greater, more wondrous world out there, I had to set in motion the destruction of your village, the slaughter of some of your friends and family, and people trying to kill you. Look at you now. (this so sounds like Unbreakable)

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Well, Me, Xan, Cho and Sue from my books, along with Tyler Vernon from John Ringo’s ‘Live Free or Die’ are playing poker for a bottle of Grade A: Dark Color & Robust Flavor Maple Syrup. Xan and Sue will be out early. They aren’t good at bluffing. Cho will go down with an ‘I’m all in’ but will lose to a straight. I’m a decent poker player so I think it will come down to me losing to Tyler on a bluff as he will figure out my tells.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Wuxia is Asian flavored fantasy. It isn’t Chinese history. That’s the first trap. The second is that you don’t have to invent a new martial art, just use one of the existing as a basis. Take a couple classes. Talk with the instructors. Doing is infinitely more better than watching a thousand hours of videos. (yes I did that on purpose)

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I am looking forward to a June/July release of Book Two – The Animals and rolling right into Book Three – The Phoenix, which I hope to have both at DragonCon.

Right now my favourite thing for food is experimenting with monkfruit sweetener. Lakanto has a brownie mix that is Keto friendly and Gluten Free. (check the box for chocolate recipe) and I have used it for cinnamon roll filler and almond paste for crescent rolls.

Jane E. Taylor writing as J.E. Taylor

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

A: I am working on two books at this moment. The first is a first in an Urban Fantasy trilogy about a vampire huntress who has gotten herself in a bit of trouble and needs to hunt down the bastard who turned her before the next new moon – or else she will become one of the hunted. The second is a first in a Fantasy series about three witches that bring forth and control dragons during the time of the pre-Mayan empire. And this series will have an ancient tie in to Season of the Dragon.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

A: My next release is due out on December 21, 2021 and it is the last of a post apocalyptic Urban Fantasy trilogy that takes place in New York City after a pandemic renders the earth quiet, which awakens the monsters. Season of the Dragon trilogy ends with Dragon Dawn and my main character’s rocky alliance with a rogue dragon.

Here is the teaser for Dragon Dawn:

Our short history together proved one thing. Trust is a four-letter word.

I doubt Mikhail St. Clare will ever truly trust me again after my colossal screw up that nearly led to his death. And I’m not sure I trust Mikhail now that he thinks humans are just as monstrous as our enemies.

The only thing we seem to agree on is our desire to annihilate the leviathans and unseat the Serpent King. Our personal futures depend on ridding the earth of these murderous overlords who have been hunting us since I escaped, and Mikhail betrayed them.

What they don’t know is that we have a plan.

Of course, nothing about our scheme is easy.

We thought the monsters were our most deadly hurdle. But building a bomb large enough to wipe out an entire species is tricky. One wrong move and we could destroy everyone living in New York instead.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

A: Promoting my book. I’m not good at waving the “buy my book” flag. While I’m great at waving it for other authors, doing that for myself is awkward for me. I’ve never been a great advocate for my work. But I’m trying to overcome that particular hurdle.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

A: Seeing stunning cover art. I’m a cover whore. I have amassed more covers than the books I have already written, so I have quite a long backlist of stories to write along with short ideas for the story for most of them. Covers spark ideas for me and that starts the process. It is rare now that I start a story without a cover already in the bag.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

A: Because it is so fresh for me right now, I’d steal Laura Thalassa’s ability to suck the reader into the story. I have tried to dissect her stories, but every single time I do, her books just suck me into the story and that objective critic gets trampled. Besides, she can string together such beautiful prose.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

A: Trust me, I know I’ve put you through the gauntlet, but you are strong and will eventually find your way out of all these hellish situations… well, maybe you will. Just look on the bright side. I haven’t killed you yet.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

A: All the shiny things including weapons. The dragon will win, because he covets shiny things, and he might just cheat to get them.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

A: Telling versus showing. That is one of the basic story-telling elements that new writers fail at. I certainly did when I started, but this falls back to question 5 above and the ability to suck people into a story which all stems from making the reader care about the characters or the situation and then hooks them with visceral elements to play with the reader’s emotions. It’s a dance of words that truly can make or break a story.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

A: Taking over the world is overrated. Too much responsibility for a girl who just wants to have fun. 😊

Website: https://jetaylor75.com/

FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/JETaylor

Twitter: @JETaylor75

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/J-E-Taylor/e/B003FER8M6

William Tchatchou,

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Currently trying to work on The Boy King, Book 2 and figuring out what to do with a short story I wrote years ago set in the same universe.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

I’m a new author so the only thing I’ve published was Hotel of Madness so far. Now Hotel started out as a “what if” story where I explored what would happen if zombies invaded a anime convention but then I decided to do a little more with the premise and give the zombie outbreak a supernatural bend. And from there I figure why not throw in a supernatural detective type to save the world from zombies and the many angle ones.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Well I don’t really plan things so my writing process is a bit chaotic. It’s really chapter by chapter and sometimes premises change drastically if I don’t have a good “feeling” about what I’m writing. When in doubt I always try to think to myself “What is the most interesting part of this story?” and just right that instead of worrying over “well I got to go from point A to 1.a before I can go to point B”.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

That moment when you finish a chapter and you’re not sure if it’s a good place to drop off the reader but at the same time you feel “done” and you feel proud of yourself.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Charlie Huston ability to write an asshole, the effortless ability to delve into nerdy topics like Charles Stross, and the Stephan Kings ability to write the mundane.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I hope he understands that every second he buys for life on earth there is someone somewhere that is grateful even if they don’t know it. And maybe that is a small constellation prize but if we had to switch places I’d take that.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Well I’m bad at poker so, it’ll be between my main character Arthur Curry and Will Wight, Cradle Series main guy Lindon. The stakes is the Arthur’s copy of the Necronomicon and Lindon’s crafting talent. They’d both cheat but Arthur has a slight advantage due being able manipulate probability.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I’d say don’t be bogged down in all the details. We are all tempted to throw the kitchen sink at our world building and characters and sometimes that’s necessary and sometimes it really isn’t.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I need the Gorillaz to have an album as good as Demon Days so I can write another book.

 

Anthony Tonelli

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.
I am currently working on “Republica” which is book 2 of The Dominion Series as well as doing the publicity work for “Legacy” which is Book 1 and just came out on April 13th.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.


Legacy is a story that takes place in 2 time periods. Part of the story takes place during the Revolutionary War in New York City.  The other part takes place in 2275, also in New York City.  The central character is named Cleon Strong who is sent back in time to ensure that the colonists win the war.  He has a huge secret that he reveals to the Founding Fathers early in the story and makes them trust him.  When the machine that sent him and his associate there malfunctions, it threatens to leave them stranded in time.  The team in 2275 works furiously to bring them back and in the process uncover a plot to bring the whole organization down.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)
EDITING!!! LOL!

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?
Getting that spark for an idea.  I have done 5,000-word sessions where I just wrote straight through because the ideas kept coming in.  Those are the best writing days and eventually the worst editing days because you write so fast that you make a lot of grammatical errors.

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)
Serling’s irony.  It made The Twilight Zone awesome

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?
In Legacy I started the story of Marcus but in Republica, his arc takes centre stage. I have put him in a tough spot so if he kidnaps me I would try to convince him that in the end he will be grateful because of the lessons he learns.

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?
I’m not sure what the stakes would be but I would bet on Annabelle or Raymond Prince winning.  I feel that great spies can make great poker players because they can act so well.

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)
Trying to get it perfect initially.  Sometimes you need to rewrite some things.  In my case, my wife was my editor.  She isn’t a sci-fi geek per se, so she read it as someone outside the genre and gave me some ideas that made it stronger when I rewrote the section(s). Also, be thick skinned.  If someone else reads it and says something negative about your story, it isn’t the end of the world.  Some is constructive feedback some is not.  Use what improves your story and discard the rest.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Links:
Website: anthonytonelli.com (my blog is on there)
Facebook: A World of His Own
Twitter; @AWORLDOFHISOWN2
IG: anthonytonelliauthor

Legacy came out on April 13th
Legado (Spanish Version) comes out on April 20th
Republica is tentatively scheduled for August 17th release
All available on Amazon Kindle
Favorite chocolate cake recipe: none.  I love them all! LOL

Sean P. Valiente

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m currently working on the marketing aspects of self-publishing my first book, The Lighting Knight, and working on the second book in the series. I’m already five chapters in, and it’s pretty exciting!

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

My first book, The Lighting Knight, is currently out. It’s been a labour of love for a few years and I’m really excited about it. It’s a classic fantasy book the vein of an Eragon, but it really focuses on the characters and perspective around them. It’s got your dragons and elves and magic and knights, but at its core it’s really a story about that hyper focus teenage love that feels so intense but also so fleeting. And it’s about friendships and identity and a hero’s journey but flipped on its head.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

My least favourite part of the writing process has definitely been the editing portion with a professional editor. Not so much that it was bad, but rather my editor, in making my manuscript awesome, cut a bunch of my more flowery and puffery language that served no purpose other than I loved it. I miss my fluff, but to be a proper and professional manuscript, it needed to go.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love the actual writing portion, especially with a fantasy series. I’ll be writing and then think of something for book six and lay a breadcrumb about it in book one and giggle to myself and then go tell my wife who has no idea what’s going on but gives me the cursory “That’s nice honey.”

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.) I think I would steal a few things: Brent Weeks Plotting, Tolkien’s prose, GRRM worldbuilding, and Rowling’s love of adverbs.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I would explain that in order to grow, sometimes life doesn’t always go according to plan. But in the end, it’ll be okay. Or maybe it won’t, I haven’t written that part yet 

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The Black Prism’s main protagonist, Gavin Guile, against Oliver Quartermaine, the stakes are political control. While Gavin might be better at politics and leadership, Oliver would win in any game of poker, because he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve (or to be more precise, in his mind).

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.) I don’t know if I would say I have an area of expertise, but one trap I would say to avoid, and this goes for all writers, is to try your best to avoid imposter syndrome at all costs. It’s so hard not to think you’ve written absolute garbage but chances are, you haven’t, and you need to tell yourself that sometimes.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

My favourite youtube soundtrack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqOfPkHGq9U&t=6148s&ab_channel=PandoraJourney

CF WELBURN. Everyone calls me Dave. Sorry, that was the template. Everyone calls me, Craig.

 

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

 

I’ve just released/am releasing my first grimdark book on Oct 5th! It’s got axes and swans and snow and lots of blood and swearing. I’d best describe it as a revenge meets chosen-one mashup… with a nordic/fairytale twist.

 

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way. 

 

My main series the Ashen Levels is epic/dark fantasy. It has subtle elements of gamelit in that the magic system was based around gaming mechanics. You do not have to be a gamer to enjoy it, though. In fact I nearly always think of it as being epic fantasy. If you like strange races, unpredictable plotlines, mystery and lots of conniving characters, you might like this…

My new book is called I Shall Return with Winter (ISRWW – for future reference!), and as I said above, it’s an epic, grimdark, revenge, chosen-one tale and looking to be book 1 of a series…

I’ve also written a couple of novellas, called the Linguist (think Poe), and Toybox (think Black Mirror).

 

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

 

Marketing has always been my achilles heel… I like to think that over the six years I’ve been self-publishing I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks, but I still feel like a fish out of water.

 

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

 

I enjoy most stages of the writing process. I love a good rough draft. I’m usually stumbling with my characters and as shocked and surprised as they are… But I like the satisfaction of going back, tightening it up, layering it and making it look like I knew what I was doing all along!

 

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)


JK Rowling’s ability to buy a private island.

 

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best? 

 

I’d probably blackmail him. I’m writing a sequel, you know. Things could either go very well, or very badly for you. By the way, you’re paying for the drinks, right? 

 

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

 

Well, I would lose, for sure. I love Poker, but things never quite go the way I intend. Oben, form ISRWW might win, if it was in the prophecy that he do so. Despite what he wants/tries to change, his fate is always just beyond his control… The last book I read was Og-Grim-Dog. Yeah, a three-headed ogre has to win. They could come up with ingenious bluffs, arguing with each other.

 

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

 

Time for me has always been one of the most difficult things to manage. I am quite organised, but on the slow side and have so many hobbies and projects waiting on the sidelines… The last year has been hectic with a new addition to the family, but now my son has finally started nursery, I’m hoping to take advantage of the mornings!

 

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe. 

 

Thanks for your time!

My new book (ISRWW) is out oct 5th and will be on sale for 5 days. If you are quick you can snap it up here for less than a cheap coffee: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09F3VJQL7

If you are interested in my current and upcoming projects you can sign up here for infrequent and sporadic emails.
www.cfwelburn.com

Dave Temperance Welch. Everybody calls me Dave. Or Supa…

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m currently working on getting all these novels prepared for release. And I’m also working on some new digital art for the MOS facebook fans.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

These novels are… I’d like to say that they are ground breaking but, a lot of novels are ground breaking. My approach to ground breaking is a little left field here. The Evolving Crane series is designed to speak to our times. They are a mix of Star Wars, Belly, LGBT, Religion, Mortal Kombat, General Hospital and Tombstone all wrapped up into one.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

I’d say the money in the bank, part. I’m really not concerned with that. I just want to tell a good story on the way to the bank.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

The Rough draft! Awww man! The Rough Draft does it for me everytime.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)


Honestly I
wouldn’t. I’m happy those guys have a style. I dont copy-cat. Even if I could.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Ha! That’s crazy.

First, I’d beg them to untie me. Then I’d convince them to let me take them out for dinner. Afterwhich, we’d go back home and they’ll pass out as soon as we walk into the house cause I put some visine in their wine. When they wake up, tied to a treadmill, me and the antagonist will be playing Mario Kart. I’ll turn the treadmill on and everytime I lose in Mario Kart, I’ll increase the speed on the treadmill. The whole time I’ll explain to them both that the decisions that I made were because of the Carbon Event and to increase sales and the likelihood of you guys getting your own tv show I had to drag you both through the mud. After I finally win in Mario Kart, I will release the main character and we’ll all go out for ice cream.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

My mom’s house is on the line. I suck at poker and I think the protagonist of the last book I read was Jesus soooo….

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

The main trap is distraction. Cause once you get in that writing zone, everything flows. I’d say avoid those distractions and let your creativity run wild.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

The Singularity is real, hence the Xaris takeover. I pushed my release dates back to generate more of a buzz.

Look out for Evolving Crane on Amazon.

Book One Evolivng Crane launches August the 31st. Book 2 and 3 follow consecutively a month after each other.

Men of Sluggz | Facebook

https://dl.bookfunnel.com/1tur31pi8o

https://www.subscribepage.com/menofsluggz

Joanna White

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Haha, that is very true! At the moment I’m writing Light Magi, Book Two of my Republic Chronicles. A lot of people would consider it sci-fi, but I insist that it’s just high fantasy. I don’t like technology, so I’m using magic. I built an entire galaxy with tons of races and planets and I’m having a blast with my mage characters saving the galaxy from trouble. I decided to take my time and focus on it for a while, since I did the million word challenge last year and wrote a new novel every two weeks during 2020. So, I needed a bit of a relaxing, fun break, haha.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Well, Volcano is my next release and it came out on March 23rd. It’s book one in my Calamity’s Hope Series, which is a series of standalone romances that end in natural disasters. I love the story and it’s about a famous YouTuber, Liam, who took a bad injury and can no longer do the dangerous thrill-seeking adventures he’s used to. So, his best friend takes him to a vacation on Hawaii to try to help him, but they have no idea that the worst volcanic eruption in Hawaii’s history is about to happen.

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Marketing! Oooof, trying to gain readers and convince them to buy your book without sounding salesy or pushy is something that is so hard for me too and sometimes a bit frustrating. That and editing, but I think marketing is worse, for me.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

The writing part lol. I can lose myself for hours in a story, which is why I write so much, I suppose. I escape into the world and get so involved with the plots and characters; I write what I want to read but I also get to experience the story as well and it’s an amazing feeling. It also makes me feel closer to God when I’m creating things. It’s like a sliver of His creativity, since He created everything, which still blows my mind when I think about it.

  1. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Cassandra Clare’s descriptions of places. Oh my goodness. When you read any of her stuff, you get so immersed into the scene because there’s paragraphs of details that you can’t get unless you’re there. I don’t know if she travels or is just that good, but I wish, wish, wish my description skills were like hers.

  1. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Hehe. I can’t. I’m going to die. Kyren would kill me. And then blame me for making him… dark. LOL. There is no chance I would make it through this alive—nothing I could say would change his mind.

  1. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Well, the last book I read was called Love and A Little White Lie, I believe and the MC was a woman named January. My MCs are Kyren, Kaian, Ayka, and Chi. Kyren, Kaian, and Chi are Magi (mage users who protect the galaxy from evil) and Ayka is a Diplomat (a senator who helps run the Republic that governs the galaxy). Goodness me; we are likely playing for money, I suppose, not that I gamble. I think Kyren and Kaian would gamble, but I don’t think Chi or Ayka would. January might gamble. None of my MCs know anything about poker, since in my galaxy they have a gambling game called Mirzakki. If we were playing it then, Kyren would likely win. He’s a bit better at it than Kaian, but it would be a close call. But with poker, probably January. She’s from modern earth like me, but likely would know more about poker than me. So, I’m going to say her. We would all lose our money, LOL.

  1. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Probably avoiding repetitive plot ideas at all cost. My area of expertise is writing a lot and doing it pretty quickly. So, the risk with that is that you write so many books that your ideas may start to feel very similar. So, I always try to think of a new way to spice up ideas so I don’t do the same thing over and over again. I have a tendency to do that with ideas I love, so it can be a bit of a challenge.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Haha, no plots to take over the world because I’m too lazy, but Volcano is out and available for pre order. You can get it from Amazon or directly from me (which helps because then I receive all the royalties rather than part of them).

Volcano from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08TB8T1NL

Volcano from me: https://authorjoannawhite.com/product/volcano-ebook/

And feel free to join my fangroup on Facebook because we play games and have giveaways and memes for nerds (especially Star Wars fans like me). https://www.facebook.com/groups/jwwarriors

Katharine E. Wibell.

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Currently, I am working on two different book series. The first is a dark, Viking novella series for adults entitled The Guardian’s Speaker while the other is a high fantasy adventure for young adults, The Djed Chronicles.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Well, The Incarn Saga is my debut new adult shifter fantasy series. In Issaura’s Claws, the first of four books, vicious marauders from across the sea are approaching the kingdom of Elysia. To fend off this grave threat, a draft is initiated, requiring one member from every household to enlist. However, the kingdom consists of two races who begrudgingly co-exist—the Theriomorphs, which are the native shifters, and the ruling humans. If there is any hope that the kingdom will survive, both races must set aside their differences and learn to truly trust one another and work together, but time is short and the enemy is near.

The Djed Chronicles is a young adult series set in a multiverse that contains twelve vibrant worlds that host what we perceive as magic. However, two combatting forces are shifting the balance that protects the universe and threatens all life. Total annihilation can only be prevented if the Djed, the prophesied hero, is discovered and proven true. And the next Djed is predicted to be a child of Earth.

Earth is not one of these magicked worlds, and the people living on that planet are unaware of the mighty and powerful entities that exist elsewhere. Can you imagine how thirteen-year-old Katie feels when she awakens on a world not her own and is suspected of being this next Djed? The proof lies in completing a difficult and dangerous task on each of the magicked worlds. Yet if she succeeds, her success will confirm the threat of a devastating and unavoidable war.

My final series, The Guardian’s Speaker, is based in Norse mythology where nine realms exist amid the boughs and roots of Yggdrasil, the world tree. Líf is not like her warrior siblings. Instead of being respected, she is often considered an outcast and shunned, for she was born with the ability to see and communicate with each person’s fylgja—their animal-shaped, guardian spirits. Her quiet life on the outskirts of society is quickly put to an end when she meets another who has a similar gift as hers. Yet this man brings a warning—a plague is coming that will kill all mankind, and only he can stop it. But he is a slave, and he is not hers to free. This novella series is written for adult readers since it is dark and violent.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

I think that the final formatting of the book is my least favourite aspect. It is very detailed oriented but gives me little satisfaction. I will also add that I am still learning how to better market my works to new readers. That is an essential skill that I have yet to master.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love that question! For me, I love writing action scenes for my books. All my stories are epic, high fantasy, and I do enjoy chase and battle scenes. From initial concept to final development, these parts are exciting to write.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Another good question. Though I would usually claim Tolkien’s ability to take old Norse myth and repurpose it into something new, I will actually choose Stephen King since I am currently reading It. I am absolutely fascinated at how he deconstructed the traditional, linear storytelling process and found new ways to approach writing a novel. For anyone who does not know, it is written with two parallel timelines that not only relate and build upon each other but also create a tension when the sections move from one timeline to the next. As I near the climax of the book, the sections are shorter and shorter and remind me of watching a movie that has several different characters with their own trials all occurring at once. Though there is a lot of jumping around, there is also a method to the order in which the story segments are presented. I would like to one day challenge myself to approach the plot for a book or a series in a way that is not chronologically linear.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Since I am working on two series simultaneously, I will choose Líf from The Guardian’s Speaker. If I had to talk this young woman into releasing me, I would remind her that in her own belief system, the Norns—three female entities in Norse mythology—control all fate and that the entire history of existence is predetermined all the way to the end of times aka Ragnarök. In other words, Líf’s fate was already pre-ordained by the Norns, and I am merely sharing her story with others by writing it down.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Well, these card sharks would include Katie of Earth from The Twelve Tasks (Book One of The Djed Chronicles), Líf Lothbransdottír from The Guardian’s Speaker, and the children/adults from It by Stephen King. I’d say they are betting on which of their own realities survives. The stakes are terrifying, although interesting, since each deals with destiny in his or her own way. As for the winner, that would be hard to say. Unfortunately, I might have to bet on the children/adults from It since they would work together to eliminate both Katie and Líf. I cringe to think about that.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I try to catch myself when I fixate on a trendy word. What I mean is that on occasion, I will subconsciously select a word or phrase which I am in love with and overuse it throughout the book. Thankfully, this is typically solved when I read the entire manuscript aloud in one or two sittings. That’s when I hear my repetitiveness and can tweak the verbiage so that I don’t sound too redundant.

When world building, I recommend making detailed notes so that you do not forget if some character you introduced in chapter two has brown or blue eyes as you near the end of the book. This is especially critical when working with a series of full-length books that deal with dozens to hundreds of characters, worlds, and magical systems.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Well here are a couple fun facts about me:

  1. I used to be a competitive archer.

  2. I was a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for the state of Georgia for several years.

  3. My dog, Alli, is a survivor of oral cancer where she lost a part of her lower jaw. Her tongue might loll, but she is a completely happy goofball.

  4. I am also a reverse glass painter: https://katharinewibell.wixsite.com/kwibellart

My upcoming literary goal is to release the fourth volume of The Guardian’s Speaker, the second book of The Djed Chronicles and my first audiobook of Issaura’s Claws before the end of the year. The Guardian’s Speaker Volume Three is currently on pre-order and will be released on August 20th.

Another thing to note is that all my books are currently available through Kindle Unlimited! If you are interested in my books, you can check out my website or follow me on any of my social media platforms. You can also signup for my newsletter! Those that do will receive two exclusive short stories along with samples of three of my other works.

Website: https://www.katharinewibellbooks.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Katharine-E-Wibell/e/B01MQQIPGN/
Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/KatharineEWibell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KatharineWibell

KT Wilder

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Right now, I’m working on the sequel to my first novel Between Worlds. I have another project that is unofficially being called The Story of Us.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Between Worlds is my debut novel. I self published it back in July. The story starts ten years after a virus appeared out of nowhere and destroyed massive amounts of the population. The majority of what is left are those that were children during the first outbreak. Our protagonist, Faelyn, is one of the guardians who monitor and protect the remaining peoples with her creature partner, Celestin. Together they are one of the only guardian pairs classified as rangers, spending their time travelling and surveying. Things come crashing down for them when signs of the virus return and Faelyn runs into someone from her past who should be dead.

The Story of Us is actually a multi-arc and definitely multiple novel story about a family rooted deep in the tradition of managing supernatural creatures. It focuses on the parents first, primarily the hedgewitch matriarch Benirah Haze and how her family starts – with a horse. Benirah and her husband Henry have eight biological children and each end up affected by the supernatural in one way or another. Vampires, werewolves, witches, professional equestrians, nurses, geniuses, field researchers, immortals, and falling through universes… it’s an exciting story about the importance of family and home, even if family isn’t always blood.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Editing! Editing my first manuscript was a nightmare. I did everything in google docs and it did me no favors. I wrote this story over the course of 10 years so by the time I was in draft 8, I was filling notebooks to make sure the story stayed straight. A close second would be naming characters, but editing takes the cake.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

When I get so immersed in writing a scene that I can’t stop. It doesn’t happen all the time, but that moment where I will literally let the room get dark around me and forgo sleep even though I have to work the next day. When I blink and it’s 5 am? I LIVE for those moments!

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Sarah J. Maas’s characterization skills. I adore her books and the characters are so unique and well written. Her newest book has completely blown me away and once again she is showering us readers with excellent characters to cry over.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Oh goodness. This could be bad, I put Faelyn through a lot! My reasoning would be “It’s going to hurt but it’s going to make you strong. In the end, everything falls into place. I don’t write sad endings, and I can promise yours is one of my happiest!”

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

The last book I read, or rather re-read, was A Natural History of Dragons. With my characters and Lady Elizabeth, she would probably win. Celestin would cheat. Warren would have just learned how to play and would not be exceptionally good at hiding his expressions. Faelyn would suggest using the power charged crystals every guardian uses day to day – Faelyn would give Elizabeth some of hers so she could play – though I have a feeling Elizabeth would also be interested in Celestin’s tail feathers. Or any of Faelyn’s energy activated weapons, books, or other items of interest she happened to be carrying at the time.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Something I originally got caught up with while world building was being too specific in details that really weren’t important. While it’s good to be detailed in world building, there’s a point of over explaining that sort of begins to loop. As the writer its important to lay a framework so things make sense, but its not my job to do the thinking for my readers. Sometimes its best to leave things vague and let the reader’s imagination fill in the rest. There’s a comic called ‘Cow Tools’ published in 1982 by a man named Gary Larson and its an excellent example of this.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I do have an amazing roasted peaches and lavender recipe that I will share because it is life changing.

http://www.tarteletteblog.com/2012/06/recipe-gluten-free-roasted-peaches-and.html

I’d also like to share my facebook page. I have a lot of fun with it! Each week I share a blog post on a random topic, moodboards for characters, places and creatures, as well as songs from the soundtrack I put together. There’s also lots of memes.

https://facebook.com/ktWild.r

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

Honestly, I have several children’s books that I have placed on hold (including the continuation of my first published book) while I focus on obtaining my BA, continue to get speaking engagements, and work two part time jobs.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Kingdom of Grace”: as a classically inspired fairy tale that leaves the reader wondering what comes next comes a poignant illustrated tale introducing two queens, one lonely king, and a battle for the spiritual health of a kingdom.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Having to spend so much time working outside of writing to keep money in the bank.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

The beautiful moments which are stress free, you can allow your mind to wander, and give your imagination a chance to be written down.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Amy Sherman-Palladino because she is so awesome! She has an incredible way of jamming so many genres, social class innuendos, and pop culture references into such a short area of her witty writing.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

As painful as the process is to give it to God and continue moving forward, it will all be worth it. Nothing worth having comes easy.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

I want to say: Me and my main character because neither of us is giving up and have God on our side. However, I don’t gamble so it is possible God would let that one go to the evil side. LOL

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

Giving up your writing time to pursue things that do not bring you the same happiness at the cost you are getting in return unless an emergency.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

My blog: https://mylegacyforchristopher.com

Sidney Williams

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m working on a novel called Long Waltz, a mystery with a touch of the speculative. It’s the follow-up to my new novel Fool’s Run. In that book, my hero, Si Reardon, is a cop down on his luck who finds himself wrangling with powerful people. He’s in Florida in Long Waltz, and he becomes involved in a cold case related to a film being shot on the Florida coast. He has to weave his way into the world of A-list stars and Hollywood power players and deal with what may be the ghost of the girl lost long ago. Once again he has to rely on wits and guile to navigate the situation.

I’m also always working on short stories because I love the form. I have some new ones out, some making the rounds and more on the drawing board.

  1. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

    I have quite a few. I began writing in the horror paperback era in the late 1980s. My backlist has been re-issued by Crossroad Press. In the last few years, I’ve written a dark fantasy high adventure called Disciples of the Serpent. That’s about Aileen O’Donnell, a member of Ireland’s Special Detective Unit. She’s used to pursuing potential terrorists, and she finds herself in a race through the ruins of Irish holy sites, seeking fragments of a lost language. Cultists want the language too to possibly unlock something long sleeping, something that could be devastating to the Emerald Isle and the world. It’s terrorism of a different type, and she works with the Orphic Crisis Logistical Task Force, The O.C.L.T., a group featured in a number of Crossroad novels by various authors. Aileen works with the O.C.L.T. operative Geoffrey Bulfinch, a folklorist with an adventurous spirit.
    Fool’s Run was released in late fall and received a nice review in Publisher’s Weekly (https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-952979-82-8

  1. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Feeling my way through the first draft. It’s a love-hate thing since I really love creating. I’m a reformed pantser, but no matter how much I plan and outline, I’m still on a journey of discovery with a work. It’s fun, but some days it’s inching my way forward in the dark. I wish it could always be a wonderful sprint, but it’s often a marathon with occasional bursts that propel me forward.

  1. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

Generating ideas, researching and learning new things. I think plotting is probably the heavy lifting to switch to a different metaphor. There’s an exhilaration in the first stages of developing a new work or generating an idea. Reading is a way of priming as well, and I love taking the time to read a great short story or novel. Reading is really a part of my process.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Maybe John D. MacDonald’s ease in diving into characters and their back stories. I think it fuelled Stephen King, and it is evident in some of MacDonald’s non-Travis McGee books.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Aileen O’Donnell from Disciples of the Serpent lost her police officer father to really random chance. A bullet managed to get past his Kevlar vest and took his life. She’s impetuous because of that, maybe even reckless. She’d be the most likely to precipitate something like you’re suggesting. So, I have to tell her, sorry I plunged her into the action of the story and out of her normal life for the excitement of it.

“Look, Aileen, it’s like this. I thought it’d be really cool. But, beyond that, consider this, you were in kind of a rut ferreting out terrorists or wannabe terrorists. I showed you a whole new, strange world you never knew existed. You met new people. You got to see a bit of the countryside, visit historic places and put your skills and impetuous nature to work. Sure, you had to fight monsters, but personally, you seem to have grown a lot.”

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Hmm, that would be Noemí Taboada from Mexican Gothic. She and Aileen are both prone to forge ahead, I guess, face difficult situations head on. Noemí is warned off a lot but keeps going. If they both had their personal fortunes in the pot, it would make for an interesting game. I don’t think Noemí would be bluffed or dissuaded, but Aileen would keep pressing. She’d play each hand to the hilt, keep a true poker face and keep raising even though Noemí’s wealth would far exceed Aileen’s.

Noemí would be worried about what her father thought, and if they had a bargain going in like a graduate degree she wanted, she’d be cautious and work to counter Aileen’s moves. She’d watch carefully for bluffs, but Aileen would be so all in with a good hand or bad, a tell would be hard to spot.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I’d say work carefully. Don’t hesitate to put words on the page, but work to pay attention to craft as well as speed. Polish in the second draft. In plotting, you might have to take some turns you didn’t expect, but it helps if you know the destination. Get that in mind and then set off and discover the course that takes you there.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I’m a bit laid back, kind of like Si Reardon, so I’ll keep world conquest on the back burner. I want to get good things into the stream. I want to keep striving for greatness. I re-read an old interview with Harlan Ellison the other day. He said there would always be a professional standard to his work, but now and then something exceptional like a “Jefty is Five” would crop up. I want to tell the best stories I can right now while putting forth the effort to discover greatness along the way. I tell friends I haven’t quite knocked one out of the park like I’d like to, so I keep swinging. Another metaphor, oh well.

  1. Robert G. Williscroft—author of Slingshot, the book under consideration. (See the summary below.)

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I am halfway through the Second Oort Chronicle:
Federation—To the Stars. This is the second of three planned novels in The Oort Chronicles. The first, Icicle—A Tensor Matrix, was published in 2020. Here is a blurb for Icicle:

Braxton Thorpe has discovered a threat to the entire Solar System, but he has a problem: he’s dead.

Frozen at death, he awakens to find himself uploaded into an electronic matrix. Exploring beyond the matrix and the larger GlobalNet, he discovers the Oort, a distributed electronic entity older than humanity, with an unnerving secret: aliens wiped out nearly all life on Earth once, and are coming back to do it again.

The mathematical entity that is Thorpe has to find a way to convince humans of the threat, and in time to do something about it. But how, and what?

If you’ve read Niven’s A World Out of Time or Taylor’s We Are Legion, the opening of Icicle will only seem familiar. Buckle up for a wild ride; you ain’t seen nothing. 

Here is a blurb for Federation (to be released later this year):

The Oort Federation has consolidated its governance throughout the Solar System. Phoenix, under Braxton Thorpe (the Icicle), is a Solar System powerhouse controlling portals and non-portal travel everywhere. Ogden Enterprises, under Daphne O’Bryan and Kimberly Deveraux, controls human upload activity. Udachny, under Isidor Orlov, controls Solar System criminal activities while independently developing FTL, portal system, and human upload technology. Masin Arcah and Adrhun Gloalorn, survivors from the Asterian attack on the Solar System, choose sides—Arcah with Phoenix and Gloalorn with Udachny.

Thorpe and Orlov race to complete the first true FTL starship; their immediate goal is the Aster star system, the origin of the attack on the Solar System described in Icicle. Thorpe intends to establish cooperation between humans and Asterians. Orlov seeks to exploit the Asterians.

When the expeditions arrive in the Aster star system, Phoenix establishes a relationship with Arcah’s homeworld, Rogan, a planet operating as a wide-open, virtually no-government society. Orlov commences exploiting Gloalorn’s homeworld, Frohlic, ruled by the Boss, heading a many-thousand-year-old, planet-wide bureaucracy. Over time, bureaucratic Frohlic overwhelms Orlov, whereas Thorpe and the Roganians advance Phoenix stardrive technology and construct a large-scale starship for a planned expedition to explore the Galaxy and beyond.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

NOTE: All my books are featured on my book website: https://RobertWilliscroft.com

The Mac McDowell Missions:

Operation Ivy Bells (2019): A super-secret, off-the-books spy organization; a security-clearance starting at Top Secret and going up from there; an attack by giant squid during a thousand-foot dive while breathing an exotic gas; a cat’s whisker escape from death during a three-day decompression – and that’s just the first two chapters of Operation Ivy Bells, before the action really gets underway. 
    In a fast-paced, personal narrative, J.R. “Mac” MacDowell details a breathtaking series of events during a super-secret intelligence gathering operation at the height of the Cold War. Riding the nuclear submarine Halibut, Mac and his saturation diving team surreptitiously enter the Soviet-controlled Sea of Okhotsk on a proof-of-concept mission. They install a tap on an underwater communications cable at 400 feet, and narrowly escape death when a storm snaps Halibut’s anchor cables. They retrieve missile parts from a Soviet missile-test splash-zone, getting caught in a sonar-web set by the crafty skipper of an old Soviet diesel submarine. Mac’s divers temporarily disable the sub, and Halibut escapes to Guam, dogged by the sub Skipper.
​     Having proved the concept, they return in a Halibut outfitted with skids so she can sit on the bottom to attach a 12-thousand-pound pod to the cable for future retrieval. In the missile splash-zone, they lock in deadly underwater combat with Soviet divers. With the free world at stake, they capture one and kill the rest. Halibut’s submariners and saturation divers finally return home without ever publicly revealing their crucial contribution to winning the Cold War, receiving an unpublicized Presidential Unit Citation.

Operation Ice Breaker (2020): A super-secret, off-the-books submarine operation during the Cold War. In a fast-paced, personal narrative, J.R. “Mac” MacDowell details a breathtaking series of events during a super-secret acoustic array laying operation under the Arctic ice pack at the height of the Cold War. Riding the nuclear submarine USS Teuthis, Mac and his saturation diving team surreptitiously enter the frozen Arctic waters to place two Top Secret SOSUS arrays on the seafloor under the ice pack. They face a giant Camaneroceras (thought to be long extinct), polar bears, Greenland sharks, Orcas, and other hungry marine critters. They are dogged by a high-performance new Soviet nuclear submarine that is determined to prevent Teuthis from laying the arrays.
​     Mac and his team find themselves in an under-ice, hand-to-hand battle with Soviet divers that results in the surreptitious capture of one of the Soviet subs inside U.S. territorial waters.

Operation Arctic Sting (to be released in Jun 2021): While Mac McDowell is with his sweetheart, Kate, in Kodiak, Alaska, they are attacked by a Soviet sleeper cell and nearly killed because of Mac’s involvement in the take-over of the stranded Soviet Alfa sub off Pt. Barrow, Alaska. Mac and his team return to the stricken Alfa on the nuclear sub USS Teuthis. Using the DSRV Mystic, they board and assume control of the Soviet sub. For the next 31 days, they drive the nearly automated sub through the Arctic ice pack, harassed by Soviet subs whose mission is to retake or sink the Alfa. With a non-functional reactor, they are forced to recharge the Alfa’s batteries daily while submerged under the ice pack, using divers from Teuthis. They confront determined Soviet sub skippers, Soviet Spetsnaz divers, hostile marine life—Orcas, Polar Bears, Greenland Sharks, and a harsh Arctic winter under the ice pack.

Their survival depends on overcoming all these obstacles, and making it out alive is not guaranteed.

Operation White Out (2021): Background info: In the mid-to-late-1980s, Taiwan, the ROC (Republic of China), was transitioning from a strong-man government to representative democracy. Taiwan was also building up its military, and in particular, was looking to build a small fleet of submarines. Japan, India, Holland, and even South Korea got into the act. It’s only recently that we, the US, paved the way for Taiwan building its own small sub fleet. Who is to say, however, whether a lot has been going on behind the scenes. Furthermore, because the PRC (People’s Republic of China—the Chicoms) became such an international threat (and bully), Taiwan has lost a lot of international support, including ours (officially). Taiwan has had nuclear reactors since 1953. The Taiwanese are fully capable of building a nuclear sub. In fact, they have been so since the late 1970s. Taiwan’s greatest liability is a shortage of oil. It gets its oil from the Middle East and some from Africa, but oil in Taiwan is in short supply.

Preliminary plot summary: Mac and USS Teuthis are assigned to lay SOSUS arrays off the coast of Antarctica, looking into the Atlantic and Pacific. Part of this task requires installation of a mountain-top relay tower. Mac and his team accomplish this and experience a full, Antarctic white-out (hence, the title). During one array’s emplacement, they discover a Taiwanese underwater facility on the ocean bottom at accessible depth under the permanent ice shelf. The automated facility is pumping subsurface oil into a temporary underwater storage facility. Large fully automated underwater (submarine) tankers receive oil from the storage facility for underwater transport back to Taiwan. Mac and his team explore the facility, discovering its Taiwan connection. While they are there, a PDRK sub (or Chicom or Soviet) appears with the intent of usurping the facility for their own use. Mac and Teuthis prevent this and then are directed to accompany the tanker back to Taiwan, surreptitiously. During the transit, they are dogged by a couple of Soviet subs as Chicom allies, DPRK submarine activity, and even Chicom subs.

Political complications of the claimed overlapping Antarctic territorial “wedges,” the Antarctic Treaty, the US South Pole Base, and the Soviet bases in each of the claimed territories paint a canvas where much can happen. I would want to keep things within known historical parameters, but who really knows what has happened behind the scenes and under the ice?

The Starchild Trilogy:

Slingshot (2018): Slingshot is a love story – about a man, a woman, another man, another woman, some gender bending…and a machine, the largest ever built.

     Slingshot is a mystery – about a missing aviatrix, a conspiracy, a true-believer. Slingshot is an adventure – about following a dream, the ocean-deep, outer space.
    
Slingshot is about constructing the first space launch-loop stretching 2,600 km between Baker and Jarvis Islands in the Equatorial Pacific. It’s about high finance, intrigue, unlimited ambition, heroism, fanaticism, betrayal…and about opening space to the common person.
    With a cast of 69, 
Slingshot takes you from Seattle’s world financial district, to the ocean bottom at 5,000 feet off Baker Island, to the edge of space 80 km above. You play with dolphins and battle sharks. You fly and sail and dive, you work and play and love across the vast panorama of an Equatorial Pacific being put to leash to serve humanity’s surge into outer space.
    While its accurate science and precise engineering will appeal to hard science-fiction buffs, 
Slingshot’s major focus is the grand journey, the opening of outer space to the common person by men and women who loom larger than life as they work, play, and love.

The Starchild Compact (2018): The Starchild Compact is an adventure of heroic proportions, commencing on a planet 500 lightyears distant, arriving here just a few years from now, and ending up in the far distant expanses of the Universe.

    Is Saturn’s moon Iapetus an artifact? To find out, Jon Stock takes his international exploration team on a 1.4 billion km journey to Saturn, but will Jihadist stowaway Saeed Ismail succeed in sabotaging the mission? On Iapetus, Jon Stock and his team meet the Founders. Where are they from? How did they get here? How will they impact Earth and the Solar System? 

    Will the Founder’s presence signal the end of humanity, or will it pave the way for a joint push to the distant reaches of the Galaxy?

    The Starchild Compact is hard SciFi reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke or James P. Hogan, with a geopolitical twist worthy of Tom Clancy or Clive Cussler.

The Iapetus Federation (2018): Following the dramatic events in The Starchild Compact, the starship Starchild departs on a 185-year interstellar journey. Meanwhile, the Iapetus Federation in cooperation with the Founders, descendants of the people who originally constructed Iapetus, expands to include the Mirs Complex at L-4, the Lunar Complex, a new habitat being constructed at L-5, the growing Mars settlements, and several asteroids including Daphne and Ceres.
    On Earth, America turns away from its world leadership position to focus on internal matters and the idea of an all-inclusive, multicultural society. Saeed Esmail, the stowaway Jihadist who played a significant role in The Starchild Compact, becomes the guiding prophet of a new form of Islam that quickly dominates the vanquished Persian Caliphate territories, and threatens the rest of the planet. Aided by Founder Asshur, the besieged Israelis reluctantly forge a new homeland on Mars, while the United States balkanizes into a half-dozen smaller units dominated by the Lone Star Conservancy under the leadership of Texan Sam Houston, who had earlier established the Lone Star Settlement on Mars.
    Science does not stand still. Founder researchers develop a longevity treatment that has the potential to extend human life indefinitely. The Starchild Institute, headed by former U.S. President Marc Bowles, develops advanced spacecraft, and a new form of transportation based on artificial wormholes. As the global Jihad on Earth heats up, most of the planet falls under the domination of Saeed Esmail, with only the Lone Star Conservancy, Columbia Freehold, Australia, and New Zealand left as independent territories. The Institute opens evacuation portals between Earth and Iapetus to rescue as many people as possible.
    While Earth sinks into medieval barbarism, the focus of human activity shifts from Earth to the Iapetus Federation as humans settle virtually every potentially habitable spot in the Solar System and begin planning for expansion into the rest of the Galaxy.

The Daedalus Files (Takes place in the Starchild Trilogy universe, but is otherwise stand-alone)

The Daedalus Files (2020): Can you drop from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with just a hardshell wingsuit? Navy SEAL Derek “Tiger” Baily and his SEALS Winged Insertion Command (SWIC) develop an experimental Gryphon hardshell wingsuit that can do just that. Eventually, when the presidential front-runner is seized by pirates for ransom, Baily’s 6-man SWIC team must hurtle around the world, staging critical re-entry for a rescue, challenged to solve life-or-death problems with only seconds to spare. Can they survive? Will they effect the rescue? Join Tiger Baily through all four adventures in sci-fi master Robert G. Williscroft’s Daedalus series, now collected for the first time as The Daedalus Files: SEALS Winged Insertion Command (SWIC).

Starman Jones: A Relativity Birthday Present (2017): A Relativity Birthday Present is the first story in the captivating, educational and beautifully illustrated Starman Jones Series designed to give young readers an intuitive grasp of esoteric scientific concepts like Relativity. It teaches young readers about one of the amazing effects of Relativity.

Starman Jones and Spacepup are anxious to take Baby Billy on their adventurous trips from star to star in their starship, Willywinder. Billy, unfortunately, is too young, so Starman Jones devises a trip to the star Alpha Centauri. During the journey he and Spacepup will travel so fast that time slows down for them on Willywinder, while time progresses normally back on Earth for Baby Billy.

Ultimately, Starman Jones and Spacepup return to Earth nine years later on Billy’s ninth birthday, but they have hardly aged at all. Billy has caught up with them, and can now accompany them on future star trips. It is the best birthday present Billy has ever had  a relativity birthday present.

The Chicken Little Agenda: A scientist takes on the distortions and outright lies foisted on the public! Dr. Robert G. Williscroft firmly establishes that the sky is not falling. By using scientific research and solid reasoning, he explains some of the most disturbing problems facing our nation including global warming, the safety of nuclear power, the politics of education, and the oxymoron of government efficiency. With a clear message, he discerns what is true from what is merely Chicken Little gibberish.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

The editing.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

The research AND the writing itself.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Robert A. Heinlein for his story-telling ability and his wordsmithing

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

What do you mean, “ruined your life”? Because of my stories about you, you are famous and respected in every circle that matters to you and even some you don’t care about. You get free drinks in every O-Club, and admirals rise to their feet when you enter a room. So give me a break—“ruined your life”!

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Table stakes (traditional poker, not this Texas hold ’em stuff). I will win big because I understand how my characters think. As for the protagonist of the Matt Helm novel I read last week, Matt is too easily turned by a pretty face or a nice female superstructure. I would make sure a comely waitress serves drinks, and I would take him to the cleaners.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

We’re talking primarily about a series of novels. When writing the first, it is important to think ahead so you don’t cause difficulty later when you try to remain consistent, novel to novel in the series.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

My SciFi is hard science fiction. This means I must remain true to physics and modern science and engineering in general, even when I project into the future. Things like FTL and portals need to be justified so that they seem reasonable within the story context.

I write my Cold War thrillers about submarine and deep-diving espionage out of my own personal experience. Here, I must remain true to what actually happened, keeping the historical and political elements in mind. I am careful not to introduce technology that did not exist until several years after the story took place.

Book website:https://RoberftWilliscroft.com

Personal website: https://argee.net

Email: rgw@RobertWilliscroft.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.williscroft

Parler: https://parler.com/#/user/RGWilliscroft

Gab: https://gab.com/RWilliscroft

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RGWilliscroft

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/argee/

Blog: https://thrawnrickle.com/

Publisher: https://freshinkgroup.com/author/robertwilliscroft/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Robert-G-Williscroft/e/B001JP52AS

Here is a short bio: Retired submarine officer, deep-sea and saturation diver, scientist, author, and lifelong adventurer. Spent 22 months underwater, a year in the equatorial Pacific, three years in the Arctic ice pack, and a year at the Geographic South Pole. Degrees in Marine Physics and Meteorology, and a doctorate for developing a system to protect SCUBA divers in contaminated water. A prolific author of non-fiction, Cold War thrillers, and hard science fiction. Lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his family.