Tuesday, 28 June 2016

For the Clan by Archer Kay Leah

Archer Kay Leah was raised in Canada, growing up in a port town at a time when it was starting to become more diverse, both visibly and vocally. Combined with the variety of interests found in Archer’s family and the never-ending need to be creative, this diversity inspired a love for toying with characters and their relationships, exploring new experiences and difficult situations. 

Archer most enjoys writing speculative fiction and is engaged in a very particular love affair with fantasy, especially when it is dark and emotionally charged. When not reading and writing for work or play, Archer is a geek with too many hobbies and keeps busy with other creative endeavors, a music addiction, and whatever else comes along. Archer lives in London, Ontario with a same-sex partner and their cat.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

Canada, 2165 AD. The Water Wars and a decimated economy have taken their toll. Anyone who doesn't live in a military-patrolled metropolis lives in a clan. But being in a clan doesn't mean safety. 

And for a Ven like Roan Lee, it doesn't matter where he lives. Safety is a luxury. So is freedom. 

Roan is desperate to escape the governtary's exploitation and torture. He is nothing to them but 54σK1, an artifact born from a genetic mishap. When the chance to escape arises, he makes a run for it—and encounters the lover from his past, twisting his future into a second chance he never expected. 

As leaders of Clan Teach, Jace Ama and his wife, Cayra Diega, have enough difficulty keeping their people safe. When Roan is thrown to their feet as a prisoner, their marriage becomes an additional challenge. Jace still loves Roan, but where does that place Cayra?

Get it today on Less Than Three Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, All Romance eBooks, iTunes, and BookStrand!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

Between my imagination and the deep need to create, I think the stories decided it for me! Or my subconscious did. One of these things. It's a case of being compelled to do it and just making it happen. 

Though on the more conscious level, I was a kid when the actual decision came around (the exact age is still a bit foggy). I remember writing my first real story when I was 6 and feeling proud of it. After that, writing stories felt like a natural thing to do, no different than reading, which I did with such voracity, you'd think I needed it like air. After a couple years, I was bitten by the "but I want to be published!" bug and that was it. My fate was sealed. It took a few years in university for me to realize that if I don't write, there's something missing in life. Kind of a "write or your soul dies" situation. (The muses are *so* dramatic.)

What genres do you write?

Romance of the speculative fiction variety, mostly fantasy and science fiction. While I anticipate paranormal romance and contemporary to show up in the future, fantasy romance will always be my favourite.

What inspires you to write?

Short answer: anything and everything! 

Long answer: There are a few repeat culprits that hit me with the inspiration stick. Music is at the top of the list, followed closely by behaviour and psychology, with a strong chaser of random thoughts. I've had a thing for behaviour all my life, whether it be human or non-human animals, and psychology fascinates me -- I love getting at why people do what they do, how far they'll go, and what it does to them. In a way, writing allows me to process a lot of what I see out in the world. 

But I'm inspired by so many things, it's hard to keep track. Sometimes it's in something someone said or an experience they had. Sometimes I'm watching or listening to something and I'm hit with emotions, ideas, and visuals. Other times, characters show up in my thoughts and I just *have* to get their story down. Or there's an object that's caught my attention and made me think. In the end, anything or anyone is fair game.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

I was 12, working on my first "novel" (it was a novella, really, that came off as a darker version of Nancy Drew). I felt like a legit author, working hard on it in my free time, taking it incredibly seriously. It wasn't for school, it wasn't for marks. It was a special project I wanted to put out into the world. One of my classmates even drew a cover for it -- I was just *that* serious. Though the real measure of considering myself an author came around when I sent the work to publishers when I was 14. Considering I got rejections in return, it felt pretty official!

What are your goals as an author? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Currently, my goals are to build a catalog, build my brand, and build an audience (so terribly corporate sounding, I know). I started writing under this name in 2013, so things are still new, still in the throes of literary childhood. I'm working on building all of these things and trying to find a comfy place in the literary world where I can sit back with readers and kick out stories people enjoy reading. I aspire to achieve some of the things my colleagues have, which I count as measures of success. 

In five years, I'm not sure where I'll be, but I'm on a good trajectory for having more books available and giving readers new worlds to enjoy. I suspect I'll be in a position similar to now, just juggling more projects, doing more promotion, and probably tearing my hair out about 5x more.

Does your family support you in your writing, or are you on your own?

Oh, is there ever a lot of support! Boatloads worth. We're talking Titantic proportions. I've been incredibly blessed with a family that's encouraged me since I first started writing. My parents were always understanding, always there to support. My mom was my first cheerleader and helped me send my first novella to publishers, while my dad was my first editor, red pen and all. Writing is actually a "thing" on my dad's side of the family: it's come down to me from my grandmother and my father. My partner is equally supportive, giving me the soundboard I need.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

That I inspired another author with something I've written. That's always a warm fuzzy, right up there with a reader who absolutely loves a book I've written, they want everyone to read it.

Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?

I've been there a couple times, and I treated it like other critiques: I stewed over it for a few days at home, in silence with the occasional venting session with my partner, then I moved on. With critiques, if there's something that can be fixed or should be fixed, I fix it. If it's a matter of opinion or something that can't be changed, I let it go and things fall where they may. I don't bother with confrontation -- that takes too much energy I'd rather use elsewhere.

What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?

"Master of Murder" by Christopher Pike -- I've read that so much, the jacket's come off. The League series by Sherrilyn Kenyon, because I love assassins in science fiction/fantasy literature. I'm also in love with the Shannara series by Terry Brooks and The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.

What is your writing process?

Since I love lists, here's a glimpse of my general process (subject to change based on what I'm writing and how long it is!): 

Step 1. Initial idea and that aha! moment. I spend a lot of time scribbling down notes and random thoughts about characters and plot, most of them illegible on Post-its and lined paper or chaotically assembled with wacky messages to self in a Notepad file. Usually this stuff comes up in the middle of the night, in the shower where I obsess over stories, and at any moment that's terribly inconvenient to have a creative thought. 

Step 2. I take all those notes and make some sense of them in an outline file, nice and neat, maybe even with character photos or other files to keep everything sorted. (Often there's an outline, but not always.) 

Step 3. I write at night and sometimes during the day when the spouse is at work or asleep and pound out whatever words come up. I'm always equipped with a fully-loaded mp3 player, with songs for every occasion and emotion since I can't write in silence. During this step, I often follow the outline for scene progression and some details, but there are a more things that come out organically. Sometimes I don't know what a character looks or sounds like until I'm in that writing phase. A lot of times, I'm surprised by what ends up on the page: secrets the characters are keeping, experiences they've had, details about them that only come out when I'm telling the story in the first draft. It's one of my favourite parts of the process -- that moment of "huh, really? Didn't see that coming!", especially when it pulls together other things I hadn't realized. (It's enough to convince me my subconscious is the doing all the storytelling.) 

Step 4. Once the first draft is done, I take a literary chainsaw to the whole thing. My editing process is bonkers and so A-type personality, it could make other writers weep. Sometimes I let the manuscript sit for a little while; other times I hack at it right away. I have a folder with all of the things I have to look for, and I concentrate on each editing item at a time, going through the whole manuscript 50+ times. Yep. I might be *a little* on this side of crazy.

Are you a pantser or outliner?

Neither, both, and other. It's a restrictive classification that I don’t fit so easily, especially since I shift. Sometimes I'm an pantser within an outliner's playground, but other times I'm one or the other or completely outside of them. My process changes depending on the length and complexity of the work. When I write poetry and short stories, they're often free-form with little to no planning, but when I write novellas, novels, and less complicated series, though, I slip into a mix of pantser and outliner. Except when it’s an overly complicated series, then I’m a straight-up outliner in order to keep everything together.

What are you working on now?

Soulbound, book #4 in my fantasy romance series, The Republic. I just started cleaning up the outline, though I practically have the scenes written in my head. The book features a couple of characters that I love and wrote about in book 2... and when I say "love", I meant they've basically held my imagination for ransom and demanded I write more of their story.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

Wrapping my head around the full concept in the very beginning. The way For the Clan turned out was not the way I originally envisioned it. Originally, the story was going to have more of a historical feel, among other things. The ideas weren't really flowing that well, though. When I hit on a new idea and the book turned into a science fiction/dystopian-fantasy mix, that's when the ideas flew off the page.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Keep doing it. Write, write, write. Edit, edit, edit. Then send it to a publisher. Always strive to learn more, write even better than the last time to the best of your ability, and keep putting yourself out there. And if you come up against rejection, move on and keep going for what you want.

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

From the deepest, squishiest corners of my heart, thank you for reading! And thank you to those who let me know how much you enjoy the stories. You make writing worth it. <3

Friday, 24 June 2016

In Love and War by E.E. Smith

E. E. (Evelyn Eileen) Smith lives close to her native San Francisco, in the "Wine Country" of northern California. She became a professional writer after retiring from earlier careers as an architectural designer and a litigation paralegal. 

Known primarily as a playwright -- her plays have been produced in Massachusetts, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and both northern and southern California -- she later became a novelist. A New Edition of her first novel, Boardinghouse Stew, along with the sequel, Times Like These, was published in 2011. In Love and War, A Memoir, was published as an e-book in 2012. A series of murder mysteries debuted in 2013, also as e-books, beginning with Death by Misadventure. Three more: Bad Blood, Russian Roulette, and Prescription for Murder followed in 2014. In 2015, all will be available as e-books, including brand new editions of Boardinghouse Stew, Times Like These and In Love and War.

Connect with the Author

She is a regular contributor to Psychology Today. To see her blog, go to www.psychologytoday.com/blog/not-born-yesterday.

About the Book

Was World War II the last "good war," as it has been called, or is "good war" really an oxymoron?

In this memoir, spanning six decades of her life, and as many wars, the author admits that December 7, 1941, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor left us no choice about getting into WW II. But what about the others -- beginning with Korea, which has been called America's "Forgotten War?"

Her story begins in the first full year of that war, 1951, when, as a girl of nineteen she "falls for a uniform" and hastily marries a boy she barely knows. Against all odds, the marriage lasts for 22 years, but finally ends in heartbreak. Now middle-aged, she finds love again with a man who is everything her first husband was not (strong, reliable, caring), but that marriage is short-lived and ends tragically.

As much about war as it is about love, In Love and War suggests that warfare, at least since WW II -- that last "good war" -- is folly. And so, perhaps, is love. Not everyone will agree with her conclusions, but some may be persuaded by her argument that two things (besides death and taxes) are inevitable.

They are love and war.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

The short answer is "because I can!"

What genres do you write?

I was a playwright for 25 years before writing my first novel. ("In Love and War" is the third.) I have also written a series of mysteries, loosely called the "Discreet Inquiries" series.

What inspires you to write?

I've been a theater-lover most of my life, so writing plays just came naturally to me. After that came novels and mysteries, for the same reason, i.e. I love to read.

What authors/books have most influenced you?

Too many to mention, but in the area of mystery, alone, I would say that the single most influential author is someone that not many people even know about. Loren D. Estleman, in my opinion, is the best writer around today. Dorothy L. Sayers was pretty good, too!

When did you first consider yourself an author?

When my first play was produced, way back in 1989.

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

Time is a big obstacle! There is never enough in the day to do everything I have to do. (I also write a regular blog for "Psychology Today," which takes a lot of time because I am not a psychologist and need to research my subjects.)

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

Here's one I'm particularly fond of: A reviewer of my second novel, "Times Like These," (which is autobiographical and depicts a sometimes grim childhood), said this: "It is not so much a wonder that E. E. Smith grew up to be a great playwright, but that she grew up at all!"

Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?

I had one bad reviewer of a play, but it was obvious that he hadn't bothered to stay for the second act, unlike the others who wrote glowing reviews. You learn to ignore it.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

Keep reading if you want to keep writing.

What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?

I like to cook, so I enjoy entertaining friends and family.

How many books do you have on your "to read" list? What are some of them?

I want to read more of W. Somerset Maugham. My local library has about a dozen that I am taking out, one by one. They will also order some for me.

What is your writing process?

I begin with a clear picture (in my head) of my characters -- how they look, what they think and why, how they act, etc. Then I let them write the story. I am as surprised as anyone in how it comes out.

Are you a pantser or outliner?

I never use an outline, and never know where the story is going until it gets there.

How long does it take you to write a book?

The mystery series of four books was written in two years, but they are short. Averaging 200 pages in length. The longest novel, "In Love and War" took most of my life (I started it when I was 19 years old).

Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?

My novels are based on real life (mine and others). The mystery series is pure fiction, and I don't know where in the world they came from.

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre? Tell us about it.

I wrote a play called "God Don't Like You, Tina Flopp." The title is something I found spray-painted on a fence. Everyone seems intrigued by that.

What are you working on now?

Currently, I am only writing my regular blogs for "Psychology Today," but expect to get back to writing at least one more book in the mystery series. I already have a title: "Double Jeopardy."

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Murder in the Tremiti Isles by Cesario Picca

Cesario Picca (1972) born and bred in Salento (South Italy), lives and works in Bologna as a crime and judicial reporter. He has already published (2005), the juridical essay Ungagged – the developing concept of freedom of the press. 

His love for thrillers blossomed with Murder in the Tremiti Isles in which the main character is a reporter from Salento, Rosario Santacroce. He will soon be involved in many other intrigues and adventures as Gioco mortale – delitto nel mondo della trasgressione with the same likable verve and curiosity. In this second adventure Saru Santacroce will explain all you want to know about the world of transgression. But your aunt Concezione will impose you not to read it... 

In 2002 Picca was awarded the Piero Passetti prize for chronicler of the year. He has been a speaker or moderator at numerous conferences and has participated in many radio and television broadcasts. 

Connect with the Author

About the Book

A wealthy tourist from Bologna has been killed in the Tremiti Isles and the reporter Rosario Santacroce, a nice, talkative and charismatic Salento journalist, writes about the murder in the beautiful contest of Tremiti Islands (Puglia, South Italy). During the reading you can hear the sea, see the sun, smell good food, imagine sex meetings, live the suspense, find out Salento’s colors.

A sort of ode to life is what Rosario Santacroce offers his readers. The protagonist of this thriller is a forty year old Salento reporter who lives in Bologna and works for a local newspaper. A rough and rational man, talkative, charismatic, ready to savor every moment of life as if it was the last. Nicknamed Saru (the nickname that is given in Salento to those named like him), he covers the city's crime beat. As often happens, occasionally work also follows him on holidays because a real reporter is destined (almost) never to unplug. And that is probably why he gets entangled in the murder of a wealthy tourist from Bologna who like him is on vacation in the Tremiti Islands.

The first to rush to the scene of the crime was none other than Saru and for that reason he ends up among the suspects. Journalists of all the national newspapers arrive on the island but Saru always manages to get a bit more news than the others thanks to his friendship with the marshal of the local station who hails from the same part of Italy as him.

The story is peppered with amusing expressions in the Salento dialect related to the food, tastes and customs of that part of Italy surrounded by two seas and contains the right mix of eroticism and suspense. The author reveals the often humorous interplay between fellow-journalists, refers to real news stories and packs the investigation with twists right up to the surprise ending.

Get it today on Amazon and Kindle!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I’m a crime and judicial reporter and I work breathing crimes, murders, thrillers and suspense so it was not difficult to start writing. But I think there’s always a turning point in our life, the right moment to start doing something and I was looking for it. I started in 2004. It was a frozen evening and I was waiting for police to explain what happened in an apartment where an old woman died. The real story turned the beginning on in my mind. So I started thinking about a thriller and I wrote it. I looked for a real and honest editor to publish the romance but I haven't found it. So I put the thriller in a drawer and I wrote another one. This second one was Murder in the Tremiti Isles which is set in the Adriatic Pearls in Puglia, in the South of Italy. I created the character Rosario Santacroce, nicknamed Saru, born in Salento like me, journalist who writes about crime stories. The author reveals the often humorous interplay between fellow-journalists, refers to real news stories and packs the investigation with twists right up to the surprise ending. My stories are peppered with amusing expressions in the Salento dialect related to the food, tastes and customs of Salento, that part of South Italy surrounded by two seas, and contain the right mix of eroticism and suspense.

What inspires you to write?

I’m inspired by the reality, by my work, by what I see and I hear, by the life. I love hearing, seeing and feeling what happens around me and I write it in a romance way. I mix real life experiences and imagination. But I think reality is the most important mine we can draw fully from. When I feel a story and I have many elements to write it I start writing. For example, some months ago I read about a prisoner’s escape and my fantasy turned on pushing me writing a new episode with the character Saru Santacroce like protagonist in his Salento.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

I don’t know if I’m an author because readers, who are the right unit of measure of my talent (if I have), must say it. The most important thing for me is the opportunity to write what I feel and to amuse people who read my stories.

What are your goals as an author? Where do you see yourself in five years?

I love writing and telling stories so I hope continuing doing it and amusing readers otherwise I must thinking what doing when I’ll grow.

Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?

Until now I only received one critique. But in general, I think critiques are so good to avoid Pindaric flights. Then, you can’t be always appreciated because there are people who like you and other not. Life is the same philosophy: an important gift we have to taste also if sometimes could be hard.

What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?

I love footing. Until now I have run 12 marathons all over the world. A good way, in my opinion, to relax, feel good, think and avoid putting on weight especially if you love eating and cooking like me. I like travelling and knowing people, new point of view, new cultures, new feelings. In my opinion the best way to spend money. Then I love reading. In the past I read lots politics and historical essays, now I prefer thrillers. And, if I can, I love the other half of the sky…

If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

First of all a survival guide. Then, because I usually read classics and Bible, I think I would read Odyssey, Aeneid and Iliad. I hope these books will be good to expire my spare time waiting for someone to bring me back. Otherwise, If I feel good in that place, I hope finding my Friday (but woman).

What made you decide to self-publish?

I don't like the policy used by traditional editors. Particularly, I've never found a serious or professional editor and so I decided to become an indie author. In this case I be grateful for Internet and its revolution which is breaking the mortal grip of traditional editors where connection can make the difference. I don’t think all indies will become writers like someone say because readers (and market) always give you your real value. But a good prayer and some luck can help to be successful.

What are you working on now?

Now I’m working on the third adventure where Saru Santacroce writes about a prisoner killed after his escape for a big treasure. The story is set in Salento, my origin land.

What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?

In the second Italian episode (Gioco mortale – delitto nel mondo della trasgressione) Saru writes about a murder in the world of transgression. Thanks to him you can discover all you wanted to know about this world and nobody wanted to tell you. But it was very difficult to write about sex and licentiousness without falling in trash.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

They must not give up easily. If they have good and interesting stories to tell they have to write them. Readers are not stupid sheep as someone think. So if they like an author they support him despite the only thought massifying or usual editors or newspapers’ reviews.

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

I only hope they continue enjoying reading my stories.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Fairfield's Auction by Betty Jean Craige

Dr. Betty Jean Craige has published books in the fields of Spanish poetry, modern literature, history of ideas, politics, ecology, and art. She is a scholar, a translator, a teacher, and a novelist.

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About the Book

On a cold winter evening in the small mountain town of Witherston, Georgia, antique dealer Hempton Fairfield auctions off rare Cherokee artifacts, Appalachian antiques, and a young African Grey parrot. Late that night, a blizzard stops traffic for a three-mile stretch of the Witherston Highway, prohibiting anyone’s arrival or departure and stranding an eighteen-wheel semi full of chickens. The next morning two bodies are discovered in the snow, the chickens are running free, and the parrot is missing, leaving a number of unanswered questions. What happened? Where’s the parrot? How did the chickens escape the stranded truck? Who rightfully owns the remnants of the thousand-year-old Cherokee civilization? Who killed the two men? And, most importantly, how many more bodies will turn up before the killer is caught?

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I had published seventeen academic books when I retired from the University of Georgia. I had always loved mysteries, so I wrote my first "Witherston Murder Mystery," titled DOWNSTREAM, and had so much fun I decided to write a series. FAIRFIELD'S AUCTION is #2.

Do you have a "day job"? If so, what do you do?

For four decades I was a professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia.

What genres do you write?

These days, I write fiction (murder mysteries). I am working on a more serious novel now.

What inspires you to write?

I can't NOT write. When I was in elementary school and high school I wrote funny poems to amuse my friends. Now I'm writing novels to entertain my readers. I want to amuse and entertain readers while leading them to think about serious issues.

What authors/books have most influenced you?

Daniel Quinn, Barbara Kingsolver

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

My mentor was Eugene Odum, often called "Father of Ecosystem Ecology," whose biography I wrote. Gene Odum, a dear friend of mine, showed me how to understand issues as interactive parts of a larger system. He died in 2002, at the age of 89, having taught (through his many books) succeeding generations of students the world over to understand nature in terms of ecosystems. He turned me into an environmentalist.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

"Your book made me laugh out loud."

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

"Write what you want to learn about."

What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?

Talking with Cosmo, my very talkative African Grey parrot; cooking; traveling; having dinner parties; learning about fine wine; collecting art; having more dinner parties; drinking fine wine with friends

What are you working on now?

I am working on a serious novel about germline gene therapy for humans.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Just a Smidgen of Magic by Charlotte Henley Babb

Having big feet, gray hair, a mischievous twinkle in her eye, Charlotte Henley Babb loves fractured fairy tales.

She began writing when she could hold a piece of chalk and scribble her name--although she sometimes mistook "Chocolate" for "Charlotte" on the sign at the drug store ice cream counter. Growing up in the red mud and sweet tea Carolinas, she played with the fairies in the woods and the aliens in the back yard.

When her third-grade teacher allowed her access to the fiction room at the school library, Charlotte discovered Louisa Alcott and Robert Heinlein, an odd marriage of the minds. These two authors have had the most influence on her desire to share her point of view with the world and to explore how the world might be made better. Her favorite authors now include Sir Terry Pratchett, Robert Aspirin, and Esther Friesner.

She has taught English in high school and junior college, written procedure manuals, and edited writing association newsletters. Her presentations at education and writing conferences on using the Internet, blogging, using social media, and writing science fiction have been well-received.

Her first novel, Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil, was published in 2012 and received an honorable mention in the 2014 National Federation of Press Women communications contest for adult novels.

She brings to any project a number of experiences: technical writer, gasket inspector, waitstaff, fabric and craft retail associate, craft artificer, secret weapon, and telephone psychic.

Currently working as a writing instructor, she writes fractured fairy tales, steampunk, and Southern fiction for people who have survived love's last kiss.

Where the stories are for people over 20 who have survived marriage, divorce, child-rearing, post-graduate education, bankruptcy, empty nest, and widowhood?

Charlotte Henley Babb writes them.

Connect with the Author

About the Book

Five short-short stories from the edge of the realm of magic--enchanted moments, realizations, answering the call and returning.

Artifacts: Pay attention to the Mothers when they give you a warning.

The Croning: In every woman's life, if she lives long enough, her time will come to take on the role.

Not Even One Wish: No only should you be careful what you wish for, but who you wish to.

Taffy's Tale: It's a high price to pay if you are fed by the Fae.

Zen of Cool: A full moon, a fiddle, and a fool on a dark night in the hills of Appalachia

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I could make up stories and live in my fantasy world with my characters. 

Do you have a "day job"? If so, what do you do?

I have had a lot of day jobs. I am easing into retirement from teaching English at the junior college level. I have also worked as a web designer. 

What genres do you write?

fantasy, steampunk, sceince fiction, Southern fiction

What inspires you to write?

My characters bang on the inside of my head to be let out. 

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

Terry Pratchett - his satire of life on Earth and his insights into character are both funny and enlightening

What are your goals as an author? Where do you see yourself in five years?

I plan to have two sequels to Maven Fairy Godmother and one for 20 hours to Charles Town, along with two story collections in my Maven universe. 

Does your family support you in your writing, or are you on your own?

I'm on my own. I live alone, and while my family does not mind my writing, except for my daughter who is a writer and an artist, they really don't get what I do. 

Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?

My one-star review on Amazon said the reader didn't understand the story. I chalked it up to wrong reader--wrong book. 

What is the worst writing advice you've ever received?

Start at the beginning. Some stories are best told well into the narrative with glimpses of backstory told along and along. Also, don't take writing advice from any mentor who is not writing. 

If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

I'd need books on how to survive on fish (YECCH!) and the resources available--survivalist stuff on distilling salt water, edible plants, and so forth. It would be an ultimate weight-loss experience. I'd rather have lots of writing materials than books to read.

How many books do you have on your "to read" list? What are some of them?

About half of Jim Butcher's Dresden series and his new steampunk book, Asimov's Foundation series, Divergent, Gail Carriger's Custard Protocol...so many books, so little time. 

What fears do you have about writing and being an indie author? How do you cope with your fears?

I'm not particularly afraid of being an indie author--perhaps my expectations of making a living from my writing are too low. When the angst of writing gets to me, I binge-watch Netflix and analyze season story arcs. It's healthier than drinking. 

Are you a pantser or outliner?

I'm a wannabe outliner, a recovering pantser. Pantsing takes too long and requires serious revision and often cutting of large amounts of material. My first attempt has about 30% of book three written from the outtakes of book one. 

How do you come up with the titles for your books? Do you find it difficult?

I have done some crowd-sourcing on Facebook with some of my friends, or sometimes I just go with the title that comes to mind. I do check Amazon and B&N to see what other books might have that title. 

Have you ever wanted to put one of your characters together with a character from one of your favorite novels? What characters would you choose and how would their meeting go?

My fairy godmother Maven Morrigan would meet Nanny Ogg from Discworld, and they would drink a lot of beer and tell dirty stories about their most difficult clients. Maven could learn a lot from Nanny, as well as her cronies, Esme Weatherwax and Tiffany Aching. 

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

Other than "Buy my book?" Don't fear getting older. You will have new challenges, but you will also have the experience to deal with them.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Indecent Pawn by K. K. Harris

Kanika K. Harris was born and raised in Little Rock, AR. She attended and graduated from the historical Little Rock Central High School in 1999. Kanika is married to her wonderful husband of ten years and mother to three children. Wanting to be an urban fiction novelist was a dream of hers and finally in 2013 she self-published ‘Love Drug’. The first released novel only increased the hunger to see what other plateaus she could reach.

The passion to create soon trickled over to creating unique book covers. As an author, the need to express the text inside with the perfect perception on the cover is very crucial and Kanika aims for her covers to speak volumes. Although the writing process can be trying at times, she is looking forward to many more stories to come.

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About the Book

What price is too high to pay for another person’s debt?

Allison Myers was married to an amazing, successful African American man with a strong case of alpha male syndrome. This man swooped in and saved her when her life was near an all-time low. Growing up in foster care, the finest of things was never within her reach. Meeting Derek Myers was like a dream come true until reality struck. The wealthy and successful don’t always have it all together.

The monster within her dear husband reared its ugly head before the ink was dry on the marriage certificate. Violence, cruelty, and humiliation makes fighting for independence a bust seeing she had no one to turn to for guidance nor assistance. One dreadful night rocked her world to the core being snatched from her home and introduced to a man far more dangerous than her husband could ever dream of being.

The man whose last name she carried had just sold her soul to the devil.

For what purpose would be later determined.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

“You should really leave.” Antonio finally said after about ten minutes of silence. Allison had sauntered over to the opened patio door, looking out over the sea.

“No.” It was true what they say about alcohol being liquid courage because she had just grown a pair of balls speaking to ‘The Don Mucciono’ that way. “Are you ready to eat now? Let me take care of you.”

“…” He only chuckled darkly void of any humor. “How, you can barely take care of yourself.” “You can slang out insult after insult but I’m only trying to help not hurt you further. I know…”

“You don’t know anything!” He shouted.

“…” Allison shut up quickly. “You’re right I don’t know. I have never lost anyone close to me because I am the one lost, lost to myself. They say my mother was a crack head who overdosed on the delivery table, no other family. Never in one place long enough to love anyone or for anyone to love me. Who would want to love a useless waste of space? I was an easy prey for an evil man like Derek.”

“All the hurtful insults you can think of to throw my way go right ahead. They are all true. Through it all I am still a good person and I’m trying to be there for you.” Allison pleaded. “Just lay it out. No one has to know.” Allison laid all of her cards out and waited for what was to come next. When Antonio slowly strolled in her direction, her first thought was to abort ‘mission help Antonio’ and run for the hills.

“You want to help me?” Antonio asked.


“How far are you willing to go?”

“How far do you need me to go?”

“That’s a trick question.”

“No, a real one,” she confirmed.

“You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.”

“No, I don’t but I’m not backing down.”

“You should.”

“I’m not afraid.”

“You sure about that,” he asked in grave tone.

“…” Allison only stared him square in the eye not budging. He smirked cryptically in response.

Since she only slept in a pair pajama bottoms, a skimpy tank top, and no undergarments she wore a robe to cover herself. Antonio untied the robe, never removing his eyes from hers as if they were playing the staring game to see who would flinch or look away first. The robe pooled at her feet and the breeze from the water grazed her exposed skin. A tremble caused her breath to come out in a shudder.

“Changed your mind?”


“You shivered.”

“It’s cold.”

“Last chance,” he offered.

“…” Allison bit her lower lip but said nothing nor did she make a move to leave.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Red Satin Shoes by Melissa Saari

Melissa Saari lives by the Columbia River, the river that powers America. Wildfires rage every summer, and the smoke and water mix like a spell. Melissa writes every day, and nothing can distract her from her craft. Her two loving and protective dogs, a pit bull named Marla and a Chow named Leo. Instead of distracting, their antics inspire her to write more books.

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About the Book

In the vineyards of Sonoma County, young Kim O’Reilly watches as a thunderstorm knocks out power to her house. Going downstairs to fix the power, she discovers a ghost who wants to know what happened to her red satin shoes. The horror only grows deeper when she explores the mystery of the red satin shoes, only to uncover dark family secrets hidden by her ancestors.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

She drew in a breath sharply as the light finally revealed a young girl, about ten she guessed, cowering against the wall, with her head down. 

The girl’s outfit was an old-fashioned skirt with lace frills around the edge, and Kim remembered lace like that on her grandmother’s table. Her grandmother had crocheted it herself: fine, crocheted circles and pineapples and shells. 

“Are you all right?” she asked the girl. 

The girl remained sitting with her head hung low, her mop of red hair obscuring her face. As Kim spoke to her, she began raising her head until her face came into view. Kim screamed in surprise. 

Above the small, dark mouth, the eye sockets ran deep and empty, nothing but blackness behind them, the hollow recesses of the braincase echoing back at her. 

Kim was struck hot with terror at the realization that she was looking at a ghost. She expected this kind of surprise would make her even colder than she was now, but it didn’t. 

Kim felt a strong surge of compassion and pity for this ghost before her. Even though her skin prickled in fear, the deep emotional connection she felt with the spirit overrode her body’s reactions of horror and disgust. After all, hearing about a ghost, and seeing one, were two different things, really. She stood her ground, and then saw the dark mouth open and ask her a question which sent a chill through to her bones. 

“Have you seen my red satin shoes?” 

“You’re dead!” Kim shouted. As the words rushed out her mouth, she felt more alive than she had in years. 

“Have you seen my red satin shoes with the buckles?” 

“What are you talking about?” Kim asked. 

“Have you seen my red satin shoes?” the ghost inquired. 

“I must be losing my mind,” she said, although the ghost didn’t even turn her head at the comment. 

Kim closed her eyes tight and rubbed her fingers against them until beautiful colors formed. Even behind her closed eyelids, she could still feel the girl’s presence. 

“Have you seen my red satin shoes?” the eyeless ghost demanded. 

Kim snapped her eyes open. She was still there, and the eye sockets were still empty dark holes. Kim finally comprehended the ghost wasn’t a hallucination and wasn’t going to go away just because she wished it or rubbed her eyes. 

“I’ve never seen your red satin shoes!” 

She wasn’t sure if the ghost misunderstood her or was simply lost in her own purgatory. “So you have seen my shoes? I knew it, you lying thief! Give them back! Give them back! Give them back!” 

With each repeated command, the ghost’s voice grew fainter and fainter, as if it was being pulled farther and farther away from her. Then the ghost disappeared from sight entirely and the tension in the air eased to a more normal level, as if the ghost had never been there at all.

Monday, 6 June 2016

The Saints of Belvedere Road by Darke Conteur

Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A gamer at heart, she also enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and loud music. When not busy writing, she watches over one husband, one wannabe chef, four cats, and one ghost dog.

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About the Book

Amelia Saint thinks she’s losing her mind. 

Demonic visions have left Amelia doubting her sanity. To her horror, she learns her husband bargained the soul of their eldest child to the demon Korthos, to fulfill an apocalyptic prophecy, Worse, she discovers Henry plans to use the souls of their two younger children to solidify his place of honour in the hell-on-earth that is to come. 

With help from strangers adept in the occult, she discovers a way to keep her children alive. If Amelia can prevent Korthos from taking full possession of her son’s body for seventy-two hours, the pact will be broken and Henry will be imprisoned in the bowels of Hell. 

Henry knows this too. 

Amelia must stay one step ahead, but as the deadline approaches and the forces of evil close in, her chances of keeping her children alive run out.

Get it today on ebook or print!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

The knob was cool in her hand as she gripped it tightly and pulled. Her stomach lurched at the thought of what could be on the other side. Cautiously, she opened it a foot and peered out. Two police officers stood a few feet back from the house. At first glance they didn’t appear threatening, but Amelia wasn’t sure of anything anymore. One officer appeared preoccupied with the outside of her home, moving his head back and forth, looking carefully at the front of her house. The second officer quickly acknowledged her presence and lifted his head, looking directly into Amelia’s eyes.

“Mrs. Saint?”

Amelia braced one foot against the back of the door. “Yes.”

“We had a complaint about shots fired at this address.”

She feigned a look of concern. “Really?”

“Yes ma’am.” He placed his hands on his hips. “If you don’t mind, we’d like to come in and look around.”

Amelia felt her mouth go dry. “Do you really need to, I mean it’s so late and—”

“Ma’am, I understand that, but we have to follow procedure, and that means checking the property to make sure . . .”

The officer’s words trailed off into a distorted voice. Amelia’s vision began to blur. Her head throbbed with such intensity it felt like daggers slashing at her skull from the inside. She could barely hear as a dark shadow fell across the front step, but she saw the officers react, drawing their weapons and aiming directly above her head.

A gust of wind blew the door open, and Amelia was thrown to the floor. Her eyesight cleared enough to see a set of leathery wings descend from above, blocking any escape from the front step. The body attached was strong and lean, and as ugly as the creature that possessed her son. Sharp talons on the end of muscular legs reached out and grasped the officers around the waist. It squeezed their bodies in a grip so tight, their screams caught in their throats. Blood trailed from the corners of their mouths as they choked on their own fluids and bodies succumbed to the pressure of the grasp. The soft skin of their torsos ruptured, spewing out the decimated remains of internal organs and flesh through the claws. Amelia struggled to get away as blood and bone fragments splattered the tile floor around her. Her hands and feet slipped in the pools of tissue that coated the front entrance.

The creature then lifted into the air, taking the gruesome remains with it, and Amelia was left in shock, gasping for air.

Homer and Jared raced to her side. “Shit! Amelia, are you all right?”

She sat up and stared out the door. “What the hell was that?”

“A scrayling,” Jared said, helping her to her feet. “Flying demons.”

Amelia’s mind reeled from the attack. “They fly?”

Jared shut the door as the intense throbbing returned. Amelia pressed the palms of her hands against her temples, hoping to ease some of the pain.

“What’s wrong?” Morgan’s voice came at them from the living room.

Homer ran to the kitchen entrance and pointed. “Stay there!”

Glass shattered from the huge window above, raining sharp debris. Amelia fell to the floor, shielding her head under one arm. She could hear the twins calling to her, and she lifted her head as something warm hit her hand. The metallic scent of blood was strong as she gazed on a small red lump that landed just inches from her.

“Oh God,” Jared whispered, next to her. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

Amelia’s eyes trailed off to a large bloody mass a few feet away. She knew it had once been the torso of one of the officers at her front door, but it was unrecognizable now. Her eyes focused on the piece of flesh that lay near her hand, and felt the sting of bile rise in the back of her throat as she saw the ear lobe on one side of the flesh.

Homer pulled her to her feet. “We’re not waiting for morning. We leave now!”

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Saltlands by Elizabeth Stephens

Elizabeth Stephens was born in Baltimore, Maryland but has since lived in Atlanta, Seattle, Washington D.C., Cairo, Amman, Paris, Beirut, and Geneva. Elizabeth currently lives in Johannesburg with her boyfriend and Zurg, a fat cat she stole from her neighbors.

Elizabeth began writing at the age of 10. She later was able to translate these skills into work as a political correspondent and travel writer during her time in the Middle East and North Africa. Her true passion however, still remained in the realm of fiction.

Being a fan of the macabre, Elizabeth's first published pieces were horror stories that featured in several ezines and online magazines. She then combined her love of horror with a soft spot for all things romantic and produced Population, her first adult fiction title published by Vantage Point Books in April 2015. The second and final installment to the Population series, Saltlands, is now available.

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About the Book

Saltlands is the second and final installment in the science fiction, paranormal romance series, Population. Saltlands is set in a post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest. A blurb on Saltlands can be found here:

Abel and Mikey are trapped and Kane is taken. The struggle for survival has never been more strained. To escape their submerged prison cell, to cross the apocalyptic landscape known as Population and find Kane.

Tension between Abel and Mikey keeps their odds of survival bleak as they face off against the obstacles that Population places before them. Rogue Others, starvation, savage scavengers, gangs. With over 200 miles to trek, Mikey will have to learn how to trust and Abel, how to hope again as Population leads them to even more dangerous territory and into the Saltlands.

Get it today on AmazonAmazon UKGoodreadsBarnes and Noble, and iBooks!

First 10 people to email Elizabeth at el (dot) stephens (at) live (dot) com will get a signed copy of Population!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

To say that I decided to be a writer would be a bit of a misnomer. Writing has come as naturally to me as taking in breath. I began writing at the age of 11, because I wanted a look-alike American Girl Doll and my mother told me I could only have one if I wrote a story about the doll. I ended up writing a 76 page science fiction saga about a young girl traversing different planets and have been writing ever since.

Do you have a "day job"? If so, what do you do?

I live in Johannesburg, South Africa and work as an author and, at the same time, as a communications consultant. This means I write communications strategies and guidelines, branding and style guides, conduct press engagement, organize events, create visual materials and draft and translate content (English-French-Arabic) for small to large organizations in both the public and private sectors.

At present, I work for CIVICUS Alliance, a large international NGO focused on convening civil society organizations and protecting civic space. I travel quite a bit and had the pleasure of assisting in the organization of conferences in Senegal, Indonesia and Morocco in late 2015.

At the same time, I also provide also provide editorial support to author Michael Withey on the production of his novel, The Domingo and Viernes Story, scheduled for release in late 2016/early 2017.

What genres do you write?

I dabble across a few genres including horror, science fiction, paranormal romance, erotica, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, dystopian and apocalyptic fiction, and young adult. My love lies in all things macabre and, at the same time, romantic. So where the fusion of horror and romance lies, you'll find me standing at the crossroads with my thumb outstretched.

What authors/books have most influenced you?

The books and authors that have influenced my life the most include The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson; Abarat: Days of Magic Nights of War, A Hellbound Heart, and Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker; The Crazy School by Cornelia Read; Salem’s Lot, Pet Semetary, and The Shining by Stephen King; The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro; The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas; Lord of the Flies by Arthur Golding; and The Little Prince by St. Exupery.

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

It would absolutely be Stephen King. His books are mesmerizing. His ability to generate fear through the use of words alone, the depth of his characters and the tangible ambience of the settings and worlds they live in and, in particular, his ability to produce such consistent and diverse narratives throughout his work. He releases books every single year -- a feat that I aim to accomplish!

When did you first consider yourself an author?

That’s a fantastic question and I have to confess that I set myself a pretty stupid standard: I never truly considered myself an author until I held one of my own books in my hand. Despite having already been published, for me, the physical product was what set this new author Elizabeth apart from the writer that had come before. However in retrospect, I think that this is a foolish expectation a lot of writers set for themselves and if I could speak to the me of five years ago I’d have said, “Elizabeth, you are an author! Why? Because you write.”

Does your family support you in your writing, or are you on your own?

The support I get from friends and family is a huge incentive for me to continue writing. As I mentioned, my mother's ultimatum about purchasing me an American Girl Doll was what started this whole writing fixation. Since then, my mom and dad have both been immensely supportive all the way through my artistic journey, as has the rest of my family.

When I hosted a book launch party to celebrate Population's release in April 2015, almost 15 members of my family from across the country attended as did my boyfriend who arrived from Germany and six of my best friends who flew in from the East Coast. It was one of the greatest days of my life, to date and I have my friends and family to thank for it.

What are you working on now?

At the moment I have too many projects to count! I am still working on finalizing Saltlands, which will carry Abel’s journey forward through even more treacherous terrain than in Population. At the same time, I recently completed the polishing of a YA novel called The Rougarou. Steeped in Acadian Cajun folklore, the novel is set in Paris and is one for which I am in the process of securing representation. I was also recently inspired by a novel called Flawed by Francette Phal and am nearly 100 pages into a manuscript that is as of yet, untitled. This is my darkest work yet and travels between the perspectives of a young college student and the serial killer to which she has become bound.

How do you market/promote your work? Have you found something that works really well for you?

This is a tricky question and one for which I do not have a great answer. Marketing, I have found to be the most difficult aspect of publication thus far. It's time consuming and at times, expensive. I have found book giveaways to be an effective strategy to gain readers. I have also found that reaching out to your own community is a great way to get press and gain recognition. My high school, for example, posted several pieces on my book in their local paper and even placed my book in the Garfield Golden Grads display case at the front of the building! Attending writer's conferences equally is a great way to meet other writers and readers.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

My first piece of advice would be to network, network, network! Things are changing rapidly in the world. Access to technology and global consumerism have lowered the barriers to entry into many industries, making being an author more accessible in some ways, but in others, significantly more difficult. While it’s easier now than ever to publish a book, it’s also harder to find a publisher or literary agent to represent you.

Years before Population was so much as an inkling in my mind’s eye, I had been trying to find an agent to take on one of my young adult books. I wrote query after query and received rejection after rejection. Don’t get me wrong, I had some bites in the beginning and enough encouragement from publishers to keep me going, but nothing concrete ever came of it. But one day -- the day that I finished writing draft one of Population -- my mom met a woman who just happened to be opening a publishing company and who just happened to be focusing on authors and characters of color. She read my novel that evening and loved it so much that 6 months later I was looking my own book up on Amazon.

My second piece of advice to new and aspiring authors would be to never give up, never surrender! I think the hardest part about being an author is finding the time and the will to continue in such a competitive (and not particularly lucrative) industry. However, when my books arrived in paperback, there was no better feeling. It makes every moment of writer’s block and disappointment and rejection worth it a thousand times over. So don’t ever give up on your passion. Passion is what makes an author's life worth living.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 - 6) by Renee Scattergood

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn't start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy.

She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God's Deception.

Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her homeschooled daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6).

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About the Book

Auren learns she is destined to enslave the people of her world, and Drevin, emperor of the Galvadi Empire is determined to end her life before it happens. Her foster father, Kado, has sworn to protect her and trains her as a shadow stalker. But her training is cut short, when their people are overrun by the Galvadi Empire. Now she has to find a way to help her people without succumbing to the prophecy.

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Shadow Stalker Episodes 13 - 15 are also available for $0.75 each, with Episode 16 coming soon!

Keep reading for an excerpt from Shadow Stalker: The Hidden Truth (Episode 1):

"Are you ready?" Kado asked me.

"Ready for what?"

He removed a wooden lid covering the well and took a rope from a hook inside the opening. "You will need to climb down into the hole."

"And then what?"

"Well, that will be up to you."

"You're not making sense again."

He tilted his head toward the well. "Go on."

I sighed. This seemed like a silly lesson. I had rappelled down many cliffs and into many caverns with Kado over the years. It was nothing new to me. Maybe he was going to start with the easy stuff. I grabbed the rope and sat on the wall of the well. Then I swung my legs over the side and started my descent.

It looked a lot deeper than it was. It was so dark I couldn’t see the bottom, and the opening became snugger as I lowered myself into the hole. By the time I reached the bottom, the walls touched me on all sides, but not enough to slow my progress. Then it opened up, and I found myself in a cavern of some sort. A little further, and my feet were on the ground.

I waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness and then looked around the open space. The walls were obscured from view, but I heard the burbling of an underwater spring nearby. I looked up and was almost blinded by the light shining through the shaft I had just descended. I thought Kado might be coming down after me, but I didn’t see him.

"Okay I'm down here. Now what?"

"Let go of the rope."

I dropped the rope, and watched it disappear through the top of the hole.

"Kado, what are you doing?"

Without a word, he put the lid over the hole and left me in complete darkness.

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