NEW RELEASE: Still Air by Freya Baker




Deprival haunted her…

Regret troubled her…

Silence left her detached…

A life in the service of others is both penance and a blessing. She soothes her personal hell by pulling victims from theirs, helping them on their path to survival; never finding her own.

When a crippling blow finally evaporates her last hope, the temptation to give up is strong. Still, she can’t find it in her to turn her back on those who need her: the innocent, whose rescue is her perpetual goal.

He was blind, but now he sees how his family has sifted through his fingers. The reality hits hard when his son becomes a stranger, slipping deeper into transgression. Concern has him call on the one person he fears will see his own failures all too clearly. A woman he’s kept his distance from for his own protection.

What appeared to be an incompatible pairing, turns out the unyielding bond needed to heal them all.


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“What are you thinking?” he mumbles, his large frame still pinning me to the mattress, his face buried in the spot low on my neck he seems to like.

“That I feel safe,” I tell him, surprised at my own conclusion. “In more than one way, actually,” I add. “I’m not sure how long it’s been, maybe I never had it, but I’m not scared of the future anymore. Or of letting myself feel.” Dino pushes up on his elbows, all his attention focused on my face as I smile. “I admit that for a while last night I wasn’t so sure, but that disappeared when I saw you waiting for me. I’m grateful for your words but I didn’t need them. Trust is not something I easily give, but I trust you.”

“Thank you.” His lips move against mine before he lifts away. “I was an ass and it had little to do with you. It was the realization I was failing as a parent.” A sharp shake of his head cuts off the protest that was forming on my lips. “I wasn’t watching Gina. I was too preoccupied with other things to notice she was slipping. Last night was a knee jerk reaction. I have to get used to sharing things again. I haven’t been able to do that in a long time. It was always just easier to deal with things myself. I should’ve talked to you.”

“Stop.” I cover his mouth with my fingers. “Enough of the self-recriminations. Lord knows we both have a knack for those. I still struggle with the what-ifs. I don’t want to do that with you. Don’t want to have regrets of any kind, and the only way to do that is to be completely open. Give you all of me, warts and all. All I want in return is to trust that when we hit the inevitable bumps in the road, you’ll have my back, just as I have yours.”

Dino’s beautiful brown eyes turn liquid as I watch him swallow hard. “Always.” His gruff voice cracks on the single word as he rolls off me and swings his legs over the side of the bed. I watch the muscles in his ass flex as he makes his way to the bathroom. Nice view. One I wouldn’t mind enjoying the rest of my life.

My thoughts grind to a halt. Am I really considering that? The rest of my life?



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Freya Barker inspires with her stories about ‘real’ people, perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy. She is the author of the Cedar Tree Series and the Portland, ME, novels.

Freya is the recipient of the RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for best first book, “Slim To None,” and is a finalist for the 2016 Kindle Book Awards for “From Dust”. She currently has two complete series and three anthologies published, and is working on two new series; La Plata County FBI—ROCK POINT, and Northern Lights. She continues to spin story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!


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 by JD Frettier

Genre: Spicy Paranormal Humor

The year is 1969. Though there is war and unrest in the world, on August 15th, on a farm in upstate New York, a little concert will go down in history as the most famous music festival of our time: Woodstock. It also happens to be the day Bonnie McMillan and Peter Hampton meet and begin their free-spirited love-filled journey with each other. Fast forward forty-seven years. Bonnie unexpectedly passes after a night of hot sex and is whisked up to Purgatory, ‘The Green Room’ as they call it. Bonnie’s best friend meets her at the pearly green gates and the fun begins, from body sculpting to channeling. Follow Bonnie on her erotically incorrect quest to re-connect with the love of her life. Or at the very least, make sure the sex toys are hidden before the kids start sorting through her things!

Hollie Jackson

How long have you been narrating?
Professionally? I’ve been narrating for over 3 years now. But I’ve been reading stories out loud for as long as I’ve been a reader. I was the kid in class first to raise my hand when the teacher asked for someone to read aloud. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I read out loud to my cats and my husband all the time. Usually in a silly accent.

What is your favorite genre to narrate and why?
Currently, my favorite genres are Urban Fantasy and just about anything Paranormal related. Horror, fantasy, sci-fi… I love all of these genres because the stories take you out of your norm and you have to suspend disbelief to get lost in the worlds. I particularly adore UF because it takes the element of the familiar (our world-ish) and asks “What if <xyz> was real?” I love the ideas behind a hidden world within our own where magic and non-human beings exist.

When you ‘get into character’ what movitates you?
That’s a good question! It truly depends on the character, to be honest. I try to find something to connect with in that character’s experience. Like, most of us can relate to the pain of having your heart broken by someone you love, or being embarrassed about something, feeling like you don’t belong… I try to find the human element and connect with it to make that character feel like a living, breathing being. I put myself in the character’s shoes and use that as the base.

Do you like input from your authors?
Always. I love when an author gives me characterizations for their creations. Accents, a little back story, how *the author* sees the characters. It gives me a jumping off point when I go into it because I know what the author is thinking in regards to their characters. That way, when I do the read through, I at least have an idea of what I should be expecting out of that particular character, if that makes sense. 
On the flip side, I hate micromanagement. By that, I mean… give me your characterization, but let me interpret the performance, if that makes sense. A lot of authors fall into this trap where they envision themselves as both script-writer AND director, but forget that the best directors usually give their performers the autonomy to “perform”. You have to have the courage to let go and trust that I’m going to do right by your work, even if it isn’t exactly as you anticipated in your head while writing.

So, you got the audition request for Desperately Seeking Sixty-Nine. What made you accept it? Was there something about the story line that drew you in?
I was drawn in by the concept first, and the characters second. The first chapter hit me in such a visceral way. Even during the narration, there were two points specifically where I had to stop to recompose because the emotions of Pete just hit me in such a primal place I was literally in tears. But it was the balance of that with the humor that really drew me in. I love silly, over-the-top humor and was intrigued by the idea of playing an “older” character, as it were, with the same lust for life as someone much younger.

What drives Hollie Jackson?
Aside from my perpetual cheerleader Dragon? LOL. Honestly, I’m motivated by my fans, both authors and listeners. I feel like there are so many great stories out there that deserve to be experienced, but are only hitting one part of the market. There are a growing number of people who love the concept of reading a story and getting immersed in a world, but don’t have the time (or the abilities) to do so. My goal is to make sure that they get that chance. We live in a society founded by storytelling. History itself is a set of stories passed down. Oral storytelling is an art form, one I’m honored to be a part of.

Do you have a career outside of narrating?
Actually, aside from being co-author with Dragon on our own series, The Nemesis Chronicles, narration IS my career. I quit working my former job 3 years ago to go full-time with this, and I’m still going strong. I love what I do and honestly cannot see myself doing anything else.

How many audio books are in your repertoire? 
Presently, almost 400, spanning 4 different companies. With another 100 or so in queue.

What is Hollie’s favorite thing to do?
Oh, man. If you ask Dragon, it’d be playing video games and surfing the web. But my favorite thing will always be reading. I always have a book or something nearby, not just the projects I work on.

Tell us something about yourself and your hobbies.
Something about myself… I have my bachelor’s degree in Psychology. It’s come in amazingly handy when dealing with society at large and the intricacies of human interaction. Hobby-wise… I do a lot of reading, I write, I edit. I’m a crafting hound. SO many crafts. I have, what has been affectionately dubbed around here as “Crafting ADD”. I knit, crochet, create polymer minis. I love video games, comics, general geekery. I have a thirst for learning languages (even if it feels like I never retain the info lol) and accents… I never thought I’d adore learning accents as much as I have, but I do. I love to cook and bake, and exploring new areas. Yeah, I’m an “Ooh, shiny!” brain kinda gal.

What does the future hold for Hollie Jackson?
Hopefully, more projects. But I would love to branch out into doing video voice over work. And, y’know, a commercial or two might be fun. I’ll always come back to audiobooks, though, because they’re where my real passion lies.

What is your favorite holiday and why?
This one is difficult because, generally? My favorite holidays encompass all three biggies between October 31st and December 25th. Halloween has always been my first love because it’s the one night a year you can truly be *anything* and no one really bats an eye. Plus, free candy. C’mon. Thanksgiving is the one day a year you can really spend time cooking and eating yourself into a food coma… and not feel guilty about it after lol. And Christmas, well, my birthday is 2 days before, my anniversary is 5 days before, and any holiday where I’m getting a gift is a bonus in my book. (Also, I’m a total Autumn/Winter fangirl… so… yeah.)

After narrating Desperately Seeking Sixty-Nine, would you consider narrating more titles by J.D. Frettier in her Green Room Chronicles?
Absolutely! It was a fun project and I’d love to see where the others go in the continuation of the series.

JD Frettier is the nom de plume of USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Theriot. Being a child of the 1960s and Woodstock era, she was elated when a quirky couple spoke to her, requesting their love story be told. It was an offer she couldn’t refuse, so she decided to venture into the world of paranormal via ‘channeling’ with her debut novella, Desperately Seeking Sixty-Nine. JD’s laptop and mind are now open to new characters. She’s already interviewed and selected one for the next installment of her Green Room Chronicles….so stay tuned!


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NEW RELEASE: Murmer by Anne Conley



Valerie Dunaway is a former socialite who has hidden from the public eye for years, due to a horrific attack that left her scarred—physically and emotionally. 

When a strange masked man makes himself at home with her, she’s unable to run. She calls the cops, but the agoraphobic won’t go into protective custody, so Detective Hollerman calls the only people he trusts: Pierce Securities.

Quinten Pierce is a Renaissance man—artist, lawyer, fighter—but his latest assignment has him losing his ever-present control. He’s got one fight left in his career, and although he can’t wait for it to be over, his opponent seems to have ties to Valerie, thus forcing him to hold on until he finds out exactly who he’s working with.

With the help of the Pierce team, the scarred princess and the gentle giant must silence the murmurs of the past that threaten their future.


They worked side by side for hours, with Quinten doing periodic checks through her quarters. Her mask continuously slipped, and Valerie continuously adjusted it. She was working on smaller, detailed pieces of her bird houses, making little shutters for the window holes, and the small reciprocating saw she used was difficult to see through the eye holes. Finally, Quinten had enough.

He’d cut all his pieces and ground the edges smooth and had begun taping them to solder together. But he finally stopped with a sigh.

“Do you have to wear the mask? Valerie, I’ve seen you. It’s obvious you don’t typically work with it, and you’re liable to hurt yourself because you’re limiting your vision with it on.” He took a step closer, and she stiffened, so he froze, looking at her eyes through the holes of her mask. “You’re fucking stunning. With or without it. Just take it off,” he said quietly, then held his breath.

She was a bird again, ready to take off in flight at any moment. He longed to yank it off her face and bury his mouth in the softness of her lips, but he relegated that thought to imagination only. Her eyes darted around wildly, and her hands twisted in front of her. She waged an inner war, and Quinten had no idea what was happening inside her head.

“It’s just us,” he reiterated. “I won’t even tell anybody if you don’t want.” Lowering his voice, he reminded her, “I’ve seen you without it.”

Her mask today was the purple one, and it went with the lavender swirly patterns in the long dress she wore. Her fingers trembled as she reached for it and slowly peeled it off her face, inch by inch. When she had it off, her eyes were closed as it dropped to the ground.

Quinten took a step closer, his eyes gazing at her mouth, plump and lush and utterly kissable.

“Look at me, Valerie.”

Painfully slowly, she opened her eyes, and they made a tortuous path up his body before landing on his face.

Quinten tried fisting his hands at his sides. He tried to shove them in his pockets. He tried putting them behind his back. But they wouldn’t mind him. Instead, they traveled to her head, cupping her cheek with one palm and her neck with the other. His thumb traced her bottom lip, and her tongue snaked out to wet it.

Valerie’s eyes were the greenest of green, like Caribbean pools at the base of waterfalls you saw in magazines. They watered with uncertainty, and Quinten would have done anything to reassure her.

“Fucking stunning.”

She let out a wild sob and grabbed the front of his shirt, yanking him toward her. So he kissed her. And promptly lost his mind.

Her lips were so soft and warm, and as soon as they touched, she let out a sobbing cry. Instinctively, Quinten knew she needed him to show her exactly how beautiful she really was.

He could only imagine her life up until now—only being worthy because of her beauty and then having her perception of that beauty taken away in such a horrific way. So horrific, she felt she deserved to be shut away from the public eye when she was used to being in the public eye at all times.

So Quinten kissed her for all he was worth. It began with a melding of lips, just tasting her sweetness against his lips. Then he tickled her lips with his tongue and when she opened, he swooped in.

It was dizzying, the way she tasted—so fucking sweet. He grounded himself by pressing his body against hers, pushing her up against the workbench, but it wasn’t enough.

He would never get enough.

He tangled one hand in her blonde locks while the other went around her waist and pressed her fully against him. It was tacky, but he pressed his erection into her hip because he needed her to see somebody wanted her. Desired her. 

Needed her.

His lips were wet with her tears, and Quinten wanted her to tell him why she was crying. He needed her honesty—with him as much as herself. He broke the kiss and leaned his forehead against hers, looking into the depths of her green eyes.

“Why the tears, Princess?”

She laughed but sobbed at the same time, and he used his thumb to wipe the track down her face.

“Because you’re not disgusted.”

Had someone told her she was disgusting? That right there broke Quinten’s heart, and all thoughts of waiting until this was over evaporated in one lust-hazed instant.

“Let’s go back to your bed, and I’ll show you just how not disgusting you are.” 

Read other stand-alone novels in the Pierce Securities Series:


Have you read The Book B!tches, yet?

Power of Love (Book B!tches #1)

Follow Anne here: 

FREE Novels!  

Contemporary Romance: 
Neighborly Complications

Paranormal Romance: 
Falling for Heaven


Anne has written her entire life and has the boxes of angst-filled journals and poetry to prove it. She’s been writing for public consumption for the past several years. Currently, she has four romance series. In Stories of Serendipity, she explores real people living real lives in small town Texas in a contemporary romance setting. In The Four Winds, she chronicles God’s four closest archangels, Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael, falling in love and becoming human. In Pierce Securities, she gives us Ryan, Evan, Miriam, Zack, Quinten, and Simon. Her newest series, Book B!tches, is all about a group of women in Mystic, Texas who get into all sorts of shenanigans. She lives in rural East Texas with her husband and children in her own private oasis, where she prides herself in her complete lack of social skills, choosing instead to live with the people inside her head.

Q&A with Gabriela Periera

q &amp; a

Please give a warm welcome to an author who writes about one my favorite things… WRITING! Welcome Gabriela Periera!


GPereira-AuthorPic2What were you like at school?

I was a total nerd who loved geeking out over weird things like Fibonacci numbers, non-Euclidean geometry and Catullus’ poetry (and yes, for the record, I know how to swear in Latin). As a violin-playing, bilingual, bookish child of Brazilian immigrants, fitting in wasn’t exactly an option so I learned early on to embrace my inner geek.

I was also a bit of a trouble-maker, but not in the way you might think. I didn’t rebel by drinking or smoking or doing whatever teens did to freak out the authority figures. Instead, my personal mission was to challenge and question everyone and everything. I loved playing devil’s

advocate and defy the “establishment” whether it consisted of authority figures or other kids at school. My most victorious moments were when I would craft an irrefutable argument and prove the establishment wrong. I’ve mellowed out a bit since then, but I still have that instigator streak.

Were you good at English?

It depends on what you mean by being “good at English.” I was bookish and started reading really young (like in preschool) but I had no patience for boring things like spelling, writing book reports, or ridiculous homework assignments. Spelling seemed like such a superfluous, cosmetic concern when what I really wanted to do was write down my ideas. Book reports and other such assignments were equally pointless in my mind. After all, if had already the teacher read the book, why was it my job to tell her what it was about or answer those silly questions?

My iconoclastic attitude wound up getting me tossed into remedial English in 3rd grade. Being bilingual sealed the deal because apparently back in the 1980s, speaking another language was considered a learning disability.

In retrospect, though, being in remedial English was the best thing that could have happened to me. It was the only class that met regularly in the computer lab which meant that I learned to touch-type and got good at using a computer before computers became ubiquitous. Given how writing and publishing have evolved over the years, I’d say that those were much more important skills than acing a spelling test or writing a book report on Little House on the Prairie.

When did you decide to become a writer?

It all started in first grade. I was in the school library and I wandered into the “big kids” section. I pulled The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander off the shelf and started reading. By the time our teacher called us to line up I had read the first chapter and was hooked.

Then a wave of panic came over me. In my first-grader brain, I thought that if I could read the books in the 5th grade section, pretty soon I’d be able to read all the books in the library, and after that all the books in the world. Then I’d have nothing else to read and I’d be bored forever.

My teacher noticed I was upset and the next day she introduced a new activity to the class. The idea was we could write and illustrate our own stories, then staple them together like a real book and put them in the book corner. After that, there was only one thing I wanted to do: write.

The conscious decision, though, came much later. In 2007, I decided as a New Year’s resolution that I was going to write. I had no idea what I planned to write, so I decided to go about it methodically and step-by-step. I started doing a writing prompt every single day for the month of January and by the time February came around, I was on a roll. I haven’t stopped since.

How and why did you start DIY MFA?DIYMFA-Book-Cover

A year later, in 2008, I wanted to up my writing game but I wasn’t sure what the best next step was, so I did what I thought made the most sense: enroll in an MFA (Master of Fine Arts). I figured after two years of school, I could try to get a teaching job somewhere so I could pay the bills until writing became my full-time gig. Until then I had always pictured myself as a writer who would teach “on the side” and I never imagined how dramatically the tables would turn.

That game-changing moment happened at graduation, when it hit me that the skills I had learned in the MFA—writing, reading, critiquing, etc.– were all things you could learn on your own, outside of school. Any writer could teach themselves those skills if they had patience, persistence, and a plan. It’s not like MFA programs had some trade secret or “formula” for becoming a better writer.

After this lightbulb moment, I went home and mulled this ides over, then started sketching what a do-it-yourself version of an MFA would look like. After a few weeks of noodling, I had a foundation figured out for what would later become DIY MFA.

So, how DO you DIY your MFA?

Simple: you write, you read, and you develop your own personal writing community.

In the traditional MFA, the writing component happens when you submit pieces to your workshop for critique. Also, most MFA programs have a thesis semester where a writer crafts a manuscript in their chosen niche. The reading component occurs in literature classes, not unlike ones you might take in college as an English major. Finally, the community aspect happens in the workshop as you give and receive critique, and also via readings or panel discussions sponsored by the writing department. MFA programs offer a one-stop-shop where writers can get all of these components in the same place, but you can also recreate that experience outside academia.

At DIY MFA we believe in writing with focus, reading with purpose, and building community. Writing, of course, happens every time you put your pen to the page and crank out those words. Reading with purpose means not just reading broadly, but with an eye toward improving your own craft. And while building community does involve giving and receiving critique, it also means learning about the publishing industry (both traditional and indie) and mastering all those other business-y topics that they don’t often teach in an MFA program.

Did you always envision DIY MFA as a book?

It’s funny, I never really thought of it as anything else until I took a marketing/platform class in early 2011. At some point in the first week of the course, the teacher told me that DIY MFA wasn’t just a book, it was a business model. This was an eye-opening (and also terrifying) moment for me because picturing DIY MFA as a book felt very comfortable and safe. It took me a while to learn how to think outside-the-box (or in this case, the book), but once I was able to shift my mindset, I haven’t looked back.

What’s your favorite aspect of DIY MFA?

There are so many things I love about DIY MFA, but probably my favorite part is creating new courses, conference talks, or any other cool learning tools. I love combining my love of books, writing, psychology, and design to create tools and techniques to help writers. A close second is interviewing bestselling authors and industry pros on the DIY MFA podcast. I love it because it gives me a chance to talk to some of my literary heroes and geek out about books and writing with them.

How do you feel about marketing?

I LOVE marketing, but I didn’t always. When I first started DIY MFA I was afraid of promoting anything I did because I didn’t want to be annoying or sales-y. Then it hit me that marketing and writing weren’t all that different. It’s all about understanding the psychology of your reader and then communicating your message effectively. Over the years, I’ve come to believe that the very skills we use as writers translate directly over into marketing. We just have to learn how to channel our “writing brain” into the marketing part of our job.

For instance, if you want to understand your readers and their motivations or desires, you can flex the same mental muscle you use when you want to dig deep and understand your characters. Similarly, those same research skills you might do for world-building in your novel will also serve you well when it comes time to do market research for your book.

Many writers get anxious when it comes to marketing, like somehow their creative minds can’t handle all the dollars and cents of it. I understand that anxiety but want to dispel the myth that goes with it. Writers are not inherently “bad” at marketing. In fact, the very creativity that makes us great at writing that can also make us strong marketers. I think many writers don’t give themselves enough credit and are actually a lot better at marketing than they realize.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

It might sound like I have delusions of grandeur to say this, but my goal is to revolutionize higher education in a way similar to how Walt Disney turned the entertainment industry on its head.

A lot of people criticize Disney, and as someone who has closely studied his work over the years, I know he had a lot of flaws. It’s the strengths, however, that I want to emulate:

* a passion for charting new territory and doing things no one had ever dreamed was possible

* the attention to detail and creating an element of “magic” in every project

* a holistic approach so that it’s not just about creating a movie, a store display, or a ride at a theme part, but about crafting an experience

For me, education has always had an element of magic to it. My goal is to create courses that deliver that magic, that joy of learning to my students. I mentioned earlier that I used to see myself as a writer who taught “on the side.” Now it’s the opposite. I’m a teacher, and writing is just one of the many tools I use to teach writing and reach students.

What are you working on at the moment?

The DIY MFA book was out this summer, so my team and I spent most of early 2016 putting together fun pre-book events. Now that things have quieted down, I’m starting to look ahead to life post book launch and my big focus in the coming months will be in expanding the DIY MFA curriculum. So, look for new courses launching over at, and also our online conference, Writer Igniter Con 2016, which will take place later this fall.  As always, the best way for writers to stay in the loop is to join the DIY MFA email listsince I always share my breaking news there first.

What is your favorite motivational quote?

“In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future.”

–Eric Hoffer

I love this quote because it so relevant to where publishing is right now. Publishing is in a state of drastic change. There’s no use ignoring that change because it’s already happening. The writers who will rise to the top are the ones who are fast learners and can course-correct as they go. Being a strong learner is by far the most important skill a writer can develop.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Stop calling yourselves “aspiring writers.” If you write, then you’re a writer. Be proud of it. Own it.

After all, no one goes around calling themselves aspiring plumbers or an aspiring neurosurgeons. For some reason, it’s only in the creative fields where we see people adding on

that qualifier to their titles. If you write, they you already are a writer. Be confident and don’t let the naysayers get you down.


Gabriela Pereira is the Instigator of DIY MFA, the do-it-yourself alternative to a Masters degree in writing. She earned an MFA from The New School and has helped hundreds of writers get the MFA experience without going to school. She teaches writing via conferences, workshops, and online courses and also hosts the podcast DIY MFA Radio.

When she’s not teaching or developing new courses, Gabriela enjoys writing middle grade and teen fiction, with a few “short stories for grown-ups” thrown in for good measure. Her book about DIY MFA will be out in July 2016 from Writer’s Digest Books.


Thanks so much joining us on the blog this week! Please be sure to check out Gabby’s book and follow her all over the internet!







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Q&A with Drucilla Morgan

q &amp; a

Please welcome the beautiful Drucilla Morgan to the blog this week!




What were you like at school?

I was a bit of a loner. I enjoyed most of the school work, except maths. I particularly loved art, drama, ancient history and, of course, creative writing. I frequently lost myself in books, where I felt more at home than in the real world.

Were you good at English?

English was my favourite subject, particularly the creative writing aspect. I was fortunate to have a home where my love of writing could flourish, along with a wonderful teacher in high school who inspired me to push beyond my limits.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

In that same spirit of pushing the limits, I want to draw more out of myself, take my prose to a new level. I will be working on the Nyx trilogy, concentrating on the second novel in the series, Rise of Nyx. I also have a secret project in the works, a novel that delves into the darker side of human nature and its juxtaposition with the side of us that longs do good.

Which writers inspire you?

I constantly find inspiration in reading the works of writers whose prose I find exquisite; whose expression captures the essence of our fragile human existence. I’m inspired, maybe driven, by a desire to confront my own inner struggles, to release the ghosts that whisper down the dark halls of my memories. I think this self exorcism in writing is more prevalent with authors than we may imagine.

I’ve been hugely influenced by writers like Daphne du Maurier, Beryl Bainbridge, Poppy Z Brite, Kim Newman and Hunter S Thompson. I loved Stephen King’s books from an early age and think he is a master story teller. I think I can safely blame Mr King for my fascination with the horror genre. I rather enjoy George RR Martin too. His gleeful extermination of primary characters is refreshing, even though it seems to have become a form of branding for him. His masterful world building and intricate attention to detail is an inspiration in itself. His tenacity and determination to walk his own path is downright heroic.

Recently, I’ve read some wonderful work by the likes of Scott Blackwood, Guillermo Arriaga, Nathan Filer and Dennis Lehane – wonderful prose, each different yet incredibly powerful, inspiring me to dig deeper as a writer. To challenge myself.

So, what have you written?

I have written several short stories for anthologies and magazines, including The Last Unicorn (A Forest of Dreams anthology, Indie Authors Press), The Walk (Altered States anthology, Indie Authors Press), Raising Rudi (In Shambles anthology, Harren Press), Bella Vista (Tied in Pink anthology) and The Flower Seller (Like a Girl anthology, both through Far Horizons Publishing) and Blood Bond (Corpus Deluxe, Tales of the Undead, Indie Authors Press). My vampire novel, Blood of Nyx, co-authored with Roy C Booth, has just been released and is available on Amazon.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Margrethe Charlesworth-Winchester is born into old English wealth. She lives within the confines of the Cambridgeshire countryside and the high walls of the family estate. Her life begins with the strange disappearance of her father on his wedding night, leaving only the child in his new bride’s belly as testament to the brief union. Her mother remarries, a convenient arrangement with a politician who spends as little time with his new family as possible. A son is born as a result of one of his infrequent visits. Margrethe’s half brother, Beau, becomes another barrier against the outside world, growing to guard his sister with ferocious determination.

Margrethe is a product of her environment, emanating an innocence that can only come from one protected from the darker aspects of the world. Her delicate looks and demeanour belie a steely will and desire to be free of the constraints and expectations placed upon her. Her father’s mysterious disappearance leaves her with a sense of abandonment and many unasked questions. Her days are spent pleasantly enough – roaming the estate’s gardens, attending genteel gatherings and dreaming of a world she has yet to discover – but her smiles cover her sadness, her longing for more. When handsome and intriguing Lucius Ruthven appears at her doorstep, her dreams provide fuel for the fire he lights in her imagination and her heart. Abandoning the stifling confines of her existence, Margrethe embarks on a journey that will take her from the light-headed heights of desire to the darkest depths of Hades. As she fights for her own survival and that of her loved ones, Margrethe finds within herself strength and determination that will surprise those who think they know her.

Where do your ideas come from?

I think most writers are sponges, absorbing the world around them, elevating the beautiful and interrogating the ugly as they struggle to express the complexity of the human condition. My ideas come from every day life, from the small moments I capture in my memory – people, their struggles, their hopes and fears. Every day details that we often miss. The flash of anger in an eye. The uncomfortable shifting of feet when polite conversation is interrupted by brutal honesty. These are things we all can relate to, along with the shared journey of life, love and death.

Another fertile source for ideas is the internet. I love the internet. It’s a treasure trove of information and imagination that can’t fail to inspire the creative urge. For example, I happened across an article on the daily, devoted attendance of fans at Rudolf Valentino’s grave. The idea of such obsessive devotion to celebrity fascinated me, inspiring the short story Raising Rudi. In researching the piece, I discovered so much about Rudolph Valentino that I never knew. I enjoyed writing that story and it still remains a favourite.

Similarly, I recently submitted a short story to a memorial anthology inspired by David Bowie. From my early teens, Bowie was part of my life, my culture and my creativity. He touched my generation and that of my children. He was a genius and to even consider writing something that honored his memory was at once challenging and frightening. In researching my departed hero, I discovered new layers, new dimensions to the enigma that was Bowie. I tried to integrate this complexity into the piece, marrying it with the vicarious experience of his fans. I was thrilled when it was accepted. It was a powerful piece to write emotionally and one where I had to draw both on facts and my own experience and emotional response.

What is the hardest thing about writing?Blood of Nyx ebook.cover display

For me, it’s discipline. I’m a bit of a free spirit when it comes to putting word to screen. I’m currently training myself in this area, but I think I have a long way to go. I participated successfully in NanoWriMo in 2014, but it was tough! I wanted to join in this year but deadlines were looming. Deadlines do help keep me in check though.

Aside from that, I would say the greatest challenge for any writer is to draw the reader into their world, to make their characters relatable on a deep, personal level. I believe this will be an ongoing quest with no end.

If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it? Blood of Nyx is the first book in a trilogy (Blood of Nyx, Rise of Nyx and Rule of Nyx) The series follows the Clan of Nyx as they fight for dominance over the human realm and each other.

Who designed your book cover/s?

I design book covers for other authors and publishers, as well as premade covers for indie authors. My publisher asked me to design my cover, which was quite a challenge, being so close to the book and its characters. In the end, I decided to go for something in a stark, graphic style rather than a more generic vampire/horror cover, in part because I couldn’t choose a favourite character to portray. Also, the story itself covers a lot of ground, so I went for a symbolic design rather than anything too detailed.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

All feedback is valuable to a writer and reviews are like gold, even when they are negative. And of course, everyone’s taste is different, so I think one must expect both positive and negative reviews. One of my favourite books, See How Small (Scott Blackwood) received some terrible one star reviews, yet it entranced me from the first sentence. I expect that my work, like any author’s work, won’t appeal to everyone, but that’s okay. If it brings enjoyment to one reader, I’m happy.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I still feel as though I’m on a journey with my writing, always growing and changing, so I’m not sure I’m one to offer advice. However, there are some helpful things I’ve learned along the way –

* Write a lot, read a lot and observe everything around you. When you read, dissect the book like a frog in biology class. What works, what doesn’t? Is there a particular book you love? What makes it work for you? How did the author use his words to draw you in?

* Continuously seek to upgrade your writing skills. Join writing groups, participate in work shops and courses, learn and grow.

* One common mistake I see with new authors is their failure to craft their story through their character(s). Rather, they ‘narrate’, which creates an emotional distance between their characters and the reader. You will hear the phrase ‘show, don’t tell’. I think this is one of the most important aspects of writing to grasp, so take the time to learn the difference between ‘showing’ and ‘telling’. Learn when to show and when to tell. This is probably the most valuable writing advice I can give regarding the mechanics of writing.

* When you think you’re done, proofread and edit, then edit again. Gather some readers to give you feedback on your manuscript (beta readers). Take their feedback into account then edit again. After this editing process, I would suggest sending your manuscript to a well recommended, professional editor. If you’re not artistically inclined, a professional book cover artist is a must! Many a book is ruined by an amateur cover.

* It’s important to be confident but not over confident. Ego doesn’t get anyone far in the writing industry. In fact, it’s helpful to develop a thick skin, you’re probably going to need it – critiques can be harsh but they are invaluable if you want to bring your best game.

* Most importantly, write from your heart and gut. If you don’t, it will show.


Thanks so much Dru for hanging out with us on the blog this week! Please follow and check out some of her work!

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Q&A with Amanda Kool

q &amp; a

Please welcome another from Down Under! The lovely Amanda Kool!


AmandaKoolAuthorPhotoWere you good at English?

Reel gud! I was much better at English than any other subject. Especially maths. I love the idea of maths and the complexity of equations and I really admire people who excel in it and understand the universe with it. I’m rubbish at it.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I just want to write stories I enjoy. A terrific bonus would be if these stories resonate with others and they enjoy them too. My ambition is not to be ambitious. My publisher (Satalyte Publishing) will probably hate me saying that, but ambition and career are different goals from writing stories. If I can sit down and actually complete a story, that’s as good an outcome as I can hope for.

Which writers inspire you?

Michael Shaara, Shelby Foote, Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy, Umberto Eco, JRR Tolkien, James Ellroy… Honestly, there’s too many to list. All writers inspire me – even ones whose work I don’t enjoy or *gasp* didn’t finish. I’ve sat in the chair and wrestled to complete a story. I’ve doubted and cried and laughed and poured celebratory whiskey, so in my book (pun intended), anyone who’s written a story I’ve enjoyed, or has frustrated me, or gut-punched me (I’m looking at you, Kim Stanley Robinson), inspires me. Here’s some more: JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Ben H. Winters (holy crap, he wrote a magnificent trilogy), and Blake Crouch. I’ll think of more as I go. I’ve probably forgotten my most influential authors and mentioned some of the most trivial; welcome to my brain.

So, what have you written? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.) * 1000 Mettle Folds: Published by Arcane Wisdom (May 24, 2011). Period horror piece (co-authored with Steve Gerlach, Australian Horror writer).

* The Murderer’s Cloth: Forthcoming Satalyte Publishing book. Period crime story set in 1880s, London. * Tallwood: Science Fiction published by Satalyte Publishing. * The Paper Fox: An interactive story for IOS devices, won critical acclaim for its artwork and design, and garnered the 2014 iKids award for best eBook. Published by Bento Box Interactive, LLC. Trailer here.

* Wires: Forthcoming Satalyte Publishing book. A weird tale of another world that can only be reached if you are killed by a certain gun.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

My main characters in Wires are special because they are NOT special. They are each thrust into a situation they must escape or resolve and each is drawn to the other because of one, horrific event. I’m a big fan of writing characters that are ordinary people who must rapidly evolve or adapt to changing circumstances. Or die trying. And dying happens a lot in my stories.

My main characters in Tallwood are ordinary for the world they inhabit. But that’s a future, god-blasted world full of inhuman predators and human fiends. In contrast to my usual “normal” characters, this cast was born needing to survive at a young age. They were born prey; no longer at the top of the food chain. To avoid making any giveaway sounds, they use sign-language to communicate, crossbows to defend themselves, and have learned much about the natural world that is bent on destroying them. But to them, that is normal. I do like my ordinary folk.

What are you working on at the minute?TallWood_comp

Two stories at present. Working titles: “Mother” and “Sadie”. One set after a civil war, and the other set in a decaying city and a hotel that doesn’t want to let go.

What draws you to this genre?

Science Fiction or Weird fiction has so much scope for going completely crazy with ideas. I’ve written one story that’s set in the real world and has ZERO supernatural or magical elements in it. One. And even that story is set in 1889, London. So it’s not technically ‘of the now’ 🙂

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

I cast all my characters. I have picture files for them that I refer to constantly. Or, I just make a desktop image with all of them so it’s always there for me to refer to. This is mainly because my memory is terrible and I like to ensure my descriptions are consistent and my brown-eyed protagonist suddenly doesn’t change to a blue-eyed wonder half-way through the book. That hasn’t actually answered the questions, but I write ensembles so… we’d be here a while.

How much research do you do?

A lot. That doesn’t mean it’s all perfect in the end product or I haven’t mucked something up in the translation, but I do a lot of research on anything that’s in a book (crossbows, guns, foods, language, religion, farming, drugs…).

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I grab what chances I can – on the train on the way to work, in the evenings, if I’m not exhausted from work, on the weekends when chores allow. Snippets of time here and there where the muse is talking and the red wine is in easy reach 🙂

My days as are structured as the outlines for my novels. That is to say; not. I’m a panster through and through.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I start with a character or two and they take me where they need to go. I can mostly see where I’m aiming so I steer them in that direction. I’m constantly surprised by where my imaginary friends take me (and how many of them are willing to jump in front of a bullet!)

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Everything! Look, when it flows and you’re in the zone and your characters are talking to you, it’s like bliss.

Every other part is hard. The sentence structure, the music choices (I like to listen to soundtracks when I write), the narrative connections, the words (omg the wurds!), the plot, the crux of your book; is it original/good/interesting? The doubt monsters that sit behind you while you’re trying to wrangle another 99 monkeys to the other 99 typewriters; “This is shit. You’re so derivative. This is the most unoriginal idea you’ve come up with yet!”

Sometimes you wonder if you could ever conjugate a verb in the first place.

And then…bliss. It’s all worth it.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

No. It took me a year. And I agonised a lot. In the end, I just had to start from a fresh mindset. Don’t think about what other people will think. Write what excites you. Write what you want to write and what you’re interested in.

And try not to think too much. I started grinding my teeth. Not cool.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

I try to read as much as I can, but don’t have many hours in the day. I read 1 hour a day on the way home on the train. I have “comfort” authors, that I go back to again and again. King, Barker, Ellroy, Stephenson and Banks (both M and sans M).

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. Who designed your book cover/s?

My brother, Jeremy Kool, is a graphic and 3D artist. We worked together at Krome Studios and he did the artwork for The Paper Fox that ended up winning quite a few awards for the art. He’s extremely talented and, thankfully, is a terrific collaborator for my covers. I am very grateful for his skill and patience.

For Tallwood, he read the book and made notes. He then asked me to highlight the most important themes/scenes of the books. After a while, he produced a series of thumbnail designs. We picked three to work up and from those three, selected one to do a full concept.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Absolutely. Even for me as a reader. There are some cover styles I can’t stand and I literally won’t even pick up the book. That’s harsh, but…human.


Thanks so much for joining us Amanda! Be sure to follow her and check out some of her work!

Author Page at Satalyte Publishing:

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Q&A with LynC

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Please welcome another from our friends Down Under at Satalyte Press… the wonderful LynC!


ARN_7891_R head shotSo, what have you written? 

Short answer is lots. Published, not so many.

4 short stories – one of which “Nematalien” was shortlisted for a Chronos award in 2013.

My first short story – “Through the Red Mask” – originally published on in 2012 – is available for free on my web site

“Manga Dude – where d’ya get your inspro man?” can be found in the anthology This Mutant Life which is available from Amazon or the publisher ( Nil By Mouth was published in 2014 ( or Amazon) and shortlisted for two jury awards in 2015 (The Norma K Hemming Award and The Aurealis Award – SF category)

What are you working on at the minute?

I have lots of WIPs – Works in Progress!

Satalyte Publishing have agreed to accept ‘Traynor’, an SF novel about two alien ships which crash land on Earth 40,000 years ago and choose diametrically opposed methods of coping with their isolation. This will have a sequel.

I am putting the finishing touches on a Space Opera – ‘Gin Joints’ – but do not yet have a publisher for it. This will also have at least one sequel, possibly two.

I almost always have a couple of short stories doing the rounds. Today is no exception.

And I keep writing.

What genre are your books? & What draws you to this genre?

I am a Speculative Fiction Writer. This means I write mainly in the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy. Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, etc with touches of Romance. But it is not always a boy who gets a girl. J

My mother introduced me to Fantasy when I was very little – reading me things such as ‘The Wind in the Willows’. From there I read every book I was allowed to get my hands on in the local school libraries and Municipal libraries. I just found that Speculative Fiction with its variety, challenge solving, and lack of formula was what drew me most. You couldn’t always tell quite what was going to happen next. Sometimes you couldn’t even work out what was happening now!

So when I started writing for myself, it was just natural that the area I found most fascinating is what I would start producing.

 When did you decide to become a writer? & Why do you write? & What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I have been a writer since I was capable of holding a pencil, even before I could spell. Some people are just driven by their need to create. Unfortunately I have that curse, and my chosen medium is the written word. J

Do you write full-time or part-time?book

I would have to say that I put finger to keyboard on a part-time basis. This does not mean I am not creating a story full-time, just that it has to stay in my head till I have the leisure to sit at a keyboard and start putting it down.

 Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? & Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

I try to find a 2 hour block every day, but it could be any time. It just depends on what else HAD to happen before I could take time off and indulge.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Finding time!

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I used to work as a technical programmer (a Database Administrator) for 40 years, so it was a relief to get on the train at night and get away from the dancing pixels with a fixed print paper book. Technology has moved on and this is not the issue it used to be, but because of my work I had taught myself to gloss over humungous reports and manuals and just find the salient points. It is now an unconscious habit. With paper I take time and notice more and savour what is in front of me.

What book/s are you reading at present?

Last year I read 92 books, the year before (I was still working) I read 74. This year I have accepted the Goodreads challenge and am attempting 100 books. They vary from brand new books to the comfortable and familiar, but almost all are speculative fiction.

Recent reading has included Sulari Gentill, Eli Glasman, Garth Nix, Paul Collins, Sean Williams and Keri Arthur. And those are just the Australians on the list.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

If not me, who? I can’t afford to pay someone else. It is too expensive.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?


When a book is first created, you are too close to it to see the flaws. It takes time and usually a new book or some time on another WIP to get the necessary distance.

Most of my ‘flaws’ tend to be that I do not fully explain a situation. When creating the work, I can see it so clearly in my head, feel what the character is feeling, see what they see, that what ends up on the page is a sort of memory jog rather than something which conveys all that to the reader. I need time for the memory to diminish enough that I can see that I haven’t explained it clearly enough.

 hat advice would you give to aspiring writers?

The same advice that kick started me after I gafiated* by having children, getting a job, etc. Writing is a craft and like all crafts you need to learn the skills and techniques, and you need to practice. But essentially –

If you want to be a writer – JUST DO IT!

*‘GAFIATE’ is a very old SF fannish word meaning to Get Away From It All. It is usually used to indicate someone who has walked away from SF Fandom. In my case I am using it to mean someone who left the writing scene.


Thanks LynC for joining us this week! Also be sure to follow her and check out her work!!


Q&A with A.L. Butcher

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Please give a cold dead welcome to an author from across the pond (Also known as the UK if you’re from Canada!) The lovely A.L. Butcher!


A L ButcherWhat were you like at school?

Rebellious. I never did anything too terrible but I did have issues dealing with pointless rules – still do if I’m honest. I get bored easily and that didn’t help. I worked hard at subjects I liked – English, science, music and drama and not at ones I didn’t – like maths. I did OK but I could have done better.

At college I was vice-president of the Student Union – let’s just say there were a few issues with the management of the college at that time – big stuff – and there was a teeny weeny sit it which I might have helped organise…. And the press might have turned up….

As it happened it turned out there was a lot of dodgy stuff going on and it brought it to the fore. It nearly cost me my A-levels but we were trying to stand up for what was right at the time, and defend the student body from the corruption. Anyway I was quite political in those days – not so much now as I don’t have the energy these days. A degree in politics teaching one that often not much changes – even with good intentions – or if it does not for long. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing – there are issues which have changed for the better as a result of ordinary people speaking out. It’s politicians who are usually the problem.

So, what have you written? 

To date I have three fantasy novels, several short stories in anthologies and my own companion short story collection. I also write poetry, maintain a blog and admin for a couple of facebook fantasy pages.


Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?Banner I

I’ll talk about two – Dii’Athella is the main female character in two of my three novels and features in the third. She’s an elven sorceress in a world where magic is illegal and elves enslaved. When we first meet her she is fleeing for her life into a dangerous world she knows little about, and where her very existence is forbidden. As the stories progress she really comes into her own, discovering how powerful she truly is and a little of her own history. Despite her terrible life she is still kind, intelligent and eager to help others and she does. She is special for many reasons. Dii loves life, as she nearly loses it several times she is grateful for every day she has and every day she learns more about herself and the world.

The second is Rufus Redblade, the hero in my Heroika: Dragon Eaters story. He’s a Griffin Rider – now a mercenary – from a land ravaged by war and political intrigue. Once he would have been the royal guard but now the Riders are small bands of sellswords, rather mythical and feared. Currently there is peace but it’s barely holding and he knows war will come if the heir to the throne dies, which is likely. Rufus is a man who takes no crap, he does not appreciate fools. He’s brave – he risks his life for a child and her mother and he knows that the chances are he or one of his crew won’t return from their adventure. Rufus is a man who knows right from wrong, but as it pertains to his own moral code. What is special about him – ne doesn’t give up. Ever. If he wants something he goes after it, come what may, and this includes the heart of a dragon.

How much research do you do?

I’ve researched herb-lore, medieval weaponry, food, flora and fauna, geology and more for the novels. My strangest topic has probably been can a salamander be eaten. Yes it can – but you probably wouldn’t want to.

I usually spend a bit of time researching for the novels if it’s needed, I have several books on medieval history, mythology, and weaponry and I use the internet a lot. The world wide web is really useful! It’s hard not to get distracted though and I usually end up doing too much. At the moment I’m researching mythical creatures for a series of blog posts and I used a variation of keres in my latest novel, not to mention the dragon of course for Dragon Eaters. My latest blog post was about cyclopes and I touch on the origins of the stories and the real accounts of cyclopean babies and animals and the possible causes.

It’s really interesting – if you look into ancient stories there is often a base of fact, if misunderstood at the time. It might be buried deep but it’s there. Dragons for example – pretty much every culture has a dragon myth of some sort – based on perhaps, huge dinosaur bones, crocodiles or other living large fearsome beasts and the cultural desire for monsters and heroes. Dragons are symbolic.

Book 2 EbookHave you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Novels no, short stories yes. I’ve worked with my friend Diana L Wicker – who has her own YA fantasy series – on a short historical style fantasy called Outside the Walls. We wrote it originally for a charity anthology called Bellator, but expanded it recently as a short story in its own right and it’s just be produced as a short audio book through Audible. The story follows Lady Eleanor – who returns to her castle during wartime to find refugees at the gates of the town starving and sick. The council ignore them and only Eleanor takes pity on them and offers food, medicine and support. Among the dying and desperate she finds someone very familiar….

Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?

Diana and I had written stuff together before – we used to play an online RPG and wrote for that so we knew we could do it. Outside the Walls was actually adapted, loosely, from something we wrote for that and never used. Sales wise – She manages the paperback and I manage the e-book and audio. Every so often we exchange numbers – assuming there have been any sales and if needs be transfer the money over. As it’s a recent project it’s not really been a problem for tax as yet. I have that fun to come for the next tax return! As we both promote the story we get double exposure and really it’s more her audience than mine as my novels are a lot more….adult.

Writing a book with another author is a whole different challenge to writing alone. You have to know how the other person writes, their style and their strengths and weaknesses. You have to agree – sometimes there would be a scene I thought was great and Di didn’t agree so compromise is your friend. There’s less freedom – but that may not be bad. It’s easy to get carried away and sometimes the pet scene isn’t actually as wonderful as the particular writer thinks and it’s helpful to have another set of eyes. Of course there is the challenge of time – we both work and Diana has a family to raise, not to mention she is in the US and I’m in the UK so at best we only get a couple of hours a day when we are both online and able to write together. Google drive worked well for this as co-operative writing is possible there and the notes facility is bloody useful!

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

I don’t read as much as I’d like to. That said I usually have a true crime book on the go and often a novel. At present I’m trying to read true crime/dark history from every part of Britain. Fortunately there is a series of county-based true crime/historical crime books by Nicola Sly and John Van Der Kiste. I’ve read some of Mr Van Der Kiste’s historical non fiction and I enjoy his work. I’m trying to re-read all the Terry Pratchett books as well. Generally I read fantasy, sci-fi, classics, mythology, history, gothic horror and true crime.

Favourite authors:the stolen tower new big text

Gaston Leroux

Mary Shelley

Alexandre Dumas

Janet Morris

Terry Pratchett

John Van Der Kiste

Colin Wilson

Philippa Gregory


Ellis Peters

HG Wells

Jules Verne

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

Usually yes. I’m often working on more than one project so I’ll go to something else for a while and then come back to the original book re-read and revise.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Reviews happen – or they don’t more often than not. Many readers don’t review for any number of reasons. Bad reviews happen too. No book suits everyone; there will be too much/not enough sex, violence, monsters, world building etc; there will be a character a reader doesn’t like or can’t get into. Some readers overlook minor typos, some pick up on everything and sometimes people simply don’t like it. I’ve read books, including popular ones, I simply didn’t enjoy. It happens. Deal with it.

Honestly if you don’t want bad reviews then don’t read the reviews or don’t publish. No book will please everyone. Look at any book on Amazon and I bet it has a mix of reviews. Good reviews are great but reviews are for readers, not authors. Whilst it’s nice to get them don’t obsess over it.

If someone does give a bad review don’t respond, don’t argue and don’t bitch. At least not publicly – it’s not worth it. The internet is great but it makes the world small and what has been said often can’t be

unsaid. Being snarky to reviewers is likely to do far more harm than a bad review itself. Give readers some credit, many don’t even read reviews and those that do often ignore ones which are blatantly nasty or don’t fit the reader’s own ideas. Let a reader make his or her own opinion.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

It can but doesn’t always. Like any marketing strategy it needs to be used in conjunction with other strategies. I’ve used free book promotions, with mixed results but I have noticed boosts on other books after the event. I suppose it depends on one’s definition of success and what one wants from the promotion. Free rarely garners reviews, as many readers download free books and don’t read them and there is a view that free = low quality (which isn’t true in my experience). I’ve downloaded free books and then gone on to buy the author’s other works. Having more than one book is of course beneficial. If there is just one title then why buy it when the reader can just wait for it to be free – but to offer a free book as a taster for other books can and does work. A while ago I ran a debate for Mythic Scribes on free books – where I interviewed authors and readers on their view on free books.

Tales of Erana PB Cover IWhat is your favourite quote?

I have several – I used to have folders full of quotes.

“If you can’t be a good example you’ll have to be a terrible warning.” – I used to have that on my office door.

Terry Pratchett came up with several –

“Where life can live it will, where it can’t it takes a little longer.”

“It’s not worth doing something unless you were doing something that someone, somewere, would much rather you weren’t doing.

“Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.”

“Most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally evil, but by people being fundamentally people.”

“I’d rather be a rising ape than a falling angel.”

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Again I have several – Professor Stephen Hawkin – because he’s a genius. Leonardo Da Vinci – for obvious reasons. Gaston Leroux, Terry Pratchett and Ellis Peters to thank them for their books. Marie Curie to thank her for her work. Charles Darwin, Homer, William Shakespeare, Francis Drake, Admiral Nelson, Nelson Mandela, Dame Judy Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Ronnie Barker, Michael Palin, David Attenborough.


Thanks so much for being on the blog this week A.L.! Please be sure to follow A.L. Butcher and check out her work!




Twitter: @libraryoferana




Q&A with Sabine Wilder

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Please give a cold dead welcome to this weeks guest on the blog…the lovely Sabine Wilder!


sabine-author-photoSo, what have you written?

Currently, I only have my novel “Runaway” published, but I’m working on expanding it into a series and I’m considering releasing a short story tied to it.

Where can we buy or see them?

You can get the ebook through



The print book through

CreateSpace: Amazon:

And the audiobook is also being produced and you can listen to it for FREE via

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What genre are your books?

I write for the young adult paranormal genre, but with a horror and thriller bent to it. While there’s a little romance mixed in to my writing, it’s not my primary genre. Essentially I like to write about werewolves, vampires and other monsters.

What draws you to this genre?

I love the metaphors werewolves and other monsters evoke, especially dealing with the beast within and wrestling with humanity. Werewolves and vampires have also long been used as tales to express female sexuality, from Little Red Riding Hood to Carmilla to modern writing. I think writing about monsters has vast potential to plumb the depths of the human experience and I love tapping into that.

How much research do you do?

A lot. I have tonnes of books on werwolves, everything from short stories and novels to non-fiction, and I love going through them. I also collect books on monsters and folklore, especially if they have illustrations. I’m a very visual person and I love getting lost in those images and seeing what they inspire. I’m also a huge fan of werewolf movies. They can get pretty campy sometimes, but maybe that’s part of the charm of the genre.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

Honestly, what made me decide to sit down and write a werewolf novel was that I was really disappointed with the modern werewolf books I was picking up and reading. I felt like they were missing out on so many great opportunities to delve into questions they brought up in their narratives. It was frustrating, so I decided to put

my money where my mouth was and write the book I wanted to see. What I wanted to see was females represented equally alongside males in the genre and to explore more than just romantic relationships, because I think there’s a lot more to life than just romance. Ultimately my writing turned out to be about the connections we have with other people, in all their gory variety. That sounds a bit vague I know, but I don’t want to give away too much.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series.

I love the idea. I think it gives authors so much more room to explore and develop things that they may not have time to develop over the course of one book. I’ve made various hints in “Runaway” with things I’d like to explore in the future, but there simply wasn’t room in the narrative of the first book to explore those things. I think it works well for readers too. Readers like to sink their teeth into rich characters and worlds and you get more bang for your buck, so to speak, with a series.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I love the look and feel of a paper book. Who doesn’t? But the fact is that some books I wanted to read were hard to find in print, or the bigger problem, I don’t have space on my shelves anymore! I have too many books! I finally took the leap to digital and I like the convenience of it to be honest. I can carry any number of books around with me on my tablet and I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to put those 21 Cadfael books I want to read but am probably only going to read once. It’s a balancing act. I’m sure my favourites will stay on the shelves in print, but I’m glad for the convenience and reach of the digital revolution.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?6x9-cover-small

I think this is necessary. At some point you’ve read over your work so many times that you are not even reading it anymore and your brain is just filling in the blanks. You have to give yourself and the work a break. A month is probably good, but longer isn’t a bad thing. The longer things sit, the more objective I find myself when I come back to it. I think the end work is ultimately better for it.

Tell us about the cover and how it came about.

I designed and created my own cover (since I have a background as a graphic designer), and to be honest, I took a big risk with this one. Going with only type as the image gives very little information what the book is about and there’s a good chance people might pass the book by because they think it doesn’t fit the genre. That said, I wanted something different. I didn’t want another cover with a wolf on it. While a cliché cover might have worked better, I find them ugly and boring. They all look the same. I wanted the cover to convey a sense of intrigue and horror because that’s the kind of feeling my writing has. The characters don’t necessarily understand or know what’s happening and I wanted to convey that feeling to the reader more than what genre the book fits into. I admit it’s a risk and I might eventually design another cover for the sake of marketing. I’m open to ideas and feedback on the subject.

How are you publishing this book and why?

I am publishing my book myself because I got tired of waiting for the industry. Yes, I’ve been trying the old tried and true method of queries and submissions, but the industry is getting more picky if anything, and despite the positive feedback I was getting, no one was willing to take me on. So I decided to do it myself. Coming in to this with a graphic design background, I actually had a great skill set in regards to putting together everything I needed to launch the book myself and what I didn’t know how to do I had contacts to go to for help. I’m glad I did it because for about a year while I was querying I felt so stagnant, like I wasn’t going anywhere, and now I feel like I’m moving forward again. That’s been the most important thing to me. I don’t like sitting around for months on end waiting to hear from people, waiting for acknowledgment. Self-publishing means I can do that for myself. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes in the future.

Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell?

In my quest to find reviewers I’ve run into a lot of people who’ve actually stopped looking at indie books because of bad experiences with self-published authors. Once bitten twice shy. People are tired of sifting through the junk to find the gems because it’s not worth it if the experience turns negative. The problem with everyone and their dog being able to publish a book is that not everyone conducts themselves as a professional and I think that’s turning a lot of people off. I think well written books are out there, but how does the reader find them? That’s the problem and I think we’re still trying to find a model that works for sifting out the gems.


Thanks so much for joining us this week on the blog Sabine! Please be sure to follow Sabine and check out her work!



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Q&A with Gail Traux

q &amp; a

Please give a warm welcome to a different breed of author this week on the blog… a childrens author! Please welcome Gail Traux!!


AuthorImagefor AmazonWhich writers inspire you?

The book that had the most influence on me was Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Louisa Mae Alcott’s Little Women, Jo’s Boys, and Little Men were my first serial books. Agatha Christie, Max Lucado, J.R.R. Tolkien, Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Amy Lowell, William Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, and Edgar Allan Poe were favorites, also. Edward Lear’s nonsense rhyme The Owl and the Pussycat is one of the few poems I remember from childhood. I still remember the pictures in the music book. This poem and the color plates in Louisa Alcott’s Little Women had a great influence on me regarding the illustrations in the Greymalkin books.

So, what have you written?

I write children’s books. The stories are about Greymalkin, a British Blue courtier-cat who is the beloved companion to his princess. Ginger-Kitty is a playful, fun-loving, mischievous cat who is the companion to the younger princess.

What are you working on at the minute?

The current WIP is the compilation of the many Greymalkin stories that have accumulated over the last seven years. While the stories were not told chronologically, for this book the stories will be in order.

What draws you to this genre?

The versatility the three of us (myself and two granddaughters) have to make the stories our own. We interact with each other, we interact with the story. Greymalkin and Ginger-Kitty each have their own strengths. The girls act out those strengths and the stories are tailored to them. For example, in the third book, which will be coming out in 2016, they are lost in the forest. Greymalkin climbs a tree to look for the castle flags while Ginger-Kitty uses her strong sense of smell to ensure they are staying on the right path. The fun part is that the girls had watched a nature show on television and assigned their “strength” according to what they knew was a cat trait and what they envisioned their character doing. The girls each wanted to do something unique to them.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

My husband told me that when he was little his grandfather would tell him and his siblings stories, which none of them could remember today. “If you don’t write the stories down, the girls will forget them,” he said. My response was, “But, they tell me the stories now.” Later, while visiting with my in-laws, I asked them about the stories their grandfather told them and NONE of them remembered more than just the bare bones of the stories. That is what motivated me to write the stories down. My plan was to write only one story, but changed my mind when family and friends asked for more stories.

Where do your ideas come from?GM Birthday Surprise Front

I have always told stories; I think of myself as a story teller more than a story writer. Ideas pop up at some of the strangest times and for no apparent reason. A phrase will pass through my mind, and the next thing I know it is an event in a story. The girls and I both simply go with whatever comes into our minds on that particular day. These stories are then converted to written form. When I was young, my nephew and I would take the ViewMaster into the attic and play “movies.” We were both too young to read, so we made stories up from the pictures. The nice thing about that was the freedom we had to change the story as we often as we wanted. This is the same way the girls and I tell stories today. It’s pretty much a “where ever the story goes” style. Now that the girls are older, I barely get the story started before they take over the telling. Sometimes the “bones” of the story are left intact and the girls add their ideas and twists; sometimes the only content that is remotely similar to the original story are the names of the cats.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

I have discovered several new authors in the last six months that I really enjoy. Each one has his own distinctive writing style: Michael Williams and his “The Trouble with Wyrms” series, Bill Noel’s “Folly Beach” series, and Steve Harrison’s “Time Storm.” I read a lot, but these three come immediately to mind. I have all of these on my Kindle, but prefer traditional paper/hard back books.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I prefer traditional paper/hard back books. However, I love my Kindle and the fact that I can carry around hundreds of books and they weigh less than a pound. My husband appreciates that since the vacation we took and carried around a suitcase full of books.

 Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

The first two books were edited by myself, friends, and family members. The third book, I found an editor, Lisa Binion, in one of the writing groups to which I belong. I cannot say often enough how much her hard work is appreciated. Editing. I could edit a book for forever. With the last one I hired an editor, to get me out of the “edit ‘til I drop” loop.

Greymalkin cover 1How are you publishing this book and why?

I self-publish through Create Space. With the first book, I did not plan to do another book and so did not even consider traditional publishing. Now, I am beginning to rethink that decision. I like being involved in every step of the book, bringing to life the stories the girls and I have told. The biggest disadvantage to self-publishing is that you also need to be able to self-market….a strength in which I am sadly lacking.

What do you think of “trailers” for books?

I actually have one! My very talented niece put together a trailer for Greymalkin and the Birthday Surprise.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Life is a learning experience and you don’t learn if you never make a mistake.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t be afraid of what other people might or might not think of your work. Write for yourself; you will be a better person for it.


Thanks so much for joining us Gail! Please be sure to follow her and check out her work!