Author Interview Number Seventy-Four – Maer Wilson -Paranormal Fantasy


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Welcome to Maer Wilson.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write Urban Fantasy. My first book is Relics, Modern Magics, Book 1. Book 2 is almost ready for submission to my publisher and I’ve begun Book 3. Relics takes place in San Franciscoand follows the exploits of husband and wife detectives, Thulu and La Fi. The couple’s clients are usually dead, which is fine with them since they work only with the supernatural. But their simple job to find lost relics for an ancient daemon turns into a grand adventure when the creatures of myth and magic return to Earth, confirming that humans are definitely not alone.

Where can readers find your book? Relics is found at these retailers:

Amazon – Kindle –

Amazon – Paperback –

Barnes & Noble – Nook –

How long have you been writing and what, if anything, made you choose the genre in which you write? I’ve been writing for years, but this is my first novel. I adore fantasy and Sci Fi. I wanted something contemporary, so a blend of urban Fantasy, Paranormal with hints of SF was a natural and very comfortable choice.

Who or what are your inspirations/influences? I’m sure every writer I’ve ever read has influenced me to some degree or other. I love the idea of magic in our world, so while I read a lot of epic fantasy, I also love contemporary fantasy, as well.

Can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one?Positive – The fact that I get to play in a wonderful world and make it into whatever I want it to be.

Negative – About the only thing I can think of is that I don’t get to read as much as I’d like to. While I do read a lot, most of it is for mini-reviews for my podcast or because I have a blog guest. I don’t get as much time to just sit and read whatever I want to.

With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why? I am published in print and ebooks and I think both are important and each serves its own function. There are still many readers who want to have that physical book in their hands. As long as that demand is there from the readers, then it’s important to meet that demand.

Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? I listen to gaming and film soundtracks and discovered Two Steps From Hell, an awesome group. I don’t listen to songs very often, though, because I find words distracting. But soundtracks are perfect for what I write.

Books are important, why is this the case? What can a book provide that, say, a video game cannot? I’ve been reading since I was four years old and I cannot imagine not having a book going.

While I’m not tearing through five to seven books a week like I did when I was younger, I still read a lot. I also play video games. The thing you get in books that you don’t get in a game is the story and character development. There are some games that attempt to give us some of that, but the sheer detail is lacking. Just as when a beloved book is created into a film, it can never quite capture every nuance of the book. For one thing there is simply too much detail packed into a novel to translate to the screen. For another part of what happens in a book is based upon the reader’s perception of what they read and take away from the reading. That one on one relationship between author and reader is magic and is unique to each reader.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I used to be a hardcore raider in online MMOs. Now I’m just a casual raider, but I still play online video games every week. My current game is Star Wars: The Old Republic. Thank you for having me on your blog and for such a fun interview!

Maer Author relics 400x600

After a successful career being other people, and later teaching others the many tricks of that trade, Maer Wilson has decided to be herself for a while. Turns out she’s a writer. She’s always loved stories, especially fantasy, mystery and sci fi. Maer was born in the Year of the Dragon and has a dragon-themed room in her home, but sadly no dragons in the back yard. When she’s not writing, Maer plays online video games, teaches college and reads. Maer is a partner in Ellysian Press, a small publishing house. She also co-hosts the literary podcast MythBehaving.

Maer lives in the high desert of Southern Nevada with her three dogs, a chihuahua and two poodles.

Her books include Relics and Portals, Books 1 and 2 in the Modern Magics series. The upcoming third book in the series is Magics. There are also three novelettes in the series – “Ghost Memory,” “Unwanted Ghost” and “Ghost Dancer.” A fourth story, “Wedding Ghost” is also planned. You can find all books and novelettes in the Modern Magics series at Amazon.

For more info, you can visit Maer’s website at

The Modern Magics Series

The books trace what happens when magic returns to Earth, as seen through the eyes of paranormal detectives, Thulu and La Fi.

The Modern Magics Stories are set prior to the main events in Relics, Book 1 and involve some of the couple’s more interesting cases.

Relics, Modern Magics, Book 1

Most of Thulu and La Fi’s clients are dead. Which is perfect since their detective agency caters to the supernatural. But a simple job finding a lost locket leads to a big case tracking relics for an ancient daemon.

The daemon needs the relics to keep a dangerous portal closed. His enemy, Gabriel, wants the relics to open the portal and give his people access to a new feeding ground – Earth.

Caught on live TV, other portals begin to open and the creatures of magic return to Earth. The people of Earth are not alone, but will soon wish they were.

When Gabriel threatens their family, Thulu and La Fi’s search becomes personal. The couple will need powerful help in the race to find the relics before Gabriel does. But maybe that’s what ghostly friends, magical allies and daemonic clients are for.

When the creatures of myth and magic return to Earth, they’re nothing like your mother’s fairy tales.

Portals, Modern Magics, Book 2

For supernatural detectives Thulu and La Fi, “normal” is a relative term. La Fi is a medium, Thulu is a finder, and their usual clients are already dead.

But when their friend Reo is shot, and a group of stranded angels show up at their house for help to find a missing child, things are striking too close to home.

And the portals that let the magical races return to Earth have started opening on their own. With trips off-world, a kidnapped psychic and changes to their own abilities, Thulu and La Fi are hit with a lot more than they usually handle. Of course, their magical friends are there to help, but even they may not be enough to save an increasingly unstable Earth.

Portals is the cross genre (Sci Fi/Urban Fantasy) sequel to Relics and is Book 2 in the Modern Magics series.

Two large, unknown planets are detected at the edge of the solar system


Interesting and totally not related to books….

Originally posted on Metro:

A large, Earth-sized planet may be 'pulling' dwarf planet Sedna towards the edges of the solar system (Picture: Rex)

A large, Earth-sized planet may be ‘pulling’ dwarf planet Sedna towards the edges of the solar system (Picture: Rex)

Two large, unknown planets could be lurking at the edge of our solar system, scientists believe – and observing the orbit of asteroids and ‘dwarf planets’ in a far-flung region beyond Pluto, at least one of the planets is believed likely to be larger than Earth.

The research, by University of Madrid scientists, suggests that two large objects may be lurking in a little-studied area at the ‘fringe’ or our solar system, known as the ‘inner Oort cloud’.

The first hints of their existence came from the discovery of icy ‘dwarf planets’ Sedna and 2012VP113 – and scientists studying their orbits realised their might be something massive on the edge of our solar system pulling Sedna and its fellow ‘dwarf planet’ out into the frigid depths of space.

The research highlights how little we actually know about the…

View original 216 more words

Author Interview Number Seventy-Three – Alice Sabo Spec Fic/Mystery/Sci Fi


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Welcome to Alice Sabo

1. Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born and raised in NJ, but as soon as I was old enough, I moved away. I have lived on both coasts and in the middle. I loved living in the mountains in Colorado, but the high desert was too dry and hot for me. I now live in the mountains of western North Carolina, which are just right.

2. Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write mystery and speculative fiction. I have one scifi novel, Lethal Seasons, out now. It is the first in a series about a post-apocalyptic world. The 2nd book in my Asher Blaine Mysteries, Dark Deeds, will be coming out in January. Those are a little lighter. I have plans for another series, sort of space opera, and possibly a fantasy series. As you can see I have lots of ideas and a ton of work ahead of me.

3. Are your characters based on real people? Not really, although I’m sure some of their attributes come from people I know. Sometimes it’s more like casting a movie. One of my characters was based on Harrison Ford. It wasn’t actually based on any of his movies. I just knew that he suited the character. So when I imagined the scenes in my head, I knew how I expected him to react.

4. Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No, but I did name a slave planet after a boss I especially disliked. That story probably won’t ever see the light of day, but it was very satisfying.

5. Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I do research as it comes up in my mysteries. I have corresponded with a variety of people, and I am always amazed at how willing they are to answer my stupid questions. For White Lies, a murder is committed with a prop gun. I emailed an armorer in Hollywood about it. He was extremely helpful. It was a good thing I asked, because prop guns cannot fire live ammunition. The gun has to be rebuilt for that. So my villain had to have that expertise.

I do enough research to become well versed in what I need to know. For Lethal Seasons, I studied the forecasts of how much the sea levels would rise. I bumped the numbers a little and drew my own map of how much land the US would lose. It’s based on the maps NOAA created.

In general I love doing research. I start with the internet. Sometimes I look for people to answer a specific question. I don’t always need to become an expert on the topic.

6. Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I do think we are viewed differently.

Some of the authors that made it big as self pubbed had been trad pubbed before, or signed with them later. Many of them became hybrid authors, splitting off some of their book rights to big publishing, but retaining ebook rights. People look at these authors and some assume that they wanted to be trad pubbed for the recognition. As if only the big publishing houses have a right to tell us what is good enough to read. In reality, for many of them, it comes down to economics. Who does a better job of marketing and distribution for which format?

On the other hand is the self pubbed dreck. I’ve read a few too many of them. Most are just not ready to publish. It’s a hard thing to see when you are giddy with finishing your first novel. It’s a bad case of not knowing what you don’t know. If you don’t know things like story structure or the expectations of a genre, you can’t craft a good product. For example, I read a murder mystery in which the protagonist failed in the final confrontation. He had to be rescued. The book ended on a weak note and was very unsatisfying. Another example was a fantasy in which the whole first chapter was back story. A man came home from years on the road to recount the entire thing to his mother. In stilted, unrealistic dialog that went on for pages. Or the Young Adult thriller that had a 25 year old protagonist.

It’s a very mixed bag. Perhaps that’s it’s greatest fault – a lack of consistency.

7. Do you read work by self-published authors? I do, but I am a little gun shy. I have found some great ones, and some really bad ones. In a couple of cases, the first chapter is so well polished that I am fooled into buying the book. However, the problems pop up soon enough and I give up on it. At first, I tried to give construction reviews, but now I’m too busy to spend time on authors I don’t know.

8.What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Reviews are very important. Although as books flood the market and people game the reviews, I have heard that a lot of people don’t trust them anymore. It’s all down to word of mouth. It’s hard to get respected reviewers to accept books from new authors because they are overwhelmed with requests. New reviewers are popping up overnight, but if they don’t have the following and reputation, they aren’t helpful to an author.

Giveaways don’t always get you reviews. Sometimes you get bad reviews because people sign up for things that they don’t usually read. A bad review from someone who isn’t my target audience can be very disappointing. I had a very interesting discussion with some people on Goodreads about the pros and cons of offering free books for reviews. One person said I should never expect a review because the book is a gift. I had given away 5 audiobooks and not received any reviews. I didn’t follow up with any of them, because I don’t think authors should ever badger their readers, but I was very disappointed. The worst part is thinking that, months later, they haven’t even listened to the book, yet.

Getting people to read an unknown author’s book is very difficult. There are a lot of free sites where you can advertise, but many of them are requiring a certain number of reviews at a certain level. One site requires 25 reviews on Amazon with a 4-star average. If I already had that, why would I need them? It’s a bit of a catch-22.

9. What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?

1. Read in the genre you want to write in. You need to know it very well. And read outside your comfort zone. I don’t usually read military scifi, but one book taught me a lot about fight scenes.

2. Love what you write. Don’t write a Romance because it’s the fastest growing market. Write it because you’ve read one every week all your adult life. Don’t write what you think will sell. Write the story you want to tell.

3. Learn the bones. If you don’t know basic grammar and story structure you will flail around constantly fixing things. Once you understand these things, they function in the back of your brain and help you be a better writer.

10. Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?

I just finished reading Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. He’s one of my favorite authors. It’s epic fantasy and an absolute doorstop. I have to say I might be losing my taste for it, because this one felt especially long. There were a few too many detours into other aspects of the world that I found less interesting. Regardless, I will probably read the next book when it comes out. I just started Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobbs and I am devouring it. She’s a favorite, too. I am very excited that she decided to write in this world again.

Book links, website/blog and author links: All my books are here on my blog.



Review – Poets In Hell – Fantasy


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Review of Poets in Hell (c) Janet and Chris Morris 2014.

Where could one find Shakespeare, Marlowe, Homer, Diomedes, Frank Nitti, Victor Frankenstein, Emily Dickinson, Mary Shelley and Merlin in one place? The answer is Janet and Chris Morris’s shared world of Hell. Aspiring authors, renowned poets and playwrites vie for attention, fame and recognition, with the odd exception most fail in many diabolic ways.

The stories range from the deeply moving, to the heroic, to the downright amusing as the denizens double and triple cross one another, form uneasy alliances, and try and outwit Satan, not to mention try to win the poetry slam….

Although written by a variety of authors the stories flow well, and the characters complement each other. Dark and delicious, devious and deadly with devilry aplenty in the darkest realm – is a perfect summing up of this instalment of Heroes in Hell. Most certainly fantasy at its darkest and wittiest!

To meet some of the characters please see the Hell Week Character Interviews.

Author Interview Number Seventy-Two – Nicky Peacock – Horror/YA


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BAd blood
Welcome to Nicky Peacock
Are your characters based on real people?  Sometimes. I like to give main characters a part of myself, Brit in Bad Blood has my dry sense of humor and, in a manuscript I just finished, the main character called Mouse has a fear of getting lost (which is one of mine) I’ve always thought that believable characters, even if they live in an unbelievable world, are paramount in writing.
Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? LOL, yes. I have a few ex boyfriends in some quite dramatic death scenes – writing is better than therapy! Also a couple of my closet friends have characters dedicated to them.
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources?  I love the research part of writing. The right research can spark so many ideas and really can fan the fires of my imagination. And of course, the more real you can make your novels the more readers will suspend their disbelief on other crazier parts.  I do think that you have to be careful though, some writers can get lost in the research and spend all their time on it, never actually writing that great story.
Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? I do think an overall theme is needed in books – without it your voice as a writer can be a bit quiet. In Bad Blood I had Magic VS Science and of course there is the revenge sub plot, I felt when writing the book, it was easier for plotting purposes to have a kind of topic formula to work to. That said, I have in the past had pieces of my work commented on by readers and they have found themes in there I didn’t even realise I’d put in – never underestimate the sub-concious.
In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print, audio.) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason?  My books are available is both eBook and print. I actually like both equally as a reader. I love my Kindle, but also adore my book shelf (even though it’s dangerously close to crushing me under an avalanche of books) I think rather than one killing off the other, they are existing side by side quite nicely – at the moment anyway.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?  I do a certain amount of editing through writing my books, but leave the final part up to a qualified professional. No matter how good a writer is with grammar etc. there’ll always be something that someone else will spot in there. So I think it’s best to have another set of eyes on anything before it goes out to readers.
When buying a book do you read the reviews? Yes, I tend to have a look at Goodreads. I think, when it comes to reviews, that some have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Bad reviews are a part of the author’s life nowadays and I believe it boils down to the old saying, ‘you can’t please everyone all the time’.  So I only tend to buy books by them when there’s a lot of people saying the same thing.
What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? Above anyone else, authors should read a lot! It’s part of our jobs, so yes I think it’s a blessing to get a review from another author. I think it’s best to tread lightly though when reviewing other’s work. Just because you didn’t like it, it doesn’t mean its rubbish. I run a writers’ group in the UK and I have a rule there that anyone criticising another’s work should only do so if they give a reason why and a solution – this shows they actually spent some time on thinking about it rather than blithely saying they ‘didn’t like it’, which isn’t very constructive.
What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? A book engages your imagination. Movies and video games put you on a journey and carry you along with a tide of pre-chosen images. A book gives you the bones of a story and lets you imagine it. Also, there’s more books around (production costs are not as steep) so there’s more choice and more voices on the market.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? If university wasn’t so expensive in the UK, I would have become an English Teacher.


Author links:
Website for my Writers’ Group:


Audio Book Narrator Interview Number Three – Neil Hellegers


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Name: Neil Hellegers

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am an actor, educator, and narrator who lives in Brooklyn, NYC. I’ve been acting professionally for  about 16 years, in basically every way an actor plies his or her trade: Shakespeare, on-camera commercials, film, tv, experimental theatre, commercial VO, video game VO, etc..  I’ve also taught acting for the University of Pennsylvania and The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. In addition, I’m an inveterate reader, which is what brought me to audiobook narration.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? Like many folks these days, I came to audiobook narration via the growing trend of home studio recording and production. I’ve worked in-studio as well, but my start came relatively recently, as I was looking for a way to productively fill the time between auditions and the like. I had always listened to audiobooks, during many years on the road for acting gigs, so the challenge was setting up a viable recording arrangement, learning how to use the darn thing, and finding work. This was, of course, on top of commuting my existing skill set actual act of narrating itself. Setting a consistent tone and pace is one thing, making a professional-quality recording of it is another thing entirely. Thank goodness we live in an age where almost every production issue imaginable has been hashed out on the internet! So, after about a year, I’ve reached a place where I’m confident in my home studio, freeing me to elaborate on my story telling skills. The veterans I’ve met tell me they usually settle in to that aspect after about 20 books or so, so at least I’m about halfway there!

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? It’s been fairly varied. My first was a really unique contribution to the very-popular zombie genre, called Dead Drunk: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse One Beer at a Time, by Richard Johnson, a great book that has the grace to be exactly what it sounds like.  After that I did an instructional book about Zen meditation by Howard Fast (author and screenwriter of Spartacus, among many others). These two books had a surprising lot in common, if also totally different. More recently I’ve been working on a cycle of the works of H. P. Lovecraft, which has been very rewarding. There’s been a significant revival of attention to Lovecraft, both in spoken and written word, and I’ve always been a fan. My approach was not to read these tales as “horror” but as testimonies of awe and wonder…which then turn horrible. I’ve completed The Shunned House, which takes place, as much of HPL does, in Providence, RI, where I completed my MFA some time ago. I also just released an original collection called Precipitous Tales: Origins of Mythos, which contains four, early works. Putting together and naming a new presentation of Lovecraft has probably been my favourite endeavour.

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? In my personal reading, I’ve been mostly working through a lot of science fiction, like Iain Banks’ Culture novels, which are amazing, but I also read quite a bit of fantasy and other genre fiction. That being said, I go through phases where I back away entirely from both of these, in favour of non-fiction, or new popular fiction. The bottom line for me is the writing and the story telling, and I would say the same goes for narration. Again, I’m far too new to the game to declare an area of focus, but if the book has a compelling, unique story to tell, that’s what I prefer. At this point, nothing is ruled out.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I just finished Veil of the Dragon: Book One of the Prophecy of the Evarun, by Tom Barczak, which certainly fits the aforementioned criteria. There’s obviously a great deal of Epic Fantasy out there, but it takes a strong hand to craft one that offers something new, that resonates with the humanity of its audience, but doesn’t simply re-tread new ground.  Veil of the Dragon did that for me. Tom has a gift for world-building, generating an array of cultures with distinct mythologies, but also has a very lyrical sense of environment, both of which made for a gratifying narration experience.  The audiobook just became available, and I know Tom’s busy with the sequel.

I just started prep for a great non-fiction book, Whatever Happened to the Metric System?, by John Bemelmans Marciano,  that I’m recording at Audible next month (which I’m very, very excited about). Lots of fascinating political, military, and geometric research to sort through.

Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) There are some consistencies for every title, such as being sure to not only read the whole thing beforehand to get a sense of structure, pace, and theme.  I usually move through the text slowly, taking notes, and planning out how I want each section to fit the next, develop, and conclude. Beyond that, the process varies depending on the demands of the book. If applicable, character lists and voices have to be generated, to have a distinct sound for each, but also how each character grows and/or changes as the book goes on. In the case of Veil of the Dragon, Tom and I had long conversations about the varied cultural origins of the characters, and how one grouping might sound in contrast to another, but also how exactly to pronounce the original language of names and places, while creating consistency for said cultural groupings.

Once all that preparation is done, I lock myself in my studio, and get to work. I’m constantly refining my recording process, always looking for better sound, and a more efficient procedure. Though as immersive as the technical aspects are, they are all in the service of the story telling. Time allowing, I listen back to make sure I’m meeting the developmental goals I set for myself, or altering set goals as I go. I try to do as much proofing as possible along the way, so I can later focus on just the storytelling. I’m rapidly approaching that place where I can outsource my editing, but for now, I’m applying a “sweep the stage floor” approach from my early days of acting: The more I know about every aspect of audiobook production, the more effective a narrator I will be, even if my only task is to show up and read.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?  Storytelling. Dialects! The intimacy you create with the book, which is so much more than simply reading for pleasure. The collaboration with an author (which I try not to take for granted, as many of my authors are long dead). Listening to it when it’s all done, trying not to cringe too much at the quirks that I’m pretty sure only I can hear, and taking in the complete project I’ve done.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? At this point I still do, as I’m working to build a list of books in genres I’d like to work more often. That might not still be true in the near future, but for now I’m lined up to do sequels of previous Royalty Share books. That being said, I wouldn’t take on a RS if it the Rights Holder or author hasn’t created a considerable fan base, has a definite marketing plan, and, most of all, is telling a story I want to read.

Do you listen to audiobooks? These days more so, though admittedly often in a clinical manner, to get comparisons for style, pacing, and technique. I listen to hundreds of samples, though, which is mostly born out of the press of time and finances.

With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? I certainly think it’s a fixed manner of story telling, and the technology has certainly made it easier to record and listen to audiobooks (remember those tomes of cassettes?). I don’t think audiobooks will  trump other performance mediums, no, but will continue to serve their particular niche.

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? Audiobooks have a place no other medium can fill. On one level, you can’t read while operating heavy machinery or doing chores around the house. Moreover, audiobooks are an extension of the literary tradition that also stretches back to the earliest form of storytelling. And aside from giving fans a second way to take in their favourite books, its something people can actually do together.  Having an app certainly makes this all easier, but I think people (like myself) who have always loved to read are coming to see audiobooks not as a substitute for reading, but as yet another way to absorb a story, with one that makes the most of the collaboration between author and narrator, and in that way, offers more than a solitary read.

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? Yes! The Vampire Lestat, by Anne Rice, narrated by Frank Muller. Great stuff.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) They have been an excellent platform for getting started, and I’ve met a great community of narrators and authors from my work there. It takes a bit of close reading and follow-up on their policies, but such is life.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Again, I’m new. But I really haven’t had a bad experience; I’ve been lucky to work with great authors and great publishers, dead and alive.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I own a real broadsword.

Where can we learn more about you? You can read about what I’ve been up to, watch samples from my on-camera work, and listen to my voice work at the aptly named

Social Media links:

@neilhellegers on Twitter

neilhell47 on Instagram

Neil Hellegers on FB



Inter-Literary Fantasy Cafe


A great idea – two characters chatting over coffee.

Originally posted on Olga Godim writing:

The Inter-Literary Fantasy Cafe is always full. It’s a meeting place for characters from different fantasy novels, created by different writers. A hobbit can meet a werewolf here. A dragon can chat with a vampire. A fairy and an elf can have cake together. They often gossip about their worlds and (uh-uh) their authors.
That was where a character from Legacy of Mist and Shadow by Diana Wicker, Arwyn, met with Eriale, the protagonist of my novel Almost Adept. After ordering coffee and pastries, they talked.
Legacy of Mist and ShadowArwyn: Tell me about magic, Eriale. How does it work in your story? You’re a mage, right? What can you do with your magic?

Eriale: Well, in my story, magic is energy. As to what I can do with it—anything that can be done without it. For example, if you want to carry a heavy load to the other side…

View original 1,701 more words

Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #47


Interesting article

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog..... An Author Promotions Enterprise!:

Here’s a new (to me) blog that may interest all you self publishing authors – just click on the image below to go there:


View original

Author Interview Number Seventy-One – Ellen Allen YA/Thriller


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The Sham_ cover

When love leads to death, be careful who you trust…

Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known locally as “The Sham”, with her boyfriend, Jack, but he’s very, very sick; his body is failing and his brain is shutting down. He’s also in hiding, under suspicion of murder. Six months’ ago, strange signs were painted across town in a dialect no one has spoken for decades and one of Emily’s classmates washed up in the local floods. 

Emily has never trusted her instincts and now they’re pulling her towards Jack, who the police think is a sham himself, someone else entirely. As the town wakes to discover new signs plastered across its walls, Emily must decide who and what she trusts, and fast: local vigilantes are hunting Jack; the floods, the police, and her parents are blocking her path; and the town doesn’t need another dead body.


Welcome to Ellen Allen

Where are you from and where do you live now?

Three years’ ago I quit my job in London and moved with my small daughter to the south of France. The plan was to stay for a few months – to fulfil a lifelong dream of lollygagging in rosé wine vineyards, writing a book, getting the hang of French grammar, etc. – but we haven’t been able to leave!

We’ve built a new life here, complete with jobs, schools, and French subjunctive tenses – as well as the vineyards and writing – and the best part is that we’re only a few hours away by train from our family in London. It’s also sunny here, roughly 300 days a year…

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.

I didn’t intend to write YA thrillers but the genre found me. The idea for The Sham came to me in a nightmare. I dreamed that I was 17 again, back in school, with the same group of 4 friends, involved in a murder of one of them. It was so vivid that I couldn’t get back to sleep and the only way I could get it out of my head was to write it all down. I’m not sure it’s an easy genre to market; too old for younger YA readers, too YA for adult readers but it’s one I’m keen on pursuing. I’ve just started my second YA thriller. It seems to fit me.

Where do you find inspiration?

Anywhere and everywhere! I write down all the interesting and macabre things that I hear: stories about people’s lives; the way people love; the way they die; and random things in the news. At the moment I’m trying to work on my characters and how they act/react in different situations. I have a little note book that I carry in my bag and I’m busy writing down how people look when they eat, drink, talk… especially when they think no one is looking. I just hope that no one is watching me!

Are your characters based on real people?

It’s a well known saying that every book is autobiographical and of course that’s true; everything you write is a summation of things you’ve experienced and each one contains a little bit of you and your life. But you can’t be lazy and just transfer people from real life onto the page; besides anything else, they’d never forgive you!

Conversely, it’s also true that whilst “all fiction may be autobiography, all autobiography is of course fiction[1]” We bend the truth all the time and nowhere more so than in our writing. It’s all a composite; a jigsaw that we build in our heads.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…)

Some authors are technically perfect but I can find some of their work a little, well, boring. As for world-building, I think it depends on the kind of book. I need more for some genres – science fiction, for example – than I do for a contemporary romance. In general, I’m not a huge fan of tons of backstory or great paragraphs on detail. I like to make that up for myself. Part of the joy of reading for me is to use my imagination.

If I have to generalise, then the two most important things to make a great book are a cracking plot (I want stuff to actually happen, unless this is sublime literary fiction and even then…) as well as brilliant characters that think and feel as people do in real life. I want to vicariously experience what other people are feeling (the good and bad) or one better, I want to actually be them.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?

Everyone has an opinion on this one, don’t they? My book has only been out for six weeks and it’s my first one. As a newly self-published author, reviews are the only feedback that I’ll get on my writing and I’m really enjoying reading it (even if it is painful at times!). I think it’s the only way that authors like me will improve their work (identifying writing ticks, or plot holes, for instance).

That said, I don’t think it’s right for an author to comment on a review. Not at all. I think you just have to look from afar and remember to say “thank you”. From a reviewer’s perspective, a person has taken a lot of time and energy reading the book and writing a review and they’re entitled to their opinion. From my perspective, if one person has said something, it might or might not be true. When I read a hundred reviewers all saying the same thing, offering the same critique, then I’ll know it’s definitely true. It’s that feedback that I’ll be taking with me to the next book.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?

I’m new to this so I don’t really feel qualified to offer advice to anyone. Instead, I’ll offer up the advice that I’m following religiously:


  • As Stephen King most famously says, “reading is writing”. You need to be reading widely and voraciously to write well. I have a small daughter and a non-writing job, so I find it hard to find the time to read as much as I should. The 2014 reading challenge on Goodreads has been great for helping me keep track of how many books I’m getting through and what’s next on my list.


  • Lionel Shriver – one of my favourite authors – was asked what the best advice was for new authors and she put it well: “Don’t turn it into a mystical process. Just get on with it!” You have to be disciplined, dogmatic, stubborn and organised to be a jobbing writer. I try not to think about the rest – the doubts about talent, whether anyone will read it – and I just get on with it. I want it to be my career, so I treat it as if it is.


  • There is tons of writing advice out there that isn’t very good – the irony in reading writing advice that isn’t well written! You can spend hours trawling through it, but it’s distracting and time wasting. Find a few blogs that you rate, a few sites that you trust, follow a few similar writers, watch how they progress and then – you guessed it – get on with it!

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?

I’m at my happiest when I have three or four books on the go, so I can choose to read according to how I feel. I’ve just finished reading a few things but I haven’t absolutely loved any of them.

My favourite YA books of the year are The 5th Wave (which I came to really late but just in time for the sequel), We Were Liars, Ender’s Game and my favourite literary book that I read this year is The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

What are your views on authors offering free books?

My book isn’t free but I have given away review copies and run giveaways on blogs. I think it’s a great way of getting my book to people who have never heard of me at all. I’ve heard that free books are great for authors who have other works for sale, which they can offer as a lead in to their work. 

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing?

I’ve had hundreds of terrible temporary jobs to pay my way through school and university, all of them very varied.  I’m really grateful for all these experiences now (not so much at the time!) because of all of the people I’ve met and surreal situations I’ve encountered. I use it all in my writing.

Real life can be kind of bizarre: I’ve stood in greenhouses in searing heat, sucking pansies out of bedding trays with hoovers for hours on end; I’ve huddled in freezer compartments in minus 30 degree temperatures packing Angel cakes into boxes; I spent four very long weeks sticking stamps continuously for the BBC; I’ve sold plastic pens door-to-door in what felt like all the suburbs in Sydney; and I’ve been a receptionist at a company where the phone never rang (I swear it was a front for some other kind of activity). Sometimes, it’s only the people you’re with in these situations that keep you sane. You spend weeks mining their brains, working them out.

My worst jobs have always been as a chambermaid. When I was 18, I worked one whole winter wiping other people’s sick off the floor every morning at a really cheap skiing hotel in the French Alps. People behave in hotels in a way they never would in their own homes; you always see the worst of them when you’re cleaning up their rooms.


Book links, website/blog and author links:

Amazon author page:


The Sham on goodreads:


Ellen Allen Twitter:


Ellen Allen Facebook:

Ellen Allen’s writing blog:


Diana Wicker – Blog Tour and Character Interview Nolan


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The Realm of Feyron has always been…
Publication Date: November 2, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Coming of Age

The Realm of Feyron has always been. It is the origin of all things magical, the axis point where all the worlds meet. Once, in days gone by, there were many gateways within the Temple of Pyli connecting the Worlds Beyond seeded with magic to their home. Now many gateways have flickered out, and Feyron weakens as the magic fades and the Guardians are lost.For the first time in over three hundred years a Dreamweaver has come of age and is tasked with contacting the Guardians. When she awakens in the night after a vision of her best friend lost and alone, injured in the snows at the top of the Crystal Mountains, she seeks out the Sacred Fire in the Temple in an attempt to call forth more information. A voice calls out from the fire, “Dreamweaver, you are summoned.” An image appears of an ancient path through the Mist Shrouded Forest leading to a hidden gate into the Crystal Caverns below the mountains. The Guardians have summoned her on a quest that will take her to the four realms of light within Feyron in search of answers and aid.


Excerpt–The Dreamweaver’s Journey

Watching the full moon over the garden, she heard the call of a night bird and smiled. The warmth flowed through her, surrounding her, and as the halo of gold faded, a hawk swooped unnoticed from Soifra’s bedroom window, streaking across the garden and into the forest, following the cold breeze back towards its source in the Crystal Mountains. Once she was sure she was well enough away from the small homes that fanned out from the manor, she rose above the trees in her favorite form: the black dragon. In her elation, she began to sing, and somewhere ahead of her, something answered back.

At first there was just one call off in the distance, and she wasn’t quite sure if she had heard it, or imagined it, or if it was an echo in the breeze, but then it came again, strong and sure, and it seemed closer. Soifra flew higher, calling out again, and this time she was sure she heard more than one song. The songs called to her, pulled her, filling her with elation, and she followed them higher and farther. She knew she had to see them, the real dragonkin, the guardian children. If she just saw them, she could go back and tell her grandmother the Guardians were real. They simply had to go to the mountains to find them.

She reached a height where the clouds were thick, and her world went grey, consumed by the cold mists around her. After trying to follow the songs for a short while, twisting and turning as different voices called from different places, she could no longer tell left from right, up from down, and she began to feel afraid. Heart racing, she could no longer think clearly, and in her panic she picked one call and began to follow it, faster and faster, desperate to leave the clouds, to be able to see. The calls suddenly stopped. She had begun to turn her head this way and that, straining to hear any sound, when she slammed into the side of the mountain with a bone crushing thud, and fell unconscious to the cold, crystal ledge far below.

Here’s an interview with Nolan of Clan Tyrel

Tell Us About Yourself

Name: Nolan Tyrel – Technically Master Nolan of Tyrel, but titles from the Court of Clans of the Faie are of little importance where I was raised.


Age: 20


Please tell us a little about yourself.

Yes, hi, I’m Nolan Tyrel.  My father and I are the last of the true sorcerers.  I was raised on a World Beyond, and we have only lately relocated to Feyron.


Describe your appearance in 10 words or less.

Tall, wearing black, short honey-auburn hair


What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?

strengths: family, friends, confidence in my abilities

weaknesses: Is it strange to say the same things?

Kith and Kin are very important to the Faie.  My friends and family give me strength, but if anything should happen to them, then I’d have to do what was necessary to take care of things.  This has sometimes led me to push myself and my abilities to the brink of failure.


Do you have a family? Tell us about them.

As I said, my father and I are the last of the true sorcerers.  My mother died when I was just a toddler.  She was a member of clan Vidya, a clan of female healers; but when she passed, my father couldn’t find any others.  On our World Beyond we lived with my father’s younger sister, Elaina, her husband Reike of Caris, and their children.


Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you?

I just mentioned that my mother died when I was little.  I can’t say that I remember that happening, but it has definitely influenced my life, and more than in the way I dress.  You see, when we lost Mom, we lost her entire clan.  There had been elders, so I’m told, but when Mom died without a daughter, they just sort of…vanished.

The loss of magic lessens us all.  That’s what we’re taught from childhood when we attend summer academy in Feyron, and I’m sure the loss of another clan wasn’t a good thing.  But I have to say, the loss of family, that has to be worse…for someone to just be gone and you don’t know why.  That’s why I still hang out at the Palace during the summer even though I’m past the age to attend classes.  When you’ve a younger cousin like Soifra, there’s bound to be mischief at hand.  *grin


Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions?

Do I like animals?  What an odd question, although I suppose there are people who don’t like animals.  I don’t have any pets, animal companions, or familiars.  The only thing that I can summon up is a wisp, and I’m not sure that counts as an animal.


Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

An unusual fact…hmmm…

Growing up on a World Beyond, it’s sort of strange when you start to disappear for a couple months each year, especially when you can’t really tell people where you are going.  It sort of got to be a joke among my friends after a while, my ‘exchange student’ trips to some far away land.  It always drove them crazy that girls found me ‘dark and mysterious’ and that I wasn’t into dating.  I don’t think they ever quite believed I had someone already in mind back in that ‘lost little kingdom’.  *wink*


Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

The World Beyond which I am from, you would be intimately familiar with; you live there.  Our gateway went dark when our family left to stay in Feyron permanently, but I’m not certain that truly means that magic is lost from that world.  I know that’s what the scholars teach, and magic was relegated to myth and legend on our world, but I’m not certain that it’s truly gone just because we left.

I suppose what you’d really like to know is, what is Feyron like.  Feyron is the land of magic.  To compare it to something you might recognise, think of those mythical, fantastical fables and legends of the ‘high middle ages’ where life was peace and harmony and safe and clean and all was well.  There is no industry or technology, no illness or violence, and everyone has what they need.  I have to say, it’s a real adjustment after growing up on a technology based world.


So, Feyron has no real industry or technology? What item did you not want to live without?

Funnily enough, the one thing from our World Beyond that we brought through when we settled was plants, coffee shrubs to be exact.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things I miss about my old World Beyond, but I am relieved to say a morning cup of coffee isn’t one of them.


Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another?

*chuckles*  I’m not even going to discuss that in relation to my World Beyond.

Now in Feyron, we have nothing that would be considered different races by the Faie.  We are simply, ‘The Faie’.  There are different clans, each founded by a different Guardian, each gifted with a form of magic.  The Beginning Clans have always lived within Feyron.  The Fading Clans once lived on a World Beyond, as we did, but came to Feyron during the Fading.  Then there are the clans that are still on the worlds where they settled.

So I’m told, in the past, each clan did have a different appearance, something my old world would have considered to mean ‘race’, but through the many ages of history, everyone has mixed and mingled.  Only among the clans outside of Feyron or the newest to settle here do you see any sort of…separateness in appearance.  But, we know that appearance is only skin deep, and is not the essence of who we are as the Faie.


Seeing that Feyron is the Realm of Magic, it goes without saying that you are familiar with magic? Does your world have any magical/supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some.

Magical beings, I’d say we have a few.  As far as I understand it from what the scholars teach, if it be a being of lore, be it myth or legend or fantastical tale, from any culture on any world, it originated here.  Most magical creatures would probably count as part of the Wild Magics, that which flowed through the Mists of Time in the earliest of the Beginning times, before even the River of Life carried the seeds of The Tree to the Worlds Beyond.  But I doubt you were looking for such a generic response.

I imagine what you’d like to hear about is the Guardian’s and their kin.  I don’t want to take up too much of your time, so I think, for now, I’ll just tell you about the most mysterious of them all, the great leviathan, the Keeper of Time.  The great leviathan resides within the Unending Sea, ever watchful over the True Gateway where the Mists of Time swirl amid the Winds of Change.  From her vantage point, she can see all that ever was, and all paths of Could Be.  It is even said that she alone among the Guardians can take on Faie form, and that she was the only Guardian that did not found any clans or gift any magics during the Time of Wanderings, but I’m not entirely sure that last teaching is correct.


Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour.

My old World Beyond had many forms of religion and spiritual beliefs.  I can’t say that I subscribed to any of them myself, but some of them did feel very similar to what we know in Feyron.

Like the other Faie, I know that the Beyond is real and that our inner spark returns there when our bodies fail where we will meet our friends and family again.  I suppose this has given me a measure of peace and tolerance which most people my age from our World Beyond didn’t seem to have.


Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?

Where don’t we travel might be an easier question to answer.  *wink*

We pretty well traverse most of the known lands in Feyron during this adventure.  We start at the Palace of Ages at the head of the Winding River on the Fertile Plains.  We cross to the center of the Great Lake to the While Isle that holds the Temple of Pyli.  From there we travel to the Ancient Path through the Mist Shrouded Forest and into the caverns of the Crystal Mountains.

Upon the backs of dragonkin we flew to the Island in the Sands within the Expanding Desert where we stepped into the Great Gateway and arrived in the Stoney Deep beneath the Unending Sea.  When our task was complete, we stepped into the True Gateway and returned to the Temple.  It was quite an adventure.  I think the only place we didn’t visit was the Beyond itself.


Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people.

I will give you the tale of my mother’s clan.

The Tale of the Protector of the Sacred

In the ancient days of long ago, the clan of Vidya was discovered on a world beyond by Lord Grypos.  Like many other worlds discovered by the Guardians in the days of their youthful wanderings, it was already populated, a peaceful bustling world fertile and plentiful, farmers and herdsmen and the like, much like our Fertile Plains are to this day.  While traveling quietly through the countryside, he felt the magic of the healers and assumed Lord Okapoti had been here before and seeded his magic.

Approaching a village of healers as kin, he discovered, to his wonderment, that this was not a clan of unicorn-children, but one like clan Caris with magic that came from their own world.  Not only that, there was a Guardian of their own world as well.  The Guardian of Vidya was Wakjya, the great firebird, known on some worlds as the phoenix, Restorer of Life.  He not only granted his daughters the power of healing, but one daughter in each generation was chosen as Protector of the Sacred.  She was granted the gift of resurrection to restore the life of one lost from wrongful death.  The only requirement was that she was tasked to never interfere with a natural death, such as old age.

Wakjya welcomed the visits by the Guardians of Feyron to his realm, but his people did not travel through the gateway to participate in the Solstice celebrations of Feyron; and, in time, the Guardians all but forgot about that world.  Time passed, as it always must, and Vidya moved into darkness, a time of hatred and fear.  Knowledge and understanding were lost and the healers came to be seen as unnatural, evil, despised.  They were hunted and persecuted, all but driven to extinction in their world.

The time came when Wakjya told the Protector of the Sacred that it was time to move on, to leave their world behind.  He flew far and wide over the lands, gathering as many of the healers and their families as he could find, leading them to the long forgotten gateway in a small, hidden valley far beyond the cities and villages, the farms and fields, in the place where his nest sat within the Tree of Restoration.  He bid them make for him a new nest, a sacred box marked with his sign that would travel with the Protector and be his resting place at each renewal.

The power of resurrection is a great gift, but it comes at a great cost.  Each use of the power drains both the Protector and the Guardian, until the magic has been exhausted and must be renewed.  When the Protector’s magic faded, Wakjya would choose an infant daughter from among the healers as the new Protector.  Together he traveled with his Protector, the infant, and her mother to the Tree of Restoration.  The Protector and Wakjya would then take their last rest in the great nest, bursting into flames and burning to ashes.  With great reverence, the young mother would lay her daughter among the ashes and watch in awe as an egg was formed within the nest.  Gently the egg would be swaddled with the infant until its hatching, the new Guardian growing along with his young Protector, the power of resurrection renewed in a new generation.

When the box was prepared, Wakjya chose an infant from the families gathered at the gateway to be his next Keeper.  Together, embraced in the arms of his elderly Protector, they used the last of their magic to open the gateway to Feyron.  The young mother of the chosen infant Protector carefully gathered the ashes into the sacred box and bundled it with her babe.  She was the last to step through the gateway into the Temple of Pyli in Feyron, where yet another gateway went dark.

The Clan of Vidya chose not to remain in Feyron, seeking a home of their own for their Guardian and their gifts.  The young mother of the new Keeper felt an affinity with the young sorcerers of Clan Tyrel and followed them through to their world, which, at the time, was much like her world had been during its golden age.  Time passed and the old ritual of renewal was forgotten, the sacred box and its contents were passed from mother to daughter as a sacred relic, but the box was opened no more, the Guardian forever trapped within his ashes, never touched by the young powers of an infant girl of Vidya to be reformed into an egg and reborn once again into the world.


Publication Date: May 10, 2013
The Guardians have awakened after the Time of Sleep and returned to renew the magic with the clans of Faie. At the request of the Guardian, Lord Grypos, Keeper of Knowledge, the Master Scholar travels through the Outer Gateway with craftsmen and apprentices to coordinate the repairs of the once great oasis that houses the ancient archives of knowledge known as the Island in the Sands.
As the summer wanes and the oasis begins to return to its former glory, the Guardian calls the Master Scholar to the meditation room in the wee hours of the night to discuss a journey. In the fire an image flickers of the red desert sands speeding past, a land of grey beyond the desert, and a cavern of twilight behind an obsidian wall. “Arwyn and Shyamal are to go there for me to seek out that which was once mine.”
What starts as a seemingly simple journey becomes an adventure with life threatening consequences as the two are unexpectedly joined by their friends on a journey far from home beyond the realms of light in a realm that few within the clans of Faie knew could even be reached.
Diana has kindly offered some voucher codes for discounts.
Book 1
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Expires: January 1, 2015Book 2
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Publication Date: December 20, 2014
Old relics and have stories of their own. Sometimes they contain adventures waiting to be sparked and journeys bursting to begin.
The Box of Melodies was left with Clan Caris by Lady Oyisha, daughter of the mists, for care and keeping. A series of visions revealing the last desperate moments of a forgotten clan – the loss of their gateway to Feyron and the escape of a lone traveler holding the box – spurs a handful of adventuresome youth on a trek through the Lesser Forest where they inadvertently cause a ripple through the mists with unintended consequences.
A few of the youth find themselves on an unexpected journey to a World Beyond, lost in mist and shadow, where misunderstanding and suspicion lead to danger and darkness. Forgotten histories are discovered, clan secrets are revealed, and old alliances are remembered as the families of the lost seek to discover where the youth have been drawn by the memories within the Mists of Time.

Diana lives in the balmy climate of the US south with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and a cantakerous rabbit.  She enjoys reading, sewing (clothing, costuming, and experimental toy making), and RPG games. (She grew up with the old school paper/pencil style of gaming, but has transitioned happily to the highly interactive world of video games.)

The idea for Feyron started with a map, a place for her daughter to tell stories and live out storytelling role playing adventures with her friends.  The lore grew around the map, for every world needs lore if you are going to “live” there.  The idea for a series, Tales from Feyron, grew out of the lore, for if you’re going to invent a world, you may as well play there too.  The stories are continuing to grow through the various historical ages of Feyron and may yet “ripple” outwards to the Worlds Beyond touched by magic.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads
Masquerade Book Tours


Giveaway: There is a giveaway for this blast. $25 Amazon/B&N Giftcard or $25 Book Depository Spree (International), plus a magic bottle charm necklace (US Only), and a chance to name a character in one of Diana’s books. Ends 11/12.


Author’s website:

Facebook fan page where updates are periodically posted for the series:  Tales from Feyron The Ripples of Power


Please check out the next few days for more interviews with the denizens of Feyron.






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