Author and Narrator Interview – C.S MacCath


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Name: C.S. MacCath

Tell us a bit about yourself: I’m an American expat living on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, one of the most beautiful islands on Earth and a Gàidhealtachd of the Scottish Gaelic language. My husband Sean and I own a hundred-year-old minister’s manse here and run an enterprise web development company and small press from home. We’re both vegan, and we’re both volunteer wildlife rescuers for a facility in Seaforth, Nova Scotia called Hope for Wildlife.

Tell us about your process for narrating.  (Be as elaborate as you like.): Before I begin recording, I read the piece aloud with attention to vocal inflection and voicing of characters. Key passages and phrases are highlighted during this reading, and each major character’s dialogue is also highlighted with its own, separate color. Then I read through the piece again, focusing on those highlighted passages while I work to establish an overall cadence for the narration.

During recording, I break often, perhaps every page or two. This gives me the opportunity to rest and clear my throat with water so my reading voice remains constant throughout the piece. It’s easy to become fatigued after a few hours of recording, and that affects vocal constancy as well, so I try not to work longer than three or four hours during a session.

Once I’ve recorded the piece, I listen to it carefully for sound artifacts. These are nearly impossible to scrub from a recording, so passages containing them need to be revisited. I also listen for places where my reading was inconsistent or simply didn’t convey the meaning I intended and revisit these as well.

Finally, I splice the recording and listen to it a final time to make certain I haven’t missed anything. For more information on that part of the process, you might read my blog entry: .Recording for Audible ACX – Technical Post

With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? I most certainly think it’s one important future of storytelling, since audio books are a dynamic and convenient way to enjoy the written word. My husband is an audio book fan, and his listening habit takes the place of the reading habit he had as a boy. My own listeners have mentioned they prefer audio books as well. I love them too and always have one on the go.

That said, I believe audio books occupy a place alongside paper books and e-books. Not every reader has the same needs, and I think the publishing industry should continue to meet those needs equitably.

If you are an author, do you produce your own audiobooks or do you prefer to look for an independent narrator? Why have you made this choice? I produce my own audio books; from cover art to narration to digital mastering. In fact, I’m just finishing the remodeling of a small room in my house so that I’ll have a properly sound-attenuated space to record in going forward. It took me roughly a year to build these separate skills, and there was a lot of trial and error, but I prefer to be self-sufficient where I can when it comes to my career. I also enjoy the work quite a bit. It’s a nice creative break from the writing itself.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc?) I have mixed feelings about ACX. The technical requirements for self-published audio books are precise, but not onerous, and they need to be what they are in order for listeners to have a quality, distraction-free listening experience. So I have no quarrel with the technical rigor of the process. The web site is easy to use, and I’ve found the ACX support crew consistently helpful when I’ve called them with questions. ACX also provides a number of audio book codes to authors for promotional purposes, which is nice. As for earnings, I’m not excited about the royalties offered to authors who don’t distribute their audio books exclusively through ACX, but I’m not willing to sign a seven-year exclusivity contract for pieces I distribute as an independent author.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write speculative fiction and poetry, which includes science fiction, fantasy and the occasional bit of Pagan-influenced slipstream. My first collection is entitled The Ruin of Beltany Ring: A Collection of Pagan Poems and Tales and is comprised of work published between 2004 and 2010(ish). I’ve also sold a number of stories and poems since then, which you can find by visiting the “Things to Read” sidebar at I’m presently working on a series of science fiction novels entitled Petals of the Twenty Thousand Blossom, for which I’ve written a novel I’m shopping around to agents and publishers right now. I’ve just begun another novel in that series, and I’m planning to pitch a second collection of short fiction to a good small press later on this summer.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? I have! But I found as I was writing the character that she diverged from the person quite a bit for the sake of the story. So when I finally did shoot her in the head, she wasn’t much like the woman I derived her from, which is probably for the best. Fictionalizing real people can lead to legal trouble if the fiction resembles the person too plainly.

That said, I’ve extracted character types, motivations and even remembered conversations with difficult people and given them to my fictional villains. I find this humanizes them, which is necessary if you want your bad guys to be more than foils in a story.

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 world-build for everything I write, even short stories. In fact, I often begin my research with a vague idea or perhaps just a strong character and allow the world-building to lead me into the story. As for favorite resources, I research so widely that I don’t really have any specific favorites. However, I have taught world-building at science fiction conventions and can offer a few of my own resources to your readers.

The first is a series of blog entries I wrote about constructed languages, or conlangs. You can find the introduction to that series here: ConLangs 101: Introduction. The convention workshop resource sheet on conlang construction can be found here: ConLangs 101 Resource Sheet.

The second and third are resource sheets for two convention workshops: Physical Worldbuilding and Cultural Worldbuilding. These were intended for attendees, so there are a few things in them that might not be relevant to your readers, but there’s some good stuff too.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? There’s always a message underlying my work. My recent story “N is for Nanomachine” was a look at the ways people choose to approach death. My forthcoming story “C is for Change” is about the way people are broken and what happens when they transcend that brokenness. I write about life, so meaning is important to me.

As for its overall importance, who can say? There are a number of popular speculative fiction writers who specialize in artful prose and poetry that have no underlying message, and their work sells. It reads like cotton candy tastes to me, and I don’t care for that sort of thing, but that’s only because I do care so much about message and meaning. Your mileage may vary.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? I have never, ever commented publicly on a review of my work, and I hope I’m never so far off my game that I do. Very occasionally, I’ve sent a brief ‘thank you’ e-mail to a kind reviewer or mentioned my appreciation for a good review in a blog entry, but that’s it.

Reviews are conversations readers have about writing, and writers should never insert themselves into that conversation when it’s about their own work. This is especially true of negative reviews. Writers don’t live in the heads of their readers, and while some negative reviews are hurtful on purpose, most are just honest expressions of what didn’t work for a reader. That kind of critique can be helpful.

As for importance, I think reviews are important tools for reader discussion, but I think they’re somewhat less important for writers, except as a means for finding out how their work is received and where some skill-building might be in order. That said, I still love it when a reader has something nice to say about my writing. ☺

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I just finished The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey, and I have to say that on the whole, it didn’t work for me. However, my favorite novel of the last year was Lexicon, by Max Barry, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all people with a pulse. I’malso following the Saga comic series by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples and love it.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I have a collection of action figures from the Pacific Rim movie, and I play with them.

Where can we learn more about you?

Social Media links:





Author Spotlight and Blog Tour J.L McFadden – Romance/Paranormal


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Today I am pleased to welcome J.L McFadden when he stops on his blog tour. (SASKIA BOOK TOURS).
About the Author:
J.L Mc Fadden is  the Author of the Guardian Series: Guardian, released, Adela, release in September, Chooses, released in May 2014, Adela’s Lost Guardian, March, more to be named at a later date. McFadden spins tragedy and romance into all of his stories with picturesque descriptions that vividly paints and melts the scenes into your pleasure cortex that is a valid and important part of every readers mind. ;) Jamie Lee was born in a mixed Celtic and Slavic family in the river valleys of Pennsylvania, in his earlier years he played in bands in New York and ended up working his way into H.Q of the largest musical retailer in the world Guitar Center; while working at the store level he managed multiple departments at once and handled all the stores merchandising logistics. He has explored the world and became the first American to be excepted into the Interregional Federation of Aikido Aikikai of Crimea & Sevastopol, where he enjoys learning from great masters from around the world, where he has developed his himself. He explains that the people rich and colorfully different people he has met, spawned a lot of his characters.
Purchase Links:

This book is written in such away that it can be read as a stand alone or after the first book of the series- The Guardian. After so much more loss Adela finds herself in the middle of a love triangle and the fight for the head of Covens.

Adela and John both have their fair share of choices to make. Adela must think of her coven, but at the same time she feels a burning desire for her great, great niece’s Guardian John. She is torn because though fate has blessed her great, great niece with a Guardian that is connected to her by Mother Earth to protect her from anything, she keeps rejecting him. John is torn between the woman he is fated to and Adela. He fears that it is Adela’s powers of seduction that is tempting him. He feels a desire to protect Gala, but also feels a yearning for Adela. At the same time Adela must search for the secret journal known as the Guardian journal and protect those she loves from the dangers that lurk in the shadows.

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RAFFLECOPTER: a Rafflecopter giveaway

What Does The London Book Fair Have To Offer Writers And Authors?


Thanks, Lynette. This is an interesting account of the book fair. I interviewed someone last year who attended so it is good to have another view.

Originally posted on Lynette's Blog:

For weeks I have counted down the days before I attended the London Book Fair. This is the global marketplace where the publishing world gathers for rights negotiation, sale and distribution of content across printed books. The 2015 book fair was held at Olympia in West London over a glorious three day event.

With a number of exciting seminars and conferences especially for writers there are plenty of reasons why an author should wish to attend the London Book Fair, (LBF). Of course I didn’t go alone, I went with aspiring writer, Joy Wood who will soon be publishing her first novel, For the Love of Emily. We both live close to Grimsby in North Lincolnshire so we caught the train on Tuesday morning and headed to Kings Cross station. Our hotel was at Earls Court, chosen because it was only one tube stop away from the spectacular Olympia…

View original 1,330 more words

Author Interview Number Eighty-Seven – Chambers Mars (Carter Seagrove) – LGBT and Thriller/Crime Fiction


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Welcome AUTHOR – CHAMBERS MARS (who, together with Alp Mortal, is also Carter Seagrove)


I am French, living in Saint Tropez. I travel widely, collecting and dealing in art. My childhood home is in a village not too far from the place where Alp Mortal lives in France.

I am vegan, a Buddhist and a dog owner – I have a Jack Russell/Italian Greyhound mix by the name of Pinocchio (Jack Russell with long legs and a superiority complex to match).

Together with Alp Mortal, I am half of Carter Seagrove, author of Dust Jacket and The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries.

Alp Mortal, Chambers Mars and Shannon M. Kirkland are The Carter Seagrove Project LLC – an independent book publisher. Find us at, on Twitter @carterseagrove and on Facebook


Where do you live and write from?

I generally spend my time in Saint Tropez – I prefer the climate! I do spend time at the house in Saint Hilaire in Haute Saone, near to the spiritual retreat where Alp lives for part of the year. I generally only write when I am at home in Saint Tropez, on the balcony.

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

I write LGBT-themed fiction – the Zac Tremble Investigates series – he’s the gay PI; and the Life & Times of Johnny Sante series – he’s the young bisexual Parisian con-artist.

In 2014, I began writing with Alp. First we did Dust Jacket and then The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries – the gay, crime fighting duo of Inspector Alfred Fenchurch and PC Adam Cowley. I would like to write something different – maybe Sci-fi but I am also keen to produce either Zac or Johnny as a graphic novel series.

Where do you find inspiration?

The inspiration for the Zac series really came from the series of short novels which Le Monde publishes each summer – pocket-sized, fast-paced reads. Alp says James Bond meets Fawlty Towers – I love both. Johnny is partly inspired by John Cusack’s character in The Grifters; Zac partly by the film Renaissance (with Daniel Craig) and Zac and Paul partly by the relationship between Lola and Manni in Run Lola Run.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why?

I like Paul in Zac Tremble Investigates and Adam in The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries because they are quiet heroes. I love Johnny because he has the spirit I would really loved to have had when I was his age.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why?

Not exactly dislike – I create bad guys so that my heroes can despatch them.

Are your characters based on real people?

A little of everyone – all of the characters are really studies of human nature – I study cultural anthropology.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off?

Not in the sense that the person was someone I knew/know personally.

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 have to do a lot of research because first, English is my second language – and English humour is not like French humour so Zac incurs me in lots of studying – old TV sitcoms are very rich material. Fenchurch is based in the 1930s. I use the internet a lot of course and I am lucky that I have access to some magazine archives.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book?

Always a study of an aspect of our nature – it is important for me because the story would be thin without it. I wanted to create a different kind of gay male character – role models are very important – as is diversity – there isn’t enough diversity in our genre hence why I created Johnny and have him be bisexual – also Cindy and Delphes in Zac – the lesbian couple.

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…)

Character, character, character and character … nothing else matters.

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?

All of my titles are available as eBooks – in all formats – and some are going to be produced as audiobooks. I want to produce Zac as a graphic novel or animated web series – probably Johnny too.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?

I have to have my work thoroughly checked because of the translation aspect – I could not publish anything without my editors.

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

Yes; it is sadly the case that traditional publishers are very risk averse – they go with the sure bet but they miss great opportunity by doing it.

Do you read work by self-published authors?

A lot and more and more.

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

Get inside your character’s skin and live his life if you want to write great characters; read to be a better writer; don’t play safe …

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst?

Twitter. Fortunately, Alp does our social media for us – I am terrible at updating my blog – but I am older than my colleagues at The Project.

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

We by Yevgeny Zanyatin

Two Night Stand Ellis Carrington

The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Anne Bronte

I struggle with some of the stuff I get recommended to me – I like comics best – especially Largo Winch.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?

Traditional published author would be Georges Simenon

What are your views on authors offering free books?

We all do it but it is madness!

Do you have a favourite movie?

The Good Thief with Nick Nolte.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Book links –

Website/blog –

Author links – use the book links – above – (a new gallery we have created) to find all of the links to the other author/retail links

The publishing house –,

on Twitter @carterseagrove

and on Facebook

Review IX – Andrew Weston – Sci-fi/Military/Time Travel/Historical


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IX by Andrew Weston

Historical/Military/science fiction/fantasy/time travel.

5 stars.


Soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds, including the IX Legion of Rome, are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing, and transported to the far side of the galaxy. Thinking they have been granted a reprieve, their relief turns to horror when they discover they face a stark ultimatum: Fight or die.

Romans, Native Americans, fierce Celtic warriors, Special Ops, American Civil War fighters – not a huge amount in common one would think. Wrong. Death is what they expect – but not necessarily what they get – at least not where and when they think. From differing backgrounds they are thrown into a war and a world far removed from Earth. The Horde have decimated the galaxy and the Ardenese for decades and now all that remains is myth and the hidden remnants of a once mighty civilisation. The 9th intake is the last best hope for the salvation of Arden, if they can put aside their differences. Technology far beyond ours brought expansion, then it brought war.

Action takes the fore in this adventure which encompasses military, historical, science fiction and fantasy. The characters are varied, at once both complex and simplistic, and often surprising. Death stalks the pages, but his companions are loyalty, courage and dignity.  Well written with twists and turns, and a rather unexpected ending.

Great for fans of sci-fi, time travel fiction and historical.

Author Interview Eighty-Six – Alp Mortal (Carter Seagrove) – Thriller/LGBT Fiction


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Welcome to Alp Mortal


Born in 1965, I’m English by birth from the Isle of Wight, living in Newport, spending part of the year in France in the stunningly beautiful department of Haute-Saône in the Franche Comté region. It is heavily forested and very tranquil but the winters are pretty harsh and my home is 820 metres above sea level so I get plenty of snow.

I am also spending increasing amounts of time in the USA, co-managing The Carter Seagrove Project LLC – an independent publishing house, incorporated in the State of Indiana.

I will be 50 years old in 2015. I only started writing in 2009, proving, I suppose, that it is never too late. I didn’t think about self-publishing until late 2012, now, more than two years later, I’m even more energized by the process than ever before.

I’m a qualified English teacher, specializing in teaching English as a second language (TEFL), though I don’t do much of that now. In the distant past, I taught software skills. In the very distant past, I was a project manager on big IT projects and at the very beginning of my career, I was an Internal Auditor. I have degrees in Internal Auditing, Computer Auditing, and Project Management. I’m studying for my degree in Sustainable Development at the moment. Renewable energy is what really interests me and I generate my own power at home via a solar panel.

I’m a member of The Society of Authors, The Society for Editors and Proofreaders, and The Independent Author Network. I am a Smashwords Author and a Goodreads Author.

I grow some of my own food and from Easter to the end of October, I’m outside for the largest part of the day, tending the garden. I write in the evening and during the winter when there is very little else to do. I have no great philosophy except “energy follows intention” and “honour your gifts”. These two principles keep me sane, very happy and exceedingly busy!

Together with Chambers Mars, I am half of Carter Seagrove, author of Dust Jacket and The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries.

Alp Mortal, Chambers Mars and Shannon M. Kirkland are The Carter Seagrove Project LLC – an independent book publisher. Find us at, on Twitter @carterseagrove and on Facebook


Where do you live and write from? Currently, I am split between four centers of fiction writing worship: The Isle of Wight, UK in the town of Newport; in the mountains of the Vosges in Haute Saone, France, and in Indiana, USA, where I stay with Shannon from time to time. I also spend time in St Tropez with Chambers – usually if we’re getting a Fenchurch Mystery ready for publication.

Living this way really helps to keep me topped up with ideas for new stories – travel broadens the mind … and the vocabulary!

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write m/m romance, m/m/f romance very occasionally, m/m romantic thrillers, and gay-themed crime stories and series (mostly with Chambers Mars when we write as Carter Seagrove). I am just about to start my first Sci-fi project which is also gay themed (Trojan Horse – a kind of Space Opera). I have a gay-themed soap opera (Swallow Close) on the table but that is languishing due to project overload. At some point in 2015, I hope to output a series of poems based around the themes of Metaphysics, Gestalt Theory, Solipsism and Synesthesia – themes which occur in my stories too.

I shuttle between stories of varying length and style – epic fantasy sagas alongside very brief encounters, poetry and things which are essentially plays.

Where do you find inspiration? Inspiration comes from everywhere – it’s why travel is so important to me. I find that a lot of the energy for a story comes from my own experiences and relationships. There is a lot of me in each story. The things I study the most also feed into stories – ecology, art, cooking, veganism, Buddhism, social history, evolution, mythology, fast cars, poetry (especially John Donne, Andrew Marvel and Coleridge), Metaphysics, Gestalt Theory, Synesthesia and Solipsism. Fundamentally, I find the greatest source of inspiration to be the idea that a set of words can influence how a person feels and thinks – that suggests a very deep connection and a privileged one too.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? Cicero in Dabs of Blue, Casper in Guiltless Trip, Inspector Alfred Fenchurch in The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries, Daniel in Daniel’s Garden, Archie in Brave, Alfie in A Lifelong Love and Jason in The Weaver & The Loom – because they represent the best of humanity … and that doesn’t mean always just good – neither are they the most complex (Emile in Juxtaposition) or the simplest (Adam in Camping Gear) – they offer a kind of optimism.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? Ben in Juxtaposition; Fulshard in The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries, Lawrence in Guiltless Trip, Anthony in Brave, Pierre in Love On The Beach – they exist to fulfil a purpose – to highlight the good in someone else – to provide the motivation to act in a certain way, to engender an emotional response. I haven’t created a character that I began to dislike – sometimes I become ambivalent about a character – sometimes I elevate a character to play a part which I did not anticipate at the start – most notably Gus and Jacob in Brave.

Are your characters based on real people? All of the characters are based on real people to one extent or another – some of them I know well, others, less so.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Yes …

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 research – ferreting around out of way places and musty old bookshops. How much I research I need to do depends on the story – The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries takes place in the 1930s, so that took a lot. Some stories are written straight out of my memory of a particular place – Guiltless Trip, Consequences, Camping Gear. The Internet is absolutely invaluable to me – Wikipedia & YouTube probably most – often Google Maps.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Always a message – I can’t write something which does not have a ‘point’ – it is fundamental to the process of creating a story – before the characters are drawn oftentimes. It provides the energy, motivation, realism and hook.

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…) Great Characters, Solid Plot, Great World Building, Technically Perfect

I am a storyteller – and love reading stories – but I remember the characters and prefer to create characters because I am turned on by people. Great characters can compensate for a thinner plot – a great plot can never compensate for badly drawn characters. I prefer as a reader – and for the reader – to build the world themselves – I hate too much detail – I want to use my imagination. Technically perfect – of course – but not to the detriment of getting the story told – my editor hates me!

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? All of my titles are available as eBooks – in all formats – and some are going to be produced as audiobooks. Print is too costly and the retail pricing model doesn’t work these days in the face of eBook pricing. I used to offer all of them in print and sold zip, so took them off of the shelf.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I used to; I don’t anymore. Yes, a book suffers. When I look at the mistakes I made and left unchecked in early stuff which I did self-edit, I cringe. I realised after a while that you owe your reader at least a script that is as good as it could be, given even the best editor will always miss something. I am blessed with a wonderful editor who takes great pains to make sure the script is ‘worthy’.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Yes. We used to be treated as a joke. Now we’re getting some kudos. We represent the new construct, are closer to our readers, are better at social media and get books published quicker. I see a lot of negative press but discount it because I have exercised a choice in being a self-published author – we have freedom and control our output. If someone believes that a trad’ published author is the only kind or the ‘real’ kind or the ‘best’ kind then they are missing out on great reads.

Do you read work by self-published authors? 90% of my contemporary fiction reads are from self-published authors.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? I used to get hooked on them and upset by bad ones – now I never read them. You can’t influence the outcome once the book has gone out there – I’d rather devote the energy to writing the next story.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? Sometimes but they do not always influence my decision to purchase.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Write, write and write … leave the editing to the editor. Enjoy the process or quit. Respect your professional and artistic integrity and respect your reader.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst? Website – blog – Twitter – be Goodreads active – put your product everywhere – advertise on All Romance eBooks and Prism Book Alliance – have a profile everywhere – enter competitions – comment on blog posts

Worst – paid boosts of posts on Facebook

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare

Assignment to Disaster by Edward S Aarons

Strange Conflict by Dennis Wheatley

The Romance of Tristran & Iseult retold by Joseph Bedier

Stripped Expectations by James Lee Hard

The Twelve Chairs by Ilf and Eugene Petrov

Lexington Black by Savannah Smythe

Wondering, The Way by Luke F D Marsden

Jonathan’s Hope by Hans M Hirschi

I read rapaciously – I am aroused by the way a series of words invokes an emotional response – I read all of the packaging on the food I buy – it’s fascinating!

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? Trad = too difficult to choose one but would have to be Emile Zola (dead) / Stephen R Donaldson (alive)

Indie = too difficult to choose one but Dill Pickles

What are your views on authors offering free books? It is a necessary evil – I do – without a free offering there is zero chance anyone is going to take a chance on you if they don’t know you.

Do you have a favourite movie? The Matrix

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I was born in 1965 – the population of Asia then, equated to 1000 times the number of words I had written by the time I was 49.


As a writer of erotica have you encountered any prejudice?  How have you dealt with it? Do you write under a pen name? I write erotic romance – as Alp Mortal – that’s me.

Yes; some people think it’s dirty or somehow perverted. I usually ask them if they have watched Brokeback Mountain …

Where do you think the lines are drawn between romance, erotica and porn?  Those lines exist only the reader’s head – for me the line is between the gratuitousness of the sex and whether the characters engage with me and whether there is a point to the story which lasts beyond the orgasm.

Erotica is not a new genre do you think it is becoming more accepted into mainstream reading?It was always accepted into mainstream reading – the difference now is that more people admit to reading it.


Book links, website/blog and author links:

Book links –

Website/blog –

Author links – use the book links – above – (a new gallery we have created) to find all of the links to the other author/retail links


The publishing house –,

on Twitter @carterseagrove

and on Facebook




Heroika: Dragon Eaters – Heroic Fiction/Fantasy/Myth – New Release


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heroika revised 1

Image (c) Perseid Press

Heroika: Dragon Eaters is the exciting new shared universe from Perseid Press.

Heroes throughout history stalk their legendary foe.
HEROIKA — DRAGON EATERS is an anthology of heroic fiction edited by Janet Morris and featuring original stories by S. E. Lindberg, Jack William Finley, Travis Ludvigson, Tom Barczak, J. P. Wilder, Joe Bonadonna, Milton Davis, Alexandra Butcher, William Hiles, M Harold Page, Walter Rhein, Cas Peace, Beth Waggoner Patterson, Bruce Durham, Mark Finn:Heroes throughout history stalk their legendary foe: the Father of Alchemy entombs his own magic; dragons must not kill dragons; even a patron saint struggles when confronted by the mighty Wyght Worm; Hunting dragons, getting there is half the battle; mankind’s fate lies in a man, a child, and a dragon; holy warriors write their legend in the blood of dragons; the love of the innocent meets a dragon’s heart; one dragon hunter finds out the truth about feeding on dragon’s blood; one woman and two wolverines seek a dragon’s egg; cross the water and stop a new plague of dragons before it’s too late; bounty hunters pit their dirigible against a dragon and a flying castle; seven enemies unite to kill an ancient legend; In the bayou stews more than storm and alligators; remnants of the human race face their ultimate challenge in the bleak Arctic; when dinosaurs return, a squad of Rangers goes from dragon hunters to hunted.

In this anthology of monsters, magic, courage and heroes who are the bravest of the brave the outcome of each story is far from certain. Who will live to fight again? Whose blood will spill? Whose legend will be heard in song and tale? Who gets to feast on the losers?  A diverse yet shared set of tales, from writers of fantasy, heroic fiction, historical fiction and mythic tales come together to bring you an eclectic medley of mischief.

Due for release on May 25th 2015 Heroika: Dragon Eaters is available for pre-order on Amazon now.
Coming soon exclusively on the Library of Erana – a week with the Dragon Eaters. Learn about the tales, the writers and their creations and maybe even learn how to cook dragon should you be fortunate enough to kill one.  Winners eat the losers!

Reviews – the good, the bad and the ugly.


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Reviews are a contentious issue, one only has to look at social media to discover that. Good Reads particularly has a lot of reviewers, and some are very vocal. It must be remembered Good Reads is a READER site, primarily but of late there have been many issues, discussions and arguments about reviews, their value, what they mean, who can give them, and their validity.  There is no hard and fast answer to any of these questions.

Ultimately book reviews are for readers. Readers are, of course, consumers of books and many readers like to catalogue their thoughts on a particular book. A review is an OPINION, and thus has the prejudices, views and likes and dislikes of the particular reviewer.

What one reviewer thinks is wonderful another might hate.

Reviewer A hates typos/reviewer B overlooks or doesn’t notice them.

Reviewer A likes strong world building/reviewer B sees it as an ‘info dump’.

Reviewer A doesn’t like swearing/violence/sex in books/ reviewer B likes that type of book.

You see what I mean?

Then there are reviewers who use the review space to comment on an author’s behaviour/ideals etc. Personally I think the review should be about the book but that’s my own view. Some folks find this important and it’s true some writers forget they are the brand. If they act like a jerk online then someone will notice and likely as not the behaviour will backfire. What goes on the internet stays on the internet.  This does work both ways. If a reviewer is particularly spiteful, or obviously has an agenda then other readers will see that and hopefully ignore the review.

So what do reviews mean? They mean what the review wants them to mean – his or her own views and values. A reader seeing the review might misunderstand the reviewer’s opinion, might read the book and think the opposite. People review for all sorts of reasons: Personal lists, for friends, because they loved/hated a book so much they want to share, because they enjoy reviewing, even for the author.

Again I’ll say it. Reviews are opinions.

How important are they? I haven’t a damn clue. Again that probably depends on who you ask.  Some people put a lot of store in reviews, scanning a book’s reviews for the pros and cons from readers who think the same way, or perhaps to see how many ratings of a particular level they have. There are many who think a book with only 5 star ratings have fake ratings. Is this true? Not usually, but it doesn’t have to be true or false, just perceived as true. And there are authors who have bought reviews. These are in the minority.

If a reviewer says “I love this book (insert title here)” or possible “This was the suckiest book evah” that doesn’t tell anyone a great deal. It helps to add why it was liked or disliked but as I’ve said it depends on the reviewer and why and for whom they are reviewing. Some use reviews as a list of I liked this, I didn’t like this. They simply don’t want to say WHY, or aren’t confident to find the words to do so.

Then there are readers who only read a few, or don’t let reviews influence them. I’m like this. I might read reviews but I have usually made up my mind by then. I’ve even bought books based on BAD reviews. I’m actually more likely to look at reviews for non-book products. Don’t ask me why.

That said I do review – partly because I have a bad memory – and partly because I enjoy it.  There’s another reason. I’m more likely to review if the book is written by an indie author.  Yes I know I said reviews are for readers, and they are. I might be an author but I am also a reader. As an author I feel a writer appreciates a review – it’s always nice to learn what a reader thought of one’s books. I’ve seen many arguments saying that reviewers aren’t an indie’s beta readers – and that’s true but even the most polished work is not going to be liked by everyone.  Reviews help authors to understand the market, their own work and what readers want (which might not be what the writer thinks they want).

I’ve seen the debates on Good Reads from reviewers who say that they don’t review for authors – but if the review is on a site such as Goodreads or Amazon the likelihood is the author will see it and interpret it. For better or worse.

As an author do I like getting reviews? Yes, of course. I appreciate any reader taking the time to put his or her thoughts down. Do I think they affect sales? Not a clue. Good reviews might help, then again they might not.  Bad reviews might hurt, then again they might not.

Conclusion – are reviews important? Yes and no. Do they make a difference to readers? Yes and no. Do they make a difference to authors? Yes and no. As a writer you can’t please everyone. There will ALWAYS be someone who doesn’t like the book, as there will be someone who adores it. As a reader/reviewer there are bound to be others who share your views, but many who won’t. Look at any book from Hamlet to Fifty Shades of Grey and see the selections of reviews. (For the latter some are hilarious).

There is no right and wrong.

Getting Self-Published books into Book Stores


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Originally posted on Life Memoirs:

Any self-published author who has tried will tell you how hard it is to get your book into a bricks and mortar book store. Why is this? The followinBookstore 1g is a conglomeration of some thoughts, ideas and information I have come across in a variety of different places.

First I look at some of the concerns and problems. Then, at the end of this post, share some thoughts on how self-published authors might overcome these issues.

This is slightly longer than I would normally post but I felt the subject deserved a reasonably full consideration.


Book stores and distributors do not want to deal with individual self-published authors because of the costs involved. For the same reason libraries usually only order through major wholesalers or bookstores. Although this may be changing as self-published books are now finding their way onto the lists of available books sent to library…

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Fantasy, heroes and science fiction in our society – guest post – V. S. Holmes

Name: V. S. Holmes

Location: New England


V.S. Holmes is the author of SMOKE AND RAIN, the first in an epic fantasy series. Her favorite genres include fantasy, science (of both the non-fiction and fiction varieties), and most anything else she finds in her hands. While not writing, she works as a contract archaeologist. She lives with her artist/illustrator husband in a Tiny House (yes, like the HGTV show) and owns far too many books for such a small abode.


What makes a ‘hero’? Would you say this definition is different within literature to real life? There are two sides to the ‘hero’ coin. Often, the first side is during the making of the hero — a person has a difficult choice and chooses others over themselves, or perhaps they have no choice at all, but give it their all despite the circumstances. Those close to her or him see the struggle and the pain, and they are the first ones to call the person ‘hero.’

The second side of the coin is afterward. The hero has become something other than a person — he or she is an idea. The flaws are gone, and so, too, is the struggle, and what actually made the person a hero in the first place.

The gritty, first side are the heroes we see in our own lives, those that make an impact on our worlds. They are what books are made of.

If you’re a writer how do you portray heroism in your books? I don’t have a single hero in my books — I have a few main characters, all of whom have their own abilities and flaws. Each one is a hero in his or her own right, though often in very different ways. Grandiose heroes are not something people can relate to. Time changes stories so much, that the few living-legends in my Reforged series, for instance, are unrecognizable in person. I stick to the real, human (even if they aren’t, in fact, human) characters. If they happen to do something that starts friend’s whispering “hero,” then so be it.

Fantasy and science fiction used to be seen as very male-oriented, do you think this is still the case. Do you have any experience of this? This is an issue in all genres, but it is very prominent in science-fiction and fantasy. When I was first breaking into the reading world on my own, I noticed a dearth of well-written books that had female protagonists, or even female characters that were more than simply filler. While I think we’ve come a long way from that reality, we face a new problem — female characters are slotted as “strong” and the character arc goes no further. Furthermore, it perpetuates the idea that the only way a character can be strong is by having masculine tendencies. This cripples writers, characters, and worst-of-all, readers. For more on this, I urge you to check out the article, “I Hate Strong Female Characters,” by Sophia McDougall for

How important are ‘facts’ in fantasy/science fiction – does something need to be plausible to be believable? One of the main criticisms a lot of fiction faces — specifically science-fiction — is the suspension of disbelief. The genres of both fantasy and science-fiction are all about breaking rules and creating worlds that are apart from our own, so why is it an issue if it seems far-fetched? What is more important than plausible, is being plausible-in-the-created-world. Each invented world a writer creates relies on a set of rules — who wields magic, who travels at light-speed — and the story MUST function within those rules or it doesn’t work. Like all rules, of course, there are loopholes, but if your character wields magic and no other human does, there better be a damn good reason behind it.

Fairy-tales, anthropomorphic personifications, mythical beasts and cultural fantastical persons are all about us – such as Santa Claus, St George, dragons and fairies – how vital are these for our identity? Are we who we are because of the myths our cultures hold? I love discussing how our past forms our future. I work as an archaeologist for my “day job,” and I face this question every day. I wrote an article for the New Hampshire Archaeological Society last year talking about why I dig. The reason I write is much the same.  Humans have always been exploring, whether it was searching over the next rise, the next ocean, the next galaxy. This exploration may begin as a search for food or for others, but ultimately it is a search for self. Our myths — cross-culturally — are about that search. They are familiar ways to frame the questions we want to ask. Our character may wonder what to do in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, so she looks back on what brought her here. Perhaps her parents were scientists, perhaps her Master’s thesis focused on Ragnarok. Where she comes from will not inform whether she fights, but how and with what.


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