Audiobook Narrator Interview Number 10 – Charissa Clark Howe


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*Name: Charissa Clark Howe

*Tell us a bit about yourself: I am a Presbyterian Minister, wife, mom of three, and marathoner, as well as being an audiobook narrator.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? I have been involved in theater for most of my life, both acting and singing. Since I’ve had children, that hasn’t been logistically feasible, but I have dearly missed acting. One day, I was listening to the NPR radio show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and the host mentioned to a caller that she had a “very distinctive voice.” She thanked him and said that she’s an audiobook narrator. Something lit up inside my head and I thought, “Wait a minute. . . you can do that as a job? That sounds amazing!” So I went online and did a quick Google search for “how to become an audiobook narrator.” I stumbled across the Audiobook Creation Exchange website and the rest is history!

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? I recently narrated two novels that I absolutely love. One is “Paper Doll” by Joe Cosentino and the other is “Angela’s Coven” by Bruce Jenvey. They are very different books, but both have great messages, fun characters, and a great deal of heart. I am hoping to start narrating more books in both of those series in the future.

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? I started off with little non-fiction books on things like Microsoft Excel and internet marketing, just to get my feet wet. But I quickly got bored with those. My favorites are light-hearted novels. I will not produce romance novels. I won’t even read romance novels on my own time. I don’t see any value in them.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? I’m currently working on a four part philosophy tome, and a few shorter novels.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) I like to start by skimming the books to get a feel for the characters. After that, I just start recording. That means I often have several takes of different pieces, but I find that keeps the story fresher for me as I read.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?  I love studying and learning how to act with new accents.

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? I do consider royalty share when narrating, but I’m very picky about the quality of books I’ll pick up for royalty share. I’m still a bit of a newbie at this audiobook narration gig, but I also don’t want to spend hours reading something that’s not really very good.

Do you listen to audiobooks? All the time!

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? I don’t think it’ll take the place of reading books for one’s self, but I do think that it’s really a great medium that I’m happy to see taking off. My family and I listen to many audiobooks together in the car and we have elderly and blind family members who all appreciate being able to listen to books. It makes them accessible in new places and to people who might not have had a chance to read many books before.

Why do you think audio books are becoming so popular? I think I just answered that above.🙂

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? I don’t remember exactly, but it was probably The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That’s my favorite book ever.

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 am hoping to have a novel published in the next year. I have thought a great deal about if I’ll narrate it myself or see what life someone else might be able to breathe into the story. I haven’t landed on a decision one way or the other yet.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) And then some! I didn’t expect things to take off so fast for me.

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? I actually had an author decide after I’d produced half a book that she’d rather just read it herself. She refused to pay for the time that I’d already spent on the project. I was livid. Every other experience has been great, though. All the authors and producers have been friendly, professional, and understanding.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I have two pet rats named after my husband’s favorite mystery novel heroes: Lord Peter Whimsy and Hercule Poirot.


Where can we learn more about you?

Social Media links:

twitter: @pastorcharissah














Author Interview 118 – Joe Cosentino – Mystery/Romance


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Welcome to Joe Cosentino.

Thank you. It’s great to be with you in cyberland.

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

As a college professor/department head forced to read journals, assessment reports, and articles on the world of academia, I read and write mystery and romance novels for entertainment—and sanity. My five Jana Lane mystery novels feature Jana Lane, who was America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In PAPER DOLL, as a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present. Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home, which leads to a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer. There Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future. In PORCELAIN DOLL (Wild Rose Press), Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her co-star, America’s heartthrob Jason Apollo. In SATIN DOLL (Wild Rose Press), Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a flirtation with Chris Bruno, the sexy detective. In CHINA DOLL (Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. In RAG DOLL (Wild Rose Press) Jana stars in a TV murder mystery series and once again life imitates art. She is also reunited with Chris Bruno, the detective who got away. Through the course of the novels, Jana reclaims the inner strength and fortitude she had as a child, a good message for all of us. Since the series is set in the 1980’s, I had a great deal of fun with the hairstyles, makeup, clothing, music, and attitudes of that wonderful era. As a professional actor, I was able to use my insider knowledge of show business for a realistic and captivating series. Each novel has a shocking ending you won’t want to miss. I want to play Jana’s comical old world agent Simon Huckby in the TV series. Make me an offer, producers!

Where do you find inspiration?

As an actor I worked on stage and screen with stars like Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, Jason Robards, and Nathan Lane. I knew my first novel series would be about show business, since show business has always been such a huge part of my life. As an avid mystery reader, it was clear to me that my novels would be page-turning murder mysteries with clever plot twists, engaging characters, romance, and lots of clues leading to a surprising conclusion at the end of each novel. Since I come from a funny Italian-American family, humor plays a role in my novels too. My mother said recently, “You should write a novel about me.” I replied, “You’re in every one of them.”

 Are your characters based on real people?

I have always been fascinated with ex-child stars like Hayley Mills, Shirley Temple, Patty Duke, and Brooke Shields. So my heroine, Jana Lane, is an ex-child star.

I have another mystery series, the Nicky and Noah comedy mysteries, published by Lethe Press. Since I am a college theatre professor/department head, and theatre departments are havens of mystery, secrets, romance, and high humor; the series takes place at an Edwardian style New England college. There are five murders per book. My colleagues kid me that if they annoy me, I’ll kill them in my next novel. In DRAMA QUEEN (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015) theatre college professors are dropping like stage curtains. With the inept local detectives, it is up to Directing professor Nicky Abbondanza and Acting professor Noah Oliver to use their theatre skills (including playing other people) to solve the murders, while Nicky directs a murder mystery onstage. In DRAMA MUSCLE (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) Nicky and Noah have to use their theatre skills to find out why musclemen are dropping like weights in the Physical Education department while Nicky directs the Student Bodybuilding Competition. In DRAMA CRUISE (releasing December 1), Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship. The fourth book, DRAMA LUAU (not released yet), has Nicky and Noah putting on a luau show as muscular male dancers drop like hula skirts. As the series progressing, Nicky and Noah fall deeper in love, and the readers hopefully fall deeper in love with Nicky and Noah. I want to play Martin Anderson, the department head character, in the TV series. Producers, I’m still here waiting for offers!

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 look up things on the internet all the time. However, the best research for a writer is to travel. I went to Washington, DC to write SATIN DOLL, the third Jana Lane mystery. With the Nicky and Noah mysteries, I took a cruise to Alaska for DRAMA CRUISE, and I took a trip to Hawaii for DRAMA LUAU. I visited the stunningly gorgeous and magical island of Capri for my romance novella, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (Dreamspinner Press). Finally, I spent some of my summers at the New Jersey shore to write my Cozzi Cove novels published by NineStar Press about handsome Cal Cozzi and his guests at a beach resort at the New Jersey Shore. COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK (book 1) received a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention and TBR Pile Book of the Month award. COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD (book 2) is also out now. COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT (book 3) releases January 23. COZZI COVE: NEW BEGINNINGS releases after that. Cozzi Cove is another potential television series!

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

While my books’ primary function is to entertain, each includes a strong message of the importance of acceptance for all.

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?

These decisions are generally made by my various publishers based on sales, so buy all of my books! The five Jana Lane mysteries are available in ebook and paperback. The first Jana Lane mystery is also available as an audiobook. What fun it was to go back to where it all started with PAPER DOLL and produce the audiobook. Actress Charissa Clark Howe captured the essence of Jana Lane perfectly, and she also did a fine job with all the other characters in the novel: Brian (Jana’s husband), Rocco (Jana’s producer), Jackson (Jana’s best friend), Mark (Jana’s greatest fan), Tamara (Jana’s sister), Scott (Jana’s father), Simon (Jana’s agent) and more. Balancing humor, romance, and mystery perfectly, she hit every beat. I couldn’t wait for the ending, and when it came I was totally shocked!

The Nicky and Noah mysteries are available in ebook and paperback. The first novel, DRAMA QUEEN, is also an audiobook performed by the multitalented Michael Gilboe who makes me laugh every time I hear it. He does an incredible job voicing all twenty-two characters.

My Cozzi Cove romance novels are ebooks and paperbacks. My Dreamspinner Press ebook romance novellas, An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (loosely based on my high school and college years respectively), are joined together in my own paperback anthology called IN MY HEART, which just won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. My other two ebook novellas, THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND and A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS release as audiobooks in November and December respectively, performed by the gifted actor Joel Leslie who has a large following. I can’t wait to hear them.

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

Reviews are very important, especially until an author and/or series takes off. I don’t comment on my reviews, but I relish in the rave ones as well as in the messages from readers who tell me my books made them laugh, cry, feel romantic, surprised them, or altered their life or opinions in some way. I don’t read the few negative reviews. If you don’t like a book, stop reading it after Chapter One. What do you gain by writing a negative review of something? It’s your karma, and as they say, “Karma can be a bitch.”

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

Rather than just picking the murderer out of a hat at the end of a mystery, a good mystery should be very carefully outlined with clues, red herrings, inversions, shocks and surprises. When a reader finishes a book, he/she should be satisfied that the various parts equalled the whole: engaging characters, captivating locations, realistic dialogue, clever plot, interesting theme, and clues that led to the perfect ending revelation.

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

I’ve read all nine Tales of the City books by Armistead Maupin; every Agatha Christie novel, short story, and play; and each Mary Higgins Clark romantic suspense novel. When reviewers compare my novels to theirs, I am incredibly flattered.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?

Like my Nicky Abbondanza character in the Nicky and Noah mystery novels, I’m a vitaminaholic.


PAPER DOLL, the first Jana Lane mystery

by Joe Cosentino

Audiobook by Charissa Clark Howe on Audible:


Audiobook by Charissa Clark Howe on Amazon:

Jana Lane was America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present. The local suspects include Jana’s down-on-his-luck husband with a dislike for living off the fruits of his wife’s young labor, Jana’s sister and male friend (who both have eyes for Jana’s husband), Jana’s show business father, her deranged loyal fan, and Jana’s young Guy Friday who covets her fame and shares an uncanny resemblance to Jana. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home. This sends her on a whirlwind of visits with former and current movie studio personnel. It also leads to a romance with the son of her old producer—Rocco Cavoto—the devilishly handsome filmmaker who is planning Jana’s comeback both professionally and personally. With Rocco’s help, Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future.

“Mr. Cosentino has produced a masterpiece of mystery” “The story gripped me from the start and there were enough twists and turns, with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure, to keep hold of me until the end of the book.” “Great book, can’t wait for book 2.” Readers’ Favorite

Paper Doll is a superbly crafted mystery with an eclectic cast of characters that will engage you and elicit some very emotional responses as you are completely caught up in the events that unfold in these pages. Everyone has secrets and the people in Paper Doll have them in spades!” Fresh Fiction

“If you like novels that are filled with new and old Hollywood, and a range of sub-plots, you are going to love this!” Saguaro Moon Reviews

“I liked that there was enough evidence for each of the suspects to keep me guessing until the very end.” Molly Lolly Reviews

“Joe Cosentino knows how to keep his readers’ interest with every page.” Universal Creativity Digital Magazine

“The setting, the characterization and the plot keep you turning the pages.” The Book Mistress

“Joe Cosentino has crafted an engaging tale of secrets, lies and deceit set in that crazy, ego driven scene called Hollywood.” Deb Sanders

“The suspense this book holds is amazing!” “You will absolutely love this book!” Stormy Night Reviews

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s awards for best mystery novel, best humorous novel, and best contemporary novel of 2015. He is the author of the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart anthology (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press). As an actor, he has appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Upcoming novels are Drama Luau and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings.

Web site:





Battlefield 1066 -Spotlights – Victoria Zigler


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#SWauthors #History #Childrensauthor

Name: Victoria Zigler, or Tori for short.

Tell us a bit about yourself I’m a blind vegetarian poet and children’s author.  Born and raised near the foot of the Black Mountains of South-West Wales, UK, I now live very close to the town of Hastings on the South-East coast of England, UK.  I share my home with my Canadian husband, and our gang of rodents (which currently consists of 3 degus, 1 gerbil, 2 rats, and 2 chinchillas) and spend most of my time either reading or writing.

Set during the Battle of Hastings tell us a little more about your story

My Battle of Hastings story is about a young boy named Eadweard who, along with his best friend, Cerdic, thought it would be fun to join the ranks of men marching to fight in the battle, even though they officially aren’t old enough and had been forbidden to do so by their Fathers.  They have dreams of being great war heroes, but soon discover the reality of war is nothing like what they imagined it to be.

It’s a children’s historical fiction story, but I’ve put an “eight years and older” warning on the book’s blurb, because some of the scenes in the story really aren’t suitable for readers younger than that, in my opinion.  After all, it is a story about a battle, and I can’t show the reality of war without showing some violence and blood.

What prompted you to write this one?

I wanted to branch out and try other genres, and this year being the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings inspired me to write a story about the battle.  I quickly decided that I wanted to tell the story of the events of the battle reasonably accurately – as much as can be done without a time machine, which I don’t have access to, unfortunately.  But I also wanted the story to be from the point of view of someone who wasn’t some famous war hero.  Part of my preference for someone who wasn’t a great war hero was because I wanted the person to be a child, and part of it was because I wanted fighting to be new to him.  I wanted to tell the story of the battle, while at the same time showing that war isn’t the amazing adventure some people think it to be.  I also wanted the book to be suitable for middle grade readers, which is why it needed to be a young lad who was the main character.  After looking up everything I could find on the battle, and letting those thoughts simmer in my mind for a couple of months, I sat down to write the story, and “Eadweard – A Story Of 1066” is the result.  To my knowledge, Eadweard and Cerdic themselves never existed.  However, boys like them would have, and the battle itself was very real.

How much research was involved? I already knew some of the details of the battle, partially from doing an essay on it during the time I was homeschooled in my teens, and partially because I live not far from Hastings, and it’s almost impossible to live close to Hastings and not know one or two facts (especially when you have an interest in history, as well as random facts, so pay attention to those kinds of things).  However, I still made sure to spend plenty of time researching my facts as accurately as possible.  I also happen to be very close to someone who is a huge history buff, a fellow writer, and essentially a walking encyclopaedia, so I asked him if he’d be a beta reader for me.  Thankfully, he agreed, so was able to help me out with anything I wasn’t sure about.

What was the most fascinating thing you learned from this experience?

I’m really not sure how to answer this one.  I found the whole thing fascinating; I like history.

Who do you think is one of the most important historical figures in British history?

I think the most important person in history is whoever figured out how to create and manipulate fire, because fire is the most useful thing in the world.  It doesn’t matter if you benefit from the things fire does for us directly by sitting in front of a roaring blaze, or indirectly by benefiting from the power that’s caused by a chain reaction started by burning some kind of fuel, if you’re a human being, chances are you’ll be benefiting from fire in your daily life… Especially in extremely cold weather.  Although, not quite as much as you might have had Thomas Edison not figured out about electricity.

Who do you believe to be the rightful claimant – William or Harold Godwinson? Why?

I think Harold is the rightful claimant.  I know William believes Harold promised him the throne, but it’s William’s word against Harold’s on that one.  Besides, even if he did, Harold was given the crown by people who held enough authority that their choice to do so was accepted.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s that; once he’s king, he’s king.  If everyone thought that way though, the battle wouldn’t have happened, and neither would many others throughout history.

What other books have you written?

How long have you got? Haha! No, I really mean it! OK, I’ll summarize: to date, I’ve published seven poetry collections and 42 stories of various lengths (including “Eadweard – A Story Of 1066” and the story that was published in the “Wyrd Worlds II” anthology).  My “Kero’s World” and “Degu Days Duo” books are semi-fictionalized stories based on the lives of my actual pets, my “Magical Chapters Trilogy” and “Zeena Dragon Fae” books are fantasy stories, my “Toby’s Tales” books are based on my own adjustments after losing my sight, “My Friends Of Fur And Feather” and “Rodent Rhymes And Pussycat Poems” are pet themed poetry collections written for and about real pets I’ve owned or known, the rest of my poetry books are random collections of poetry, all my stand alone stories are aimed at children of middle grade reading level or younger and cover a few different genres (though they’re mainly fantasy stories, fairy tales, animal stories, or some combination of the three) and my story in “Wyrd Worlds II” is a fantasy story.  I have plans for plenty more in the near future.


Character Questions

Who are you? Tell us about yourself.

My name is Eadweard, and I’m nine years old, though I’m tall for my age, so look a little older.  My Father isn’t a rich lord, but we have enough money to live comfortably, and for my Father to have two sets of armour.  His new armour is much nicer than the old stuff, but the old armour is still  in good enough condition that he kept it for me; he says I’ll grow in to it properly one day.

What faith do you hold? Are you devout?

I’m no priest, nor do I plan to become one.  I believe in God though, of course, and say my prayers.

What is your moral code?

My Father always taught me that a warrior should be prepared to die to defend their leader and loved ones.

Would you die for your beliefs?

I don’t actually want to die.  I know I should be prepared to do so, but that doesn’t mean I want it to happen.  If I’m going to die though, I want it to be in a way that will bring honour to my family, and make my Father proud of me.

Would you kill for them?

I would try to.  Though that’s not as easy to do as it looks.  It turns out fighting with practice swords is a lot easier than fighting in a real battle.

How did you become embroiled in this battle for the crown?

Well… *Looks guilty* I wasn’t supposed to be involved.  My Father said I wasn’t ready for battle, and ordered me to stay home.  My best friend, Cerdic, was told the same by his Father.  We disobeyed though, and found a way to join the ranks of marching men.  You won’t tell our Fathers, will you?

Honestly – who do you think is the rightful claimant?

King Harold is the rightful claimant, of course.  The Witon said he should be King, and they wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true, would they?

Were you afraid during the battles?

I tried to pretend I wasn’t, so the others wouldn’t think me a coward, but I was afraid throughout most of the battle.  I’m pretty sure Cerdic was too.  Part of my fear was fear of what my Father would do if he found out I’d disobeyed him and found a way to join the battle after all, and part of it was the actual battle itself.

Have you a family?

I’m my parents’ eldest child.  I have three younger siblings.  My eldest sister is only a year younger than me, and often helps our Mother to keep an eye on our younger brother and sister, who are hardly more than babies.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to have already shown my skill in battle, and gained enough notice as a great warrior that my heroic deeds are rewarded.  That would make my Father proud.  Then he won’t be quite so angry that I disobeyed him when he said I wasn’t ready to join a real battle.

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Buy links for “Eadweard – A Story Of 1066”


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Battlefield 1066 – spotlights – Barbara G Tarn


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Name: Barbara G.Tarn

Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born in the boot-shaped country dripping into the Mediterranean sea, but having lived abroad at a young age, I currently feel international, a woman with no country that sometimes is quite sick of the whole crazy planet. I love history, especially the Middle Ages (11th to 13th century), and making up stuff, although I learned the value of research even for the craziest idea – be it fantasy or science fiction. I write mostly SFF these days, having exhausted any will to talk about current events and today’s people.

Set during the Battle of Hastings tell us a little more about your story

Here’s the blurb: Nineteen-year-old Robert Malet followed William the Bastard to England to claim the English throne. The battle near the small town of Hastings is the beginning of the Norman conquest of England, but also of Robert’s second life.
A vampire in 12th century Europe traveling, fighting and meeting his siblings in darkness, changing names through the years when his mortal life is gone.
Follow Robert Malet, Brother Geoffrey, Robert Capuchon and Mercadier through the years. History and fantasy based on medieval chronicles for a Vampires Through the Centuries novella.

What prompted you to write this one?

When Steph Bennion suggested we write something around the Battle of Hastings, I thought it would be the prefect setting for one of my vampires stories. The original idea was about a Viking woman through the centuries who could be at the battle of Hastings. Just an episode of her long life – she pursues her love through the centuries without turning him into a vampire, simply looking for his next reincarnation!😉

As the second novel developed, I decided it should be someone actually turned at the battle – with the Viking woman and the berserker passing through Kaylyn’s novel along with Bran the Raven, the maker of them all. You shall encounter Robert also in the novel Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness that will come out Nov.2, but this is his story from his point of view.

How much research was involved?

I had already studied the 11th and 12th centuries for a shelved historical novel, so I pulled out my old Histoire de France en Bandes Dessinnées (history of France in comic-book form from the late 1970s) and saw they had William the Conqueror and other interesting characters.

To make sure the battle itself was neatly done, I bought an Osprey Publishing book about that campaign – based on the two or three chronicles of the time.

For later times, I went back to my research on William Marshal and Richard Lionheart.

What was the most fascinating thing you learned from this experience?

That the Normans had ugly haircuts!😉 My poor cover artist almost gave up drawing Robert, although I had sent her the images of how the French artist had drawn William the Conqueror…

Who do you think is one of the most important historical figures in British history?

History is written down and recorded by winners. And it gets rewritten through the centuries. Robin Hood, Roland or King Arthur – who knows who the actual people were? What were they actually called and what did they actually do?

That said, there are some chronicles left – to be taken with a grain of salt, since usually it’s copies of long lost originals (something that applies to the gospels as well, but I digress). I think that there was no real England as we know it today in the 11th century. The Danes, the Saxons, the Angles all mixed up – and then the Normans, who had managed to get a piece of land from the King of France, decided they wanted a piece of it too…

The Anglo-Norman nobility after the conquest spoke French, not English. Richard Lionheart spent only six months of his short reign in England – he was Norman, he couldn’t care less about what happened beyond the channel! He was too busy trying to keep his continental estates…

Who do you believe to be the rightful claimant – William or Harold Godwinson? Why?

I don’t really have an opinion on this. The great empires (Roman, Frank) had fallen to pieces, but there’s always someone who want to rebuild them, isn’t it?

What other books have you written?

Three more Vampires Through the Centuries (with more to come next year), a science fantasy series called Star Minds and then there’s my fantasy world of Silvery Earth… lots of titles, but also lots of collections and mostly standalone! Full list here.


Character Questions


Who are you? Tell us about yourself

I am Robert, son of William Malet, one of the few proven companions of Duke William. I was born in Gravelle-Saint-Honorine nineteen years ago.

What faith do you hold? Are you devout?

I am Christian, of course, and I’m as devout as the other knights around me. Bishop Odo celebrated mass and blessed us before joining us in the battle against the English. Yes, bishops can also be fearsome warriors in my time and great landholders as well. I know that Archbishop Baldwin took King Richard’s army to the Holy Land all by himself…

What is your moral code?

I am a knight and a man of honor. I kill only in battle.

Would you die for your beliefs?

I’d die for my lord and liege. I’d die to protect the land, my family and their estates.

Would you kill for them?

If my lord and liege asks me to. Or if someone threatens me or mine.

How did you become embroiled in this battle for the crown?

I followed my father and the Duke of Normandy, whom I admire greatly. It was actually my first real battle and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Honestly – who do you think is the rightful claimant?

Honestly, I can’t say. You see, my father is related to King Harold… but he still fights by Duke William’s side!

Were you afraid during the battle?

I’m part of the mighty Norman cavalry. No, I’m not afraid, even though the damn English had raised that wall of shields. But then the berserker attacked me…

Have you a family?

Parents, siblings and soon a Norman bride.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

As one of the dozen or so greatest landholders in England.



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Meet Olek from The Light Behind the Storm @libraryoferana #POTLReads #FridayReads


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Here’s a great interview with Olek – the Shadowdancer

#Fantasy #Lightbeyondthestorm

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Today, it is our pleasure to welcome Olek – the Shadowdancer from The Light Behind the Storm series by A. L. Butcher.

Greetings to you. I am the Shadowdancer, but you may call me Olek.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Stupidity. I don’t mean a lack of learning for most folks have not the luxury of education. I mean a failure to notice what is before them, or if they do to simply dismiss it as of no consequence.

Unfortunately, Erana is inhabited by many stupid people – those who do not see the truth but instead choose to ignore what is obvious.

What is your current state of mind?

Cautious. I am always so. If I were not cautious I’d likely be dead. I am a hunter of men, and of lies, sometimes of property and I seek to know my enemy and my prey…

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Book Spotlight and New Release- Dragon Moon – Fantasy


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Dragon Moon Release!! JULIE NICHOLLS


Hey peeps!! I’m happy to announce that my latest Young Adult Fantasy, Dragon Moon is available for pre order at the fabulously low price of 99c! This is a huge saving, and from Thursday 13th October, the price will be $3.45 so get it while it’s on offer!

Save the dragons, unite the races, no sweat.


I’m nineteen and wish I had a clue about my future. Instead of my own bed, this morning I woke in the strange land of Lur Neval. My name is Scarlett, but the Nevalese call me Dragon Mage. Seems it’s my job to preserve the all-important dragons and oh, while I’m here, bring peace to the warring clans. Piece of cake if I can outwit Madoc, the manipulative, evil seer who wants every dragon destroyed. Whatever it takes, I’m here to fulfill my destiny under the light of the Dragon Moon.


Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon USA






Don’t forget it’s available at the ridiculous price of 99c until release day which is 13th October, 2016

Go get it!

Echoes of a Song – New Release – Dark Fantasy/Horror/Phantom


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Those of you who know me fairly well will be aware that the love of my life is the Phantom of the Opera. I first saw the stage show in London with the great Michael Crawford when I was 11 and from then I adored it. The original story was written by Gaston Leroux, a French author of mystery, suspense and horror in 1910 (and 1911 for the English translation).

I’m sure many of you know the story – or think you do but I’ll summarise it here:

The Paris Opera House has been ‘haunted’ by the mysterious Opera Ghost, whose antics include fleecing the managers out of a good deal of money, causing mayhem among the young and niave corps de ballet and a number of other rather mischievous and wicked events. Many tales abound of this strange figure but no one has really seen the man he truly is.

Christine Daae – the young and rather innocent daughter of a Swedish musician joins and the Phantom becomes her ‘maestro’, her ‘good genius’. Giving her singing lessons, filling her niave head with tales of angels, and fantasy he weaves a spell for them both that can only end in tragedy. And it does.

Erik, for that’s the name he uses, although we never learn his real name, is disfigured form birth. Leroux’s book describes him as a human skeleton – with pale, yellowish flesh, sunken glowing eyes and just a hole where his nose should be. Hence he wears a mask, hides himself away and is rarely seen by anyone except as the ghost. Erik is a tragic soul – he is a man, with a man’s desires, emotions and needs but because of his appearance cannot find love, or even affection. He claims not even his mother loved him. So when he falls hard for the young singer he tries to win her love with his voice. For he has ‘the voice of an angel.’ To complicate matters Christine is wooed by the young, handsome and equally niave Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny who ends up fighting the phantom for her hand. Someone is going to lose. And I confess I cried the first time I read the book, pretty much every time since then and at every show I saw – considering I worked for a month or more on the National Tour I still blubbed at the end. This story is passionate, tragic, filled with suspense and is, ultimately, a love story – and whether it has a happy ending depends on your point of view.

So what’s my point here? Echoes of a Song is a short tale from Raoul’s point of view set twelve or so years after the events at the opera house. Keep in mind his brother died there, he was imprisoned there, he was forced to try and rescue his fiancee there and almost die and so it’s not somewhere filled with happy memories. Raoul has issues. I guess now we’d call it PTSD or something similar. Anyway he’s not a happy bunny but he’s doing the best he can for his young family, despite what appears to be a curse on his family. In Raoul’s troubled imagination the ghosts of the past are everywhere, and a strange and powerful music still calls in his dreams.

Madness, obsession and the legacy of the past weave their spell in this short, tragic tale based on the Phantom of the Opera.

I haven’t seen a great deal of stories from Raoul’s point of view (I’ve read a few… not that it’s an obsession or anything) and so this is his story.  It’s dark, and leaves much unanswered, but that’s part of the point. Was Erik more than a man? Was Raoul and Christine’s life going to be simple? What aftermath was there?

This is a tale of love, of hatred and mystery – much like the original.

Available on Amazon for just 99c (99p) this a great coffee break read for phantom fans, and those who like old style horror.

Please note the Phantom of the Opera is a public domain work.

mask in hand.halloween concept


Echoes of a Song – Legacy of the Mask Tales

A dozen tumultuous years after the dramatic events at the Paris Opera House Raoul, Comte de Chagny is still haunted by the mysterious Opera Ghost – the creature of legend who held staff at the Opera House under his thrall, kidnapped Raoul’s lover and murdered his brother. In Raoul’s troubled imagination the ghosts of the past are everywhere, and a strange and powerful music still calls in his dreams.

Madness, obsession and the legacy of the past weave their spell in this short, tragic tale based on the Phantom of the Opera.

Why YOU should back Ki Khanga: The Sword and Soul Role-Playing Game

Looks great

Chronicles of Harriet

Ki KhangaKi Khanga: The Sword and Soul Role-Playing Game is an immersive fantasy role-playing game (RPG) that allows players to fulfill real-world social needs through interaction during imaginative play. Although Ki Khanga may appear to be a game of simple make-believe, the emotions, camaraderie, and accomplishments experienced by players are real, suggesting that this game of African heroes and sheroes, warriors and witches, sages and storytellers, kings, queens and clerics has real-world implications for its players.

Ki KhangaKi Khanga is an African-inspired epic and heroic fantasy roleplaying game that uses regular playing cards to resolve conflicts and to achieve feats in a fun and dynamic way that keeps the action and drama moving.

Ki Khanga: The Sword and Soul RPG contains all the tools and guidance players need to don the roles of sword, spear and bow-wielding warriors; powerful Babalawo and Nana priests, who control the forces of nature; nangas, who cast…

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Author Interview – A.L. Butcher – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles, Tales of Erana, Shattered Mirror: A Poetry Collection & The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales: A Fire-Side Tales Collection


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My latest interview. #Fantasy #Lightbeyondthestorm

toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

Hello everyone.

The weekend starts here, so put on your party gear!

For today’s scintillating segment in the Author Interviews Series, may I present to you all the extremely talented author A.L. Butcher, as she delves deeper with us into her fantasy books, exquisite poetry and short story collections.

Come with us both on a magical journey that I am sure you will all enjoy and have a fantastic weekend, thank you for reading.

Hi there Alex, it is with the greatest of pleasure to have you here as our guest today.

Let’s begin with your Light Beyond The Storm Chronicles series. Tell us more about the genre, characters and world that this series inhabits, along with the challenges that our heroes face.

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles is a fantasy series laced with steamy romance. One reviewer labelled it sex and sorcery🙂 The land of Erana is…

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Author Interview 117 – E. H. Howard Fantasy


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Welcome to EH Howard, (Pen name of Eric Tomlinson.)  

Where are you from and where do you live now? Born and raised in Manchester in England. As possibly the oldest geek in captivity, my work has taken me to many places in Europe and the USA, but currently I split my time between Cheshire and Wales. I’d love to one day escape to a Greek Island, but at the moment life keeps me around the UK.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write about dragons, swords and magic. My heroes wander castles, caves and deserts. Therefore it would be considered ‘high fantasy’, but I hate the term. I do love to write short stories when I give myself the chance. At the end of each writing cycle, I try to enter a couple of short / flash fiction competitions to sharpen my style. My style is definitely high speed, rather than the turgid flow of most fantasy.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? In my first Amara book I created a side character, Stella. She was a ‘foil’ for the main character to play off and to add contrast. It was my editor who started to cheer every time she appeared. As the writing progressed her part in the story grew. In book two, she is still a secondary character as the mother of the hero, but still a fabulous creation. When I asked John (my editor) what was great about her, his first reaction was ‘She has great boobs and no morals.’  I’m pretty certain I’d never dwelt on her figure, but he had an unshakeable image in his head. Actually, I think she has morals, they just don’t always align to what might be expected.

I enjoyed writing her because she is a ‘force of nature’ she doesn’t have to engage in the self- examination of the main character.

Are your characters based on real people? I guess a lot of my characters are either me or my wife. Not always identifiable by the gender. I once wrote a parody of fantasy fiction where I based all of the characters on friends and acquaintances. I did wonder if anybody would identify themselves, but as it never reached first base in the publishing cycle I guess I’ll never know. The heroes were a dark haired male barbarian and a blonde, efficient female warrior. Yep, me and her again!

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? At school I hated when the teacher asked us to identify and discuss the themes in a story. Only when I started writing many years later did I see how this worked. The Amara stories scream a couple of my ‘truths’: Gender, race and orientation are no measure of a person’s worth. I have a lot of female friends and my soapbox is the increase in reverse sexism prevalent in certain circles.

My other theme is that relationships aren’t just about sex. It’s awful that most children will now view porn before they have a clue what a relationship is about.

Why is a theme important? For me, it helps in the creation and editing. Sometimes I write entire sections and then delete them because they don’t fit with the central theme of the story. I believe it helps me to stay focused on where I am taking my main characters.

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? E-Book is the most normal format for my writing. They are available in paperback. I’ve considered other formats, but at the moment, I don’t want to distract from finishing the “Shudalandia Series.” Once the final book is out, I will take a little time to promote and increase the reach through alternative formats.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? My editor, John Hudspith, is my Higher Power. If he says cut, I cut, if he says more, I write more. I get a story as far as I can and then let John take it to the next level. He has been known to throw out the whole thing. The reason for a story, for me, is to entertain, not lecture. I might have a theme, but it mustn’t clog up the story telling process. People read to escape and that has to be the primary objective. I might know where I am going, but my editor will get me to rephrase, explain more, or simply cut out, to shape the final product. The reader has to immerse and stay immersed, not be jogged out of the fantasy by a jarring sequence.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Typically it takes me two years to take a book through to finished standard. I’ve seen self-published authors who bang out a book a month; typos and inconsistencies abound, but they then have the cheek to claim as a self-published author they can’t afford to pay for editing.

I mix with a group of indie authors who take more pride in their output than any trad publishing house achieves these days.

Do you read work by self-published authors? I read anything that works for me. I rarely consider how the work has been published. I do get seriously annoyed when I pay a high price for an ebook from the trad world and it is full of errors a spell checker would have fixed. I don’t think trad publishers have caught on to ebook publishing.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Although tempting, I’d never respond to a review comment. A person buys, they read and occasionally comment. There’s one comment on the Amara books that states, they consider themselves the wrong age, wrong gender and wrong nature for the book, they don’t read the genre and they don’t like sex in books. At this point, I’d consider them unqualified to comment, but they went on to give a one star review. I wanted to rant and rave, but what the heck. All five star reviews appears silly anyway.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? If I haven’t read the author before I will scan the reviews. If I dislike a book by an author I usually like, I go back and see if I am the only one, or if others are having difficulty with it.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors? Authors are usually readers. As long as they have genuinely read the book, why shouldn’t they comment. I’m more concerned when a book is launched and immediately acquires a couple of hundred five star reviews. That smacks of collusion, or simply buying reviews.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Free on Thursday 29th September

Amara’s Legacy:

Amara’s Daughter :