2014 – A Year Filled With Words

I can’t believe it will be 2015 in a few hours, where has the year gone?! So what has 2014 brought? Words! Knowledge! Friendship!

It’s too many years for me to confess to since I left university but my thirst for knowledge hasn’t abated. As some of my followers know I love history, especially ancient history. The course https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/hadrians-wall Hadrian’s Wall – Life on the Roman Frontier was fascinating. Well presented and interesting this was a good look at life in Roman Britain, and the challenges facing both occupiers and occupied.  There may well be a story from this era…. watch this space.

Next year – January I am hoping to complete another course about Roman Architecture and archeology, and later on the Coursera course about Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I’d planned for Book III of the Chronicles to be out by year end, but for one reason or another this hasn’t occurred. It is, however, done in draft so should appear in the springtime. I’ve not been idle, this year has been a year of short stories, planning and promotion.

My books this year:

Nine Heroes: Tales of Heroic Fantasy. This includes a Tale of Erana not featured anywhere else. Coel is the reluctant hero of this tale of slavery and revenge. Look out for Coel again in 2015

Kiss and Tales – the Romantic Collection (with the Indie Collaboration).

Summer Shorts (with the Indie Collaboration) – this includes some poetry about the British Summer Time, and a short story about the Kitchen Imps.

Spectacular Tales (with the Indie Collaboration) – (free) featuring some poetry and a fairy tale retelling.

Tales from Darker Places (with the Indie Collaboration) (free) – featuring some poetry, a dark and twisted story about Jack the Ripper, and a dark tale about a lonely vampire.

Bellator – I have to say I haven’t had that much fun for ages. It was such a joy to be co-writing with Diana Wicker again.  Perhaps these characters might appear again. This charity anthology is raising money for wounded service personnel, a cause close to my heart. Books for heroes and stories about heroes – what a marvellous combination.

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends – a collection of tales set in Erana featuring errant gods, magic, myth and mayhem – Also in Audio. On the subject of Audio I started running Audio Book Narrator interviews, which were fascinating. For me a whole new world was revealed – a book read aloud is a treasure indeed, it brings forth emotions of joy from memories of parental and grandparental story telling, sitting down at school and being read to, and reading aloud to friends. Story telling is as old as the hills, and is central to our culture.

Wyrd Worlds II – this free anthology features another tale of the Kitchen Imps, plus a short fantasy tale of the god-keeper of a small bluish-green world.

Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse – new release. A short story of myth and magic set in the world of Erana.

Blog-wise there have been:

18 character interviews with everyone from William Shakespeare, a horse, a dog, several aliens, a few witches and wizards, a couple of demi gods, a vampire and even Satan himself.

42 author interviews covering fantasy, science fiction, suspense, paranormal, children’s fiction, crime and historical.

3 narrator interviews, including Chris Morris.

6 editor interviews.

5 cover designer interviews.

5 reader interviews.

2 reviewer interviews.

Several blog tours stopped by, plus there’s been advice about audio books, Thunderclap, book reviews, course reviews, giveaways, new releases and much more. It has been a busy year!

So what will 2015 bring?

The Stolen Tower – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book III will appear in the spring.

Plus there will be more short stories, including more from the Kitchen Imps, Coel and the Thiefmaster, and more Tales of Erana. Book IV of the Chronicles is in planning, and I dare say more short stories will spring from that. A murder mystery, plus perhaps some more grimdark.

There may also be an erotica collection, co-written with a friend.

Wow I am busy already and the year hasn’t even started!

There will be several guest posts discussing the influence of fantasy on our culture, plus, of course many more interviews. The first of these is scheduled Jan 2nd 2015 from Joe Bonadonna. If you are interested in participating in an interview, a guest post or blog tour stop-off please contact using the form below or on the Contact Details page.

Author Interview Number Fifty-Eight B. R. Kingsolver – Bellator and Urban Fantasy

Welcome to B.R. Kingsolver

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’ve published four books so far, all set the world of the Telepathic Clans. I would classify them as urban fantasy, but I guess they could also be considered science fiction. The first three, The Succubus Gift, Succubus Rising, and Succubus Unleashed tell the story of a young woman who discovers her telepathic powers are the result of her heritage as a member of a secret telepathic society. The fourth book, Broken Dolls, is a mystery-thriller set in the same world but with a different main character. A recurring theme through all the books is that the bad guys are slave traders—people who kidnap telepathic women and sell them into the sex trade.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I do extensive research for my books. I created an entire classification system of telepathic Gifts, such as pyrokinesis, telekinesis, teleportation, and of course the succubus Gift. Detailed descriptions of the Gifts are in an appendix at the end of each book. My telepathic society is presented as the descendants of the Sidhe, the elves or the fairy folk, drawn from Celtic legends. I have researched that mythos in depth and attempted to wed it with actual history. I also travel a lot with my characters, and I make sure the settings in Ireland, France, Ecuador, or where ever they go are as accurate as possible.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? I write strong female lead characters who are the equal of men in almost every way. But they aren’t trying to be men. They’re very feminine. My characters also own their sexuality. I feel it’s important that women understand that while they are different from men, they can be as strong and independent. My female characters revel in their femininity, make no apologies, and take no prisoners.

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…) My stories always start with a character or characters. Even a great story will be dull without characters that are more than cardboard cut outs. Next is a solid plot. People read for the story. Good world building can be important for some genres, but a romance about the boy next door doesn’t require any world building. The technical aspects readers expect. The only time readers notice technical issues is when they intrude on the story.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? My books are available from most eBook outlets and in print from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I self-edit multiple times. I also have several beta readers, two of whom are professional business or technical editors, and all my writing gets a final edit from a middle-school English teacher. I’ve spent most of my professional career writing and editing, though not writing fiction. I taught business writing at a major university and worked as a newspaper editor for five years. No one is qualified to edit their own work. You see what is supposed to be there, not what is there. If you used a word incorrectly, you’re not going to find it on edit. The major issue I see with independent authors is poor editing.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently from traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Yes, I do. There are a number of reasons for this. Poor writing and lack of editing are common. Every indie book that is published with poor structure, incorrect word usage, or ungrammatical sentences is held up as proof that the author self-published because they weren’t good enough to make it in the “real” publishing world. The large publishing houses have a vested interest in pushing that point of view. I think there are excellent writers independently publishing, and some that have no clue as to what they’re doing. Unfortunately, we all get tarnished by the same brush.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes, I do. Quite a bit, actually. I do some editing for authors, and I read independent authors on my own. I’m a member of a writer’s group, and we critique each other and help each other. I’m reading a book now that has some issues. The story is good, and the writer shows promise, but it’s obvious that the author is inexperienced and that the book could use an edit.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors? I occasionally review other authors, but only if I can give the book a very high rating. I know how badly poor reviews can hurt. They not only affect sales, but also promotions. Some promotional companies won’t even take your money unless you have a 4-star average on Amazon.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I read voraciously, both indie and trad published authors. I recently finished the Spectras Arise Trilogy by Tammy Salyer, a dystopian space opera that I enjoyed. Also the Baskerville Affair Series by Emma Jean Holloway, which is steampunk. I could go on and on. Two series I’m waiting on are the next books in Anne Bishop’s Others series and Nora Robert’s Dark Witch series.

As a writer of erotica have you encountered any prejudice?  How have you dealt with it? Do you write under a pen name? I don’t write erotica, but my succubus books have erotic scenes. Some reviewers have been offended, especially since it’s usually the women who are the seducers. The idea of a woman as a sexual predator, using men for their pleasure and discarding them, seems to really bother some women. I’ve received some very nasty reviews that only commented on that particular idea. But those same reviewers swoon over bad boy characters that are abusive. I don’t get it.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Author web links: (web, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads, etc)








B. R. Kingsolver also has a story within Bellator

Bellator cover Bellator_Border Patrol


It’s Here! Bellator – an anthology of space and magic

So after a week or so of promotion – including author interviews – Bellator is live!

12 stories of magic, space and heroes.

SARAH by Lee Pletzers
The Summoned Rise of the Phantom Knights by Kenny Emmanuel
Border Patrol by BR Kingsolver
The Twelve by Mia Darien
Ghosts by Christi Rigby
Outside the Walls by A. L. Butcher & Diana L. Wicker
My Brother’s Keeper by Raphyel M. Jordan
With Our Own Blood by Jessica Nicholls
The Connection by Crystal G. Smith
A Fly on the Wall by Chantal Boudreau
Slacker by Doug Dandridge
The Light Bless Thee and Keep Thee by Mason Darien

Here are the links!

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00MCUHYUU

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/464038
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/4910260

Release Day post on From Mia’s Desk: http://www.miadarien.com/bellator-is-live-release-day-interview/

butcher wicker quote art (2) bellator anthology - wounded warriors

Author Interview Fifty-Seven Doug Dandridge Sci-fi/Fantasy Bellator

Welcome to Doug Dandridge

Where are you from and where do you live now?  I am originally from Venice, Florida.  My father was also a Florida native, born in Panama City in 1915.  My mom was from Long Island, New York.  But I consider myself 100% Southern.  Now I live in Tallahassee, in the northern part of the state, what is still considered the South, even as the southern part really isn’t.

 Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.  I write in the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy, with some past and hopefully future forays into Alternate History.  In Science Fiction and Fantasy my most popular work is the Military subgenre.  Currently I have 21 books out, six in the Exodus: Empires at War series (Military Scifi), four in the Refuge series (Fantasy), and three in the Deep Dark Well series (also scifi).  I also have one Steampunk Fantasy, one High Fantasy, one Urban Fantasy, and five other assorted science fiction, from near future (2020) to eight centuries in the future.  I also have some fantasy and science fiction completed to the first draft novel stage, a total of four, I believe.  Not sure when I will release them, since everyone seems to be clambering for more Exodus, and most of my time is caught up in producing more work in that Universe.

Where do you find inspiration?  Everywhere.  I read a lot growing up, both science fiction, fantasy, and military history.  Also real science, and geography, etc.  I served in the US Army, and learned a lot about what it means to be a soldier, though I never had to face combat myself.  And I followed the Space Program closely while growing up, back in the day when it went from the first orbital flights up to landing on the Moon.  And of course movies and TV shows, from the day when the special effects were pretty hokey, to our modern, almost complete realism versions.  The early scifi I read actually had some science in it, unlike much of what we see today.  So I try to use some of the real Universe in my scifi, though I don’t get tied to it so much that I lose out on a good story.  But things like instant acceleration and deceleration, ships banking in vacuum?  I try to avoid that like the plague.  And dreams.  I have outlined chapters, and once, a whole book during a night of sleep.  I guess I have just accumulated so many terabytes of info from all those sources in my mind, when I see, hear or read something that sparks a memory, the ideas just start flowing and connecting.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why?  My favorite character from my work is Pandora Latham, also known as Pandi.  She starts out as a Kuiper Belt miner, helping to feed the hunger for comets to use in the terraforming of planets.  She escaped her native Alabama, and the father she hated, by undergoing space training.  She really wants to go to the stars, but mining is the best that is available in her sublight culture.  Until the day she has to jump through a wormhole forty thousand years into the future.  What I like about the character is she is a resilient fighter who never gives up.  In situations where most people would curl up in a ball on the ground in shock, she rolls with the punches, learning the whole time how to survive, and even thrive, in her environment. One of my fans called her Bloody Mary, because she is not adverse to killing something to solve a problem. But at heart, she is a good person, one who believes that all sentient life should be free, and judged for their minds, not their outer appearances.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why?  Heck, I have a lot of characters I dislike.  I put them in the story for others to dislike them as well.  While they may not be totally bad, they all possess some reprehensible traits.  What’s a story without someone to hate.

Are your characters based on real people?   I have done that in the past, but now they are just more composites of people I have known.  I worked in mental health for years, and then for Department of Children and Families in Florida.  I have met a lot of unique personalities, with a lot of unique, not always exemplary, behaviour.  I have had some people tell me one or more characters I wrote were not believable, when they were patterned from some of the people I have really met, that most don’t really see in their day to day lives.

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 world-building.  I have all kinds of books in my library, the Atlas of World History, books on Mythology, Star Atlases, just about anything you can think of to help me develop science fiction or fantasy world.  Of course now the internet is a favorite resource, with all of the sites that can give you all the information you need.  I especially like the sites that provide calculators for things I used to have to do by hand, orbits, gravity, luminosity of a certain kind of star on a planet in a certain orbit.  Calculators for the energy derived from amounts of antimatter.  NASA’s interactive map of Mars. Nuke Map.  The list is just too extensive to cover it all.  And computer programs I run on my personal system, like Orbit Xplorer and others.

I try to cover all aspects of the world I am building, and in fact overdo it.  That works out really well when I’m working on a series, as eventually most of that stuff will come in handy.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book?  I like to have a message of hope, no matter what.  The characters may find themselves in a horrible situation.  In fact, many of them might not come out the other side. But there is always a chance.  I think some message is important in writing, but not the beat the over the head every paragraph till they either get it, or start bleeding from the ears, kind.

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 World Building, Solid Plot, Great Characters, Technically Perfect.  The way I see it, the thing that really separates speculative fiction from what I term Mundane fiction is the setting.  It has to be some fantastic world, from the past or future, or today gone horribly wrong.  After that a plot that keeps the action moving.  I write action packed novels, and without plot, it’s easy to get lost.  Characters to me are mostly important so people can identify with them, and slip into the world and the plot.  Nothing is Technically Perfect, so I don’t even care about that one.  I try to make my work as good as I possibly can. But perfection is for people who will never publish.

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?  I sell ebooks and print on demand paperbacks.  I just released my first audiobook, Exodus: Empires at War: Book 1, my best seller of all time.  I’m hoping to do all the books in that series eventually, but it will depend on how well that first book sells.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?  I do self-edit, and yes, a book can suffer, though it can also suffer from an editor that doesn’t get it.  Would my books be better if they were professionally edited?  Maybe, but over a thousand reviews across all the books with a 4.45 average says I must be doing something right.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be?  I think there is still some prejudice against self-published authors.   If you are traditionally published, people tend to think you passed the standards of the gate keepers, and so of course have produced something of quality.  I find that the view is slowly changing, but it all depends on sales.  When I tell some of my professionally published writer friends that one of my books has sold almost nineteen thousand copies, with two more selling over ten, their jaws drop.  Tell the same to a professional editor and the business cards come out.  One of my friends, who has sold millions of books, seems to be very impressed by my ebook sales.  And then you have Hugh Howie, with over a million sales, and not many traditionally published authors in his range.

Do you read work by self-published authors?  Some.  I used to read a lot, but now I only read those recommended by my own fans, or well-reviewed.  I have just read so many that were so poor I couldn’t finish them, and I used to pride myself on finishing everything I started.  Then again, there were some books that were excellent.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?  I think reviews are important, though I really couldn’t tell you how much so. I have one book with 8 five star reviews in the US, and almost that many in the UK, which has only sold about three hundred copies.  By the ‘that reviews are very important’ rule, it should be selling thousands by now.  As far as commenting, I refrain from getting involved in that battle.  The only time I will reply is when someone says something about my science that is just wrong.  Then I’ll comment, with a link to the science.  One time it was a comment about relativity and mass, another about nukes.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot?  An in-depth look at a world seen through your own imagination. Movies and games show you what everything looks like, and the actions of the characters, without providing an in-depth look inside.   A book allows one to see things through their own interpretation.  They make you think.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?  Be persistent and don’t give up.  When you finish one project, start on another, without delay.  And write what you love, not what you think is going to be the next big thing, because it probably won’t be.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst?  Go to Cons and to the author tracks, and workshop.  You meet people who have already made it, and you never know what will come of that.  I have met some people in the last year who are really helping me out in my career.  The worst. Watch out for the lure of advertising.  I spent $500 last year to advertise a vampire book on a site and saw no increase in sales.  Advertising might look good, but often amounts to no gain.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?  I recently read the first three books of Larry Correa’s Monster Hunter International series and really enjoyed them.  I can see how he became a best seller.  Am currently reading Trial By Fire by Chuck Gannon, also a great book.  After that I will track down the next R A Salvatore or Jim Butcher book and get into them.

What are your views on authors offering free books?  It worked for me, so I’m all for it.  As of this interview, I have sold 92,000 books, and given away 16,000.  A giveaway of The Deep Dark Well, over 4,000 books, kick-started the Exodus series.

Do you have a favourite movie?  Too many to count.  I love Avatar and the Star Wars/Star Trek films.  Not because of plot or character, but because of the visuals.  For a boy that wanted to grow up to visit other worlds and see other forms of life, they are as close as I’m ever going to get.

Do you have any pets?  Four cats.  Bobbie, Angelina, Espresso and Molly.  All different, all wonderful, and all little pains in the butt at times.

Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing?  Working for Florida DCF had to be the worst job among many bad ones.  Too many contradictory standards, too many politically motivated changes that really helped no one.  It taught me I better keep producing as a writer, since I do not want to return to that life.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?  I love women’s college sports.  In Tallahassee we have a lot of college sports.  Our football team won the Division I National Championship, which was great.  Our women’s Soccer Team lost the National Championship last year in overtime, which disappointed me more than the men winning theirs excited me.  I go to every soccer match I can attend.  And that made the World Cup really fun this summer, because I actually knew what was going on.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Blog:  http://dougdandridge.com

Website: http://dougdandridge.net

Twitter: @BrotherofCats

Amazon Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Doug-Dandridge/e/B006S69CTU

Exodus: Empires at War: Book 1:  http://www.amazon.com/Exodus-Empires-Book-Doug-Dandridge-ebook/dp/B009TZSBJO

The Deep Dark Well:  http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Dark-Well-Doug-Dandridge-ebook/dp/B006S3GOKS

Refuge: The Arrival: book 1: http://www.amazon.com/Refuge-Arrival-Book-Doug-Dandridge-ebook/dp/B00830A0QI

Afterlife:  http://www.amazon.com/Afterlife-Doug-Dandridge-ebook/dp/B00909YF94


Synopsis of Bellator.

Private Benito Benny Suarez was a slacker, the kind of Marine that did as little as possible, whatever he could get by with.  The Lodz was the perfect ship for such as he, an old battle cruiser delegated to diplomatic transport duty.  On the run from the Empire to Margrav, she was out of the way, in what was considered a safe sector.  Until the Ca’cadasan battleship found her.  The huge aliens boarded, and Benny found himself in combat.  He woke in agony, floating in zero g, his legs gone, only his battle armor keeping him alive.  His course was clear.  Hide, get off the ship, survive at all costs.  Until he discovered that the youngest passenger aboard the ship, the daughter of the Ambassador, was still alive, and in the hands of the Cacas.  Then the decision was no longer so easy, not if he wanted to live with himself.  Be what he had always been?  Or be the hero, and risk his life to save that of a child.

Character Interview Twenty-Four Diana – Bellator Fantasy

As part of the Bellator Promotion I am pleased to welcome character Diana to my blog.

Name (s): Diana.  I never give my family’s name to those who don’t know it already.

Age: I am a woman, but I do not know my exact age.  I left my family to train with my master when I was around 18, but the years have blended some since then due to the nature of my training.

Please tell us a little about yourself.   I live in the woods, I love the trees and mountains and the wind.  I love my knife.  It is a part of me.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less.  Tall, my hair matches the tree branches, fair skinned.

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it?  If you carry evil in your heart, I will seek you out.  I will make you disappear, before you realise I am there.  That is my ‘moral code.’

Would you kill for those you love? Yes.

Would you die for those you love? Of course.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?  My strengths involve the ability to kill when necessary.  I’m fast, and a rather good huntress.  My weakness….*looks down at the ground* is that I cannot bear to be around people, even those I love for a particularly long time.  I depend upon solitude and secrecy.  The best way I can show love to those I care for is to destroy any evil that threatens them.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? One of my brothers…*heavy silence*….and my sister.  We are connected by blood, and they always showed me love, accepted me for what I am.  Not everyone is so lucky with their blood relations.  Sometimes those ties turn out to mean little.

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions?  I do like innocent animals, I respect all creatures.  I rely on animals in the wild for some of my nourishment.  I do not have any animal companions.
Do you have a family? Tell us about them. *silent but visible sigh* Yes.  I mentioned before.  I have parents.  My father is an honorable man.  My mother is a good woman who, did the best she could for all of us.  I have a beautiful, loving little sister and a very honorable, strong brother – only one year apart from me in age.  I…have another sibling.  But for many reasons, I do not wish to discuss him now.  *jaw clenches, eyes glaze and she strokes the hilt of her knife*

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you?  Many things.  But I suppose my siblings inspired in me the desire to protect.  My father and brother let me hunt with them. Because of my speed, and sense of smell, I was allowed to go ahead.  I made sure there were never any large predators that would threaten them.  They are both big, capable males but I will look out for them where they cannot look out for themselves.   And my loving sister with her warm spirit, *eyes fill up as she looks away to regain composure* how could I not desire a life entirely devoted to ensuring her safety?

Do you have any phobias?  No.  There are things I find unpleasant, and I do not wish for pain.  But I will let nothing stand in my way of doing what I must.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.  *Barely there smirk* If I sensed you had invited unholy ones to reside within you?  I would destroy your very soul with my bare hands.

Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.   My world is…beautiful.  I know of small villages like the one I grew up in, where we live by farming and  some hunting.  The villages are in the flat land between the mountains and the forest. There have always been warriors, for protection, though…until lately there hasn’t been quite as great of a need for their services. I love the woods of course, that is where I live – for protection.  But I do love standing alone in the vast open tall grass field that exists between the mountain, forest, and the village.  It makes me feel free and connected to all things.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour.   I suppose you could say we believe in good and evil, and quite simply – we embrace one or the other. There is a higher, benevolent Power, but that gigantic entity does not step in and sort every little problem.  There is a Netherworld King and he has many servants.  I suppose, for me…ultimately passion is power.  How passionate you are determines how far you would go to be good…or evil.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?  Of course, I travel mainly in the woods and the outskirts that lead to other villages.  I scour the moutain sides.  I will go to any little nooks and crannies where evil thinks it can hide.

Name and describe a food from your world.  *smiles* I do love my mother’s chicken roasted with butter.  *then smile fades*. But where I am, I find wild birds suitable for roasting.  The meat is juicy and pleasant enough.

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world?  It does have magic.  My world is…or was…very innocent.  Most know that magic exists, but to see those who can wield aspects of it…it does not always make for a contented community.  *puts her head down again* it is part of the reason I had to leave.  Not all people can do what I can, and I did not wish to call any unnecessary attention to my family.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.)  Politics?  I suppose this ‘Meritocracy’ is the closest to what we have.  In the villages, those who are best at leading, at dealing with people, those who possess intelligence, and sometimes retired great warriors, like my father, those are the ones who have a stronger voice in the communities.   At the moment…’goodness’ is valued….

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another?  Races?  Different family histories you mean?  Different shades of flesh?  Yes, there are.  But I don’t see why that would make people not get on…*pauses for a longer period of time*.  What makes us, ‘not get on’ in our world involves those who are willing to conjure entities in order to gain power.  *clenches jaw and fists again*…someone who holds the same blood that runs through your veins can ‘not get on’…*swallows and looks up* yet I suppose a stranger could share warmth from their own heart.

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people.  When I was a child, my father, he told me about a group of ‘warrior witches’ who lived in the forest.  They never stayed together, never in the same place.  But they were aware of all forms of existence within their world.  They knew darkness so well, what it tasted like, smelled like and so forth that they recognised it and could overpower even the strongest of entities.   Because, they had been so close to evil…there was no way for it to hide from them.  They didn’t fear it.   My master…Master Aaron.  Frederick, he is my brother *sublte but proud smile*.  He told me how Master Aaron lost part of his arm, and came to walk with a limp by taking his sword against the Netherworld King without fear.  No one knows how old Master Aaron is,  but Frederick says that he fears nothing, he desires no power or glory despite constant temptation to rule all. He lived in seclusion…until he came to train me.  It was an honour to be chosen by him.

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? Technology?  *confused look*  We have…tools and make good use of water.  My mother’s stove was wonderful at cooking chicken.   But for me, I could not be without my knife.

Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some.   *stills completely* We have demons, different levels of mischevious entities.  I’ve mentioned the Netherworld King.

Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention?
 At the moment, the most important ‘discovery’ is that someone is conjuring spirits, seeking the one from below to enter the souls and hearts of others. There is a sorcerer who desires great power.  I am hunting everywhere for evidence of him.  

Name three persons of influence/renown within your society and tell why they are influential (Could be someone like Christ/Mandela/Queen Elizabeth or a renowned figure from a non-human/fantasy world.) 
Master Aaron.  He is very special because even though it is known he has, ‘abilities’ he is allowed to live in peace.  He was a great, fearless warrior who would stand up against the most loathesome of enemies simply to protect the goodness in our world.  Few warriors can lay claim to his level of bravery and skill.

My father:  He is a humble man, but a great one and he was a great warrior in his time.  He is very large, rather like a bear.  He is terrifying, but full of warmth and love. *smiling again* I’m not sure who Frederick will be more like – Master Aaron or my father.  But my father is respected for his quiet wisdom in our village.  But he is devoted to my mother, to his children.  He has fit into whatever roles necessary to benefit his family, to be a good part of his community.  I’ve never seen any decent person look at him with anything but respect.  I will always honor him by protecting what he loves in the best way I can.

The warrior witches:  I do not know their names, but I know they are there.   They are the unknown,silent force that the evil ones fear.   To me, they are influential and renowned.  Though I never see them, it is the closest thing to constant companionship I know.  Because I know…I know I am one of them.


Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links.  Diana appears in a short story entitled ‘With Our Own Blood’ in the Bellator anthology.

Author name Jessica Nicholls

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.


facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Nicholls/1414557452090470

twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaNicholl1


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Author Interview Number Fifty-Six – Diana Wicker – revisited

I’d like to welcome back author: Diana L. Wicker

Please recap briefly about your books:

The Dreamweaver’s Journey: The Age of Awakenings – Book 1

The first Dreamweaver in three hundred years has come of age. Awakened in the night after a vision, she seeks out the Sacred Fire in the Temple. A voice calls out from the flames, “Dreamweaver, you are summoned.” An image appears of an ancient path through the Mist. The Guardians have summoned her on a quest that will take her to the four Realms of Light within Feyron in search of answers and aid.

The Guardian Child’s Return: The Age of Awakenings – Book 2

The Guardian, Lord Grypos, calls for a journey, offering vision of red desert sands, a land of grey beyond, and a cavern of twilight behind an obsidian wall. “Arwyn and Shyamal are to go there for me to seek out that which was once mine.” A seemingly simple task becomes an adventure with life threatening consequences as they travel far from home to a realm that few even knew could be reached.

What has changed since you last visited? Tell us your news!


Let me see.  When we last chatted Book 2 was out for edit.  It has since been released and is available in both ebook and paperback.  I now have a third book out for edit, Legacy of Mist and Shadow.

Outside of my Feyron tales, I had the distinct privilege of co-writing a story with my best friend, Alex Butcher, to place in the Bellator anthology.  This anthology really means a lot to me.  My father was a PTSD psychiatrist for the VA, and this is a charity anthology donating proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Program.

Looking back what do you wish you’d known when you started writing?


I’d say – save everything.  No matter how bad a rough draft or story spark seems, put it in a file and save it.  You never know when that sow’s ear might become a silk purse or the inspiration for something new.  And, while you’re saving everything, get yourself a good backup program.  Everything “can” be lost, even cloud storage and online word processing services.  Always keep a backup somewhere.

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


The last book I read was a beta run for the next book in Mia Darien’s series, Adelheid.  I did enjoy it very much; and, as always, I’m excitedly awaiting the next installment.  I love her series.

Do you read work by self-published authors?


I do enjoy reading works by indie and self published authors.  I have several authors that I adore and wait impatiently for their next books to appear; Alexandra Butcher, Mia Darien, Ian Dudley, and Willa Jemhart.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author?

I think I’m going to have to name two, Janet Morris and Michael Jecks.

When buying a book do you read the reviews?


That depends.  If a book is recommended to me by friends or family, I tend not to read the reviews.  If I have found a book through a blog, then likely I’ve just read the review that blogger posted.  If it is a book recommended for my children than I am unfamiliar with, I always read the reviews before purchase.

How important are reviews?

That is an interesting question.  From my perspective as a reader, a well written review can help me decide if a book is the sort of tale I will enjoy (or my children will enjoy) before reading it.

I have read that there are behind the scenes algorithms on some websites that track reviews, likes, shares, and other customer interaction which then determines how a book is shared in suggestion lists.  So, it seems like, for some online book sellers, it is very important to collect reviews and other forms of interaction.

What are your views on authors reviewing other authors?


Authors are people, too.  They read books, watch movies, enjoy television, look at artwork, and have opinions on such things. Authors should be allowed the opportunity to express themselves as individuals, just as any other reader of a book can offer their insight and opinion.

What are your views on authors offering free books?


I have to say, I enjoy offering free ebooks on occasion.  It makes me feel good to share my work; and, if someone likes it, they may tell their friends or even possibly buy future stories.

What are your plans for the future? When will we see your next book?  Tell us about it.


I hope to have my next book out for the holiday season.  I do not have the back cover teaser or marketing summary prepared yet, but let me see if I can pull together a little something for this interview.

The Age of Awakenings – Book 3 picks up where Book 2 left off.  For the first time the adventurers find themselves separated from one another, lost on a World Beyond consumed by mist and shadow.  Many of the previous characters return, and new characters are introduced in this first adventure outside of the Realm of Feyron.

Links etc.:


social media:

Author Interview – Bellator – Chantel Boudreau – Sci-fi, Spec-fic, Fantasy

After my promotional about Bellator, the sci-fi and fantasy charity anthology, I’m delighted to welcome a selection of authors and characters involved with the book.


Today I welcome Chantal Boudreau, who chats about her story and tells us about herself.

Bellator story: “A Fly on the Wall” – Carlisle of Feltrey is a stellar mercenary apprentice of the Redsun Mercenary Guild who has come to the end of her term and must face Minerva, the guildmistress, for her final assessment.  But the meeting does not go quite as expected and the results are going to alter the course of Carlisle’s future.

Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born in Toronto but my parents moved to Nova Scotia before I turned two, so I don’t remember living there.  I grew up in an Acadian fishing village called Wedgeport and moved to Halifax for university.  I now live in Sambro, a rural area on the outskirts of the city.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write a variety of speculative fiction.  “Palliative,” my first published short story was zombie horror (I’ve published many more since), Fervor, my first published novel (now a series) was dystopian.  I also write a fair amount of fantasy, including my Masters and Renegades series, and I love to experiment with cross-genre tales.  I’ve completed 21 novels to date, 10 of them published, and dozens of short stories

Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere and in everything.  There’s a little something in all my stories rooted in life experience.  If I find something interesting or intriguing, it will work itself into my writing.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? My favourite character would be Dee Aaronsod, introduced in Casualties of War, Book #2 of Masters and Renegades (I expand on her character in later yet-to-be-published books in the series.)  I relate to her on some levels and admire her on others.  She started off based on a friend of mine but gradually grew to incorporate a part of me and while she stays strong in the face of her struggles, she still has her flaws and her vulnerabilities.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? I have several I dislike, mostly villains.  I’d have to say the heroic character I like least is my elfin mage, Finch.  She often acts on her insecurities, is more interested in status than I like and does something cowardly in Casualties of War that almost spelled the end of the people she was supposed to be helping.  However, she followed that act by doing something quite brave, in a way redeeming herself, and fortunately for her, my other characters are more forgiving than I would be.  Dee, however, is the least forgiving and that carries over into later books.

Are your characters based on real people? Many of them are, and those who aren’t often display a few traits from different people I’ve known.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Guilty as charged, although those books have yet to be published.  It’s rather cathartic, a way of dealing with personal demons without actually hurting anybody.

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 researching to add an extra element of realism to my speculative fiction, plus I get to learn new things along the way.  I don’t have one favourite resource.  The Internet is a wonderful tool that lends access to a myriad of resources.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Not one message, no.  I have a few that are recurring, but I don’t think I should limit what a book has to say in anyway.  I do like to offer the idea of substance over style, that strength of character in the face of hardship is important and that friends and family should be a priority.  I also believe in challenging the status quo and doing what is right versus what is popular.  I think you’ll find most of these concepts in the majority of my stories.

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 are the most important to me as a reader, so I have to value them most as a writer.  Trying to rank the other three is a little fuzzy, solid plot is definitely something I look for but I can overlook a few weaknesses for the sake of an entertaining story and a story isn’t likely to be all that entertaining without the flavour great world-building brings, but I’m okay if it’s a little sparse.  I don’t demand technical perfection but if there are too many issues it distracts from the story.  It’s sort of like making a soup.  Characters are your main ingredients, plot is the soup base, world-building is your seasoning and the technical is cooking technique.  Who wants a soup lacking in main ingredients, with a weak base, devoid of seasoning or burnt beyond being edible?  They all have their place.

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?  So far, e-books and print (one novelette is only available as an e-book).  I wanted to expand into audio, but there are logistic problems because I reside in Canada and not the US or UK. I’m hoping that will change in future.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do self-edit, but I also have others who lend a helping hand who have the educational credentials to serve as an editor, and the small press I work with has their own editorial staff.  I think you always need a second set of eyes.  There are some problem areas in our own work we writers are just blind to.  I think some books suffer more as a result of this than others, depending on the strengths of the writer.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I do, and I think it’s unfair, especially when some self-published writers are going to the expense of paying for professional editing, formatting and covers.  Granted, there aren’t the same “gatekeepers” there are in traditional, but they don’t guarantee quality.  Also, there are plenty of great books with niche-appeal turned away by traditional publishers because they won’t draw in a big enough market.  Without indie/self-publishing, these books would be lost.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes, several of my favourite writers are self–published (or started out that way.)  I try to champion them when I can because they don’t deserve the stigma associated with being self-published.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? I don’t think authors should comment on reviews even if someone is being unfair because it opens up a whole can of negative worms.  I’m not talking about reasonably written negative reviews, everyone should be free to express their opinion, positive or negative, but rather trollish ones where the reviewer hasn’t actually read the book or attacks the writer personally.  I believe in the adage “Don’t feed the trolls” because all these folks are doing is trying to get a rise out of the author or the author’s supporters.  Reviews can be important because it increases exposure and some readers do base their purchases on the reviews they read.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? No, but I’m a word of mouth buyer.  I tend to buy based on recommendations from trusted friends who know me.  Taste varies.

What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? I have a policy that I only review books if I want to recommend them.  While I think people should be able to leave a negative review of a book, there are complications when the reviewer is another author.  For one, it can be considered bad form and can dissuade fans of the author receiving the bad review from considering your books.  Secondly, if the author is in the same genre that you write in (and most authors read books in the genre they write in) it can be viewed as an attack from a competitor – not a good idea from my perspective.  Also, it can incite trollish reviews for your own books as a “counterattack.”

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? There’s a level of personal investment, because of the added component of imagination on the part of the reader, in a book compared to a movie or video game.  With a really good book, the characters become a part of you and never really leave you.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?  I have four favourite traditional authors: for modern fantasy, my favourite is Theodore Sturgeon, for horror/dark fantasy it’s Tanith Lee, for science fiction I prefer Robert J. Sawyer and for fantasy and crossed genre I love Anne McCaffrey.

Do you have any pets? A 9 year old beagle named, Sparky, a fluffy cat named Charleston and a flock of chickens.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? My Snowy Barrens Trilogy began as the plot for a comic book (that didn’t get past page 2,) became the foundation for a LRPG session (I have pictures…) and finally ended up three generations worth of novels within a framework format.

Bio: Chantal Boudreau is an accountant by day and an author/illustrator during evenings and weekends, who lives by the ocean in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two children. In addition to being a CMA-MBA, she has a BA with a major in English from Dalhousie University. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and has had several of her stories published in a variety of horror anthologies, online journals and magazines.  Fervor, her debut novel, a dystopian science fantasy tale, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications, followed by its sequels, Elevation, Transcendence and Providence.  Magic  University, the first in her fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, made its appearance in September 2011 followed by  Casualties of War in 2012 and Prisoners of Fate, in 2013.  Find out more at: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com


Website: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Chantal-Boudreau-WriterIllustrator/107318919341178

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Chantal-Boudreau/e/B004O1FP2E/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/chantellyb13


Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4446228.Chantal_Boudreau

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Coming Soon! Bellator – a Fantasy and Sci-fi Anthology

12 tales of sci-fi and fantasy – an anthology of warriors of space and magic. Coming August 4th!

To be published as paperback and e-book. Links will be posted when it goes live but should be available on all the main e-book sites.

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Some of you may have seen me promoting this on Facebook – but for those who haven’t I am delighted to announce the forthcoming release of Bellator.   I was very pleased to work with my friend Diana L. Wicker, author of the Tales from Feyron YA fantasy series. Our story – Outside the Walls is a tale of war, love and determination; it is a tale of magic, of wisdom and of inner strength.  It was originally written for something else but as we decided not to use it for that it now fits very well into this anthology. It was such fun co-writing again, and hopefully this partnership will lead to further joint works.  Mia Darien, who is organising this, has done a splendid job, and I’d like to thank her for all the hard work and support. Please see the links below to find out more about her.

All proceeds from this will be donated to Wounded Warrior Project  – a charity supporting those wounded in war. This is something close to my heart, as my father is a wounded ex-serviceman, having being half blinded in conflict. He now lives in an old soldiers’ home in Kent. In a world of strife – especially at the moment, and 100 years after the outbreak of the War to End All Wars I am very happy to support this worthy cause. I’ve posted links below, both to WWP and to the British equivalents – the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.  I am sure there are other such charities in many other countries but I cannot list them all.

So what can readers expect? What are the stories and who are the authors?

01. “SARAH” by Lee Pletzers
02. “The Summoned Rise of the Phantom Knights” by Kenny Emmanuel
03. “Border Patrol” by BR Kingsolver
04. “The Twelve” by Mia Darien
05. “Ghosts” by Christi Rigby
06. “Outside the Walls” by A. L. Butcher & Diana L. Wicker
07. “My Brother’s Keeper” by Raphyel M. Jordan
08. “With Our Own Blood” by Jessica Nicholls
09. “The Connection” by Crystal G. Smith
10. “A Fly on the Wall” by Chantal Boudreau
11. “Slacker” by Doug Dandridge
12. “The Light Bless Thee and Keep Thee” by Mason Darien

About the Author: Lee Pletzers is a displaced New Zealand Speculative Fiction writer living in Japan with five novels, two novellas and over seventy short stories sold. Since 2001 he has made an impact on the genre world and thrives within its limitless boundaries. He still sends his books out to independent publishers, looking for that elusive million dollar cheque.
Connect with the Author:

About the Author: Kenny Emmanuel writes science fiction and fantasy in a style that immerses readers into unique worlds. Then he brings his fictional characters to life with the help of cosplayers. With a background in computer engineering, Kenny enjoys incorporating technology into his vision of post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and medieval fantasy worlds.

About the Author: BR Kingsolver is the author of the Telepathic Clans series (The Succubus Gift, Succubus Unleashed, and Succubus Rising) and Broken Dolls, a paranormal thriller. I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, among writers, artists and weird Hispanic and Native American myths and folklore. I’ve lived all over the U.S. and earned a living doing everything from making silver and turquoise jewelry, to construction to computers. I currently live in Baltimore and Albuquerque.
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About the Author: Mia Darien is an indie author of speculative fiction, and a New England Yankee transplanted into Alabama clay. No matter her geography, she continues to stubbornly and rebelliously live the life of her choosing along with her family and pets. She doesn’t miss the snow.
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About the Author: Christi lives in Colorado with her husband, two boys and pets. She is a self proclaimed geek girl and enjoys gaming, online and off, kayaking and writing in her spare time.

About the Author: A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genre.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys.  Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty.’
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About the Author: Diana lives in the balmy climate of the US south with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and a cantakerous rabbit.  She enjoys reading, sewing (clothing, costuming, and experimental toy making), and RPG games. (She grew up with the old school paper/pencil style of gaming, but has transitioned happily to the highly interactive world of video games.)  Her usual writing venue is YA Fantasy centered around her universe called Feyron, the realm of magic.
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About the Author: Jordan spent much of his children writing “graphic novels,”roughly composed of ten to twenty panels of illustrations with dialogue. Conflicts in his adventures became more complex, as did his character development, in due time. He made his first attempts at writing full-length novels without the aid of pictures by the time he was i high school, though he never did finish anything beyond the first chapter.

Then came college, what he considered a personal Age of Renaissance. Jordan learned the basic foundations to creative writing during his first year. When he was 19, he started to write a story about a young alien girl who was drafted into a galactic war. However, unlike my previous attempts at writing a novel, Jordan found himself returning to the keyboard, longing to get to the next scene, and the next, and before he knew it, two years had passed, and a finished first draft to a manuscript was before him. Fast forward three years later, that manuscript became “Prossia,” his first published novel. The rest, as they say, is history…
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About the Author: Jessica Nicholls is originally from Northern Illinois.  She lived in the Northwest of England for just over ten years, where she studied and had her children.  Currently she lives in the Middle East with her husband and two school age children.  Running, reading and watching films are her favorite hobbies.  Writing the type of stories she would enjoy reading (anything dark, weird, romantic…or a combination of all three!) is a passion.
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About the Author: Crystal G. Smith was born in Doniphan, Missouri.  Although she no longer lives there, she continues to call Doniphan her home.  She is married and has two beautiful children and two dogs who continue to keep her motivated daily.

She currently works as a nurse and loves working in geriatrics.  When she isn’t working, hanging out with her family, or reading, you can find her in front of her computer coming up with or finishing another exciting and more than likely sexy story. She has published roughly 14 novels, novellas or short stories since February 2013.
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About the Author: Chantal Boudreau is an accountant by day and an author/illustrator during evenings and weekends, who lives by the ocean in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two children. In addition to being a CMA-MBA, she has a BA with a major in English from Dalhousie University. An affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and has had several of her stories published in a variety of horror anthologies, online journals and magazines.  Fervor, her debut novel, a dystopian science fantasy tale, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications, followed by its sequels, Elevation, Transcendence and Providence.  Magic University, the first in her fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, made its appearance in September 2011 followed by Casualties of War in 2012 and Prisoners of Fate, in 2013.
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About the Author: Doug Dandridge has been making up stories since he was in grade school, but didn’t get into serious writing until 1996. Doug is a veteran of the US Army and the National Guard, and has always had a keen interest in military history.  He has degrees from Florida State University (psychology( and the University of Alabama (MA, clinical psychology).  He currently has twenty novels published on Amazon, and in less than two years has sold 90,000 books.  His Exodus: Empires at War series, from which Universe his story slacker is drawn, has made the military science fiction and space opera bestseller lists at Amazon, books 3-5 of the series reaching number one in the UK, and top ten status in the US.  Book 6 was launched in April of this year and was also highly ranked and reviewed.
Connect with the Author:

About the Author: Much of the time, Mason Darien isn’t sure if he’s Mia Darien’s husband or psychiatric nurse. The rest of the time, he’s stuck constructing worlds out of Legos with the kid or trying to decide whether the world of sci-fi or fantasy is more fun to play in.

The charity:

Wounded Warrior Project was founded in 2003 in Roanoke, VA, by a group of veterans and soldiers who wanted to find a way to help the injured men and women of this generation’s armed forces. Seeing a powerful need to help those soldiers who have been injured physically and/or mentally during their time of service; to “foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.”
For more information, you can visit their website: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

(Below taken from site.)
To honor and empower Wounded Warriors.

To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.

To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.
To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

British equivalent: http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/ and http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/how-to-give/