Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Carmilla Voiez #Fantasy #Horror

Author name: Carmilla Voiez

I got carried away and answered 13, but some answers are quite short.

Please tell us about your publications/work.

Starblood was my debut novel, a violent and erotic dark fantasy which was released first in 2011. Due to a recent publisher folding, some of my work (including the Starblood series) is currently out of print. That series and a new supernatural thriller novel set in a women’s prison have been submitted to publishers for consideration. A co-written Southern Gothic Horror entitled Our Fearful Roots is currently available both in paperback and digital formats. My short story collection Broken Mirror and Other Morbid Tales, and an urban fantasy The Ballerina and the Revolutionary can be downloaded for free from my website (epub) version or can be purchased on Kindle or as paperbacks. Work continues on the third graphic novel in the Starblood series, but the first two, Starblood and Psychonaut, are available in hardcover, paperback or digitally. I will be featured in a new anthology of LGBTQIA+ horror, and my short stories can be found in a number of horror anthologies including Zombie Punks Fuck Off, Elements of Horror: Water, Slice Girls, and D is for Demons.

Do you think the written word (or art) bring power and freedom?

I think they encourage us to find our own power and freedom, partly by knowing others share the same struggles. Horror is amazing because it teaches us how to overcome adversity.  

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey?

I’ve learned a lot over the years. To be honest, I am glad I learned it gradually or I might have felt that I could not succeed in an industry where 50% of trade paperbacks only ever sell twelve copies. I will share two pieces of advice: own your words and do not back track when others tell you that you are wrong. This means ensuring that you do not write merely to shock but have a truth you want to share with the reader, something rich that they can take away after they finish the book. It also means avoiding stereotypes, especially of groups whose identity you do not share.  Sensitivity readers are a god send if you write outside your own experience. Understand that if readers do not like your work and write a bad review for your book that’s their right and getting defensive and attacking reviewers is a terrible look and the fastest route to damaging your career, perhaps irrevocably. My second piece of advice is that it’s impossible to spot all the errors in your own work. If you cannot afford an editor, swap with someone who will pick your book apart while you return the favour. As a reader, it is incredibly frustrating to pay for a book that is riddled with errors.

What’s your greatest networking tip?

Be authentic; celebrate the success of others, and cross-promote.

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at?

I research everything I can, including using Google Maps to walk through images of streets where my story is set. I know all the stages of decomposition and the difference between Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder and the symptoms of each. I read religious and magical texts alongside medical ones. I’ve even studied quantum physics for a short story. Writing, like reading, can open up the world for you if you let it.

How influential is storytelling to our culture?

I would argue that any culture is entirely built from the stories we tell ourselves and each other. It is the most powerful thing we have.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing?

Only you can tell your story. It doesn’t matter if similar stories already exist; it is your voice and your experience that makes your story unique.

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why?

I would definitely be a mischief making demon. I enjoy challenging assumptions.

Which authors have influenced you the most?

Clive Barker, Thomas Ligotti, and Toni Morrison.

What is your writing space like?

An armchair and laptop with a cushion to support my spine. I’m blessed with hyperfocus, so I don’t need much.

What’s your next writing adventure?

I am working through Venus Virus for re-release then I plan to concentrate on short stories for a couple of years. In my experience, submitting stories to magazines and anthologies provides a more robust financial return than spending years writing a novel.

What are your views on authors offering free books? Do you believe, as some do, that it demeans an author and his or her work?

There are so many authors to choose from, and once we find an author we love, we tend to consume everything they write. I think that offering one or two free books makes financial sense, but I also believe it’s a decision each author should make for themselves.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews?

I think it’s a terrible idea personally, especially when the author feels defensive.

How do you deal with bad reviews?

I move on. Not everyone will like what I write, but some readers love it, and those are the ones I write for.

Links to all my books can be found on my website at www.carmillavoiez.com

Bio

Carmilla Voiez is a British horror writer living in Scotland. Her influences include Graham Masterton, Thomas Ligotti, and Clive Barker. She is pansexual and passionate about intersectional feminism and human rights. Carmilla has a First-Class Bachelors in Creative Writing and Linguistics. Her previous work includes stories in horror anthologies published by Clash Books and Mocha Memoirs, a series of dark fantasy novels (currently out of print), a co-authored Southern Gothic Horror novel, and self-published graphic novels. Graham Masterton described the second book in her Starblood series as a “compelling story in a hypnotic, distinctive voice that brings her eerie world vividly to life”. Carmilla is also a freelance editor and English tutor who enjoys making language sing.

Author Interview Stand Together Anthology – Victoria Zigler

Author name:

Victoria Zigler.

How did you become involved with this project?

I saw a post about it on Facebook, and thought it was an excellent idea, and a great way to potentially help those suffering in the Ukraine.  I wanted to help, but I can’t – and would prefer not to – fight, and I’m not in a position to take in refugees, but I can write.  It’s not much, but at least it was something I could do to try and help.

Tell us a little about your work in this book?

I wasn’t sure at first what I would write for this anthology.  I mean, I write for children for the most part.  But I got to thinking about how the young children must be feeling in all of this.  So I wrote a poem about it.

Please tell us about your other publications/work.

I’m a poet and children’s author.  To date I’ve published 11 poetry collections and 48 children’s stories.  I’ve also now contributed to three anthologies, counting this one.

My stories are mostly animal stories, fairy tales, and fantasy stories, but I have dabbled in a couple of other genres too, including writing a series of five books about a little boy named Toby’s adjustments to sight loss, which are based on my own experiences with adjusting after losing the last of my own sight.

Do you think the written word (or art) bring power and freedom?

Absolutely! Words have power.  There’s no doubt about that.  And the right words at the right moment can make a huge difference in producing a positive outcome in any situation.  Unfortunately, the wrong words at the wrong moment can just as easily shift things in the other direction.

If you could have dinner with any literary character or author who would you choose, and what would you eat.

There are too many to pick from for either catagory, so I can’t decide.  And what I’d eat would depend where we went and what vegan-friendly options they had on the menu that I liked the sound of.

How influential is storytelling/poetry to our culture?

Words in any form are very influential.  Stories and poems have shaped mankind’s history, and will shape our future too.

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why?

Either a gryphon, because I love lions and like the idea of being able to fly, or a mermaid, because then I could live under the sea.  Which I like the sound of most differs depending on my mood.

Which authors/books have influenced you the most?

Everything I’ve ever read has influenced me in sme shape or form, whether I’m aware of it or not.  As for those I know definitely have – well, there are too many to name, so I’ll just stick with my original answer of all of the ones I’ve read.

What’s your next writing adventure?

Whichever of the many works in progress I have I end up finishing first.  Beyond that, I can’t really tell you at this point.  Even if progress is slow, I’m always working on something, so there’s bound to be something in the not-too-distant future.  Half the time even I’m not sure, so you’ll have to just watch my blog and social media to find out what I end up publishing next.

What is your greatest success?

Well, counting the anthologies I’ve contributed to I’ve got more than 60 titles to my name (I believe it currently stands at 62).  I’d say that counts as a pretty great success.

What’s your favourite quote, who said it and why?

“In a universe so full of wonders, how is it that humans have created boredom?”

It’s a quote from Terry Pratchett’s “Hogfather” which was said by the character of Death.  And I love the quote because it’s an excellent reminder of all the wonderful things there are to enjoy and appreciate in the world.

Tell us a silly fact about yourself.

Even though my favourite colour has always been purple, and my favourite scent is lavender, my favourite flower isn’t a purple one.  My favourite flower is a yellow rose.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

I’m not entirely sure I did completely grow up yet.  And maybe I won’t even bother, since it seems pretty dull.  But when I was little I wanted to be a vet with a large family who wrote and published books in her spare time.  Where exactly I was supposed to get all this spare time with being a vet and having a large family I’m not entirely certain, but there you go.  The chance for the vet and large family to happen has passed, and they’re no longer options.  But I got to be an author anyhow, and one out of three isn’t bad.

*~*

Victoria Zigler is a blind vegan poet and children’s author.  Born and raised in the shadow of the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, she moved away from Wales three times: once to spend six months living in Alberta, Canada, the other times to spend a few years living near Hastings on the South-East coast of England, UK, each time returning to Wales.  Now she lives in Wales again, along with a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie, a Cavapoo named Logan, a Hermann’s Tortoise named Artemis, and her Canadian husband, Kelly.

Despite spending far too much time in hospital, and eventually losing her sight to Congenital Glaucoma, Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, with no plans to stop any time soon.  She has a long list of publications to her name, including several poetry collections, a whole load of children’s stories, a story in the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II, three poems in the Poetry Treasures anthology, and a poem in the Stand Together charity anthology.  Plus, Tori’s Hermann’s Tortoise, Artemis, was featured in both the Magnificent Pets Coloring Book For Children and the Magnificent Pets Mandala Coloring Book For Adults.

Vegan due to both a love for animals and dairy allergy, as well as an Eclectic Pagan, Tori describes herself as a combination of Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books: Hermione’s thirst for knowledge and love of books, combined with Luna’s wandering mind and alternative way of looking at the world.  She has a wide variety of interests, designed to exercise both the creative and logical sides of her brain, which she dabbles in at random depending on what she feels like doing at any given time, and is most likely to be found playing with her petkids, involved in calls with the ACB, curled up somewhere with a cup of tea and a book, working on some kind of craft project, or trying to keep one step ahead of those pesky typo fairies while writing her own books.

Links:

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Blog: https://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCakYxH7BNyc2Lxr1g1nbP9w

Find Tori’s books on…

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Victoria-Zigler/e/B00BHS9DQ6/

…Along with a variety of other retailers, such as Audible, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Swift Six Author Interview

Name: Thomas Kast

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

Hello, I’m Thomas Kast, and I write absurdist philosophical science fiction. I’m also the author and illustrator of Bablah’s Odyssey — an upcoming comic book series.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)

The Great Convergence: science fiction and social satire. Two competing academics living ten million years in the future travel back in time to 2022, wrecking reality in the course of their investigation into a mysterious event — the Great Convergence.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it?

Frankly, I don’t even remember how did it start. The Great Convergence took me about ten years to complete until I was happy enough with it to release it into the wild. It went through several editors and iterations.

I wanted to create a book that can be enjoyed, read and re-read and could give the reader a memorable experience. I’ve noticed that most contemporary sci-fi often ventures into the strictly commercial territory. Not entirely happy with this trend, I wanted to use science fiction as a vehicle to highlight many social and philosophical problems, but with a healthy dose of humour.

There are several recurring themes in my book, which result from observing and analysing the world around me. One of those inspirations would be stupidity. It’s a subject that has always fascinated me. All of my characters make inexplicably unwise and shortsighted decisions despite being exceptionally smart (some of them). Superheroes are great but, often being no more than mere archetypes, they often lack humanity. It’s the crazy ones who provide all the fun.

Another recurring theme in my book inspired by real-world observation is miscommunication. My characters are all stuck in uncomfortable situations. Constantly missing the point, they don’t understand each other’s motives, and they’re unable put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They oscillate between being inordinately overconfident or hopelessly insecure but can never think on two feet. Above and beyond, they’re blinded by their personal goals they consider of great consequence and which are insignificant and trivial. As irony would have it, they all have a profoundly important part to play on the universe’s stage — something they’re never to discover.

What writing plans do you have for the future?

Currently, I’m working on the humorous and philosophical comic book series Bablah’s Odyssey, which is scheduled for release in August 2022. Bablah’s Odyssey features a mad scientist, lord Bablah as he traverses the universe, mansplaining the ‘wonders of progress and civilisation’ to his unassertive yet perceptive mutant sidekick, the Pet-Thing. It’s colourful, psychedelic and contains a lot of irony and dark humour. I’m both a writer and illustrator.

I’m also working on another sci-fi mystery: Apoptosis. But this will take me another year to complete.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure?

Someone asked me once: ’Is there a market for what you write?’ To which, I replied: ‘I hope there isn’t’. I believe the writer should create demand rather than try to fit into an existing trend. This is what all successful writers do. The unsuccessful ones will advise you to ‘write for the market’. There’s a strong need for original content that breaks the rules instead of following them. Write a good book, get your tea-box out and yell about it.

Bio:

Thomas Kast is an award-winning independent photojournalist and illustrator based in Zurich, Switzerland and has published a number of photography art books. Thomas spent a big part of his life in Israel, where he taught design, photography and illustration at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design and other Israeli colleges.

A long time in the making, his debut novel — a philosophical science fiction piece, the Great Convergence — evokes many of the author’s real-life experiences fused with his unhinged fantasies.

Synopsis:

10.000.002 A.D. A cantankerous scholar slipping into obscurity is out for revenge. He time-travels to the year 2022 to stop his nemesis, Scott — a successful scientist at a competing university — from thwarting his research into the origin of a mysterious phenomenon, the Great Convergence. Cunning and ruthless, Scott will stop at nothing to defend his tenure track. The feud quickly spins out of control, and the damage to reality grows unchecked.

Caught in the crosshairs are three characters responsible for triggering the Great Convergence: an art-hating professional art critic who, unbeknownst to him, spontaneously switches between universes wreaking havoc as he goes; a talentless artist whose sculptures act as trans-universal portals; and a schizophrenic astrophysicist trying to avert the invasion of alternate versions of himself from different realities. As their paths converge, the apocalyptic event takes place, and the inescapable tragedy of human existence unfolds. 

Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099Z5KH33

Personal website: https://thomaskast.com

Writings: https://thomaskast.space

Comic Books: https://thomaskast.space/bablahs-odyssey

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Swift.Bromba

Stand Together Author Interview – Andrew P. Weston

Author name:

Andrew P. Weston

How did you become involved with this project?
I saw the project advertised on social media, and decided to offer a poem or two to help out.

Tell us a little about your work in this book?

I have two poems in the book: The Science of Communication, and Lodestone.

The Science of Communication highlights how volatile the world we live in is. Every day, we see tragedy after tragedy, many of them instigated by bigots who act without thought or consideration of consequence. It also stresses that change will never come, not until society as a whole adopts a different mindset and a willingness to see the good in others; instead of the colour of a person’s skin or the dialect they speak.

Lodestone addresses a similar theme, but this time from the perspective of the damage social media can inflict, especially when the moral compass of the world is set to ‘fit in’ and be popular, instead of doing and saying what’s right. As before, it highlights the need for change, before hatred runs rampant, like an out of control virus.

Please tell us about your other publications/work.

My poetry has appeared in the likes of Muse Pie Press, The Screech Owl, Penny Ante Feud, The Fib Review and The Shot Glass Journal . . . to name a few.

Do you think the written word (or art) brings power and freedom?

It certainly has the power to. Edward Bulwer-Lytton wasn’t kidding when he coined the infamous phrase in one of his plays:

“…Beneath the rule of men entirely great
The pen is mightier than the sword.”

The written word is a far more effective tool for communicating than mindless – or premeditated, come to that – acts of violence. And rightly so, for the power of words is eternal and can stand the test of time. I often recall certain passages or stories I’ve read, years – sometimes decades – ago. Something that moved me. Inspired me. Got me thinking. Its value can be just as precious now as it was when I read it. Now that’s power. And many have used such power, down through the centuries, to bring about change for the better.

If you could have dinner with any literary character or author who would you choose, and what would you eat.

That would be Edgar Allan Poe, a man whose mind – and imagination – worked on an entirely different level from those around him. And of course, the meal would centre around his works:
Starters would be Hop-Frog Legs washed down with Ligeia wine.
The main course would be built of a choice of The Purloined Steak Letter and Pit and the Pendulum Pie.
And for dessert, we’d round off with Tamerlane Tiramisu, complimented by his favourite cognac.

How influential is storytelling/poetry to our culture?

I don’t think storytelling or poetry will ever lose their influence, no matter how ‘instant meme fix’ society becomes. Stories have adapted to meet the modern ‘rushed off our feet’ culture by becoming shorter. Many publishers now want submissions which are half the length – or less – of what they used to be.

Poetry doesn’t have to do that. I’m not talking about ‘epic prose’ here, but those cleverly crafted shorter poems that can tell an entire story in just a few verses, or even lines. It’s just a question of adapting to need, and keeping what you produce current and popular.

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why?

I’ve always wanted to be the Silver Surfer. I can’t imagine anything more profound than surfing the cosmos, and experiencing the majesty of the universe firsthand, up close and personal, for all eternity.

Which authors/books have influenced you the most?

That’s easy. Stephen R. Donaldson, Raymond E. Feist and Neil Gaiman. I’ve loved the sheer inventiveness of their stories for decades, and always will.

What’s your next writing adventure?

Believe it or not, I’m branching into horror. And so far, I’m rather enjoying it.

What is your greatest success?

Becoming an expert nuisance. It took years of dedication and application, but at last, I’ve done it! According to my wife, that is. . .

What’s your favourite quote, who said it and why?

That will always depend on my mood, as there are several I really like.
However, the one that has a definite edge is:

“Of all things, I liked books best.” ― Nikola Tesla.

As to why?

It sums me up perfectly. I could read before I went to school. I prefer books to films, video games and a lot of other pastimes. I always have my head in a book, even now, when I’m busy, busy, busy, writing.

Tell us a silly fact about yourself?

I love marmite! It is, without doubt, an exceedingly nomilicious food product that compliments just about anything.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?
An astronaut. Something I began to actively pursue when I was younger –  (educationally and vocationally) – and then life got in the way. Bummer!

Stand Together – Author Interview – Joe Bonadonna

Author name:

Joe Bonadonna

How did you become involved with this project?

Alex L. Butcher, who put the project together, and I are Facebook friends, have worked together before, and are also involved in Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell™ series.

Tell us a little about your work in this book?

I’d been writing short stories since fifth grade, and then I started playing guitar. Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison of The Doors, Peter Sinfield who wrote lyrics for King Crimson, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and Keith Reid, who wrote lyrics for Procul Harum, I started writing poems and then soon afterwards, song lyrics. A couple of years ago I started dabbling in haiku.

Please tell us about your other publications/work.

I’ve written three books thus far in my sword & sorcery, heroic fantasy series, Mad Shadows. I’ve also written a space opera and a sword & planet novel, co-authored two children’s books with Erika M Szabo, and co-authored a pirate/horror novel with David C. Smith. I’ve published a number of short stories and novellas, and have appeared in six recent volumes of the Heroes in Hell™ series.

Do you think the written word (or art) brings power and freedom?

Yes! The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Fascist, authoritarian governments fear the power of the word. They fear any artform they think is harmful to their “regimes,” to their plans: art is transformative, it teaches and enlightens us, it makes us hope and dream. To “them,” its greatest threat is that it makes us think, and gives us ideas. Art is truth, and oppressors the world over would bury Truth beneath the dirt of propaganda, censorship and book burning.

If you could have dinner with any literary character or author, who would you choose, and what would you eat.

I’ll pick an author, and not to offend anyone still living, I’ll pick a dead author: Raymond Chandler, because he was the key to my writing my Mad Shadows Triad. Oh, maybe we’d eat pizza or steak, drink whiskey and/or Guinness Stout. Since he lived in California, maybe we’d eat seafood and drink wine.

How influential is storytelling/poetry to our culture?

It’s not only influential, it’s important: it is life affirming. We need poems and literature, music and paintings, and all forms of art. It keeps us sane and healthy. Storytelling and poetry reveal what’s in our hearts. Every art form reveals what we think and dream and hope for. It reveals the depths of our souls. Once again, it teaches and enlightens, as well to help ease the burden of our worries and our troubles.

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature, what would you be and why?

I’ll go with being a vampire. They dress well, only go out at night, have superhuman powers, and if they invested wisely during their natural lifetime, over the long years of their afterlife, they could live quite handsomely, indeed.

Which authors/books have influenced you the most?

Once again, I’ll stick with dead authors: JRR Tolkien, Fritz Leiber, Edgar Allen Poe, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross Thomas, Larry McMurtry, and the list goes on and on ….

What’s your next writing adventure?

I’m hoping to write a fourth and perhaps final volume of novellas for my Mad Shadowsseries — making it a quartet instead of a trio. I’m also working on my seventh novella for the Heroes in Hell™ saga.

What is your greatest success?

That I’m still alive at age 70! Seriously, I’d have to say my Mad Shadows Triad, my, The MechMen of Canis-9, and the stories I’ve written for the Heroes in Hell™ saga are my greatest success stories, and my personal bundle of pride and joy.

What’s your favourite quote, who said it and why?

I actually have two, if I may: “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. That’s because inside a dog it’s too dark to read.” — Grouch Marx. Why? Because he was a comedian, and his sarcastic wit often had truth and deeper, more subtle meaning. And: “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.” — Anonymous. Why? Well . . . wouldn’t you?

Tell us a silly fact about yourself.

I collect Halloween knick-knacks and cheap snow globes.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?

A rock-star guitar god. When I started growing up and growing older, I just wanted to be a kid again. I think a lot of us would like that.

Thank you for everything about this project and for asking me to take part.

https://books2read.com/StandTogetherUkraine

Swift Six Author Interview – Nathan Tudor #Fantasy

Name: Nathan Tudor

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

Hello, I’m Nathan Tudor! I’m a new author, having just published my first two books in early 2022. I write fantasy novels that blend epic scope with intimate character moments. Ancient beliefs and ideas have always interested me, so I take lots of inspiration from myths and archaic texts—philosophical, religious, magical, you name it!

I knew I wanted to be a storyteller pretty much my whole life, and I’m so excited to finally put my work out there for people to enjoy. The response from readers has been encouraging, and I look forward to writing and publishing many more books in the future.

Besides reading and writing books, I spend my days exchanging memes with friends on Discord, gaming (tabletop RPGs and video games), and hunting down great stories to devour! I tend to think in archetypal patterns and symbols, so I’ll often pace around late at night pondering whatever I’ve taken in most recently—whether it’s a superhero movie, a romance manga, or a Russian tragedy. My interests are all over the place, so I love talking to people about what they’re into and then taking those recommendations to fuel my own creative work. Speaking of which, I’m very fortunate to have a coterie of artistic friends, who help fuel my own passion by sharing their creations. Having comrades in this line of work is essential, since so much of the work itself is solitary.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)

I have two books out right now, both in my epic historical fantasy series The Imperial Adept. The Empire’s Lion is book one, a 220,000 word doorstopper full of action, intrigue, and awesome magic.

Adept Initiate is the prequel, which I give away for free to all my newsletter subscribers; it tells the story of how Reiva, the protagonist of the series, trained to become the lethal arcane warrior we see in The Empire’s Lion.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it?

When I was six or seven, I wrote a short story based on my favorite video game at the time. Ever since then, I’ve had an urge to write—I told all my friends back in third grade that I was working on a book, even though each ‘chapter’ was only a couple of paragraphs! As I grew up and read more, I developed a love for epic fantasy, studied the craft of writing, and got more and more possessed by the need to write a full novel and send it out into the world for others to read. That day has finally come!

What writing plans do you have for the future?

I have plenty of plans for after I finish the Imperial Adept trilogy! They’re all pretty much fantasy books (though I have some sci-fi ideas), but I don’t want to get pigeonholed as just writing historical fantasy. I hope readers will enjoy seeing the ways my different series share some common DNA despite occupying different subgenres.

What do you like to read?

I read epic fantasy for the most part, though I tend to hop around a lot. At any time I’m working my way through three or four books, usually a mixture of fantasy novels, a classic (maybe mythology or philosophy), and then some wild card that happened to catch my interest. Reading widely is important to me, as I often find inspiration in books that occupy different genres than my writing.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure?

I wish I had internalized the importance of regular discipline and habit. I published at twenty-three, which I suppose is relatively young, but I know I could have published sooner if I had stopped waiting for inspiration to strike and just buckled down to do the work!

Author bio and book synopsis

Bio:

Nathan Tudor has researched ancient religion at Oxford, traveled the seven continents, and mastered the art of speaking in the third person. His debut novel The Empire’s Lion tells an epic story filled with action, identity, and the struggle to do what is right in an upside-down world

When he’s not writing or reading, Nathan can be found debating matters of no particular consequence with his friends, falling down research rabbit holes, and fiddling with a hand-crank coffee grinder that’s been stuck for the last few months.

Allegations that he hired an alchemist to give him the tread of a cat and the ears of a fox are categorically false.

Synopsis for The Empire’s Lion:

She left a slave. She returns a conqueror.

As an Adept, Reiva blasts fire from her hands and leaps over walls. But when her first solo mission leaves her half-dead amidst a heap of massacred allies, she gets just one chance at redemption.

The Empire orders her to crush the one kingdom she thought she would never see again: Talynis, the land of her birth, the land she left in chains.

Standing in her way is the Wolf, a vicious assassin hellbent on killing Adepts—and a single cut from his cursed blade will destroy Reiva’s magic forever.

Even if she can survive, victory may come at a price too high to pay…

The Empire’s Lion is an epic military fantasy filled with action and intrigue set in a war-torn, magic-filled world perfect for fans of Brandon Sanderson, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Steven Erikson.

Links/Social media

The Empire’s Lion: https://books2read.com/u/3n2GLP

Website/Free Book: https://nathantudor.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NathTudorBooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nathantudorauthor

Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.com/author/nathantudor

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nathan-tudor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22106843.Nathan_Tudor

Swift Six Author Interview – D. L. Gardner #Fantasy

Name: D.L. Gardner

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

Hi, I’m D.L. Gardner, a fantasy author and screenwriter. I live in the Pacific Northwest USA and am a nature lover, hiker, and painter. I have seven adult children, sixteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I love epic fantasy and believe stories should last from one generation to the next.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)

Darkness Holds the Son, a noblebright epic fantasy which is a stand alone spin-off novel to the Sword of Cho Nisi series.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it?

I began writing novels in 2011 and have 16 titles published. I began writing Darkness Holds the Son last year shortly after I finished the Cho Nisi Saga. It’s hard to leave a fantasy world once you start building it, and it seems the construction is never quite finished, nor are the characters completely fleshed out. I wanted to do another book in the series that had nothing to do with the completed arc of the first three books, but still kept us in the world with the same adventurous atmosphere.

What writing plans do you have for the future?

I want to complete another stand alone book to the same series, and then finish Ian’s Realm and somewhere in between do a sequel to Hoarfrost to Roses, which is a Victorian era mystery/romance with a touch of the occult.

What do you like to read?

I like long involved sagas such as Wheel of Time and Lord of the Rings, but I also enjoy magical realism like Night Circus and historical fiction. I suppose any book with an exciting plot and endearing characters.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure?

Begin while you’re young and keep going. I waited far too long to do this. I have so many books in me! Time is valuable.

Author bio and book synopsis

I’m D.L. Gardner – Author, screenwriter, storyteller.

I write Noble-bright fantasy fiction for those who like a tall tale and fast-moving adventure. I’ve written ever since I was a youngster and have led an unusual life after that, having grown up in the sixties, lived in the desert for nearly 30 years in a mud hut, raising horses, sheep, goats, chickens, and seven children.

Much of my life experience has morphed into my stories in the form of other worlds accessed through portal travel. I’ve released twelve novels spanning all sub-genres of fantasy and one historical fiction based on a relative’s WWII letters.

Winner of two Book Excellence Awards for my series, Best Urban fantasy at Imaginarium Convention, and a host of screenings, trophies for my historical fiction screenplay Cassandra’s Castle, and six Screenplay awards for my story Dylan.

Storytelling is my passion and I especially love to collaborate with other artists in the Indie Film making realm. I believe a story should endure time and be good enough to hand down from one generation to the next.

Darkness Holds the Son

Darkness Holds the Son takes us to a small village named Tuluva where Jareth, an unemployed mercenary, and his wife and two children are raising goats to sustain themselves. Things go well for them until the land-baron of Ogress raises their taxes, forcing Jareth to pick up his crossbow and return to the battlefield. Jareth has an even more pressing problem than keeping his family out of debtor’s prison, though. His son Crispin has seizures that are caused by magic and if Jareth doesn’t find the source soon, it could be fatal as the boy hears voices instructing him to kill his father. On Jareth’s quest, he discovers that the same affliction is haunting all the children in the kingdom.

Join Jareth, his wife, and King Barin in this new adventure as they search the Neverworld and half of Casdamia to find and destroy that which has taken the youth of their world captive.

Links/Social media

https://gardnersart.com

https://diendrial.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DianneLynnGardner

https://www.patreon.com/DLGardner

Swift Six Author Interview – Jon Cronshaw

Name: Jon Cronshaw

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

I’ve been a full-time author since 2017. I’ve zig-zagged between high fantasy, post-apocalyptic, and gamelit. I’m trying hard to stay focused on writing fantasy stories, but that doesn’t stop the Muse teasing me with ideas for space opera tales.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)

My main fantasy series is called The Ravenglass Chronciles, this is a 21-novella series where each book is inspired by the tarot. My latest novel, Dawn of Assassins is set a few hundred years after The Ravenglass Chronicles and tells the story of a pair of thieves who are recruited by a master assassin. But they’re thieves, not killers.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it?

I’ve worked as a professional writer for most of my adult life, mostly in journalism. I’ve written stories, comedy scripts, and lyrics since I can remember, so I’ve always had that drive to tell stories. When I saw I could bypass corporate publishers and produce books on my own terms, that’s when I decided to follow this as a career path.

What writing plans do you have for the future?

To keep writing stories in my Ravenglass Universe. As I establish the universe, I want to branch out into other media and work with other writers. There’s potential for video games, movies, and comics. It’s very exciting. It’s also meant that when I get an idea for a story, I ask myself whether it will fit in the Ravenglass Universe. If it doesn’t, I thank the Muse and move on. 

What do you like to read?

Books! And lots of them! I read in most genres. My favourite stories tend to be fantasy. Give me banter and swashbuckling and you’re onto a winner.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure?

Just because someone’s got a system that works for them, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.

There is no magic bullet.

Author bio and book synopsis

Jon Cronshaw is a full-time fantasy and speculative fiction author based in Morecambe, England.

Born in Wolverhampton, he has a PhD in the history of art and has written for local and national newspapers across the UK.

He’s an avid reader, podcaster, and history geek.

Dawn of Assassins:

Two friends. A master assassin. One deadly choice.

Fedor and Lev are thieves…not killers.

They lead a desperate life in the tunnels of Nordturm, conning and stealing to buy their next meal.

But when an assassin recruits them against their will, they are forced into a life they do not want and cannot escape.

If they leave, they will die. But if they stay, they must kill.

Can they survive the master’s relentless evaluation?

Is loyalty stronger than the will to live?

Will their friendship last the ordeal?

From the best-selling author of The Ravenglass Chronicles, comes a new thrilling adventure featuring a new cast of unforgettable characters.

You’ll love this high fantasy series, because these unlikely heroes have a story you won’t be able to put down.

Links/Social media

https://joncronshaw.com

https://facebook.com/joncronshawauthor

https://youtube.com/c/joncronshawauthor

https://instagram.com/joncronshawauthor

You can also find Jon Cronshaw’s Author Diary wherever you listen to podcasts.

Swift Six Author Interview – Bruno Martins Soares

 

Name: Bruno Martins Soares

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

I don’t really know how old I was when I started writing stories. I wrote them for school, I’m certain, but the first time I wrote without any academic goal I was 12, I remember that much. I just loved reading and stories and the books I laid hands on didn’t last that much and I had so many stories in my head I just started playing with them until it was impossible not to write them down.

 

I kept writing different stuff. When I was 22, a friend of mine incited me to enter one of the largest and most prestigious Young Writers’ contests in Portugal. I did and won an Honourable Mention. I tried again two years later and won it. I went to Torino and then Rome and Sarajevo, representing my country as a Young Writer. One of the best times of my life. Then, one day, I decided to write a Scifi novel I had been chewing on for some time: The Saga of Alex 9. I showed it to a publisher who’d just included a short story of mine in an anthology, and he loved it. I was a published novelist one year later, and soon was featured in a series alongside names like George R.R. Martin or Bernard Cornwell, hailed as an author to recon with in Portuguese Scifi. How about that? I wrote more novels and worked in movies, TV and plays. I’ve done a lot of things in my career, but overall, I’ve been writing professionally for 20 years.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short)

INSIGHT is a horror story that will come out in April 22. It’s about Matt Taylor, an American psychologist. Strange things begin to happen to him: his 9-year-old son seems to develop supernatural powers, apparitions of his dead wife become frequent, and he is being followed by a suspicious man. When his son is kidnapped, he dives into a spiral of unexplained events. He’ll have to do the unimaginable to save his family. It’s very intense and thought provoking, I think. I love how the characters came out and Matt’s character in particular is incredibly strong and admirable – and yet, still very human and relatable.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it?

I love stories since I can remember. And I was a storyteller from the start. But I grew up watching my father reading books. Every day before or after lunch or dinner he would sit in his chair and read a novel. A crime novel, as it happens. Or a spy novel. He hated SciFi («Those are things that don’t happen and will never happen.» – i.e. «old ladies solve murders all the time.»), and Fantasy was obviously (obviously!) for kids. Still, some of the first novels he gave me to read were from Edgar Rice Burroughs or Jules Verne. And that was besides all the comic books I read – the pride of my collection was a 50cm-long special edition of ‘Flash Gordon’. At 16 I read Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ for the first time, and loved it. Its intimist style still stays with me after all this time. As well as authors as Boris Vian, or Virginia Woolf

But then, movies. I love movies. Much of my writing skills, my plotting skills, my ‘lay-down-the-scene’ skills, came from movies. I’d stay here a long time talking about it, so I’d better shut up. Seriously, when I was a kid, I would narrate every single scene from a movie I enjoyed to some poor family member I was able to trap. I was nasty! So don’t get me started!

What writing plans do you have for the future?

I have another couple of books still to publish this year. Probably a box-set for THE DARK SEA WAR CHRONICLES with a couple of surprises in it as well. Then, later in the year, I’m planning to start publishing the English version of my first SciFi trilogy: THE ALEX 9 SAGA. Meanwhile, I’m writing the sequel to THE DARK SEA WAR CHRONICLES, called THE OUTER SEA WAR CHRONICLES. If the DSWC was a kind of WW2’s Battle of the Atlantic in Space, OSWC is a kind of WW2’s Battle of the Pacific in Space. It’s the continuation of Byl Iddo’s saga.

What do you like to read?

Love Hemingway, Woolf and G.R.R.Martin. But also Bernard Cornwell or Alexander Kent/Douglas Reeman. Love to read historical fiction, but also some realistic one and scifi/fantasy.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure?

It’s easy to get infatuated with incredible stories in our heads just to find out that when we start putting them in the blank page there is something missing. Writing is a bit more difficult than it seems. Many aspiring writers get the sense that they are not any good after the first few tries. But that’s a trap. Writing is a craft with a set of skills you need to learn. You can learn them by yourself, reading books and watching movies, or you can have lessons or mentors, or use other learning resources. Still, it takes time. There’s no substitute to writing and writing and writing. You won’t be good enough unless you practice.

Another trap is being discouraged by rejection. Becoming a writer means you’re entering the rejection business. If you’re doing enough writing you’ll probably be rejected 95% of the time. That’s the nature of the thing. Don’t get discouraged. Accept it. It is normal for someone in this kind of business, just like in acting or modelling, or sales, to be rejected most of the time. Get used to it.

 

Author bio and book synopsis

Bruno Martins Soares writes fiction since he was 12 years old, and his first book, ‘O Massacre’ (The Massacre), a collection of short stories, came out in Portugal in 1998.

It was followed by several contributions to newspapers, magazines, and other collective books.

In 1996, he won the National Young Creators Award for Writing, representing Portugal at the 1997 Torino Young Creators of Europe and the Mediterranean Fair, where his short-story ‘Mindsweeper’ was translated and published in Italian.

His first novel ‘A Saga de Alex 9’ (The Alex 9 Saga) was published in Portugal in 2012, by publisher Saída de Emergência, within a series that features authors like George R.R.Martin or Bernard Cornwell. The Portuguese version of ‘The Dark Sea War Chronicles’ (A Batalha da Escuridão) was published by Editorial Divergência.

He worked in Project Development for Television and was a journalist and a communications, HR and management consultant before settling as a writer. He was also an international correspondent in Portugal for Jane’s Defense Weekly and a researcher for The Washington Post. He wrote several plays and short and full-length pictures’ screenplays, and he wrote and produced English-spoken Castaway Entertainment’s full-length feature film ‘Regret’, distributed in the USA and Canada in 2015. He lives and works in Lisbon.

 

INSIGHT

Strange things begin to happen to Matt, a recent widower: his 9-year-old son seems to develop supernatural powers, apparitions of his dead wife become frequent, and he is being followed by a suspicious man. When his son is kidnapped, he dives into a spiral of unexplained events. He’ll have to do the unimaginable to save his family.

In this new novel, award-winning author Bruno Martins Soares dives into the psychological thriller/horror genre to give us a riveting tale of suspense, surprising twists and impossible choices.

Links/Social media

 

https://brunomartinssoares.com/

https://amzn.to/3cayo5q

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759799.Bruno_Martins_Soares

https://www.facebook.com/BMartinsSoares

https://www.instagram.com/b.martinssoares

Swift Six Author Interview CT Phipps #Scifi

Name: CT Phipps

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

Hello, my name is CT Phipps and I am the author of SPACE ACADEMY DROPOUTS. I am a science fiction and fantasy author who has written the Supervillainy Saga, Agent G, Lucifer’s Star, and Cthulhu Armageddon among others.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short):

SPACE ACADEMY DROPOUTS is a humorous space opera taking place a couple of centuries in the future when humanity has been contacted by aliens and taken to the stars. We’re kind of the Belgium of the galaxy, though, and not everyone is happy about that.

After Vance drops out of Space Academy, he ends up getting dragooned into their secret service and put on a suicide mission to recover sun destroying weapons. What’s worse is his crew is a bunch of misfits that he has to ride herd on. Vance wonders why they’re putting such an oddball collection together to do such an important mission but time is running out to solve the mystery.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it?

I have always been a huge Star Trek, Mass Effect, Babylon Five, and other space opera scifi fan. Space Academy Dropouts is an extended homage to those franchises. I have been writing since college but only started to get good at it around 2015 or so. That’s when my first published works started happening.

What writing plans do you have for the future?

In addition to Space Academy Dropouts, I have the book Daughter of the Cyber Dragons coming out. It’s a cyberpunk street adventure that I think people will absolutely love. It stars Keiko “Kei” Springs who is a Rider, a mercenary courier, who is working in the arcology of New Los Angeles. Well, suffice to say, her latest job proves to be quite a bit more complicated than she expected it to be and she ends up teamed up with a crew of misfits that don’t know who to trust.

What do you like to read?

I’m a science fiction, cyberpunk, urban fantasy, and superhero fan. Which, coincidentally, is a lot of what I like to write. I love writers like Anna Mocikat, SC Jensen, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, David Niall Wilson, and others.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure?

Don’t take the advice of people who promise you the moon marketing wise. There’s a lot of scammers out there.

Author bio and book synopsis

AUTHOR BIO:

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on “The United Federation of Charles” (http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/).

He’s the author of Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer’s Star, Straight Outta Fangton, and The Supervillainy Saga.

BOOK SYNOPSIS:

“Boldly going because they’re completely lost.”

The newly renamed Vance Turbo has sabotaged his own career at Space Fleet Academy due to a desire to atone for training accident. Unfortunately, his actions result in him getting press-ganged into an expendable crew of misfits recruited by a legendary starship captain. Their mission? To recover a collection of lost sun-destroying missiles that could restart a galactic war. Unfortunately, Vance is smart enough to know something is wrong with this picture. After all, no sane person would recruit this crew to save the universe.

SPACE ACADEMY DROPOUTS is an all-new series from the hilarious duo of C.T. Phipps (Supervillainy Saga, Agent G) and Michael Suttkus (I Was a Teenage Weredeer, Lucifer’s Star) that lampoons the space opera as well as military science fiction genres.

Links/Social media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Willowhugger

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charles.phipps.946

Author Page: https://ctphipps.com/

Facebook Fan Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1491731877784498/