Swift Six Author Interview – Hannah-Louise Smith #Fantasy

Name: Hannah-Louise Smith

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so): I love reading, especially fantasy, I’m a huge Harry Potter and Star Wars fans, but only episodes 1-6. My preferred hot drink is tea and I have a Siberian husky called Logan, named after my favourite X-man

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short) Awakening and Darkness are the first two books in the Mythics and mortals trilogy. They are urban fantasy novels based on Ancient Greek mythology and center around our heroine Christina Jones

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it? I started writing during the first 2020 lockdown, I always wanted to write a book so I just went for it. I had an idea and put my pen to paper

What writing plans do you have for the future? I have so many books planned, I’m currently working on an epic fantasy based on the popular role playing game dungeons and dragons, called Gameplay. After I plan on finishing the Mythics and mortals trilogy with the final book

What do you like to read? I like to read A song of fire and ice. George.R.R.Martin is truly a genius

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure? Don’t listen to the doubts, just go for it. The only time you will fail is if you never try

Author bio and book synopsis

Lover of books, tea and fantasy. I have a joint degree in English literature and history and a Siberian husky named Logan. Awakening and Darkness (first two books in the Mythics and mortals trilogy), are out on amazon.

Percy Jackson meets The Mortal Instruments

Christina Jones had always thought that she was normal, just your typical unlucky woman. But this all changes on her twenty-first birthday when she falls, quite literally, headfirst into a world that was thought only to exist in Ancient Greek mythology.

With her new friends, Sophie Romain and Lucas Teravin, by her side, Christina has to fight, not only to control her developing powers and remember who she is, but also to fight the demon that hunts her for a mysterious figure called The Master.

Links/Social media

https://www.facebook.com/hannahlouisesmith19

https://www.instagram.com/hannahlousmith/?hl=en

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22231590.Hannah_Louise_smith

Twitter-@HannahLouiseSm

TikTok- @hannahlousmith0

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Chris Patchell #Suspense

Author name: Chris Patchell

Please tell us about your publications/work.

I started writing again after a long hiatus. Work. Kids. Life. You know. And when I picked up the proverbial pen once again, I started thinking about what kind of stories I wanted to write. Way back when, I used to write romances, but twenty years later, I realized that I liked to read suspense thrillers. I love the high-stakes, fast-paced stories that keep you up way past bedtime because you just need to know what happens next. So that’s what I write. Suspense stories that run the gamut from psychological suspense to smalltown crime thrillers. Most of my stories are set in the Pacific Northwest, where I currently live.

How did you become involved with bundles? (For Bundle Authors)

It was Fiona Quinn who first involved me in the wonderful world of author bundles. I had met Fiona back in 2015 when both of us had books published through Amazon’s Kindle Scout Program. Fiona introduced me to another one of her author friends, Judith Lucci, and through the two of them, I made other author connections that have seen my work published in a variety of bundles. It’s been a fabulous way to both grow my author network and meet some amazing readers.

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

Don’t worry about the progress you’re making or not making toward whatever your goals are. Just keep going. Keep writing. Focus on bettering your craft. Don’t spend time worrying about what you can’t control.

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

It depends on the book. I’ve attended three citizen police academies in different cities and have learned interesting things from each. I’ve done a lot of reading and research into various topics. I’ve had fun conversations with police officers, firemen, and folks who own gun shops, but probably the most fun I’ve ever had was talking with a man in Portland who runs his own company that does opposition research for political campaigns. It’s amazing the information his firm has uncovered through the course of the campaigns they’ve supported. Fascinating (and at times hair-raising) stuff.

The most interesting bit of research I did though, was for my book, Dark Harvest. This research involved the application of stem cell research in treating degenerative brain diseases. I had done some research on my own, but then I met a friend of a friend who is a genetic counsellor, and she was able to help me did a little deeper into this captivating and complex topic.

What is your writing space like?

I have an office on the ground floor of my house, which has a lovely set of windows. As you can imagine, it has several bookcases, which are mostly filled with books I’ve used while researching my novels. My desk is always more cluttered than it should be. While I try to keep it clean, notebooks and uncategorized stacks of mail litter the edges, while at least one coffee mug, a glass of water, and a gently use tea bag can be frequently found there.

The one thing that I love the most in my office, is my white board, which is where I keep track of my marketing activities, as well as outline plots. When I get stuck, whiteboarding is one of the ways in which I can work through the log jam of ideas and get my storyline back on track. I blame my career as a project manager in the technology sector for falling in love with whiteboards. 😊

Tell us about your latest piece?

The Perfect Brother, which was released in the fall of 2022, is a novel (suspense meets amateur sleuth) in which a brilliant software developer sets out to prove her brother’s innocence when he is charged with killing his secret girlfriend. Set in Vancouver, BC, what I love about this story is the strength of family ties and how the family’s culture sets expectations that result in a series of lies that eventually get exposed. Indira Saraf, the software developer in question, adapts her Artificial Intelligence technology to uncover other suspects in the killing in the hopes of proving her brother innocent. It’s an intricate and engrossing story.

What’s your next writing adventure?

Right now, I’m working on a story where a disgraced cop teams up with an FBI Agent whose career is on the rise, to track down a serial killer. It’s set in Portland, Oregon, and I’m calling it Speak No Evil.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews?

Personally, good or bad, I don’t comment on reviews. Reviews should embody what the reader thinks of your story, not what you think of what they think about your story. I know that sounds a little convoluted, but there it is. As a writer, all you can do is write the best story you can, send it out in the world, and hope that people like it. If they do, great. If they don’t, then it probably wasn’t the story for them.

How do you deal with bad reviews?

I used to read them in the hopes that I could learn something from them that would make me a better writer, but what I really learned was that most 1 and 2 star reviews aren’t very constructive. They’re usually indicative of what I’ve said above—that for whatever reason, your story wasn’t the right story for them. Even New York Times bestselling novels have bad reviews. The downside of reading bad reviews is that sometimes the mean things that some people say get stuck in your mind, so instead, I’ll have my husband scan bad reviews and let me know if there’s anything constructive there to be learned. That way, if there’s good information, I still get to hear it, but avoid unconstructive comments from lodging themselves in my brain.

Sort these into order of importance:

  • Good plot
  • Great characters
  • Awesome world-building
  • Technically perfect

Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline?

As a reader, I love eBooks because they’ve made buying books super simple, an impulse purchase, like bubble gum beside the cash register. I can finish one story at 10 pm and download the next. It’s awesome. I do also love browsing bookstores. I love looking at book covers and reading the descriptions and maybe a few excerpts. As a reader and a writer, I hope we live in the world where both can continue to thrive.

What is your greatest success?

OMG. I can still remember the day when my book was on the Amazon Bestsellers chart beside Stephen King. His book was #12 and mine was #13. I still have screenshots of that event. It felt surreal. Just seeing my book ranked beside some truly amazing and popular authors has been a thrill. But it’s also a thrill to have readers contact me and share how much they’ve enjoyed my stories. Forging that kind of personal connection is special and something I have appreciated throughout this journey of becoming a writer. While writing the Lacey James series, I was touched by the story of a woman who was reading my books out loud to her ninety-two-year-old mother. It’s readers like that who keeps me going when my motivation wanes.

Tell us a silly fact about yourself.

Donald Duck was my favourite Disney character growing up because he was so foul-tempered.

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

I wanted to be an animator for Disney, but I wasn’t gifted with my father’s artistic abilities, so I became a writer instead. 😊

Links to The Perfect Brother: https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Brother-Chris-Patchell-ebook/dp/B0B2CN9M51

Bio

Chris Patchell is an award-winning USA Today Bestselling Author who started writing to curb the homicidal tendencies she experienced during her daily Seattle commute. She writes gripping suspense thrillers with romantic elements set in the Pacific Northwest and believes good fiction combines a magical mix of complex characters, compelling plots, and well-crafted stories.

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Kathleen Harryman #Suspense #Thriller #HistoricalRomance #ParanormalRomance #CrimeFiction

Kathleen Harryman

Links to book:

Website: https://www.kathleenharryman.com

Kathleen was first published in 2015 and has gone on to win several awards for her books. Developing a unique writing style, Kathleen Harryman grips the reader holding their attention until they become part of the story.

Kathleen Harryman is a talented multi-genre author of suspense, psychological thrillers, crime fiction, romantic suspense, historical romance, and paranormal romance.

Please tell us about your publications/work.

The Other Side of the Looking Glass was my first novel to be published back in 2015. It is a romantic suspense set in York. The Other Side of the Looking Glass Since is written over several POVs, allowing each main character to provide their own thoughts, desires, and fears.

Since 2015, I have gone on to write and publish three psychological thrillers, When Darkness Falls, Darkness Rising (Part of the Darkness Series), and Hidden Danger. There is something about thrillers that allow my creative juices to run. The main character in The Darkness Series is deadly, but also conveys a humorous side. This is something I like to do to break up the suspense, especially as these books are written from the killers’ perspective. Hidden Danger is similar, in that the reader gets a Birdseye view into the killers’ thoughts, but with Hidden Danger it is the relationship between daughter and father that gives it a sense of twisted horror.

In 2019 along with my co-author, and friend, Lucy Marshall, I published my first historical romance, The Promise. This book is based around stories my great uncles have told over the years, and my grandfather, James Chappell, who died during the D-Landings. Though the story differs from my grandfather’s life, it reflects the lives of those left behind at home and who fought on the frontline during World War II. The Promise is written from multiple POV’s and therefore has the intimacy of reading a personnel diary.

Hunted was the first book I ever wrote, even though it was never released until 2021. As an author I felt there was an element missing from the story. Hunted has grown from its first draft. One of the main changes I made, was the introduction of Arthur, a gnome and spy for the Saelee King, and Seberg, a magical staff which causes a lot of trouble for Vampwitch, Alice Quinn. Hunted is the first book in the Vampwitch series and is a paranormal romance.

Life’s Echoes, is a book of poetry, echoing life’s peculiarities, and the personal strength we carry within us.

When I started writing I was determined to become a multi genre author. I have always enjoyed reading a cross reference of genres and it feels wrong to limit my love of writing and storytelling to just one genre.

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

There is always a sense of freedom to be found in the written word. Words themselves are powerful instruments that can bring enlightenment and inspiration. Unfortunately, words can also wound. I like to feel that when we read, we travel with the characters. We live their lives, laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry, and become one with the suspense. What better freedom from life is there than to take that journey into a different world from our own.

Many authors use the power that writing brings. I believe that if I write something, and can feel what the characters feel, then there is no greater power an author can convey to the reader.

What’s your greatest networking tip?

Support others. We all need a helping hand; supporting our fellow authors or businessperson is key to building good relationships.

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

If I were to have dinner with a literary author, I would choose Agatha Christie. We would dine on the Orient Express, with afternoon tea. Cucumber sandwiches, scones, jam, clotted cream and tiny pastries.

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

Research is key to making any story credible. Behind every book I write, a wealth of research has gone into it.

The wildest subject I’ve researched would be when I was writing Hidden Danger. I was in Glasgow at the time with a colleague from the gas industry and we were looking how to blow up a house using gas. The catch is that the gas needed to be released over time, the occupants unaware of what was happening. We looked at all the components required, how to get the gas buildup without the smell alerting the occupants of the house, etc. It was one of the most hands-on research I have done. If anyone overheard our plotting, I’m sure they would have found us to be quite mad, and very scary.

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

Never write like anyone else. You are unique and your writing should be too. I recall a journalist confessing how they had spent years looking for the perfect formula to get them the next bestseller. Writing in many other author styles, believing that this was sure to gain him that unattainable bestseller and movie deal. The thing is, he spent so long researching how to write like others, he never got round to writing. This was years ago, but I never forgot—be yourself, write like you, and feel everything you write.

Which authors have influenced you the most?

Enid Blyton

Agatha Christie

Sharon Kay Penman

What is your writing space like?

Cosy. I’m a neat freak, so everything has a place. There are shelves lined with reference books across a multitude of genres, from serial killers to ancient Egypt. And space for my dog, and writing companion, Reilly Roo to sleep.

Tell us about your latest piece?

I am currently writing another World War II romance due for release mid 2023.

What are your hopes for the coming year?

To keep being creative and to find something in each day that makes me smile.

Tell us a silly fact about yourself?

I still have my teddy bear that Mum and Dad had made for me and my sister when we were born. His red paws are no longer in tacked and his white fur is grey, his head wobbles from side to side, but he still brings me comfort.

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

When I wasn’t pretending to be a writer, I wanted to be a dancer, not that I can dance, but I have always loved the freedom that dancing brings.

The Other Side of the Looking Glass (Romantic Suspense): http://getbook.at/TOSOTLG
When Darkness Falls – Book One in the Darkness Series (Psychological Thriller): http://getbook.at/WDF
Darkness Rising – Book Two in the Darkness Series (Psychological Thriller): http://mybook.to/DR-BK2
Hidden Danger (Psychological Thriller): http://getbook.at/hiddendanger
Hunted – A Vampwitch Novel – Book One (Paranormal Romance): http://mybook.to/HUNTED-BK1
The Promise (Historical Romance): http://getbook.at/thepromise
Life’s Echoes (Poetry): http://getbook.at/lifesechoes

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