Book Spotlight – Second Sight – Debbie Mumford – Paranormal Romance/Mystery

Title: Second Sight

Author: Debbie Mumford

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Main character description (short): When Zach Douglass’ best friend dies in his arms from a psychic trauma, he finds himself devastated and beyond his abilities. He must enlist help to solve the murder.

Jenny Murdoch repressed her potent psychic talent for years, believing the tiger that stalks her mind killed her parents. Unwilling to trust that tiger, she must face her own ability and accept her past.


Zach Douglass, a psychic with minimal ability, must work with powerful but untrained Jenny Murdoch to gain control of her vast powers and discover who committed two brutal murders, one of whom was his lifelong friend. And maybe along the way Zach and Jenny can find each other.

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

Death has a unique stench, unpleasant and distinctive. The moment the elevator doors slid open, a whiff of the sickly-sweet, slightly rusty tang alerted Zach Douglass he’d arrived at the correct floor of the posh downtown Portland hotel. He strode down the thickly carpeted hall, followed closely by his partner. They rounded the corner into the hotel’s east wing and the heavier reek of feces assaulted his nostrils. He grimaced, erected a mental barrier against the offensive odor and paced off the final steps to the open door of the room.

The uniform stationed in the hall stood with legs braced and thumbs hooked under his gun belt. His stance bespoke authority, but the green cast to his skin and beads of perspiration on his upper lip screamed unease. He glanced warily at Zach, dilated pupils darkening his eyes. Zach tightened his mental shield, nodded to the man, flashed his security clearance and slipped under the bright yellow crime scene tape.

The spacious room hid its secrets behind a swarm of investigators performing their meticulous duties. A quiet buzz of voices whispered into individual recording devices, providing a white-noise barrier to the outside world. Zach elbowed his way in, clearing a path for his petite partner. Moving with hive-like choreography, the crowd shifted to reveal a man’s naked body in all its grim degradation.

Why should readers buy this book? It’s a riveting paranormal romance, laced with murder.



Links etc.

Available for pre-order now:


Barnes & Noble: Barnes and Noble

Kobo: Kobo

Coming soon in print!

Debbie’s Website:





Meet an Author – Top Ten – A. L. Butcher


My top ten favourites.

Some of these are tricky and have more than one answer, and if you asked me next week the answers might be different. Yes, I am fickle.


  • Favourite Book

Count of Monte Christo/Phantom of the Opera/I, The Sun/Lord of the Rings/Dune/War of the Worlds


  • Favourite Movie

Dead Poets Society/The Empire Strikes Back/Stardust


  • Favourite Colour



  • Favourite Animal

Monkey/Squirrel/My dog


  • Favourite Food



  • Favourite Place

Home/Scottish Highlands


  • Favourite Cartoon Character

Bugs Bunny


  • Favourite Drink

Earl Grey tea


  • Favourite Play/Musical

Phantom of the Opera/Les Miserables


  • Favourite Mythological Creature/Entity


British-born Alexandra Butcher (a/k/a  A. L. Butcher) is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer, a lover of science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her prose has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.  She writes with a sure and sometimes erotic sensibility of things that might have been, never were, but could be.

Alex is the author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and the Tales of Erana lyrical fantasy series. She also has several short stories in the fantasy, fantasy romance genres with occasional forays into gothic style horror. With a background in politics, classical studies, ancient history and myth, her affinities bring an eclectic and unique flavour in her work, mixing reality and dream in alchemical proportions that bring her characters and worlds to life.

Her short novella Outside the Walls, co-written with Diana L. Wicker received a Chill with a Book Reader’s Award in 2017.


Social Media links


Amazon Author Page

Smashwords Author Page

Facebook Author Page



Library of Erana Blog

Linked In



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Author Interview 108 – Mary Ellen Quire

Welcome to Mary Ellen Quire

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m from Kentucky and have lived there all of my life.


Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I have been plucking away at writing for quite some time.  Sheldon’s Diary is my most recent book.  I guess you could put in the young adult genre, although it does pretty well in Women’s Fiction.  The stories are a mixture of action, adventure, light-hearted comedy and suspense.  The entire book can be summed up by the burning question many animal lovers have had running through their mind, “What do they really do while you’re away?”


Are your characters based on real people? All of the humans in Sheldon’s Diary are based on real people and I would say that probably fifty percent of all the critters in the book are real.  The other fifty percent come from a wild and woolly imagination.


Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) Great characters, without them you have nothing but an empty map.

Solid plot, readers need this as motivation to keep reading and as a reward for having travelled the journey with you.  Writer’s need it because it’s probably the only bit of order that can be found in a mind swimming with possibilities.

Great world-building, it’s third because it can make for an awesome story, but for me as a writer I don’t believe it is absolutely essential.  Many great books have been written with the background tucked nicely away in the background.

Technically perfect, is there such a thing?


In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? Sheldon’s Diary is available in paperback and in the Kindle version.  I would love to see it in Nook, but that will be later.  Audio may also come in time.


Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do self-edit, not because I’m an English whiz or anything, but because professional editing is very costly to me right now.  Occasionally, I’ll have a friend do a once over for a manuscript to catch things I have missed.  Do I believe a book suffers without professional editing?  Sometimes, but I’ve read many books that have hit the shelves over the years, professionally edited, that still have mistakes.


Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Unfortunately, I do think there is a stigma place on indie/self-published authors.  It’s one that seems to say, “Hey, you just weren’t good enough to publish with a real publisher, but you were definitely vain enough to pay for it.”  What people do not realize is that books are rejected by traditional publishers for a number of reasons, not just because the story was inferior.  For example, the publisher may have all of that type/genre of book they can handle at the time or they might not be able to make it sell.  Publishing is a business after all, so you have to hit the right one with the right thing at the right time.  It’s a crap shoot.


Do you read work by self-published authors? I’ve found several really good books/series through self-published authors.  It just goes to show you that just because it trickles away from the traditional doesn’t mean it sucks.


What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot?  Mostly I believe the book is always better then the movie/video game because you are allowed to really delve down deep into the character(s).  You’re in their brains, mulling around in their thoughts and feelings, and you get a better sense of who they really are.  You cannot do that in any other type of media.


What are your views on authors offering free books? I love the idea.  I think it’s an awesome way get readers take a chance on your book and see if they not only enjoy that particular one, but the author’s style of telling a story.


Do you have any pets? Right now, I have four.  Two of them are cats, Sir Sheldon and Sir Cheddar.  One rat, Templeton.  And then there’s my 15 year old Ball python, The Wheezer.


Book links, website/blog and author links:

Sheldon's Diary Cover Pic

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I love researching to add an extra element of realism to my speculative fiction, plus I get to learn new things along the way.  I don’t have one favourite resource.  The Internet is a wonderful tool that lends access to a myriad of resources.

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

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

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason?  So far, e-books and print (one novelette is only available as an e-book).  I wanted to expand into audio, but there are logistic problems because I reside in Canada and not the US or UK. I’m hoping that will change in future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Amazon Author Page:


Goodreads Author Page:

bellator anthology - wounded warriorsCoWcolourboudreau quote art

Author Interview Number Thirty – Larey Batz

Second Dawn - Cover     Welcome to Larey Batz: Author of ‘Second Dawn’

Please tell us a little about yourself. – I’m originally from Memphis Tennessee, but I’m spent the last six years in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. I’ve been writing since I learned how to put sentences together. I gave screenwriting a serious go before flipping over to fiction, but I still have projects in both arenas. I’ve been described a number of ways over the years, but I think it can all be summed up by the following: Tall, hilarious, beer-drinker.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. – I don’t specialize in a particular genre. I like to dabble in, combine and redefine genres whenever possible. My current novel is ‘Second Dawn’. It combines a little of everything—alien abduction, dystopian setting, rabid hordes of primal creatures and a wisecracking female protagonist who manages to rub everyone the wrong way. It’s the first book of a trilogy. The soon-to-be-released follow up is titled ‘OBEY: Second Dawn Book II’

Who or what are your inspirations/influences? – I draw inspiration from everywhere—writers old and new, mainstream and indie, film, TV, comics, graphic novels, comedians, musicians, friends, strangers on the street. Whoever and whatever captures my interest, for whatever reason, can be both influence and inspiration. You just have to train yourself to be perceptive.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? – I believe in researching as much as necessary. That said, no amount of research can make you an expert overnight, but I believe the responsible writer should try to avoid as much glaring inaccuracy as possible.

Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? – Sometimes I enjoy it, because learning new things, or debunking popular assumption can be very intriguing. Sometimes it’s just a pain, especially if it’s an obscure variable that doesn’t have much info available. For a scene on a train in ‘Second Dawn’, I actually had to go down to the train station in Philadelphia and interview some of the workers. I needed to find out how heavy that glass was in the emergency window exit and how it would fall if you released the lever. They were very helpful. Chances are, I could have made up something and no one would have ever called me out on it, but it was really bothering me and I wanted to know for sure. Fav resource is probably the same as everyone else—‘google is your friend’. But I will contact people who have real world experience in certain areas if the need arises.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) E-Book and paperback.. Are you intending to expand these?  – I’ll expand as warranted, but right now, the main focus is building a platform

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? – Yes. I believe it’s an important skill for any writer to learn and getting practice correcting your own mistakes actually makes you a stronger writer in my opinion.  Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Yes Of course. And I would never advise that a writer just stop with self-editing and then publish. The final edit should always be done by a sourced/contracted editor. As a professional courtesy, I just believe you should edit your manuscript to the best of your ability before sending it over to your editor. For one thing, it ensures that the final version is closest to your best vision. Just having someone correct a first draft can lead to a great deal of your own voice being lost. You want an editor to correct mistakes, not re-write your work.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? – I don’t think authors should comment on reviews. It’s a waste of time. No book is going to be universally loved by everyone. Challenging a review or even commenting and trying to take the high road, makes you appear amateurish and insecure about your work.

How important are reviews? – Depends on the quality. When I read a thorough, in-depth review, I can appreciate the time the reviewer put into explaining the reasons why they liked or didn’t like a book. As a result, I tend to give those types of reviews more weight, both as a writer and as a potential buyer of books. If it’s just one of those, “I loved this book! OMG! I couldn’t put it down!” typed of reviews, I don’t pay much attention to those.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? – Activating the imagination. Video and film are rigid depictions. You’re totally at the mercy of your eyes and ears. Books leave room for your imagination to fill in the gaps. In a novel, you don’t have to be worried that Ben Affleck won’t make a good Batman. When we read, the characters look exactly as we need them to look. The explosions sound like we need them too. A hot coffee on a cold day, tastes as perfect as we can imagine. Books are interactive experiences and that’s what makes writing a process of sharing. I share my vision. You interpret and filter my vision through your own senses.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? – 1. Take yourself seriously. You’re your journey. Do what YOU need to do in order to be successful at it. And stop sitting around wait for someone to encourage you. Encourage yourself. 2. Don’t dismiss or accept any writing advice until you fully understand the reasoning behind the advice. 3. BE INTERESTING. No one wants to read a grammatically correct sleeping pill. Grab my attention.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? – Make connections. Get your book in the hands and on the lips of people who can/will spread the word. There’s only so much you can do yourself. You need word of mouth. You’re not gonna sell a billion books by standing out in the middle of the street like a town crier and ringing a bell. You’ll annoy more people than you’ll interest. Let someone else talk about how great you are.

Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy? – Indie primarily. I’ve read, enjoyed and developed appreciation for about as many of the classics as the average person, but lately I find myself gravitating toward those undiscovered gems floating around the indie landscape. I run across a few duds too, but the fun is in the hunt.

Do you have a favourite movie? – It rotates. Last week it was ‘Michael Clayton’. The week before that, it was ‘Jerry MaGuire’. This week, it’s ‘School Daze’ by Spike Lee.

Do you have any pets? – No. I’m sure to get a beagle before I die though. Once I get old, bitter and cranky and no one wants to be around me anymore, I’ll need the comfort and loyalty of a friend that I can keep chained to a post in the backyard.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? – I invented the internet. Well actually I didn’t, but I’m so awesome on it, that everyone assumes I did. I also believe, to the very core of my being, that watching ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ with a cup of spirited egg nog, is the best holiday experience there is, was or ever will be.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Amazon KDP:

AMZ Paperback:

Facebook Author Page:



And here’s an excerpt….

“Can I see her?” I asked.

“All business. You haven’t changed.” His perfect white smile grew wider as he looked me over. There was a sparkle in his eyes which almost made them look kind. “Come.”

Neal and I followed him into a smaller hallway. Kline stepped up to the scanner, and a beam of emerald light waved over his eyes. The three-foot thick steel doors separated. They’d switched to retinal scans instead of fingerprint I.D., probably as a precaution after my incident with Sentient One.

“After you,” he said. I stepped forward and he ushered me through the doors.

The first door we passed was the one—the one where I beheaded an alien and lost my job. Nervous energy shot through my gut as we walked by. Neal glanced over at me. I looked away and stared straight ahead while Kline chatted away about some boat he’d bought recently.

Soon we came to the end of the hallway and turned to the right toward an area I’d never been to before. Kline took us through another set of double doors leading to a larger hallway. Wide windows of thick glass lined the left side of the hall, allowing us to see into a huge examination room.

Through the windows, I saw a teen-aged girl chained to a metal bench. Jennifer Thomas’s head hung low. I noticed the clumps of hair at her feet and the reddish patches of scalp they’d left behind. On the bench opposite the girl sat what looked like a toolbox surrounded by various instruments of interrogation. The pool of urine under the bench suggested Jennifer had been introduced to more than a few of them.

I walked closer to the window. Her bruised and blood stained body reminded me how much I despised the aliens and enjoyed seeing them in pain. Even though she looked human, I knew the truth. To a civilian, the scene I witnessed would seem deplorable. I saw it as no less than just.

“She looks human,” I said.

“Remarkably so,” Kline replied. “Even bleeds red. The normal tests identify her as having human DNA. The alien cells are masked, hidden at almost sub-atomic levels—a perfect genetic mixture of human and alien chromosomes. Needless to say, the scientific community has never seen anything like this.”

“We dropped the ball, Doc,” I said. “We should have known they were up to something.”

“Hindsight my darling,” he said. “And unfortunately none of us can reverse the hands of time.”

“What does she know?” Neal asked.

“She hasn’t told me much so far. What we do know is she goes by the name Jennifer Thomas and until yesterday was a recent high school graduate, assigned to a technical services position in the General Communications Office.”

“Shit,” I said. “Aliens who look like us and can blend in with population. That ain’t good.”

“No.” He paused and watched Jennifer through the glass. “I’m afraid it isn’t.”

“Has she gone primal since she’s been here?”

“It comes and goes, usually when I get rough with her. She doesn’t seem to be able to control it at will, otherwise I fear I’d be wearing a few scars on my lovely face.”

Kline smiled. Even after all I’d seen him do, I wondered how someone so polite and cordial could be so systematically ruthless in the art of inflicting pain.

“She’s crying,” I said, as I watched Jennifer’s tears splatter against the metal floor.

“Yes,” Kline said. “But in my profession I’ve seen a vast number of people cry. I don’t ever think I’ve seen tears as empty and as devoid of soul as hers. Almost robotic.”

“So what happens next?”

“They want her alive when I’m done. That’s all I know.”

“I wanna talk to her,” I said.

He glanced at Neal then returned his smile to me. “Access is restricted for now. But I’ve posted my preliminary findings on the server. You’ll have my full report when I’m done.”


“We’ll have to catch up, when this is done,” he said. “It’s been too long.”

Kline extended his naked hand and I reached for it. He surprised me by pulling me into a tight embrace. He held me for several seconds before whispering, “Don’t close your eyes darling, not even for a second.”

He ended the moment with a quick kiss on my temple.

I watched him walk away and enter the door at the end of the hall. Seconds later he appeared in the room with Jennifer. The girl looked up as Kline fished through the toolbox. They were in a soundproof room, but the look of panic in Jennifer’s eyes and her muted scream assured me Kline’s report was about to be updated.

“You hungry?” Neal asked.

“If the Buffalo wings are as ruthless as I remember, I’ll pass.”

We took the elevator to the second floor, level “B’. As the doors closed behind us, Neal led me toward the small office at the end of the hall known as the ‘Broom Closet’, a location where agents were individually de-briefed after missions, or given psych evaluations. It was a necessary step before my reinstatement could become official.

Once inside, a burly agent with hairy arms jutting from his rolled up sleeves pulled out a wooden chair from beneath a metal table. He motioned for me to come forward. I noticed a pulse monitor polygraph on the table.

I turned to Neal.

“You know the drill.” Neal walked toward the door. “Hopefully this won’t take too long.”

“You’re not staying?”

“I’ve got to go get prepared for the briefing. I’ll send someone to get you when they’re done.”

I sat in the chair and placed my arms on the table. “Let’s get this over with, Cupcake.”

As the door closed behind Neal, I felt the man’s thick fingers clamp around my wrist. He wrapped a blood pressure gauge around my bicep and pulled it tight before securing the Velcro. As I adjusted to the tightness of the strap, the agent pressed my palm flat against the table and slid a plastic sheath over my ring finger.

My eyes followed the wire leads from the sheath up to the base of the monitor. The agent pressed a button on the device. After a few seconds, a pair of rectangular screens jumped to life and waves of thin lines began flowing across the panels from left to right.

Meanwhile, the agent reached behind the monitor and lifted a small syringe filled with a rust colored fluid. With a blank expression, he leaned in, lifted my right elbow and hovered over the bulging vein. Just as the needle punctured my skin, a light flickered on at the rear of the room. I made out a shadow of a person sitting on the other side of a window. A speaker clicked on, followed by an electronic hum. The burly agent left the room and a woman’s voice echoed through the audio system.

“I am going to ask you questions and you are going to answer truthfully. We have injected you with a chemical agent that will help facilitate this process. When this is over, you will most likely not remember what was asked or what you said. But in compliance with Agent Neal’s request, a video transcript of these proceedings will be made available to you after we have made our assessment. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“What is your name?” The woman asked.

“Dillon Shaw.”

“What is your agent CID?”


“What was your last assignment?”


“Have you killed for this agency before?”

My eyes grew heavy and my vision blurred. As the warm liquid snaked through my veins, it became more and more difficult to focus. My mind felt unhinged, like my brain was floating in a thick fog and I no longer felt in control of my thoughts. As I struggled to put words together and form a clear response, the woman’s voice boomed over the room again.

“Have you killed for this agency before?”

My lips began moving without my consent.


Author Interview Number Twenty-Six – Matt Langford

cartel watchman coverWelcome to Matt Langford

Please tell us a little about yourself.  I’m 39 years old and growing older on an almost annual basis.  I work as an ICU nurse in the UK and employ a wife and two children to shout at me rather a lot.  I’ve just returned from a mountain bike weekend where I cycled to the top of a mountain (definitely a mountain … we checked) and then back down again.  I also play the guitar, despite what other people say.  I’ve been writing for about ten years and have started to release my work on Kindle.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My styles are very eclectic.  I seem to be best at writing first person, literary fiction novels.  I’ve had some astonishing reviews for my first novel, The Watchman.   But I also enjoy writing dark comedy, sci fi (more akin to extraordinary moments occurring in the real world) and horror.  I have a collection of short stories called the Burning Man Prophecies which cover all of these genres.  I like to really get into the guts of my characters and get them to behave appallingly.  I’m currently writing the final draft of the first of a series of novels that take place in the fictional town of Minus, a place somewhere in the UK where all sorts of unusual rules and occurrences govern the lives of its inhabitants.  A trip to Jupiter, for instance, is not considered out of the ordinary.  People are able to travel back to moments in their lives and learn lessons from their mistakes.  It rarely helps them, however…

Where can readers find your book? The Watchman can be found  (US amazon) and The Burning Man Prophecies can be found here US amazon).  UK readers need to simply click on the UK link at the side of the page.

How long have you been writing and what, if anything, made you choose the genre in which you write? My first story was written 25 years ago during a history lesson.  My teacher was very cross.  I think the genres have chosen me.  As I say, I enjoy the comedy/sci fi stuff, but seem to have more flair for the literary stuff.

Who or what are your inspirations/influences? Douglas Adams is my ultimate inspiration.  His ability to create a fully functional yet hilariously flawed world and then dismantle it with one devastating line was unparalleled.

Can you name both a positive and negative experience from your writing? The most positive experience I have gained from writing is being able to spend a bit of time on my own and allow my imagination to run away and wild.  The most negative experience from writing is being isolated from my family and the weird places I visit in my head.  Writing is a strange pass time…

With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why? Yes I would like to publish printed books.  It is a vital medium.  The printed word is part of our history as a species and gave rise to the spread of our intelligence.  There is something special about picking up a book or a newspaper and having that tangible link to the mind that wrote those words.  Although ebooks and ereaders are extraordinary items and every bit as revolutionary to human evolution as the printing press was hundreds of years ago, there exists a different magic.  Both should live side by side – I’d hate to see one push the other into extinction.

Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? I listen to music.  Well, I press play on a CD and then realise 2 hours later that the music finished playing some time before.  Always a good sign I’m writing well..

Books are important, why is this the case? Our minds are like a series of doors that need to be unlocked over and over again.  Only books can open those doors and leave a wedge.  They teach us not only about the subject in hand but also about ourselves – by studying our own reactions to what we read on a page we can learn and become enriched.  No other medium can do this.

What can a book provide that say a video game cannot? Everything.  Video games close those ‘mind’ doors, turn the key in the lock, snap the key off and move a heavy piece of furniture over the doorway…

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I am the ‘eye double’ for Harrison Ford in all the Indiana Jones films.  Also, I once saved a penalty from Peter Osgood in a five a side match.  A penalty is a free shot at goal in football (soccer).  Peter Osgood was one of the great football (soccer) players from the 1970s.

Author Interview Number Eighteen – Pamela Boles Eglinski

Welcome to Pamela Boles Eglinski

Please tell us a little about yourself  I was born in San Francisco and raised on the Peninsula. When I was in first grade, my father purchased an acre of land in the foothills overlooking the bay, and built our home. It was a beautiful location and provided us with a “playground” of pastures and hills.

My mother was a huge influence on my writing. She wrote books for children but unfortunately none were published. I wish I had those manuscripts now. They would be such a wonderful keepsake.

I earned my academic degrees in education, history, and art history. I hold three masters degrees and use every bit of them each day. In particular, I’ve made use of my research skills and knowledge of Asia. My novels reflect my passion for the Orient.

I’ve been writing fiction for twelve years. Before that, I was a non-profit manager, fundraiser, and university teacher. I worked for Save the Children-US, for a number of years and that fueled my passion for global issues with a focus on women and girls.

I live in Lawrence, Kansas, home of the University of Kansas, about thirty-five miles from Kansas City, Missouri.

Please tell us a little about your writing. I’ve written two novels and two short anthologies. Each novel is in a different genre: romantic suspense, suspense, and time-travel/historical. Big publishing houses would not allow me that freedom. They prefer an author remain in the same genre and not mix the genres within a single book. Given my genre rich style, I believe e-publishing is ideal for me. It allows me to genre-switch and genre-blend.

All of my novels feature my female Indiana Jones, Catalina Syrah, and her partner Nicholas Bonhomme, agent with the French Directorate. The antagonist is Gul Mazeer, collaborator with the renewed ancient Assassin Cult. I’ve purposefully created a woman of strength, with a bit of the fantastic – just like Indy.

My first novel (in a series of at least three books), is Return of the French Blue. This book qualifies as romantic suspense and establishes my characters and their relationship. As a ninety-year old friend of mine recently said, after reading the novel, “Pam, I never imagined you were familiar with those body parts! The swimming pool sex … wow!”

A little background on the novel: Louis XIV initially purchased the French Blue diamond. It was ultimately sold to the Hope family. But (and here comes the fiction) there were “baby-blues” that were strung into a necklace of astonishing beauty. The necklace is the focus of the novel. Not wanting to spoil the story, I will stop here.

Novel number two, She Rides with Genghis Khan, features Catalina and Bonhomme in a quest to secure the ancient Buddha Jewel. Mazeer relentlessly pursues them across the ancient Silk Road. Oh, and yes, she does ride with Genghis Khan. The novel is filled with adventure and suspense, including a fantastic ending—a blend of genres not unlike Raiders of the Lost Ark.

To prepare for novel number three, When the Eunuchs Ruled, I traveled to China in March. This novel will again blend two genres: time-travel and historical fiction. I like shaking up the genres from novel to novel. It challenges my writing skills and keeps my characters fresh.

Where can readers find your book. My books are readily available at They may be purchased in paperback or digital format. See: Pamela Boles Eglinski, on Amazon, and you’ll find all four of my books. If you don’t own a Kindle, and want to read a digital copy, just download the Kindle app to your computer, and read the book off your laptop, cell phone, iPad, or whatever.

Why did you choose the genres in which you write? Curiously, I think my characters chose the genres. Return of the French Blue takes place on the French Riviera – what better place for romance? She Rides with Genghis Khan covers a lot of territory … from Afghanistan to Mongolia. Suspense haunts the modern-day caravan across the ancient Silk Road. Mazeer stalks Catalina and Bonhomme throughout the novel, right up to the fantastic ending. And, my third novel When the Eunuchs Ruled, (which is yet to be published), gives me the opportunity to write historical fiction and time travel. Actually, you could say that all of my novels take not-so-well-known-fact and mold it into a gripping story that is purely fiction.

Can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one? Writing is an absolute joy and pleasure. I never suffer from writer’s block. There is always an exciting story churning in my head. Writing provides me with a world of my own making, where I direct the characters in life-threatening adventures.

Spelling is my nemesis.  Microsoft Word corrects some of my spelling errors, but not all. I get into a lot of trouble with my editor and proofreader. They can’t believe a writer can be so spelling and grammatically lame. It’s a heavy burden. 😉

With the rise of e-books, do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why? We live in time of enormous change in the publishing world. Many say it is comparable to the age of Guttenberg and the advent of movable type. I believe them. In 2014, it’s forecast that digital books will outnumber those sold in print. The movement to digital books has occurred at warp-speed … in fact, so fast that it astounds us all. Many traditional publishing houses and big bookstores have not been able to keep pace, hence the merging of publishers (we are down to five big publishing houses in the US) and the demise of Borders and perhaps Barnes & Noble. Amazon was way ahead of the curve – powering up with the Kindle, Createspace (for print-on-demand books), and the resources for global distribution. They recently rounded out the ideal virtual bookstore by purchasing Goodreads – a forum of fifteen million readers and writers who are interested in like-minded people, book reviews, discussion groups, and easy and immediate purchasing.

I publish in both paperback and digital format. There will always be a desire, and a need, for hard-copy books. I hope we never lose our passion to hold a good book in our laps and thumb through the pages. There is something enduring about that scene. It’s a pleasure that I don’t want to lose.

Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write?

I’m distracted by music and TV, however I need some background noise so I leave the TV on during the day with the sound adjusted to a low rumble. That’s good for my psyche too, as writing is a solitary business, and I need to feel connected to the world even though it may be through a low roar. That said, I played Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, and the sound track from the movie French Kiss, the entire time I wrote Return of the French Blue. Again, the volume was so low I couldn’t detect the words … just the quite tunes in the background.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie cannot? Books and movies are two very different forms of entertainment. When I read, my imagination goes wild. I conjure up the scenes. I cast the characters. I hear their voices. If I read a book first and then see the movie (based on the book), I am sure to be disappointed. However, if you turn that around … it’s not so bad. For example, I saw the Life of Pi, on a recent flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco. It was magic! When I got home, I read the book. The movie helped me envision the scenes better than I could have done on my own, and that is due to supreme cinematography and the incredible imagination of the director.

What advice would you give new writers? Practice your craft and engage in writers’ critique groups. This is how you learn to write well. If you love to write … keep at it!

Most authors also like to read, what books do you enjoy? I love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I always “clear the decks” when one of her 1000 page tomes is released. I love her characters, the historical wrap, the tension she creates between characters, and suspense. I also enjoy the suspense-packed novels of James Rollins. I loved Dan Brown’s novels until his last two. Oh, and let’s not forget Michael Crichton’s Timeline, Congo, and Jurassic Park. I recently read Lisa See’s Shanghai Girls, and have become a real fan of her writing. There are so many more, but I’ll stop there.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself I learned my ABC’s before my older brother, and have never let him forget it.

New book release I will publish a second anthology in October. Watch for Father’s Fried Egg Sandwiches. It is a companion to Mother’s Red Fingernail Polish, which is currently available on Amazon.

Both books feature six delightful stories. Each one showcases humor and adventure in the world around us. You’ll discover lives well lived, challenges taken, a person remembered, and laughter earned. The reviews of Mother’s Red Fingernail Polish are glowing, and I believe Father’s Fried Egg Sandwiches will be reviewed just as well.

Please enjoy these delightful little books at the wonderful price of ninety-nine cents.

Looking for Pam? Look no further.


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Listen to me live on KLWN, 1320 AM radio, broadcasting from Lawrence, KS, USA. Jeremy Taylor, a Brit, hosts the Saturday morning show “About the House.” My topic is books and authors. Please note: we are in the process of archiving past programs.