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!

Swift Six Author Interview – Raven Oak #Fantasy

Name:   Raven Oak

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

I’m a disabled, geeky, enby and full-time SF/F author and artist. I live in the Seattle area with my partner and three special-needs kitties and we both enjoy gaming (tabletop, board game, and video games) and exploring the ocean. Cartography and linguistics are both hobbies of mine, and I love living in the Pacific NW.

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

I have a lot of them so I’ll tell you about Book I of my Boahim Trilogy, Amaskan’s Blood.

It’s been described by others as Disney’s Tangled meets Game of Thrones. I don’t think it’s as violent as GoT but it’s a valid description in terms of the study of familial relationships and political intrigue. My short blurb for it is: Two sisters. Two loyalties. One path together. The two sisters didn’t grow up together and are the antithesis of each other. Adelei has been raised in the Order of Amaska, a holy sect of assassins that seek out Justice for their clients. Margaret is the very stereotype of spoiled princess. Through book I, as they grow to know each other, they both learn lessons from each other that make them better people. While the familial themes are going, there’s an ancient evil brewing because let’s be honest, there always is in epic fantasy. The trilogy is about how they deal with various shades of evil and what evil really is.

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

I’ve always written. My first publication was actually a children’s book I wrote and illustrated that was published as part of a university study on children’s literacy. Whenever I got into trouble, I made up a story to go along with it and explain what “really happened” and why it “wasn’t my fault.” Some people call those lies or super-elaborations but in my brain, they were stories. Adventures to entertain me and keep me from thinking too hard about the environment I grew up in.

When I was twelve, I discovered the majority of SF/F, specifically Anne McCaffrey. I liked her photo in the back of the book because she looked like my grandmother and even shared the same birthday (April 1st), plus the books I first found had dragons (my fav). After devouring the Pern novels, I spent my summer that year writing a 350+ page novel that was my own version of The Dragonriders of Pern. I didn’t know what fanfiction was but it was pretty much that. I even got map making supplies and drew my own maps. I drew dragons and characters as well. I was hooked. I’d written stories before then but never a full novel. After that book, I wrote a trilogy, and by the time I was in high school, I was writing daily of my own material (not fan-fiction). It wasn’t until college that I began to seek publication.

What writing plans do you have for the future?

I’ve got three novels, 1 short story collection, and 1 story in an anthology due out in the next twelve months! Right now, I’m working on revisions for most of those works with some pretty serious deadlines so wish me luck!

What do you like to read?

I read most genres: sci-fi, fantasy, horror, thriller, mysteries, urban fantasy, historical fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, etc. I don’t read a lot of romance unless it’s mixed into one of the other genres. Straight up romance and erotica tends to bore me as a demisexual. As far as my favorites, they shift all the time since I read a LOT, but some favs are: Rebecca Roanhorse, Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, Jenny Lawson, and Shannon Mayer.

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

Don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s how we learn.

Author bio and book synopsis

BIO:

Multi-international award-winning speculative fiction author Raven Oak is best known for Amaskan’s Blood (2016 Ozma Fantasy Award Winner, Epic Awards Finalist, & Reader’s Choice Award Winner), Amaskan’s War (2018 UK Wishing Award YA Finalist), and Class-M Exile. She also has many published short stories in anthologies and magazines. She’s even published on the moon! Raven spent most of her K-12 education doodling stories and 500 page monstrosities that are forever locked away in a filing cabinet.

Besides being a writer and artist, she’s a geeky, disabled ENBY who enjoys getting her game on. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband, and their three kitties who enjoy lounging across the keyboard when writing deadlines approach. Her hair color changes as often as her bio does, and you can find her at www.ravenoak.net.

Amaskan’s Blood Book Synopsis:

Adelei was a master in her field, one of the feared Order of Amaska. Those who were a danger to the Little Dozen Kingdoms wound up dead by her hand. The Order sends her deep into the Kingdom of Alexander, away from her home in Sadai, and into the hands of the Order’s enemy, her birth father. The job is nothing short of a suicide mission, one serving no king, no god, and certainly not Justice. With no holy order to protect her, she tumbles dagger-first into the Boahim Senate’s political schemes and finds that magic is very much alive and well in the Little Dozen Kingdoms.

They say the truth depends on which side of the sword one stands. But they never said what to do when all the swords are pointing at you.

Links/Social media

Website: www.ravenoak.net

Mailing List: https://www.ravenoak.net/join-the-conspiracy/

Facebook Author Page:  https://facebook.com/authorroak

Facebook Reader Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/ravenconspiracy

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/raven_oak

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/author_raven_oak/

Goodreads Author Page:  https://www.goodreads.com/raven_oak

Bookbub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/raven-oak

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Raven-Oak/e/B00P5PT4AM

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/kaonevar/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ravenoak1

Swift Six Author Interview – Jon Cronshaw

Name: Jon Cronshaw

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

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

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

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

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

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

What writing plans do you have for the future?

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

What do you like to read?

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

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

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

There is no magic bullet.

Author bio and book synopsis

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

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

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

Dawn of Assassins:

Two friends. A master assassin. One deadly choice.

Fedor and Lev are thieves…not killers.

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

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

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

Can they survive the master’s relentless evaluation?

Is loyalty stronger than the will to live?

Will their friendship last the ordeal?

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

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

Links/Social media

https://joncronshaw.com

https://facebook.com/joncronshawauthor

https://youtube.com/c/joncronshawauthor

https://instagram.com/joncronshawauthor

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

Swift Six Author Interview – Tahani Nelson #Fantasy #MilitaryFantasy #Femaleheroes

Name: Tahani Nelson

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so): My name is Tahani Nelson, and I’m the author of the Faoii Chronicles, a female-led military fantasy series. I’ve always loved reading, but growing up I struggled to find heroines that I could identify with or aspire to be. Women in classic fantasy always seemed to be damsels in distress or love interests. Even when I could find an awesome heroine with dreams and aspirations, more often than not it seemed she’d meet a guy halfway through the novel and that would be her main focus. I was so over love triangles by the time I turned 16. So now I write all the heroines that young me looked for and couldn’t find—and it turns out I wasn’t the only one searching. Together, we’ve built the Faoii Army—readers that have followed me through everything and come out the other side triumphantly through every obstacle. I think at this point I’m most famous for always attending readings, signings, and events in full armor and warpaint. I know a lot of people told me it was weird when I first started doing it, but you don’t get anywhere in this world without taking a few risks. And let me tell you—a fantasy lover will cut across a room to talk to someone in cool-looking armor. It’s a great conversation starter, and even if someone doesn’t buy my books the first time they pass my booth, there’s no question that they’ll remember they saw me.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short) The Faoii Chronicles is a completed military fantasy series that focuses on the unforeseen aftermath of war. We all have the power to forge new destinies and futures—but ripples can cause tidal waves, and even the smallest actions can change the Eternal Tapestry in monumental ways.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it? According to my father, I’ve been writing “books” my entire life. I didn’t really start exploring it seriously until high school, though, when I wrote a 360,000 word monstrosity filled with tropes and two-dimensional characters. But I’ve always had supportive, loving people in my life, and they helped me to practice and hone my craft.  I published my debut novel, The Last Faoii in 2017, and with the incredible support of the Faoii Army, it’s grown beyond anything anyone ever expected. It’s truly been an honor.

What writing plans do you have for the future? Honestly, I don’t know right now. The Faoii Chronicles have been the center of my existence for so long that I’ve kind of forgotten what my life was like before I started it. Now that the series is complete and available everywhere, I’m paralyzed by choice. I can keep writing military fantasy or I can move on to something with dragons or I can explore the science fiction world I created in a short story called “Honeysuckle Sky.” I’m free to do anything. I have no doubt that inspiration will strike and carry me forward the same way it did for my first series. You haven’t heard the last of me.

What do you like to read? I love fantasy, but I also come back to the classics quite often. Fahrenheit 451 is my favorite novel of all time, and I read it anytime I worry about whether or not my words have worth. When I search for something new, I try to support indie authors, because I know how much of a difference a single sale can make sometimes. And ripples can cause tidal waves.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure? Stop comparing yourself to other writers. There will always be someone who writes more than you each night. Who sells more copies or who attends more events or makes more in royalties. It is so easy to get discouraged when you’re constantly comparing yourself to other authors—especially on social media. Those highlighted reels of other people’s “best of” moments while you only focus on your “bloopers” track. Comparison is a thief of joy. It is a soul crushing habit made specifically to extinguish whatever sets your soul on fire. Instead, I encourage you to think about where you were a year ago. Or five. Or ten. That person in the earliest stages of writing would have believed you could ever come this far. They would be so proud of you. And rightfully so. You’d be their hero. YOUR hero. And that’s exactly how it should be. If you must compare, then only compare the author you are now to the author you were then. And keep going. I can’t wait to see what author you’ll be.

 

Author bio and book synopsis

Tahani Nelson is an author and English teacher in Billings, Montana. With hundreds of 5-star reviews and an ever-growing army of Faoii at her back, Nelson has become a common attendee at author events, Renaissance festivals, news programs, and conventions across the US– always wearing full armor and a face resplendent with warpaint. While her most notable appearances have been at the Indie Audiobook Awards and Fantasycon discussion panels, she most frequently gives presentations about empowerment and creating strong, healthy female role models in modern media.

Synopsis of The Faoii Chronicles

The Faoii Order is the shield of Imeriel. Wielding both magic and blade, these women have held back ancient evils and maintained sacred rites for millennia. But when a dark war uncovers secrets that even the Faoii cannot keep hidden, it starts a chain of events threatening the free will of an entire continent.

As old leaders fall and new ones rise to take their place, a warrior, a thief, and a launderer all strive to fix what’s been broken. But none can see how their actions affect the Eternal Tapestry—and all are unknowingly bound to the Threads that the others grasp.

In an intricate tale that spans centuries, The Faoii Chronicles is both empowering and immersive. Everyone has the power to forge their own destiny—and even the smallest actions can change the Weave in monumental ways.

 

 

Links/Social media

https://www.TahaniNelson.com

https://www.facebook.com/TheLastFaoii

https://www.twitter.com/TahaniNelson

Instagram: TahaniNelson

TikTok: TahaniNelson

Nelson_AuthorPhoto_Armor

 

 

 

Author Interview E. G. Creel #Fantasy #MeetanAuthor

Name: E. G. Creel

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so): Vocationally, I’m a photographer and the mother of two Hobbits. Currently, I’m blooming near Augusta, Georgia.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short) The Immortal subtitle Life or death. The choice is hers. Contemporary/dark fantasy. A midlife crisis, island paradise, mass murder, and immortal Vikings.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it? The Immortal is my debut book. I stumbled into writing in 2021 after having a bad dream. I thought I’d write a paragraph to get the idea out of my head and ended up completing my first draft six weeks later.

What writing plans do you have for the future? Next up is the audiobook. I’m also writing ongoing episodes on Kindle Vella.

What do you like to read? Netflix subtitles.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure? Writing a book is the fun part. Selling it is the hard part.

 

 Book synopsis

Emma just turned forty and has finally decided to begin living her best life. She books a vacation at a resort on a French Polynesian island only to find herself on the dinner menu of an immortal Viking. If she keeps her wits, and with a little luck, maybe she’ll make it off the island alive.

Spoiler alert: Don’t fall in love because the ending will rip your heart out.

https://amzn.to/3rMrMUZ – The Immortal in Kindle

https://amzn.to/3BitErB – The Immortal in Hardcover

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 E. G. Creel is currently blooming with her family near Augusta, Georgia. The Immortal is her debut novel. Thanks for supporting an indie author.

 

Links/Social media

https://www.facebook.com/EG-Creel-103874478633203/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21925578.E_G_Creel

https://linktr.ee/E.G.Creel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swift Six Author Interview – J A Duxbury #Scifi

Name: J A Duxbury

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so): J A Duxbury has been writing since primary school as a kid and has ventured outside science fiction to create a refreshing take on a popular genre.

She is interested in a wide variety of music, having studied the piano at an early age and paints land and sea scapes and is planning to expand to city scapes soon.

Julie shares 2 cats with Stu and their plan is to take the cats on a very long road trip around Australia.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short) I have 2:

Dark Dimensions – a clan of vampires and humans is lost in dimensions due to a scientific experiment going wrong.

Heart of Deception – a world-class thief is blackmailed into participating in a clandestine operation for a Crown Prince and then is blackmailed into stealing from the Crown. He must race race home with the prize before everything falls apart.

When did you start your writing adventure? What was the inspiration for it? I began around 10 years old and my inspiration came from other authors and TV shows.

What writing plans do you have for the future? Keep writing and getting as many books out there as possible.

What do you like to read? I choose science fiction and fantasy but have been known to read mysteries and crime.

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you’d started your writing adventure? Keep writing. never stop.

 

Author bio and book synopsis

I have been writing since I was ten but had a hiatus for about 20 years before writing a spate of fan fiction and finally getting back into writing. My chosen genre is science fiction, but I do write from my dreams so my genre can be anything.

Dark Dimensions

The dimensions are full of danger and Troy and his family must deal with those dangers when they come across them. They include power-hungry Clan Leaders, battles between other clans and a mad scientist. eventually coming to control their mad dash through the dimensions.

Heart of Deception

Marek can get into just about any locked compartment, building, room. But when he answers a dare to steal from the Royal Family, he must decide whether it’s a trap or not. Marek’s world is turned upside down when he agrees to work with the Royal Family, not realising that failure means an end to a small island country.

Links/Social media

Clans in Conflict

Dark Dimensions

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Dimensions-Clans-Conflict-Book-ebook/dp/B08P6N5C22

http://www.amazon.com.au/Dark-Dimensions-Clans-Conflict-Book-ebook/dp/B08P6N5C22

Dark Reign (to be published)

Consequences

Heart of Deception

http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Deception-Consequences-Book-1-ebook/dp/B098PMXY76

http://www.amazon.com.au/Heart-Deception-Consequences-Book-1-ebook/dp/B098PMXY76

Legacy of Risks – for Pre-order – releasing on 22 February 2022

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B09PKM87ZZ

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B09PKM87ZZ

Social media

Facebook Author page: http://www.facebook.com/jaduxbury1

Facebook Group: J A Duxbury’s Weird Words: http://www.facebook.com/groups/3357069671029525

LinkedIn

http://www.linkedin.com/in/julie-duxbury-0462153b/

Twitter: @JADuxbury1

Website: www. jaduxbury.com/

julz author 1

 

 

 

 

Author Interview – Rita Lee Chapman #Crime #Mystery

 

Welcome to Crime author, Rita Lee Chapman.

Please tell us about your publications/work.

There are four books in the Anna Davies Mystery Series: Missing in Egypt, Missing at Sea, Missing in London and Missing in France.

I have also written two crime mysteries – Dangerous Associations and The Poinciana Tree.  I have also written a book for horse lovers, from teenagers upwards, Winston – A Horse’s Tale. 

I decided the beautiful Poinciana tree would make a great cover for a book, so I started with the cover and then built a story around it.

Most of my books also come in large print editions.

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

I believe learning to read and write empowers everyone and should be a basic human right. 

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

I was actually given this advice by a wise, local bookshop owner.  “Don’t expect to become rich from your writing.”  Perhaps I should have taken more notice!

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

I think I would choose Kate Moreton, a local Australian author, who writes so beautifully.  I would like to have oysters natural for entrée, followed by roast pork with crackling and real apple sauce accompanied by roast vegetables, finishing with a decadent chocolate dessert.  There would, of course, be French champagne to drink.

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

For some of my books, the research has already been done, i.e. I set the book in a country I have visited.  Other books require quite a lot of research.  For The Poinciana Tree I researched in formation on, and read books based in, the Sudan.  The wildest research I have done was on rohypnol, the rape drug, for Missing at Sea.

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

Write more books!

What is your writing space like?

Quiet!  I’m lucky to have a study, lined with book shelves.

Tell us about your latest piece?

Missing in France is Book #4 in the Anna Davies Mystery Series.  Like the others, it is a stand-alone book, although I have recently combined the four books into the Anna Davies Mystery Series e-book.  Here is the blurb:

When Mike accepts a two-year contract in France, Anna is delighted at the prospect of spending time in Paris and Marseille.  She doesn’t anticipate being drawn into yet another mystery, one which puts her own life in danger. 

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?

I don’t offer books for free.  I believe your time and energy deserve at least a small payment.  I also think a lot of free books are downloaded and never read, because that reader has downloaded so many free books, with the best of intentions but lack of time to read them.

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Technically perfect

Awesome world-building

With the influx of indie authors do you think this is the future of storytelling?

I think there is room for both indie authors and traditionally published authors.  It is the writing that counts, not the form of publishing.

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

I think online shopping has affected all shops, especially during Covid.  There is no doubt that bookshops have declined in number and many are much smaller in size, which mean they are limited in the number of books they can display.  I am confident, however, that there will always be a call for bookshops.

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

I wanted to be a show jumper, but as I lived in London, this was never likely to happen.  I was fortunate to go riding at a local riding school once a week and when I moved to Australia I rode all week-end for many years.  The show jumping bit never happened though.

Links to book

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08WZ4KCN3/

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X69SNJZ

Large Print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X63F2BN

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08X63F2BN/

Bio

Rita Lee Chapman was born in London and moved to Australia in her early twenties.  It was only when she retired that she wrote her first novel, Missing in Egypt, the first in the Anna Davies Mystery series.  This was followed by Missing at Sea, Missing in London and Missing in France. All can be enjoyed as stand-alone books.

Winston – A Horse’s Tale was written for horse lovers like herself.  “It was the book I had to write.”

Dangerous Associations and The Poinciana Tree are crime mysteries. 

When she’s not writing or reading, Rita enjoys playing tennis, walking and entertaining.

Website: www.ritaleechapman.com

 

 

 

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Guest Post – Blog Tour Harvey Havel – Short Fiction #Horror #Scifi #Surreal

Guest Post and Meet an Author 

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I went to a tiny college in Hartford, Connecticut.  In my sophomore year, I joined a fraternity.  In my senior year, there was a fraternity brother of mine named Jason Morfoot who told me this story about a group of guys who wrote poetry and literature all the time, smoked a lot of pot, dropped a lot of acid, and drove around in a psychedelic-painted bus with the Grateful Dead.

Once I heard this story, I asked Jason to tell it to me over and over again, probably to his chagrin.  I was so charmed by what the Beats did way back when that I said to myself, ‘Gee, maybe this writing thing is for me.’  Of course, it never turned out the way it turned out for them, but I never would have gone into writing had Jason not told me about the Beat Generation.  At the time, it sounded like they lived a fairy-tale life.  Perhaps they did.

Where were you born/grew up at?

I was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1971.  I immigrated to the United States when I was just a newborn.  My family first moved to Buffalo, New York, and over the years, we found ourselves in New York City by the mid-1970s.  Back then, New York City was in dire straits – high crime, intense poverty, drugs, etc.  I still can’t believe how my mother got through it all, living in the toughest neighborhood in the city at the time, which was then known as Alphabet City, or what is currently known as the Lower East Side.  God must have been with her the entire time.  I am really amazed at how she persevered. She was incredible woman, even though our relationship was not.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I like listening to the radio a lot.  Usually, NPR, or Classic Rock and Roll.

What inspired you to write this book?

Interestingly enough, these stories were somehow stored on my computer for several years before I accidently found them in a hidden file on my hard drive.  I discovered nearly ninety short stories that I forgotten I had ever written.  It turns out that nearly seven or eight years ago, the poet, John Allen of Albany, New York, had asked me to submit stories for his website, The New Surrealist Institute, which is now defunct.  This site had really been thriving, and a core group of authors had submitted avidly to it.  It was also quite popular with many readers.  When the website went offline, I had simply forgotten about the stories.  When I found them, I just knew I had to compile them into a book.

I wouldn’t say that anything in particular inspired me to write these stories, though.  The ideas came to me out of nowhere, which is why it took a lot of effort to construct them.  Some of the political stories were inspired by the 2016 elections, for instance.  There’s a science fiction story that is more a personal response to my past relationships with friends who have now grown up to do amazing things with their lives.  A couple stories are tributes to old friends of mine who had passed on: a painter friend of mine who had committed suicide in the 1990s and also a Black-American bluegrass musician who had recently passed away a couple of years ago.  But I can’t say exactly how I got the ideas for them, which is strange.  They are very diverse and, I hope, fun to read.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Right now, I am working on a book about September 11, 2001, when the Word Trade Center in New York was hit by a terrorist attack.  I haven’t been working on the project consistently as of late, though, but I hope to have it done in a couple of years.  Sometimes, life gets in the way of writing every day, which is something I made sure to do.  But I really do want the September 11th book to be my finest publication, so it is always on my mind, and when I am working on it, I am working really hard.

Who designed your book covers?

I have to do everything on the cheap, as I have self-published for a long time.  I usually find ready-made covers on the web, purchase them, and use them for my book covers.  I use a site called www.selfpubbookcovers.com.  There’s a guy named Rob there who runs the show, and he has always been very responsive and helpful.  He has hundreds of covers to choose from.  Hiring designers for the job is just way too expensive for me.  Ready-made covers from great designers are a great way to package my books.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Never give up!  Never give up!  Never give up!

How long have you been writing?

I have been a professional writer for nearly 30 years without much success.  While I have published 18 books, it seems that it is hard to attract the public to read them.  I am definitely not able to make a living off of any of these books.  Instead, I have a fixed income every month from a variety of sources, including Social Security Disability, that has sustained me for all of these years.  While I am very happy to see all of my peers succeed and do very well in life, it has been equally as difficult to remain within the same income bracket for so long.  But then again, if you are concerned about the money, writing is definitely not the right career path to choose, or so is my experience.

Lately, I have been taking it easier.  I hope to continue writing for the rest of my years, but I do admit that I am a bit tired of always being broke and pinching pennies all the time.  That is the hard part.  But somehow, I have made it through, and my books are all out there, should anyone find them.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

I invest a lot in the research process.  After a general story idea comes to mind, I refine that idea into a plot outline.  Once that is done, I target those parts of the plot that I know nothing of. 

For instance, I wrote a book about football.  While I had known about football from playing it in my youth, I needed to investigate how professional players practice, not generally, but specifically.  So, with that example in mind, I had to go to the library, or surf the internet, to find books that detailed the drills that professional coaches used in their practices.  I took this information and then put them on notecards.  Then, I added this information to the plot outline and created a chapter-by-chapter outline with the research included in every respective chapter.  That’s how it has worked for me thus far.

Also, I find it extremely important to include a bibliography at the back of the book, should I use research.  That way, the writing is based not only on my imagination, but also cold, hard facts.  One should always cite one’s sources anyway.  Plus, I have found it really fun doing the research.  It’s incredible how much I have learned about a variety of subjects over the years.  When writing historical fiction especially, research is always key.

What do you think about the current publishing market?

Not much.  But then again, I haven’t read much of what is out there.

Pen or type writer or computer?

I usually hand-write a manuscript, revise it on paper, and then I type it into the computer, constantly revising it. I then print out the manuscript and revise it again.  But I usually do this chapter-by-chapter, not the entire manuscript at once.  I find it easier to break it down into manageable parts.

I used to hand-write it and then use a typewriter, but luckily for everyone, the personal computer came along.

Advice they would give new authors?

Definitely do not put all of your eggs in the one basket of writing.  If you are going to write or edit for a job, or work as a journalist for a decent salary, that’s fine.  But please do not make the same mistake I had made by banking it all on writing fiction novels at an early age.  Even though I have developed as a writer through hardship, I don’t think it was really all that worth it. 

If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen a career with a good salary, so that I could have afforded a good car, attracted a nice girlfriend, afforded a simple house, and did what most of my peers have done, or at least developed how most people are portrayed in the media of today.  I wouldn’t have had such a cavalier ‘all or none’ attitude about a becoming a writer. 

Betting it all on the one hand and winning at it is the stuff of dreams and fantasy and not reality.  I am definitely not saying that it won’t happen, though, because a new author definitely could hit the big time with a book or a number of books.  But if you find yourself broke and on the street in the freezing cold, as I have witnessed in every city I have lived in, you should really stop and reassess where you are heading.  In my opinion, it is not possible to write under conditions of abject poverty for too long.  Better to get a roof over your head before writing that next line.

The Odd and the Strange:
A Collection of Very Short Fiction
by Harvey Havel
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Surrealist, Fabulist
A Collection of Very Short Fiction from a variety of genres, including but not limited to horror, science fiction, politics, and the surreal. These celebrated very short stories have been collected over a number of years and have been published in a variety of online e-zines and posted on various websites.
THE ODD AND THE STRANGE by Harvey Havel is a collection of urban tales that toe the line of reality.
The subtitle of Harvey Havel’s THE ODD AND THE STRANGE is A Collection of Very Short Fiction. A better one would be A Very Long Book of Normal-Sized Short Fiction. There are 89 stories in all, most 5-10 pages long (though a few stretch to nearly twenty), with unassuming titles like “Visitation,” “Girlfriend,” and “Daughter.” Though set in the real world, the stories tease reality with nameless characters–the candidate, the doctor, the Big Man–and fantastical occurrences, similar to the parables of Jorge Luis Borges (Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Spanish language literature).
Being a librarian, I was eager to read the story “The Librarian.” A young male librarian–unnamed, naturally–looks into a mirror in his office and sees not his reflection but a woman with “walnut hair luxuriously long and her skin as supple as a young girl’s.” He has seen her many times, and though the two cannot touch, they can talk. What do they talk about? The books he steals from the library and passes into the mirror for her to read. Eventually, his boss confronts the librarian over the missing books only to be told that the latter he gave them to his mirror-world girlfriend. To prove this claim, the librarian tries to summon the woman, and when she doesn’t appear, the librarian smashes the mirror. You can imagine the rest.
Some stories are less Borges and more Stephen Crane (author of The Red Badge of Courage): bleak, violent. Like “Lightning Love,” narrated by a wife whose husband changes into . . . something (the twist at the end is brilliant). Others are political fables, like “Santa Claus and Madam Secretary,” which makes Havel’s proclivities as clear as the image on a 98-inch TV. His style can be clunky–one woman’s breasts are described as “shaped like a queen’s”–and some endings are telegraphed. A few stories, like “Sex Toy,” are more like story fragments. Yet THE ODD AND THE STRANGE is quite an accomplishment: unusual, provocative, and honest.
Mixing the fabulism of Jorge Luis Borges with the bleakness of Stephen Crane, the tales contained in Harvey Havel’s THE ODD AND THE STRANGE draw the reader into a world they won’t soon forget.
~Anthony Aycock for IndieReader
**Get this book at 50% off at Smashwords and check out Harvey’s other books
– a lot of them are FREE or on sale at Smashwords too!**
Harvey Havel is a short-story writer and novelist.
His first novel, Noble McCloud, A Novel, was published in November of 1999. His second novel, The Imam, A Novel, was published in 2000.
Over the years of being a professional writer, Havel published his third novel, Freedom of Association. He worked on several other books and published his eighth novel, Charlie Zero’s Last-Ditch Attempt, and his ninth, The Orphan of Mecca, Book One, which was released several years ago. A full trilogy of this work had been completed a few years after Mr. Big is about a Black-American football player who deals with injury and institutionalized racism. This book was published in 2017. It’s his fifteenth book.
The Wild Gypsy of Arbor Hill is his sixteenth book, and his seventeenth is a non-fiction political essay about America’s current political crisis, written in 2019. He has just now published his eighteenth book, The Odd and The Strange: A Collection of Very Short Fiction.
Havel is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. He also taught writing and literature at the College of St. Rose in Albany as well as SUNY Albany.
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Bridge of Magic Tour – Guest Post Robert E Balsley Jr. #Author Interview

Welcome to Robert E. Balsley Jr.

Author of  Salvation of Innocence

The Bridge of Magic Trilogy Book 1

by Robert E. Balsley Jr.

Genre: Fantasy

 

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors? 

The Dragon Riders of Pern series/Anne McCaffrey.

The Sword of Truth series/Terry Goodkind

The Foundation Trilogy/Isaac Asimov

The Game of Thrones series/George R.R. Martin

The Belgariad and the Malloreon/David Eddings

The Deryni series/Katherine Kurtz

The Black Company series, Garrett P.I. series/Glen Cook

Destroyermen series/Taylor Anderson

The Dresden Files/Jim Butcher

Drizzt series/R.A. Salvatore

What book do you think everyone should read?  I’d like to say The Salvation of Innocence, but that’s kind of selfish. In truth, I can’t think of a book that has had, or has, more of an influence on people than the Bible. If this is a standard answer, then that would be because it’s the truth.

How long have you been writing? Books? Since late 2014. Dungeon and Dragon games? Since the mid-nineties.

 Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write? Most come to me as I write. Mostly because the storyline demanded it. 

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book? I haven’t really done any research before I write. Since I write in the fantasy genre, there’s not a lot of fact checking I need to do before I start. However, I do research as I’m writing. For example, in The Salvation of Innocence, a sea voyage was required. Instead of glossing it over, I research the construction, parts of, and manning of ships from the 1700’s, particularly British ships of the line. I studied combat strategy and envisioned how to apply that past philosophy to fight off a dragon. I also researched land combat tactics from the medieval age as well as the different types of army units and their strengths. As for the Marines I have in my trilogy, I pretty much use modern-day U.S. Marines as my guide.

Do you see writing as a career? No. The people who are successful writers have several things in common… they have talent and they either have connections or provided a story that caught the public’s imagination. I call that catching “lightning in a bottle”. I don’t think my talent level is on par with successful writers, though I may be selling myself short.

What do you think about the current publishing market? Hard to crack. I consider myself lucky that Dove and Dragon Publishing decided to take me on. But that doesn’t mean my chances at success are guaranteed… just somewhat better. Demand dictates how well my novels are received… and there’s a lot of material out there to satisfy that demand.

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre? I do, though not as much as I used to. Too many other things to occupy my time. My favorite genre is fantasy, but I also enjoy science fiction, horror, sometimes crime, and books about WWII.

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why? If I understand the question, I write with noise. I love writing with new age music (like Enya) in the background. Most weekdays, however, I write with FOX Business in the background. When I was writing games for my D&D sessions, I listened to classical music on my CD player. Sometimes the music inspires, sometimes it calms, sometimes it picks me up, particularly if I need to figure just exactly where I want my storyline to go (or how, which is just as important).

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time? My books seem like they are several going at one time. I use many different storylines and characters to get from Point A to Point B. But the direct answer is one at a time.

If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose? I think it would be the Lord of the Ring series. Those books pretty much set the standard for future fantasy books and D&D games and books.

Pen or typewriter or computer? Definitely computer. It spell checks as I write, allows me to cut and paste if and when I decide a particular storyline, paragraph, or sentence, allows me to save my work using several different formats, allows me to insert illustrations, checks basic grammar, etc, etc, etc. I know that some writers consider pen as the only pure form… but all that ever does for me is hurt my wrist, not to mention it’s slower which means my mind is always three ideas ahead.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book. I love ‘em all, but perhaps the one character I like writing about best is probably is Azriel. He’s a dwarf turned sylph who’s a bit outlandish. What I like about him is his lack of filter on both his thinking and his talking. He’s brash, short-tempered, and very opinionated. Yet he has a good heart and is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good.

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision? I’m retired, so I’m not earning a living with my writing, so there isn’t the financial pressure. But the decision to write was definitely the right decision. I enjoy it immensely.

A day in the life of the author? Up at about 0800-0830, depending upon when my dogs decide when it’s time. Prepare for the day, get the dogs out and make the coffee. At 0900 I turn on the FOX Business Network (Varney and Co.) and watch while getting caught up with emails and Facebook. At 1000, downstairs to my space… man cave… where I surround myself with dragons, spaceships, castles, D&D miniatures, airplanes, etc. Turn on the TV (back to FOX Business) and get started writing. I stop around 1230 for lunch and some afternoon TV. (I’m gotten to where I like to watch old-time westerns like Gunsmoke, Big Valley, Bonanza). Break for time on the treadmill, then back upstairs for a shower. Feed the dogs, watch evening TV while reading or, too my horror, get on Facebook. I call it a day around 0100. (These are just the days I stay home, which, I must admit, I really, really like.)

Advice they would give new authors? Don’t quit your day job. Being a successful writer (money wise), regardless of talent, isn’t a guarantee. It’s a fact of life. Take care of your fam

The Salvation of Innocence

The Bridge of Magic Trilogy Book 1

by Robert E. Balsley Jr.

Genre: Fantasy

A young woman embarks on a harrowing journey to save her world’s last vestige of magical healing in Robert E. Balsley Jr.’s epic new fantasy novel, The Salvation of Innocence.

Althaya, the goddess of healing, wishes to share her ability to help those in need, providing “empaths,” which give clerics the means to magically heal others-a means that some people fear and wish to destroy. In response, a dark magic known as the Purge is created to seek out and eradicate all empaths.

But one lone survivor remains, spirited away by Althaya and hidden in a magical stasis field. There, the last empath must remain alive until the time comes for rescue-but the Purge will not rest until the last empath is found and killed.

Three thousand years later, Kristen Rosilie Clearwater is only beginning to realize her destiny. Having been brought to the island of InnisRos as an orphan, she has long felt a “tug” toward something she can’t quite understand. But when she begins experiencing the dreams of a young child, Kristen knows that the two are somehow connected-and that the fate of the world, and the future of healing magic, rests on.

Add to Goodreads

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25928961-the-salvation-of-innocence-a-bridge-of-magic-novel

Buy Links

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KZuFPB

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-salvation-of-innocence-robert-e-balsley/1132833811?ean=2940164643256

The Struggle For Innocence

The Bridge of Magic Trilogy Book 2

In this suspenseful sequel to The Salvation of Innocence, the war against evil rages on. This time good must fight on two fronts to stop a great evil-one strong enough to commit genocide-or their world will be changed forever.

After barely escaping death at the hands of the vampire Lukas, Emmy still faces an even greater threat. The Purge is approaching. Emmy and her comrades’ only chance is to get help from the sentient city of Elanesse and commit the first assault.

Far way, another conflict is brewing. Father Horatio Goram must face off against the power-hungry First Counselor Mordecai Lannian, whose demonic concubine pushes for war, but the odds are against him. Emmy’s fate rests on this struggle, and this determined priest will do anything to win.

In a realm where healing magic relies on a single emissary’s ability to commune with the gods, Emmy’s death would have wide repercussions. This sensational thriller reveals the destructive power evil will use to achieve its dastardly ends-and the depths to which good must go to stop it.

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33906479-the-struggle-for-innocence

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https://amzn.to/38b53bo

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-struggle-for-innocence-robert-e-balsley/1138246051?ean=2940164474416

The Loss of Innocence

The Bridge of Magic Trilogy Book 3

War has come to InnisRos!

The Ak-Séregon Stone, stolen by the demon Nightshade, has been used to force open a corridor between Aster and the Svartalfheim, the home world of the Dark Elves. The Dark Elf army, led by Nightshade’s father, Aikanáro, marches on InnisRos. Only Father Goram and his allies, with Queen Lessien’s army, can close down the corridor and break the stranglehold the Dark Elves have on the island of the Elves of Light.

But the Dark Elf invasion of InnisRos is only one phase of Nightshade’s design. To ensure InnisRos’ human allies stay on their side of the world, she blackmails Lord Ternborg, leader of the Draugen Pesta, the Black Death, to invade the mainland from the east. Forced to collaborate with the mercenary cities of HeBron and Madeira, Lord Ternborg reluctantly leads three armies into the Forest of the Fey and the surrounding valley to capture the sorcerer stronghold of Havendale. Tangus, Kristen, Emmy and the humans now have their own war to fight on the mainland.

Meanwhile, deep below the surface, a new threat arises. The sylph are awake and moving from the depths with one goal in mind… destroy all life on Aster.

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Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Rebecca Miller

Welcome to Rebecca Miller

Please tell us about your publications/work.  My writing credits include being a freelance journalist for The Inquisitr, The Weekly Register-Call, The Daily Camera, and the Earthkeeper. My books include Libertine Awakenings: A Psychosexual Odyssey under my pen name, Cat Ravenelle, and Being Max’s Mom under my birth name. These were self-published through IUniverse and KDP, respectively. I also did transcription work for President Obama. The Whisper is my latest novel.

 Do you think the written word (or art) bring power and freedom? Absolutely. Writing The Whisper was incredibly empowering for me and helped me heal from the traumas I’d witnessed as a hospice nurse as well as attending my brother’s death. Writing shapes history facilitates change, educates, and informs. It’s cliché, but the pen is mightier than the sword.

 What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? Buy a she-shed and hide from your family members. Seriously, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve been interrupted….

 What’s your greatest networking tip? The Power of Three. Tell three people three times a day about your book. That can be in a post or a conversation—it’s a bit exhausting, but it works. 

 If you could have dinner with any literary character or author, who would you choose, and what would you eat. Judy Blume. I’d take her to Le French and have some wine and a Salade Nicoise. 

 How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? WELL, since you asked. For this book, it was my life, so that part was easy, BUT for my erotic fiction, I actually went to swingers clubs and observed. I had a notebook in my purse. It was pretty interesting, and no, I didn’t participate. I’m too much of a germaphobe for that type of behaviour. I found the lack of hand sanitizer and protection disturbing. 

 How influential is storytelling to our culture? It’s essential to the survival of us as a species. We are doomed to repeat history…as evidenced by our current situation. We need to tell our ancestors’ stories to continue that lineage and tell our own stories. As I’ve aged, I’ve noticed how life does spin in a bit of a spiral. Right now, I’m having my students read part of The Decameron and thinking about how they’ve survived our recent lockdowns. We are not that different from our peers in 1300 in how we deal with forced isolation and an invisible enemy.

 What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Don’t give up. And don’t be afraid. You can’t please everybody. Like I’ve told my friends, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am someone’s double vodka. 

 What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Just publish and don’t worry about being perfect—it was referring toward just barfing words on a page and hitting send. Whereas I can get behind the idea of writing drunk, edit sober, you need to edit again and again—but not get crippled. Finally, letting go of my manuscript and giving it to the world is…was…right this moment, terrifying. 

 If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature, what would you be and why? Wonder Woman. Spin in a circle, and BAM. Outfit changed. 

 Which authors have influenced you the most? Judy Blume was the first author who I blame for my desire to become a writer. I read a TON of feminist lit in college. Books by Ram Dass and Pema Chodron sit on my shelf. All hail Virginia Woolf. 

 What is your writing space like? I have a desk in a shared home office, and I literally have a screen I put up in a vain attempt to send the message to leave me alone. It doesn’t work. I have headphones, and I have to listen to low-fi to block out the noise. I can track my writing sprints by how many coffee cups, diet Coke cans, and wine glasses are balanced around me. I’ve tried writing in coffee houses, my bedroom, even sat on the floor in my bathroom, but they STILL find me. Hence, the request for a she-shed. Might have to put up an electric fence. Too many kids….

 Tell us about your latest piece? The Whisper is a story about love and absolution. More than that, it’s my story. I worked as a crisis hospice nurse for four years. I am Rose McWhorter. Everything in the story is true but written in a way that protects my patients’ identities. In The Whisper, I tell the story about what it’s like to be a hospice nurse and what happens when we die. While it’s not intended to be a religious book, it is spiritual. The whisper I heard to become a nurse, to the final whisper that told me my work was done came from God. I didn’t know it at the time, but my life profoundly changed. I learned self-forgiveness, trust, regained my family and fell in love with being alive.

 What’s your next writing adventure? Probably try to work on Book 2 of Libertine Awakenings. I have it on jump drive but never continued. 

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? Nah. It’s like dark chocolate. If I get it for free, I’m still going to appreciate it. And, if no one eats it, no one gets to experience the sweetness of it. Which reminds me, I have some in my desk drawer.

 My son and I do art shows showcasing young people with autism. The thrill these kids get having their art up for display reinforces my stance on the free book. If no one sees your art, no one can enjoy your art or be influenced by it. I’m delighted to have my work shared. 

 What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Depends. If someone is a troll, I think you have the right to defend yourself. 

 How do you deal with bad reviews? Weep bitterly and grab my voodoo doll. 

 Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot 2

Great characters 1

Awesome world-building 3

Technically perfect 4

 With the influx of indie authors, do you think this is the future of storytelling? I think it’s great. It’s freeing. The idea of the “vanity press” is an act of, well, vanity is long gone. I think it helps contribute to the diversity of authors and that diversity can show us the world through someone else’s eyes. 

 Is this the age of the e-book? Are bricks and mortar bookshops in decline? As long as there are dinosaurs like me and hipsters like my son, the bookstores will survive. 

 Are indie/self published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this? It’s all about myth-busting. So I didn’t get picked up by Penguin. Does that make me any less than a writer? Usually, if I get this type of snark, I’ll ask them about their latest publications. Crickets. To write, and then to publish takes guts. And time. 

What is your greatest success? Being Max’s mom—he is the light of my life. He’s changed me in ways that I cannot monetize. I learn from my son every single day, especially now during COVID. He’s taught me how to use Google Classroom so I can teach my students. 

How important is writing/art to you? During this crisis I have learned that art and music are essential. Writing kept me going. The arts are what makes us human.

What are your hopes for the coming year? Try to survive the last push of COVID19 and all its trimmings, attempt to salvage my son’s senior year of high school, and hopefully get a couple trips in once it is safe to move. I’m not sure what my next move is writing wise. 2020 taught me that plans can change, so go with the flow.

Tell us a silly fact about yourself. I still compete in beauty pageants and I’m a highland athlete. Weird combo.

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? Not a nurse! I wanted to be a writer. I ended up a hybrid, that’s ok.

Links to book

The Whisper on Amazon.Com

The Whisper on Amazon.Co.uk

Links —I think you already have them.

Bio I live in Denver, Colorado and I work as adjunct faculty for my local community college teaching nursing arts, anatomy and physiology, and medical terminology. Writing is my side job while I’m on sabbatical. My love, Dennis, and I share our home with three boys, two cats, and have adopted a feral cat named Darryl who lives in our backyard catching mice and chasing bunnies. 

For fun, post-COVID, we look forward to traveling overseas, skiing, taking the kids to Disney, supporting the local arts, but during the pandemic, we love working in our garden, supporting local biz via takeout, and firing up the smoker. We are grateful.