Book Spotlight – Portal Bundles

Basic Book Spotlight

Title: Fantasy Portals

Author: VV.AA.

Genre: Fantasy

Main character description (short). This is a collection of short stories, so there’s no main character.

Synopsis: Whether you’re sucked in, you fall into it or you see it and decide to explore what’s beyond, a portal is always an opening to a great adventure. From our world to others, alone or in good company, our heroes and heroines reach “somewhere” down the rabbit hole and meet strange creatures. Sometimes those creatures are the protagonists and help humans. Sometimes the other world is not as shiny as it first looks. 10 stories of fantasy portals.

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

Since I can’t pick and choose even if I’m the curator, I shall put the Table of Contents, so you can see who’s in it – all great writers!

“A Flat Above the Wynd” by Alexandra Brandt

“The Earthbloods of Carapet” by Joe Cron

“The Faerys Choice” by Jamie Ferguson

“A Walk With Georgia” by Debbie Mumford

“A Chance to Escape” by Laura Ware

“Queen of the Mouse Riders” by Annie Reed

“The Portal” by Barbara G.Tarn

“The Traveler” by C.A. Rowland

“Wolf Warlock” by Meyari McFarland

“The Dancer at the Red Door” by Douglas Smith

Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?

Award-winning stories and brand new ones sitting side by side

Cover Art (add as attachment please)


Title: More Portals

Author: VV.AA.

Genre: SFF

Main character description (short). This is a collection of short stories, so there’s no main character.

Synopsis: More portals coming your way, with aliens and mythical creatures mingling with us. You’ll be transported all over the world and beyond, or even between worlds with some time-travel and some archeology thrown in for good measure. 10 stories of portals.

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

Since I can’t pick and choose even if I’m the curator, I shall put the Table of Contents so you can see who’s in it – all great writers!

“And Then There Are Cats” by Jamie Ferguson
“The Avalon Pub” by Barbara G.Tarn
“What We’re Going To Do Next” by Jennifer Rachel Baumer
“The Angle Between Worlds” by Stefon Mears
“Sideways” by Lana Ayers
“Tethering the Sun” by C.A. Rowland
“Beneath and Beyond” by Debbie Mumford
“Ten Escher From Here” by Fulvio Gatti
“Nite 2 Remember” by Pati Nagle
“My Julie” by Ron Collins


Fantasy Portals eBook universal link and paperback.

More Portals eBook universal link and paperback.

More portals, including science fiction ones that either take to other worlds, aliens, back in time or other dimensions. With some traditional portal fantasy and a couple of weird tales of passages between worlds. 10 portal stories of discovery that sometimes lead to love.

“And Then There Are Cats” by Jamie Ferguson
“The Avalon Pub” by Barbara G.Tarn
“What We’re Going To Do Next” by Jennifer Rachel Baumer
“The Angle Between Worlds” by Stefon Mears
“Sideways” by Lana Ayers
“Tethering the Sun” by C.A. Rowland
“Beneath and Beyond” by Debbie Mumford
“Ten Escher From Here” by Fulvio Gatti
“Nite 2 Remember” by Pati Nagle
“My Julie” by Ron Collins


BundleRabbit Series page:

Curator’s website:



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Swift Six Author – Linda Jordan – Fantasy/Bundle author


Name: Linda Jordan

Queen of May for promo

Queen of May

What attracts you to the genre in which you write? I write in several different genres—fantasy, science fiction, young adult fantasy and mystery. Basically, I go where my ideas lead me. Sometimes, mystery gets mixed into the other genres. I also write the sort of books I loved to read as a kid. Not so much the mystery—I watched those on tv. But fantasy and science fiction were my core reading material from fifth grade on. As soon as I discovered them, I knew I was home. So when I began writing in my twenties, it was just natural that my characters and worlds would fit there.

What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures? I wish I’d understood the importance of practice. That I had to let many words stream out my fingertips before I’d get to the good stuff. And how essential it was to sit down on a regular basis, hopefully daily, and just get out of my own way. Tell my critical brain to take a few hours off.

And. Just. Write.

If you could have dinner with any famous person or character who would you choose? The first person who popped into my mind was Tyrion Lannister. I think he’d make a truly entertaining dinner companion. The things he could tell me. Maybe even how the books end!

Who has been the greatest influence on your own work? I can’t pick just one person. I’ve absorbed everything I’ve ever read. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Anne McCaffrey, Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, J.K. Rowling, Connie Willis, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Robin Hobb and Sarah Addison Allen come to mind.

I’ve also had fabulous teachers. Taken workshops from Steve Perry, Terry Carr, Suzy McKee Charnas, Norman Spinrad, Vonda McIntyre, Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. The last two being the teachers I’ve benefitted from the most.

I’ve belonged to critique groups with wonderful writers. Been supported by other wonderful writers. Probably one of the largest influences on my work is my husband, who goes out five days a week and brings back money and benefits. Which allows me to stay home and write! And our daughter, another inspiration. At 14, she’s tapping away at her own keyboard, creating her own stories. For hour upon end. She’s amazing.

Do you think the e-book revolution will do away with print? No way. I can’t see that. Too many people love the tactile experience of paper books. Even kids who’ve grown up with their brain always attached to a phone or tablet. They read paper books. Ebooks are convenient, I love them. I don’t see paper leaving us anytime soon.

Which 3 books would you take to a desert island and why?

Only 3?

They would have to be large. Something I could take my time and delve into. The compact Oxford English Dictionary? Is that still even around? Maybe I’d just take one volume.

I’d need a non-fiction book. Something entertaining and enlightening. Maybe Barry Lopez or Terry Tempest Williams.

But how could I live without a Fantasy or SF book? Maybe I could cheat and say Blackwatch & All Clear by Connie Willis, since they’re all one book.

Seriously, questions like this make me want to throw up my arms in defeat and run screaming from the room. Being limited to only 3 books for the rest of my life would be a special kind of hell.

So maybe I’ll toss all the above out and just say a trilogy by Robin Hobb. Any trilogy. Just three fat books to chew on until I’m rescued from the island.

 Author bio and book synopsis Linda Jordan writes fascinating characters, funny dialogue, and imaginative fiction. She creates both long and short fiction, serious and silly. She believes in the power of healing and transformation, and many of her stories follow those themes.

In a previous lifetime, Linda coordinated the Clarion West Writers’ Workshop as well as the Reading Series. She spent four years as Chair of the Board of Directors during Clarion West’s formative period. She’s also worked as a travel agent, a baker, and a pond plant/fish salesperson, you know, the sort of things one does as a writer.

Currently, she’s the Programming Director for the Writers Cooperative of the Pacific Northwest.

Linda now lives in the rainy wilds of Washington state with her husband, daughter, four cats, seventeen Koi and an infinite number of slugs and snails.

That’s the official bio.

In reality I divide my days between writing, doing massive amounts of publishing (editing, copy editing, formatting, creating covers, keeping up two websites—one very badly—and pretending to do social media.). That’s my day job. The other jobs include herding the four cats and the teenager, planning everything in our lives (and re-planning them when plans go astray), keeping the budget together, cooking, organizing the to-do list for the half-acre garden, shopping and everything else. Sometimes I clean, but not often. Mostly when I’m procrastinating on writing, because I can’t figure out what comes next. Or I’ve set up an unsolvable problem and my brain is working on it as I clean places that haven’t been touched in a decade, maybe two.

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

The Queen of May is set in the same world as the entire Bones of the Earth Series. Just a whole lot earlier in time. Faerie Unraveled is the first book in the series. Followed by Faerie Contact, Faerie Descent and Faerie Flight. The final book in the series comes out this April—Faerie Confluence.

Linda has a VERY impressive library to her name – I have posted a selection here, but suggest you check out her bio links for all the others. 

Promoted books Faerie Unravelled 

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Faerie Summer Bundle

Spring Surprise


Faerie Flight, 2018, print, ebook, Fantasy

Horticultural Homicide, 2017, print, ebook, Cozy Mystery

Faerie Descent, 2017, print, ebook, Fantasy

Faerie Contact, 2016, print, ebook, Fantasy

Faerie Unraveled, 2016, print, ebook, Fantasy



Bibi’s Back, 2017, ebook, Fantasy

To the Stars and Back Again, 2017, ebook, Science Fiction

Stories of the Jeweled Worlds, 2017, ebook, YA Fantasy


Bibi’s Bargain Boutique, 2012, ebook, Fantasy

Elements, 2011, ebook, Fantasy

Elemental: 5 Stories for Teens, 2011, ebook, Fantasy & Science Fiction

Short Fiction:

Coming Into Being, 2018, ebook, Fantasy,

The Magic of Clay, 2017, ebook, Fantasy

To Death and Back Again, 2017, ebook, Fantasy


A Breath from Elsewhere, 2012, ebook, Fantasy




My website:


Metamorphosis Press website:


Twitter (where I rarely go): Linda Jordan@LindaAJordan

Instagram: lindajordanwriter



Writer Wednesdays – Debbie Mumford #WriterWednesday #Indies #Writing

Here is the first of the new 2018 Writer Wednesday posts. Today we welcome Debbie Mumford, a writer who has had a busy year in 2017. I have to say I’m envious, I plan to write far more than I do, and I have great respect for writers like Debbie who have the discipline to write as much as she does.

Happy 2018! 

A Writer Welcomes the New Year – A Guest Post by Debbie Mumford

2017 was a good year for me. I achieved some goals and failed spectacularly at others, but all in all, when the year ended I was pleased to find that I’d failed forward!

A large part of that forward motion is due to my yearly review in late December and the goals I put in place for the coming year. Stretch goals, not easy ones. Goals I’ll have to work to achieve, but goals that will carry me forward even if I fail to meet all of them. And I’m realistic enough to know that some of them won’t be met.

An important part of this process is recognizing what is and is not a goal. I’m not talking about resolutions. Everyone makes those in early January … and most people have forgotten what they were by February or March. I’m talking about really, truly GOALS.

I like to use S.M.A.R.T. goals, which are, by definition:

  • Specific: Goals need to be specific, not some loose, vague, impossible to quantify statement. “I will write better this year″ is not a specific goal. “I will write 2 pages a day” qualifies.
  • Measurable: Goals need to be measurable. Again, a concrete goal is far better than an amorphous wish. You need to know whether or not you achieved it! “I will write for 45 minutes a day” is a measurable goal.
  • Achievable: Goals need to be reasonable and achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure by shooting for the moon. “I will complete the first draft of my 90,000 word novel in 6 months″ is much more achievable than “I will write a 90,000 word novel in January.” Also, as I mentioned above, make sure your goals are within your control. “I will write the first draft of my novel” is achievable and within your control. “I will become a NY Times bestselling author” is not.
  • Realistic: Goals need to be realistic. Evaluate your time and your lifestyle. Be honest with yourself. Set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic for who you are and how you live.
  • Time-Bound: Goals need to have a time frame. Lots of people dream of writing a novel…someday. But without a deadline, a time pressure, there’s no reason to do anything today. Put a date on your goal and then get started on it today. When you reach the specified date, you’ll know whether or not you accomplished your goal.

One of my goals for 2017 was to publish 18 new titles. I write under two names for two very different audiences: Debbie Mumford writes speculative fiction, often with romantic elements, for grown-ups, and Deb Logan writes contemporary fantasy for middle grade and teen readers, so my actual goal read something like this: “During 2017 I will publish one title a month as Debbie Mumford and one title every other month as Deb Logan.“

That qualified as a SMART goal. It was specific – one title (short story, novella, novel, collection) for Debbie every single month and one for Deb every other month; it was measurable – at the end of the month, I knew whether or not I’d accomplished the task; it was achievable – I had a backlog of published stories where the rights had reverted to me plus a selection of new work that I was ready to release into the wild; it was realistic – I knew I could create the covers and run the manuscripts through Vellum (my formatting tool of choice) in a timely fashion; and it was time-bound – everything would happen in the 2017 calendar year.

I achieved that goal, plus a little bit more. The final breakdown for 2017 was 14 short stories (9 of Debbie’s + 5 of Deb’s), 3 collections (all Debbie’s) and 1 novelette (Deb’s) published digitally, plus 3 novels, 2 novellas, and 3 collections released in print. (The print titles were already available digitally, so they didn’t count toward the actual goal, but the print release was a task that needed to be accomplished.)

I also had a goal in place to grow my newsletter lists. I didn’t put a specific number on this goal, but I did record a starting number for each list and I had a plan in place as to how I would accomplish the task: by searching out and taking advantage of promotional opportunities on Kobo, Amazon, and Instafreebie. I’m pleased to say that I accomplished this goal as well – each list more than doubled in 2017.

Where I fell down, rather spectacularly, was in my production goals. I intended to write at least three novels in 2017 and as many short stories as I could squeeze in. Since I’m still working a full-time day job, this goal probably didn’t qualify as SMART – it failed the “realistic” test. Still, I managed to write a short story a month in addition to all the publishing and promoting, so I failed in the right direction.

So what’s in store for 2018? Recognizing that life happens and the day-job must be done, publishing will take a back seat to production this year. I’ll be published in 2018, but it will be in anthologies and magazines rather than under my own imprint … at least, that’s the plan!

How about you? Have you mapped out your intended journey for 2018? I hope your destination will be grand and glorious. I’m sure I won’t end up exactly where I’m planning to go, but I’m positive the journey will be amazing!


Debbie Mumford’s Newsletter:

Deb Logan’s Newsletter:




Swift Six Author Interview – Barbara G. Tarn – Fantasy Secondary Worlds Bundle #Fantasy #Specfic


Name: Barbara G.Tarn

What attracts you to the genre in which you write?

It’s speculative fiction! I can make up stuff! Or so I thought when I started writing. I still write more fantasy than sci-fi because historical research is easier for me than science and technology…

What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures?

I think I unknowingly followed most of Heinlein’s Rules… I wrote. I finished what I wrote. I moved on. Problem was putting it out there. In the 20th century and legacy publishing world. Sigh.

If you could have dinner with any famous person or character who would you choose?

Since I’m currently mad with Da Muse who posts pictures of snow in the middle of the hated long hot summer, I’d go back to the previous Muse who lasted some 15 years anyway (but then, they say he’s immortal, LOL)… that would be Keanu Reeves!

Who has been the greatest influence on your own work?

When I grow up I wanna be Dean Wesley Smith. Or Kristine Katryn Rusch. Or both. For the work ethic, mostly, although I have my own! 😉 Stylistically, dunno. I have found my own voice long ago. Even the English voice is now quite established and I don’t know where I got it from.

Do you think the e-book revolution will do away with print?

I doubt it. Probably not. And audio books will rise in the new illiteracy. I’d understand visually impaired, but other people listening to a story? Not for me. I still prefer paper for non-fiction and comics and graphic novels. But fiction? E-book are just fine!

Which 3 books would you take to a desert island and why?

My Kindle Keyboard has a long lasting battery! Besides, I’m afraid I’d use any paper available to write or draw (if I have a pen or pencil, that is). Of course, if it’s a shipwreck, none of this would be possible. And if it’s a willing vacation… it’s even more impossible. You’ll never see me on a desert island willingly! 🙂

Author bio and book synopsis

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so):

Barbara G.Tarn had an intense life in the Middle Ages that stuck to her through the centuries. She prefers swords to guns, long gowns to mini-skirts, and even though she buried the warrior woman, she deplores the death of knights in shining chainmail. She likes to think her condo apartment is a medieval castle, unfortunately lacking a dungeon to throw noisy neighbors and naughty colleagues in. Also known as the Lady with the Unicorns, these days she prefers to add a touch of fantasy to all her stories, past and present – when she’s not wandering on her fantasy world of Silvery Earth or in her Star Minds futuristic universe.

She’s a writer, sometimes artist, mostly a world-creator and story-teller. Two of her stories received an Honorable Mention at the Writers of the Future contest. She writes, draws, ignores her day job and blogs at:

She can now be found on Patreon, where you can pledge as little as 1$ a month to read exclusive content and sustain her and other creators in their endeavors.

Check her Vimeo channel for book trailers and other funny stuff.


Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short) (I’ll put both bundles here, and then send a Book Spotlight for both)

The Path of Water (Quests Book 1) also included in the Fantasy Secondary Worlds Bundle with 11 other fantasy novels

Hinrik survives the battle outside the walls of Moriana, battered and hurt. He drags himself to the River Ondan to put an end to his misery.

But it’s just the beginning of a new life of discoveries about himself and the world, a quest for his true calling in life. He is a half-blood and must learn what it means with the help of Bellinda the healer and Keneith the magic user.

The warrior, the healer and the magic user are all outsiders or outcasts looking for a place to call home in a hostile world, away from the aggressively expanding Varian and Blackmore Kingdoms.

A story of the northern kingdoms of Silvery Earth with magic and pain, loss and rebirth.

Star Minds Next Generation also included in the Sci-fi July Fever Fun with 10 other sci-fi novels

A sequel to Star Minds – the Trilogy, it’s the story of Shan-leo, Ker-ris’s son, now no longer an imperial prince.
Raised as imperial prince, Shan-leo doesn’t miss his former status. At twenty-two, he gets to define his destiny without being forced on a path traced by his family. Following his love for calligraphy, he discovers a black market of stolen manuscripts, which starts the adventure of a lifetime.
Aristocratic adventurer on a starship called “outlaw”. The next generation of Star Minds is out in the galaxy.


Social media




Author Central

Where to find everything:


Vimeo (book trailers):

SFF Bundles Galore on Facebook:


Book Spotlight – The Path of Water/Secondary Worlds Fantasy Bundle

Secondary Worlds Bundle

Title: The Path of Water (Quests Book 1)

Author: Barbara G.Tarn

Genre: fantasy

Main character description (short).

Hinrik is a warrior and a half-blood trying to find his place in the world. Interview wih Hinrik and Bellinda on author’s blog.


Hinrik survives the battle outside the walls of Moriana, battered and hurt. He drags himself to the River Ondan to put an end to his misery.

But it’s just the beginning of a new life of discoveries about himself and the world, a quest for his true calling in life. He is a half-blood and must learn what it means with the help of Bellinda the healer and Keneith the magic user.

The warrior, the healer and the magic user are all outsiders or outcasts looking for a place to call home in a hostile world, away from the aggressively expanding Varian and Blackmore Kingdoms.

A story of the northern kingdoms of Silvery Earth with magic and pain, loss and rebirth.


Brief Excerpt 250 words:

Hinrik’s eyes widened in shock. This couldn’t be. He was already dead and the underworld was underwater.

The man’s hand on his chest calmed his heartbeat. He looked sorrowful now.

“You are my son, Hinrik. And you are badly hurt. But the kingmaker is coming this way and he is with an excellent healer, she will help you.”

Hinrik closed his mouth and gulped. He still couldn’t believe all this was happening underwater. His mother had told him his father was a magical being, but he wasn’t expecting this! She’d been blamed all of her life for having a son outside of marriage and now, twenty-five years later, this… stranger walked, no swam up to him and told him he was his father!

“You are half-Waiora, Hinrik, that’s why water heals you. But what you’ve been through needs more healing power, and only the Genn can give you that. Go back to the surface, the kingmaker is making camp on the river shore with his friends, you will find him easily and they will help you.”

“I don’t want anybody’s help!” Hinrik’s scream was lost underwater. He didn’t want anybody to see him right now. He was naked, bruised and hurt. He wasn’t going to go back to the surface and meet people.

His father hugged him and gently rocked him as he burst into sobs. His tears were lost in the water and he was too weak to free himself from the unwanted embrace.


Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?

A personal, non-heroic quest to find one’s place in the world in the company of other “different” people.

is also in Quests Volume one

and the First Glimpse of Secondary Fantasy World bundle along with 11 other authors.


Title: Star Minds Next Generation

Author: Barbara G.Tarn

Genre: science fantasy

Main character description (short).

Shan-leo Shermac is the descendant of the last emperor, but he’s never going to sit on his grandfather’s throne. He’s not interested.


A sequel to Star Minds – the Trilogy, it’s the story of Shan-leo, Ker-ris’s son, now no longer an imperial prince.
Raised as imperial prince, Shan-leo doesn’t miss his former status. At twenty-two, he gets to define his destiny without being forced on a path traced by his family. Following his love for calligraphy, he discovers a black market of stolen manuscripts, which starts the adventure of a lifetime.
Aristocratic adventurer on a starship called “outlaw”. The next generation of Star Minds is out in the galaxy.

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

Shan-leo got out of bed, showered and dressed, grabbing his bandanna. He went downstairs and found his father and uncle in the living room, seated at the breakfast table side by side as usual.

Uncle Kol-ian saw him first and greeted him. “Good morning, birthday boy!”

“Good morning,” he answered as his father rose to give him a bear hug.

“Already twenty-two… where did time go?” he whispered in Shan-leo’s ear.

“You mean the past twelve years went even faster than the previous ten?” Shan-leo teased, giving the bandanna to uncle Kol-ian who wrapped it around his nephew’s arm with a smile. Shan-leo knew his father disapproved of his showing off the bionic arm – especially when he had on a tank top like today – but Uncle Kol-ian was very supportive, having had prosthetics himself.

“Shan-leo…” his father chided.

Shan-leo smiled at him. It wasn’t his fault if he’d been mind-controlled for all the time he’d been married to Shan-leo’s late mother and had missed most of his son’s childhood.

“I love you anyway, Father.” He sat with them to eat breakfast. “Even if you want to hide my beautiful prosthetic! Why don’t you ever suggest Uncle Kol-ian cover the scars on his back with synthetic skin?”

“Your uncle doesn’t go around bare-chested to show off his scars!” his father protested while Kol-ian guffawed.


Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?

If you loved the Trilogy and the Snippets or if you’re new to the Star Minds universe, you will enjoy this wandering prince’s adventures in space.




Swift Six Character Interview – Travis

#Graphicnovel #Horror


Character Name: Travis Malone

Which book/world do you live in?:  Hell Bent

Tell us about yourself:  Well, I’m pretty damn hard to kill, for one thing. Also, I’m part-monkey. Both of those come from some genetic stuff my mom did. Not like that, though! I’m adopted, and she’s a scientist. Also, my hair grows a little every time I come back from the dead.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths, hm? I’m…uh…well, I guess I’m kinda cute in some way? I know I’m not that smart. Hell, if I were, I might’ve made it through college. I’d say I’m perfectly fine, but the multiple nightmares and shit have made that a complete lie. Uhh…please don’t tell McManus, Jesse, or my dad that one. They’d totally take advantage of that. Plus, my nose is too big, and… Damn. I think I focused on the weaknesses a little too much.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).

Ooh, first up is Spencer. Dude’s my best friend, has been since we were kids, and he married my sister a few years ago. And then there’s the law enforcement around Hell Bent..UGH, they need to fix that. Seriously, homelessness isn’t a reason to experiment on people. Actually, the only good reason to experiment on someone is if it’s to help people, AND if you, y’know, get the test subject’s permission (Thanks for that one, mom!). Oh, wait. I need to pick a third one. That’d probably be my mom, Dr. Serena Taylor. She adopted my sister and me when dad threw us out. And as it turns out, she’s one of the leading scientists working with genetics and cybernetics.

What does ‘heroism’ mean to you?

Heroism, I guess, would be when someone does whatever they can to help someone else, no matter how much it might hurt them.

What do you think of your ‘creator’?

Do NOT get me started on that psycho! Do you know how many different labs I’ve been taken to against my will because of her?! Oh, and then? Then we have the times I’ve died and come back and then been killed again. And y’know the worst part? She says I’m one of her favorites!

Give us your favourite piece of advice: “Play through pain”, I guess. I dunno. I really can’t remember too many different pieces of advice, and I suck at giving it out. Though I will say to be careful about random strangers offering to help you get some pictures taken. Sometimes they’re friendly and legit. Other times, they turn out to be a serial killer that creates snuff films.


Links to book




Start of arc 2 (Deception):

Review – High Couch of Silistra – Janet Morris – Sci-fi

So where to start? As one would expect from Janet Morris there is a lot more to this story than a simple science fiction tale. Firstly the protagonist is a woman, and a strong one at that. Estri is not your screaming maiden waiting to be rescued. She’s a feisty woman, who knows her worth, knows her skills, and her failings and above all she knows herself.

Estri is more than a woman of pleasure – for on her world this is no shameful profession. As Well Keepress she is much sought after, and highly skilled, but she is also teacher, student, lover, friend, fighter, diplomat, businesswoman, a slave, mistress and so much more.

Silistra is a world of contrasts – its people long-lived, its terrain in places inhospitable and its morals unusual. Fertility is everything in a world where the people rarely breed successfully. Duty, or Chaldra is everything – be that duty to oneself, one’s people, or the world in general.. A world misunderstood by the others, but attractive for many reasons, not least its Well Women must stand for its uniqueness and protect its beliefs. In many ways Estri is Silistra – wise, with hidden dangers, intriguing, alluring, complex and misunderstood.

Duty, power, sex, the complexities of relationships between men and women, and how they can change, fate, courage, loyalty, betrayal, personal journeys, fear, and adventure fill every chapter. The sex is not overdone, considering the context and although there is violence that too speaks of the power play which is core.

The world building, as with Morris’s other novels, is rich, complex and totally believable. For the duration of the tale Silistra is real. The characters, too, are a mix of good and bad, but no way clear cut. These are living, breathing characters with all that entails.

This is not a book for those of a faint heart or who cannot see deep within a tale for what lies therein. It’s a book to make the reader think. It’s a book of great stature, and storytelling of the finest sort. Of course it’s also a book for those who seek a heady adventure beyond the stars.

This is a book I couldn’t put down. 5 stars.

Author Interview Number Ninety-Five B. W. Foster – Spec Fic

Welcome to Brian W. Foster

Where are you from and where do you live now? From Louisiana and living near Los Angeles.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’m a speculative fiction writer. My first novel is epic fantasy. My second, superhero. I also have plans for a scifi alien invasion series.

I deeply prefer character driven stories to plot driven ones. Everything that happens must flow from who the characters are.

Are your characters based on real people? When I started planning my debut novel over a decade ago, I figured, “Cool, I’ll use me and my three best friends as inspiration for the main characters.”

Bad idea. Horrendous.

Those influences still form some of the foundation of the characters, but the resemblance otherwise is pretty shallow.

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…)

  1. Great characters. My writing is based on taking a character and putting him/her into an interesting situation and seeing what happens. I want to really put the reader inside the character’s head to experience the events. If the character falls flat, the story falls flat.
  2. Technically perfect. Good technique makes for a good reading experience. If the reader can’t comprehend the writing or is constantly disengaged by the words, you’ll lose that reader.
  3. Solid plot. A good writer can make it interesting to read about a character washing dishes, but an interesting plot makes it a lot easier to engage the reader without being an awesome writer.
  4. Great world-building. Frankly, other than maintaining some level of consistency, the world of my stories just doesn’t matter all that much compared to the other factors.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? A well-written book can put you inside a character’s head, giving you the opportunity to become that person, experience crazy events from that person’s eyes. Movies and video games cannot immerse me like a good book can. I strive for that immersion in my writing. Time and reader feedback will tell if I’m achieving it.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Clarity – If your reader doesn’t understand what the crap is going on, they’re not going to be engaged.

Conflict – If there’s no conflict, there’s no story. The reader is going to be bored.

Character – Events that make up your plot have no relevance outside that which is filtered through the emotional lens of your POV character.

What are your best and worst marketing tips? Do whatever it takes to build an email subscriber list. I offer free and exclusive content through mine, and you can sign up for it at

Second best marketing tip is to concentrate on your writing. It’s better to spend your time producing your next book than trying to sell your last one.

I don’t really have a “worst” tip.  Maybe spend tens of thousands of dollars on a TV ad? Though that seemed to work for James Patterson …

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

Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy Book 2) by Pierce Brown. About 10% into the book, I thought, “Why did I buy this thing the day it came out?” About 25% in, I thought, “Oh. That’s why.” Fantastic book.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, despite some flaws, is still my all-time favorite series from a traditionally published author.

I’d go with Jim Bernheimer for my favorite indie author for his self-published Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, though Robert Bevan is a close second for Critical Failures.

What are your views on authors offering free books? It works if you do it right. Make sure you know how to do it right before you do it, though.

Book links, website/blog and author links:

AoP 3rd Edition Cover thumb

Author Interview Number Ninety-Three – Robert Eggleton – Spec Fiction

Welcome to:  Robert Eggleton

Hi Alex and thank you for inviting me to be interviewed.

Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., but I grew up around Charleston, West Virginia. Let me elaborate a little because your question ties directly into the plot and character development of my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow.

Shortly after I was born, my father graduated from television repair school in Cleveland. My family returned home to West Virginia. Even though I didn’t remember living in Cleveland, during my childhood I would brag to my peers that I’d been out-of-state since I was born in Ohio. It boosted my social status because very few of my peers had been anyplace other than their own ghettoes.

Similar to the protagonist’s father in my novel, my own father had PTSD caused by World War II traumas that he treated with alcohol. Before I started elementary school, he had become so dysfunctional that my mother would run him off. He would return when sober, “fall off the wagon” and my mother would run him off again, and again. Since we couldn’t pay the rent regularly, we moved frequently — shacks and dilapidated houses in one impoverished neighbourhood after another, into and out of the rural hollows outside of our small town. Typically, I would change schools three or four times a year. Everyplace that we moved, I would brag to my peers that I’d been out-of-state, and they were impressed.

After my father died in a house fire, my family moved into a housing project when I was fourteen. At sixteen, I no longer needed to lie about having been out-of-state because I’d gotten my driver’s license and it was true. I moved out of the Project my second year of college, got married, graduated from West Virginia State College, and was awarded a Masters of Social Work degree by West Virginia University in 1977. I have been employed in this state for over fifty-two years, more than forty of which were in roles related to child advocacy. Today, we own a small house in a low-income neighbourhood on the West Side of Charleston, West Virginia.

The theme, “out-of-state” was incorporated into Rarity from the Hollow. The protagonist is Lacy Dawn. Her mother, Jenny, begins the story as a down-trodden victim of domestic violence. After an off-planet comical adventure, Jenny doesn’t need to brag anymore about having once gone out-of-state.

“Out-of-state” was also an element of a scene during which Lacy Dawn delivers psychotherapy to classmates at school. In this scene, a boy’s father is unemployed because the coal mine had shut down. The boy is being treated by Lacy Dawn for anxiety related to the family’s intention to move out-of-state so that the father can look for a job in Cleveland.

“Out-of-state” was also used in two scenes involving the android. In the first scene, the android had been assigned by Universal Management to perform a job on another planet. He had to leave Earth, leave Lacy Dawn. At this point in the story, the android was beginning to fall in love and to modify his programming so that he could feel more human-like emotions. In this scene, the android sheds his first tear because he has to leave the Hollow and go “out-of-state” for a new job.

The last scene that mentions “out-of-state” involves the android’s return to the Hollow from the out-of-state job. In this scene, he is introduced to Jenny as Lacy Dawn’s fiancé for when she’s old enough to marry. Following is an excerpt showing, in relevant part, Jenny’s head thoughts at one point in the scene:

It’s unusual for a man to promise to come back home and ever be seen again…They’ve been together for a while and I ain’t seen a mark on her. That’s unusual too. He ain’t got no private parts and that’s another good thing. Hell, if I get in the middle, she’d just run off with him anyway. Id better play it smart. I don’t want to lose my baby.

A book review of Rarity from the Hollow published by The Missouri Review noted its “out-of-state” theme:

“And just when you think enough is enough, this world is too plain ugly…Lacy Dawn, her mother and her dog take off for a trip to the mall ‘out of state’ with Lacy Dawn’s android friend, now her “fiancé”…  In the space of a few lines we go from gritty realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip….”

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. The broadest genre classification for my writing is mature speculative fiction. Similar to the way that Heinlein used juvenile voice to address very serious and complex social issues of his day, my writing reads like YA, but it is not intended for younger youth, or anybody of any age that is not open-minded about contemplating emerging controversies and debates. It is not YA or any of its subgenres. In the 1970s, Ursula K. Le Guinn coined the term, “social science fiction” and Rarity from the Hollow fits better within that subgenre than any other, but I don’t want to limit myself to even that categorization because I tend to move into magical realism and other subgenres in some scenes.

The SF/F cross-genre that I’ve used is a backdrop. It is not hard science fiction and includes elements of fantasy, everyday horror, paranormal, true-love type romance, mystery, and adventure. I do not write to fit within a particular genre or subgenre, but I am willing to tone down a story to fit YA expectations as long as the story does not lose its essence if a market is available. I also enjoy inserting satire into otherwise dramatic scenes, as well as puns and even potty humour when it fits the character, and to contrast tragedy.

Where do you find inspiration? I’ve held back my creative juices for so long that it’s not a matter of “finding” inspiration as much as it is managing it toward a structure the results in productivity. At this point, anything and everything in my present or past experiences, regardless of how mundane, can trigger inspiration. I even dream about characters and plot twists.

Do you have a favorite character? If so why? Lacy Dawn is my favorite character because she is so flexible. She can be smart or dumb, colloquial or prim, beautiful or plain…. Like a chameleon, Lacy Dawn adapts to dominate, sometimes subtly, scenes that a rigid character would have difficulty. Maybe she’s my favourite character because she reminds me a bit of myself, especially when I was younger. For example, when I was fifteen my two front teeth were knocked out by a policeman. I wore a partial plate for several years. Anytime that I went to a junk yard to buy a used auto part in those days, I would take out my partial, change the accent of my voice, dress for the occasion, and I always got the best prices. Other guys would ask me how, and I would shrug but the truth is that I was playing a Lacy Dawn before I had given her a name.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? Sometimes I absolutely hate Lacy Dawn. She can be so hard headed. If a scene or an action doesn’t make sense, she refuses to play the part. I assert that I’m the writer and, thereby, in charge. Sometimes, like a bad parent I tell her, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.”  She’ll turn her back on me and just wait it out until she gets her way. It really ticks me off, but looking back, she’s always been right when we’ve had an argument. Please don’t tell her that I said that or I’ll never live it down. I guess that any writer who doesn’t create characters that are not both loved and hated is not a very effective God.

Are your characters based on real people? Yes, my characters have always been based on real people, and I have met a lot of people. I have been a professional social worker for over forty years. This work has involved interacting with a lot of “characters” – “street” people, homeless folks, those who had mental illnesses or addictions, as well as, corporate leaders, business owners, supportive and abusive family members, governmental authorities, legislators, rich benefactors and food stamp recipients of all ages, races, genders…. If Sears still produced a catalogue, it would run out of pages before I could blurb about all of the characters inside my head.

My protagonist is based on a real person. One day in 2006, during an adolescent group psychotherapy session that I was facilitating, a traumatized a little girl sat a few feet away from me, around the table used to complete therapeutic worksheets. When it was her turn to talk, she didn’t stop with mere disclosure of detail about her trauma – acceptance of it was just a stepping stone. She spoke of hope and dreams, a future involving a loving family that would respect her physically and spiritually. Her presentation inspired other victims. It inspired me to pursue my life long dream to write fiction.  During that therapy session, my protagonist was born. This little girl was my role model of victimization to empowerment. I haven’t stopped writing about her since. Her name is Lacy Dawn, and I recommend that you not mess with her or it’s hard to tell what you’ll get.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No, but I sure have wanted to. I still want to kill this person – I mean character – and in the most horrible way imaginable. This guy is only known as Faith’s father. He didn’t deserve a first name because he was so mean. Faith is Lacy Dawn’s best friend. Faith’s father is best known for his role in a short story entitled, “Stainless Steel” which was published in a now defunct science fiction magazine. Another version of the same story was available on the Alphelion site for a while, but I recently asked that it be taken down because an Australian blogger wanted to reprint it with a new cover. Depending on when this interview is posted, your readers can contact me through the direct link on the Lacy Dawn Adventures website and I’ll give them the address for the blog if they want to meet a very mean daddy. Lacy Dawn and Faith hatch a murder plot in the story, involving the near violation of the First Law of Robotics by the android, but …. I don’t want to spoil it for potential reader. It’s free to read the story.

Only the existence of evil can absolutely guarantee the existence of good.

Chronologically, “Stainless Steel” precedes Rarity from the Hollow. The girls were eight years old. Early in Rarity from the Hollow when the girls are eleven, this man killed Faith. It turned out okay though. Faith becomes a ghost and is still Lacy Dawn’s best friend. All things considered, she’s better off in this form. I guarantee readers one thing, this man is not going to die a natural death if I have anything to do with it, and I do. I am going to name the character first, however, so that passersby can take good aim to spit on his tombstone.

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 favorite resources? For my type of writing interests, research is less important than if I was into writing hard science fiction, and the world building had to be based upon more reasonable scientific projections of the future. When I’ve needed information, I’ve only used search engines. For example, I needed a name for a planet that had a Biblical reference because of the theme of the story. The story was not religious but the planet’s history was predominated by long series of invasions. I remembered a similar scenario from church Sunday school when I was a child. I used a search engine and came up with the name “Achaia” for the planet. Look it up and let me know if you think that it was a good name. There are plenty of other similar examples, but the worlds that I build just have to be visible in the reader’s mind, and a person can see almost anything even if it is hallucinatory. I research as much as I think is needed to make the scenes feel real for the reader.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Yes, there are many messages in everything that I have written and will write. That’s why I think of my writing as social science fiction – that’s what it’s all about. But that doesn’t mean the messages will be interpreted by one reader the same as interpreted by another. I don’t write or want to read anything that is “preachy.” Heck, I don’t even think that religious literature, like the pamphlets that one finds on the floors of public toilet stalls, should be so preachy. I wouldn’t want to touch such content, even if it would have been delivered under more sanitary conditions. I want to write about important issues that one person may think support a particular position but the next reader finds the opposite. I don’t have the answers to the most important questions and challenges that humans face.

Your question reminds me of a line from Rarity from the Hollow that a reviewer had pulled out and posted on a blog because she thought that it was significant for some reason:

A person can know everything, but still not have a true answer to an actual question.

The narrative of this novel addressed social issues: poverty, domestic violence, child maltreatment, local and intergalactic economics, mental health concerns – including PTSD experienced by Veterans and the medicinal use of marijuana for treatment of Bipolar Disorder, Capitalism, and touched on the role of Jesus: “Jesus is everybody’s friend, not just humans.” These messaged do not advocate for anything specific. In my opinion, it is critical that such messages be in every piece of literature, even comics and erotica, but each of us have to find truths within our own hearts and minds.

One of my personal truths is that enough is not being done to prevent child abuse / exploitation in the world. Author proceeds from the Lacy Dawn Adventures project have been donated to Children’s Home Society of West Virginia:

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? Rarity from the Hollow is available electronically as a .mobi, epub, or .pdf file. It is also available as a paperback. I’ve not looked into audio or large print, but both are great ideas to consider.

Thanks for the great interview.


Purchase links:


The second edition was released on November 3, 2016: The eBook version was released on December 5, 2016:


Purchase links: 


Public Author Contacts:


Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.


Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”

Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”

—    Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” —Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review

Comfort Zones: Please note that there is a mention of a child having been murdered in this novel, by the meanest daddy on Earth. However, there is no scene and she plays a comical and annoying ghost most of the story. Here’s a finding by Awesome Indies about the first edition to help you decide if this novel is too far outside of your comfort zone: “a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” The early tragedy feeds and amplifies subsequent comedy and satire.

Please also note that the character mentioned above (Faith) is a victim of sexual abuse. Sexual content in the novel:


  • While the protagonist occupies the body of an eleven year old, she is the product of genetic manipulation by Universal Management for millennia;
  • Lacy Dawn began her trainings via direct download into her brain five years before the beginning of this story, so she has been fed information about every known human subject, including biology, reproduction, economics…for years before readers are introduced to her (ET involvement is an opening chapter reveal);
  • Her best friend, Faith, as a sexual abuse victim, has a sad and unhealthy awareness of sexuality;
  • The android has no private parts, “not even a little bump,” and is much less mature emotionally than Lacy Dawn throughout the story;
  • There are no sex scenes in the novel and only references, including the disclosure about Faith’s victimization by a reference and as a flashback with no scenes;
  • As the android pursues humanity and starts going through an accelerated human development stage, he never develops any actual sexual interests but does try to kiss Lacy Dawn on the cheek once;
  • Lacy Dawn vows not to have sex for the first time until after she is married — a traditional and now unusual family value;
  • She is fourteen years old when the novel ends and has typical teenage interests but remains untouched, not even a first real kiss;
  • There are normalized sexual references and innuendos between Lacy Dawn parents after their romance was rekindled — the father was cured of PTSD and the mother’s self-esteem improved, in part, because she got new teeth as part of the deal to save the universe;
  • But, the above sexual references are presented as puns, nothing on screen, and are milder than most romance novels that I’ve read, such as by Nora Roberts.


Piers Anthony, best selling fantasy author during the ’80s and ’90s, found that my novel was “…not for the prudish.” Kevin Patrick Mahoney, editor of the once noteworthy site, Authortrek, found that my story was, “…not for the faint hearted or easily offended….”   An early voice in the first chapter speaks about things that no child should know. It is that of a traumatized child – a voice most of us never listen to, or want to hear, but in real life is screaming. I’m a retired children’s psychotherapist. The language and concepts in this story are mild in comparison to some of the stuff that kids have said during actual group therapy sessions that I have facilitated over the years. By child developmental stage, it is similar to the infamous early adolescent insult in E.T.: “penis breath.” It is tame in comparison to the content of the popular television series, SouthPark, which has been devoured by millions of teens. My story does include marijuana smoking, but that subject has been frequently broadcast in the news as state move toward legalization, when legislation is introduced, or debates emerge. Except for a scene involving domestic violence in the third chapter, there is no violence or horror — no blood, guts, gore, vampires, or werewolves. The “F word” is used twice, but the all other profanity is mild colloquialism. Rarity from the Hollow is a children’s story for adults with a HEA ending like a romance novel.


Author and Narrator Interview – C.S MacCath

Name: C.S. MacCath

Tell us a bit about yourself: I’m an American expat living on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, one of the most beautiful islands on Earth and a Gàidhealtachd of the Scottish Gaelic language. My husband Sean and I own a hundred-year-old minister’s manse here and run an enterprise web development company and small press from home. We’re both vegan, and we’re both volunteer wildlife rescuers for a facility in Seaforth, Nova Scotia called Hope for Wildlife.

Tell us about your process for narrating.  (Be as elaborate as you like.): Before I begin recording, I read the piece aloud with attention to vocal inflection and voicing of characters. Key passages and phrases are highlighted during this reading, and each major character’s dialogue is also highlighted with its own, separate color. Then I read through the piece again, focusing on those highlighted passages while I work to establish an overall cadence for the narration.

During recording, I break often, perhaps every page or two. This gives me the opportunity to rest and clear my throat with water so my reading voice remains constant throughout the piece. It’s easy to become fatigued after a few hours of recording, and that affects vocal constancy as well, so I try not to work longer than three or four hours during a session.

Once I’ve recorded the piece, I listen to it carefully for sound artifacts. These are nearly impossible to scrub from a recording, so passages containing them need to be revisited. I also listen for places where my reading was inconsistent or simply didn’t convey the meaning I intended and revisit these as well.

Finally, I splice the recording and listen to it a final time to make certain I haven’t missed anything. For more information on that part of the process, you might read my blog entry: .Recording for Audible ACX – Technical Post

With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? I most certainly think it’s one important future of storytelling, since audio books are a dynamic and convenient way to enjoy the written word. My husband is an audio book fan, and his listening habit takes the place of the reading habit he had as a boy. My own listeners have mentioned they prefer audio books as well. I love them too and always have one on the go.

That said, I believe audio books occupy a place alongside paper books and e-books. Not every reader has the same needs, and I think the publishing industry should continue to meet those needs equitably.

If you are an author, do you produce your own audiobooks or do you prefer to look for an independent narrator? Why have you made this choice? I produce my own audio books; from cover art to narration to digital mastering. In fact, I’m just finishing the remodeling of a small room in my house so that I’ll have a properly sound-attenuated space to record in going forward. It took me roughly a year to build these separate skills, and there was a lot of trial and error, but I prefer to be self-sufficient where I can when it comes to my career. I also enjoy the work quite a bit. It’s a nice creative break from the writing itself.

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc?) I have mixed feelings about ACX. The technical requirements for self-published audio books are precise, but not onerous, and they need to be what they are in order for listeners to have a quality, distraction-free listening experience. So I have no quarrel with the technical rigor of the process. The web site is easy to use, and I’ve found the ACX support crew consistently helpful when I’ve called them with questions. ACX also provides a number of audio book codes to authors for promotional purposes, which is nice. As for earnings, I’m not excited about the royalties offered to authors who don’t distribute their audio books exclusively through ACX, but I’m not willing to sign a seven-year exclusivity contract for pieces I distribute as an independent author.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write speculative fiction and poetry, which includes science fiction, fantasy and the occasional bit of Pagan-influenced slipstream. My first collection is entitled The Ruin of Beltany Ring: A Collection of Pagan Poems and Tales and is comprised of work published between 2004 and 2010(ish). I’ve also sold a number of stories and poems since then, which you can find by visiting the “Things to Read” sidebar at I’m presently working on a series of science fiction novels entitled Petals of the Twenty Thousand Blossom, for which I’ve written a novel I’m shopping around to agents and publishers right now. I’ve just begun another novel in that series, and I’m planning to pitch a second collection of short fiction to a good small press later on this summer.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? I have! But I found as I was writing the character that she diverged from the person quite a bit for the sake of the story. So when I finally did shoot her in the head, she wasn’t much like the woman I derived her from, which is probably for the best. Fictionalizing real people can lead to legal trouble if the fiction resembles the person too plainly.

That said, I’ve extracted character types, motivations and even remembered conversations with difficult people and given them to my fictional villains. I find this humanizes them, which is necessary if you want your bad guys to be more than foils in a story.

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 world-build for everything I write, even short stories. In fact, I often begin my research with a vague idea or perhaps just a strong character and allow the world-building to lead me into the story. As for favorite resources, I research so widely that I don’t really have any specific favorites. However, I have taught world-building at science fiction conventions and can offer a few of my own resources to your readers.

The first is a series of blog entries I wrote about constructed languages, or conlangs. You can find the introduction to that series here: ConLangs 101: Introduction. The convention workshop resource sheet on conlang construction can be found here: ConLangs 101 Resource Sheet.

The second and third are resource sheets for two convention workshops: Physical Worldbuilding and Cultural Worldbuilding. These were intended for attendees, so there are a few things in them that might not be relevant to your readers, but there’s some good stuff too.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? There’s always a message underlying my work. My recent story “N is for Nanomachine” was a look at the ways people choose to approach death. My forthcoming story “C is for Change” is about the way people are broken and what happens when they transcend that brokenness. I write about life, so meaning is important to me.

As for its overall importance, who can say? There are a number of popular speculative fiction writers who specialize in artful prose and poetry that have no underlying message, and their work sells. It reads like cotton candy tastes to me, and I don’t care for that sort of thing, but that’s only because I do care so much about message and meaning. Your mileage may vary.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? I have never, ever commented publicly on a review of my work, and I hope I’m never so far off my game that I do. Very occasionally, I’ve sent a brief ‘thank you’ e-mail to a kind reviewer or mentioned my appreciation for a good review in a blog entry, but that’s it.

Reviews are conversations readers have about writing, and writers should never insert themselves into that conversation when it’s about their own work. This is especially true of negative reviews. Writers don’t live in the heads of their readers, and while some negative reviews are hurtful on purpose, most are just honest expressions of what didn’t work for a reader. That kind of critique can be helpful.

As for importance, I think reviews are important tools for reader discussion, but I think they’re somewhat less important for writers, except as a means for finding out how their work is received and where some skill-building might be in order. That said, I still love it when a reader has something nice to say about my writing. ☺

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I just finished The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey, and I have to say that on the whole, it didn’t work for me. However, my favorite novel of the last year was Lexicon, by Max Barry, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all people with a pulse. I’malso following the Saga comic series by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples and love it.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I have a collection of action figures from the Pacific Rim movie, and I play with them.

Where can we learn more about you?

Social Media links: