Anthology Author Interview – Wyrd Worlds – Zach Tyo


Name: Zach Tyo

Please tell us about your work with the Wyrd Worlds books: I actually reviewed the first edition of Wyrd Worlds on my blog, and fell in love with both the concept and all the authors. Each one provided a wonderful story that was thought out and fun to read.

Where did the idea for these stories come from? For my anthology story “My Last Day” I really drew from an emotional place, and tried to convey that. As a father, being helpless to protect the ones you love is a real fear and made it a story that was surprisingly easy to tell.

Do you have any phobias? Though my current occupation forces me to interact with them almost daily, I still have a fear of spiders. Every house spider is a brown recluse, and every small hairy spider is a tarantula.

What have you learned from your experiences with this anthology? Well the main thing I’ve learned is Steph Bennion is a work horse. As a fellow contributor, editor and publisher she put more blood, sweat and tears into the overall work then anyone realizes….hopefully not too much blood though.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Never stop writing. Don’t do it unless you love it. When rejection is up and sales are down, only someone who truly loves the industry has a prayer of longevity. Finally, get a account, read, and pick the brains of every author who will listen. You can never fully understand the business until you get into it, but the authors on the site can give you the best chance for a positive experience.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? Reading has always been something I’ve been passionate about. The only difference now is what I read. Fantasies were always my “wheelhouse”, which later evolved into thrillers. For the past year, or so, I’ve been reading indies of every genre. I still pick up the occasional Dean Koontz book, but mostly I stick to my indies that I’ve become a fan of. My most recent book is a collection of Poe’s short stories.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews, in your opinion? Honest reviews are invaluable to an author. When you’ve received enough it gives you an idea of what the general public thinks of your writing. As far as a reader goes, at least from my experience, they matter a little less. So many people pay for 5* reviews that now when a reader sees an indie story with a dozen 5* reviews they automatically think that they could not possibly be as good as they seem.

Who are your influences? I take my influences from many of the usual. When I was younger I imagined writing epic fantasies like R.A. Salvatore, and as I grew I feel in love with Dean Koontz’s style of sprinkling supernatural traits into thrillers. Now that I’m actually writing, I find myself taking a lot of inspiration from Poe.

What can we expect from you in the near future? I recently released my first book The Reaper’s Opus which is a short story collection following mortal’s interactions with the Reaper at the end of their lives. I’ve currently been working on my next book that follows a man working at a private hospital for plague victims.


Character Interview Number Twenty-Seven – Arael – Fantasy/YA/Children’s Books

Name (s): Arael

Age: 9

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. “Tall, with red hair, green eyes, and pointed ears.”

Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? “All elves have a moral code.  We care for our world and the creatures who live in it, and do what we can to protect both.  The elders believe this includes killing those who threaten it with their harmful and disrespectful behaviour, but I personally believe that killing is never the right thing to do.  I know for a fact that there are many other elves who agree with me.  It is unfortunate that these elves are not among the elders who write and enforce our laws.”

Would you kill for those you love? “I do not think so.  I would most certainly try to avoid doing so, and would hope that I was strong enough to stick firmly to my beliefs that killing solves nothing even when placed in such a situation.”
Would you die for those you love? “Perhaps.  Though I hope I shall never need to find this out.”

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? “I have given this some thought, but I still have no idea.  I think it is common to struggle to admit to your weaknesses, and I do not feel that anything stands out as being a strength where I am concerned.”

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? “The person I am closest to is my identical twin sister, Derwyn.  We have rarely been parted throughout our entire lives so far, and we are best friends as well as being siblings.”

Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? “I love all animals; we elves generally do.  We have no pets, since we do not believe in forcing animals to be kept in cages.  Animals should be free.”

Do you have a family? Tell us about them? “As I already mentioned, I have an identical twin sister named Derwyn.  As I also already mentioned, we’re very close, and we’re best friends as well as being siblings.   I have no other siblings.  My Father is the elven king, and my Mother his queen.  This, as you might imagine, means they are often quite busy and have little time to spend with Derwyn and myself.  When we are a few years older and it is time to prepare us for the day we will rule, they will pay more attention to us.  In the meantime, my sister and I have a governess, who is responsible for both our education and our care, though she is generally so relaxed in her observations of us outside of lesson time that we can escape for hours at a time without her noticing.  This is how it works if you are a member of the royal family, though I dare say the governess is supposed to be more observant than she is.  I am unsure whether it will be Derwyn or I who take our Father’s place, but I hope it will be her, since I feel she is better suited for the task.”

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? “I was 5 years old the first time that I saw a human find his way in to our world through one of the magical doorways.  I watched him be killed for the crime of being a human.  I had seen no sign of violence from this man, and yet he was killed.  I felt it was wrong, but when I confronted my Father he just told me the stories of the old wars as though this made it acceptable for the human to be killed.  I swore that day I would do all I could to avoid it happening in the future.  I have since discovered that many other elves feel the same way about it.  This is why we did not report it when the human child, Polly, entered our world.”

Do you have any phobias? “I fear that the elders will turn us in to violent beings with their law that humans should die for simply entering our world.”

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. “I can not swim very well.  With the lake separating our tree town from the mainland we elves are taught to swim at an early age.  But I just can not get the hang of it.  I can just about keep myself from drowning, but that is the best I can manage.  My sister, Derwyn, is a strong swimmer, like almost every other member of the elven population over the age of 3.  But not me.  It is one of the few ways we differ.”

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour. “My world has no religion.  We care for animals and nature, because you have to care for your world if you wish to live a healthy life in a healthy world, and especially if you wish to leave a healthy world behind for your descendants to survive in.  But we do not believe in any God, Goddess, or other spiritual being.”

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? “Elves are free to travel where they wish in our world, though being the elven princesses my sister and I should officially not travel out of sight of the tree town unescorted.  Nobody would dare to stop us if we revealed who we were, but we tend to wear plain clothes when we sneak out.  The only people who would dare to stop us if they recognized us would be our parents, and they are generally too busy to notice unless we are gone too long.  Oh, and our governess, though it generally takes her some time to notice we are gone unless we miss lessons.  The only time we travelled very far was when we went with Polly to look for the purple pumpkin.  Every other time we have remained within a couple of hours walk of our home.  It was only our knowledge of geography from our lessons that allowed us to easily know which direction to take with Polly.”

Name and describe a food from your world. “Most of our foods are just like those from the human world, but we do have a couple that are unique to our world.  I shall name and describe my favourite berry.  It is called a silbery, and is a very sweet fruit.  As the name suggests, silberries are silver.  They look just like silver strawberries, and taste like a cross between a strawberry and a kiwi fruit.”

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world? “I have read that many people believe that elves are magical.  This is not the case.  There were once magical elves, just as there were once magic users in the human world, but they are all gone now.  There are still some magical items in our world – such as the purple pumpkin – and those items can be used to perform magic.  The purple pumpkin, for example, grants wishes.  As for how magic is viewed in our world… For the most part people do not think about it.  We know the magical items exist, but until we need their magic we spare them very little thought.  There are also the magical doorways, which appear randomly to connect our world to other worlds.  These are viewed as being very dangerous, due to the risk of being stuck forever in a world that is not your own, and are usually avoided by any elves who see them appear.”

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) “We have both a royal family and a council of elders.  Officially it is the king and queen who rule, but it is common knowledge that they make no decision without the approval of a majority of the council of elders.”

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another? “The only race in our world is elves.  Once other races shared our world, but after the great wars they were banished, and none visit now.  A few humans have strayed in to our world through the magical doorways, but since humans were the cause of the great wars all those years ago, any human who enters our world is put to death.”

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people.“The most well-known legend is the legend of the doorways.  The legend says that there was once an elven wizard with so little patience he poured his magic in to the soil in which he had planted seeds to make them grow immediately, just so that he could avoid having to wait for nature to do the task in its own time.  His attempt worked, but it had an unexpected side effect; it created ripples in the universe that created magical doorways to other worlds.  But these doorways were unstable, and those who found them and passed through them found themselves trapped in a world that was not their own.  Sometimes people would search for years before being lucky enough to stumble upon another doorway, and there was no guarantee it would be one back in to their own world, since it could lead to another world entirely.  These doorways allowed other races to enter our world, and many stayed, and were welcomed at first.  But when the humans’ numbers grew they wanted to claim the world for themselves.  The result of which was the wars known as the great wars, which led to the elven population shrinking considerably, and all other races being banished from our world forever.  Legend says each race was sent through a different doorway when one appeared next, starting with the humans, and that those races each claimed a world for themselves.  Most of us avoid the magical doorways now, but sometimes curious humans will stumble through a doorway, and from the first time this happened it has been the law in our world that any human entering our world should be put to death, since they were the cause of the great wars that divided the races and worlds.”

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? “We have no technology, and there is nothing I could not live without that nature does not provide.  As long as I have food, water, and shelter, I can be happy.  Though, of course, I would prefer to also have my sister, Derwyn.”

Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some. “The answer depends who you ask.  Some would say that it does, because they would consider elves to be mystical beings.  However, since elves are the only humanoid race that populates our world, we do not consider ourselves to be either supernatural, mystical, mythological, or any of the other words I’ve heard are used to describe us in other worlds.  So, as far as we are concerned, it does not.  However, others may disagree.”

Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention? “I think that the most important discovery is the purple pumpkin, since without it Derwyn and I would have had no chance of saving Polly before the elders learned she was in our world.”


Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links

Arael is one of the main characters of the story “Quest For The Purple Pumpkin” in the “Wyrd Worlds II” anthology.  Get your copy at

Author name: Victoria Zigler

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.




Facebook author page:






Wyrd Worlds II – An anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Last year I was delighted to be asked to participate in the Smashwords Authors group anthology Wyrd Worlds, a collection of speculative fiction from some of the new talent, and established talent on the Good Reads site. We had such fun putting together the free anthology decided to do it again! Thanks to Steph for her support and hard work and to Ross for the cover art.

This year a few more authors got involved and the talent ranges from Steph Bennion, who once again organised and edited the book, to Victoria Zigler author of children’s fantasy.  There is quite a mix of stories, mine include ‘The Joy of Socks’ part of the Kitchen Imps tales. It may well explain where socks go in the washing machine. The other is ‘Free Will’, a tale of the musings of a god as he watches the small blue-green world he cares for. There is something for everyone in this anthology, young and old.

This ebook contains a bumper 19 short stories from 17 independent authors from around the world, encompassing a wide range of science fiction and fantasy. Here lurks tales of the future, steampunk and time travel; of magical realms and fantastical deeds; and of things so weird they defy categorisation. The original WYRD WORLDS rode upon a new wave of indie collaborations; and now we’re back! In this anthology you will find:

HORIZON – KIRA: PART 2 by Ross Harrison – It was just her and a boy, alone. Kira had to concentrate on keeping him alive.

THE VISITOR by Neil Shooter – Time is relative. On an ordinary blustery British night an extraordinary visitor comes.

A WORLD TAKEN OVER by Douglas Schwartz – He had conquered the world. How much more effort was it going to be to unconquer it?

THE JOY OF SOCKS by A.L. Butcher – The imps knew what they wanted from the Bringer of Offerings…

THE COLONIAL PLAGUE by L.L. Watkin – It’s been years since Missra was executed and now her soul is shut away, but being the most powerful magical healer of her generation gets her out of the box occasionally…

HUMANITY WAS DELICIOUS by Ubiquitous Bubba – Imagine you were the werewolf who ate the last human. What will you eat now? More importantly, how are you going to get off this alien ship?

MY LAST DAY by Zach Tyo – Disaster awaits the Earth, yet an unexpected gift brings joy.

GUISARME by Barbara G. Tarn – Members of the Assassins’ Guild can be as honorable as anyone. They might be trained to kill, but they’re just people with loved ones to protect and avenge.

ROCK OF AGES by Steph Bennion – Letters from the past were hidden for a reason. But breaking into the secure facility was child’s play compared to an unexpected family reunion…

THE DINER by Michael Puttonen – Sometimes a life lived hasn’t been lived at all.

HOMELESS by Neil Shooter – Winter didn’t end, but his world has. Is he completely alone? In a world gone cold, what can keep the spark of life shining?

GY by Peter Lean – The Book was the knowledge that could open the door, but the worlds had been separated for a reason…

IRREVOCABLE by L.J. Hick – He did not accept finality. All he knew was that he had to change the impossible.

POISONED GROUND by Laurel A. Rockefeller – Lady Abbess Cara of house Ten-Ar must find the cause of a mysterious plague of illnesses before it is too late for the city of Nan-li…

SASHA AND THE COLLARED GIRL by Stan Morris – The man was willing to trade his prized possession, but she was already lost.

QUEST FOR THE PURPLE PUMPKIN by Victoria Zigler – A glittering surprise in the woods leads Polly to another world, where just being human is punishable by death…

FREE WILL by A.L. Butcher – The other Grand Wizards thought Leonardos eccentric, indulging the little World Marble like a favoured child…

AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE by Clark Graham – A tabloid journalist discovers his outlandish stories just might be true.

CHANGING EVERYTHING by Josh Karaczewski – Two men set out into one of America’s roughest neighborhoods as one piece of a grand plan to change everything…

For now it is only available on Smashwords – Free – but will shortly appear on Amazon and all the Smashwords premium stores. (Smashwords Link) (Website for Wyrd Worlds II)

Wyrd Worlds II