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Book Spotlight

Holding Out For A Hero By T.E. Kessler @TE_Kessler

Who says your boyfriend has to be human?

Macy’s life changed forever when, as a child, her mother was murdered. The killers were never found, and Macy grew up looking for injustices and making them right.

She became a journalist, interviewing celebrities but lately found stardom shallow and pretentious.

There was just no putting right a teen-idol rockstar.

Things changed when her best friend was attacked but rescued by an unlikely hero.

The hero was a Jelvia.

Humans lived in fear of the Jelvia.

The Jelvia killed humans for fun.

Macy just saw a hero that she’d been looking for all her life.

This sci-fi romance contains some mature scenes, but if you’re looking for a hero, drop right in!

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Today, I’m happy to introduce the author of the Kingdom of Wind & Fire, R.A. Lewis.

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I’ve always wanted to write, and often wrote as a child. My stories back then rarely had a coherent plot, and the characters often changed genders part way through but I loved telling stories even then. My mother says that I was telling stories as soon as I could speak. It grew from there. A few years ago after ending a creatively draining job, I decided to stop putting off my dream of writing and dive in head first. Ten books later and here we are!

I am often inspired by every day things, but I’ve always had a wild imagination, as well as I’ve always been a big book worm. I love writing about trauma and emotion in my stories, and I strive to make realistic characters that you can identify with. Writing for me is part therapy, part desire to tell a compelling story.

Describe your desk / writing space.

I write in my tiny office, surrounded by all my nerdy things and a TON of books. I desperately need new book shelves as my current ones are overflowing and double stacked. It’s a bit chaotic but I love it. I also have a reading chair in my office, and usually at least one dog and a few cats around for company. Sometimes the whole crew of two dogs and four cats comes in, and it feels crowded but comfy. I write on a desktop with double monitors which is nice for being able to go back and forth between research and writing.

Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?

I don’t have much of a specific writing routine, although I probably should. I wear headphones with ambient sounds every time I write because it helps block out external stimuli. Sometimes when I’m struggling to focus I have a mini ritual: I do some light meditation, put on my headphones and play some sort of ambient sound (usually wind in the trees or falling snow), then light a pretty candle and get to writing. I have ADHD and struggle with focus so sometimes all it takes it shutting off social media and doing a ritual to get me back on track. If that doesn’t work, then I take a walk. And if THAT doesn’t work, I usually give up for the day and come back later.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

I would say the first scenes and the last ones are equally difficult to write. Perhaps even the middle of the book can be tough, because my brain is often ten steps ahead of my fingers. But I also think that the last scene and the first scene are also my favorite. The first scene holds all the excitement of starting a new story, and the last scene holds the satisfaction of a finished one.

What inspired your book/series?

Well, each book is different and I have a few series out. Usually I draw inspiration from movies or tv shows I’ve watched, past books I’ve read, my own personal experiences, previous work/jobs/friends/clients/family, or nature. Occasionally music inspires me, as it did for The Elemental Kingdoms Series. The very first scene was inspired by a Celtic song, and the books blossomed from there. My Valdir Chronicles started out as a writing prompt from a friend who told me to write a virgin obsessed wyvern. Suddenly I was 9 chapters deep with a whole series blooming before me. My newest series, Crowe Trials, was inspired by my love of Celtic Mythology as well as the Fae trend in fantasy these days.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

In this world? Scotland. Just outside Edinburgh or on the Isle of Skye. In the US? Northern California in the mountains near Shasta and Lassen. In a fantasy world? Tortall or the Wizarding World or maybe Middle Earth.).

How do you come up with the title to your books?

Usually they just come to me. Sometimes I go off popular title naming, and sometimes I search title lists of similar books, and then use a thesaurus to come up with themes/ideas from my book. I try to boil down what my book is about/represents before I move forward with a title.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on the main part of the Crowe Trials series. I have three books planned beyond the novella which released last month. I’m well into book one, Rook & Lion, now. This first book is a mix of The Selection, Cruel Prince, and Hunger Games mixed with Dark Fantasy Romance. I’m excited to get this out!

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Oh man. Asking a book worm who their favorite author is, or favorite book, is so dangerous! Here are a few that I ADORE and would love to write similarly to: Tamora Pierce, Garth Nix, Cinda Williams Chima, Sherwood Smith, Jaqueline Carey, Scott Lynch, Pierce Brown, V.E. Schwab… the list goes on! But every book I read usually influences my writing in some way.

What is your favorite meal?

I don’t think I have just one. I recently had bariatric surgery, so my meals have drastically changed, but I’d have to say Mexican food. I love tacos and burritos and fajitas. I love shrimp or fish or steak. I mostly stick to protein and veggies, but beans and cheese are a guilty pleasure of mine. That, and a poached egg on avocado toast. So yummy!

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

I rarely drink alcohol, and usually it’s a hard cider, a Moscow mule, or a gin and tonic. And as much as I adore coffee, I don’t drink it often due to it hurting my stomach (although I do drink cold brew on occasion). I much prefer tea, and my go to drink is a london fog.

Describe yourself in three words.

Imaginative, loyal, emotional.

Blood is magic. Magic is everything. And it can get you killed.

Twins Brianna and Brayden have had to hide their volatile elemental powers all their lives. But now they must use them if they want to survive.

After fifteen years apart, Brayden escapes enslavement to a SpiritSinger who controls his every move. No sooner has he reunited with his family when the twins’ mother is captured by the same enemy.

The twins must make an impossible choice: to rescue her or follow her last wish. With the help of a snarky smuggler and his crew, Brayden and Brianna embark on a quest to hone their magical skills and save their mother.

But evil is brewing on the horizon, and it’s coming for anyone with power.

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Today, I’m happy to introduce the author of the Dingo & Sister, Nikky Lee.

Click on, Dingo & Sister at the bottom of the page to get a FREE COPY!!!!

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

Kia ora, I’m a New Zealand-based author of fantasy, science fiction and horror for adults and older teens. While I now call New Zealand home, I originally hail from sunny Perth on the west coast of Australia, a city with two claims of fame: the most isolated capital city in the world and its “shark infested” waters. (Fun fact: between May and December 2017, Surf Life Saving Western Australia had 1400 shark reports.) 

Growing up, my TV idols were the SG-1 team from Stargate and Max from Dark Angel (I guess that says a lot about me!) Book wise: not so surprisingly, Harry Potter was a main go-to, along withTamora Pierce’s The Immortals, K. A. Applegate’s Animorphs, anything by Paul Jennings, and the occasional Goosebumps book. I also real a tonneof Japanese manga, too many to list here. 

I began writing when I was about 13 after drawing a character during the summer holiday break. Over a few weeks, the story of this character grew and grew inside my head. I’d tell it to myself whenever I had a spare moment—doing the chores, waiting for the bus, during TV ad breaks—until it got to the point where I couldn’t hold all the details of the story in my head. And as I struggled to keep hold of it all I stopped being able to tell myself new parts of the story. At last, exasperated, I started writing it down so I could clear some mental real estate to figure the next bit of the story out. 

Fast forward nearly 20 years and here I am, still writing stories out of my head. 

Describe your desk / writing space.

I have a desk, but I only use it while I’m editing so I can have a second screen. When in drafting mode I’m on the sofa, usually typing around a cat who’s squeezed herself in between the laptop and me. In winter, there are blankets and slippers in the mix too.

Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?

I work full-time and am a natural night owl, so I write late in the evenings, usually while my husband watches TV (I have a really good set of headphones!). Since I work to deadlines (usually my own) I’ve learned that I can’t wait for the muse to arrive—I have to coax it out as I go. Sometimes it comes, sometimes it doesn’t, but I can always go back and edit those bits.

I try to write most days as I’ve found it harder to get the words flowing again when I take too long a break, particularly when I’m in the middle of something long and complex.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

100% the ending. I cried while writing it. I won’t give too much away (other than to say no, the dingo doesn’t die). But I had to walk away from the keyboard after writing it I was so emotionally rung. 

What inspired your book/series?

Dingo & Sister was actually a challenge to myself to prove I could write characters. Up until then, I had this belief that I wrote great plots but my characters were so-so. What’s more, I often needed a lot of words to bring them to life. The goal for Dingo & Sister was to create compelling characters in as fewer word as possible.

In terms of inspiration, much of it came from a train trip I did across the Nullabor—a desert plain that runs across the Great Australian Bite. It’s a two-day trip; you go to sleep one night seeing bushland and scrub outside the window then wake up the next morning to vast, utterly flat red desert. It’s quite surreal. We took the trip right in the middle of summer and the heat was something else, floating around 45C (113F) when we got out of the train at its midway stop.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

Given many fantasies and sci-fis are either war-torn kingdoms (or on the brink of it) or have gross social, political and/or environmental problems, I think I’ll stick with New Zealand (but maybe somewhere in the South Island near the mountains, preferably with a good coffee shop nearby).

How do you come up with the title to your books?

Oddly, the title for Dingo & Sister was one of the earliest elements of the story I decided on. Normally I umm and ahh over titles, often workshopping them in my online and local writing groups. Some years ago there was a manga called Lone Wolf and Cub—I never got around to reading it (another one for the TBR pile!) but the title always stuck with me. When I started writing this story, I figured why not use a similar naming convention since the ‘wolf and cub’ title was so memorable for me. 

What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on the second book of my debut trilogy—an epic fantasy about a girl bound in a blood pact to a monster. Think The Witcher meets Shadow and Bone. I recently revealed the cover of the first book, The Rarkyn’s Familiar, which comes out in April next year (and is available for pre-order!).

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

A lot! I’m something of a chameleon writer and my style will vary a little depending on the type of story I’m telling. I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with style and voice in my short fiction, taking elements from the voices of Peter McLean and Madeline Miller and combining it with the weirdness of Paul Jennings. 

For my longer works, one of my most significant fantasy influences is Robin Hobb—she writes some of the most vivid characters in the genre (imo). On the science fiction front, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Vonda McIntyre’s Dreamsnake come to mind. On the manga side, seminal works such as Princess Mononoke, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and Berserk have been hugely influential.

What is your favorite meal?

Oo, tough choice. I love tacos, curries and stir-fries, but I think my grandmother’s mac and cheese recipe is my favorite. Quick and easy too (but not very healthy).

All right…prime grade ribeye steak, sous vide’d and grilled medium rare.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

I love a good coffee, but I’m sensitive to caffeine so I’ve had to cut back. These days it’s a coffee in the morning to get me going then fruit teas after that. One of my local tea shops does a nougat flavored tea that is AMAZING. I much prefer wine or cider over beer, Pino Gris is my go-to.

Describe yourself in three words.

Persistent (some might say stubborn). Curious. Loyal.  

Nikky Lee is an award-winning author who grew up as a barefoot 90s kid in Perth, Western Australia on Whadjuk Noongar Country. She now lives in Aotearoa New Zealand with a husband, a dog and a couch potato cat. In her free time she writes speculative fiction, often burning the candle at both ends to explore fantastic worlds, mine asteroids and meet wizards. She’s had over two dozen stories published in magazines, anthologies and on radio. Her debut novel, The Rarkyn’s Familiar—an epic tale of a girl bonded to a monster—will be published by Parliament House Press in 2022.

Posted in Blog

Today, I’m happy to introduce the author of the series Forensics and Fantasy, Michael Angel.

Click on, Forensics and Dragon Fire at the bottom of the page to get a FREE COPY!!!!

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I’ve been writing short stories since I was in fourth grade! Later in life, I decided to enter the field writing non-fiction books. I wrote four of the For Dummies books, which put me on the map. Then I moved over into fiction writing after studying under the great Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch and haven’t looked back.

Describe your desk / writing space.

LOL, it’s a standard computer desk, laid out without too much clutter. The big issues for any writer are ergonomics – if you compromise your wrist posture or seating, you’ll pay for it down the line! About the one luxury I’ll admit to is a mesh-seat and backed chair that lets air circulate around you so you don’t get overheated.

Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?

I wish I had a more consistent writing routine, but sometimes life interferes. However, I put in some good hours in front of the screen every day. You need to practice writing at speed for long stretches to get things done.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

I literally cried when I had to write the death scene of one of the major characters. It’s one of those oddities of this profession…that you grieve over the death of a person who’ll never exist outside of your own head.

It’s even more amazing when you make other people cry over this, too.

On the other hand, you can feel the exhilaration of whenever the main character pulls themselves out of a hopeless scrape. When they come out a little ahead of where they started.

What inspired your book/series?

I have the exact moment on audio tape! I was listening to a lecture by Kris Rusch about how you can come up with new ideas by smashing together unlikely combinations. One example she gave was ‘How about writing like C.S. Lewis on speed?’

I thought: “Hm, how about C.S. Lewis meets C.S.I.?”

And that’s how the 10-book Fantasy & Forensics series was born!

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Aside from Kris Rusch and Dean Smith, there’s a bunch: Roger Zelazny, Jack Chalker, JRR Tolkien, David Eddings, Clive Cussler, David Preston, and Michael Critchton. How’s that for a start?

How do you come up with the title to your books?

Ideally, a title should instantly tell the reader the book’s genre, and maybe give a clue as to what the book’s about. For the first book in my Fantasy & Forensics series, you have centaurs, and a crime they’re supposed to have committed: Centaur of the Crime. Or the free novella featured here, which involves a dragon and the use of forensics to solve a crime: Forensics and Dragon Fire.

What are you working on next?

I’m finishing up another book in the Plague Walker Medical Thriller series, and then I’ll be swinging back to fantasy again!

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

I love Texas Hill Country, which is close to where I already live. Perhaps in a hilltop villa surrounded by gnarled valley oaks, with views overlooking the vineyards of a local winery.

On the other hand, I believe one of the perks of living in Tolkien’s land of Númenor was immortality, along with a nice Mediterranean climate. So…yeah, I’d at least rent a condo there.

What is your favorite meal?

Good lord, I’m a total foodie…you’d make me choose ONE meal?

All right…prime grade ribeye steak, sous vide’d and grilled medium rare.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Diet Cola with a lot of ice, please. I like my caffeine cold.

Describe yourself in three words.

Ignores instructions to a fault. 😊

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Today, I’m happy to introduce, Lorin Petrazilka author of the Vale Born.

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

One of my favorite book series is Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I had such an emotional reaction to it. I had started writing a book long before that, but put it aside after some time, I just wasn’t ready to write it. After reading those books, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to write a great fantasy adventure with characters that made you feel something, I wanted to evoke that same response from readers. I was so thrilled when those were the comments that I got back from readers. When inspiration finally struck for what my book would be, I was visiting my family ranch in San Diego, which itself feels like a magical place. There is a grouping of cliff rocks far to the east of their ranch. Close enough to see, but too far to really hike to. They always felt forbidden. I have grown up looking at them, wanting to go. I thought, what if I were drawn there for a reason much bigger than anything I could have guessed? The story evolved from there in a very big way.

Describe your desk / writing space.

I have two, one is my standing desk, which has crystals and a salt lamp, as well as various little charms I’m convinced bring me luck. I also have a light-up colorful mechanical keyboard which I adore. But sometimes I need to be mobile, so I write on my ipad with a keyboard cover, which also lights up with pretty colors, because everything has to be colorful for me.

Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?

Both. I tend to write early in the mornings, when the house is quiet and I’m just waking from dreams. I find that kind of magical. I also write whenever I can, if I can find little pockets of time to make some progress, or if an idea strikes for what will happen next, I can’t help but think about it until I get it written. Once I have an idea like that, it kind of demands to be on the page.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

There was a really dark cave scene which was so emotionally difficult for me. It was very much like the hero’s journey stage of death and rebirth , both for my character and for myself. I had to face a lot of my own past in order to finish it. My favorite scene to write was an epic battle, I had a flurry of creative ideas during that time, and the visuals turned out really stunning.

How do you come up with the title to your books?

With a lot of thought! And advice from those familiar with what I’m writing. I get a lot of feedback before I settle on a title. The title for my first novel changed three times.

What are you working on next?

I am just finishing up the draft for book 3 of the Vale Born series, July 1st I’ll be launching a novella set with my writing partner Laura L. Hohman. It’s going to be totally different from what we usually write: a set of three romantic Christmas novellas with a fantasy twist!

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

In this world, Austria, I absolutely love it there. Fantasy, I would love to live in Velaris, and write or paint by the shores of the Sidra (location from A Court of Mist and Fury)

What is your favorite meal?

Sushi: Baked Scallops with California rolls, it’s what I want to eat anytime I celebrate something!

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Definitely coffee Red wine

Describe yourself in three words.

Prolific Creative Unicorn

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Today, I’m happy to introduce Day Leitao, author of The Prince and The Cup.

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I’ve always had stories in my mind, so writing them was a way to get them out and give them life.

Describe your desk / writing space.

It’s in my kitchen because my apartment is dark, and that’s the most illuminated place. It’s a tiny desk because I don’t have a lot of room, but I still manage to make it messy.

Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?

I try to write every day unless I’m plotting or revising. 

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

For the Cup and the Prince, everything flowed very smoothly and  was easy to write. I enjoyed writing the Zora and Griffin scenes.

What is your favorite meal?

Sushi.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Coffee. Tea for me is when I’m sick or want something to help me sleep. Wine.

Describe yourself in three words.

Short, introvert, hardworking.

How do you come up with the title to your books?

Sometimes they come to me, sometimes I have to think.

What inspired your book/series?

Kingdom of Curses and Shadows has some inspiration from Minecraft. I just started to wonder what it would be like to live in a place where creatures spawn in the dark.

What are you working on next?

Great question! I’m brainstorming and still not sure about my next project.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Pedro Bandeira (Brazilian YA author), Alexandre Dumas, Isaac Asimov, Jane Austen, Cassandra Clare. It’s a weird salad.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

I like Montreal, but I would like to live in a bigger and lighter apartment.

Throne of Glass meets Minecraft in this fast-paced YA romantic fantasy.

One prince wants her out.
Another wants her as a pawn.
Someone wants her dead.
Zora wants to win the cup and tell them all to screw themselves.

17-year-old Zora was born in the Dark Valley, a cursed land where shadow creatures spawn in the dark and survive in daylight. She’s trained to fight since before she could walk.

Yes, she cheated her way into the Royal Games, but it was for a very good reason. Her ex-boyfriend thought she couldn’t attain glory on her own. Just because she was a girl. And he was the real cheater. So she took his place.

Now she’s competing for the legendary Blood Cup, representing the Dark Valley. It’s her chance to prove her worth and bring glory for her people. If she wins, of course.

But winning is far from easy. The younger prince thinks she’s a fragile damsel who doesn’t belong in the competition. Determined to eliminate her at all costs, he’s stacking the challenges against her. Zora hates him and will do anything to prove him wrong.

The older prince is helping her, but the cost is getting Zora entangled in dangerous flirting games. Flirting, the last thing she wanted.

And then there’s someone trying to kill her.

The Cup and the Prince is a YA fantasy with romance, magic, action, and intrigue, for readers 15 and older. It’s book 1 in the series Kingdom of Curses and Shadows.

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Today, I’m happy to introduce Kristin Ward, author of The Girl of Dorcha Wood.

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

My seventh grade English teacher was my conduit to the world of poetry and narratives. It was in her class that I truly began to appreciate the written word and writing craft. One assignment was the true catalyst to any internal belief I had regarding an inherent writing ability. We had read the short story, The Interlopers by Saki, and I had composed an essay based upon the theme of the narrative. The feedback I received compared my writing to the author of the story and that was it! My teacher had engendered a positive self-fulfilling prophecy and I ran with it. From that point on, I truly began to think deeply about my writing. Of course, much of my early days were spent writing terrible, angst-ridden poetry, but eventually I began to branch out into bigger projects.

My first published piece of writing was actually curriculum for a zoo exhibit. It was after that event that I my aspirations of authorship truly began. There have been numerous story starts over the years and lots of poetry (yes, they have improved since high school and can be found on Twitter and Instagram!). However, writing is currently a passion, not a profession. My hope is to write full time someday and my ultimate goal is to write someone’s favorite book.

Describe your desk / writing space.

My writing spot is my grandmother’s chair, situated in the living room next to the wood stove that provides warmth and ambience in the winter. It’s a worn, upholstered recliner that tilts at just the right angle, enabling me to prop my laptop on my legs in the perfect typing position. The room itself is by no means quiet. There is little quietude in a house with three boys, four if you count my husband!

Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?

When it comes to writing, I’m a classic ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ girl. The idea of creating a detailed chapter outline or story map makes me wrinkle my nose and immediately change the subject. It may be how I was taught to write in the good ol’ classroom, but my creativity doesn’t flow through Roman numerals and bullet points. Those things would strangle my thoughts before I even had time to write them. 

A pantser to the core, that’s me.  An exciting outcome of this approach is that my characters often surprise me. Yes, I know that may sound strange. To put that into perspective, as I write I am creating storylines and characters that all become pieces of the world that was born out of my mind (I know. That’s kind of scary.). Since I am developing this entire world and narrative as I go, while aligning it to a prominent theme, new characters and events are woven into this tapestry of thought and, eventually, into a complete novel. 

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

Killing off one of my characters can be emotional. These scenes are not challenging to write, but often elicit tears as I grow so attached my characters and try to write gripping scenes that tug at a reader’s emotions. My favorite scene to write was the last scene from Burden of Truth. I actually wrote that scene first and then crafted the book to reach that scene. It is a powerful culmination of the story.

What is your favorite meal?

I love Mexican food. Having grown up in San Diego, I enjoyed fabulous Mexican dishes and am always looking for a good restaurant in CT. At home, I like to make tacos – Taco Tuesday! – and enchiladas. Oh, and there is never enough guacamole!

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

My current drink of choice in the morning is Chai Tea with vanilla creamer. In the evenings, organic pinot noir always hits the spot!

Describe yourself in three words.

Unicorn geek girl 🙂

How do you come up with the title to your books?

Titles are so challenging! I always have a working title and struggle to come up with a title that I am happy with. A title often develops along with the story as it’s influenced by the plot. My current dark fantasy series throws a bit of a wrench in this process as I am marketing and putting the books up for preorder before they are finished. This requires me to come up with titles prior to writing the book. For this process, I have used my story framework which is a brief paragraph of my idea for each book as an influence for each title.

What inspired your book/series?

I’ll dive into my dystopian duology which has an interesting history. I was inspired to write After the Green Withered and the sequel, Burden of Truth, while completing research for a graduate course I wrote in environmental education. My course included concepts regarding earth’s history and, within this, I learned a great deal about the impact humans have had on the planet. As I studied and composed the course, an idea began to germinate.

What if there was a global drought due to the impact humans have had on the planet?  What if water became the global currency?

That seedling idea sat with me for a year or so as I finished my course writing and began to teach a few graduate courses. Eventually, I began to write the story but it took a whopping five years to get it from draft to publish! The final push actually came about after I read an article about Cape Town’s water crisis. At the time of the article, it was predicted that Cape Town’s water supply would run dry in April of 2018, not tens of years in the future. Reading this, I knew the story I wanted to tell was incredibly relevant so I buckled down and finished the first book.

What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on book three of my young adult dark fantasy series that infuses Celtic mythology. I am deeply influenced by Celtic culture and have integrated various elements into all my books in some way.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Aside from my wonderful English teacher who inspired me many, many years ago, I am heavily influenced by what I read. I love reading a wide range of genres and am always inspired by the characters and storylines. I also get many of my ideas from my own interests and research I do along the way. Like all authors, the characters that I write always have pieces of my personality within them.

As a teenager, I read and fell in love with The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. This book hooked me and was a catalyst for my passion for poetry (I memorized the Robert Frost poem that Ponyboy recites). The fact that the author was a teenager herself when she wrote the book was eye-opening.

In the realm of dystopian fiction, The Giver by Lois Lowry was the book that launched my love of the genre. Her story introduced a society that strove to smother human nature. The characterization was phenomenal and as I read, I felt a strong connection to Jonas. I also really enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games. I find myself gravitating to books that have powerful themes and this is evident in my own work.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

Scotland. I love Scotland and long to go back! As a child I visited that beautiful country and have the fondest memories of the people, history, and geography. Someday I hope to take my three sons.

Treacherous. Evil. Dark. Dorcha Wood is all of these things. And none of them.

The people of Felmore talk of Dorcha Wood in whispers, if they speak of it at all. There is danger in the dark forest. Monstrous things, remnants of the Aos Sí, lurk in the shadows, hunting the unwary should one be careless enough to cross those borders.

But to seventeen-year-old Fiadh, Dorcha Wood is home. A haven. It speaks to her in the rustle of the wind through the leaves, in the wild things that come to her hand. It is a forest whose secrets become known only when it chooses to reveal them.

Hers is a simple life until the outside world shatters it.

Gideon, a warrior whose memory is as lost as his strength, finds his way to Fiadh’s healing hands. With his arrival comes the wrath of Lord Darragh, the ruler of Felmore. A man whose violence rivals that of the nightmarish beings of Dorcha Wood.

Fiadh finds herself thrust into a world brimming with suspicion and cruelty, seething with hatred and vengeance.

Hunted.

Desperate.

She turns to Gideon. Setting herself on a new path where she will confront the reality of old hatred, the consequences of things hidden, and the truth of who she is.

Posted in Blog

Today, I’m happy to introduce Wayne Meyers, author of the Peacekeepers Passage.

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I’ve loved to read since I was ten years old, mostly science fiction and fantasy but other genres made their way in there too. I remember starting this spy script that I wrote with pen on paper and stored underneath my bed. The cat must have gotten to it at some point, because when I retrieved it one day (amongst other important items like lost socks and schoolbooks) the papers were totally shredded.

As far as the inspiration behind it, reading books written by other authors opened the gates to my own imagination and I wanted to put my thoughts down on paper. I simply loved to write. My series “Peacekeeper’s Passage” started that way when I was a teenager, in a spiral notebook that I still have. (Learned my lesson from the spy script!) It’s changed quite a bit over the years until I published it as you see it today, but it started all the way back then.

Describe your desk / writing space.

Messy. I know, I know. Clutter stifles creativity. But I practically live at my desk between writing and my day job. You will see a stack of bills, coffee mug on warmer my daughter gave me, Asian style dragon pencil holder my brother gave me, “thinking of you” cube from my wife…I guess I am surrounded by reminders from those I love and who love me, now that I think about it. Um, not the bills, though. There is no love lost there.

Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?


I try to write whenever I have the free time to do so, inspired or not. Finding free time is always a challenge, so I don’t have the luxury of waiting.

What is your favorite meal?

My wife is an amazing cook, so I have quite a few favorites. Taking home cooked meals off the table (no pun intended!), my favorite food is pizza, but not just any pizza. Growing up in Brooklyn spoiled me here. The crust needs to be thin and crispy, the sauce robust, and the cheese plentiful.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Both, and both. They all fulfill different cravings or needs and are not mutually exclusive. Why limit yourself?

Describe yourself in three words.

Thoughtful. Curious. Imaginative.

How do you come up with the title to your books?

Luckily, titles have always just come to me, just like chapter names. I may toss a few ideas around in my head, but it doesn’t take me long to finalize what I want.

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

I can’t really answer this without giving away spoilers, but overall it’s difficult to write a scene where bad things happen to the protagonist as I’ve become emotionally invested in them. My favorites are usually the fighting scenes.

What inspired your book/series?

“Peacekeeper’s Passage” was inspired by two books, oddly enough. One was “Shadow of the Torturer” by Gene Wolfe, and the other was “How Green Was My Valley” by Richard Llewellyn. I love the latter’s writing style and the coming-of-age boy’s POV, and the former’s skill at submerging us into an entirely different world. The world itself came from my imagination, and my love of martial arts.

What are you working on next?

I’m finishing up Book Five in the “Peacekeeper’s Passage” series, “Peacekeeper’s Peril”.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

In addition to the two already mentioned, definitely Isaac Asimov for making it look so easy, Robert Heinlein for his gift of character, and so many others.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

Such an interesting question! My response would be, why pick just one? There is so much beauty in reality and imagination, I’d love to see everything and travel everywhere.

BIO: 

Wayne discovered his love for writing at ten years old when he wrote a story about the flowers from his bed sheets coming to life. With a voracious appetite for science-fiction and fantasy, it was only natural he turned his pen toward these genres, creating bold new worlds filled with exciting, interesting characters doing incredible things.

In addition to reading and writing science fiction and fantasy, Wayne enjoys spending time with his family, walking, helping aspiring authors, and volunteering in his community.

A Brooklyn native, Wayne currently lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania with his family and cats, realizing his dreams one story at a time. He’d love to hear from you at WayneMeyers.com, where you can find his social media links and sign up for his mailing list. His next story is just around the corner!

Everyone seems to be against him. Can a boy no one wants become the hero the world needs?

Hofen Heimstatten can’t take much more. Abused by his stepfather and bullied by his classmates, the twelve-year-old loner yearns for a place to belong. So when he’s adopted into the justice-enforcing Peacekeepers Guild a year early, he believes he’s at last found a home.

Prohibited from learning the special martial arts skills until he’s thirteen, Hofen is stunned when the older apprentices treat him just as poorly as his former peers. But when he stumbles across dark forces plotting to disrupt their idyllic society, the friendless youth resolves to teach himself the forbidden lore to protect himself and his people… even if it risks expulsion.

Has Hofen got what it takes to rise to the moment?

Peacekeeper’s Passage is the exciting first book in the Peacekeeper’s Passage young adult fantasy series. If you like underdogs taking charge, cool new worlds, and gripping action, then you’ll love Wayne Meyers’ coming-of-age adventure.

Posted in Blog

Today, I’m happy to introduce Erynn Lehtonen, author of the Yokai Calling series.

Do you love dragons? I’ll let you in on a secret…I love dragons!
And I also love a complete series!
Click here now to get the first book, Spirit Dragon for FREE!

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

When I was young, I devoured fantasy books, eager to go to adventures to far-off places and fantastical worlds. I quickly wanted to create my own worlds, and started my first short stories in elementary school, and then my first novel in grade six. Ever since, I’ve wanted to be an author, and now I am! 😊

Describe your desk / writing space.

It fluctuates between being a disaster or as tidy as can be depending on how close I am to my deadlines, heh. I’ve got my laptop and my diffuser (or candles) for nice scents while I write, as well as handy access to all my writing-related books! 

Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?


I tend to have a pretty strict routine—I write full time, so I have to! I wake up and write for as long as possible, usually several hours. But I admit, I have my bouts of inspiration, too! I’m not shy about staying up late into the night because an idea struck me.

**FREE!!!**

How do you come up with the title to your books?

They are always related to the themes or events in the books. For example, in my first book, Spirit of the Dragon, there’s a dragon spirit that plays a role in the plot. For this series I kept with a dragon theme in all the titles!

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

Definitely the final battle sequence in my most recent book, Blood of Dragons. It’s not a single scene, but it was an epic battle that spanned several chapters and multiple perspectives! Getting it just right had me running around in circles.

As for my favourite? It’s so hard to choose, there are so many that I loved writing. In general although I love writing epic battle scenes, my favourites to write actually end up being where my characters connect with each other again after being upset with each other for various reasons! (There was a lot of that in my latest book, too, haha!) These scenes can get very emotional, but in ways that are really rewarding to write/read because they always feel so inevitable, and it’s satisfying for so many story threads to finally come back together.

What inspired your book/series?

I’m a huge fan of history and mythology, so the Yokai Calling series was heavily inspired by Japanese mythology and history. I especially drew from myths about the creation of Japan, dragons, as well as various folklores. I love dragons, so it’s pretty safe to say that’s a driving influence in all of my stories. 

What are you working on next?

Since I just finished this series, I’m actually taking a short breather to plan what’s coming next. I have a few ideas—what I’ll most likely end up doing is work on multiple projects at once. I’m writing in a much larger universe, so while I want to write another series that’s a continuation of the one I finished, I’d also like to start some smaller projects exploring different parts of the world.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Ah! There are so many, but I’ll stick to saying that I love Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff, The Sixth World by Rebecca Roanhorse, and Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

I would honestly really love to live in my own world haha! It would be the best of both worlds, because I’d definitely love to live somewhere with magic and mythical creatures, but I’ve also always wanted to live in Japan. 

What is your favorite meal?

I’m a sucker for some good ramen! Nothing like some soul food to warm up a rainy day, literally or otherwise. 😛

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Tea for sure, I have a whole hoard of it hiding in the cabinet. Green, black, chai, you name it! But I still love me a good cup of coffee in the morning.

I’m definitely a wine girl—never been a huge fan of beer.

Describe yourself in three words.

Reflective, creative, analytical.

BIO: 

New release!

Book 4 in the Yokai Calling series: $1.99 for a limited time.

BLOOD DEFINES WHAT MADE US. ACTION DEFINES WHAT MAKES US.

Secrets forge families. Secrets forge empires. Secrets tear lives apart. Will the dark histories dug up by Aihi, Hidekazu, and Masanori liberate them, or are they doomed to repeat past mistakes?

Aihi’s enemies torched villages and killed innocents. They believed her youth and inexperience made her weak Shōgun—they were wrong. Now, it’s up to her to decide how far she’s willing to go to maintain the peace her mother established, and if peace is still a worthwhile dream at all.

Masanori knows his existence is a threat to everyone he cares about, but to reunite with his loved ones, he’ll travel back into the depths Nightmare that broke him in the first place. To free himself from the Nightmare shard that haunts him, he’ll need to prove himself to an elusive kami. Otherwise, he may never see his family again. But how much is a broken man worth?

To atone for the Genshu family’s past atrocities, Hidekazu attempts to undo one of the Warlock Empire’s oldest crimes, an act committed by the Dragon Goddess herself. To succeed, Hidekazu must accept his true nature… and the dark power that comes with it. 

When war threatens the trio’s homeland, the twins must face the choices that set them on different paths, or this time, they will be pulled apart for good.

Posted in Blog

Today, I’m happy to introduce my friend Laura Winter, author of Star Collapsed.

Today, I’m happy to introduce my friend Laura Winter, author of Star Collapsed. 
Superpowers, outer space, love hate relationships, what’s not to love?
Preorder now! Star Collapsed comes out on May 25th.
Guess who has access to the

FREE Prequel! 

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I somewhat accidentally stumbled upon writing. I’ve spent most of my life on the softball field (I actually played professionally after my pitching career at Notre Dame). In 2018, I was going to grad school and coaching when I discovered NaNoWriMo, but it was the middle of summer. Instead of waiting for November to write my book, I decided to do a trial run to see if I could actually do it… and I wrote my book in 10 days! Absolutely no writing background, but a whole lot of determination to get better and to tell the stories that were stuck in my head. After that, I couldn’t stop.

Describe your desk / writing space.

My writing area itself is pretty much clear – keyboard in front of me, podcast/audio equipment to the left, and my planner to the right. What’s happening on the shelf above me is another story… I have about twenty notebooks and loose stickers and decorations. I swear I’m actually a minimalist (unless it comes to notebooks and shiny pens).

Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?

I thrive on routine! I have set plans for when I sit down to write – whether that’s chapter notes, a plan of attack for editing, or just general writing-adjacent tasks (like social media and marketing or cover design). If you had asked me a year ago, I would have told you that I write best in the mornings (I was once an early bird), but lately I’ve been really cranking out the words after lunch and even at night!

How do you come up with the title to your books?

That one really varies. For my high fantasy Warrior Series, I tied the titles to the identity of my characters (there are 3 main characters, each with their own books), so with each new title, you can see how each character grows and changes based on the events of the series.

My YA/NA fantasy Soul Series titles come from the main conflict for my characters and that journey from forgotten memories, remembered pasts, and obscured souls. The main focus is on the good and evil of the Blue and Cold Soul, hence the Soul part of the title. We have powers based on space events like supernovas, black holes, and blue stars!

And, with my brand new Star Series (which happens to be a spin off of the Soul Series), I based the titles off of those space events! This series happens 18 years later and we get to follow Kiya, the daughter of the supernova and black hole from the Soul Series. If you’re familiar with space events, the titles of the Star Series are going to follow the life cycle of a star… starting with Star Collapsed!

What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?

One of the hardest scenes I’ve ever written was the big plot twist in Soul Remembered. Without giving too much away since it’s the second book in the series, I had to write that scene through my own tears because I quite literally broke my own heart in the process of writing it. It had to happen, but wow I didn’t realize it would hurt so much.

I love myself a good fight scene. I have been known to actually act out those scenes in my living room, especially if I want to make sure movements are actually possible. I have quite a few that I’ve written in the last few books, and between sword fighting (Warrior Series) and superpowered fighting (Soul and Star Series), I’m not sure I can pick just one.

What inspired your book/series?

Seeing as I’m now back into the superpowered Blue Star world, it’s pretty easy to attribute that to my love of space and superpowers. I’m always interested in telling stories of strong women who come in and save the day, and when you add a little flavor with superpowers and magic, you’re in for a real treat.

What are you working on next?

More Star Series! I have a few ideas brewing in the back of my mind, two of which are nearly functional, and I’ll start those when the plots sort themselves out. For now, I have a plan for two more Star books!

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

I’ve always been inspired by magic and fantasy worlds. The book that really pushed me into writing was The Magicians by Lev Grossman. With the crazy that has been 2020 and 2021, I’ve been able to broaden my reading list and I have to say that S.M. Gaither’s Shadows and Crowns series really got me excited to jump back into a fantasy world.

If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?

Fantasy world, no question. Selfishly, I’d love to live in the worlds I’ve created, but I would never pass up an opportunity to go to Narnia.

What is your favorite meal?

Can Reese’s candy be my meal?

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

If it has caffeine, I’ll drink it.

Describe yourself in three words.

passionate, dreamer, crazy

BIO: Laura Winter is a passionate creator, minimalist, and van life dreamer. She’s dedicated to writing character-driven stories with intricate plots that will keep you engaged until the last page. Explore new worlds, fall in love with characters, and enjoy an escape.

BLURB – Star Collapsed:

Is it possible to hate someone at first sight?

I’ve been around the power community my entire life. I have a special bond with the famous Blue Star; the combination of Finnley’s telekinetic explosions and Nate’s shadow manipulation.

You see, I’m their daughter.

Let me rephrase that. I’m their powerless daughter.

On the night of my Trials, I passed every test except the most important one – getting powers from a power source – and now I’m stuck with the constant reminder that I failed to be something great. While my family and friends go out and save others who can’t control their powers, I’m left on the sidelines.

Which is why I’m furious when Ryder shows up, claiming he doesn’t want those incredible powers he possesses. It sparks some deep fire inside me to think that he’s throwing away a gift I so desperately want. No, it really sparked something, and now that anger is getting worse. He might not have a choice about getting involved, because his presence has triggered something in me that I’m not sure is going to end in anything but destruction.

Because what good can come from a stellar collision?

If you loved the Soul trilogy following Finnley, Nate, and Glitch, you’ll love the extension of the Blue Star story in the Star trilogy. Not required to read the Soul trilogy to follow this series.