Author Interviews

Posted in Blog

Today I’d like to introduce the author of The King of Kishar, Timothy Scott Currey

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I have always had a lot of creative and artistic hobbies, and through my childhood I dabbled a bit with everything. Music, acting, singing, you name it. I was a very daydreamy kid as well, always off in my own worlds, always with my nose in a book. If I liked a story or a movie, I tended to become obsessed, and just read/watch it over and over.

Writing books was just a natural extension of those tendencies, and my desire to just replicate in some small way the stories I grew up loving.

Describe your desk / writing space.

I write on a computer that had once been for games, which is on top of a fairly beaten-up second-hand white desk. There’s a little turtle-shaped lamp, and the light shines out through a mosaic of stained-glass pieces that make up its shell. I also have a couple fidget toys on hand to help when my brain is idling.

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

I definitely try to be strict with myself, but I know that the inspiration comes in waves. When the inspiration comes, there’s no problem, but I work hard to try and let myself back off a bit when it feels like the creative juice is drying up. It can sometimes be hard to keep from being disappointed during those lulls!

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

Hardest scene to write: There was a scene which amounted to being a philosophical showdown between the protagonist and the antagonist. I wanted to make it an interesting, climactic back-and-forth that had all the stakes of a sword fight. As tough as I found it to carry out a conversation as though it had all the excitement of a life-or-death battle, I think I did the best I could and I hope it comes across well.

Favorite scene to write: There was a chariot chase through the streets of a Mesopotamian-inspired city, and I just found it super exciting to write, which also made it easy to write. You just don’t see chariot chases much outside of old sword & sandal movies!

What inspired your book/series?

I became really excited about the idea of writing in an ancient, Mesopotamian-inspired setting like the one in The King & Kishar.  I had been spending time reading about the Epic of Gilgamesh and leafing through old encyclopedias about the Sumerians, and the idea just really took hold of me. I thought a lot about how the invention of writing was such a crucial turning point in those days, and that’s reflected in the writing-based magic system.

Who is your favorite character from your book and would you get along?

My favorite character was Sannan, who was a little bit of a side character to be honest. She is a bit of an outcast, and has a quite sad backstory. I am sure we would get along, because she has a good heart, but she is also perceptive and brutally honest at times. Hard truths, even those delivered by a friend, can still sting.

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

It would have to be Bag End. I’m quite tall, and would have to crouch to avoid constantly bumping my head on the ceiling.

Still worth it!

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

It’s different for every book, and I honestly don’t think I have a process down yet. Sometimes it’s the setting or situation, sometimes it’s a character’s name. It’s something I’m actively working on getting better at, because after all, the title is one of the first things a reader will see.

What are you working on next?

Next I’m going way the other way in terms of historical settings, and I’m writing a trilogy that has flintlock technology, humans and elves, and telepathic magic. It will be different in pretty much every way, especially in terms of its much larger scope.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Garth Nix, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ernest Hemingway, JRR Tolkien, Ray Bradbury, John Steinbeck, David Gemmell, Weis & Hickman, Neil Gaiman, Brian Jacques, Josiah Bancroft, Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and many more. 

What is your favorite meal?

For me, nothing beats chicken vindaloo with fresh naan.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Coffee over tea, wine over beer. In both cases, that’s only a 60/40 preference.

Describe yourself in three words.

Creative, inquisitive, indecisive.  

Bio:

“I am a fantasy author living in Bunbury in Western Australia. 

It’s a city in a region with amazing biodiversity and criss-crossed all over with hiking trails, so you can bet nature is an inspiration in a lot of my stories. The wineries are killer, too. 

I have a thousand hobbies, some big and some little. They wax and wane over time. Right now I’m super into gardening, gaming, re-watching The Office twice a year, squash (the sport not the veg), and staring blankly at walls while I figure plot points out.”

Every word King Adzi Akkatha writes on sacred stones is binding, and lasts for all eternity. 

But how can he rule when he has been cursed to forget everything?

His city is in chaos. Hinatsi rebels clash with his soldiers, and their mysterious leaders try to capture the King.

With the help of High Priestess Idza and General Qanatha, he must relearn their laws and customs, and who he was as a King. His former self seemed cruel and cold, and he is plagued with doubts. He is an imposter in King’s clothing—do they even have the right man? 

They must flee to the great Temple of Mesopos where the King’s memory might be restored. The rebels are never far behind, and day by day the curse progresses. 

There is little hope they will reach the temple in time. 

Even if they do, will the King want to continue ruling as a cold tyrant?

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DNA has Arrived!

It’s been a hectic few months, but finally DNA Demons N Angels is on sale.

Get your copy today!

And don’t forget to leave a review!

It’s weird how every woman reacts differently. How each pregnancy differs.

Mine is definitely unique.

My sense of smell became stronger, picking up the faintest odors, and my stomach was in constant turmoil. Those were the first signs.

And then I started eating. And eating. If I don’t, I get a migraine and people’s faces become blurry. Electronics seem to malfunction in my presence. And the nightmares—they don’t stop.

Something is changing my body.

Something that should have never happened.

Something that my husband and I had prevented from happening.

Something people say is miraculous.

The bigger I get, the more frequently I encounter people who become possessed. And the more often I wind up questioning if I am carrying a miracle baby.

The closer I get to the due date, the more I love this child and the more confident I am that I will protect my baby from anything.

Even its fate.

DNA Demons N Angels contains violence, swearing, and sex scenes. If you are looking for a clean, curse free book, this isn’t it.

Posted in Blog

YouTube Interview

DNA Demons N Angels comes out today! To celebrate I did an interview with author A.J. Park.

It was a ton of fun, even if there were internet gremlins. 😉

Click here to find out my about A.J. Park

Enjoy the short interview!

Posted in Blog

Today I’d like to introduce T.E. Kessler, author of Holding Out For A Hero, book one of the Jelvia: Not Human series

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

My pen name is T E Kessler, but under my real name (Louise Wise), I started my journey writing shorts for women’s magazines. I’d written many books before then, but like most authors, I could never strike lucky with a publishing deal and became disheartened.

Then one day, I had a rejection letter from an agent who’d sent my typescript off to Simon & Schuster, and S & S left their notes tucked inside the typescript. To this day, I don’t know if the agent left them in on purpose because, although the notes were rejecting the book, they were full of praise, labelling me as ‘up and coming’.

Anyway, those notes urged me to continue publishing as an independent author. Today, EDEN (written under my real name) is one of my best sellers.

What is HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO all about?

Imagine a world where humanity is threatened by another species. But it’s still the 21st century, we still go out to work, enjoy vacations and watch Netflix on the TV. But in this world, living alongside us is a species called Jelvia. They are disease resistant, stronger, larger and venomous.

It’s believed that the essence of a Jelvia is to kill humans to become the supreme being, but it later comes out that they are following orders from a hierarchy. This hierarchy is simply called ‘the committee’, which deploys instructions straight into the Jelvia’s head.

But a group of Jelvias have turned against this committee. Instead of killing to order, they kill human criminals, which controls the urge to kill. It’s a small step to guard against the annihilation of humanity.

Then there are us—humans—who are too frightened to question the whys and hows of the Jelvian world and carry on as normal. Yet some of us recognise that something isn’t right with the world, but their voice is unheard so far.

The series is called Jelvia: Not Human and will be a total of six books. The genre is sci-fi romance for over 18s (there are between-the-sheets scenes that aren’t suitable for minors).

Describe your desk / writing space.

My office is the smallest room at the back of the house. Its only window is a skylight, but it’s quiet, and I like it. I have pictures of nebules and all things ‘outer space’ on my wall, and a doll from the movie ET has pride of place on my desk. So yup, I’m a bit of an astronomy geek!

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

No, routine. Luckily, I haven’t experienced writers’ block, and I can quickly jump in and out of my writing. I prefer to write in the afternoons or evenings. I’m not a morning person, and my thoughts are barely intelligible until after lunch!

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

The hardest scene is turning Narcifer (Jelvia hero) into the baddie.

Shock crossed his face, rapidly followed by a revulsion. It was an emotion she never wanted to see on his face while looking at her. But before she could react, that same strange light she’d seen before danced in his eyes.

She watched it a moment but then he bent down and hauled her up. He tossed her over his shoulder as if she weighed nothing, then carried her up the stairs and almost threw her onto the bed.

She twisted to the side and tried to get away from him, but he grabbed her hip and pulled her around on her back. He held her down with one hand while his other hand tugged out of his jeans.

Freed from his constraints, he crawled onto the bed and moved over her on all fours. His body wasn’t touching her; his hands were on either side of her head, his knees on either side of her thighs. His eyes were filled with white electric, and they were focused on her breasts; his breath was ragged. She felt exposed, vulnerable.

‘Stop!’

They stared at one another, and she raised a hand to touch his face. The strange lights in his eyes danced. She remembered asking if an angry Jelvia was the safest kind, and he’d replied, ‘and one making love.’

Then the moment was gone, and his knee roughly parted her legs, and before she had a chance to take a breath, he thrust into her hard. It was without emotion. There was no tenderness.

It actually hurt to write that scene. I think he redeemed himself, though. My favourite scenes are the funnies between Macy and her bestie, Courtney. It’s where I can unleash my sarcastic British humour to its maximum! Luckily, I have an American editor to keep me in check.

What inspired your book/series?

I wanted to write an alien/human contact series that’s original, so I came up with the idea of not having the alien know he is an alien! But the inspiration came from years and years ago when EDEN (my book written under Louise Wise) was a mere dream of an astronaut stranded on the moon. This was looooong before the movies Gravity and Stranded (inferior to my series, if you ask me!)

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

Wales. On top of a mountain. I don’t like heat, so Britain is my country of choice (England is my home), but where I live it’s flat with no hills or rugged mountain ranges and although the countryside is beautiful with its thatched-roof cottages and ancient churches, rolling fields and hedgerows, the rugged mountain ranges in Wales are breathtaking. And it’s only three hours away from where I live!

But oh, I’ve been to Venice and that’s fabulous, too. And the Balearic islands, with Minorca in particular, is beautiful. So many places, but the heat will devour me, so GB is the only place, I guess, and as they say, home is where the heart is!

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

Macy (main character), in Holding out for a Hero, mother was murdered. Macy, at the time, was only a child but could never come to terms with her mum’s death and subconsciously is looking for a ‘hero’ to fight the injustices in the world. That she falls in love with an assassin is the cusp of the story. Is he a good assassin or bad? With Jelvias you can never tell!

What are you working on next?

Next in the Jelvia: Not Human series is Surviving her Dominant, where I bring out the ‘brain injury’ suffered by the Jelvia, Aldarn.

Here, I hope the reader is beginning to realise that there is something more to Jelvias than just ‘another species of human’. I never tell the reader the Jelivas are aliens in the first book (or second or third, come to that), and like the human characters, it’s something they gradually figure out themselves.

It isn’t a spoiler, don’t worry. And readers who have read Eden and Hunted by Louise Wise will already know where the Jelvias originate from.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

I love Dean Koontz. He can terrorise without resorting to gutter language and smutty scenes (my books have both). And on the other side of the book coin, I enjoy a good rom-com by Matt Dunn or Sophie Kinsella.

What is your favorite meal?

If the scene has the right ambience: music, lighting, convo, company, all food will be my favourite. I love eating out, and I’m no cook—in fact, I’m dire. My family cheer when I order food.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Everything is in its place. Coffee in the morning, a cup of tea at any other time, and wine if my day requires it (which is most of the time!) But you didn’t mention cocktails… hmmmmm

Describe yourself in three words.

Loner. Empathic. Worrier.

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!

Posted in Blog

Today, I’m happy to introduce, Randi Rayl author of the series The Bone Gathers

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I have always been a storyteller.  While waiting for the next episode in a TV series to air, I would imagine the possible scenarios. And to the chagrin of my family, speak the anticipated dialogue aloud while in house and in public. Nothing to see here…just a girl talking to people who aren’t there! I had written so many stories that I never finished because grammar and I are not on the best of terms.  But then a friend of mine explained you hire people to edit your work. It was like a light bulb.  I could actually finish a book.  So, I did! And my first novel (The Split) under my other penname, Randi Harvey, was published in 2018. 

Describe your desk / writing space.

YIKES!  I am sitting beside my sewing machine covered in string and knick-knacks: a two-dollar bill, Santa pictures, straight pins, a bank ledger, surrounded by hundreds of books on the shelves, my first agent rejection letter taped to the wall, and a myriad of other this-and-that’s.

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

If I have an editing deadline, I am inspired to not lose my deposit, and I write to hit it.  Right now, I am in between series so I have been taking my time promoting the most recent one (The Bone Gatherers).

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

I hate connecting scenes.  But what I like and what I am good at seem to be at odds. Love describing characters and their outfits.  But it has come to my attention I am a quite proficient at writing a “damn good sex scene” as my content editor put it.  And before you ask, I’ll fill you in.  No, my sex life is not as colorful as my characters’.  I’m a mom of two young boys.  My husband and I are lucky to hide behind a locked bedroom door while avoiding eye contact with a curious dog and cat for five minutes while my kids are rocking out to Story Bot songs in the next room.

What inspired your book/series?

I wanted to write stories that align with existing folklore and so many mythologies have already been done.  When I came across the Aztec folklore, I knew it was fresh and new, so I ran with it.

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

We have moved a lot so I would like to change it every few years.  But I love Thailand.  I love Mexico and I can’t wait for COVID to be over so I can start exploring other places in the world. And obviously, I’d love to live in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  #teamgryffindor

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

I try a few out on the tongue and then google them to make sure they haven’t been “taken” already. But titles have always come easy to me.  Writing the book blurbs are a nightmare!

What are you working on next?

I have a new thriller book I have written a bit of an outline for and several scenes about old Hollywood actresses.  I have also delved into Sato’s (a b character in the Bone Gatherer series) story.  It’s a different series with new characters following the Fae of the Norse (as the series is named).

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

I love Sarah J Maas, the Gears couple, Diana Gabaldon.  I just started reading Harry Potter (don’t judge).

What is your favorite meal?

Sushi or Thai food

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Wine or beer? Coffee & Wine…no question

Describe yourself in three words.

Creative – honest – boss-bitch (the hyphen counts 😊)

Anything other thoughts? 

My second book, Choosing Fire, (SCROLL DOWN TO GET YOUR COPY) will be available on amazon for FREE August 17th through the 21st.  Links provided. And if you liked the book, please leave me a review.  If you didn’t, then I have disabled the review feature for these novels 😉 

Last, I am currently under quarantine recovering from COVID.  I am vaccinated and, thankfully, didn’t have to be hospitalized.  Please please please don’t go through what I, my husband, and two small boys are going through right now.  Get your shot, wear a mask, and be kind to one another.  We love you!

Sofia thought she had her life figured out, but death had other plans…


A dedicated nurse, Sofia lives for helping her patients and their families. She doesn’t mind the long hours and tedious work. She has a loving boyfriend, a cute apartment, and a paid-off car. Life is perfect. Until her patients begin to die at an alarming rate, and almost always when the new tall, dark, and handsome nurse is on duty. Growing suspicious of her new co-worker, Sofia decides to take matters into her own hands and catch Eztlie in the act when she stumbles upon the real demonic killer, instead. Before she can become the creature’s next victim, Eztlie kills the monster and saves her life.

The elusive Eztlie isn’t a real nurse, he’s an ancient Aztec warrior from another time. Upon his death, the King of the Dead made Eztlie part of an elite team of demon hunters, sworn to protect mankind and rid the world of monsters that want to steal the souls of the living. It’s the kind of life that doesn’t give him much time for commitments or relationships of any kind, and that’s just fine with him.

But as Eztlie and Sofia get closer to finding the māpach wreaking havoc on her patients, they also find themselves getting closer to one another. But can Sofia trust the aloof immortal whose mere touch sets her body on fire? Or will that same fire consume her, body and soul, until there’s nothing left?

For centuries, Xel has loved her fellow warrior, Xi. Always aloof, Xi may give Xel his time, but he has never given her his heart. To make matters worse, Xel has been harboring a secret. 

She has the power of flames. A power that if discovered by the king of the underworld can lead to a life of servitude by his command. Xel thought her life was as good as she could hope for. That is until a stranger crashes into her world. 

Teya is a Sentinel, a leader of the earthbound warriors, and he’s tasked to collect information from the Bone Gatherers on the demon infestation. But when he meets Xel, his mission changes. Engrossed by her beauty, he discovers her secret and begs her to join him in the underworld to train with the other Sentinels. 

Leaving her family and Xi behind, Xel embarks on a new journey with the mysterious Teya, who worships her in ways she never knew possible. 

But when Xel suspects there is more to the underworld than meets the eye, she longs for home and the man who has held her heart for centuries. 

Torn, Xel must choose between the man who adores her or the one who has stoked the flames within her for centuries. The wrong choice could mean not just her death, but the destruction of everyone, and everything, she’s ever loved.

Posted in Blog

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!

Posted in Blog

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.

Posted in Blog

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. 😊

Posted in Blog

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

Posted in Blog

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.

Posted in Blog

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.

Posted in Blog

Interview With Suzanna J. Linton

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I started writing as a coping mechanism for domestic violence happening in my home. But as I grew older, I realized that I love telling stories and building worlds, which is why I continue to write fantasy today.

Describe your desk / writing space.


I have an adjustable desk on top of a wooden desk in my own office. Theoretically, the adjustable desk is so I can stand but it never works out that way. I write on a laptop with a mechanical keyboard attached to it. To one side of my laptop is a bed for my cat Elvira and pictures that inspire me on the wall behind the laptop.

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


Ideally, I write in the afternoon after making a cup of tea or coffee.

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


Usually, my editor helps me pick one because I am awful at choosing titles. Sometimes, though, the title is just obvious.

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


Action scenes are always difficult to write. I usually have to map it out and research fighting styles and weapons before I write it. My favorite scene to write are any involving an argument.

Clara

Clara will have to see through both the fog of war, and the fog of her own heart, to save a nation…

Sold into slavery as a child, and rendered mute by the horrors she suffered, Clara’s life extends no further than the castle kitchens and their garden. Those who know about her just think of her as the dull mute girl who may be a little soft in the head, not knowing that she carries within herself a precious gift: the ability to see the future. This is a gift she keeps secret, though, for fear of persecution.

However, a vision prompts her to prevent a murder, shoving her not only into the intrigues and gilded life of the nobility, but also into a civil war brewing in her country. As events unfold, and she is drawn deeper into the conflict, she meets an old friend, makes a new one, and begins to unearth secrets better left buried.

Driven to learn the truth about the war, and about her friends, Clara embarks on a journey that takes her from her beloved mountains to the very Capital itself, Bertrand, where she is confronted by an evil both ancient and twisted. The only problem is, her own anger and prejudices are the catalysts her enemy needs to complete its plans.

If she is not careful, not only will the entire nation be lost, but her own soul as well.

Author Bio

Suzanna J. Linton grew up in the swamps of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. She used writing and reading as a way to escape the violence and drug use occurring in her home. It wasn’t until she read the Dragonriders of Pern books in high school that she realized she wanted to be a writer.

However, after many, many rejection letters, she decided to reject traditional publishing. She self-published her first novel, Clara, in 2013. In 2014, she quit her job at a library to write full time. Today, she continues to live and write in South Carolina with her husband and assorted pets.

What inspired your book/series?

My first novel, Clara, is a novel I have rewritten many times over the years. It first began as a novel about a girl finding her voice and power because, at that time in my life, I had neither. But as I grew older, I was able to explore that more objectively and now the series has become this ongoing conversation about whether knowing the future is actually helpful.

What are you working on next?

Right now, I am taking a break from editing the next novel of Stories of Lorst, House of the Seer. I am dealing with a bad case of burnout and am trying to refill the well with good books.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?


Robin McKinley’s Chalice and Sunshine; Charles de Lint; Ann McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Peron

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

Out in the middle of nowhere, preferably. I’ve always wanted to know what mountain living would be like.

What is your favorite meal?


I thought way too much about this question because I’m not sure I have a favorite food anymore. There’s a teashop in my town that makes an amazing artichoke grilled cheese sandwich and I love to have it with tomato soup.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?


Yes.

Describe yourself in three words.


Creative, slow, thoughtful

Posted in Blog

Interview With David Wind

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

As a pre-teen, I found reading enabled me to escape from the bonds of my surroundings, and be transported to other places and other worlds, as I grew older, everything around me was that inspiration.

Describe your desk / writing space.


I don’t want to sound flippant, but my desk is a trash pile where no-one but I can find things. Seriously, my desk is always a mess, and after I clean it up and organize it, within a day, it’s back to where it was.

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


I follow the write every day routine. It works! Inspiration comes as I write, and for those looking to write, the rule of a thousand words a day becomes an easy habit to follow.

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


They usually present themselves as I write. Every once in a while, I get a title in my head, and then write the book. One of those title first books was Born to Magic. The title hit me as I was first contemplating a world after an apocalypse; not a fully dystopian world, but one with an unimaginably dark side born of the disaster their ancestors created, and opposing them is a hopeful side, whose ancestors were the few survivors of the apocalypse.

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


After 43 books, it’s not a fair question; but, if I must answer it, let me say the prologue to Queen of Knights, was my favorite scene.  The hardest? Somehow, like pain, there’s a memory of something, but no real connection.


Where Weavers Daire

Ten years after the last war, Melinda Scott discovers something in deep space and is dragged back into a world her family was banished from. Now with Necromancers to her left, Liches to her right and humanity in the middle it’s up to her to figure out why someone is trying to kill her. Where Weavers Daire is the first book in a new rip-roaring space opera series in the same vein as Babylon 5, Firefly, Farscape and Star Wars!

Author Bio

R. K. Bentley was raised in New England on a steady diet of 80’s Cartoons, Tom Baker Doctor Who, Babylon 5, Star Trek, Star Wars, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, comics books & movies. He is member and Social Media Director for the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA). Where Weavers Daire is his first novel, when not writing he enjoys photography, traveling and reading books.

What inspired your book/series?

Everything and everyone inspires my books. For example, the Hyte Maneuver was born aboard an airplane by  people watching: There was a nice senior couple in two seats, and a darker Mediterranean appearing man in another, I pictured him as a terrorist, and a hijacker, and went from there. In my Tales of Nevaeh Series, I envisioned a world, 3000 years from now, as the results of what was started in the authoritarian, political,  and terrorist movements during the period from 2014 to now, and then extrapolated from there.

What are you working on next?

Combining my two favorite genres, Mystery and Sci-Fi.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?


Edgar Rice Burroughs, Frank Yerby, Rafael Sabatini, Andre (Mary Alice) Norton, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Robert Ludlum, Arthur C. Clark, Alexandre Dumas, Raymond Chandler— I’ll stop here.

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

In this world—In Montepulciano,  Italy, on top of the mountain overseeing Tuscany; in my Fantasy world of Nevaeh, Tolemac, the capitol of Nevaeh.

What is your favorite meal?


Eating a great meal out! 40 odd years ago, when my wife and I first married, she admitted cooking was not her greatest skill. (truth be told, cooking wasn’t my mother’s best skill either, so, as an only child, I learned to cook early on.) My wife and I made a deal. I would cook and she would clean. Now you know why my favorite meals are eaten out. (Another truth—strong women abound in my family, which is probably why both my male and female protagonists are so strong! )

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?


Coffee- strong!  Wine, red and good!

Describe yourself in three words.


Impossible to describe. OR I write stories  Both are accurate.

Posted in Blog

Interview With Paul L. Arvidson

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

51, Husband, Carer, Father of two girls 12 and 13. I used to be a Theatrical Lighting Designer but when the kids got older we discovered that the youngest has a genetic condition that needs a lot of care. A life on the road is incompatible with a role as a carer so, I needed something to keep the creative bit of my mind going so I didn’t go crazy.
When both of the kids were little, I had all kinds of crazy thoughts in those late night and early morning feeding shifts. Those eventually became my Sci-Fi series Dark.

Describe your desk / writing space.

My favourite place to work is with my laptop on my knee on the sofa.

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

I’m a big believer in ‘write every day, even if it’s garbage, and fix it in the edit.’

Dark Blurb

IN THE STRANGE labyrinth of pipes on the planet called Dark, things are falling apart. Dun doesn’t want to be a hero, he just wants to find an answer to the terrifying dreams he’s been having. But the answers, the real answers, are going to take him places he’s never imagined and tear him from the only home he’s ever known.

With a half finished map from his missing father, an old friend, a new friend and the mysterious Myrch to guide him, he journeys through parts of his world he’s never imagined. Are his dreams real foretellings? Who can he trust to be who they say there are? What are the strange forces that seem to be literally pulling their world apart?

As he travels through a world that is much bigger than he thought it was, what he won’t know will kill him. And everyone he knows.

Author Bio

Paul Arvidson is a forty-something ex lighting designer, now SFF author who lives in rural Somerset, UK. He spends his non-author time bringing up his children, fighting against being sucked in to his wife’s chicken breeding business and preventing Morris the Dashund contributing to his typing. His SFF works form ‘The Dark Trilogy’. Dark is the first book in the trilogy and came out in 2017. The sequel Darker came out in 2018 and the series will be completed by a final book in 2019. There will not be a prize for guessing it’s title.

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

Dark was easy, the colony planet the characters live on has no light! Then I just needed a a comparative and a superlative and I was set. My problem now is there needs to be a fourth book to finish the story! What am I gonna call that?

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

Any of the books set in the dark have no visual descriptors at all (the characters wouldn’t understand them). It’s pretty hard to weed out how often we use those phrases in everyday life. (Oh, I see what you mean. Look at it this way… etc.)
My favourite bits are writing dialogue. I love a character with a smart mouth!

What inspired your book / series?

Many things really, but I couldn’t shake this idea of whether you could be a hero in a lightless world (spoiler, yes you can!). Then I needed to work out if the idea was feasible in real scientific terms, so I spent a lot of time researching creatures that live in the ‘Midnight Zone’ of the ocean, where whole eco-systems function with no light at all.

What are you working on next?

Darkest is released on the 28th of May, then I start on Book 2 of my mystery series.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

I’m a big fan of Ursula Le Guin, all of her stuff is amazing and she writes fantasy, Sci-Fi and things that are a little bit in between. I also love writers like David Brin, Vernor Vinge and Phil Dick where the world is quite odd but interesting.

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

Where I live is pretty beautiful (Somerset, SW of the UK)

What is your favorite meal?

Anything containing cheese

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

All of the above? If I had to choose, I’d go Tea & Beer

Describe yourself in three words.

Am Always Learning.

Posted in Blog

Interview with Derrick Smythe

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

My title actually came after the first book was written. I had a title before, but it just didn’t feel right. The rest of the titles in the series fell into place with the completion of the outline I had written. Each attempts to align to the central focus of the story while remaining true to the series as a whole.

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

Any scene that begins a new chapter seems to be a major challenge for me! I have to write and rewrite my openings multiple times before I am able to get them right and then I often just delete the first few paragraphs and find that I like it much better.

I particularly enjoy writing action/fight scenes. I love putting myself into the body and mind of my characters as they live out fight sequences, especially without having to personally experience any of the bruises, bleeding, etc.

What inspired your book/series?

A hand drawn map, an idea, and a God.

What are you working on next?

I’m finalizing the second book in my Passage to Dawn series, as well as another short-story for one of my ancillary characters who doesn’t necessarily get a lot of screen time, but is one of my personal favorites.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Robert Jordan, Michael J Sullivan, Michael Wisehart, Robin Hobb, Raymond E. Feist, Edward Robertson, Brandon Sanderson, and of course, J.R.R. Tolkien.

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

I think I would especially enjoy living among the elves of either Feist, Sullivan, or Tolkien.

What is your favorite meal?

I’m a simple man. I like a good burger or steak, no side necessary.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

One cup of coffee is about all I need to be happy.

Describe yourself in three words.

Aspiring, calm, calculating.

Today I’m happy to introduce Derrick Smythe, author of the book, The Other Magic

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

In the summer and fall, I’m a bit of an outdoorsman, seeking trails for hiking, parks for camping, or both. During the winter I’m stuck inside to resume my day job as a high school history teacher. I’m also a wrestling enthusiast—not WWE (no offense if you enjoy that!). I wrestled throughout high school and college then transitioned into officiating years back; it’s a lot better on my joints than competing. Of course, my big passion is writing, a passion reinforced in recent years with the success of my debut epic fantasy novel, “The Other Magic.” I was inspired to write out of a combination of extreme boredom while working a summer job in college, and an itch to do something more than simply enjoy the worlds created by others. Don’t get me wrong, I love immersing myself in the created worlds of others, but the more fantasy I read, the more I knew I had a world and story of my own to create and share. 

Describe your desk / writing space.

My desk exists within a state of heightened tension between neatness and disrepair. At my core is the inner OCD desire to have everything neatly stacked and put away, but on the other side is my need to have instant access to my notes and doodles, of which there are many, and they are always being added to. My computer monitor also has sticky notes all around it though every once in a while I’ll go through them and eliminate the ones that have since been resolved. I could argue that I just need a bigger desk, but I’m quite certain that this would not ultimately solve the issue.

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

I write primarily in the mornings before my wife and daughters wake up. My alarm goes off at precisely 4:30AM, I get my coffee and oats, then head up to my office to work until around 6:30AM when it’s time to get dressed and help rush the kids, wife, and myself out the door to begin the day.

Author Bio

Derrick Smythe has been fascinated with all things elvish, dwarvish, and magical since his days of running through the woods with sharpened sticks in defense of whatever fortification he and his brothers had built that summer. After consuming nearly every fantasy book he could find, he was driven to begin work on one of his own. When he isn’t dreaming up new stories, he can be spotted hiking the Adirondack Mountains or traveling the world. He currently resides near his hometown in upstate New York with his enchanting wife, ethereal daughters, and his faithful-if-neurotic Australian Shepherd, Magnus.

Posted in Blog

Author Interview With Amanda Fleet

I’m very excited to introduce Amanda Fleet, author of the Guardians of the Realm series.

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I’ve written since I was young, though none of that teenage angst rubbish will ever see the light of day. I suppose I wrote more seriously much later in life, writing my first book (which will also possibly never see the light of day!) in 2007. I know this will sound terribly cliched, but there were stories and characters in my head and they wouldn’t shut up unless I wrote about them.

Describe your desk / writing space.

It’s a large, wooden desk, with drawers down either side – antique style, though not actually an antique. It faces the window that looks out over part of the garden. There’s my laptop on it, plus an external monitor, and the edges are cluttered with notebooks, pens, more pens, scraps of paper, and some more pens. I really need to tame it!

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

A bit of both. I write most days, and apart from a time where I was close to having a breakdown, have never run out of ideas, so inspiration always seems to flow. When I was close to a breakdown, I had zero inspiration and that was horrible.

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

Great question! My first published book “The Wrong Kind of Clouds” got its title via my husband who is a keen photographer (as is the main character in the book). I have spent so many hours of my life waiting for “the right kind of clouds” for his photographs – clear blue skies aren’t great; small, fluffy white clouds aren’t great… menacing, stormy skies with lots of light and shade are what hubby is always after! It’s linked to in the book (though I can’t say more without giving away spoilers).

For other books, the titles spring from the books more directly. “Aegyir Rises”, “Aeron Returns”, “War” and “Invasion” all describe what happens in the book.

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

The hardest scenes for me to write are death scenes and sex scenes! Death scenes because I cry so much while I’m writing them; sex scenes because they are difficult and embarrassing to write.

My favourite scene to write was in “Aeron Returns”, when Aeron and Faran have come to Earth (from The Realm) and he is a total fish out of water. He’s incredibly fond of honey (a scarce resource in The Realm) and Aeron buys a jar for him. It’s the first time he thinks she might love him again.

What inspired your series, Guardians of the Realm?

Ah. A trickier question. Often the ideas for a book come from just a single question that then grows and grows until it becomes a book (or a series). A lot of the things I think about writing involve people being in the wrong place somehow. It started out with wondering if there were portals to other worlds and grew from there, really. Landscape can be a great trigger – rocky outcrops or slabs of craggy rock… who wouldn’t wonder if they led somewhere exciting?

What are you working on next?

I’ve just published the 4th book of the series – “Invasion” and once all the dust has settled from launching that, I’ll start to edit my next book – something completely different for me: a time-travel romance set in Scotland, near to where the battle of Culloden took place.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Sarah Fine was definitely a big inspiration for the Guardians of The Realm series. I adored her Guardians of The Shadowlands series. Patrick Ness is another huge favourite. I don’t think I’ve read a book of his that I haven’t thought was amazing, but the Chaos Walking trilogy is outstanding.

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

Ooh. You know, it’s a tight race between Scotland and Italy. Since I speak almost zero Italian, I might be better off staying in Scotland, though not where I currently am. It’s a tough one as I normally crave the countryside and wide-open spaces, but I’m also getting older so the sensible bit of my head wants a big hospital nearby! And I hate midgies (small, biting insects that are very common in the west of Scotland). Scotland-wise, I suppose somewhere up near Inverness would tick most of the boxes – open and rugged, yet Inverness is a city with a decent hospital and the east has far fewer midgies. Near the sea too. Italy? Somewhere in the north, near the coast.

What is your favorite meal?

Stir-fry and noodles.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Tea; wine.

Describe yourself in three words.

Introvert; loyal; perfectionist.

Author bio:

Amanda Fleet is a physiologist by training and a writer at heart. She spent 18 years teaching science and medicine undergraduates at St Andrews University, but now uses her knowledge to work out how to kill people (in her books!). She completed her first degree at St Andrews University and her doctorate at University College, London.

She has been an inveterate stationery addict since a child, amassing a considerable stash of fountain pens, ink and notebooks during her lifetime. These have thankfully come in useful, as she tends to write rather than type, at least in the early stages of writing a book.

During her time at St Andrews, she worked with the College of Medicine in Blantyre, Malawi. While in Malawi, she learned about the plight of the many street children there and helped to set up a Community Based Organisation that works with homeless Malawian children to support them through education and training – Chimwemwe Children’s Centre. It was this experience that helped to inspire the Malawian aspects in her novel “The Wrong Kind of Clouds” (briefly released as “The Call”), though, of course, the book is entirely fictional.

She is the author of the urban fantasy series: “The Guardians of The Realm”, the crime novel “The Wrong Kind of Clouds”, and the psychological thriller “Lies That Poison”.

Amanda lives in Scotland with her husband, where she can be found writing, walking and running.

Posted in Blog

Today I’d like to introduce the author of Hooded, book one of The Furix Rising Series, A.A. Woods.

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my life where I haven’t told stories. Even when I was a kid on the playground, my mom used to catch me telling strangers all about myself in vivid, usually fictional detail (they’d often compliment my mom on what an ‘exciting life’ their young daughter had lived, and she’d whisk me away with all possible haste before they figured out they’d been duped by a 5-year-old). So even though it took me until adulthood to take writing seriously as a profession, I’ve always had it in my blood.

But the real change came right at the end of college. I’d studied pre-med with the intention to become a doctor and write novels on the side (with all that free time, right?). I had everything in place, had taken all the right exams, and even scored a sweet internship at Mass General Hospital. While there, however, I began to have honest conversations with the doctors I worked with. They kept saying, “if you can think of anything else to do with your life, do that first.”

Obviously I could.

So I did.

Now, I’ve been writing professionally for seven years, with 18.5 finished novels, 10 published, and many, many more to go!

Describe your desk / writing space.

I work in the top floor of our little suburban house, which means I get to overlook a beautiful nature preserve in front of us. Whenever I’m stuck, I like to gaze out at the trees and river and, if I’m lucky, some adorable dogs playing in the park. My writing space is an L-shaped corner desk, with one branch dedicated to my day-job and the other cluttered with outlines, timelines, notebooks for the ideas I’m working on, notebooks for random and/or future ideas, a calculator (because why not?), and gum. I’m an absolute gum addict and go through one of those supersize containers about once a week. I also always have some kind of beverage handy. In the morning it’s my French Press of coffee. Later on, it’s water with lime, tea, or seltzer. Very occasionally I’ll allow myself a diet soda.

I don’t have a lot of knickknacks, since clutter tends to stress me out more than inspire me. The only non-work item on my desk is a picture of my dad skiing. It’s such a graceful and happy snapshot of life and it always inspires me that even though things are hard, they can be fun too.

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

Even though I love being a writer and adore my growing pile of finished novels, I sort of low-key hate the actual act of writing. Which is why, if I waited for inspiration, I would probably never actually get any writing done.

When I’m in the drafting stage of a manuscript, I set myself a word count or chapter goal and then do my best to hit it. Because I’m an overachiever, my goals are usually out of reach, so I almost never do. Which gives me more motivation to try harder the next day!

I try to write 3-4 hours every weekday, leaving room for my day job, dog walks, and general life chores. If the weekend is quiet, I’ll get some writing done then too, but I try to keep a good work/life balance and leave my free time free. Never easy when you work from home, as so many people have learned this past year!

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

In my most recent release (Severed), the absolute hardest scene for me to write, and one I procrastinated for days, was the plot twist at the end. Obviously I won’t spoil it here, but it’s a dramatic multi-chapter character-driven sequence with about five different points of view and a million things going on. I think I’d built it up in my head so much that I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to execute this epic, awesome vision. However, upon finally braving the page and reading it during edits, I feel like I got pretty close. J

As far as my favorite scenes to write, I love writing action. When things are going so fast that my fingers can’t keep up with the words and the characters are making desperate snap-decisions, I can feel my heartrate picking up with the excitement. Fight scenes, chase scenes, any time the story has real momentum, I love that. It can be amazing too, to see what my brain comes up with in those moments. It’s almost like I’m improvising as much as the heroes!

What inspired your book/series?

Hooded was inspired because I went through a phase where couldn’t get enough of fairy tale retellings. Cinder, Uprooted, Spinning Silver, Ella Enchanted, Zel, etc. I loved how an author could play with expectation and nod at the original myth while doing entirely their own thing. Hooded actually went through three full rewrites, each time finessing and reworking the concept of a “dark fantasy Little Red Riding Hood.” Funnily enough, the end product has diverged so much from the original fairy tale that I’d be impressed if anyone recognizes the nods that remain! They’re there, but the series very much became its own beast. And now, moving into Bladed, I couldn’t be more excited to see what that turns into.

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

I would give up to and maybe including my soul to go to Hogwarts. Ever since I first read the Harry Potter Series, I’ve been waiting for my letter. I can almost convince myself that it’s actually a graduate school and my invite will be showing up any day now.

But in the real world, I would love to go back to Edinburgh. I studied aboard there my junior year of college and I’ve never fallen so in love with a city in my life. It’s a bucket-list dream of mine to live there again.

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

That’s such an interesting question! Unfortunately, I don’t think I have a great answer for this. Tittles feel almost cosmic to me, like these giant puzzle pieces that slot into place one day and then just fit. I really hate to be working on something that doesn’t have a title, so it’s one of my earliest brainstorming stages to come up with one. Most of the time I’ll have a bunch of ideas bouncing around in my head for a few days, running through options on jogs or while cleaning, and then boom, something will click. Maybe it’s putting words together that I hadn’t tried before (like with The Star Siren). Or it’s using something story-specific but also dramatic and evocative (like Hooded or Vagabonds). Once it’s there, it’s very hard for me to shift. It feels a little like naming a child!

Who is your favorite character from your book and would you get along?

My favorite character would definitely have to be Iara, the pirate queen in Hooded and Severed. It’s funny because she was supposed to be a side-character in the background of the first book, plot-relevant but not destined to stick around. But when Iara showed up on the page, she swept me away with her magnetism and swagger. In classic Iara fashion, she refused to be shunted to the role of sidekick and therefore ended up playing a much larger role in Severed than I’d originally intended. She also got her own spin-off short story (All Hail the Pirate Queen) which is available free to my newsletter subscribers, and will be pivotal in the final book, Bladed.

Furthermore, just for you all on here, I’ll share that she might also be getting her own trilogy very soon. Stay posted if you want to hear more!

What are you working on next?

My next great challenge is the final book in the Furix Rising series, Bladed. That one’s going to be huge for me because not only am I closing out my first series ever, I’m also trying to pull together the threads of at least a dozen subplots, not to mention keep my world-building consistent and give all my characters satisfying arcs. I keep telling my husband that it’ll be a miracle if I pull it off, but hey, miracles happen.

After that, I want to finish my Scottstown Heroes small-town superheroes series (which starts with Vagabonds, which you can read for free). There are 3 more books and 2 more novellas in that world I want to write. I also have Iara’s spin-off that’s been percolating in my brain, along with a young adult sci-fi trilogy, a fantasy western, and tons more.

I won’t be short on work anytime soon!

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Oh goodness, where to start? I grew up on Harry Potter, obviously, along with Artemis Fowl, Pendragon, and Lord of the Rings. In my adult writing life, I’ve been extremely inspired by the Illuminae Files, which I find to be one of the best examples of pure entertainment that I’ve read in recent memory. Also the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown, which has an amazing trilogy arc. I love general fiction and have recently been way into Taylor Jenkins Reid, especially Daisy Jones and the Six and Malibu Rising. Although if I’m honest, the book that’s influenced my writing more than any other is John Truby’s Anatomy of Story, which is basically my writing bible. 

What is your favorite meal?

Sushi! I could eat sushi every day from now until the end of time and never get tired of it. With the amount of soy sauce I use I’d probably pickle myself, but it would be a glorious way to die.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

I’m a weirdo and like black coffee at room temperature so I can taste all the flavors, especially when I blend some cacao nibs in with the beans. It’s delicious!

And since I’m married to someone whose family owns a winery, I’m legally obligated to say wine. But I do enjoy a good sour when he’s not looking.

Describe yourself in three words.

Passionate, Contrarian, Relentless  

Thank you for inviting me! 

Bio: A. A. Woods is a Boston-based Hispanic author of science fiction and fantasy. After a childhood in Montana and a few exciting years in Costa Rica, her family finally settled in the northeast to escape the sun. There, she went to the University of Vermont for a degree in Molecular Genetics, which has been useful for terrifying the hypochondriacs in her life. She’s traveled to over 20 countries, been struck by lightning, and worked in a morgue, which could explain a lot. When not writing, she can usually be found trying to exhaust the new family dog.

Hated.
Hunted.
Hooded.

In a land of myths and monsters, 17-year-old Carlette is a slave. Her power of enhabitation, the ability to control animals, makes her useful to the island’s colonial rulers. Convinced she’s on the right side, she spends her life doing their bidding, awaiting the day she gets to leave it all behind and fulfill her purpose in their war across the sea.

But when an escaped spy forces her to leave the safety of the road, Carlette is plunged into the wilderness with a handsome enemy by her side, rebels at her back, and only her wits to guide her. Among the giant trees of the magical forest, Carlette will begin to realize her world is much more complicated than she’s been led to believe.

Will she learn to see through the lies she was raised on? Will she have the courage to choose heart over duty?

And will she do it fast enough to save everyone she loves?


For fans of Princess Mononoke and Six of Crows, this dark fantasy is Little Red Riding Hood as you’ve never seen it before.