Posted in Blog

Today I’d like to introduce the author of Wedding of The Torn Rose, Brian Mendonca

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

Symphony of Crowns and Gods (as a series) started as a video game that I was programming on my computer. Programming an RPG (role-playing-game) takes a lot of time and effort, especially as a solo developer, and my ideas were growing faster than I could create the game. Long story short, ~500 hours later, I decided novelization was the next best route to take since it would probably take me half a century to create the game I had originally imagined. The scale of all the characters, locations, and storylines in my head would need a dedicated and experienced team to develop and, by shifting to book format, I felt as though more people could experience the essence of the SoCG universe.

Describe your desk / writing space.

I keep a neat desk—Otherwise, random, useless clutter tends to subtly stress me out.

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

I don’t have a specific writing routine, but I visit something related to my books every day. Consistency is key, no matter what I’m working on, whether it be creating marketing ads, collaborating with other authors, designing graphics, or writing. Projects themselves comes with different seasons—depending on where I’m at with each, I spend my time outlining, writing, or self-developmental editing.

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

Any scene involving a main character death is always tough, because I know that character could have had potential to do something more. Still, if situations in the series calls for it, nobody has “plot armor” or is invulnerable from death.

What are you working on next?

My “ideas notebook” for the Symphony of Crowns and Gods series still has a lot of content. I can’t say definitively how many volumes it will go, but there’s enough for at least five books so far without anything running dry or feeling bare.

What inspired your book/series?

I grew up a huge Star Wars fan, but I felt there was more (creatively) I could do within the sword and sorcery realms. That said, I wouldn’t rule futuristic type stories out in the future.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

E.E. Holmes, author of World of the Gateway is one I can name off the top of my head. J.K. Rowling is perhaps the most well-known. Carissa Andrews is another one that I’ve drawn inspiration from, and Tracy Lawson’s Resistance Series, is perhaps the biggest influence theme-wise.

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

What’s the monthly rent to live in a Hobbit-hole?

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

I aim to capture a central idea or theme relevant to that particular book in the series.

What is your favorite meal?

It really depends on my mood, but I would never turn down Taiwanese style beef noodle soup or Vietnamese Pho.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Coffee is my lifeblood, but I enjoy tea more so when I want to relax. If I feel I’ve had enough caffeine for the day, then I break out the wine.

About The Author

Brian Mendonça is a writer, reader, and tech geek at heart. He’s always looking for new ways to get better at his craft, and he has traveled the world to see how the world is a melting pot of stories and cultures around us. He feels most at home when sitting in front of his computer, with a cup of coffee, and writing stories. When he’s not writing, he’ll be relaxing at home with his video games or watching re-runs of Friends or the Big Bang Theory. He often takes long walks outside while listening to podcasts. Brian is laid back, easy-going, and he loves helping people out. Brian is a native resident of the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Saving the princess was only the start of events that would change his life forever…

Kaine was down on his luck. The former merchant struggled with losing his job and now must make ends meet. Too bad he doesn’t know how. Frustrated, he sets off into the nearby forest to gather mushrooms. The woman’s screams were the last thing he expected. Kaine must act quickly to rescue the young woman before a monster that should not exist kills her.

His life only gets crazier from there. Kaine returns with Lydia, the daughter of the king, to her father’s castle where he unexpectedly finds himself in the king’s good graces. Confused and leery, Kaine reluctantly agrees to remain and help with Lydia’s younger siblings. Life could not have thrown him more.

Kaine is plunged into a world of magical intrigue, unrest, and political maneuvering. Each new event leaves him feeling out of place and, worse, dangerously exposed to a growing threat. The Darian Kingdom stands at the crossroads. Lydia’s upcoming wedding to the prince of the Throatian Kingdom will soon become the defining moment in Kaine’s life.

With the threat of war looming on the horizon, it is going to take every ounce of guile, cunning, and willpower for Kaine to survive, and, if he is fortunate, prevent the fast approaching storm from burning his world to the ground.

Wedding of the Torn Rose is a fast-paced fantasy adventure with mystery, action, and magic. Journey with Kaine as he attempts to prevent a war and save a kingdom in the first volume of the Symphony of Crowns and Gods series.

Posted in Blog

Today, I’d like to introduce the author of Wind Wielder, TC Marti

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I’m a proud West Virginian and a die-hard fan of Arizona sports. Both of which I make references to in some of my books. Writing became a good way for me to escape into other worlds and pass the time. Where I live, there isn’t much to do other than to workout and go hiking, unless you’re willing to venture 45 minutes east into Pittsburgh. And since I’m a homebody, writing became a way to both relax and to be productive.

Describe your desk / writing space.

I actually write from a recliner chair, with my left elbow always resting on the chair arm – This is important because it tends to ache if I don’t keep it planted. Beside me is an end table, consisting of a Kindle in case I need to take a break and look for some inspiration, a copy of Blackpink: The Unofficial Biography, and a Ravenclaw House-inspired shaker bottle full of my favorite caffeinated beverages.

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

Definitely a writing routine. I’m a creature of habit, so every morning, seven days a week, no days off, I like to edit what I had written the day before then, write 2,000 words before I kick off the day’s activities. I also freelance write for a living, so between assignments, I’ll engage in more creative writing and edits throughout the day. 

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

In Wind Wielder, there are two chapters that comprise entire scenes and I knew they would make or break the plot not just in it, but for the entire series. I couldn’t tell you how many revisions I made just to ensure there were no plot errors for both the book and subsequent books affected by those chapters. My favorite scenes were the thrashball scenes, which served as Wind Wielder’s subplot. The sport walked into my mind back when I was in high school during the late-2000s and it’s a mixture between American football, rugby, and Australian football, to name a few.

What are you working on next?

I actually have at least two more series set in the same universe that feature the same magical systems at work. In fact, they will even cross over with characters found in Wind Wielder and the Elementals of Nordica Series at some point – that’s the Marvel Cinematics inspiration at work there! 

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

E.E. Holmes, author of World of the Gateway is one I can name off the top of my head. J.K. Rowling is perhaps the most well-known. Carissa Andrews is another one that I’ve drawn inspiration from, and Tracy Lawson’s Resistance Series, is perhaps the biggest influence theme-wise.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

None of the above. I often sip on a pre-workout (Beyond Raw Lit is my favorite) during my morning and evening writing sessions, and fruit-flavored caffeinated energy sticks throughout the day. 

What inspired your book/series?

Wind Wielder and the entire Elementals of Nordica Series is a crossover of my favorite books, television shows, movies, and even video games I’d come across since grade school. Some of its biggest inspirations include books like Harry Potter, TV shows like Lost and Avatar: The Last Airbender, and even movies like Star Wars and the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you cross them into one, you get Wind Wielder.

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

My main character, Sion Zona, is my favorite in Wind Wielder. I based him on myself from when I was in my early 20s, so he was easy to create. However, my 30-year-old self would grow annoyed with Sion’s character flaws, which mirror my own back when I was his age. Brash, overconfident, and thinking he’s a cut above the world are just a few ways to describe Sion in Wind Wielder. There were times that while designing his character, I’d ask myself, “Was I really that bad?” The answer was always an unfortunate yes, just ask anyone who knew me between 2011 and 2019. That said, given the magnitude of the series, Sion has a lot of growing up to do, just as I did at one time. 

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

I’m actually a huge fan of the hills, valleys, and backwoods of West Virginia. Especially in the fall. However, I’ve always fantasized about living in Prescott, Arizona, or even western North Carolina. But if there’s one place I’d love to live, internationally, it’d be a tiny nation called Estonia.

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

I like to make a list of prospective titles, then ask myself would I read a book if I saw it with those prospective titles on Amazon. If the answer is no, then I eliminate it. I continue to repeat this process, even adding more prospective titles until one jumps out at me. Sometimes, I’ll even have a title picked out until something better walks into my mind. For example, my debut novel, Wind Wielder, was going to be called Declaration until well into 2021, when I felt the former would appeal more to my target audience. 

What is your favorite meal?

There is a Greek Restaurant right across the highway from where I live and they serve the best Greek salads. I order from there at least twice a week to the point every host/hostess knows exactly what I’m getting. I actually mention it in passing in a prequel novella of a different series. 

Describe yourself in three words.

Hardworking, inspiring, disciplined. 

About The Author

A secret censored throughout the modern age…

…A cataclysmic riot leaves the fate of the world hanging by a thread

There are a lot of things Wind Wielder Sion Zona wished he had taken seriously. But the following facts he neglected display his sheer ignorance. 

One, an ancient tribe within his Elemental race wiped from the pages of time still exists. 

Two, Sion and a band of eight other Elementals are the final descendants from that ancient tribe and hold the key to preventing the masses from falling victim to a one-world government foretold in a banned set of ancient texts. 

Three, the global superpower wants nothing more than to destroy Sion and the others before they discover their importance to humanity.      

So yeah, there’s no pressure in taking on a raging dictatorship.

Posted in Blog

Today I’d like to introduce the author of the A Girl From Forever, Yolanda McCarthy

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I always loved books. When I was ten, the family rules on reading were:

  1. Do not read when crossing the road.
  2. Do not read at the dining table.
  3. Do not read on escalators.

Looking back, it seems strange that we needed these rules, but at the time I actually found them quite hard to keep. I got addicted to stories very easily and preferred to read from beginning to end without a pause, so I usually had a book in hand when I walked down the street. I didn’t see why I shouldn’t read at the dining table, and often tried to sneak a book onto my lap.

Anyway, as I loved books so much, I was keen to write them, but my early attempts weren’t very good and I put them away and became a lawyer instead. It wasn’t until after the birth of my son that I began having story ideas I felt excited about, and started writing A Girl From Forever. It was many years before it was finished, and longer still before publication happened!

Describe your desk / writing space.

A Girl From Forever was written in the spare bedroom, which at the time comprised an old card table and a chair, overlooking the street and railway line. It was a somewhat bleak space with peeling wallpaper and about five different colors of paint on the wall (we’d bought a house to renovate, and hadn’t then started). This strange space had zero distractions and was absolutely perfect for writing fiction!

The house renovation is finished now, but another thing that’s changed is that my husband works from home. He needs the spare bedroom for zoom calls, so I write from the living room sofa, trying to ignore the lure of the tv, the mewing of the cats (who always want a snack) and the constant drone from the spare bedroom above…

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

I would love to have a writing routine, but it only exists in my imagination. But I don’t wait for inspiration either! Inspiration has a way of wandering off halfway through a manuscript…

Mostly what happens is that when the house is empty, I have a double expresso, turn on some very loud music (usually Muse’s Uprising), bounce around the kitchen clearing up until the song is done, then sit down and write for 3-4 hours. Some weeks this happens every day, other weeks it doesn’t happen at all.

I am not one of those writers who writers every day, my life isn’t organized enough for that. I usually write when the house is quiet. If there’s a long spell when the house isn’t quiet, I’ll write at night.

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

In Forever A Villain, we look back over Charles’ life to understand the events that made him the evil person he is and how he discovered the secret of eternal life. We begin in Victorian London, which was fun to write, but when we move into the 1940s, Charles takes a job in a concentration camp in order to get funding for his scientific research. This part of the story was difficult to write because I wanted to keep the book light enough that it remained suitable for young teenagers, and I didn’t want to write detailed scenes about life in Nazi Germany because that is a very serious subject and I am not expert enough to write on it. That said, a character like Charles would in that time and place have got involved in some very dark events. So I tried to hint at what he had done without writing graphic detail, and let the reader’s imagination fill in the blanks.

The most fun scene to write in A Girl From Forever, it’s a fight scene that takes place on the roof of a burning building. The characters fighting each other care deeply about each other, but both have been lied to, neither is certain at this point who the good guys are, and each believes the other is on the wrong side. Meanwhile the ground under them is starting to burn, their friends can’t get close enough to help, and there’s smoke everywhere. It was so vivid to me. It was also my editor’s favorite scene!

What are you working on next?

A sequel! The Flaw in Forever will be out in Spring 2022.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

So. Many. Particularly Tamora Pierce, Frank Herbert, Poul Anderson, and Veronica Roth.

What is your favorite meal?

Ohhhhh you shouldn’t ask me this just before lunchtime! Pizza with pepperoni, goats cheese, and roast Mediterranean veg.

Or steak with peppercorn sauce and roast potatoes.

Or puff pastry tart with caramelized onions!

I’d better stop thinking about this because what is in my cupboard for lunch is crusty rolls and cheese.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Coffee! Preferably a double expresso poured over lots of ice cubes and topped up with milk…

Wine. Red wine…

Describe yourself in three words.

Loyal, mischievous, kind.

What inspired your book/series?

A Girl From Forever began in 2014, when my son was tiny and my husband was working overseas. I was listening to so much music, all kinds, just to hear words! I noticed the lyrics to Fall For Anything by The Script, and it made me a little sad, the way the song blames the girl for getting her heart broken. It’s a beautiful song but still – blaming the girl for believing her lover’s lies – that’s harsh.

Later the same day, I heard Fifteen by Taylor Swift, which I had somehow missed out on before. That song felt very redeeming for the girl in Fall For Anything. Of course we trust the things people say, I thought! We have to do that most of the time, or the world couldn’t function. If someone is lying and things go bad, that’s not on the victim. Then I thought – wow – these are two songs I just listened to randomly on the same day, but they have such similar themes, this scenario must be so common… Yet, when I was a teenager, I thought I was the only girl to be gullible.

So then I got to thinking about a character like that, the teenage girl who gets her heart broken by someone who’s willing to tell her any lie to get what he wants. And, from a writer’s point of view, I got curious about the male character. It’s easy to say he’s a bad guy, but… What if he’s not? What if this situation happened in a dystopian thriller because the guy did what he felt he had to, but they would actually be the perfect couple, and he just doesn’t know it yet? Are there any circumstances in which she can forgive him?

From there, I decided that if they’d been together physically, it was all just too unforgiveable. But… What if they’d only been together in mind, but not in body? What if the male character was telepathic? So then I had Fern and Rehan, and I started thinking about why he would lie to her, and why she wouldn’t be able to meet up with him. She’d have to be an almost Rapunzel-like figure, I decided. Why? Why is she locked up?

The answer to that question came from a screenplay I’d written years before, Starsong, which was a Romeo & Juliet retelling on a shipwrecked spaceship. In my screenplay, the ship belonged to the last surviving warriors in an empire ruled by an immortal elite. (Starsong had itself started as a thought experiment: what would Romeo & Juliet look like in space?) The screenplay never got made into a movie, and I shelved it, but there were elements I loved. As I started working on A Girl From Forever, I couldn’t resist stealing the immortal imperial elite from Starsong and winding them back millennia in time, to when they were just a cult on Earth, only a few years from now… Fern was born into that cult.

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

I love Fern, the main character of my first book. She’s born into an Institute and raised by people who couldn’t care less about her, but she manages to stay an optimist and maintain a kind of innocence. I felt quite protective of her! I hope we’d get along…

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

Lake Garda, Italy. In a villa halfway up a mountain, with a pool, a roof garden, and some seriously good views…

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

Usually they just pop into my head, and I love it when that happens. When it doesn’t… I brainstorm words associated with my story, then go through Amazon looking at books aimed at the same target audience as mine, trying to work out what their titles have in common, so that I can decide how best to signal to potential readers what kind of book I’m offering them. For example, books with the word ‘girl’ in are giving a hint to readers that this is a young adult book. (Stories with ‘wife’ in the title are often psychological thrillers). I also use this research to try to ensure that no book has the exact same title as mine – although I can’t control what happens after publication!

I was a bit nervous about the title of my second book, Forever A Villain. This is the sequel to A Girl from Forever, and it’s the villain’s origin story. I was concerned that it might sound like a horror story, which it definitely isn’t. But this was one of those titles that just popped into my head and felt right, and it was hard to imagine the story with any other title, so I followed my instincts and went with it.

About The Author

Yolanda grew up in London, where she worked as a lawyer, a supermarket assistant, a civil servant, and at a cat shelter. Her work took her to California, Serbia, and Dubai, but her fondest memories are of Bermuda. (She’s still homesick for Bermuda. Especially the pink sands of Elbow Beach…)

She now lives in a village just outside London, with her husband and son, two suspicious cats and some very ungrateful fish. Sometimes she climbs mountains.

Would you choose loyalty or love?

The secretive Forever Institute towers over London. Some say it’s a cult, others call it mafia. To seventeen-year-old Fern, Forever is simply home, run by the scientists who created her. A home she’s never been allowed to leave…

Forever gave Fern everything, a body that will never age, psychic abilities (if she can work out how to access them) and a purpose: Fern will be part of a new dawn for humanity, although she’s never been told exactly how.

Then Fern is contacted by a cryptic telepath from outside the Institute, and learns some dark truths: children are being murdered, and Fern is in danger. But Fern’s new friend has secrets of his own…

Posted in Blog

Today I’d like to introduce the author of the Sentinals series, Helen Garraway

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I am a fantasy author from the south of England, living in the royal borough of Berkshire. I live with my cat Alfie and immerse myself in my wonderful worlds, of which I have quite a few now, though only one is currently published. I had ideas brewing for a book for many years, and I had been writing notes and ideas, very different from what I finally wrote, but that was the beginning.

My mum dying was my catalyst, and once she passed and my daughter flew the nest when she went to university, I suddenly had time and I started writing the Sentinal series and out came seven books. I wrote them over a period of two years between 2016-2018 and then I went back and started to edit them, and learning about the world of self-publishing and what that entailed. I published my first book, Sentinals Awaken in October 2020, and went on to publish three books in a year. Still not sure how I managed that!

Describe your desk / writing space.

I work from home, so my desk is associated with work. I tend to write, seated on the sofa, laptop on my lap, my cat Alfie asleep by my legs, just as I am now, answering your questions!

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

I work full time, so usually writing has to fit around when I am not working, ie evenings and weekends. I have had to take time off work when I am in the throes of an idea though. Sometimes the muse just takes over and you can’t do anything else until you’ve written it.

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

Hmm, hard question. I don’t know. I am rather a haphazard writer. I can write chapters in isolation as I have an idea and then fit it in later like a jigsaw puzzle. I usually write the beginning and the end first. I know where I’m starting and I know where I want to end, it’s the middle and how they get there that can be tortuous!

I often have to walk away and noodle on the plot, let the back brain figure out what the next piece is and then return to writing it, but once I start writing it just flows, until I get interrupted, usually my cat, Alfie demanding dinner!

What inspired your book/series?

I didn’t start writing until late in life, though I have had ideas bubbling, I never put pen to paper. I live near an ancient woodland, where there are trees that are hundreds of years old. I wished that they could speak, what tales they could tell! That planted the seed for the Sentinal series.

The Sentinal series is an epic fantasy series, and even though they are quite long books, I am told they are easy to read (Thank goodness!) and once you start reading them, they don’t seem as long. Jerrol Haven, a King’s Ranger discovers treason at the highest levels, but before he can do anything about it, he is attacked. He accidentally awakens a Lady’s Sentinal,  not that he realises he has, after all, who expects a man to be sleeping in a tree for thousands of years? And so begins an adventure to discover who is trying to overthrow the king and take over the world.

Jerrol has to face many obstacles and challenges, not least to figure out how to wake the other Sentinals scattered across Remargaren.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Black coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon and lots of wine in the evening!

Describe yourself in three words.

Voracious Fantasy Reader

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

Birlerion is my favourite character. He is the first Sentinal who Jerrol awakes. He is such a joy to write, because he has so many layers and so many secrets. I am definitely Team Sentinal and I would love to take him home!

When we first meet him, he is withdrawn and reserved, a silent assassin protecting the Captain. Compared to the happy go lucky Jennery, he seems quite dangerous and we question whether we can trust him. As the books evolve I think Birlerion has the most interesting character arc. This makes Sentinals Recovery even more exciting, as it really focuses on Birlerion. The first three books, Jerrol is the main character, so this is the first time we really get to meet him properly, and I think a lot of readers will go Ah! in enlightenment. (If they read the first three books!) Sentinals Recovery is a complete story, but you will appreciate it more if you read the first three books.

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

I would choose to live in the leafy Watches of Vespiri in my world of Remargaren, and visit Birtoli for a holiday. Birtoli is the setting for book four of the Sentinal series, and is an island archipelago, with white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. I would love to relax on a nice sandy beach with a cocktail or two. I will have to make sure they have a stock of them!

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

It was actually one of my beta readers who suggested I use Sentinal in the title. And once I had the word Sentinal it was quite easy to Awaken them to begin with. The Second book, Sentinals Rising, was a nod to the Sentinals adjusting to the new world and the Ascendants upping their game to take over the world. The third book was the culmination of the opening trilogy and it made sense for it be Sentinals Justice.

What are you working on next?

I am currently preparing to release book 3.5, Sentinals Recovery, on December 2nd, 2021. Sentinals Recovery is a novella which follows straight after Sentinals Justice. I hadn’t planned on writing it, but I couldn’t fit the story into book three, it just wouldn’t physically fit, but it had to be written. This novella focuses in on Birlerion, and we learn more about him as he recovers from his near fatal injuries from the final confrontation in Book 3.

I’m editing book four of the Sentinal Series due out next year, and writing a brand new book in a new series. SoulBreather is book one of the SoulMist series, and is more of a paranormal romance, though there is plenty of worldbuilding and political intrigue. I signed up to the Realm of Darkness Anthology and I have to have SoulBreather written by August of next year, I am currently 60k words in so all is on track. This is the first time I have had an external deadline to hit, but all is going well, and I just got the first draft of the cover back, and it looks amazing. It is going to be so difficult to sit on it until next year!

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

I have loved reading all my life, my mother used read any genre going and she got me hooked on thrillers, mysteries, romances and then we discovered David Eddings’ Belgarion and Mallorean series and Anne McCaffrey’s world of Pern. I love Lois McMaster Bujold’s world of the five gods and her Sharing knife series, and she was definitely an influence on my writing, I think, as I try and inject a bit humour as she did and I absolutely love world building.

What is your favorite meal?

My favourite meal is a roast dinner. I love roast potatoes (well I love potatoes any which way), but a roast dinner is just so satisfying, and reminds me of family dinners, followed by apple crumble with custard, if I can fit it in!

About The Author

Helen Garraway lives in the UK and has been writing about the world of Remargaren, a fantasy world of her creation since 2016. 

Sentinals Awaken was Helen’s debut fantasy novel published in 2020. The second installment, Sentinals Rising was published March 17th, 2021; Sentinals Justice which published September 7th, 2021 and Sentinals Recovery due December 2nd 2021.

An avid reader of many different fiction genres, a love she inherited from her mother, Helen writes fantasy novels and also enjoys paper crafting and scrapbooking as an escape from the pressure of working as a Product Manager.

Having graduated from the University of Southampton with a Degree in Politics and International Relations, she remains an active member of their alumni.

A Monstrous Light blurb

What do you do when the person who’s your whole word vanishes in a monstrous light?
You hunt him down, of course. Across continents, to the edge of the Waste, through death and deception all the way to the corpse of the creature who would have killed you both.
And when you find him? Well.
You do what you have to to keep him. Anything you have to. Even killing.

Even dying.

Posted in Blog

Today I’d like to introduce Cari Z. author of A Monstrous Light

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

Thanks so much for having me, Katie! I’m always happy to talk about writing—or in this case, why I write. The truth is, I’ve been writing for a long time and published since 2008, but it’s only since 2017, when I had my daughter and quit my day job, that I buckled down and decided to pursue it full-time. Three cheers for no maternity leave, I guess, because it’s worked out so far! (Just kidding, not getting maternity leave was awful and I’m not cheering it, but it did make me buckle down.)

Describe your desk / writing space.

I do most of my writing in a chair in my living room, which gets the best natural light in the house. Sometimes I write downstairs in what is ostensibly the office, but it’s so dark down there (and so cold, omg) that I can never stay for long.

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

I’m one of those weird people who needs to work on half a dozen projects at once to stay motivated. I almost always write at least 3-4k a day, and I almost never write more than 1k on the same project at once. I don’t bank on inspiration, lol. Inspiration bows down before my yearly planner!

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

I’m terrible at interpersonal conflict, so writing emotional fight scenes is awful for me. I also hate humiliation in stories, I can barely read it—writing it is next to impossible. Physical fight scenes, though, I could write all day. I love a good dust-up.

What inspired your book/series?

Cover art, in this case! I bought the cover before I knew what the heck I’d be writing about.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Coffee in the morning, tea in the evening! And beer for me, the darker the better.

Describe yourself in three words.

Dedicated, fun, flexible

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

Oh gosh, from this particular book? I like Korran, because he’s a nice guy who just happened to be pushed into doing something hideously horrific. It worked out for him…kind of. Least worst of all bad options, I’d say. The main POV character, Beniel, is a little harder to love *coughASSHOLEcough* but he’s also a pretty good guy 😉

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

Is “the room with a portal that leads to all the places I love” an option? Because I’d totally live there and then travel when I needed something or wanted to go skiing or scuba diving or, I don’t know, visit a dragon or something.

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

Hardest part, right there. I honestly think I’m not so great at titles. I tend to prefer single words, but occasionally a line from my book will grab me and I’ll use that. Mostly, though, I just pray I think of something before I finish writing the darn thing.

What are you working on next?

I’ve got so much going on, lol! Next up will be a re-release of my novella The Solstice Gift, with updated edits and gorgeous new cover art just in time for the holidays.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

So many. Almost everyone I read influences my writing in some way, even if it’s just “Oh, that’s a great line,” or “Wow, I love that character dynamic, awesome.”

What is your favorite meal?

It’s coming up. Thanksgiving, baby. Gimme all the turkey.

About The Author

Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She writes award-winning LGBTQ fiction featuring aliens, supervillains, soothsayers, and even normal people sometimes. Cari has published short stories, novellas and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on her blog and on AO3 as CariZee. Follow her blog, join her Patreon, or sign up for her newsletter to read her serial stories! New chapters post on a weekly/monthly basis.

Sign up for her newsletter here: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/x1x1m4

You can also contact Cari at carizabeth@hotmail.com. In fact, please do. She’d love to hear from you.

A Monstrous Light blurb

What do you do when the person who’s your whole word vanishes in a monstrous light?
You hunt him down, of course. Across continents, to the edge of the Waste, through death and deception all the way to the corpse of the creature who would have killed you both.
And when you find him? Well.
You do what you have to to keep him. Anything you have to. Even killing.

Even dying.

Posted in Blog

Today I’d like to introduce Peter Mansebridge author of Feyworld

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I always wanted to write a book since I was a little kid. Eragon came out when I was four years old and it was a big deal at the time because the author, Christopher Paolini, was only eighteen years old. One of my earliest clear memories is laying down on a beach chair and reading Eldest (the sequel) and getting cheeto dust all over the pages. Since I was just learning to read when the series was making waves it inspired me somewhat as a young student to want to write a book because if he could do it so young, why couldn’t I? I remember my first ‘attempt’ at writing a ‘book’ was unapologetically an Eragon ripoff. I was nine at the time and would write in pencil at recess. To me writing was like reading, because I often had no idea where the story was going, but I got to make it up by myself. And even today that’s the most exciting part.

Describe your desk / writing space.

My monitor is a 15 year old Dell that somehow still works and to the left of it is a webcam that barely looks over the small crowd of 3-D printed miniatures I designed and painted. Three of them are characters from my novel, Feyworld and two are D&D characters. I also have two origami tarantulas that I don’t remember how to fold anymore, air fresheners, a bunch of laser cut art I made in college and a magic the gathering deck that was so overpowered I now only use it as a weight to keep the headset cord out of my way. The right side of my desk harbors my mouse, a folder full of half-drawn maps, a teapot and a ton of napkins for when I inevitably make this whole thing even more of a mess.

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

Whenever I feel like some writing needs to get done, I just brew a pot of tea and put on a playlist of music. This often happens in the middle of the night. That said, I think about my stories all the time when I am not writing so it’s less a matter of feeling inspired and more a matter of overcoming laziness or fatigue. 

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

I don’t mind answering this question, but to do so I would have to reveal some major spoilers for the book, which I would rather not do.

What inspired your book/series?

The answer to this might seem like it contains spoilers, but it’s so tangential, few will understand the connections even if they have read the book. I once had a Dungeons and Dragons character that was this archfey warlock who was cursed by his patron, a spiteful fey princess, to be ruled by a trio of dangerous split personalities due to a pact he made with her that he wouldn’t sleep with anyone else. And then broke. (he was chaotic evil). D&D has a feature warlocks can take that lets them have a magical familiar, which can be a fairy called a ‘Sprite’. And recently there had been this weird claymation TV commercial with Lebron James advertising a new kind of Cranberry flavored Sprite, which became a popular meme. So as a joke I named his familiar Cranberry. A Sprite named Cranberry. Geddit haha…  Anyway that one character managed to inspire an entire series of novels, though it should be noted that the resemblance died extremely quickly even though the names stayed the same.

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

Writing Cranberry was incredibly fun. She’s a small, energetic fairy that helps the main characters throughout much of their journey, and the first person Asher encounters upon entering Feyworld. Most scenes with her involve some kind of adorable histrionics. Overall she’s one of the most likeable characters in the book, and a lot of readers I’ve talked to felt the same way.

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

I genuinely hold the belief that modern technology has generally grown more powerful and dangerous than the magic in most stories was ever imagined to be. I’ve also made peace with the fact that I will never live in a world other than the one I do, so I try not to think about that. Also most of the fiction I consume is set in absolutely horrible places, since I like dark stories. For those reasons, I’d like to get out of the highly populated area I currently inhabit to somewhere stars are visible at night, if I can. I do plan on moving eventually, I just haven’t decided where.

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

As it stands, I only have one book and a second one in the works, although I have plans for a second series already. In the beginning, Feyworld: Shards of the Solarie was just “Feyworld”, it didn’t get the subtitle until I realized it was going to be a series, and even then the second book (which isn’t finished yet) got its subtitle before I could come up with “Shards of the Solarie”, although readers of the first book will eventually see why that name fits.

What are you working on next?

Feyworld: Shards of the Solarie will have at least two sequels on the horizon, the names of which I’ve yet to announce. After that, I’ve already written the prologue to an unrelated series called Hollow Hearts about a group of people with reality-altering and mind reading powers that form a secret organization dedicated to preventing individuals with the same capabilities from wreaking havoc. 

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

I am a huge Warhammer 40k fan and so I loved Dan Abnett when I was a teenager. His talent for action is so great that in certain scenes you can practically count the seconds as they pass in certain scenes. My favorite one of his books, which I keep coming back to, is Know No Fear. Multiple people have also said that my book resembles Tad Williams, but I’ve only read one of his stories, it was after I started writing Feyworld, and honestly I think we have a lot of differences in our writing style. The similarity between Cranberry and Applecore, who is a character in The War of the Flowers is kind of undeniable though.

What is your favorite meal?

This answer is kinda boring I know, but strip steak is really good. And I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t my favorite. 

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

I literally consume like six large cups of tea every day, but I will not touch coffee. I haven’t found a kind of wine I like enough, and if reading this interview hasn’t revealed it yet, I lack class entirely. So my alcohol of choice is a vodka lemonade, and I would drink it more if it didn’t make my teeth hurt.

Describe yourself in three words.

Need more tea. Hnnngh.

Author Bio:

Hi, I am Peter Mansebridge, a young (for now) self published author from the Chicago suburbs. Time I spend not writing is often time I spend thinking about it. My true passion is stories, both real life and fiction, and I strive to bring my best story ideas to my readers. I also like tea. 

Haunted by the death of his lover, twenty three year old hockey player Asher Michelsen finds himself one of many humans stranded in the magical dimension of Feyworld.


To survive, he’ll have to face down hulking monsters, vicious plant life and murderous tyrants.
Trapped in Feyworld for two years, Émilia LaFlamme has her own demons. When the village that sheltered her is massacred by a mysterious group of doomsayers, she’ll have to look for help in unexpected places…


As Asher’s dark past rapidly catches up with him, devious Fey scheme to manipulate them both as pawns in a secret war… a conflict that threatens to wipe humanity out.

Posted in Blog

Today I’m doing something different. I’m doing a character interview for my friend, Laura Winters’ amazing new book, The Curse of Broken Shadows.

Where are you from, and what do you do?

Elias: Rooke, the earth kingdom. Assassin and thief.
Farrah: Same.
Brela: Assassin from everywhere and nowhere.
Cason: You can just say you’re from Valisea, the former shadow kingdom. We all know.
Brela: *sticks tongue out at Cason*
Cason: *rolls eyes* I’m from Anfroy, the sun kingdom, and I’m Captain of Serill’s Guard.
Serill: I’m the Crown Prince of Severina, the moon kingdom.

What magic do you have? Did you study for it?

Farrah: I’m earth and moon blessed. Water, with a special affinity for ice, and a smidge of healing magic. I only ever attended the earth temple, but not for long.
Cason: Fire and enhanced senses from the sun god, lightning from the moon god. I trained at both the sun and moon temple and have the tattoos for the highest graduation marks.
Brela: They should have created a new graduation level for you. Those tattoos aren’t even close to showing your real strength. And, for the record, neither of you are ‘tainted’ for your multiple gods-blessed magics.
Elias: Yeah, I don’t care about my earth temple tattoos. I skipped all the graduation inks for my herbal affinity and only got the strength ones. But look at what Brela drew for me. *proudly shows off his shoulder ink that blends strength and herbal magic marks* I made her tattoo it on me.
Serill: I just have healing magic.
Brela: And a brain. That’s stronger than any magic. I would know, because I can kick all of your asses and I don’t have magic. *casually hides the fact that she possesses a cursed shadow magic from Serill and Cason*

What was your childhood like?

Brela: I spent ages 3 to 9 hiding from soldiers who were trying to kill me because I honor the shadow god and was cursed with her magic. Then, after I escaped Valisea, trained as an assassin in Rooke.
Farrah: I don’t talk about anything that happened before I was 19 and met Brela.
Elias: Can’t complain. I did my own thing, got into trouble, and didn’t really care about anything until I was 20 and met these two *points to Farrah and Brela*
Cason: I spent my early years training at the sun temple in Anfroy, then left to study at the moon temple in Severina. Most people are afraid of my magic so I didn’t really have friends until I met Serill.
Serill: I’m the Crown Prince of Severina. Even though the king would rather have my brother on the throne over me because he has lightning magic instead of my weaker healing magic, it was pretty easy-going until recently.
Cason: You mean until we met Brela?
Brela: I’m sorry, dragon. Are you really complaining about some of the things we’ve–
Serill: Oh, gods. I don’t need to hear you two flirt this early in the morning.

What is your biggest wish/goal/desire?

Serill: To unite all the kingdoms again. Yes, including Valisea and the shadow-kind.
Farrah: Oh. I just want to see the moon temple. I’ve heard it’s the most beautiful sight on the continent.
Elias: I’m simple. A bed big enough to share with Farrah and Brela and for them to be safe.
Cason: For people to not see my magic as something destructive.
Brela: Same. And for my people to no longer be hunted.

What is your greatest fear?

Cason: Losing control of my power and emotions. Being seen as weak for having those emotions.
Serill: Not being respected because I have a weaker magic and don’t care for violence.
Farrah: Being seen as weak or broken because of my scars.
Elias: Heights.
Brela: Small spaces. Someone using my family against me.

Do you have any pets?

Brela: Does a mythical shadow wolf that is now very real and stalking me count?
Farrah: As long as you don’t bring it in the house, sure.

Do you have a crush on / love someone?

*Brela and Cason avoid eye contact*
Elias: It’s no secret that Brela, Farrah, and I are a thing.
Farrah: Brela and Elias. Easy.
Serill: Can we add a sixth member to this group? I’m lonely.

Describe the others with one word.

Brela: Surprising (Serill), Wild (Elias), Heart (Farrah), Dragon (Cason)
Cason: Incorrigible (Brela), Kind (Serill), Protective (Elias), Fierce (Farrah)
Serill: Inspirational (Brela), Misunderstood (Cason), Beautiful (Farrah), Caring (Elias)
Farrah: Civilized (Serill), Loyal (Elias), Stubborn (Cason), Hope (Brela)
Elias: Queen (Farrah), Revolutionary (Serill), Uptight (Cason), Tenacious (Brela)

Favorite color:

Farrah: Black or dark colors.
Brela: Purple, but more blue than black. No, maybe emerald green, like Elias’s eyes.
Serill: I’ve always liked Severina’s colors. Midnight blue and silver.
Elias: Blue or purple. Green, too. Honestly, Brela and I change our answer daily.
Cason: Blue.
Brela: *looks into Cason’s eyes* Nevermind, it’s steel blue.

What’s something to look forward to in The Curse of Broken Shadows?

Farrah: Badass women kicking butt.
Elias: I also look forward to that. Found family is my favorite.
Cason: A lot of magic and new monsters and beasts.
Serill: Adventure and growing friendships.
Brela: Flirting, banter, swords, and knives… often at the same time.

An assassin, a powerful dagger, and a magic that shouldn’t exist.

Shadow magic is extinct. The Veil Worshippers who honor the shadow god’s wall are hunted for their artifacts, including the Veil shards that break off the wall in Valisea.

Brela vows to steal it all back. With the dagger of her people and a Veil shard embedded in her collarbone that has infected her with shadow-cursed magic, she is determined to keep her secrets or suffer a fate worse than death. That was a lot easier when the uptight and infuriatingly handsome Captain Cason Valkip wasn’t hunting her.

Cason has spent his entire life hiding—from the raids on Valisea, from his emotions, and from his multiple gods-blessed magics that everyone is afraid of… everyone except Brela. The chaotic, non-magic wielding assassin who drives him insane is also the only person who has never looked at his tainted magic without any ounce of fear. Which is why being forced to work with her to discover the source of the breaking wall sets his already uncontrollable fire magic ablaze.

With tension growing in the remaining kingdoms and mythical beasts threatening her at every turn, Brela’s secrets might not remain hidden for much longer. To survive, she will have to work with the one man who could burn her.

Because if shadow hell is released, no one will be safe.

Posted in Blog

Today I’d like to introduce Ashely Caggiano author of The Weary Traveler

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I didn’t start speaking for an abnormally long time after I should have according to all the developmental books. My mom says it was because I was just listening, and while it was much more likely because of some pretty intense anxiety, she wasn’t necessarily wrong: I was listening too. I’ve always enjoyed observing the world and the people in it, figuring out why things are how they are and making up reasons when there wasn’t an answer. That’s where stories come in—the intersection of “why,” “I don’t know,” and “what if?” I found that I liked telling stories, but that whole being quiet thing ended up counter to ever being listened to, so writing became the best way to express myself without being interrupted. See, you just read this whole paragraph, didn’t you?

I turned to fantasy fairly early and never left because it always has more to give. Magic can be terrible, but it’s also fun and ridiculous, and its ability to cut a reader off from the “real world” while still representing actual struggles people have is a great tool for storytelling. Plus, I love love, and isn’t that the most magical thing of all? Ew, gross, I know, but that’s the other part: fantasy lets you be corny and get away with it. Sometimes readers even like it.

While I’ve always liked observing, I’ve also always wanted to fix things and help people. I don’t really have the ability or the tools to do that in most cases, but I know for myself, stories have always been a place of escape, healing, and ultimately growth. So if I can give that to anyone else, then maybe I am capable of doing a tiny bit of that fixing after all.

Describe your desk / writing space.

I’m a nomadic writer, but I do have my favorite spots, depending on what stage I’m in. I brainstorm and plot from a desk with a whiteboard beside it, every surface covered in notebooks and sticky notes and colored pens. I do first drafts from a big, comfy armchair or couch, nested in blankets, an oversized sweatshirt, and noise-cancelling headphones to discourage me from getting up. Most of my rewrites and edits are ping-ponging between those two, though lately I’ve been using a very small standing desk so I can do a lap of the room while I fill in plot holes and sort out dialogue. The necessities for any of these spots is a very hot or very cold drink, the ability to talk to myself without looking crazy, and at least one cat.

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

I’m very lucky in that writing is my fulltime job, so it’s essentially what I do for the entire day. I find I’m most productive in the morning and late in the evening, so I start my day with a cup of coffee or tea and a short session of reading to get me in the right headspace, and then I use timed sprints to draft or hour-long blocks to edit. My afternoons are much of the same, but with more business tasks interspersed like writing emails or blogs. In the evening, after chores and dinner, I’ll pull my laptop out again and review what I thought was good that morning and either applaud myself or leave scathing notes for my future self to fix.

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

I’ve been finding lately that utilizing details from my real life, even when I add a fictional twist on them, has been hard. Write what you know, it’s true, but that doesn’t make it emotionally easy, yet those scenes are usually a lot more satisfying in the end. Lorelei goes on a tirade to the hearth sprites in The Weary Traveler about why she ended up at Moonlit Shores Manor, it’s very much stream-of-consciousness, rambley nonsense, but it’s meant as exposition and to give the reader a sense of who Lorelei is early on. While I only rewrote it once or twice, conceptualizing it and figuring out how to get it right was a real struggle.

My favorite scenes to write in the Vacancy series seem to be when Lorelei gets overwhelmed and has an outburst, like in the third act of book two when she confronts Mr. Carr (not a spoiler, it’s inevitable). It’s very cathartic to just let her unload on somebody and to say the things she’s had pent up for so long. I also love a good romance scene, but I end up rewriting them a lot to turn up or down the steaminess like at the Valentine’s Day party in The Wayward Deed.

Also, dirty jokes. If I manage to sneak one in, my cockiness knows no bounds.

What inspired your book/series?

I’ve always felt television was the perfect medium for storytelling, and I used to dream up this sitcom with a supernatural vibe that was a mix of Charmed, Fawlty Towers, and Friends. That’s Vacancy. It was originally a serial on my blog, but I knew I would reach more readers (and actually finish the dang thing) by novelizing it. I wanted to see a group of people with individual struggles come together to solve their genuine problems while constantly being interrupted by “real life,” and I wanted that “real life” to be full of absurd magic and campy situations.

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

From the Vacancy series, I have to say Bridgette just might be my favorite character, but she’s objectively awful, so we would absolutely not get along. In early iterations of this story, she was pretty one-dimensional and easy to dispassionately hate, but in novelizing the story I didn’t want her to be a caricature of a “mean girl” who just fulfilled “the other woman” role, so I fleshed her out and then fell in love with how she sees the world. Her view is grossly solipsistic and shallow, but in a twisted way she thinks she’s doing the right thing, and while her actions aren’t exactly justifiable, she ended up being complex in a way that I really hope translates to the page by the end of the trilogy. All that said, she does absolutely despicable things, but her snotty, valley girl lines are a lot of fun to write!

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

I fear I would get killed off in most of the fantasy worlds I love, or at the very least couldn’t stand them without daily access to a hot shower. The world of Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle is just so bright and magical and lovely though, it’s like a fairy tale and it has a bathtub, so it might be tolerable! In our world, I’d like to live on a secluded beach where I can sit in the sand and listen to the waves and the gulls while I type away endlessly. I’d just need a laptop that can handle sand and sunshine.

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

Only after realizing I hate every single word and every possible mixture of them?? Titles are the worst, but I’ve come up with an okay method: make a list of important words, phrases, and concepts that convey the ambiance and theme of the book, then rewrite the list by combining words over and over in different orders while keeping the genre in mind. I try to write all my ideas down, even if I hate them (for a long time book two of Vacancy was called Occupancy), because it either gets the bad ideas out of my head, or leaves them there for future me to look back at and realize they weren’t so bad after all. (Spoiler: the latter is extremely rare and even more delightful!)

What are you working on next?

After Vacancy’s third and final book, The Willful Inheritor, is published this fall, I have a one-off sword and sorcery romcom in the works (working title Bad Blood, but you know how I feel about titles). I’m playing around with villain tropes and classic Halloween monsters and a more traditional, medieval setting for this one. It’s lighthearted while attempting to ask the question “what is evil, really?” I’m restricting that story to a standalone novel for my own sanity.

I’ve also got a vampire romance called Creatures and Covens on Kindle Vella that needs to be finished and then brought to ebook, and a weird, holiday horror/black comedy novella that I keep just failing to complete in time for December, so we’ll see if I can pull it off this year or if it’s fated for Christmas 2022. After that, I have a trilogy for 2022 called Blightwood that’s my first stab at a more serious fantasy epic with a slightly darker romantic subplot. Knowing me, that dark romance will morph into something a bit brighter, but the world revolves around a blighted forest, “dark” elves, and conflict between what is essentially heaven and hell, so it won’t be too bright.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

Obligatory Harry Potter mention, of course. I look to Neil Gaiman when I’m trying to understand beautiful prose and how to submerge a reader into a world, and I read Gillian Flynn for a how-to on punching a reader right in the gut and crafting an unputdownable story (all stuff I’ll forever be a student of). If I could emulate even one percent of the joy and laughter I get from Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams, I’d consider my life fulfilled, and Diana Wynne Jones is the culmination of everything I want to inject in my writing: fantasy, comedy, heart, and the tiniest bit of good sense in the face of ridiculousness.

What is your favorite meal?

A box of generic-labeled mac n cheese and a diet soda. I don’t think I need to explain why.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

I’m boring and don’t drink alcohol (my bitter receptors work overtime), but I love both coffee and tea! Of course, some people would say I’m not drinking either since I add lots of creamer and milk to a medium roast cold brew or hot chai, but if you dump a scoop of protein powder in either you’ve got a pretty good breakfast going, and the perfect way to wake your brain up for some writing!

Describe yourself in three words.

Really likes cats.

Author Bio:

Ashley is a self-published author who likes to write silly little stories that hopefully bring readers joy. She likes cats, guacamole, feminism, and the internet.

Lorelei Fischer desperately needed somewhere to spend the night, and, as if by magic, Moonlit Shores Manor appeared.

But there’s a cost for everything, magic included.

More than willing to escape her old life and fill the open position at the bizarre bed and breakfast, Lorelei quickly learns of the dangers waiting for her. She’s only human, after all, and casting spells, shifting into wild animals, and caring for mythical creatures aren’t exactly in the wheelhouse of a former barista and art school failure. At the manor, faeries might pull tricks on you while washing linens, werewolves might try to rough up your bellboy, and a shadowy presence in the woods might be your undoing if you ask too many questions.

With the help of her supernatural, live-in coworkers, Moonlit Shores Manor could be Lorelei’s sanctuary from her past mistakes. Though as the truth of the manor’s history unravels, it could just as likely become another place Lorelei must flee to save not just her reputation but her life.

Posted in Blog

Today I’d like to introduce the author of Awakening, G. Clatworthy

Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?

I’ve always loved creating stories, and it was during the first lockdown last year that I went back to writing as a way to get some time just for me. I started out with children’ books as a catharsis for my lockdown experience – my first book was called ‘The Girl Who Lost Her Listening Ears’ so that gives you some idea of my experience. Then I started to write books I wanted to read, hence my new urban fantasy series.

Describe your desk / writing space.

I work in our games room most of the time, I have a sit / standing desk so I don’t spend all day hunched over and I’ve personalized it with stickers as it was far too grey and office-like when I bought it. My favourite bit of stationery is my to do list pad, I love a list and it helps me focus. I also have several notebooks on the go with all my ideas for future books.

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

I am very rigid with my schedule as I don’t have a lot of free time to write in, so I make sure I do at least an hour every day.

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

The hardest scene for me to write so far was in Solstice of Dragons – Book 2 of my Rise of Dragons series – it involved huge spider-like creatures with ten legs, many eyes and graphic descriptions. I wouldn’t say I scared myself writing it but I didn’t want to go to sleep with it still in my head!

My favourite scenes are the ones where the characters have the opportunity to react with a bit of sass or snark – I enjoy irreverent humour so when that works and a reader reaches out to me to say they loved one of those scenes in my book, I love that.

What inspired your book/series?

I was thinking about typical urban fantasy books and this idea for a half-dwarf lead character who just wants a quiet life came into my head and so Amethyst was born! She has her own jewellery shop but then her best friend gets kidnapped and she’s thrown into a world of cults and dragons!

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

In this world, I love Japan and would really love to live there, just outside a city. I think it’s got a really cool culture that mixes modern and old and the people are lovely. In a fantasy world, I think the Discworld would be fun to live in, anywhere with magic really.

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

This is the part I find hardest! I have ideas while I’m writing, but I wait until after I’ve finished the book before choosing the final title.

What are you working on next?

Right now, I’m finishing up my Rise of Dragons series. I want to finish the six books before I move onto another series. I’m currently finishing book 3 – Equinox Betrayal – which is about a dragon egg being stolen.

What authors or books have influenced your writing?

I think there’s too many here to mention. I’m a massive Terry Pratchett fan, Tolkien, Lyndsey Buroker to name a few, but I read really widely so I hope I bring in good elements from a number of authors.

What is your favorite meal?

This is tough because I love food…I think a prosciutto pizza followed by a chocolate fudge cake, accompanied by a rich red wine.

Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?

Tea (hey I’m British!), no milk or sugar and preferably Earl Grey or something like that. I don’t drink coffee. And definitely wine over beer – a prosecco or a rich red.

Describe yourself in three words.

Curious, organized, creative.  

Bio:

Gemma started writing during the 2020 lockdown and loves fantasy fiction and dragons in particular. She lives in Wiltshire with her family and two cats and also enjoys crafts of all kinds. You can get a free prequel to her Rise of Dragons series here and check out Book 1 in the series on Amazon.

Join the conversation at Gemma’s book wyrms readers’ group on Facebook.

She also writes children’s books. You can find out more on her website www.gemmaclatworthy.com or follow her on Instagram (www.instagram.com/gemmaclatworthy) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/gemmaclatworthy).

She wants a quiet life.

They want to awaken a slumbering dragon. Can she rescue her friend and survive an encounter with a dragon or will it end in fire and blood?

Amethyst is a half-dwarf jeweller and weaponsmith who just wants to improve sales in her shop in a popular Cardiff arcade. When her best friend gets kidnapped, she’s dragged into a world of cults and dragons. Not to mention hate at first sight with an arrogant elf.

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?