Author Spotlight — Ian Nathaniel Cohen

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Today we welcome Ian Nathaniel Cohen. He’s going to tell us a little about himself and his books, so grab a snack and meet your new favorite author.

What genres do your writings fall under? What age group?

My first book, The Brotherhood of the Black Flag, is a historical adventure thriller, mostly aimed at adults, although there isn’t much in it that young adults can’t handle. If I was going to rate it the way you would a movie, I’d give it a PG-13.

 

When and why did your start writing?

 

I’m not exactly sure when I started writing, as I don’t remember not having ideas for books and making various attempts at writing them. However, it was definitely during college that I found myself with enough time to actually write some of them out and share them with other people. The feedback I got was encouraging, and I got more ambitious with the kinds of stories I wanted to tell. It was also during college that I became a huge fan of H. Rider Haggard and Rafael Sabatini, whose writings have had a huge influence on the kinds of stories I enjoy writing. As more ideas for stories and characters popped into my head, I eventually decided to finally take the plunge and try and do something with them.

The same goes for my review blog, The INCspotlight. I’ve always enjoyed writing movie reviews, and I made more than one attempt at getting professional gigs in local and school papers. When I discovered the website That Guy with the Glasses, later Channel Awesome, and I saw that they accepted guest bloggers, I decided to give it a try. All the reviewers on the site had their own niche, and mine was less-familiar classic movies that I didn’t feel deserved to be forgotten about. A lot of these classic works inspired my own ideas for stories, and I guess I see the INCspotlight as my way of paying it forward. I’m no longer with Channel Awesome, but the INCspotlight continues, now hosted on my own website.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing?

 

I feel like all my hobbies are pretty old-fashioned, now that I think about it. In addition to reading, I’m a huge movie buff, classic movies especially, and I also like listening to old time radio shows (The Shadow, The Green Hornet, Abbott & Costello) and playing retro video games. I like collecting various stuff, such as vintage playing cards (or replicas) and comic books, older ones especially. My favorite kinds of music are jazz, swing, and blues, but I also like classical, folk, and Celtic music, as well as film scores.

What do you hope readers take away from your writing? Is there a particular theme in your work? Does your work have a moral?

 

At the very least, I hope readers find The Brotherhood of the Black Flag to be a fun ride, like a summer blockbuster. Beyond that, I hope that the book’s theme of how blind loyalty leads people to ignore logic and basic common sense will stick with readers. I also hope that my protagonist sets the kind of example more guys need to follow in real life, particularly in the way he tries to respect female characters (I’ll leave it to readers to decide if he succeeds) and doesn’t demand or feel entitled to their affections.

Which of your characters is your favorite and why?

 

Villains are fun to write, especially in adventure fiction where they’re allowed to be a bit over the top, so they’re always among my favorite characters.

What genre is your favorite to read?

 

It depends what I’m in the mood for at any given time. However, anything with sword fights is usually a winner, so historical fiction, heroic folklore, and high fantasy rank pretty highly. However, I like various other genres as well, and I’ll give most things a shot if it sounds interesting.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

 

I probably would have spent less time agent hunting and explored self-publishing options a lot sooner, given that publishers don’t seem that interested non-series historical adventure fiction. On that note, I probably would have done a better job putting together a marketing strategy, especially given limited time and financial resources.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

 

I use Facebook and Twitter, and I’m a member of various Facebook groups where us rookie authors can share our work and hopefully nab new readers. I’m still working on which ones work the best, though.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

 

For a long time, The Brotherhood of the Black Flag fit that category back when I was trying to get literary agents interested in taking a look at it. Eventually, I bit the bullet and decided to self-publish. It has its disadvantages, mostly having to market it myself and pitch it to total strangers to get them to buy it, but on the other hand, my book is out there and being read and enjoyed instead of taking up space on my computer.

Can you tell us about your book?

 

The Brotherhood of the Black Flag is a tribute to the classic swashbucklers I grew up on as a kid, books and movies alike. It’s set in 1721, the early years of the United Kingdom and the tail end of the Golden Age of Piracy. The main character, Michael McNamara, was an officer in the British Royal Navy before his unjust expulsion, and he falls in with Captain Stephen Reynard, a pirate turned pirate hunter out to earn a pardon. Not really having any other options, McNamara joins Reynard’s quest for redemption, and his travels pit him against untrusting shipmates, bloodthirsty buccaneers, and an international conspiracy that threatens thousands of lives.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

 

When it came to plotting out The Brotherhood of the Black Flag and setting up character arcs, history cooperated with me beautifully. McNamara’s military history has him fighting in real battles during the War of the Spanish Succession and the War of the Quadruple Alliance – even the ship he was on at the Battle of Cape Passaro, the HMS Canterbury, was an actual ship. The same thing happened when it came to figuring out his reasons for leaving the British Isles and moving to Jamaica.

As for whether any of it came from my own experiences, some friends and I have had to go through not being able to follow the career paths they planned to, for one reason or another, and we’ve found themselves asking “well, now what?” It wasn’t planned that way, but once I got the idea that’s what was driving McNamara, it was easy to write him from that perspective.

Also, when I was learning stage combat, I specialized in rapier, and one time, I went up against someone who favored the schiavona. Now, I’m no expert at fencing, but I took lessons for six years, and rapier wasn’t all that different – even the stage combat version. But when going up against the fighting style for the schiavona, the blade comes at you from unexpected angles, and I was stumped. I had no idea how to defend against it or effectively counter-attack. As soon as that bout was done, I thought to myself “one of my characters for Black Flag has to use this sword and fighting style.” I actually consulted with that same guy in said character’s use of the schiavona, and he was very cooperative.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

 

Any scene where I got to write banter was a fun scene to write. I’m also especially proud of McNamara and Reynard’s friendly duel when they first meet. There are a lot of sword fights in The Brotherhood of the Black Flag, and while I’m happy with how pretty much all of them came out, that was my favorite of the bunch.

How did you come up with the title?

 

During the Golden Age of Piracy, pirates were known as the Brethren of the Coast, but also as the Brotherhood of the Black Flag. The latter sounded like a good name for a pirate story (either a movie or a novel), and I just ran with it.

What project are you working on now?

 

I’ve got a bunch of different books of different genres in the works – a murder mystery set in 1930s New York, another one set in Chicago in that same time period that pays tribute to classic pulp heroes, a fantasy series I’m collaborating with my beta reader on, and a telling of the Arthurian legends from the point of view of Sir Gawaine, as well as a couple of graphic novel projects. However, The Sherwood Caper, another historical thriller starring Robin Hood, is the one I aim to finish, given how much of it is already written and planned out, compared to the other ones. I’d always wanted to write a Robin Hood novel, and I was struggling with what direction to take it for a long time until I decided to make it a heist story, kinda like Ocean’s Eleven or The Italian Job. The tone will be similar to Black Flag – realistic, historically accurate, but without making it “grimdark.”

Will you have a new book coming out soon?

 

Um…define “soon.”

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

 

I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten any criticism that was emotionally tough to deal with. The feedback I’d gotten from beta readers and my editor, even when harsh, ended up making the book better, so I honestly appreciated it. I’m sure negative reviews will come, and when they do, I hope I can likewise learn from the criticisms as best I can and try not to repeat mistakes in future books.

The only truly discouraging thing I’ve had to deal with when it comes to reviews (so far) is when they’re arbitrarily yanked from Amazon with no explanation, and Amazon refuses to provide any details – I’ve lost about a third of all the reviews I’ve ever gotten this way. I know many indie authors have had to go through this, more so than usual lately, and it’s tough to deal with. We have to scrape and claw for every review we get, and it’s frustrating to have them taken away and not know why. I don’t think I’ve found any aspect of writing more discouraging and “what’s the point?”-inducing than that, and I know I’m not the only one.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

 

Take your time with your writing projects, and don’t rush them out the self-publishing door. Invest time in character development, world building, and writing craft, and get help if and when you need it. Your story will be all the better for it, and your readers will keep coming back for more. Also, most importantly, when people help you out, even if it’s a small thing, please make sure to show your appreciation.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

 

Thank you to all of you who have taken a chance on a first-time author, especially those who have invested a few minutes of time into reviewing it! I’d also like to thank the folks at indieBrag for awarding The Brotherhood of the Black Flag a B.R.A.G. Medallion – I’m truly grateful for the honor.

Have you travelled to places outside your home town/country? Where did you go? What did you see/experience?

 

I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel all over the world, across six continents. When I was a kid, my mom took me on a Robin Hood tour in the actual Sherwood Forest and the Nottingham library, home to the largest collection of Robin Hood books. In college, I participated in the Semester at Sea program’s Fall 2000 semester, literally sailing around the world and visiting different countries along the way. Not only was it genuinely the adventure of a lifetime, but a learning experience and a unique opportunity to bond with people. In fact, I even dedicated The Brotherhood of the Black Flag to my Fall 2000 shipmates.

If you could visit any cartoon world, which one would it be?

Hmmmm…Tiny Toon Adventures, maybe? At Acme Looniversity, the main characters learn the fundamentals of animation, comedy, and cartoon-making from the classic Warner Bros. cartoon stars, such as Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck. I’d love to drop in on one of those classes.

 

If you could visit any fictional world, which one would it be?

 

Middle-Earth, particularly the Shire or Rivendell (although given my height, I’d probably find Rivendell more comfortable). Listening to elven music or ancient tales during a grand feast sounds like a great way to spend a day. Option B would be The Dreaming from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comic book series – specifically the Library of Dreams, where you can read all the books dreamed up by authors who never had the chance to write them, including works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien, and so on.

Who’s your favorite superhero?

 

I’m a huge fan of most DC and Marvel characters, and I don’t know if I have an overall favorite. Outside of that, I also love Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Jeff Smith’s Bone, Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo and Kurt Busiek’s Astro City. I need to broaden my range a bit and discover more indie creators – it’s just a matter of having enough time to discover and read them all.

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Interview — Peter Blakely-Novis

library-419254_1920Today we’re giving a warm welcome to author Peter Blakely-Novis. Read on to learn about this exciting author.

  1. What would you like to tell us about yourself? My name is Peter Blakey-Novis, and I’m based in a small town on the southern coast of England. Although I’ve enjoyed writing as a hobby for as long as I can remember, it wasn’t until February 2017 that I released my first book. I’m fairly new to it all and am learning a lot as I go! I also co-run Indie Writers Review, a monthly digital magazine featuring book reviews, short stories, poetry etc.
  2. What genres do your writings fall under? What age group? Quite a mix, actually. I started out writing a novel, which is a femme fatale thriller along the lines of Fatal Attraction. This book (The Broken Doll) has a sequel which was released in August 2017. I have also written two collections of short horror stories, and at the other end of the spectrum, have a children’s book out which was co-authored by, and stars, my daughter.
  3. When and why did your start writing? I had an idea for a story back in March of 2016, which kept playing on my mind. I wrote a little when I had a bit of spare time, with no real thought as to what I’d do with it if I ever finished it! It came along slowly to begin with, until I needed minor surgery and was bed-bound for a few weeks. With little else to do I cracked on with the story and the end of it began to appear in the not-too-distant future.
  4. What other goals do you have for yourself? How do they fit with your writing?Writing has been a great way for me to get ideas out there, and has given me a real sense of accomplishment and pride. I’ve always been very wary of how I’m perceived by other people, and it took a lot of courage to show my work to others, but the feedback has been better than I could have imagined, and that helps build confidence in what I do.
  5. What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing? Reading is just as important as the writing, so I get through a couple of books a week. Aside from that, life is pretty busy with four children.
  6. What do you hope readers take away from your writing? Is there a particular theme in your work? Does your work have a moral? My two novels are purely fictitious, perhaps a life-lesson in how fragile relationships can be when someone from outside decides to try and destroy it. The horror stories that I have written cover a range of sub-genres – some are creepy ghost stories, there’s one from the POV of a serial killer, and others are simply about people and their fears.
  7. Which of your characters is your favorite and why? Probably Ella, the antagonist from The Broken Doll. She was the most fun to write, anyway. Despite the trouble she causes, you can’t help pitying her a little, and wishing you could somehow save her.
  8. Which of your characters is your least favorite and why? I’m quite fond of all three of the main characters in The Broken Doll books, but there are quite a few despicable minor characters. I’d say Maggie, from book one, isn’t a person I’d like to hang around with.
  9. What genre is your favorite to read? I mostly read horror, much more so since writing my own. I’m keen on collections of short stories more than full-length novels, but I’m usually happy to read almost anything.
  10. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? I would have been better prepared! I didn’t even look at what to do with the first book until it was almost finished. I knew nothing about self-publishing, or where to promote it. As a result, sales have been much better in the months following that first release, once I had a better idea of what I was doing.
  11. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? Social media is now the only way that I promote, through my pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The novels have had good reviews, and I share these in book-related Facebook groups. I have tried paid advertising on Facebook and Amazon but it didn’t seem worthwhile. My horror books actually sell better than the novels, but I am involved in a number of horror-specific book groups, and learned how important it is to promote other peoples work just as much as your own. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have received some fantastic reviews on a number of blogs, as well as in Scream Fix magazine. For the children’s book, selling in person far outweighs online sales, so I attend school events such as summer and Christmas fairs.
  12. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? All of my books are self-published, although I have had a few stories included in other anthologies, so I am able to put a book out there myself without the fear of rejection from a traditional publisher.
  13. Can you tell us about your upcoming book? I currently have a few projects on the go. One is (probably) going to be a novella, about a young woman to kills someone but can’t remember doing so. It deals with some mental health issues and PTSD in particular. I have a few stories completed ready for my next collection of horrors, and I’m expecting that to be ready around June. I also have another horror book planned for later in the year, around novella length, but quite different to most books. My daughter is keen to release another children’s book, but I’m holding off until we have recouped the money spent on the illustrations!
  14. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?The two novels are entirely fictitious, but a number of the landmarks in the books are easily recognized as being around my home town. The characters are not based on real people, although the main characters are quite similar to myself and my wife. Some of the horror stories are rooted in some past experience, for example Opened Up is a medical horror about an infestation, inspired by the surgery I had on my foot. There is one called Embrace the Darkness, which features a creature that I did have nightmares about when I was a child. So, although not ‘true stories’, they are partly based on real events.
  15. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? In the second Broken Doll book, something happens to one of the main characters. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it seemed inevitable from my point of view, yet I knew it would really affect the readers. It was a difficult chapter to write, but was the best fit for the story, and gave the whole tale a change of direction.
  16. How did you come up with the title? The Broken Doll refers to Ella, the seductive femme fatale. The title seemed to fit well, balancing her physical beauty with the fact she was severely damaged inside. Titles for the horror collections were simply enough; I chose my favourite short story and used that, hence they are called Embrace the Darkness and other short stories, and Tunnels and other short stories.
  17. What project are you working on now? As I mentioned earlier, I have a few projects on the go. The next for release though will be another collection of shorts.
  18. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? I’ve been very fortunate with the reviews I’ve received, with more than 90% of them being 4 or 5 stars. I did receive a 1 star review for The Broken Doll, although with no details written as to why. I happen to know the person that left it, which made it quite hurtful, but I managed to ignore it and focus on the good reviews. My favourite review described the Broken Doll as ‘incredibly well-written, an intense, gripping, and emotionally stirring read’ and featured on a blog.
  19. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? Keep at it! Get the book finished, check it over as many times as you can stand to, get other people you trust to read it before going public, and take on board any feedback – both positive and otherwise.
  20. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? Two years ago I never would have dreamed I’d be doing what I am now, so I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am to everyone that has taken the time to read my work, to those who have given me advice and helped promote my books, and an extra big thanks to those who take a moment to leave a review, or to recommend one of my books to their friends. It really does mean so much, and it keeps me motivated to put out more stories.
  21. Do you also work a day job? How does it inspire your writing? For the last four years my wife and I have been running a catering business. Unfortunately, my wife became ill at the start of 2017, and we had to close the business. Although financially challenging, this has given us the time to focus on getting my books out there. My wife was able to train as a graphic designer and together we began Red Cape Publishing, an umbrella for not only my books, but the magazine Indie Writers Review, the upcoming horror book subscription service Boxes of Blood, as well as her design work.
  22. If you could visit any time period, which one would it be? It would be a tough decision between the 1920s and the 1950s, there is something exciting about the clothing and music in those times.
  23. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? I’m keen to visit Japan, New Zealand, and Iceland. They are definitely my top three countries whenever that becomes possible. We enjoy city breaks, and visited Venice last year, with Budapest being next on the list.
  24. Have you travelled to places outside your home town/country? Where did you go? What did you see/experience? I haven’t travelled all that much, I don’t feel. Of course being in England, Europe is close enough for short breaks, and I’ve been to Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Greece. Out of these, going on a mountain safari day in Portugal with my eldest, and riding the gondola in Venice, are my fondest memories.
  25. Do you prefer comfortable clothes or dressing nicely? Both, I guess. My wife would definitely prefer me to be in a suit permanently, but once winter is out of the way I’m usually in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt!
  26. If you could visit any cartoon world, which one would it be? I’d have to take my daughter and visit SpongeBob Squarepants.
  27. If you could visit any fictional world, which one would it be? Strangely, the first thing that came to mind was Water World, the Kevin Costner film. I do love being near the sea, so perhaps messing about on boats all day wouldn’t be too bad?!
  28. What’s your favorite comfort food? Pizza, with a variety of meats and plenty of jalapeno.
  29. If there was one food you could get rid of, which one would it be? Celery, no need for that ever!
  30. Who’s your favorite superhero? Deadpool appeals to my sense of humour, so probably him. Although I have enjoyed the more recent Batman movies.
  31. What’s your favorite holiday? Why is that one special to you? Christmas is the only real celebration that we do, and I’ve never really been that keen on it! That said, last Christmas we managed to go away for a few days, and we had a really great time so I may be starting to enjoy it more.
  32. What historical figure inspires you most? Anyone who has stood up for human rights, whether that be defying the Nazis, opposing racism and segregation in the second half of last century, as well as those that do so today. Most of these people have names we wouldn’t recognize, but have helped so many people – that’s something that is very inspiring.
  33. If you had to have a mythological creature as a pet, which one would it be? My daughter’s obsessed with unicorns at the moment, so if there was a way of getting a mythological creature it would have to be that (or I’d never hear the end of it!)
  34. What was your favorite stuffed animal as a child? Does this toy show up in your writing? I had a stuffed dog, imaginatively called Doggy, which apparently was bought just before I was born. He’s seen better days, but I still have him (actually my youngest does).
  35. What author would you most like to meet? If I had to pick, I’d probably say Stieg Larsson. I have a special hardback set of the Millennium Trilogy, and thought they were incredible. I’d also really like the opportunity to meet up with some of the fantastic Indie authors that I connect with online, but geographically we are quite spread out across the globe.
  36. You get to bring one of your characters into the real world. Which one is it and why? What do you hope to accomplish through your relationship with this character? It would have to be Ella from The Broken Doll. As I mentioned, there is an impulse to help her. However, there would be a risk, of course, as she is both unstable and dangerous.

Author Spotlight — Michael Keyton

Today we’re welcoming author Michael Keyton. Read on to see what he has to say.

Tales from the Murenger, print 180 dpi‘Tales From The Murenger: Stories to darken the soul’ is collection of the weird and dark, its title inspired by one of Newport’s oldest pubs, likely the oldest with its origins in the C15th.

Most of the stories have been previously published in various British and American anthologies; in fact the first story, Mr Nousel’s Mirror’ was included in anthologist, Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the year for 2011, along with works by Stephen King and Jack Ketchum.

With the various copyrights having reverted back to me I pondered how best to make them earn me a little more money. There was no problem in putting them together in a single collection, for they all had a central motif: every story was set in or around Newport and for good reason.

Newport, or my version of it, has become my ‘Arkham’ the Welsh equivalent of HP Lovecraft’s sinister creation. My Newport is a dark, seedy and magical city, the unimaginable just around the next corner . . . or the corner after that. So far no one has objected to the depiction. Perhaps they agree that ‘dark and seedy’ suggests fertility, and there’s no doubt Newport is magical, if you know where to look. Mind you, with cannibalism, seductive cats, rats where you don’t want them to be, and houses that possess more than your body, you may think twice before visiting the place.

The one problem I did have was choosing a name for the book. Tales from Newport . . . No, perhaps not; Tales from the Transporter Bridge . . . no — but I was getting there. I needed an icon, something everyone in the area would recognise, something once seen you immediately think – ghosts; something smelling of . . . beer. Good beer.

The Murenger immediately came to mind – which is not really surprising. I’ve been drinking there on and off for over thirty years. And what you see on the front cover is pretty much what you see on the street, though I can’t guarantee the ghostly smoke. After that it was a marriage made in heaven. Rob, ‘Mine host’ has a savvy media presence and the relationship became symbiotic—Rob marketing the book and me marketing his pub.

I suppose the point of this short piece – other than ‘selling’ a book – is if you have something on your hard-drive gathering dust, something that has previously been sold but you think deserves a fresh audience—go for it. The other equally important point is the need to think of a marketing angle. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – especially those conjured up by three or four pints – speaking of which, the kindle version at £2.35 is cheaper than a Murenger Pint of Sam Smiths, the paperback at £5 is about the price of a pint in London.

http://tinyurl.com/zs9vkpk

Author Spotlight – Fiona Hogan

author new picToday we’re shining the spotlight on author Fiona Hogan. Check out her great books below.

About the Author

Fiona Hogan is a writer, blogger, poet and editor living in beautiful County Laois in the midlands of Ireland. She is an Indie author and has four books published on Amazon – The Lights Went Out and Other Stories and What Happened in Dingle under the name Fiona Cooke Hogan, and Death Comes Calling and The Nightmare under her horror name of F B Hogan.

 

Let’s Connect

Find out about Fiona’s books on her Amazon Author Page

She writes about her work, nature, family life and anything that takes her fancy on her blog – Unusual Fiction

You can find her on Twitter and her writing page Fiona Cooke Hogan

She is also an editor and proofreader at The Editing Hub

Her editing page is  facebook – The Editing Hub

 

Books

paperbackThe Lights Went Out and Other Stories

An eclectic mix of flash fiction, short and longer stories. At times humorous, eerie and poignant; a mother burdened by financial troubles shares her problem with a stranger, a young couples’ journey to the airport takes a strange turn, a wedding anniversary in Dingle goes from bad to worse, a small dog is forced to change his ways, and a vampire hiding out in suburbia just wants to be left alone. Dip your toes into this quirky collection and find your favourite.

 

 

what happened in dingle coverWhat Happened in Dingle

Dingle was the place of their honeymoon. Ruth and Neil are back to celebrate a milestone in their marriage, their twentieth anniversary. Enjoy this funny, pub crawl of a tale set in the wilds of beautiful County Kerry.

 

 

 

death comes calling book coverDeath Comes Calling

Death comes calling and decides to stay. A selection of dark fiction for lovers of gothic horror. Pull the shutters and bolt the door. Keep the fire burning and the candles lit. Something is coming. Listen for the knock at the door but whatever you do, don’t let it in.

 

 

UnlucckyThe Nightmare

Seven cleverly crafted tales of gothic and contemporary horror to keep you awake at night. Ghosts and devils fight for a corner in this creepy collection of dark fiction, from the imagination of the author who brought you Death Comes Calling. Do you dare?

 

 

 

 

From the author who brought you Death Comes Calling (1)

Author Spotlight – T. L. Shively

20170527_123517Let’s give a warm welcome to author T. L. Shively. Check out her exciting series below.

About the Author

My name is T.L. Shively. I am a wife and mother along with being a YA Fantasy author. I have always loved fantasy. I love comics, games, and anything that takes me to a place where I have never been. The characters in my book series were created when I was nine years old and have stayed with me my whole life. It took me a long time to bring their story out for everyone to read, but I am very glad I did. The Guardians have become a very big part of my life, and I hope that everyone enjoys them as much as I do.

I have two books published, working on book three in the series and a short story as well. I look forward to August where I will be attending an author signing event in Frankenmuth, MI with both my books and other surprises.

IMG_20170527_140042483The Guardians are seven teenagers who discover powers and a destiny that keeps changing on them. Descendants of Gods who are supposed to be sleeping and yet still manage to interfere with the lives of their children’s children. Join them on their journey as they discover who they truly are.

Let’s Connect

Facebook profile page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013421624985

Facebook like page: https://www.facebook.com/T.L.Shively/

Website: https://tlshivelyblog.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TL_Shively

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16066240.T_L_Shively

Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/tlshively

1The Secret Sanctuary book links:

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M9K2SID UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M9K2SID CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01M9K2SID AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01M9K2SID DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01M9K2SID

 

 

 

coverThe Town That Time Forgot book links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B8QX7TW

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-town-that-time-forgot

 

Author Spotlight – J. S. Frankel

Today we’re welcoming author J. S. Frankel. Check out his work below.

About the Author

J.S. Frankel was born in Toronto, Canada and grew up there, receiving his tertiary education from the University of Toronto and graduating with a double major in English Literature and Political Science.

After working at Gray Coach Lines for a grand total of three years, he came to Japan at the age of twenty-six and has been there ever since, teaching English to any and all students who enter his hallowed school of learning.

In 1997, he married Akiko Koike. He, his wife and his two children, Kai and Ray, currently reside in Osaka. His hobbies include weight training, watching movies when his writing schedule allows, and listening to various kinds of music.

His novels, all for the YA set, include Twisted, Lindsay Versus the Marauders and it’s sequels, Lindsay, Jo, and the Tree of Forever, and Lindsay, Jo and the Well of Nevermore, all courtesy of Regal Crest Enterprises. He has also written the Catnip series (five novels), Mr. Taxi, The Titans of Ardana and its sequel, The Titans of Ardana 2: Battlefield, along with Picture (Im)perfect and more novels, courtesy of DevineDestinies.com.

Future projects for Devine Destinies include the final novel in the Titans trilogy, the final novel in the Just Another Quiet… trilogy, The Undernet, the re-release of Star Maps, and more. He is also the author of The Menagerie and The Nightmare Crew trilogy, all courtesy of Finch Books.

Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessSFrankel

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JS-Frankel-AUTHOR-1458667077729037/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4859674.J_S_Frankel

 

THEUNDERNET2AZRAEL

In the depths of the Undernet, finding the light is an almost impossible task.

Milt Edwards, survivor of an incident that almost claimed his life six months previously, is back. He and his girlfriend, Roberta (Robbie) Jones, suffer from PTSD, attend counseling sessions, and try to work through their mental anguish.

Nothing helps, but then a friend of Milt’s is killed by the same person who designed the Undernet–Azrael. Milt faces his fears, once again joins forces with the FBI in order to find out and stop Azrael, and he is paired with a rookie agent, Nasraana Shaksy, an American Muslim who has her own battles to fight.

Together, they stumble upon a child trafficking ring, and Milt comes face to face with monsters of the worst kind–those who walk around in everyday society. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse with Azrael begins, and Milt soon learns who the predator is, and who is the prey.

Find it on Amazon

Devine Destinies. http://www.devinedestinies.com/978-1-4874-1922-6-azrael/?search=Azrael&sub_category=1

Amazon: ISBN:978-1-4874-1922-6

 

 

Interview with Deborah Burnside

23319229_10155727922650102_7205406075011842319_nI’ve had the pleasure of speaking with author Deborah Burnside. Below are her thoughts on writing and being an author.

  • What genres do your writings fall under? Primarily Christian romantic suspense
  • What age group? Mostly New Adult, with an occasional side trip into Young Adult
  • When and why did you start writing? Since I was a little kid – it soothes me.
  • What other goals do you have for yourself? At the moment, to complete my trilogy.
  • How do they fit with your writing? Perfectly, since it involves more and regular writing.
  • What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing? Reading, of course, and animal rescue
  • What do you hope readers take away from your writing? Is there a particular theme in your work? Does your work have a moral? “God never abandons us, even when it feels like He has. When life kicks us around, He’s still with us, right in the middle of whatever we’re going through.”
  • Which of your characters is your favorite and why? Jason Hancock, the 3-year-old in Prodigal Hearts. He’s not a major character by any means, but he was so much fun to write! I modeled him after a little boy at a daycare center I once worked at. Or Connie Sherman, the 15-year-old in A Cousin Scorned. She’s me, at that age.
  •  Which of your characters is your least favorite and why? Jennifer Reid, in Prodigal Hearts. She’s not necessarily my least favorite, but definitely the least likeable. Or Bobby Jensen, in A Cousin Scorned. He’s a slimeball.
  • What genre is your favorite to read? Mystery/romance. I especially love anything written by J.A. Jance. She’s the woman!
  • If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? I wouldn’t change a thing about Prodigal Hearts. I published that one with Westbow Press, which I realize some regard as a vanity publisher. They’re really more of a hybrid. Yes, it was expensive, but it was well worth the finished product. They did a beautiful job.
  • How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? I’ve used a variety of avenues: Press releases to local media outlets, though I will admit those have not generated any response. I managed to secure a couple of book signings, with several more looming in the near future. I’ve done carousel ads (designed by Westbow) on Facebook, as well as boosting specific posts and things of that nature.
  • Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? No, but I did write a TV movie script in the early 70’s, that was ultimately rejected by Mr. Aaron Spelling himself. He wrote me a real nice personal letter, and I still have it in my files…somewhere.
  • Can you tell us about your upcoming book? I have two WIP’s. The working title of one is “Wolfsong.” It tells the story of a young Native American woman, Liberty (Libby) Rose Runningwolf, who rescues wolves and wolf hybrids – which earns her the ire of a group of ranchers. The working title of the other one is “Wednesday’s Child.” When completed, that one will be Book #2 in my Sisters in Christ trilogy. Though we get to see most of the characters from Prodigal Heart, the emphasis is on Rebekkah Merek, owner of the retro-60’s diner, The Green Onion.
  • Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? It’s always a combination of the two. I like to address real-life issues, so I combine imagination with things I’ve had to endure – changing names to protect the guilty, of course – and weave them together into a work of believable fiction. For instance, in A Cousin Scorned, the legend of Giant Rock airport is real, as are the abandoned buildings there. Everything else is completely fictional. In Prodigal Hearts, the locations really exist, and some of the plot twists are taken either from my life or the lives of friends.
  • What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? It’s more of a favorite event, as it spans three chapters of Prodigal Hearts. I destroy the city of Long Beach, California with a major earthquake, setting forth that event in multiple viewpoints – Stephanie Williams, Sam Kendrick, and Jennifer Reid. It took me a long time to write that part, not because of lack of knowledge about earthquakes, but because I’ve been through several major quakes and I wanted to make sure I did justice to it. First time flashbacks have ever made writing a scene difficult.
  • How did you come up with the title? Prodigal Hearts was originally titled A Second Chance. The editor I was working with at Westbow googled the titled and said he found “a million works with that title” and I should change it. I drew a blank on a replacement, and posed a question to one of the writer’s groups I’m in. One of the guys came up with Prodigal Hearts. I liked it, and so did my editor.
  • What project are you working on now? Again, I have two WIP’s. I’m focusing all my energy on Wednesday’s Child. Wolfsong will have to wait.
  • Will you have a new book coming out soon? I’m hoping to have Wednesday’s Child complete by the end of June, and in print with Westbow by the end of this year. When I get around to completing Wolfsong, I’ll publish that one on CreateSpace, the same as I did for A Cousin Scorned. So that one may actually go live in December, the same time as Wednesday’s Child.
  • What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? Both came from the same source – the judge who read Prodigal Hearts for the Writer’s Digest Self-Published competition. On the positive side, he loved the storyline and complimented me on the complexity of the characters and my willingness to tackle difficult issues. On the not-so-positive side, he wasn’t wild about the multiple (3) viewpoints. Stephanie and Sam, he understood – they’re the MC’s so it stands to reason the reader wants to know their thoughts. He felt I should have excluded the scenes from Jennifer’s perspective – he didn’t like her as a person, and he wasn’t interested in “getting into her head.” All in all, though, he thought it was a great read and said he hopes to see more.
  • Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? If you’re serious about your writing, make it a priority in your life. You don’t have to churn out a chapter a day, but write something. Every day. Don’t be afraid to ask for help/advice/criticism from people who have been on the publishing journey. If somebody totally disses your work, try to realize they don’t mean it as a personal insult. We’re all here to help each other along.
  • Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? If there’s a secondary character in any of my works you’d like to see more of, by all means let me know!
  • Do you also work a day job? How does it inspire your writing? I am gloriously retired.
  • If you could visit any time period, which one would it be? Toss-up between the Victorian era and the Old West.
  • If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? Two places: Mt. St. Helens, because that’s my happy place. And Scotland, because that’s where my ancestors on my father’s side were from.
  • Have you travelled to places outside your home town/country? Where did you go? What did you see/experience? I’ve never been out of the country, but I’ve moved from southern California to southern Oregon, and now to northern California. I’ve spent extensive amounts of time in southern Washington – home of my happy place.
  • Do you prefer comfortable clothes or dressing nicely? I was a classy dresser during my career as a secretary/receptionist. Now I prefer comfy over class, and it’s not unheard of for me to stay in my jammies all day long if there aren’t any errands I need to run.
  • If you could visit any cartoon world, which one would it be? Tom & Jerry. They rock.
  • If you could visit any fictional world, which one would it be? Forks, Washington. Yes, I admit it. I’m a Twilight fan.
  • If you were suddenly tossed into your favorite TV show, what would you change in that world? The Curse of Oak Island. I’d make sure the treasure was found. Sooner, rather than later.
  • What’s your favorite comfort food? Pepperoni pizza.
  • If there was one food you could get rid of, which one would it be? Pickles. Pickles are the devil.
  • Who’s your favorite superhero? Wonder Woman. The new one, with the Israeli actress. I wanna be her!
  • What’s your favorite holiday? Toss-up between Christmas and Easter.
  • Why is that one special to you? Christmas because it’s the birth of Jesus, and everybody gets the feels for family and friends. Easter because it’s both a remembrance of the death of Jesus, and His resurrection three days later.
  • What’s one tradition you can’t imagine doing without? Christmas Eve dinner with the family.
  • What historical figure inspires you most? William Wallace. We’re not related, but he showed great courage and dedication against horrendous odds.
  • Which mythological figure do you relate to best? Aphrodite
  • If you had to have a mythological creature as a pet, which one would it be? Centaur
  • What was your favorite stuffed animal as a child? Does this toy show up in your writing? A stuffed bunny. And yes, it shows up in Wednesday’s Child.
  • What author would you most like to meet? J.A. Jance, hands down!
  • You get to bring one of your characters into the real world. Which one is it and why? What do you hope to accomplish through your relationship with this character? Lindsay Williams (from Prodigal Hearts), Stephanie’s sister. She’s an irrepressible teenager who never backs down from a challenge.

Author Spotlight – Linda Strader

promo 1Today we’re shining the spotlight on author Linda Strader. Find out about her new release below.

 

 

About the Author

Originally from Syracuse, New York, Ms. Strader moved to Prescott, Arizona with her family in 1972. In 1976, she became one of the first women on a U.S. Forest Service fire crew in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.

 Summers of Fire: A Memoir of Adventure, Love and Courage is her first book, scheduled for publication on May 1st, 2018 by Bedazzled Ink Publishing. She is currently working on a prequel.

 

SummersofFire-HiResAbout the Book

Linda Strader is one of the first women hired on a fire crew with the U.S. Forest Service. A naïve twenty-year-old in the mid 1970s, she discovers fighting wildfires is challenging—but in a man’s world, they become only one of the challenges she faces. Battling fire is exhilarating, yet exhausting; the discrimination real and sometimes in her face.

Summers of Fire is an Arizona to Alaska adventure story that honestly recounts the seven years she ventures into the heart of fires that scorch the land, vibrant friendships that fire the soul, and deep love that ends in devastating heartbreak.

In addition to writing, Ms. Strader is a landscape architect, certified arborist, and watercolor artist. She currently lives in the same area where her Forest Service career began.

Connect with the Author

Blog: https://summersoffirebook.blogspot.com/

Publisher: http://binkbooks.bedazzledink.com/

Amazon:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Fire-Memoir-Linda-Strader/dp/1945805668/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518614536&sr=1-1&keywords=Linda+Strader

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Fire-Memoir-Linda-Strader/dp/1945805668/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520767588&sr=1-1&keywords=Linda+Strader

Author Spotlight Book Release – L. Salt

Today we’d like to give a warm welcome to author L. Salt. Teaser_2

She’s an accomplished author with a fascinating blog, well worth reading, and a short story in the upcoming Full Metal Horror (releasing on April 15). Keep reading for a look at her novel, coming soon.

 

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Now on pre-order!!!!

His Personal Reich An action/thriller novella by L. Salt

Release date: April 26, 2018

Pre-order link: http://mybook.to/HPReich

#Thriller #Action #Mystery #CrazyInk

Andrea Zissman was brought up by her strict grandmother and never knew the truth about her family. When her mother dies at a special care home, the only legacy she leaves her daughter is a mysterious envelope full of old photos.  Andrea finds out that her father, a scientist who studied the energy of Aurora Borealis, didn’t die in an avalanche in the French Alps, but was killed by members of some mysterious neo-Nazis’ colony somewhere on a remote Icelandic island. Moreover, she has an older brother she has never seen before.  Desperate to find her brother and bring to justice her father’s murderers, Andrea meets Leon Callais, a flamboyant, scandalous journalist, who is on the hunt for the Nazi super weapon “Nothung”, a device which can open a portal to other dimensions. He believes that death of Andrea’s father and “Nothung” are connected.  The investigation leads Andrea and Leon to Iceland where they are determined to discover the truth about the neo-Nazis’ colony, its secret weapon, and Andrea’s family. However, the colonists give them an extremely cold welcome. Now, they need to fight not only for the truth but also for their own lives.

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Learn more about L. Salt at the following links:

www.facebook.com/saltandnovels

www.saltandnovels.wordpress.com

www.amazon.com/author/saltandnovels

 

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Author Spotlight – Sandra J. Jackson

View More: http://anotherperspective.pass.us/sandrajLet’s give a warm welcome to our spotlighted author, Sandra J. Jackson.

Author Bio

A graduate of a 3-year Graphic Design program, Sandra J. Jackson has always been creative, from drawing and painting to telling stories to her children when they were young. Her wild imagination lends itself to new and exciting ideas.

Sandra’s debut novel, Promised Soul, was released in 2015 and Playing in the Rain (Book 1 of the Escape Series) in September 2017 by Fountain Blue Publishing. A short story, Not Worth Saving, was published in New Zenith Magazine’s 2016 fall issue. She also has had several sports articles published in a local newspaper. She holds a professional membership with the Canadian Author Association and is a member of Writers’ Ink.

Sandra lives with her family in a rural setting in Eastern, Ontario. She is currently working on Book 3 of the Escape Series, her first trilogy.

A Little About Sandra

  1. Playing-In-The-Rain-Promo-Paperback_preview smallerWhat genres do your writings fall under? What age group? I consider myself a multi-genre author. I like to read many genres so it’s fun to explore writing them as well. My books are anywhere from age 16 and up.
  2. Can you tell us about your upcoming book? My upcoming book would be book 2 of the Escape Series. The book itself is finished but I have yet to edit it. I am waiting to finish writing the third book and then will edit the second.
  3. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?While most things in my books are purely imagined there is always a little bit of me and my experiences included in my writing.
  4. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? I suppose that would depend on what book. I have a few favourite chapters in Promised Soul, one of which is a dream sequence. In it the character, Mary, is fighting to keep herself and younger brother and sister from sliding out a hole torn in the side of their ship. For me it’s interesting to write about something I haven’t experienced and yet try and put myself in that position, imagining what it would be like and all the emotions that would go with it. In Playing in the Rain, one of my favourite chapters is when the character April, enters a bedroom after hearing a noise. I won’t go into too much detail as to not give anything away, but again it’s fun to explore.
  5. How did you come up with the title? My titles are derived from the last line of the book. I always have an idea how I want my story to end. I make sure that the last line has a phrase that can be used as the title.
  6. What project are you working on now? I am working on finishing the third book of my Escape series trilogy.
  7. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? Build your author platform before you get published. Start a blog and get people to know who you are. 2. When you finally finish a book, find an editor to edit it properly. This is not a family member or a friend (unless they’re an actual editor). I’ve been reading a lot of books lately from self-published authors who have not had their work properly edited. As a reader, it is very distracting for me when I read books (even if the story itself is good) that is full of grammatical errors (I’m talking on every page) or isn’t written well technically. There are a lot of technical elements that a writer should be aware of – do the research. I am still learning these techniques and applying them to my own work.
  8. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? Thank you!!!!!! I appreciate all my readers.
  9. Do you also work a day job? How does it inspire your writing? Yes, I work full time as a financial assistant. So far it has not inspired anything but you never know.
  10. What’s your favorite comfort food? Pasta would be my go to comfort food. I also have a sweet tooth so just about any baked good will do. And chocolate, can’t forget about chocolate.

Promised-Soul-Promo-Paperback smallerAuthor Links

Website: www.sandrajjackson.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/sandrajjackson.author

 Twitter handle: @sjjacksonauthor

E-mail: sjjacksonauthor@gmail.com

WordPress link: http://sandrajjackson.wordpress.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY