Posts Tagged ‘special guest’

Special Guest Amber Skye Forbes!

 This week I’m welcoming author Amber Skye Forbes as she readies for her October release of her debut novel WHEN STARS DIE the first book in The Stars Trilogy.
Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.
Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.
Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?
Alright on to the questions,
So, Amber, when did you know you wanted to be an author?
It was in journal time in second grade when we all wrote in our journals for thirty minutes about anything we could think of. I used to write about things I just did everyday, but then I started to want to write stories like my favorite author at the time, Mary Pope Osborne, author of The Magic Treehouse series. It then became this compulsion, this need, and I knew I wanted to publish one day. There is no rationale behind why I want to be an author and be published an all that. I just know that I want to be.
I understand that. I have wanted to be an author as long as I could remember too. What has been the biggest thing you have learned in this process of writing a novel? 
The biggest thing I’ve learned in the process of writing this book is that just because the story isn’t working now doesn’t mean it won’t work later. I started it at 15, which was 8 years ago. The story definitely didn’t work at the time, but unearthing it at 21 and re-doing it with the new skills I gained definitely made it something that, after much work, would be worthy of publication. So I learned to never give up on a story. Novels take time.
What was the most challenging character to write?


Nathaniel, Amelia’s younger brother, was hardest to write because he is eight and much younger than Amelia. I had a really hard time trying to develop him as a character because of this barrier, and even now I still don’t think I fully succeeded, but I’m still learning and growing as a writer, and Nathaniel is going to be in the second book, in any case–he will be much better developed, mostly because he will be older.
Who is your favorite character in WHEN STARS DIE?
Amelia, of course. I like her determination and loyalty and her unfailing will to want to do something good for her world, even though she is restricted in a lot of ways.
Your cover is absolutely gorgeous, who designed it?
Viola Estrella of Estrella Cover Art.
Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
I wouldn’t say they’re that important. I mean they are because the names differentiate them, but they don’t hold any special meaning. I name the characters based off the time period and what names I happen to like at the time.
Okay now the questions are going to get personal. 🙂 What makes you laugh?
Just about anything can make me laugh because I am a very easygoing person.
If you could choose anyone to be a mentor, which author would you consider?
Libba Bray. She has been an inspiration this entire time, and I would say fans of A Great and Terrible Beautywould love When Stars Die.
What is your favorite book?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It’s one of those books that makes me want to cry just thinking about it, and a book has never done that to me before.
Most of the readers of my blog are other writers, any advice to share?
Make sure something happens in every chapter, be it plot or character development. I had to learn that the hard way. Also, I recommend an outline at some point during the writing process. I also had to learn that the hard way. And last, try not to get too enamored with “rules of writing.” If you follow them so strictly, your writing will end up coming off as flat and unoriginal.
Amber Thank you for taking the time to be here today. 
Want to know more? Ask a question for Amber in the comments!
Or follow this awesome new author on Facebook, Twitter Feed, Blog Reader
or add WHEN STARS DIE to your Goodreads TBR List

Meet the Author Sonya Loveday of Casted on her Blog Tour

Casted Blog Tour banner

I am happy to welcome Sonya Loveday the author of the new novel Casted! It’s always a pleasure to be part of a debut author’s blog tour!

A little bit about Sonya, 

Sonya Loveday

Sonya Loveday, first and foremost is a reader, an avid one. It is of that love that brought her to the realization that this was the answer to the nagging persistent feeling that ‘there’s got to be something more’.

The dream came alive in 2009 when she purchased her laptop and began the tedious step of becoming a published author.

When she’s not reading, she’s writing. When she’s not writing, she’s reading. And when she’s not doing either of those things she’s sleeping, shuttling her children back and forth to school, letting the dogs and cats in and out of the house for the umpteenth time in the last hour and dreaming of a clean house.

You can find Sonya Loveday on FacebookTwitterGoodreads and WordPress.

Welcome Sonya and thank you for taking the time to answer a couple questions! Here we go, what have you learned as an author?

I’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way and by watching others. To say what I’ve learned would probably sum it up best this way:

  • Nobody’s perfect
  • You will always have a mistake(s) in your novel
  • Have thick skin
  • Not everyone will be a fan
  • People will either cheer you or put you down – it’s human nature.
  • I can’t do 20 things at a time, no matter how bad I want to – I just can’t
  • One day at a time ~ One chapter at a time

What inspired you to write Casted?

Casted book cover

Believe it or not, all of my writing comes from in the form of either a day dream or an overactive imagination when I’m trying to go to sleep. Casted came to me one night when I closed my eyes and this is what I saw:

The train rumbled down the track along the rocky out crop of mountain I’ve precariously traveled along. It had been six long years of running for me and, well, I’ve gotten a little worn down by it all. Never the same town, never the same country, always moving to keep ahead of those who hunt me.

            The train whistle blew, its eerie sound calling to the darkness that’s permanently seated in my chest. After running for what seems most of my life, I was now able to look back and learn from my mistakes. All the near-misses and almost-endings have given me lessons in which they could never teach you in any class-room. I considered myself a self-graduate from the School of Hard Knocks and that last leg of my never-ending journey had finally come to a halt. I could only hope that I had found a hiding place.

This was at one point the opening of Casted. I pulled it from the story because it just didn’t feel right. It only served its purpose in showing me who Jade was and that she had a story to tell.

Who is your favorite character in Casted?

I’d have to say Jessa. She’s smart-assed, witty and takes no crap from anyone. She loves fiercely and would be a great person to have your back.

Was any character particularly challenging to write?

Hmm…No, not really. My characters – all of them- walked in and were very determined to show me who they were and how they fit into the story.

It was kind of like they invited me into their world instead of me inviting them into mine.

I struggled more with getting an action scene down the first time. Most every action scene was written, re-written, edited and then added to in order to get what I was seeing out of my head.

Do you find your own morals coming through your writing either intentionally or unintentionally?

In some cases yes, but then I have to stop and remember that every character is different, as is every person. I’m just here to tell their story the best I can.

I have many aspiring authors who read my blog. Any advice for them? 

Learn from your mistakes –they will only make you a stronger person and better writer.

Never give up on your dream, no matter how far out of reach it is.

You’re going to feel defeated, you’re going to ask yourself ‘what the hell was I thinking’ and ‘who am I kidding’, those questions are perfectly normal for any new author/writer.

Use beta readers and make sure you have an editor.

Use every available resource you can to get the word out about your upcoming novel, get people interested and wanting to read what you’re writing. Use that platform to promote yourself. Push past the fear – fear gets you nowhere!

Keep pushing on until the day comes when your finger is hovering over the publish button. That giddy sense of OMG will set in when you finally click it. Ride out the panicked feeling that makes you want to either laugh in insanity or vomit (okay…ew!). At that point you can sit back and relax for a moment knowing you just accomplished your dream…congrats!

Now go promote the hell out of it!

Want to know more about Casted?

casted_ebook“My mind absorbed everything in the spell book I clutched tightly to me. Pages ruffled inside of my head, urging me to remember things and then to forget them. Voices chanted with tempo rising at the breaking points of pain until the book vanished and words to an ancient spell scribed across my arms. Each stroke brought blood to the surface, imprinting words I could not read; words that would forever change who I was.”

Jade had spent the majority of her life running from the Triad. A powerful group, who would stop at nothing to obtain Jade and the missing spell book for leader, Lorenzo’s, nefarious plans. And now that she has absorbed the highly coveted magic contained inside the missing book, there is nowhere left for her to hide.

With the help of her friends, Jade steps out from the shadows and learns how to fight back. But no one is prepared for Elinor-the woman bound inside of the book that’s trapped in Jade’s mind. Now she not only needs to protect herself from the Triad, but from what’s hiding inside her mind as well.

Jade never expected the answer to it all would revolve around love.

Edge is dark, mysterious, and a sworn member of the Triad. He also hides a secret past that threatens the thin line he walks between good and evil. Lives are at stake when Jade and Edge’s two worlds collide. Can Jade learn to trust him when he says he is her pre-ordained and vows to do everything he can to protect her? But more importantly, can she trust herself and the woman in her mind?

Casted is available in e-book and paperback at Amazon & Barnes&Noble


Embracing the Flames Blog Tour: Interview with Candace Knoebel

 Embracing the Flames CoverI am happy to welcome the award-winning author, Candace Knoebel, today on the blog.

She is busy promoting her new novel: Embracing the Flames the second book in Born in Flames-a young adult fantasy trilogy. Published by 48fourteen in 2012, Born in Flames went on to win Turning the Pages Book of the Year award in February of 2013.

In Book 2, The Stone of Immortality has always been kept under the watch of the Draconta. That is, until the betrayal of a Fate. Now everything is about to change.

Aurora Megalos accepted her destiny without blinking-even if it meant succumbing to her dragon side. Deemed the Progeny, she left the ordinary life she knew and has done everything in her power to learn the ways of her new realm and what it means to be part dragon. But when her mentor, Astral, suddenly disappears, she is forced to take the reins.

With war on the brink, she sets out on an epic journey to not only find her mentor, but to stop her Arch Enemy, Zordon, from obtaining the Stone of Immortality. But what she discovers about him along the way is far worse than she could’ve ever imagined. She will be tested and pushed to the limit. Lives will be lost, love will be questioned, and a battle will begin.

So lets get on with the questions!
When did you know you wanted to be an author?

– About the same time I first typed the words the end back in 2009.  Before then, I didn’t even know I could write a full novel.  Now it is all I want to do.

How was writing your second novel different than writing your first?

– I knew the character and where the story needed to go versus sitting down with a vague idea and a glimmer of a character. I had more confidence and knowledge in what I was doing which made the words and the concept flow easier for me.

What has been the biggest thing you have learned in this process of writing a novel? Most challenging thing about being an author?

– The biggest thing is to not compare yourself to anyone else or worry about what others think. Take from what you hear and grow from it, and always try to top yourself. You can only keep improving. The most challenging part has been following that advice.

If you could choose anyone to be a mentor, which author would you consider?

– J.K. Rowling. She is brilliant.

What is your favorite book?

– Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Who is your favorite character?

– Harry Potter of course lol.

Who designed your covers?

– The very talented Ravven. She is awesome to work with. You can find her here:

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?

– Yes. I believe every name should have a meaning whether it pertains to the story or to the personality of the character. It’s like naming a child. Their name has to meansomething or else it’s just another name.

What makes you laugh?

– My husband. He is a human encyclopedia filled with sarcasm and jokes.

You seem like you are industrious, do you ever go on vacation? Where would your dream vacation be?

– I am very hard-working, but I find plenty of time for my family and for myself. We are actually getting ready to go on a vacation in August to either Washington D.C. or to the Keys. We haven’t decided yet lol. My dream vacation would be backpacking through Europe though. Hopefully one day I will.

Most of the readers of my blog are other writers, any advice to share?

– Practice makes perfect and it will only happen if you make it happen. Keep writing! 😉

Want to read more? Check out Born in Flames and Embracing the Flames!
Born in Flames CoverEmbracing the Flames Cover

Interview with Author Diane Randle

Today’s special guest is author Diane Randle the author of the Spectral Witness. I loved the tense action and beautiful descriptions that fill this great novel. I hope everyone checks it out. 

So tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have a diploma in film and worked in t.v. and film for a decade in various capacities. I studied writing with iconic Canadian writer W.O. Mitchell at the Banff Centre of the Arts and won the National Film Board of Canada Award at the Banff TV Festival for Best Pitch for a tv series I created called ‘Hypoxia’.

I have written small (read as ‘eeny weeny’) stage projects that have been produced and done freelance copywriting for corporate clients.

Currently I work in health care and appreciate the contribution I’m able to make to society while observing the drama around me. Working in health care is a banquet for a writer. Every kind of person in the world needs health care sometimes and people are fascinating!

How did you first get into writing?

I have always imagined stories in my head. When I was a kid I was often ‘directing’ and ‘writing’ tv shows I was watching in that I would think of a different shot or a different line than I was seeing…of course mine was always better haha.

What is your favorite book(s)?

Lost Horizon by James Hilton. Dahlgren, an unbelievable science fiction epic by Samuel R. Delaney. Love Harlan Ellison’s work. To Kill A Mockingbird. The Plague by Albert Camus. So many! Oh, yes, Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. Love him! Wonder Boys reminds me of when I first started writing, oh, so long ago haha.

Where do you get your ideas and inspiration?

I don’t know. I will see an image or hear a piece of a conversation or be driving or whatever and these things just pop into my head.

Do you have a daily schedule for your writing?

I do. I get up at 5 a.m. to write before work. I find I can’t write in the ev ening because I’m too tired .

Are your characters based on anyone you know or personal experiences?

Sure. Both. I think if you’re not writing from a deeply personal place you are probably producing (wow, alliteration!) mediocre formulaic work. I’m still too much of a chicken. I need to be more fearless in my work.

Helga is my favorite character, what was your inspiration for her?

Horse and Train, (1954)
by Alex Colville
casein tempera
41.2 x 54.2 cm

What was my inspiration for Helga? Hmmm… one inspiration was a school mate from the wealthiest family in the small mountain town I grew up in. She was an arrogant twat but also obviously struggling with a lot of issues. As I started writing Helga’s inner voice just came out and I really enjoyed writing her smug inner dialogue. As well, I’ve always been fascinated with that Colville painting.

I felt that Helga was doomed and that she would have an obsession with that painting throughout her life, sometimes, in her more optimistic moods, she would imagine the horse veering off the tracks, but most of the time she expects to end up as the horse will, obliterated.

How do you develop your settings?

The strangest setting I developed was the high mountain town for ‘Hypoxia’, the TV series I created and pitched at the Banff TV Festival. Because I grew up in a high mountain town (Canmore, Alberta) a lot of it was there in my experience, I just embellished it in crazy ways that happened scene by scene, moment by moment as I was writing.

How much do you read in your chosen genre?

I don’t have a chosen genre. Though ‘Spectral Witness’ is a paranormal mystery, ‘Hypoxia’ which I may work on next, is a fantasy/comedy. I read everything from Dickens to King to A twood.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Find your voice. Let the work take you where it wants to go. Don’t try to plot your work too much. I made that mistake. My work had a contrived feel that I knew was false, though, in screenplays, my dialogue was praised, my characters were praised etc…there was something not right.

On the screenplay for ‘Spectral Witness’ I changed my process…I threw out the planning and threw out 90 percent of the script and then just went minute by minute, writing it and seeing what would happen…and what happens, and Stephen King talks about his in his fantastic book “On Writing’ , is that your characters start telling YOU their story. It’s a fantastic feeling! I have a protagonist in ‘Spectral Witness’ but I wasn’t entirely sure of her motivation, it was fuzzy, and then she did something in a scene I didn’t expect and HELLO! Light bulb. SHE told me what her story was.

That ‘s my advice. Don’t push your work in a particular direction too strongly. Half way through Misery Stephen King realized that he could not kill off his main character. He had envisioned the ending since he started the book (the germ of which he dreamt on a flight to London) but realized as he wrote that his character was much more resourceful than he had at first thought, and so he lived.

Let the work tell you what it wants to be. Write every day. Write because you love it your story.

Thanks for coming today!

Special Guest Interview Rayne Hall!

Halloween is coming–so this week I have a very special guest horror author and editor, Rayne Hall!

Portrait of Rayne Hall by Leah Skerry

Rayne Hall has published more than thirty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft and more.

Her short online classes for writers intense with plenty of personal feedback. Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing about Magic and Magicians, The Word Loss Diet and more.

For more information about Rayne Hall go to her website

Alright, on to the questions: When did you know you wanted to tell stories?

The stories we had to read in primary school were yawnishly dull, so I made up my own. When I was six, I told the teacher the stories were stupid and I could write better ones.  She took me up on it – bless her! – and gave me this assignment:  a story about a letter’s adventures from writing to delivery. When I handed it in, she was startled that a six year-old could write so well. Of course, she didn’t know I’d had the help of my older sister. From then on, when the other kids had to read the dull pieces for their homework, she often assigned me to write stories, and I soon learnt to do it without my sister’s help.

Where do you get your ideas & inspiration?

Most of my horror story ideas come from my own fears – things that frighten me, places that creep me out, nightmares that keep me awake at night. Thousands of ideas flutter around in my head at the same time. Sometimes, two or three of those ideas click together like jigsaw pieces, and that’s when a story starts to form. The location is almost always one of the first pieces to click. I like to set my stories in unusual, atmospheric places.


What do you think is scarier in a horror story: tension or gore?

Definitely tension! If the gore mounts up in a story, the shocking effect soon wears off, and the readers get bored instead of horrified.  Tension, on the other hand, keeps the reader hooked. In horror fiction, gore is optional. Some stories need gore, others don’t. Personally, I enjoy reading horror that’s low in violence and gore, but rich in tension and suspense. As a writer, I don’t shy away from gore if the plot requires it, and I have written graphic descriptions, but most of my horror stories are more psychological than gory.

How do you accomplish scaring the audience in your own writing?

I like to make the main character’s experience so vivid that the readers sees, hears, smells and feels everything as if it was happening to them.

I put the character into a dangerous situation – usually something they’ve brought about themselves – and then I take away every chance of support or rescue. The companion storms off after a quarrel, the terrible weather means no one else is around, and then the phone battery goes dead.

If possible, I dip the story into darkness: a powercut shuts off the lights, the campfire burns down, or the wind blows out the candle and clouds hide the moon. With the sense of seeing reduced, the other senses become more intense. The character hears alls sorts of disturbing noises, and she may have to grope her way out of danger.

I have written a book – Writing Scary Scenes – in which I reveal techniques for frightening readers.

What are your biggest fears? (Rational and/or Irrational.)

I have so many fears! The high-pitched whine of a dentist’s drill. Slimy garden slugs. Big spiders in my bathtub. Crowds. Fire. Heights. I’m a real coward, which is a good thing for a horror writer, because I know what it feels like to be afraid, and I never run out of ideas.

Many of my best horror stories are inspired by my own fears. Sometimes, it takes courage to confront that fear in my writing.  Once the story is finished, though, the fear is replaced by a sense of triumph: By fictionalising the fear, I’ve gained control over it. By writing about what frightens me, I can make it less frightening.

Thank you for coming, Rayne!

FYI, Rayne will be watching the comments, so if you have questions for her, please post them in the comments and she will answer them!

Special Guest: Candace Knoebel

This week I am happy to welcome Candace Knoebel author of the new YA urban fantasy novel Born in Flames published by 48Fourteen!

Red mirrored scales race up my arms as the haze of pain blurs my vision. My bones crack, breaking to realign. I scream. It is then that the realization of my unavoidable fate sinks in; I am of a dying race. I am dragon.

Aurora Megalos, orphaned and teetering on the edge of adulthood, thought finding her past would curb the sting of being an outcast. Having no memories of the time before she awoke on her foster mother’s doorstep, she yearns for the emptiness inside her to be filled. With her fellow orphaned best friend, Fenn, by her side, she has nothing to lose and everything to gain. But something powerful stirred within her that she couldn’t explain. Something wanted out.

In the dark of night, a crazed Seer, dubbed Mr.Creepy, erases everything she’s ever known with an impending prophecy. She now faces two paths. Return to her true home to protect a dying race against a growing evil, or stay hidden in the safety of our realm with a shot at a true love. With a vengeful Arch Enemy stopping at nothing to see her dead, she’s running out of time; a decision must be made. What would you choose?

Thanks for coming today, Candace and let’s move on with the questions! 
Where do you get your inspiration?
I haven’t had as much time to read lately, so when a good book is no where to be found, I turn to music. Music, just like in the movies, plays on my emotions while writing. It affects the scenes I write and helps me tap into the emotions of the characters. It’s the only thing that helps me concentrate actually.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Quite a few things actually. I play with my kids and watch movies with my husband. I find myself at my bestie’s house at least twice a week. I try to fit in time to read and jog. I guess you could say just the normal stuff. But the number one, most favorite activity of mine, is visiting Universal so I can have a Butterbeer!!! I go at least once a month.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your first book?
Patience…:) I’ve always been one to rush everything. If it didn’t happen fast, then I usually wasn’t doing it. But you can’t write a good story and go through the publication process like that. It takes time to plot and imagine the storyline. It also takes time to query. Throughout this whole process (since 2009), I have gained so much patience and understanding. I don’t think the old me would tolerate the new me.
Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?
Take your time and don’t give up hope. There will be days when you aren’t into it, days when you think it will never work, and days where you can’t stop typing! If you really have a passion for writing, and you really want to see your story in the hands of readers, then you have to be willing to work hard. Late nights, tears, mad fits of laughter, tattered dreams, glimpses of hope, all of these things will come to pass. Just hang in there and continue believing that it WILL happen…and it will.
What kind of books do you like to read?
Mostly YA, Dystopian, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance…anything good really.
What are you reading now?
Well, because I am always multi-tasking, I am reading The Fallen Star, Eternal Eden, The Wizard of Time, Gregor the Overlander, and Out of Nowhere. Lol. But if you watch my Goodreads, you will notice that my progress is slow.
Who is your favorite character in Born in Flames?
Sheesh…tough question…umm…I have to go with the main character Aurora. I relate the most to her and admire her strength. She doesn’t give herself enough credit sometimes, especially considering her circumstance and inevitable fate that constantly threatens her well-being. She’s just fun and easy to write.
Did you always want to be a writer and if not, what else did you want to do?
Oddly enough, I didn’t realize I could actually do it until 2009. I know most authors say they always wanted this, but that wasn’t my case. I have always been good at it. Excelled in English in school and won a lot of story contests, but at that time, I was deep into my dancing career. I danced for 15 years and had planned on doing that for my future. But obviously it didn’t pan out. Typical high school love story I suppose. Fell in love, married, had a baby. Then one day, an idea struck me and I blindly sat down and started typing, just for fun. When it kept coming and the story wouldn’t leave my head, that’s when I realized it was something I wanted…more than anything!
Tell us about your next project.
I’m still on the Trilogy. I’ve finished the first draft of Embracing the Flames, the second novel to the trilogy. I’m hoping to be finished with my edits within the next month or so and then it will go to my publisher for editing. Then I have to start the third novel! I have tons of ideas, and one in particular that I will be jumping on as soon as I see this project through…but I force myself to stay focused. Juggling multiple projects just doesn’t work for me.
Born in Flames is available at Amazon


Check out the Born in Flames Book Trailer!

Interview with Bryan Johnson author of Yield

This week, I am happy to interview Bryan Johnson the author of the new novel, Yield Book 1 in the Armageddia Series.

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

My journey as a writer started out first as a reader. I loved exploring the science fiction worlds of Tolkien, Brian Jacques, and David Eddings growing up. I was always amazed by the feeling that a good book series could give you. I remember as I finished up one of Eddings’s five-part story lines in high school, having this almost overwhelming feeling of disappointment that it was over. I didn’t want the characters that I had been through so much with to leave my mind. Great writers make us feel like we truly know the characters, and can bring them to life in a way that is so real and personal. We feel their fears. Laugh at their triumphs. Cry at their pain. I started writing in high school at first to continue some of those incredible stories that I just didn’t want to end. I moved on to graphic novels, toying with the idea of being a comic book illustrator, then on to screenplays and finally my debut novel, Yield.

2. Do you have any writing quirks, odd routines or superstitions?

Listening to loud music when I write is probably my oddest work quirk. For some reason, the steady electronic beats of trance music help flip a switch in my brain. No vocals. Just instrumental music of varying paces and tones. There’s just something in electronica music that blocks out the world and allows me to focus. Dark symphonic music and movie themes also help evoke different moods and channel my thoughts in various directions. It’s amazing how music can actually inspire different things.

3. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I lead a very scattered and chaotic life. I’m a moonlight writer with a busy day job, and have regional marketing responsibilities for a statewide television group. I spend a lot of time on the road in addition to working 50+ hours a week. I write when I can, while also balancing time with my wife and kids when I’m at home. I was actually still writing Yield while finishing up a very challenging MBA program, too. I don’t know how I juggled everything, but somehow you just find a way when you’re passionate about it.

4. Where do you get inspiration for your books?

For Yield, it was a singular experience. I was on a plane from San Francisco to Bend, and the fog was so thick over the bay that it blotted out the sky. As we took off above the cloud bank, everything just disappeared beneath me. Mankind and all our worries seemed to fade into the grey. I wondered what would happen if the world changed at that very moment. What if the life I knew didn’t exist when I landed? What if my world died somewhere under those clouds?

That one flight started my entire thought process, and even turned into one of my favorite scenes in Yield. As our main character, disgraced firefighter Devin Bane, takes off on the way to an interview, everything he knows changes while he’s in the air. Devin crashes headfirst into a chaos he doesn’t understand, fighting not only to get back to his wife and kids, but also to protect the other survivors now looking to him for a leadership he wants no part of.

5. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Yield?

I think the biggest surprise for me was the process after all the writing was done. Becoming an author isn’t simply putting together a compelling story with a unique hook, then watching the floodgates of success open wide. Becoming a published author with tangible numbers is far more difficult than writing the story itself. There are a lot of other very talented writers out there, all competing with one another to reach prospective readers. New writers must be well versed in social media, able to network and build connections, be willing to invest their own time and resources, maintain engaging presences on a host of different platforms, and always be looking for ways to market themselves and their brand to new customers. I have an MBA in marketing, so thankfully I have a bit of experience in that arena. But trying to build credibility and a following takes time. New writers start at ground zero, regardless of how great you think your book might be. Don’t get discouraged, but don’t underestimate that either.

6. What is your favorite book?

Picking a single book is really hard. I’m a big fan of multi-book story arcs like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Eddings’s Belgariad. I also just finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and was really impressed by the author. She did an amazing job of interweaving her world’s backstory into the broader narrative, and creating an intense pace through the entire three-book series. I think I read each book in about a day. They were just too good to be put down. I love books like that.

7. What do you think makes a good story?

I think people gravitate towards the stories they can relate to on some level. It can still be a fantastical plot, but if the writing paints the world with realism, it becomes a much more engaging adventure for the reader. I also like characters that are flawed, as we all are to varying degrees. They can become much more believable and memorable with each idiosyncrasy.

8. Do you have any advice for new writers?

It sounds obvious, but make sure your writing is polished and professional. Edit it until your fingers bleed and you’re positive that it just couldn’t possibly be improved. Then . . . edit it again. I know it sounds painful, but to be taken seriously and to have a chance inside this competitive industry, the work has to stand its ground against an army of financially-backed juggernauts with legions of professional editors in tow. In order for a publisher or agent to take a chance on you, the material can’t just center around a good idea. It has to be well executed cover to cover. Tighten it up. Make sure it is as perfect and captivating as you can make it. Then read it again.

Thanks Bryan!

Character Development: A guest post by Craig Hallam!

This week I am pleased to host author Craig Hallam as he writes about Character Development. I was first introduced to his work on his short story anthology Not before Bed. His debut novel Greaveburn will be coming out August 20.


I don’t know about you, but I tend to write the kind of characters that I also like to read. That’s how I get excited about a project. It’s like getting psyched up to see a movie you’ve been waiting for. So, since we’re talking about writing characters, it might be helpful if I tell you what my favourite books are, right? Here goes:

Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast

Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series

Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club

Nick Horby’s High Fidelity

I hope that helps.  But if not, then basically I like my heroes to not really be heroes at all. And that’s the kind of philosophy I put into my own writing. You can sum it up with the old adage “No-one’s perfect”. When I think about my characters, what they’re going to do, who they’ll meet, I don’t think about how their virtues will carry them through to a positive conclusion. Rather, I think about what makes them tick, what are their character flaws, and how does that effect their drives and desires and so how they act when they come across others. Because, as far as I’m concerned, that’s how the world works. It’s our quirks that drive us. And I reckon that’s how you make an interesting and well-rounded character, too.

Let’s do a case study (I know, I’m all about the fun).

Let’s call this character Boris. Now, Boris is from a working class family, but he’s done pretty good for himself with a little hard work and a whole lot of luck. He has a steady job with decent wages. He’s managed to bag himself a great girlfriend. Boris would like to be a painter.

Sounds fine, right? But it’s boring. And Boris will be boring in everything he does. So let’s give him some flaws.

He’s a dreamer, who sometimes forgets that the real world exists. Sometimes, he’d rather sit and paint the world than take part in it. His sense of humour is dry enough that no one really knows when he’s joking. And his parents splitting up when he was younger and the subsequent fallout has left him with a desire to be always independent, and never get too close to anyone. It’s made him cynical in a lot of ways and his sense of humour feeds on that.

Yowza. Boris is pretty interesting now, right? And it’s the flaws that make him that way. His relationship with his girlfriend could be strained because he doesn’t want to let her too close to him just to leave him alone (like what happened to his parents). He uses that dry sense of humour and vivacious imagination to keep people at arm’s length. His paintings become his world, and he would be almost reclusive of it weren’t for his girlfriend’s influence.

Can you see hoe the character’s flaws are what create the plot. All we have to do is have Boris’ girlfriend leave him, and you’ve got yourself the start of a good novel!

When I was writing the character of Abrasia for Greaveburn, I knew that she would be the heroine (or protagonist if you prefer that), that she would be in dire straits, and that it would be through her that the reader saw the incredibly dark and dangerous world that she was trapped in. But to leave it at that would make her one dimensional; the typical damsel in distress. Who wants to read that? I certainly don’t. She’s a sixteen year old girl in dire peril with no hope of survival. And so, understandably, Abrasia can be a little…spikey sometimes. She can also be ruthless and spiteful. She has to be in order to stay alive. But she also happens to be quite sensitive when she needs to be. That all amounts to a lot of character in the little spitfire.

And so, dear friends, readers and writers alike, that’s the best advice I can give to you today. In order to make your characters truly lifelike, and help your reader to engage with them, make sure they have flaws just like we do. It doesn’t mean they won’t be likeable. No-one’s perfect.

Thanks for reading.

Greaveburn hits the shelves (both virtual and corporeal) in most major book retailers on August 20th from Inspired Quill Publishing.

A hero murdered.

A girl alone.

A city of villains.

From the crumbling Belfry to the Citadel’s stained-glass eye, across acres of cobbled streets and knotted alleyways that never see daylight, Greaveburn is a city with darkness at its core. Gothic spires battle for height, overlapping each other until the skyline is a jagged mass of thorns.

Archduke Choler sits on the throne, his black-sealed letters foretell death for the person named inside. Abrasia, the rightful heir, lives as a recluse in order to stay alive. With her father murdered and her only ally lost, Abrasia is alone in a city where the crooked Palace Guard, a scientist’s assistant that is more beast than man, and a duo of body snatchers are all on her list of enemies.

Under the cobbled streets lurk the Broken Folk, deformed rebels led by the hideously scarred Darrant, a man who once swore to protect the city. And in a darkened laboratory, the devious Professor Loosestrife builds a contraption known only as The Womb.

With Greaveburn being torn apart around her, can Abrasia avenge her father’s murder before the Archduke’s letter spells her doom.

Contact Craig

eMail: craighallam@live.vom

Twitter: @craighallam84



Special Guest Michael Cargill Author of Underneath

Michael Cargill is an author from Surrey, England. I loved his book Underneath. His descriptions are so detailed without overpowering the narrative that his writing transports you right into the story/ I was glad he was interested in doing an interview!

Michael’s other titles include:  Shades of Gray, Slaughter in Barnaby CloseShelter from Thunder, and Diary of a Dork. You can also get a good sense of his humor by reading his blog at

Alright, here comes the questions!
Who is your favorite character in Underneath?
Tricky one, this.  Robert would probably be an obvious choice, but I rather liked Clare.  She is smart, organized, and likes a laugh.  She has empathy for those who need her help, and plenty of guts to take down any criminals.
Which character was the most fun to write?
Probably Robert.  As I was writing some of his lines, I was chuckling to myself as the thoughts popped into my head.  I was able to have some fun with him.
By the way, I laughed at some of his lines too.
What have you learned as a writer?
That the editing process is suicide inducing.  I never realised just how soul destroying reading your own work, over, and over again, could be.
I reckon that in the future, professional editors will offer a suicide assistance package.  They’ll make a killing.
Ha, Ha, I agree!
What was some of your inspiration/sources?
Nothing in particular for this story, really.  I popped onto Wikipedia for five minutes, to research what sociopaths were like.  I also know some people who are in the police force, so I was able to use some of the things they have talked about when it came to cop-shop stuff.
What are you reading right now?
I’m having a trip back into the world of non-fiction at the moment, reading a book on the Holocaust.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Stephen King by far, followed by honourable mentions for Michael Crichton, and John Grisham.
Stephen King is my favorite author too!
How much reading do you do within your chosen genre of thriller?
A fair bit, actually!  I never realised it until fairly recently, but I seem to write what I read.
What is your next project?
I’m actually working on a story at the moment.  It’s about antelopes galloping through a shopping centre, and they get told off for making a mess in the women’s toilets.
Nah, not really.  It’s set in a school, but I am still in the early stages really.  Ideas are bouncing around my head like a mad ‘un.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Practice, and don’t panic.  You really need to be aware of how much work goes into just one book – proof reading is a big part of it.  No-one can write a bestseller in one go.  If you write something, then feel embarrassed by it a few days later, then that’s good!  It means you see what needs to changed, which is how all authors work.
Thanks Michael!

Interview with Ray East co-author of Voluspa

This week I would like to welcome Ray East the co-author of Voluspa a young adult Fantasy/Romance for age group 10 and up.

What is Voluspa about?

This is a story of two star crossed lovers, set against a magical backdrop of an enchanted land. Amy has a hard childhood, feeling unwanted and unloved whereas Drake’s childhood is shadowed by impossibly high expectations imposed on him by his father. However, the world of Voluspa in not a Utopic one; like most known civilizations, it has its own problems. One of the questions that this book subtly puts forward is whether individual freedom is sacrosanct or should it take a backseat when it comes to greater good of the land and people. Circumstances force both Amy and Drake to do certain things which one could consider a touch shy of evil. But at no time does their love for each other diminish and whatever they do is born out of a need to protect or help the other.

What have you learned as a writer?

Realizing that writing a book is only 10% of what makes a successful book. Getting the book out to readers is the real challenge. But with the rise of Social Media, there are more tools available to anyone than there was 5 years ago.

How hard is it to work with another person?

I am a somewhat disciplined author but I don’t do great at sticking to deadlines. But my co-author Sam D has no such problem and we balance each other out.

How do you split up the work?

I am more of a romance writer. Sam D. is a martial arts enthusiast and most of the hand to hand combat scenes have been written from his own experience as an amateur Tai Kwan Do performer.

What was some of your inspiration/sources?

Personally, I am a huge fan of the fantasy genre. And when I decided to write, I subconsciously chose this genre. I wanted to create this magical world which would be fundamentally similar to ours but yet so exotically different that it will capture the fancy of the readers. I also wanted to showcase the character of Amy as a constantly growing, learning, strong individual – a very ordinary girl who chooses an extraordinary life.

What are you reading right now?

Tiger’s Destiny by Coulleen Houck.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Jane Austen, C S Lewis, Charles Dickens, Enid Blyton, Virginia Wolf, The Bronte sisters, J K Rowling, Rohinton Mistry

How much reading do you do within your chosen genre of fantasy?

I love reading books of this genre. Also, imaginative literature has limitless possibilities and it’s extremely satisfying to build a fantasy world from scratch. It’s a great escape from the humdrum of everyday life. But, I read any book that appeals to me. From children’s books to philosophical treatises, I simply read them with pleasure. Life is short. Why do I want to limit my reading enjoyment?

What is your next project?

I am working on the second book in the Voluspa series. The story of Amy and Drake continues. The second book in the series should be out in November 2012.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Write a good book; put your best work out there. Identify your target audience, find ways to engage them and market your book intelligently.

A nurse's perspective on current nursing news; Q&A; Covid 19; healthcare issues; stories about nurses past & present; political issues & endorsements

Novel News Network

Bringing you news on my favorite novels.

The Eclectic World of Christina

Author Christina Thompson

Elan Mudrow


James Harringtons Creative Work

A site of writings, musings, and geek culture, all under one domain!

Ajoobacats Blog

Doctor, student, yogini, teacher, reader and observer

World of Horror

A cozy cottage for writers and book lovers


Book reviews, recommendations and more

Sienna Saint-Cyr


Corey Truax

Husband | Father | Veteran | Author

Horror Novel Reviews

Honesty in the Terror

Sarah Doughty

Novelist, Poet, Wordsmith

Wanderess Bibliophile

“Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.”


This site is totally poetry...


A little about me, a lot about books, and a dash of something else

Planetary Defense Command

Defending the planet from bad science fiction

A Narcissist Writes Letters, To Himself

A Hopefully Formerly Depressed Human Vows To Practice Self-Approval