09 April, 2020

#Spotlight :: The Living Sword 2: The Road Ahead by Pemry Janes

About the Book:
Check out the Book on Amazon

Eurik & Leraine have escaped the land of the necromancers, but still face a long journey. Eurik is looking for answers about who his parents were and how they ended up adrift at sea. Leraine must carry the news of her teacher’s death back home, yet also has a debt to Eurik for helping her to avenge Irelith.
Together, they’ll have to traverse the Neisham Hills, where lone travelers are snatched in the night and even numbers don’t guarantee safety. And beyond the hills, all along the long Inza Road, the drums of war beat louder and louder.
But the greatest threat may not be goblins, elves, or bandits. It may be the people they’ve chosen to travel with.

Read an Excerpt from The Living Sword 2

Eurik thrust the wooden practice sword forward, but Silver Fang’s switch tapped his inner elbow and the back of his knee before he could react. “You still commit too much,” she told him, standing on his right and scrutinizing his form. “It takes too long to recover when you do it like that. Your enemy only needs one opening to end it. And relying on special abilities to cover for your mistakes is a bad habit. Do it like this.”
He straightened out while Silver Fang demonstrated the thrust again. “Move forward instead, get in close with the enemy. You can use that rock gauntlet of yours to block her weapon, get it out of the way, then your blade slides in.” Her thrust was quick and didn’t cover much distance, but Eurik had to wince at what it would do to a person. “Now you try.”
“Right.” Resuming his stance, he pulled earth from the ground and let it harden around his forearm. Imagining he faced a spearman like the one he’d faced in that Bone Lord’s tower, he batted the spearhead out of the way and closed the distance between them to drive the wooden sword into him.
“Good, do it again.”
Bat, step, thrust. Bat, step, thrust. This had been Silver Fang’s training so far. She taught him swings, blocks, thrusts, slashes, parries, and then had him practice those over and over again. “Would this work against an armored opponent as well?”
“Depends upon the armor and the blade. Misthell will get through most types of armor, but plate, especially when it is enchanted, that will stop even a living sword. However, this move is best for unarmored enemies. If they have protection, you should go around it.”
“I, for one, think that’s a great suggestion,” Misthell said.
“You do not mind getting covered in blood?” Silver Fang’s tone of surprise sounded fake.
“If it keeps the sharpening stone away, I’m for it. Blood comes off, but I can’t regrow my edge.”
There was a hint of a smile on Silver Fang’s lips and a glint of silver. “How about your . . . awesomeness?”
“Oh, that can only grow.”
She and Eurik shared a grin.
“That is enough. Let’s try something else, something that will reassure Misthell. A low swing to take out an opponent’s legs, those are rarely armored. You—”
Captain Slyvair’s deep voice interrupted her. “How about something more useful, like practice? I have yet to see him face an opponent that’s not in his head.”
Eurik regarded the orc. “Hanser wasn’t in my head.”
“I meant with a sword in your hand.” Slyvair walked over to them. His skin was dark green, except where he’d been burned. There, it was a far lighter green. He glanced at Silver Fang. “Is this how you were trained?”
“It was.”
“And how young were you? How many years did your teacher spend honing your skills?”
“I was eight when mother retained Irelith. She had just earned her name.”

About the Author:
Author's Amazon Page

I grew up on a farm in the Netherlands and discovered history and fantasy at a young age, I even studied the former at university. Now I try to combine my passion for both in my writing. I try to create worlds that are both rich and strange, populated with people. Whatever shape, size, or worldview they may have. 

#Spotlight :: Reverend of Silence Pamela Sparkman

Reverend of Silence
Pamela Sparkman
Publication date: January 14th 2020
Genres: Coming of Age, Historical, Young Adult
A coming of age story about faith, love, and overcoming society’s prejudices during the American Antebellum period.
In 1810, Lucy Hallison suffered from a severe illness at the age of three, and later recovered, a deaf-mute. Unable to relate to the world in which she lives, she’s often ignored and sometimes treated with cruelty. Until a boy, Samuel Burke, steps into her life at the tender age of seven, coloring her world and showing her what it means to be seen, to not be invisible, to be understood.
The two become inseparable childhood friends, and as they grow and mature, there is the promise and hope of something more that also grows between them. But the hope of something more is put on hold so she can attend The American Asylum at Hartford for the Deaf and Dumb, the first of its kind, requiring her to leave the only home she’s ever known and the only boy she’s ever loved.
But while she is away, tragedy strikes, and Samuel is now the one unable to relate to the world in which he lives, unable to find his own voice, and withdrawing from everyone and everything he’s ever known.
When Lucy returns home from school, she has one goal in mind—to put color back into his world the way he had once put color into hers.
Because Samuel Burke had been her voice when she had needed him most.
Now, she is determined to be his.
Note: Inspired by real people and true historical accounts.


“He ordered me out?”
Papa Burke removed his spectacles, then rubbed a hand down his face. He looked like he had aged ten years in the last ten days. He pulled out a chair at the kitchen table and gestured for me to sit across from him as he put his spectacles back on.
I sat and waited for him to answer my question, the one I hadn’t asked him. Why? Why had Sam ordered me from his room? My hand came to rest over my heart. It ached from his rejection.
Days. I had spent days at his bedside, waiting for him to wake up, hoping that he would, caring not only for him but for his parents every second of those days. Never in my wildest imaginings did I think he would toss me out the moment he did. If he had kicked me in the teeth, I don’t think it would have hurt this badly. It took everything in me not to cry right here at this table.
Papa Burke leaned forward, his eyes searching mine. “I’m sorry,” he signed. “You didn’t deserve that.”
My eyes burned. I knew that. I wanted him to tell me something I didn’t know. I leaned forward as well and asked, “Why was I tossed out?”
He tapped his fingers on the table, a silent beat I couldn’t hear. He looked like a man trying to gather thoughts to put into words. I waited, watching his fingers as they moved up, down, up, down. Until his fingers went still. Then they formed the words, “Sam doesn’t want you to see him like this. He feels weak.”
I frowned, signing my response. “I don’t fault him for being weak. He’s injured!” I stood, feeling agitated. “He’s had a fever! He almost died! I know he’s weak!”
Papa Burke also stood and came to stand before me. “Not that kind of weak.”
I blinked, trying to understand his meaning.
“He doesn’t feel like a man.” Papa Burke eyed me pointedly. “He has no pride. He doesn’t want you to see him like that,” he emphasized, pointing above our heads to the second floor.
I reclaimed my seat and shut my eyes. Stupid, stupid man. Yet, at the same time, my heart broke all over again. For Sam. I knew from watching my father how hard men could be on themselves. I’d just never thought Sam would.
Papa Burke put his hand on my shoulder. I glanced up.
“Go home, Lucy.”
My breath caught. That was the first time I’d been issued that command. Everyone was tossing me out? No one needed me anymore? Noah had left without saying goodbye, and now the Burkes were telling me to leave?
“I don’t want to go home,” I signed with a trembling hand.
Papa Burke’s face was sad. He lifted me up to stand. His hug was sympathetic. He released me and said, “Then go back to school. Sam needs some time.”
My nose tingled. My jaw ached. My eyes stung. My chest felt like it was being cut from the inside. Sam needed time. He just didn’t need me. Message received.
I glanced around the room, taking in all the details and all the memories. I packed them all away, but I didn’t know where to place them. My heart felt too fragile. My mind too burdened.
So I left them right where they were and walked out the door.

Author Bio:
Pamela Sparkman grew up in Alabama. She became an avid reader at a young age. The written word has always fascinated her and she wrote her first short story while still in elementary school. Inspiration for her stories always begins with a song. She believes music is the pulse of life and books are the heart of it.
When she isn't writing, however, she's spending time with her family and taking one day at a time.


08 April, 2020

#SpecialFeature :: Discover personal #trivia about Author Camille Faye

*** Special Feature April 2020 ***

About the Author:
Author's Amazon Page

Camille Faye lives in the United States, loves on her family, and writes while her kiddos are in school. Her writing is inspired by her experiences growing up in a haunted house, her marriage to an Indian man from Malaysia, and her travels to 28 countries and counting!

Camille Faye on the Web:

Trivia about Camille Faye

  • Since Camille married into an Indian family,  her fave Indian foods Roti canai with chicken curry and dahl, palak paneer, and she can make a pretty awesome chicken tikka masala. 
  • While visiting her family in Malaysia, she visited Phuket, Thailand. She would love to go to India and see the Taj Mahal someday.
  • She starts with a goal of 15 minutes a day and ends up writing for about 1-2 hours per day.

About the Book:
Check out the Book on Amazon

When twenty-five-year old Sophie Nouveau inherits her grandmother's voodoo shop she knows nothing about voodoo. Or her family's history of Mind Changers, who have the power to change evil people to good. To complicate matters, someone doesn't want Sophie in New Orleans and sends a series of death threats to scare her away from her new enchanted life.

Tipped off by her grandmother's ghost, Sophie realizes her mind-changing spell's been missing one magic ingredient: true love. If Sophie cannot experience transformative love, she cannot make her spell work, and she will be powerless to fight back when confronted by the one who wants her dead.

- $25 Amazon gift card
- 3 eBook copy of Voodoo Butterfly

a Rafflecopter giveaway

07 April, 2020

#Interview with @BrandonMLindsay, #Author of Shoreseeker

About the Author:
Author's Amazon Page

Brandon M. Lindsay grew up in the Seattle area and lives in Tokyo, Japan. He now has a son, whom he is trying to teach how to slay dragons. It's a work in progress.
His fantasy stories have won awards from the Writers of the Future contest and are published in anthologies alongside stories by Brandon Sanderson, David Farland, and other fantasy greats.

Brandon on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter

Interview with Brandon M. Lindsay

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?

I had always drawn and written small books about aliens and dinosaurs when I was a kid, and even tried my hand at fanfiction when I was in middle school, so wanting to write was never a switch that I had to flip. The desire was always there, if in the background.
But the moment I decided to pursue it seriously was after playing Final Fantasy 7 for the first time. I was floored by the idea that games could have stories like that, with depth that could rival any of the books I had read. I decided that stories were the most important thing in my life, and that there were stories that only I could tell. So I proceeded to tell them.

What inspires you to write?

One of the greatest sources of inspiration for me is a story that doesn't achieve its full potential. I walk away thinking, "If only this had happened..." It gets the gears turning and gives me a seed of an idea that may turn into something useful later on, or perhaps even the premise of a full-fledged story. I love the idea that new stories are the continuation of a conversation started by older stories.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?

My current series, called the Farshores Saga, has quite a few moving parts, so it's difficult for me to pinpoint which of its ideas came first. But I think one major image that influenced me was an opening scene in Death Note, where some monsters are sitting around in a dead world. I saw that and wanted to write in a world like that, where the monsters had nearly wiped out humanity and they were all that was left. That formed one of the major premises of my books.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?

Yup! My first novel was a quarter-million-word monstrosity (unfinished when I abandoned it!) back when I thought a more literary style *cough purple prose cough* was best.
I also wrote a script for a sci-fi game, which I may get around to making if they ever find a cure for aging.

Tell us about your writing process.

I have what I like to call a shotgun approach. I write in a completely scattered fashion, each scene a shotgun pellet which hits the paper target at a different time. I usually start with a few overarching ideas and images, and a few very concrete scenes in my head, which I write first. I use these as anchor points for the rest of the story to build on. After that, I tend to write certain character or story arcs in chronological order, though I may skip between two or three at the same time.
When I come to a really complicated or climactic scene, I actually sit down and outline. The only part of Shoreseeker I outlined was the last quarter of the book, but I outlined it very thoroughly, and the final product looked a lot like the outline.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

I relish in the suffering of my characters, but in order to really show a character's suffering, the story must show what they love. The section of the story just before the main character Tharadis loses everything was a real gut-punch to write, and it was very personal. It's also foundational to the plot of the series and the themes found throughout. I wouldn't change a thing about it.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?

My Kindle, my computer, and my family. Hopefully this island has power and air conditioning.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?

I spend a lot of my free time (is there such a thing?) hanging out with my kid, who's the raddest little dude I ever did meet. As far as a favorite place to unwind, I live in Tokyo, and I think the best place to relax and read or even take a nap is on the train. As long as it's not rush hour.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?

I'm not sure if this really counts as a bucket list item, since I'm not the one actually doing it. But a dream of mine is to write a fantasy novel so cool that Blind Guardian, one of my favorite bands, writes a song about it. They've done songs for the Wheel of Time, Elric of Melniboné, the Dark Tower, and even an entire album based on the Silmarillion. I consider a song by them about one of my books to be the absolute height of success as an author.

What do you have in store next for your readers?

SOUL-CRUSHING EMOTIONAL TRAUMA (in the form of a sequel called Drawingpath). Enjoy!

About the Book:
Check out the Book on Amazon
It was supposed to keep them safe.
For six hundred years, Andrin’s Wall protected the remnants of humanity from a scourge that devastated them: beastly monsters called the sheggam. But centuries of relative peace have relegated the sheggam to myth and superstition.
Tharadis, the Warden of the independent city Naruvieth, must protect his people and their homes from threats more immediate than ancient legends. The Council of the Wall aims to finish building the Runeway, a magical construct spanning the whole of the Sutherlands, no matter who gets in their way.
But after a knight with sheggam magic flowing through his veins seeks protection in Naruvieth, Tharadis uncovers a menacing secret: the Runeway itself is built from sheggam magic, magic that isn’t supposed to exist on this side of Andrin’s Wall.
Not only must Tharadis confront scheming politicians, rogue knights, and ominous prophecy, he must draw his blade for the greatest battle humanity has ever faced.
For the sheggam are already here.

06 April, 2020

#Interview with @esoteric_austin, #Author of Wild, Dark Times

About the Author:

Austin Case received a Master’s Degree from the University of Amsterdam in Western Esotericism and Mysticism. His academic knowledge of the occult and other peripheral phenomena has given him a unique take on fantasy and other speculative fiction.

Austin Case on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter

Interview with Austin Case

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?

I enjoyed writing as a child. However, I don’t think I really started to pursue writing seriously until after I finished grad school. I had been mostly reading academic texts but I returned to fiction with American Gods by Neil Gaiman. That work really inspired me to try my hand at writing fiction.

What inspires you to write?

I studied esotericism and mysticism academically and that provided lots of seed ideas for writing. Since magic, mysticism, secret societies, and other arcane miscellanea are all common features of my scholarly background, I learned quite a bit about subjects ideal for fantasy, horror, and other speculative writing.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?

My current work in progress is an adaptation of The Epic of Gilgamesh. As an undergrad, I took classes on how to translate ancient Akkadian. Some of our assignments involved translating the text and during this time I noticed interesting parallels with how celebrities in our current culture are deified in ways not unlike the ancient Mesopotamian gods were. That was the foundation of what eventually became what I’m working on now.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?

Hmm…not exactly tucked away. I’ve got some poems and stories I’ve written that haven’t been published. I think they have potential (maybe with some re-working) but I don’t feel ashamed. Not to say I didn’t write some real crap in high school. But I’m pretty sure I burned those all a long time ago.

Tell us about your writing process.

I tend to create a skeletal framework of whatever I’m working on before I begin. I refer to that as I move ahead, but the process itself is pretty organic. I do my best to get out a first draft —though still inevitably pore over sections for early edits.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

In my published book Wild, Dark Times, I think my favorite scene is where Elizabeth talks with Veer alone. They discuss the nature of life and responsibility and how best to live a life in a world full of terror and chaos. It’s a short scene that can fly under the radar in a book full of drugs and monsters, but I think this scene really is the heart of the whole book.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?

Oh, they all did. I think that’s pretty normal when writing any fictional characters. Eddy is definitely an idealized version of me and my id though.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?

I think the sections I write that are stream-of-consciousness. Pretty much all of my poems are written this way and lots of scenes in WDTs are as well. I do come back after to edit for coherence and flow, but often, much of what was originally written remains unchanged.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?

If you’re a writer, it’s important to read extensively. I mentioned Gaiman earlier being a favorite. I also love Catherynne Valente and V. E. Schwab. Lev Grosman’s The Magicians’ series was a huge influence on me.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?

If someone thinks something you’ve written is wrong in some way, they’re almost always right but the specific suggestion they offer to change it is almost always wrong. The truth often lies somewhere in the middle.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?

Stay persistent. Anyone can be a writer. Truly. But you have to keep writing and submitting and editing. Enduring the failures is the mark of a successful writer.

About the Book:
Check out the Book on Amazon
It's the summer of 2012 and Elizabeth Megalos is a disillusioned art-school grad getting by as a bank teller in St. Louis. One evening, she’s attacked by a possessed coworker and saved by a mysterious, wise-cracking sorcerer named Eddy. He drags Elizabeth and Hugh—a skeptical scholar of the occult—to Europe, where he introduces them to his three magical celebrity friends. Once there, Eddy explains the group's mission: preventing a Demiurge—a creature out of Gnostic Christian mythology—from fulfilling the visions of doom in the Book of Revelation. The Demiurge has been drawing power from the misguided beliefs in the Mayan apocalypse and is set to start the destruction on Dec. 21st, 2012. Through ritual magic and a series of psychedelic experiences, the group learns that Elizabeth is the key to taking down the Demiurge, though she can't imagine how she will be the one to stop Armageddon.

05 April, 2020

#AuthorInterview with Ira Nayman - @ARNSProprietor

About the Author:

Ira Nayman is the author of six books in Multiverse series, the most recent of which is Good Intentions: The Multiverse Refugees Trilogy: First Pie in the Face (Elsewhen Press). He has also self-published 11 collections of Alternate Reality News Service articles, the most recent of which is Idiotocracy for Dummies. Ira has a PhD in Communications from McGill University and taught new media at Ryerson University. He is currently the editor of Amazing Stories magazine. Yes, that Amazing Stories magazine.

Interview with Ira Nayman

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller? 

When I was eight years old. I was in the parking lot of my grade school when I decided that I wanted to devote my life to writing humour/comedy. That was over 50 years ago – I have been doing it ever since. 
The first things I wrote were parodies of the Sherlock Holmes stories I was then reading. I wrote them by hand on the backs of my father’s legal accounting papers (the fronts had multi-coloured criss-crossing lines). I wrote three stories; one per sheet. And I remember thinking: how do writers come up with the details that make stories so long? 
To date, I have written eight novels (six of which have been published; one of the others is currently under consideration by my publisher, Elsewhen Press), 11 collections of Alternate Reality News Service short short stories and over 100 scripts. I guess I must have figured it out. 😀

ASIDE: In an interview I once saw, comedian Eddie Izzard talked about meeting his comedy idol Richard Pryor. He said that they found they had one thing in common: they both knew they wanted to be stand-up comedians when they were four years old. Now, I thought I was pretty precocious knowing I wanted to write comedy when I was eight, but, as it happens, I was already half a lifetime behind the curve!

What inspires you to write?

Making myself laugh. The satisfaction of writing something that I know is good. The idea that I can make other people laugh (although I haven’t had much feedback to my writing, so this is mostly a theoretical consideration at this point). 
On that last point: I used to write script analysis articles for a magazine called Creative Screenwriting. After 9/11, the editor sent out an email asking all of his writers to submit articles for a special issue on the role of the artist in times of crisis. My response was an article called “Laughter is Always Appropriate.” (The article can be found in the non-fiction area of my Web site, Les Pages aux Folles) 
I argued that laughter releases endorphins, a pain-numbing chemical, into the brain; it is a natural high. When people are under stress, laughter can help calm them down, help them to get through rough times. The idea that my writing could help people in this way is a constant inspiration to me.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?

My writing interweaves a lot of smaller ideas into one large tapestry, so I don’t usually have a good answer for this question. With The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There, I wanted to revisit some characters I loved but hadn’t found the right story for.
One of my book series is The Alternate Reality News Service (ARNS), which sends reporters into other universes and has them report back on what they find there. (One reader described it as: “A science fiction version of The Onion.” I now like to think of it as: “The original fake news.”) Most of the 11 books in the series are collections of news, reviews, interviews, advice columns and anything else you could imagine reading in your daily newspaper, but the second and third books also contain behind the scenes stories of the people who work at ARNS. I wanted to give these characters a bigger story.
So. The first half of The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There details what happens when the consciousness of people in different universes gets exchanged. At around the mid-point of the book, with that problem sorted out, it becomes apparent that somebody at ARNS was responsible for the switches; the second half of the book is about an investigation of the news-gathering organization.
I like to think that the more fun I had writing a book, the more fun my audience will have reading it. I had a tremendous amount of fun writing this book.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day? 

Of course. Some of my earliest writing is, alas, lost to time (the Holmes stories, for example). Beyond that… 
Before I was a prose geek, I was a film geek. Over a period of a decade, I took three years of screenwriting as an undergraduate and wrote over 100 scripts. I consider this an apprenticeship period, partly working with script form, partly working on the craft of storytelling. While I am currently pursuing getting a couple of the original TV series I created in this period produced, most of this material will not see the light of day. 
And I’m okay with that.

Tell us about your writing process.

Like most writers, I am a sponge. I read constantly; newspapers, magazines and other non-fiction (because a lot of what I write is satire, and I try to keep up with the sciences because science fiction), as well as fiction (because I can always learn from what other people do). I’m the kind of person who isn’t always keen on talking about himself, so I spend a lot of time listening to what other people say (and how they say it). I have also trained myself, over the years, to look for anomalies in the environment, for things that stick out or are otherwise unusual, and wonder how they came to be.
I write ideas down on scraps of paper. If they are for a specific project, I will type them into an ideas file at the earliest possible convenience. If not, well, I have a lot of scraps of paper. Given the poor quality of my handwriting, it’s a wonder I am able to remember anything at all! When I have enough ideas, I start major projects like novels.
I try to write something every day. Lately, a lot of my time has been devoted to my eighth series novel (which is unusual, because I only delivered the seventh novel in the series to my publisher last month; I seem to have foregone the downtime I usually have between major works). My method is to have several different projects on the go at once so that if I’m not inspired by one, I can work on another. In addition to the current novel I’m writing, there are three more in the series that I have planned, I have ideas for several short stories and there is the insatiable maw of my Website - LesPages aux Folles. There is always the Web site, which I have been updating weekly with topical humour since 2002.
Aww, what the hell. It keeps me off the streets...

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

The slap. It was such an important scene I asked for it to be depicted on the cover.
The Editrix-in-Chief of the Alternate Reality News Service is Brenda Brundtland-Govanni. She is a six foot six goth with anger management issues. Throughout the ARNS books, she threatens to put on her slapping gloves and get busy, but she never actually seems to go through with it. Brenda is my attempt to portray female anger, something that doesn’t appear that often in mainstream writing.
In the course of the investigation in The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There, Noomi Rapier (one of the main investigators, who was introduced in the first novel in the series, Welcome to the Multiverse*) pushes Brenda just a little too far while questioning her. The result? * SLAP *! The consequences surprised me – hopefully, they will surprise the reader, as well.

* Sorry for the Inconvenience

What is your most interesting writing quirk?

I warn potential readers that my writing is dense. One of the ways this manifests is that I often create complicated sentences.
What happens is this: I start with one comic idea, then I get a second comic idea related to the first. In writing the sentence, a third idea might occur to me as a result of the collision of the first two. Most writers would break the ideas out into separate sentences. I keep them in a single sentence (but written in a way that the meaning is always clear). I probably use more brackets and dashes in a single chapter than most writers do in entire novels!
There are other things. I set my novels in what I think of as an “alternative present.” This allows me to both have futuristic tech and make topical references. In addition, my novels are told by what I think of as an “unreliable omniscient narrator.” The UON will make a point about the story, but then change it later after thinking more about it, for example, or will ask the reader what they think should happen next.
It’s all part of the fun.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?

My earliest influences were performers: the Marx brothers, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Woody Allen, Buster Keaton.
My favourite author is Thomas Pynchon (Rainbow’s Gravity, Against the Day. His use of language and breadth of vision often take my breath away. An author I have always enjoyed was Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues). In reviews, my writing is often compared to that of Douglas Adams (which is flattering, given that I am a fan, but I think our comic sensibilities are very different. On the other hand, when one review compared my writing to Robbins, it felt very right. From him, I learned to play with language and not to fear digressions (things I also learned from Kurt Vonnegut.
I am currently working my way through the works of Terry Pratchett (primarily his adult Discworld novels, but when I have finished those, I will read the young adult novels in the series, then his other novels). I am discovering, to my chagrin, that some of my comic moves were pioneered by him years before I started writing novels. (The good news is that my stories and the way I mix comic devices are different from his, so people reading my books will hopefully find them fresh and new.)

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer?

It actually came from my fourth year screenwriting professor. At that point in my career,  I tended to give funny lines out to characters indiscriminately. He pointed out that that made all of my characters sound the same, and, in any case, was a very restricted way of looking at humour. Much better to let the humour in my screenplays arise out of the quirks of the characters and their interactions. My writing after that was very different.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?

I taught new media part-time for two years at Ryerson University. At the start of my introductory production courses, I would always tell my students that the life of an artist could be hard. The only reason to become an artist is because you love making art. If you don’t, if you can see yourself doing something else with your life, do that instead.
Many artists that we now think of as masters of their field spent 30 or 40 years creating in obscurity (Vincent van Gogh, for instance, or Franz Kafka). You could go that long without making any money from your art, or getting critical attention, or developing an appreciable audience, with no guarantee that any of that will happen. But if you love making art, at least you will have devoted your life to something that brought you pleasure, and how many people can say that? 

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?

This is not an entirely empty exercise for me. I have written two pilots based on my novel series and would dearly love for one of them to be produced, so I do think about this.
There are a lot of young, black female actors who could play Noomi Rapier; Tessa Thompson, for instance, or Freema Agyeman. Rami Malek would be great as Noomi’s brother, Daveen Rasmaili Rapier (although he doesn’t appear in a substantial role until book six, Good Intentions: The Multiverse Refugee Trilogy: First Pie in the Face). Noomi’s partner at the Transdimensional Authority, Crash Chumley, would be played brilliantly by Nathan Fillion.
Most of the Transdimensional Authority investigators are described as “fire hydrants with limbs and dark glasses,” a reference to the fact that most police officers are big, bulky, broad-shouldered men. Actors who could fill these roles include: Patrick Wharburton, Jason Isaacs and either of the Amell brothers. One of them, Barack Bowens, has a voice that makes people want to obey everything he says (which is as much a curse as a blessing); he is patterned after opera star Eric Owens. It would be great if he would agree to the role.
But, uhh, I don’t really think of this that often... 

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?

Free time? I...I have heard that such a thing exists, but I have never experienced it myself.
I do spend time with friends. I go to opera five or six times a season, for example. I have a regular D&D game with a different set of friends. I am a Klingon (a member of the Klingon Assault Group fan club; I have most of a costume, but I still haven’t been fitted for forehead ridges).
But there isn’t a switch for humour that turns it on or off; seeing the world through a lens of comedy is part of who I am. In a similar vein, being a writer is a 24/7 kind of thing; I never know when ideas will hit me. So, I am always prepared to whip out my notebook and get to work.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.

1. I never lie. I’m really bad at it, so I have just never cultivated the habit.
2. I never get bored. The world is such a fascinating place, there is always something for me to learn. And even when there isn’t, my mind is working on the next thing I am going to write. Honestly, there is just no excuse for boredom.
3. I have no problem doing repetitive physical actions (probably because of 2). The cats of one of my dear friends (hi, Gisela!) know that I can pet them for hours without tiring of it. Pretty Boy sometimes abuses this, but generally they’re good about it.

What do you have in store next for your readers?

Good Intentions, which is also available now, is, as the title suggests, the first book in a trilogy. The basic idea is that a universe is collapsing and the Transdimensional Authority hatches a refugee programme to get as many of the 19 to 24 billion sentient beings as possible to stable universes before it is destroyed. The first book is generally positive, following a single alien’s refugee experience. The second book, Bad Actors, will be mixed, portraying both positive and negative aspects of the refugee experience. The final book, The Ugly Truth, will deal with the darker aspects of xenophobic racism. 
But surprise! The book currently under consideration at Elsewhen Press, which has published all of the previous novels in the series, is not Bad Actors. It is a Young Adult novel called Fraidy’s Amazeballs ARggles Adventure. Somebody has introduced augmented reality goggles into the Earth Prime in my multiverse; at first Freida “Fraidy” Katz uses her ARggles for all of the same things teenage girls do, but she eventually gets sucked into an anti-tech hacker network with possibly nefarious intentions. In the end, this novel nests nicely between the first and second books in the trilogy. There is also a follow-up YA novel (working title: Fraidy’s Amazeballs Alternaut Academy Adventure) which should nest nicely between the second and third books. 
It’s a good thing my publisher loves surprises...
A man who is trying to have a contemplative Canadian literary moment by a frozen lake finds himself in a world where his every thought is tagged. Three actors who are performing Shakespeare on a stage in Stratford find themselves transported into the bodies of three people who live in Shakesperean England. The entire bridge crew of the Star Ship Star Blap find their consciousnesses have been transferred to...they're not sure, really. The Transdimensional Authority traces the consciousness transfer back to the Alternate Reality News Service. But what could the organization of cross-universal journalists possibly gain from such chaos?

About the Book:
Check out the Book on Amazon

A man who is trying to have a contemplative Canadian literary moment by a frozen lake finds himself in a world where his every thought is tagged. Three actors who are performing Shakespeare on a stage in Stratford find themselves transported into the bodies of three people who live in Shakesperean England. The entire bridge crew of the Star Ship Star Blap find their consciousnesses have been transferred to...they're not sure, really. The Transdimensional Authority traces the consciousness transfer back to the Alternate Reality News Service. But what could the organization of cross-universal journalists possibly gain from such chaos?

#RTWrites :: My Top 6 Anti-Heroes in Fantasy and Paranormal Romances - @RT_Writes

“Pehle jaao us aadmi ka sign leke aayo jisne mere haath pe yeh likha ke mera baap chor hai!” This iconic dialog by Bollywood’s quintessential angry young man Amitabh Bachchan from Deewar is emotional, punchy and perfect.

It also pretty much steals the movie out from under good guy cop Shashi Kapoor’s character.

And it introduced me to that fascinating type of hero that I am always eager to explore. The anti-hero. The antithesis of a hero.

Anti-heroes are those dark delicious dudes who make our hearts go bump uncomfortably because they are just this side of *good*. An anti-hero will make you root for him while he does the most despicable things, whether for love or material gain or because of a terrible childhood.


You, dear reader.




Take, for instance, Angel-turned-Angelus in season two of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. A goth-clad David Boreanaz spends the second half of the season torturing Buffy and her friends till they can’t take it anymore. And yet…it is when Angel’s love for Buffy shines through the clearest.

As Willow puts it, “Even when he’s mad beyond bearing, it’s you he’s thinking about, Buffy.” The object of his desire turned into the object of his torment.

Anti-heroes are wonderful heroes in the end because nothing works in romance or, amazing writing in general, because they are traditionally bad and therefore doomed to end unhappily. Giving them a happy ever after requires not only redeeming them but justifying their bad behavior.

I am living in the world of heroes and anti-heroes as I race to finish books two and three of the Royals of Stellangard trilogy where Shane McRae, the former sniper is just this side of dark and Michael Heinrickson is bright as the shining sun! And what’s more fantastic than creating a country from scratch and descend it into chaos!

So, I thought I’d share my most-favorite anti-heroes in PNR and Fantasy of all times – in descending order of favorites.

Carden, King of the Fair Folk

Carden is the newest entrant to the anti-hero world and quickly became a fan favorite the world over. He is a fairy prince with sadistic tendencies that he uses to great effect on Jude, the mortal heroine…who cannot understand why they are so tied together. But things change massively when Jude and Carden get involved in palace intrigue, murder and espionage in the fairy court…and we see Carden’s ruthlessness soften and change and become *something* else. Ooh, what fun, am I right?

Jerricho Barrons

We first meet Jerricho Barrons as a bookstore owner – suave, sexy and altogether too mysterious. He becomes brusque, brutal and downright aggressive as the Fever series progresses, putting the heroine Mac in harm’s way as much as saving her. And his pithy, cryptic statements are so *deliciously* confusing I spent three books just waiting for him to shed his cold hard armor. He does in book 4 and from there on, this anti-hero with definite world-destroying tendencies becomes a total hero. Hard but heroic!


Zsadist. Aah, Zee! AAAAAh! This scarred and embittered vampire entrant to the anti-hero genre is chilling when we first meet him in book one of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. He has bottomless black eyes and a penchant for enduring pain…it all changes when he meets Bella, the aristocrat vampire who wants him for reasons that escape the both of them. But Zee knows he is no good for the delicate beauty and tries his hardest to be the most cruel monster and break her heart. Redeeming Zee is a thing of beauty, in the end, though!

Carswell Thorne

Impish space pirate with a thing for snappy one liners and stealing space ships. How could I not love Captain Thorne? He is one of the leads of the epically awesome Lunar Chronicles and such a *gentle* rogue that by the time Cress, the satellite Rapunzel falls for him, so did I. All while he’s being super devious and stealing things…like Cress’s heart! Carswell is also incredibly smart and somehow becomes the heart of the group of space pirates in the Lunar Chronicles and the way he handles his disability (he is blind in Cress) is a thing of like BEAUTY!

Kaz Brekker 

What do I say about Kaz Brekker that I haven’t said before. Kaz is the leader of an underworld gang called The Dregs. He has no scruples, lusts after money and Inej (his right hand man) with equal passion and is the man to get anyone out of a tight spot. So, when Kaz leads an Oceans’ worthy heist with five other equally screwed up misfits it is a thing of literary beauty. And, FYI, if you ever need to wage a war, Kaz is your guy. Trust me.

Kaleb Krychek

He saves the world when he wants to end it for her. This is my third post on the  many shades of awesome that is Kaleb Krychek, the most powerful Psy in the whole planet.  And it is basically because he saves the world when he wants to end…for her. for love. After doing unconscionable things forever, Kaleb’s redemption is not so much about becoming a good man but the best version of himself that he can be. For love. For her. And it is why Heart of Obsidian is my favorite book on the whole freaking planet.

Alright, peeps. That is my list of amazing anti-heroes who make me swoon and sigh every time I re-read them. What’s yours? Share your choices in the comments below.

Writer Gal

#Spotlight :: The most complete self service portal for authors! - @magic_author


MagicAuthor.com was founded in the year 2012 by Mr. Saptharishi Suresh, with a humble mission to help aspiring writers to establish themselves. Mr. Saptharishi Suresh is an avid reader and a published author. His challenges with publishing his first book compelled him to think of something else, a platform where writers can publish their work without the hassle. His journey to create MagicAuthor.com was a long road. It took him nearly 5 years to create MagicAuthor.com and make a recognized platform by authors, readers, and publishers.

Along the way, he noticed it was very difficult to publish books in regional languages, where there are many options for books in English. So, he wanted to create an online space for the literature that includes English as well as regional languages.

MagicAuthor.com, a writing platform for all age groups, they have started an initiative where kids can upload and showcase their works online. It can be an artwork, or stories or a video/photo of craftwork.

He wants MagicAuthor.com foray into podcasts and audio-books; he aspires to make MagicAuthor.com LinkedIn for the author’s community.

About MagicAuthor.com:

MagicAuthor.com is one of a kind platform, in which, using their book wizard authors can create eBooks from scratch and also design a cover image and publish them online. If you've already created an eBook in PDF or ePub format then you can simply upload it to our e-commerce platform. It is a unique initiative dedicated to authors, designers, and publishers, etc. to create eBooks in formats like ePUB, PDF, and MOBI. 

MagicAuthor.com is a publishing services provider. They provide authors with tools and services that enable them to publish and sell their own books.

MagicAuthor.com also distributes eBooks to the google play store.

Unique Features of Magicauthor.com:
  • One of the best features MagicAuthor.com of No upfront costs involved.
  • MagicAuthor.com promoted eBooks that can be on any topic or genre.
  • MagicAuthor.com supports most of the Indian languages. So far, they have released eBooks in Assamese, Konkani (Romi & Devanagiri scripts), Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, and English. 
  • The platform also supports promoting books published elsewhere.
  • Other features include creating blogs, discussing literature, asking/answering questions related to writing and publishing on our community site.
  • You can follow your favorite authors. So, if you are looking to develop a fan base and stay connected with your readers, then create a writer profile at our site.
  • If you are a publisher or a business, then you can leverage our community to nurture, engage and retain your followers.
Please check out some of the free tools available for authors, designers, and publishers.

Saptharishi Suresh (Founder of MagicAuthor.com):

Saptharishi Suresh is a published author and an art enthusiast. He wrote his first story at the age of ten and done many paintings during his childhood. Later, as an adult, he reproduced the same online.
Though his interest was in arts and literature, he couldn't pursue it as a profession, thanks to the lack of guidance and peer pressure. He decided to pursue engineering and became a software engineer in the year 2005.  After a couple of years into the profession, he realized the need to revive my childhood interest as something in him was feeling lonely. He set up a blogging website called Saptharishi - Thinketh Undefined in 2008 and started writing on a wide variety of topics like short stories, painting, spiritual, tourism, and even technology. With the website getting popular, he decided to take the plunge of publishing his first novel "The Wake-up Call" in the year 2010. 

Getting his first book published was not easy at all and he learned a lot about the challenges involved in the process.  Being a software engineer he thought of leveraging his software skills to aid in the publishing process. He wanted to make life easy for other authors. Hence the set up the platform called "Magic Author" (https://www.magicauthor.com) in the year 2012. Since then he has helped authors and creative artists build their reputation online. He spent most of his time exploring how authors can leverage the internet benefiting both themselves and the communities around them.

Catch up with Saptharishi Suresh On: 

04 April, 2020

#GuestPost :: Character Development and Writing 3-Dimensional Characters Your Reader will love by @ketadiablo

About the Author:
Check out the Author's Amazon Page
Keta Diablo lives in the Midwest part of the United States on six acres of gorgeous woodland. When she isn't writing or gardening, she loves to commune with nature. A pair of barn owls returns to the property every year to birth their young and show them off in the high branches of the oak trees. Nothing more adorable than these white fluffy babies with heart-shaped faces. A lifelong animal lover, Keta devotes her time and support to the local animal shelter. Emma LaPounce, a rescued feline, has been her furry companion for the last ten years.

Keta is an award-winning and bestselling author who writes in several genres: Western Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance and Contemporary Romance. In a past life, she wrote Gay Romance. Her books have received numerous accolades, including RWA contest finalist, Authors After Dark finalist, Top Pick of the Month and Recommended Review from many top review sites, and Best Romance Finalist from The Independent Author Network.

P.S: For some strange reason, ghosts often show up in her stories.

Find Keta on the Net:

Author Blog * Twitter * Facebook 

“It’s hard to let go of your demons; they were holding you when no one else would.”

Today’s Topic is About Character Development and Writing 3-Dimensional Characters Your Reader Will love

To craft fascinating characters, you have to know them inside and out, and know them so deeply that you know what motivates them—what causes them to act.

A blogger recently asked me: How Did You Come Up With Your Characters For I Spy A Demon?
When I sat down to write I Spy A Demon, I knew I wanted a hero and heroine who knew one another in their childhoods and continued that relationship into adulthood. Of course, you have to come up with the angst they face, an angst that is big enough to separate them for a time.

I also wanted mystery to enter into the plot, for instance, why were twins, Cecily and Calder, raised by the Frost family? What happened to their parents? The reader doesn't get the answer to that question until midway through the book. The hero comes from a family with plenty of secrets, secrets our heroine is determined to uncover after her beloved twin brother dies in a mysterious accident.

Characters are born from a seed of an idea and then, hopefully, develop and grow as the story moves along. With my characters in I Spy A Demon, things are not always as they appear, characters present to the reader one way of life and really live an entirely different life. A big part of the story is the heroine's quest to separate fiction from fact, peel back the layers of the people she's loved most of her life. I think sometimes the most intriguing characters are those who advance a hidden agenda or have a chameleon-like persona that keeps the reader guessing until the final reveal.

“I Spy A Demon Was Fabulous! Chemistry between Cecily & Marcel is powerful. A twist near the end made the journey very satisfying.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
"This is a fantastic fast paced short story filled with love, betrayal, and a demon fight that will leave you saddened and breathless."⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
My first story by this author and the writing was smooth. The ending was a shocker, and the story ended in a HEA." ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“What a read! I love how this story gripped me from the first page and kept me paging through to the end.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Have you ever read a review where the reviewer points to *shallow* characters in the novel? I know I have, and that’s why I feel it’s so important for writers to give their characters depth. So what is depth, and what do you mean by “dimensional” characters?

I think it’s crucial readers understand who the characters are; what makes them tic, and particularly what the character’s identifying features are? I’m not necessarily talking about physical features, but consistency and manner of speech, body language and internal thoughts on how he/she views the world. A character is not merely a gorgeous person with eyes of blue. He/she is a composition of many events that have made him/her what they are.

Their emotions are multifaceted and often conflicting. They could come from troubled backgrounds or perhaps were born with silver spoons in their mouths. Whatever the case, in order for readers to understand and relate to your characters, writers need to delve into their history to make them likeable and real (or not so likeable in the villain’s case). It’s also important the readers believe (and can picture) the character existing before the meat of your story even begins, thus the history.

Shallow characters (one-dimensional) have no real story, no identifying aspects to their personality. They’re merely walk-ons in your novel and won’t make lasting impressions. Readers will soon get bored with reading about someone they can’t identify with or like, and will no doubt put the book down. This is the last thing you want them to do.

Two-dimensional characters might have one identifying trait or a smidgeon of history, but why stop there? Write your characters as if they are a person you’d love to know, in fact, you’re so fascinated by their thoughts about life, their opinions, you long to know everything about them, including their past.

If your hero or heroine lacks depth or dimension, reviewers/readers might refer to them as *cardboard characters* another term you want to avoid at all costs. This means they’re typical ordinary, forgettable people or par for the course in motives and goals. While writing about them, you might have hinted about a like or dislike they possess, but there you stopped, leaving the thought underdeveloped without explaining why they dislike the color purple or why the adore women in hats. What’s the history behind their abhorrence, fetish or passion?

One of the great things about writing is that you, the author, have control over the portrayals of your characters. Make them larger than life; exaggerate their habits, annoyances, likes and dislikes. Make every aspect about them memorable in the reader’s mind.

Here's a great article about Character Development on Reedsy.

Cecily’s been called home for her brother’s funeral. She’s determined to find out how Calder really died, even if it’s her last act in life.

About the Book:
Check out the Book on Amazon
When twins Cecily and Calder Sizemore’s parents are killed in a car accident, they’re adopted by the Frost family—Gus, Mae and their sons, Marcel and Elliott. Over the years, Cecily’s love for Marcel evolves into anything but sisterly.

Cecily always knew something was amiss in the Frost household. Little things belied the calm, peaceful ambiance Mae did her best to portray. Calder tried to warn her things were not as they appeared, but she didn’t want to believe him. When Calder begs her to leave Des Moines, start a new life away from the secrets, away from the Frosts and away from Marcel, she takes his advice and her shattered heart and moves to Minnesota.

Now she’s been called home for her beloved brother's funeral. There's more to the story than meets the eye. Discrepancies in how her twin died lead her back to Des Moines, and back to Marcel―the boy who stole her heart, the man whose very presence turns her blood to liquid fire. Marcel has always kept dangerous secrets, but this time, Cecily is determined to uncover the truth about the Frosts… and the truth about how Calder really died.