Interview with Barbara Russell

Happy Wednesday Scribblers. It’s been a while since we’ve done an Author Interview. This week I’m thrilled to bring back my good friend and one heck of an amazing author Barbara Russell.  Barbara lives in New Zealand, has a wonderful sense of humor, and writers some of the best Steampunk and Young Adult stories I’ve ever read.

It's been quite some time since you've been on my Scribbles Page, what are you up to these days?

Thanks Marvin for having me! It’s always a pleasure to chat with you.

From a not-writing-related point of view, I’ve started a new job quite close to where I live (only 5 Km). So I thought, I’d cycle to work! Active transport, zero emissions, exercise . . . what more can I ask for? Yeah, well people try to kill me twice a day, lol, even when I cycle in the cycle lane. Not fun.

Tell us about your newest project?

Right now, I’m working on a gas lamp series (a fancy way to call a paranormal story set in the Victoria Era, haha). I don’t know why I’m obsessed with the Victorian period. I tried to write this gas lamp story setting it in modern times and after 5 pages I though, Nah. It’s not working . . . Besides, I kept writing “carriage” instead of car, so there you go.

Since becoming published what are you most proud of? What are you most excited about?

I’ll be totally honest. I actually was more proud before I got published. The more I keep publishing the more I’m convinced that I really suck as writer, lol. It’s easy to be proud of something when it’s a secret, when I wrote only for me. But once the stuff goes out into the wild world, well, it’s like looking at yourself in the mirror. It’s not always nice.

You currently have 14 different works, I've got to know, how are you doing it?

I don’t know, haha. Writing is just part of my daily routine. I write every day, no matter what, but it’s not something I’d recommend. It means spending a lot of time alone, probably alienating friends and relatives. It’s hard to find a balance between writing and personal social life.

What have you enjoyed the most about the writing process and sharing your stories?

I just love writing and editing. It’s like stepping into another world. Sharing . . . hmm . . . I have mixed feelings about it. I understand it’s impossible to make everyone happy, but I’d love to, haha.

What kind of story would you love to write, but haven't?

Oh, I love this question. I have this idea about four teen-agers who have a rock band and travel back in time to England in the 60s. Alone and without a mean to make a living, they decide to ear money by playing the Beatles’ songs, basically stealing the songs before the Beatles write them. They become famous of course, again stealing the Beatles’ fame and fortune. 

I didn’t have time to write it yet.

What can we see coming out from you next?

I hope to release the first book of my gas lamp series soon, maybe in October.

Thanks for asking!

As always it was such a thrill to have you here on my Scribbles page. I love the idea of band going back in time, so I hope you find the time to write it. I’m sure it would be a blast. I also want to mention that Barabara has a new novel out called: Her Flame-Auckland Steampunk First Class#1 you can find out more below. Do you have any questions for Barbara? Leave them in the coments below. Until next time have a great week.


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About Barbara’s Newest Novel:

Her Flame—Auckland Steampunk First Class#1

The only thing twenty-two-year-old Bridie wants is freedom. Freedom to travel the world, do as she likes, and make her own decisions. Marriage? Finding a man? No, thank you. Besides, she’s a Supernatural, able to remember everything she reads, hears, or sees—a skill she can use to find an adventurous job.

But she doesn’t know that six years ago, her father secretly married her to Lord Aurelius Steward. A few papers, her father’s signature, and Bridie became Mrs Steward. 

So when Aurelius asks her to leave with him for a trip, she wishes him bon voyage. Except that, the trip is actually a secret mission to stop a terrorist attack on the next Technological Exhibition of Auckland.

Gifted with unnatural strength, Aurelius is part of the Military Intelligence Seventh Division, and to prevent the attack, he needs Bridie and her superpower.

She accepts. Adventures, travels, and a gorgeous man—what could a girl want more? 

GoodReads: https://bit.ly/2KHKTJ1

Zon: https://amzn.to/2TlpjxS

ARC copies on BookSprout: https://booksprout.co/arc/19339/her-flame-auckland-steampunk-first-class-1


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About Barabara Russell:

I’m an entomologist and a soil biologist, which is a fancy way to say that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs. I was a kid when I read The Lord Of The Rings and fell in love with fantasy novels. 

When I discovered the cosy mystery, I fell in love with Hercules Poirotand Sherlock Holmes. Then I grew up and . . . Nah, I’m joking. Don’t grow up, folks! It’s a trap. 

 

Where to Find Barbara:

Email her here: russell.barbara.84@gmail.com

Find her on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/barbara-russell

Check her out on Twitter: @brussell84Kiwi

She can be found in two locations on Facebook: www.facebook.com/RussellBarbara84

https://www.facebook.com/BRussell84/

Here is her author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07HHJGBBX

Her Blog: https://barbararussell.blogspot.co.nz

All-author page is here: https://allauthor.com/profile/brussell/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14108003.Barbara_Russell

Landing page: https://mailchi.mp/f3c0a9bf3544/barbararussell

Reaper: A Horror Novella – Creepy As Hell

This week I’m pleased to welcome fellow author Jonathan Pongratz to my Scribbles Page to chat about his horror novella Reaper.  I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with and getting to know Jonathan over the last couple years so its great to have him here today to talk.

Jonathan why don’t you tell us about a little about yourself and your writing (something that isn’t in your bio)?

Well, for starters, I’m extremely ambitious.

At any given time, I’ve got new ideas forming in my noggin, so I’ve got a plethora of projects to choose from on my many Google Docs that I use as idea boards.

I’m also something of a genre hopper. So far, each story I’ve written has been in a different genre, and I really enjoy exploring elements that bring differing concepts together. I don’t really see myself as writing one single type of genre and sticking to it.

So far I’ve written YA Horror and Urban Fantasy pieces, but eventually I want to branch out into other genres and concepts like mystery, steampunk, and maybe even time travel!.

When you’re not writing what do you enjoy doing?

I have a lot of interests outside writing, primarily reading. That takes up most of my spare time, and lately I’ve been focusing more on indie authors’ works.

Outside of that, I love binge-watching some Netflix or HBO or going out for some karaoke with my friends. I was a choir kid basically my entire life, so music has always been a huge passion of mine.

Now let’s talk about Reaper: A Horror Novella, why a horror Novella? What inspired you to write the story? Where did the idea for come from?

To be honest, I was surprised that my first published work was in the YA/Horror genre. At the time, I was waiting to hear back on the submission of my first urban fantasy novel (still unpublished at the moment). It was around September last year, and I was binge-watching all kinds of horror movies (my favorite movie genre) when a story started forming in my head. I started writing it all down, and two months later, I had my rough draft of Reaper.

This story kind of just happened, much like my urban fantasy novel, and I really love the fact that writing can be like that. Sometimes a story just comes to you and you have to write it.

Tell us about your main character Gregory, is he a younger you, or someone you knew growing up, or is he a complete fabrication?  Where did his inspiration come from?

I plead the fifth on this one, haha! I did model Gregory from my experiences as a kid in the 90’s. Back then, I was your stereotypical comic book nerd that would beg his parents to go to the comic book store. Any chance my parents gave me for an allowance I would take it, though it usually involved doing laundry rather than watching my siblings. Though I was definitely afraid of the dark, I never had a creepy basement. Thank goodness for that!

You never specify a location, for the story, with a love, it’s kind of an any town. Was that intentional or did you have a real place in mind?

Ironically, this also relates to my experience as a kid in the 90’s. I grew up in a small, nondescript town, and I wanted that reflected in the story. Once I was finished with my drafts, I did go back and consider naming it, but decided against it. I figured that some of my readers would probably relate to living in an ordinary town where nothing seems to ever happen, and I didn’t feel that naming it would necessary add much to the story, especially given what happens later on. ;)

I know asking an author this is like making them remove an arm, but do you have a favorite character in the story?  Honestly I loved Trent and Greg, they both seemed very real to me. So, who’s your favorite?

To be honest, I’m torn between Trent and Greg right down the middle. I see a lot of myself in both of them.

On one hand, Gregory is courageous, adaptive, and a hero. I love my heroes. But Trent is your cool kid, the one who rebels against the system built around us. We all go through that phase, and he found himself by going through that. I found myself in the same way.

So sorry, no favorites here!

Do you like horror stories? What do you enjoy reading?

Oh, I live for them! I grew up reading Goosebumps as much as I possibly could, but oddly enough, I haven’t read too many horror novels. I focused more on cinema in the past, but am starting to catch up on some really great chilling reads.

Other than horror, I am a huge fan of YA, scifi, fantasy, paranormal/supernatural, superheroes, thrillers, anything with plenty of action and a fast-moving plot that gets those pages turning! I’m also trying to get into time travel novels as well, though I’m not sure when I’ll find the time.

What’s coming up next for you?  What do you have in writing pipeline?

Well, quite a bit actually. I’m currently writing the sequel to Reaper (Yes, I can confirm that there will indeed be a sequel!) and am plotting out the second act as we speak. I’m hoping to get this book published sometime later this year.

After that, I’m going back to work on my beloved urban fantasy series. I’ll be polishing up the first book one last time before submitting to different publishers. Then I just have to write the other four novels I plan on writing. No big deal, right?

Even further after that, I have a number of other projects that I’ve been dying to write, so those may pop up in between other books getting published.

The future is definitely bright!

Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

From personal experience, I’d like to give some quick advice to newer or struggling writers out there.

Write and read as much as you can, and establish a daily routine.

Writing on a schedule has been crucial to developing my craft, even when I think that I’ve plateaued. Though I may not always want to write when it’s time to, it’s a way to challenge myself and focus on attaining my goals.

Reading supplies my inspiration to write, and the more I read, the more I want to write as well. Even if you don’t draw a ton of inspiration from the books you read, reading supplies the imagination with new thoughts and ideas that can be priceless in the long run.

I want to thank Jonathan Pongratz for stopping by my Scribbles Page today.  If you have questions for Jonathan leave them below and I’ll ensure he swings by to answer, or you can find him on Social Media, see the links below. For my review of Reaper: A Horror Novella find it here. As always if you enjoyed this content and want to help spread the word not only about Jonathan Pongratz like and share below. So, tell us what are your favorite horror novels?  Do you like books that go bump in the night? Tell us below. Until next time have a great week.


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Book Blurb for Reaper: A Horror Novella:

Gregory and his little sister Imogen love spending Halloween with their parents. But this year is different. If he proves he can take care of Imogen all by himself, he’ll finally have the allowance he’s dreamed of.

That was before the basement door opened on its own. Before the strange door appeared in the basement and Imogen was taken from him by the monster.

Now everyone in town is blaming him for her disappearance, but no one is listening to his story. Where did the door come from? What was that creature? And most of all, can he find his sister before it’s too late, or will he bury his memories of her along with his parents?

Buy Links:

Find Reaper: A Horror Novella on Amazon here.

Find Reaper: A Horror Novella on Barnes and Noble here.


Who is Jonathan Pongratz:

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Jonathan Pongratz is a writer and author of captivating horror, urban fantasy, and paranormal stories. When he’s not writing, he’s busy being a bookworm, video game junkie, and karaoke vocalist. A former resident of Dallas, he currently resides in Kansas City with his Halloween cat Ajax. By day he works magic in finance, by night he creates dark and mesmerizing worlds.

Where can we find him:

Website: www.jonathanpongratz.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jonathanpongratz

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/jonathanpongratz

Tumblr: Jonathanpongratz.tumblr.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/jonathanpongratz

Interview with Author Andrew Peters

It’s now fully summer, can you believe it. Well, happy Wednesday Scribblers. Today I’m thrilled to bring you fellow NineStar Press Author Andrew J. Peters.  Andy, has a bunch of works out, now only for young adults but for adults as well.  This week I invited Andy over to chat about his newest work Irresistible. I had the pleasure of reading the book before the interview so today we get to dive into the book and, of course, Andy’s work as an author. Let’s dive in shall we:

MN: Andy, I have to tell you I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started reading Irresistible. It’s such a unique tale, especially considering it’s based on Chariton’s Callirhoe, which I had honestly never heard of, so what made you decide to write this type of novel, especially giving it the gay treatment? What drew you to the story?

AP: Few people outside of classical scholars have heard of Callirhoe, so you’re in good company. I included in my Author’s Note what led me to that obscure inspiration point because it definitely warrants some explanation.

I’m better known for writing fantasy, and I was doing research for my novel The City of Seven Gods, which is a near-world historical fantasy with ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Greek touchpoints. I wanted to read translated material written in that era to get a better ear for how people talked about their daily lives. So I stumbled upon Callirhoe, which has the distinction of being the oldest extant romance novel according to literary scholars. Lots of things about that intrigued me, including the fact the author is Chariton of Aphrodisias, which is kind of awesomely on-the-nose for a romance author.

But I was also really curious what a romance novel looked like in the 1st century C.E., and the shocking thing to me was the story reads like a comedy mash-up of Harlequin romance and Shakespeare play. It’s funny because it was panned by “serious” literary critics of the time while still achieving commercial success, so there was something really interesting to me about how ancient sensibilities weren’t so different from modern attitudes about literature.

The story is totally absurd and painfully earnest. Callirhoe is the most beautiful woman in the world, and she falls instantly in love with young, handsome Chaereas when they spot each other on the street. They immediately make plans to marry, but a group of Chaereas’ friends try to sabotage their union because they’re jealous that he gets to marry her. An outlandish comedy of errors ensues involving kidnapping, forced marriage, a military insurgency, and finally a trial to sort out who has the right to Callirhoe during which the judge plots to steal her for himself. All the while, Callirhoe has impassioned soliloquies cursing the gods for making her so beautiful and pining for her true love Chaereas. When they’re reunited, they literally faint from the ecstasy of the moment.

To me, that was winning material for a modern send-up reclaiming the story for rom-com fans. In a sense it took me back to my writing roots. I wrote a lot of absurd humor in high school and college but got on a fantasy kick when I started writing for publication. Callirhoe reminded me of one of my favorite comedy movies There’s Something About Mary, and I felt gay rom-com doesn’t get as much daylight as it should. It was fun to approach the subject of gay relationships from a light, really madcap perspective. 

MN: One of the things that is difficult for me, as a reader to relate to, are physically perfect characters. And, this book had the lead characters as physically perfect. What I love about the story is that you made these guys incredibly flawed, was this your intention from the start so the reader would be able to relate to them? Or, is it just how the characters are? I guess the big question here is how to keep these characters likable and believable, which is a hard line to balance, so what were your goals to that end? In the end I did find the characters likable and I thought you did a good job with it, but how do you think you did? Are you happy with their characterization especially now that the book is out? Do you think it all worked the way you wanted?

AP: My intention was heartwarming parody, and I think you’re right, that requires a well-measured balance. Because on one hand, I wanted to blow things up to point out certain social hypocrisies and superficialities while also saying something true about the world. Partially, I thought a story about a tragic, irresistible beauty in the gay community worked really well because I think we do fall prey to an obsessive search for beauty, which is defined as youthful, physical perfection. We see that in advertising, dating apps, gym culture, the whole cosmetic surgery and beauty industry, and I’ve known so many guys with body image issues as well as those who will only pursue young, conventionally-attractive men like it’s some validation of their worth.

So in developing the story’s tragic beauty Callisthenes (Cal), I did call upon those stereotyped traits. He’s twenty-four, blond-haired, boyishly handsome, slimly built. But it was important to me that he’s naively unaware of how attractive he is. That’s partially for the comedy. At a crowded outdoor theater, everybody makes way for him to have a prime seat on the grass, and he thinks it’s just this friendly thing. He’s come to New York for the summer, and when people shoulder each other aside to give him directions, he’s like: “Everyone in the country has it wrong about New Yorkers. They’re really kind and helpful.” I imagined him as this sweet, earthy, unpretentious guy who’s actually a bit more goofy and nerdy than you might expect. He’s a broke, grad student so he goes to random things like free lectures on writing true crime fiction, and he’s reading Artur Rimbaud’s love letters in the original French for fun. So with that portrayal, I hoped to make him more relatable and endearing.

With his love interest Brendan, I needed to create Cal’s handsome prince, so physical attractiveness was definitely an ingredient, but I also considered that Cal would be drawn to an intellectual type. Part of the parody with Brendan is he’s a trust fund brat who’s kind of rudderless and filled with angst. He definitely suffers from rich guilt, but I didn’t want to make that superficial. He’s trying to be socially conscious, and he’d rather take a guy out on a date for ice cream rather than impressing him with his wealth. But I drew on certain familiar observations about people of privilege in a light-hearted way. He’s got the requisite psychotherapist, has studied Buddhism, is over-educated but lacking the basic work skills to actually handle a job. I wanted to make him kind of a hot mess who finds a sense of grounding and belonging in Cal.

I love the story and the characters, so that hasn’t changed since Irresistible came out; but I also learned the comedy point-of-view isn’t for everyone. Some readers thought it was hilarious and refreshingly different. Some thought it was an eye-rolling train wreck, which in some ways is the point. Humor is really subjective, so it’s definitely a risk, and I don’t have the right perspective or I guess literary sensibility to write a satisfying story for traditional romance fans. I’ve never written stories “to trend,” just more so hoped they’d reach some readers who relate. That approach hasn’t launched me into the stratosphere as an author for sure, but for me, it’s been a risk worth taking.

MN: As I read the novel, I kept shaking my head at the wacky circumstances you got your characters into. This is a rom-com and of course there is a lot of misdirection (I think that is the correct way to say it) was this true of Callirhoe, or did you take liberty with the story?

AP: Yes, misdirection would be right. I actually had to tone down the ridiculous plot devices from the source material. Callirhoe may also be the oldest extant example of the “they’re not really dead” trope. When Chaereas is manipulated into believing Callirhoe cheated on him, he kicks her in the precise spot on her diaphragm that induces a death-like coma, and they go through a funeral and she wakes up to be kidnapped by grave robbers.

Most of the circumstances that thwart Cal and Brendan are loosely based on characters and plot points from the original, and I had to give them some tweaks for modern times. Cal’s pursuers like the Romanian mobster, the old hermit widower, his horny adolescent naval prison guard Faraj, and the despotic Arabian king are re-imagined. The one thing I somewhat kept is the journey, which goes through the Greek isles and ends up in the Middle East. I of course invented the Sultanate of Maritime Kindah as Cal and Brendan’s final destination.

MN: As I mentioned above I’m not at all familiar with the source material you wrote this story off of, did you have issues adapting this story for modern times? I thought you dealt with the whole social media aspect of it quite well, given the nature of the characters, especially Cal, how he didn’t end up a Social Media star or internet celebrity still has me curious, what were your writing strategies for this and how do you think it all worked out?

AP: Yeah, besides being a heterosexual love story, the original has the heroine being trafficked by sail boat through the Greek isles in a time when women were property. Beyond figuring out what a tragically beautiful gay man would look like in the modern world, I did have to consider technologies and political and law enforcement aspects to bring a story of obsession and abduction into a contemporary setting.

A guy who turns heads wherever he goes would face some creepy situations for example, and probably my biggest challenge was balancing a responsible portrayal of that while keeping the tone light. Part of Cal’s history involves stalkers and guys who send him dick pics, and then of course, he has a host of men who he thinks are going to help him get back to Brendan but are covertly plotting to keep him for themselves. As a contemporary story, it could easily have turned out feeling more like horror or crime drama than rom-com.

It helped a lot to have those sections vetted by beta readers and editorial staff to get the tone and balance right. For example, I tried to make one of Cal’s stalkers more comical by having him drive his Smart car into his house and ending up jammed in the car with local news crews filming him being sawed out by welders and carried out in a stretcher. I think the key was placing creepy situations in a world which feels silly and safe enough to readers to trust nothing too dark could possibly happen.

I think that’s why outrageous rom-coms by the Farrelly Brothers work like my fave There’s Something About Mary. Things could go to a dark place given the circumstances, but the danger and violence is given an absurd treatment. Like when Ben Stiller’s character picks up a hitchhiker who turns out to be a serial killer, and the guy runs off on him at a late-night rest stop. Then Ben is caught up in a police raid because it’s a gay cruising area, and the police find one of the hitchhiker’s victims in the rucksack he left in Ben’s car. They’re all really serious issues, but you don’t take them truly seriously because you feel safe in the storyteller’s hands. My early readers and editor helped a lot with finetuning that tone. I actually had a supporting character die in the first draft, and they helped me realize it was too off-putting to go there.

MN: You give this story a solid ending, but do you have any more planned adventures for Cal and Brendan or is their story done?

AP: I don’t think so. Writing the story has plucked up some interest in doing more rom-com, but the projects I’m working on have new inspiration points.

MN: You have quite a collection of books out there, and they cross several genres (which I love), so between us guys, what is your favorite genre to write in?

AP: That’s tough. I’ve truly enjoyed everything from paranormal to young adult to epic fantasy and rom-com. I’ll say this: I find contemporary a lot easier to write, whether it was my Werecat series or Irresistible. There’s so much research with epic and historical fantasy. So much internal logic to figure out.

MN: What do you currently have in the works? What will we be seeing in the future?

AP: I have a short story collection based on retold fairy tales and legends coming out from NineStar later this year. Besides that I’m working on a young adult comedy adventure based on The Odyssey, and I’m shopping around the follow-up to The City of Seven Gods.

MN: As with many of us, writing is either a hobby or a part time gig. You don’t appear to be any different in that regard. In general, we write because we love to tell stories. What motivates you to keep writing? Do you have stories in your head that need to be told? Or, is it something else? Do you feel the need to have LGBTQ+ content available for generations to be able to read and learn from?

AP: It’s important to me that I call my writing a job rather than a hobby, though it wasn’t always that way. Getting my work published was the dividing line, and thereafter I started building the confidence to take my writing more seriously; though not too seriously! It’s also been a journey of humility since rejections are an inevitable part of it, and there’s always more to learn about improving your craft.

I write because it’s intrinsically rewarding for me, from the creative process when I’m all amped up about a new idea, to accomplishing a story from start to finish, to the little bits of acknowledgement here and there, and seeing my work in print. I am a big advocate of increasing queer portrayals and #OwnVoices in particular, and equally, I just love stories with queer characters. I don’t know if you remember this t-shirt that used to be pretty popular at Pride events: “I can’t even walk straight.” Well, mine would be: “I can’t even write straight.” So the queer part is both purposeful and inevitable for me.

MN: Was there anything else you wanted to share with us today?

AP: I think that’s all. Thanks so much for having me over Marvin!

Andrew thank you for stopping by today and chatting about your latest title Irresistible. If you have questions for Andrew leave them below and I’ll ensure he swings by to answer, or you can find him on Social Media, see the links below. Until next time have a great week.


About Andrew J. Peters:

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Author Andrew J. Peters is the third most famous Andrew J. Peters on the Internet after the disgraced former mayor of Boston and the very honorable concert organist of the same name.

He’s an award-winning author, an educator and an activist. His novel The City of Seven Gods won the 2017 Silver Falchion award for Best Horror/Fantasy and was a finalist for 2016 Sci Fi/Fantasy Book of the Year at the Foreword INDIES. His Werecat series was a 2016 Readers’ Choice finalist at The Romance Reviews. He has written two books for young adults (The Seventh Pleaide and Banished Sons of Poseidon), and he is the author of the adult novel Poseidon and Cleito. His latest title Irresistible is a gay rom-com based on the oldest extant romance novel in the world.

Andrew grew up in Buffalo, New York, studied psychology at Cornell University, and spent the early part of his career as a social worker and an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. He has been a contributing writer at Queer Sci Fi, The New York Journal of Books, The Good Men Project, Gay YA, YA Highway, La Bloga, and All Romance e-Books (ARe) Café.

While writing, Andrew works as an administrator and an adjunct faculty at Adelphi University. He lives in New York City with his husband Genaro and their cat Chloë.

Where to find Andrew J. Peters:

Find his website here.

Find him on Facebook here.

Find him on Twitter here.

Find him on Goodreads here.


About his latest title Irresistible:

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Brendan Thackeray-Prentiss is an Ivy League-educated trust-funder who Gotham Magazine named the most eligible gay bachelor in New York City. He lives for finding his soulmate, but after walking in on his boyfriend of three transcendent months soaping up in the shower with an older female publicist, he’s on a steady diet of scotch, benzodiazepines, and compulsive yoga. Men are completely off the menu.

Callisthenes Panagopoulos has a problem most guys dream of. With the body and face of a European soccer heartthrob, the vigorous blond hair of a Mormon missionary, and a smile that makes traffic cops stuff their ticket books back in their utility belts, he’s irresistible to everyone. But being a constant guy-magnet comes with its discontents, like an ex-boyfriend who tried to drive his Smart car through Cal’s front door. It makes him wonder if he’s been cursed when it comes to love.

When Brendan and Cal meet, the attraction is meteoric, and they go from date to mates at the speed of time-lapse photography. But to stay together, they’ll have to overcome Cal’s jealous BFF, Romanian mobsters, hermit widowers, and a dictatorship on the brink of revolution during a dream wedding in the Greek isles that becomes a madcap odyssey.

A gay romantic comedy of errors based on Chariton’s Callirhoe, the world’s oldest extant romance novel.

Buy his novel here.

Interview with Author KD Fisher

Can you believe it’s the first week of June already? I’m really looking forward to the Summer and I’m hoping that all the rain is done for a while, but I’m not going to complain especially with this weeks guest around. To start off June, I have this great interview with romance writer KD Fisher. KD is a queer author who lives in New England. Let’s get into shall we.

Thank you for agreeing to be here today for the interview KD, now before we get started why don’t you tell us something about yourself. Something not in your bio.

Let’s see…my other favorite thing to do (aside from writing) is cooking. I even thought about going to culinary school! Spending a day shopping for food, trying new ingredients, and cooking a big meal for my friends and family is my idea of heaven. I also love reading cookbooks and own far too many of them.

That is so cool. I enjoy cooking as well. It’s a great way to be creative and get something delicious in the end.  Of course I’m not a fan of cleaning up, so there is that too.

I love that you are a romance writer, what got you interested in writing romance? Within romance what is your favorite to write about? What makes your romance work so unique and different?

I was very into reading romance growing up. Because, as a reader, I care about character development more than plot, I enjoyed getting to know two people and watching them fall in love. Then, as an adult when I discovered queer romance, I knew I’d found my absolute favorite thing to read. Knowing queer characters will get their happily ever after feels both comforting and radical to me. A lot of LGBTQ+ media has been dominated by stories of suffering, so happy stories about queer folks finding love and joy have power.

I love writing contemporary romance because, at least for me, I feel it gives the most opportunity to dig into character development and all of the nuance of what it really means to enter into a new relationship.  And since I’m in my late twenties, I like writing about characters my age trying to juggle careers, friendships, and finding their happily ever after. 

While I’m not sure it makes my romance work unique, one thing I care a lot about is including politics in my stories. Writers are frequently told to keep politics out of their work, but everything we do is political! 

Nicely said. I think politics, if done well, can only add to the richness of any story, including romance. Romance has a stigma that it’s basicially erotica, where the lines can blur a bit. We know this isn’t the case, so what are your thoughts on the whole line blur between romance and erotica?

Hm. I think a lot of the stigma around romance stems from intrenched cultural misogyny and discomfort with women enjoying themselves. But that’s a rant for another time!

Romance comes in all heat levels for sure, ranging from clean or sweet romance (terms I don’t love but, again, that’s a rant for another day) all the way to erotic romance. I think the biggest distinctions between romance and erotica are the goal of the work and why the reader seeks it out. When choosing a romance novel, a reader is going to expect character development, rich worldbuilding, and a traditional arc ending with the characters finding love. Emotional satisfaction is a hugely important aspect of romance. Erotica is more focused on sensuality and sex scenes.

I do include on the page sex in my novels and stories. One, because I like writing it, and two because I think, particularly for stories about queer women, it’s important that positive, consensual, and satisfying depictions of queer sexuality by queer creators exist in the world. In romance, however, sex scenes have to do the same work as any other scene. They should further the plot and develop character, otherwise they feel gratuitous.

Nicely said. I agree that there is a lot to unpack on this topic, however, I think you did a great job with the question. I love seeing positive pretrains of consensual adults being romantically involved.  Now, without spoilers why don’t you tell us about A Little Rebellion.

A Little Rebellion is a f/f romance novella that came out in May in theRogue Ever Afteranthology. I used to teach high school English and always wanted to write a story about two queer teachers falling in love. The plot centers around Ruth Chan, a veteran teacher and union representative, and Mia Davis, a brand-new educator. The two women develop a close friendship and commiserate over terrible new school policies. There’s plenty of awkward banter, progressive politics, and queerness!

Sounds like a must read. Okay, given the above do you have a favorite character in the story?  I know that’s like asking you to pick your favorite arm, however, sometimes there is a character that we have an easier time writing, so if you don’t have a favorite, then what about a character that was easy to write for?

I really loved writing Mia’s character because she’s so different from me! She’s bubbly and athletic and isn’t afraid of a challenge. The novella is dual point of view and I always looked forward to getting into Mia’s head. But I also really love Ruth in all of her awkward butch glory.

From your bio, I see you want to one day move to a cabin in the desert, that isn’t something you hear a lot from people, so I’m curious what is it about the desert you love so much?

It’s kind of a silly line because I’m pretty sure I never want to leave Maine (where I live now.) But I do love the desert. I’m a sucker for a beautiful but harsh landscape. And the American Southwest is one of my favorite places to hike because I love to geek out over desert plants and birds. 

LOL, plus I’m sure it’s quite a contrast from Maine, which I love by the way and got a chance to visit there a million years ago… I’m hoping to go back.  Anyway, moving on, what are you currently working on? What will be seeing from you in the future?

I’m currently working on a f/f foodie romance about a baker and a chef. It has been a lot of fun to write!

This fall I have a queer romance coming out with NineStar Press, followed by a holiday romance coming out with Dreamspinner Press. So stay tuned!

Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Thank you so much for having me! You are always welcome. Hit me up when you have a new book out and we can do this again.

Thank you KD for stopping by today and telling us about yourself and your writing.  If you have questions for KD leave them below and I’ll ensure she swings by to answer, or you can find her on Social Media, see the links below. Until next time have a great week.


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About A Little Rebellion:

Veteran public school teacher and union rep Ruth Chan is always ready for the curveballs life throws at her--an updated curriculum, a new principal, a replacement superintendent… But she’s not ready for a cute woman at the dog park to divert her attention the day before a new school year. Ruth can't afford to pursue love when her students need her.

The last thing Mia Davis needs is a distraction. It’s her first year teaching and she’s going to do things right, dang it! No matter how much she wants to fantasize about a certain colleague she met at the dog park, Mia has to stand up to the intolerant jerk of a principal and help her students learn despite the horrible new test-prep curriculum.

As a close friendship develops between Mia and Ruth, the women must fight to save the school they both love and decide if their friendship can turn into something more.

Where to Buy KD Fisher’s books:

For A Little Rebellion in Rogue Ever After

Buy it on Amazon here.

But it on Barnes & Noble here.  

Find it on Apple Books here.

Buy it on Kobo here.

For Nature's Heart in Rogue Passion

Find it on Amazon here.

Buy it on Barnes & Noble here.

Find it on Apple Books here.

Buy it on Kobo here.


About KD Fisher:

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KD Fisher is a queer New England-based writer of authentic, heartfelt LGBTQ+ narratives. 

KD grew up all over the United States: bouncing from North Carolina, to Hawai'i, to Illinois, and finally settling in Maine where she spends far too much time at the beach. As much as she loves the Northeast, she daydreams about one day moving to a cabin in the desert.

When KD isn’t writing she can usually be found hiking with her overly enthusiastic dog, obsessing over plants, or cooking elaborate meals. She loves classic country, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and falling asleep in the sun.

Where to find KD Fisher:

For Twitter click here.

For Facebook click here

For Instagram click here.

For Goodreads click here.

Interview with Author Casey Wolfe

Another week and another exciting author chit-chat. Happy Wednesday Scribblers. This week I’m thrilled to bring you fellow NineStar Press Author Casey Wolfe. When Casey isn’t writing they describe themselves as a history nerd, film buff, avid gamer, and full-time geek. Casey is the author of One Bullet (a Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention – congratulations) and the Inquisition Trilogy A Mage’s Power and A Vampire’s Redemption, with book three yet to be named. Let’s get into the conversation.

Welcome Casey, before we get started why don’t you tell us something about yourself. Something not in your standard bio.

I’m a space nerd, on top of my other geeky interests - as though there aren’t enough.  I love all things space - whether it’s studying the science of it, admiring the infinite beauty, or pondering that age-old question of “where does alien life exist out there?”  I pretty much stalk NASA’s Facebook page (and mission pages) and watch their live streams whenever I can.  I may also talk to Curiosity as though it’s actually the one answering posts - so sue me! - and cried when they had to call off the search for a signal from Oppy.  I cheer for JPL like they’re rock stars.  Basically, if NASA asked for volunteers to go to Mars tomorrow, I’d be the first to sign up.

That is great. I’m a total NASA nerd myself. Space really is amazing and I that we get up and start exploring sooner rather than later.

Okay, enough geeking out, so, when I was reviewing your books and bio I see that you write contemporary drama and contemporary fantasy, both are amazing genres to write in, what excites you about these genres?

Honestly, One Bullet was my first ever take on straight-up contemporary.  I typically stick with paranormal and fantasy, so that was very different for me.  It was fun, but I’m not sure I’ll be taking a trip back there any time soon.  I’m much too happy playing with the supernatural and fantastical.  If anything, I’ll go historical before that - which is another love of mine.

Anyway, what excites me about the fantasy genre?  I guess it’s just the mythic, the unseen.  It’s that idea that anything could be possible.  Sure, I have this desire to make that thing believable in the sense that it follows some kind of “rules” for the world I created, but it still leaves a whole slew of possibilities.  It’s intoxicating just thinking about it.

For your Inquisition Trilogy you had to create your own world tell us about that. What is different? What is familiar? What can we expect to read?

Because of the political elements involved, I didn’t want to just take fantasy/supernatural races, plop them into our world, and then weave their history in with ours.  Besides, that would have been the easy way out.  No, I wanted something I could make my own, alter the timelines as I needed, make my own borders, my own cultures, write my own history, and everything that came along with that.  Sound daunting?  It was.  And most of what I have in my head about this world, which I named Eiocha, won’t ever make the page.

That said, it’s still taking place in a modern time period instead of being some atypical fantasy questing story.  You’ll have people using cars, cell phones, the internet…  One of my favorite things was figuring out all the different ways having magic impacted technology and how technology would impact magic.  It’s a super fun balancing act and nothing is more fun than seeing the two combined in some really neat ways that advance society - particularly in the medical field.

And that’s the thing.  I wanted it all to just feel so easy and natural.  Society has had hundreds of years at this point to integrate magicae and mundanes (magical and non-magical races, respectively), and it shows.  It’s like someone pulling out a smartphone.  No one would look twice because technology is so ingrained in our daily lives.  In Eiocha, it’s the same way with magic, which is just as common and integral to society as their tech is.

Without spoilers why don’t you tell us about The Inquisition Trilogy.

Well, the trilogy’s conflict centers around our titular bad guys, the Inquisition.  They’re an organization that has risen to power, found in multiple countries around the world.  Once famed dragon killers - thanks for making them extinct, jerks - they’ve become experts in all things magicae and weaseled their way into politics by becoming the policing force for magicae in their respective countries.  And, like any power-hungry entity with no real government oversight, well, things have gone...bad.

In each book, the POV gets passed between couples but we stay within the same group of friends that are fighting back against the Inquisition.  While there’s an overarching plot that carries out over the course of all three books, each has their own individual subplots happening within them as well.  So, there’s plenty going on.

We’ve talked quite a bit about your contemporary fantasy series, let’s switch gears and talk about your other novel, One Bullet. Tell us about it? What inspired you to write this story? What was it like to get the Honorable Mention from the Rainbow Awards? That had to feel good.

One Bullet follows the story of former police officer, Ethan Brant, and Detective Shawn Greyson, who met the night Ethan was shot.  Shawn not only saved Ethan that night, but continues to help him in his recovery.  During that time, the pair inevitably become close friends...and then something more.

It was really exciting to get an Honorable Mention on my debut novel.  It was an unexpected surprise, to be sure!

As far as the inspiration goes...I remember being inspired by the amazing artist known as Yuumei, and a particular illustration they had done for their Fisheye Placebo webcomic entitled “Rise.”  For some reason, it percolated in my head and formed into this idea of a first meeting between two characters - one being shot and the other that saved their life.  Funny enough, as the plot of the novel actually took form, the reason behind the shooting and way it takes place is completely different to how it was originally envisioned - which involved a protest.  But, that art is still the source for the entire project, despite the changes.

As I read your bio you have quite a few different hobbies, tell us about them. Why do you call yourself a full-time geek? And since you are a gamer what is your favorite game to play?

Oh, I am happy to call myself a geek.  The “full-time” part comes from the fact that basically all my hobbies can be considered geeky/nerdy.  I’m always happy - and never more content - to talk about anything and everything geek with someone, even when that thing isn’t something I’m personally into or knowledgeable about.  It’s just nice to share that kind of love over something that really only fellow geeks and fandom nerds share.

I play mostly video games, though I’ve been getting more into tabletop and board games these days.  But, pass me a controller and give me an open-world RPG and I’m the happiest person ever.  I also love a good shooter or a choice-based narrative game like Life is Strange and Detroit: Become Human.  Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to survive until Cyberpunk 2077 releases.

Is there something special you and your partner like to do together?

Well, he’s a geek, too.  I mean, we met at a Halo LAN party (no joke).  HAHA.  So, obviously we enjoy playing video games together.  We’re co-op people.  We don’t like playing against each other.  Typically.  We’ve just never been competitive that way.

We also have started playing board games that have story elements to them.  Fallout the Board Game and Dead of Winter are our personal favorites at the moment.  The latter has been good at testing my resolve of whether or not I would use him as bait in an actual zombie apocalypse.

LOL.  Bait for an actual zombie apocalypse… that is a tough question to ponder.  Sadly I have no doubt I would be one of the first victims, so I’m off the hook on having to think about survival.

So, what are you currently working on? What will be seeing from you in the future?

Book 3 of the trilogy, naturally.  But, I’ve also been mapping out a new-ish project, because my muse hates me.  It’s a prequel story to the trilogy, which can be read as a separate entity, although fans of the trilogy will get dropped some great Easter Eggs and background.  It’s about Arthur, Merlin, and their Knights of the Round Table.  Yes, I went there.  I mention them briefly in A Vampire’s Redemption, and again in Book 3, so when I was creating the backstory for all of that in my head, I ended up with more and more ideas until I went: Why don’t I just write the thing?  And here we are.

I’ve also been playing around with a couple historical novels, both in different plotting stages.  One is a Western, which I always said I would do one day.  The other is a magical realism WW2 novel.

Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Honestly, I’m just really excited to get more content out to everyone.  I mean, I’ve got the audiobook for A Mage’s Power out now.  Both books in the trilogy are on the list to be translated into Spanish.  So many awesome things I’d never thought would ever happen, and I just can’t wait for more of it.

So, thank you so much for having me, my friend.  Hopefully, the next time we talk, I have a lot more fun and exciting things to share with you.

You are welcome anytime.

I want to thank Casey for taking the time to swing by. It was magnificent learning more about you and your writing. Remember Scribblers if you love Contemporary Fantasy or Contemporary Drama check out Casey’s books and don’t forget to share this post with family and friends who may enjoy their works as well. If you have questions for Casey leave them below and I’ll ensure they swing by to answer, or you can find them on Social Media, see the links below. Until next time have a great week.


About One Bullet, A Mage’s Power, and A Vampire’s Redemption:

One Bullet:

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When Ethan Brant was shot, he found himself dealing with severe PTSD and unable to do his job as a police officer any longer. With the aid of Detective Shawn Greyson, the man who saved his life, Ethan not only finds himself again but discovers love as well.

Shawn’s life growing up was less than ideal, however, he overcame that to become who he is today. That doesn’t mean he isn’t missing something in his life. What Shawn hadn’t realized, upon first meeting, was that Ethan could give him all that and more.

One bullet changed both their lives.


A Mage’s Power (The Inquisition Trilogy, Book 2):

Built on the bones of an ancient city, modern-day Everstrand is where master mage, Rowan, has set up his enchantment shop. When not hanging out with his werewolf best friend, Caleb, or studying, he dabbles in herbology and the controversial practice of blood magic. A prodigy who has already earned two masters, Rowan’s bound and determined to reach the distinction of grandmaster, a mage who obtains a masters in all five Schools of Magic.

Shaw works for the Inquisition, the organization charged with policing the magical races collectively known as magicae. Recently, it has come under scrutiny as magicae begin to disappear and reports of violence increase. With secrets of his own on the line, Shaw is willing to risk everything to find out just what is going on behind all the locked doors.

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When Rowan and Shaw are entangled in each other’s worlds, it becomes evident that their hearts are as much at risk as their lives. They must find the truth and stop a conspiracy before it’s too late.

A Vampire’s Redemption (The Inquisition Trilogy, Book 2):

Marcus was likely dead, killed by the Inquisition, or so it was believed. Then the vampire was found, broken beyond words, in an isolated prison fortress. Marcus had never expected to see daylight again, let alone be rescued by his mate. Now he worries he’ll drag Caleb into his darkness.

Caleb was the one who pulled Marcus out of his prison cell, and he’s determined to drag him from the nightmares of his mind as well. After all, that’s what mates are for, and Caleb had lost hope at finding his. And if he can help destroy the entire Inquisition? Well, all the better.

Dealing with Marcus’s physical and mental healing from his trauma is difficult enough, but Inquisition holdouts are causing chaos everywhere, and sinister plots are rampant. Marcus and Caleb have no choice but to fight back. It’s a good thing they are not alone.

Where to Buy Casey Wolfe’s books:

Buy their books on NineStar Press here.

Buy their books on Amazon here.

Find the audible novels here.

Buy their books on Barnes & Noble here.

Also available on Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and other major retailers.  Check your local library, or make a request!


About Casey Wolfe:

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History nerd, film buff, avid gamer, and full-time geek; all of these things describe Casey Wolfe.  They prefer being lost in the world of fiction—wandering through fantasy realms, traveling the outer reaches of space, or delving into historical time periods.  Casey is non-binary and ace, living with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, all of which informs their writing in various ways. Happily married, Casey and their partner live in the middle-of-nowhere, Ohio with their furry, four-legged children.

Where to find Casey Wolfe:

Find Casey’s Website here.

Find Casey on Facebook here.

You can check out Casey here on Tumblr.

Find their author page on Goodreads here.

Top Ten List with Schuyler L'Roux

Wow! It’s Wednesday again Scribblers. This week I’m pleased to have fellow NineStar Author Schuyler L’Roux on my Scribbles Page to do a Top Ten List for his debut series There’s Always Something. This should be a lot of fun, so let’s get started.

The Top 10 Reasons I Wrote the “There’s Always Something” series

  1. I answered an open call that Ninestar Press ran on Writing.com in 2015. The day I found the ad, I had started writing a sex scene that I thought was nothing more than a fun diversion. Ninestar had just opened, and I thought it’d be a perfect place for a new writer to learn the ropes of writing and publishing. So I fleshed out my random hookup and hoped for the best when I submitted the first story, “There’s Something about a Kilt.”

  2.  In 2015, I was living in Germany in a glorious year off that was dedicated to writing and publishing my first book. I couldn’t get so much as a nibble for that book and, like any proper writer, proceeded to get drunk and depressed. Finding Ninestar and starting “There’s Always Something” reminded me that there can always be another project and that my goal shouldn’t be success, but rather the joy in creating and completing a project.

  3. I’d always toyed with sex scenes, but as nothing more than short exercises to test my writing or because I was hot and bothered. “There’s Always Something” gave me a chance fully incorporate sex into a living, breathing story. Sex became not just an exclamation point, but a way to propel the story forward or perhaps, as was the case in “There’s Something about Pain,” jerking the story to a complete halt.

  4. I love wearing kilts. They’re functional, flirty, and oh, so breathable. I had a ton of fun writing about Gerry’s kilt and using it in sex scenes in fun ways.

  5. I published the first short story in the series, “There’s Something about a Kilt,” early in 2016. I heard good things from reviewers, readers, and the team at Ninestar who published the story. But I didn’t give much thought to continuing the story. It was only after moving back to the United States (B’more!) and spinning my wheels with another novel that I came back to Thom & Gerry. Raevyn, Ninestar’s owner, was so encouraging about my return to the series, I jumped all in.

  6. Continuing the series with “There’s Something about Pain” was a great challenge. I had to bridge all of the emotional consequences about the broken promise that ends “There’s Something about a Kilt.” Then I doubled down on the emotional trauma with the sequel, “There’s Something about Pain,” just upped the ante in the conclusion, “There Something about Flying.” Writing Thom & Gerry’s journey from a hot hookup to an emotional confrontation about acceptance, forgiveness meant so much to me.

  7. If I had published “There’s Something about a Kilt” with another publisher, I’m not sure if I would have ever come back to write “Pain” or “Flying.” Ninestar Press is an incredible company. Raevyn is ethical, thoughtful, and driven for impassioned inclusivity. And the editors I’ve been fortunate to work with on “There’s Always Something” have in equal parts complemented my writing and challenged me to be a better writer and artist. 

  8. Gerry is absolutely my idealized version of self. Tall. Beefy. Redhead. Confident. I’m just missing the tall and beefy part, so I had a lot of fun creating fantasies for him. The physical scenes were enjoyable, but I also enjoyed challenging him emotionally.

  9. Thom holds a part of my heart as a fellow writer. I had initially written him as an innocent angel, but Thom definitely evolves into much more than the bookworm blossoming under Gerry’s indulgent care as I originally envisioned. I liked reversing the roles Thom & Gerry initially played in the first story and then watching the consequences unfold in the second and third stories.

  10. And for #10, I’ll give you the number one reason I did NOT write “There’s Always Something”—the Tom & Jerry cartoons. I never once thought about Tom & Jerry while writing Thom & Gerry. It was only after my partner mentioned it that I had any idea. I then laughed for five minutes straight.


Book Blurb - There’s Something about a Kilt

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The first in the series: It’s a hellaciously hot day in Minneapolis and all Thom wants to do is enjoy his ice cream and forget about the stacks of essays waiting for him back in his stifling apartment. Until he meets Gerry, a kilted, tattooed Welshman. The conversation is smooth and the attraction immediate, but Gerry is only in town for the night and isn’t down for anything quick and forgettable. When they meet again, hours later, Gerry knows there’s something in the air and all bets are off. Including his kilt.

Where to Buy:

For There’s Something about a Kilt click here.

For There’s Something about Pain click here.

For There’s Something about Flying click here.


About Schuyler L’Roux:

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I passionately believe in the power of sex—funny, world-changing, scratch-the-hell-out-of-your-back sex. I'm Southern and Welsh. But most of all, I'm optimistic. I write about thoughtful characters engaged in meaningful interactions and entertaining situations. With lots and lots of sex, of course. 

Where to Find him:

On Instagram here.

On Twitter here.

Interview with Author Damian Serbu

Happy Wednesday Scribblers it’s not very often I get to chat with another author of vampire books, so this week I’m thrilled to have fellow Ninestar Press author Damian Serbu here on my Scribbles’ Page for a nice sit down and chat. So grab a glass of redand sink your teeth into this interview.

Welcome Damian, before we get started why don’t you tell us something about yourself. Something not in your standard bio.

I fell in love with vampires in high school! I had no idea at the time, but it seems pretty clear in retrospect that their double nature and secretive lives appealed to my closeted self.  When I was introduced to Anne Rice a few years later, I became even more enthralled with vampires than ever before. The Louis/Lestat relationship mesmerized me. What else to tell you? I love to travel! Paul (my husband) and I go all over the place. This summer, we’re heading to England for a week, and next year to Paris for a week to celebrate our 25thwedding anniversary. Almost all the places where I’ve been end up in my writing at some point or another. It’s a fun way to relive a favorite destination and share it with other people. Plus, having been there helps make it come alive when I write about it.

Yes, I would totally agree. I do that as well.  I pull in places I’ve traveled too, it makes the story all the more real. After reviewing your works and reading your bio and all that good stuff. I see that you are a fellow writer of vampire tales, what is it that has drawn you to not only writing about vampires, but also what has drawn you to writing in general?

I was drawn to writing because stories filled my head that demanded to get out. Honestly, I resisted it for a long time. I am a historian by training, which is so opposite fiction it’s like night and day. But I always read fiction for fun – to rest my mind from the scrutinizing of primary documents and facts, of what the past teaches us. In the midst of that relaxation, I started to imagine stories and eventually felt compelled to dabble in writing novels. Which led to publishing, and away I went! As for vampires – I just find them sexy! I enjoy all sorts of horror, but to charge it with a different kind of physical allure fascinates me. Plus, you can delve into something deeper with vampires by altering their fear of mortality, as opposed to humans. And finally, I know they play into a fantasy of mine that strips away fear. Growing up and coming out came with a fear to it; of rejection, of physical assault, of uncertain futures. Vampires overpower people and seldom experience that fear, so it’s fun to jump into their lives.

I agree. Let’s talk vampires, what mythology did you use? Did you create your own from start to finish or did you pull from various sources enhancing where you needed to?

I think I would say all of the above! I basically threw out the old stereotypes and fears, stuff about crosses and mirrors and such, moving toward the more contemporary vision of vampires as similar to humans, in terms of good and bad vampires, vampires with tons of emotion. Anne Rice influenced me in terms of how powerfully her vampires feel. But I also wanted a world of my own making, and so made stuff up as I went along.

Anne Rice is definitely the God Mother of vampires and I think we all pull a little something from her writing. Now, something else that caught my eye is your take on Santa that is definitely a much darker telling of Santa, so what is the story behind that series? It almost seems a bit tongue and cheek, is that what you were going for, or am I miss reading it?

Lol – it is totally tongue-in-cheek! (Side note – it is also completely unrelated to my other vampires, with its own legends, stand alone nonsense, etc.) Nothing in those books should be taken seriously, and readers should be warned that the humor is extremely juvenile. Though I also wanted some darkness, some pretty intense horror to scare people. I used to joke around about my theory that Santa was really a vampire, to amuse and annoy people during the holidays. Then I got to thinking that we horror fans need more books to enjoy during the holidays, when everyone else wants to read ‘happily ever after’ stories. Into my head popped Simon, the elf who tells the tale, and away I went. So yes, it’s supposed to be funny and scary and ridiculous.

I figured it had to be something like that.  I’m sure that series will make a fun, dark, holiday read. Also, you have several out of print novels right now, are you looking at editing them and bringing them back? Or have you moved on from them and they are lost to history?

I am definitely working to get the vampires back out there! NineStar has re-published two of them, and I am working on a couple others with the hopes it will publish them, and therefore complete my vampire series. The Vampires Angeland The Vampire’s Questare books I and II of my vampire series (reprints), while The Vampire’s Protégéis book IV (original to NineStar). So, you see, I really want to get book III out there! As for my other stand alone novels that are out of print, I’m not sure what their future holds.

I see that you are a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA), how has this affected your writing career?

It’s been fun to engage with other horror writers, for one. And actually, I joined them a long time ago and participated in their mentor program. My mentor helped with my first novel and my writing so much! HWA also provides a publicity platform and information about the publishing world that really helps me. It’s a fun organization that connects readers and writers, too.

Sounds like an organization that all horror writers need to check out. Moving from writing to personal, when you’re not writing what do you and your husband enjoy doing? 

I already mentioned that we travel, so there’s that. We watch movies and hang out with friends a lot, as well as spend as much time as possible with family. We’re wine enthusiasts – he’s especially a wine snob, but because he is I get to drink good wine, too. We’re avid Cleveland sports fans, so watch a lot of the Browns, Cavaliers, and Indians. And hang at home with the dogs. Plus we both like to read.

Speaking of dogs, you have two, one named Chewbacca and the other named Akasha, and you say they control your life how so? Also, I have to ask, Chewbacca, does this mean you are also a Star Wars Fan? If so is Chewbacca one of your favorite characters?

They control life because EVERYTHING revolves around them! They demand attention, for us to maintain their routines, and we comply. Akasha especially needs lots of attention, and expects that we stop everything to adore her whenever she wants. The idea is really about how much we love them and make life about them all the time. And yes – I am a HUGE Star Wars fan! I have loved Chewbacca since episode IV first came out in theaters! He was my very first action figure. Obviously I associated him as being Han Solo’s dog, so I liked him best.

That’s awesome. So, what are you currently working on? What will be seeing from you in the future?

I have two projects getting most of my attention these days. First, speaking of out-of-print books, I am working on a major overhaul and redo of Secrets in the Attic, because the main character becomes a main character in Book III of my vampire books. And I am writing away on my fifth vampire book in the series, tentatively titled The Vampire’s War

Sounds great. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

I want to express my appreciation for your having me stop by today! It’s been fun to chat with a fellow vampire enthusiast and hang out for a while, as well as a fellow NineStar author!

You are welcome anytime.

I want to thank Damian for taking the time to stop by and chat. It was great leaning more about you and your writing. Remembers Scribblers if you love Dark Fantasy or Vampire Stories check out Damian’s books and don’t forget to share this post with family and friends who may enjoy his works as well. If you have questions for Damian leave them below and I’ll ensure he swings by to answer, or you can find him on Social Media, see the links below. Until next time have a great week.


About The Vampire’s Angel and The Vampire’s Quest:

In The Vampire’s Angel, as Paris devolves into chaos amidst the French Revolution, three lives intertwine that will either throw each person into complete chaos or save their very soul from the turmoil swirling around and within them. Xavier, a devout priest, struggles to hold onto his trust in humanity only to find his own faith threatened with the longing he finds for a mysterious American visitor. Thomas fights against the Catholic Church to win Xavier’s heart, but hiding his undead nature will threaten the love he longs to find with this abbe.  Xavier’s sister, Catherine, works with Thomas to bring them together while protecting the family fortune but falls prey herself to evil forces. The death, peril, and catastrophes of a revolution collide with a world of magic, vampires, and personal demons as Xavier, Thomas, and Catherine fight to find peace and love amidst the destruction.

The Vampire’s Questbrings back the beloved gay vampires, Xavier and Thomas, in the anticipated sequel to The Vampire’s Angel. In 1822, the Archangel St. Michel orders Xavier to go on a quest to America, a quest that violates the Vampire Council’s laws to the point of a possible death sentence. Worse, Xavier must abandon his lover, Thomas. Xavier runs to his aging sister and pleads for Catherine’s help as Thomas races after them. With Thomas and the Vampire Council vying for Xavier’s soul, Xavier and Catherine struggle to obey the former priest’s divine calling before their inevitable capture.

Where to Buy Damian Serbu’s books:

For Vampire’s Angel click here.

For Vampire’s Quest click here.

For Vampire’s Protégé click here.

 For Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon click here.

 For Santa is a Vampire click here.


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About Damian Serbu:

Damian Serbu lives in the Chicago area with his husband and two dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys. He has published The Vampire’s AngelThe Vampire’s Quest, andThe Vampire’s Protégé, as well as Santa’s Kinky Elf, SimonandSanta Is a Vampirewith NineStar Press. Keep up to date with him on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.DamianSerbu.com.

Where to find Damian Serbu: 

For Twitter click here.

Find him on Facebook here.

Top Ten List with Abigail de Niverville

Happy Wednesday Scribblers this week I’m pleased to have fellow NineStar Author Abigail de Niverville on my Scribbles Page to do a Top Ten List for her debut novel, I Knew Him. Without further ado let’s get to the question.

What are ten things about Julian that make him unique and an interesting character that readers will be excited about?

  1. Julian lives in a small town called Riverview, which still exhibits a lot of backwards notions. It makes it difficult for him to decide if he wants to come out.

  2. He doesn’t like being the centre of attention, mainly because that gives more opportunity for people to speculate things about him.

  3. His star sign is Aquarius, and he definitely embodies certain traits. He runs from his emotions, he finds it difficult deciphering those of others. But he’s also very adaptable in different situations and with different people.

  4. He has a lot of constellations memorized.

  5. His parents are divorced and he’s having trouble unpacking his feelings surrounding his father’s absence in his life.

  6. He’s not very talkative and prefers the company of people who give him space to speak instead of demanding information out of him.

  7. He bought his car off someone’s front lawn.

  8. Though there were other signs he found in retrospect, Julian first began wondering about his sexuality when a boy kissed him at a party a couple years before the beginning of I Knew Him.

  9. He loves action movies and sci-fi, though he might not be willing to admit that to everyone.

  10. He throws a lot of his energy into school instead of dealing with his problems.

Blurb:

In his senior year of high school, Julian has one goal: be invisible. All he wants is to study hard, play basketball, and pretend he’s straight for one more year. Then, he can run away to university and finally tell the world he’s bisexual. And by “the world,” he means everyone but his mom and best friend. That’s two conversations he never wants to have.

When he’s talked into auditioning for the school’s production of Hamlet, Julian fears that veering off course will lead to assumptions he’s not ready to face. Despite that, he can’t help but feel a connection to this play. His absent father haunts him like a ghost, his ex is being difficult, and he’s overthinking everything. It’s driving him crazy.

The decision to audition leads Julian on an entirely different path. He’s cast as Hamlet, and the boy playing Horatio is unlike anyone Julian has met before. Mysterious and flirtatious, Sky draws Julian in, even though he fears his feelings at the same time. As the two grow closer, Julian begins to let out the secrets he’s never told—the ones that have paralyzed him for years. But what will he do if Sky feels the same way?


Buy Links:

Universal Link click here

For Amazon click here

For Barnes and Noble click here

For NineStar Press click here

Author Bio:

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Abigail de Niverville is an author and composer based in Toronto, Canada. Born on the East Coast of Canada, Abigail draws inspiration from her experiences growing up there. When she’s not writing frantically, she also composes music and holds an M.Mus from the University of Toronto.

Find Abigail here:

Website: adeniverville.com

Twitter: @adeniverville

Interview with Author Glenn Quigley

Happy Wednesday everyone. This week I want to say a big hello to fellow NineStar Press Author Glenn Quigley. Glenn has two amazing novels out The Lion Lies Waiting and The Moth and Moon and he is coming to us from beautiful Northern Ireland.


Before we jump in, I just want to say welcome to my Scribbles Page.

Thanks very much for inviting me along!

Let’s start off with you telling us something about yourself that we won’t see in your bio.

Hmm, let’s see. I’m a huge fan of Transformers, and have been since 1984. I trained with a paranormal investigation group and have been on ghost hunts in people’s homes, a jail, and the Belfast Opera House. Oh, and I used to make teddy bears from socks. New socks, mind you!

No way! That is so cool.  Okay, I need to focus.

I know you’re also a graphic designer and I’ve seen some of your amazing art that you’ve posted on Social Media, you are very talented, clearly being creative most be a passion of yours so what came first the writing or the art?

Oh, thank you very much! I’d say the art came first, I was always a doodler as a child, but I also read a lot. Books and comics. I was never any good at schoolwork (I hated school), except for essays in English class, which I really enjoyed. Once I left school, I kept working at my art and taught myself Photoshop and other art programs. The writing took a back seat for many years, but I would often note down story ideas and write little passages that usually never really went anywhere.              

It’s amazing how that works. I sort of did the same thing. I had all these ideas, but nothing ever came of them. Of course, the extent of my drawing is creating an amazing stick figure. So, what inspired you to start writing?

From secondary school onwards, my mother urged me to keep writing. It was always her dream to one day have a book with my name on the cover and she would regularly ask me if I was still working on my writing.

I went back to college as a mature student in 2014 to study photography and graphic design, and while the first year went really well, the second year was in a different college and it was a horrible experience. It was like being back in school. I dropped out of the course and thought I’d better have something to show for that year, so I decided to try writing a short story. When I managed that, I thought I’d try expanding it into a full novel, and it became The Moth and Moon.

Speaking of The Moth and Moon, let’s talk about your books, you have two out right now, The Lion Lies Waiting and The Moth and Moon why don’t you tell us about them.

Click on the image to buy the books.

Click on the image to buy the books.

The Moth and Moon is set in the 18thcentury and is about a burly gay fisherman named Robin Shipp who lives on a tiny island off the coast of Cornwall. One day a storm blows in and turns his life upside down. 

The Lion Lies Waiting is set four months later, and sees Robin embroiled in political intrigue, family drama and a possible revolution on sinister Blackrabbit Island.

The books are set in a world without religion, so nobody suffers any kind of prejudice for their sexual orientation or gender. I knew when I started writing the story that I wanted it to be historical fiction but I didn’t want it to all happen behind closed doors, or have characters face any hardship for their orientation. Frankly, the real world has enough of that, and I wanted an escape. I reasoned that religion was the excuse many people used to persecute LGBT+ people so if I removed that, I removed a huge stumbling block for equality.

I needed the world of 1780 (the year the books are set in) to be recognizable, but believably different. The answer I came up with was to still have the Romans invade Britain, which gave me the history, cultural impact, names, language, etc. needed to make the world recognizable, but then when their empire falls, the church goes with it. Word spread throughout the world of what life could be like if people just believed in themselves and in each other, and gradually all religion is left by the wayside. So by the time the books are set, a thousand years later, society has embraced all genders and orientations. Oh, and there’s a clockwork technology in there too, just to serve as a little reminder that this is meant to be *a* past, not *the* past.

The main characters are a mix of gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight. 

That is an interesting concept. I have heard people say work could be called historical fiction, but considering the changes your made is that a correct assertion? Why did you pick this genre to write in? 

I think given the massive liberties I’ve taken with history a more accurate label would be Historical Fantasy. I love history documentaries; I find them a great source of inspiration. I chose the late 18thcentury because I think there’s something about being on the cusp of the industrial revolution that’s romantic, in a funny way. It’s like the last few years before the birth of the modern world.

Tell us about the characters we are going to meet in these novels, are they based on real people or are they completely made up? 

They are completely made up, although Robin, my main character, has a lot of my clumsiness in him. I think, as I was writing, some mannerisms from friends and family creeped in to characters here and there, but there are no direct similarities. I based characters appearances on real people just so I could keep them consistent, but I think a lot of writers do that.

Robin Shipp is 50, extremely tall, broad, heavy, and not that bright. He’s a fisherman who lives in the little village of Blashy Cove. When we first meet him, he’s living a quiet life, ostracized by the wider community as they believe his father murdered a local artist forty years ago. He has no family, and lives alone in a tall, thin house. He has friends named Edwin, a handsome baker, and Morwenna Whitewater, an elderly neighbor who took pity on him after his father died. We also meet Robin’s ex-lover, Duncan. A short, stocky man who works as a toymaker. He and Robin have a very frosty relationship and can’t bear to be around one another. Over the course of the first book we meet the grumpy innkeeper, Mr. Reed, the married aristocrats Ladies Eva and Iris Wolfe-Chase, Edwin’s mother Sylvia (who loves to stir up trouble) and a whole host of other characters.

That sounds like a fun cast. Now, living in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, I would love to hear about your home, what are five must does if I were to ever make it over there?  

Lisburn is a small city, but it’s good for shopping as it’s so compact. It’s close to Belfast, which has lots of great bars, restaurants, and shops. Also nearby Hillsborough village is picturesque, with a lovely forest.

That sounds amazing. Ireland is on my list of places to visit so I hope to get there. Lastly, is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

I design geeky tshirts for Moodybear, so head over to www.themoodybear.comand have a look!

I have a fun little series of Five Questions with Ninestar Press authors on my website, www.glennquigley.comand I’m always happy to chat on Twitter, so anyone can contact me on there. I’d also like to say thanks again for having me on your blog!

I want to thank fellow author Glenn Quigley for stopping by today and chatting with you us about his two books. If you have questions for Glenn leave them in the comments below and I’ll have him swing by and answer them. Remember to like and share this post with your family and friends. You can share by clicking the share tab below. Until next time have a great week.

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About Glenn Quigley:

Glenn Quigley is a graphic designer originally from Dublin and now living in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. He creates bear designs for www.themoodybear.com. He has been interested in writing since he was a child, as essay writing was the one and only thing he was ever any good at in school. When not writing or designing, he enjoys photography and watercolour painting.

Where to contact Glenn Quigley:

Click here for his website.

Find him on Facebook here.

Find him on Twitter here.


Conversation and New Book Announcement with K.S. Trenten

Here we are, another Wednesday and we are at the beginning of spring, can you believe how quickly the year is going? This week I welcome back fellow NineStar Press Author and friend K.S Trenten to tell us what she’s been up since the last we talked and of course to tell us all about her newly released novella A Symposium in Space. If you didn’t catch her prior interview check it out here.


Before we jump in, I just want to say welcome back to my Scribbles Page.

Thank you for having me! And may I say from the bottom of my heart as someone who’s been called the Scribbler by her characters, I’m delighted to see you have a Scribbles Page. :)

Instead of sharing your bio with us, why don’t you tell us something about yourself that we won’t see in your bio.

Psst! I write fanfic. :) You can find a lot of mine at Archive of Our Own written under the name of rhodrymavelyne. This March when I wasn’t preparing A Symposium in Space for publication, to Blog From AZ, or for Camp NaNoWriMo, I was working on an ongoing fanfic which I’ve had some lovely readers show real appreciation for. I love the people who’ve given me positive feedback at Archive of Our Own. If it hadn’t been for them, I would never have had the guts to submit my work to a publisher.

It's wonderful when readers connect with your work. Congratulations. Now what have you been up to since the last time you were here?

Getting ready for the BloggingFromAZAprilProject and Camp NaNoWriMo. Both are April traditions for me. March and April are mad months. :) This April’s blogging theme is Character Conflicts. It’s a good time to pop by the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration and the Formerly Forbidden Cauldron (two of my blogs) and meet some of the various denizens in my imagination.

Camp NaNoWriMo will involve picking up my NaNoWriMo project and trying to finish a rough draft of it. My Tool, My Treasure is Damian Ashelocke’s story, a major character in my Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest series. Hungry shadows, memory ghosts, predatory matriarchs with eight arms (called arachnocrats) gods manifesting in their followers, and how one young man becomes this god’s ‘devil’ are a few of the ideas brewing for this particular story.

Tell us about A Symposium in Space.

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A mysterious and powerful citizen of the Intergalactic Democracy, Agathea, invites Phaedra (the main character) and her lover, Pausania to her ‘symposium’. Tensions between the couple manifest when Phaedra finds she really wants to go, but Pausania doesn’t. Phaedra decides to find her own way…and ends up falling in love. With a spaceship. She crosses the path of Sokrat, wandering philosopher who also wishes to go to the symposium, while avoiding a formidable space pirate who’s pursuing her. This pirate, Alcibiadea almost catches up them, but Phaedra and Sokrat eventually reach the symposium, only to find they’ve got quite the unusual dining experience waiting for them.

What inspired you to write this Novella?

I fell in love with Plato’s Symposium when I first read it at age 19. I was blown away by the speeches about love (yet at times extremely insulted by the casual misogyny mixed in with them). Alcibiades’s confession of love to Socrates remains one of the romantic things I’d ever read. It was so new, reading something like that back in 1990. Plus it was a younger man admitting he’d completely fallen for an older man, fallen for the beauty of his character. It took my breath away. Years later, there was a submission call for a science fiction anthology called Theory of Love. The title made me think of The Symposium. I imagined a scene like something out of Mystery Science Theatre, with Socrates and his pupils in philosophy being pursued throughout space by Alcibiades. I mentioned the idea to another writer, A. Catherine Noon. She said, “Write it!” I started writing, but I found myself writing about futuristic versions of the characters, which were female…and I ended up with a completely different story. :)

Tell us about the characters we are going to meet in this novella. Do you have a favorite?

Oh, it’s hard to choose. I love Sokrat, because she is my tribute to Plato’s Paragon, the Socrates which survived over the centuries through his writing. I do feel it’s one of the most enduring love tributes to a man Plato idealized as the embodiment of wisdom, who gets to the truth through questions. Sokrat does the same thing, carrying on the same ‘quest’ you might say that he does. At the same time, I also love Phaedra, because she ended up voicing a lot of my insecurities about technology, society, and never quite understanding whatever the latest trend or fashion is. All the characters surprised me, taking me in directions I didn’t expect, which was a lot of fun. I ended up getting attached to all of them, even Diotym, who didn’t go the symposium, yet snagged a spot at the Cauldron (my blog).

Changing topics a bit, I know from getting to know you, that you take a lot of amazing pictures, is there any chance we are going to see more of your photography, maybe in a book? Are you considering sharing more of your photos in another medium?

Wow, thank you! One of the problems is I’m seriously techno-phobic…Phaedra and I share that quality. Computers and the technology I use to create any photo art have a way of breaking down or not cooperating with me. I appreciate the vote of confidence! Hmm, maybe I should think about this…

You and I are both Bay Area Locals, so I want to ask, what are five of your favorite places here in the Bay Area, if you want to keep it to the San Jose area that is fine too?

Books, Inc is one. I love the Books, Inc in Mountain View and in Campbell. I also love the Mountain View public library…it’s a wonderful place to read and study. Frascati’s is a little Italian coffee house around the corner from Il Fornaio and the Convention Center. It’s an easy hop from the light rail to get there. The Il Fornaio on that street is beautiful with an old-fashioned feel to it. Easterly is right across from the Piatti I met you at. It has very good Chinese food, although it can be *really* spicy.

This is more of a me questions, but I want to ask it anyway, where is your favorite Dim Sum place here in San Jose? I’m always looking for some great Dim Sum.

Alas, our favorite dim sum place in San Jose, the Joy Luck Palace closed. The Joy Luck Cafe is still open, but it only has a fraction of what the Joy Luck Palace had. My husband and I are looking for a new local dim sum restaurant. There’s a place in Little Saigon we want to try out…yes, it’s Chinese, not Vietnamese, despite the location. We used to really like Koi Palace, but it hasn’t been as good lately. Too much is premade and brought to the restaurant rather than cooked on the site. Our current favorite dim sum place is in Emeryville, the Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant. It’s very expensive, but the food is excellent. We can’t afford to go there too often, alas.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

Please come and visit my Cauldrons at wordpress and blogspot this April! It’s a chance to meet a lot of my characters from different Works in Progress. And thank you for stopping by to see me! I hope you’ll all enjoy A Symposium in Space!

And thank you for having me stop by, M.D. Neu! It was an honor to return to the Scribbles Page!

I want to thank fellow author K.S. Trenten for stopping by today and telling us about her newest novella A Symposium in Space and for sharing some of her personal picks. If you have questions for K.S. leave them in the comments below and I’ll have her swing by and answer them. Remember to like and share this post with your family and friends. You can share by clicking the share tab below. Until next time have a great week.


About A Symposium in Space:

Phaedra and her lover, Pausania are invited to a dinner party. Only this won’t be like any party Phaedra has ever been to. Nor does Pausania want her to go. Phaedra is determined, even if she has to find her own way to this symposium in space. A fateful encounter with the spaceship of her dreams and the wandering philosopher, Sokrat, lead Phaedra to a unique gathering of individuals where thoughts of love are offered up…and consumed.

About K.S. Trenten:

K.S. Trenten lives in the Silicon Valley of California with her husband, two cats, and a host of characters in her head, all wanting attention.

Where to contact K.S. Trenten:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rhodrymavelyne/?ref=bookmarks#

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rhodrymavelyne

tumblr: https://rhodrymavelyne.tumblr.com/

Archive of Our Own: http://archiveofourown.org/users/rhodrymavelyne

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14876500.K_S_Trenten?from_search=true

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten

Nine Star Press Author Page: https://ninestarpress.com/authors/k-s-trenten/

Blogs, Otherwise Known as the Cauldrons of Eternal Inspiration:

inspirationcauldron.wordpress.com

inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com

cauldronkeeper.livejournal.com

rhodrymavelyne.dreamwidth.org

Conversation with Author R.R. Campbell

It’s Wednesday already, where did the week go? Welcome to another in my series of author interviews. This is my continued attempt to bring forward authors you may not already know and introduce them to you. If you do know them, then it is my hope you’ll learn something new. Today, I welcome fellow NineStar Press author R.R. Campbell to the hot seat to talk about his book Imminent Dawn and its highly anticipated sequel Mourning Dove.

Welcome to my Scribbles Page, Ryan. I’m thrilled to have you over, especially after I just finished Imminent Dawn. What a great book.

Thanks, M.D. Neu I was happy to know you picked up a copy, and thrilled to learn you liked it.

Before we jump the interview proper, why don’t you tell us something about yourself that’s not in your bio?

As a “buffer activity” in between writing-related work, I normally play Wii Golf or Baseball. Or, if I feel like being slightly more active, I’ll hop on the exercise bike in the basement—especially during these winter months, when it’s way too cold to go outside for a proper walk or jog.

I read in your bio that you run a podcast, The Writescast Network. Care to tell us about it? (include where and how people can listen Links are good too).

Yes! The Writescast Network is a podcast collective for writers, by writers. The idea is that in one single podcast feed, you get access to three distinct shows that focus on different facets of the craft and business of writing.

For example, the longest-running program (the r. r. campbell writescast), features author, agent, and editor interviews in which I ask those guests how they approach or feel about particular aspects of the craft of writing, or what they’ve done to be successful in marketing their work or establishing their brand. There are two new episodes of the r. r. campbell writescast on the first and third Fridays of each month, you can find it here.

Then there’s Novel Approaches. Novel Approaches is a monthly show that’s craft-intensive. For this show, co-host and fellow editor Sione Aeschliman joins me to do a deep dive into a particular aspect of the craft of writing. Previous topics have included goal-oriented storytelling, character development, narrative mode—the list goes on. In these episodes, which can sometimes last up to two hours, we also take listener questions and comments from a #WritescastChat we host on Twitter prior to recording the episode. This gives us an opportunity to work in insight from the broader community to provide listeners with a more holistic perspective.

Last but not least, we have Biblio Breakdown. This show features a host who explores one book (or TV show) in particular, and emphasizes what the writer of that media did well—all with the goal of seeing how that might help us as writers. Over the course of one episode, we might explore a book’s inciting incident, characterization, and how voice is brought to the page in detail.

I’m actively looking for Writescast Network contributors for this program, and anyone who’s interested in this can certainly email me at writescast@gmail.com to learn more.

Otherwise, all things Writescast Network can be found at writescast.net!

You’re an Editor as well, excellent. Do you find that that makes writing your own works easier or harder? What is it about editing that you enjoy so much? Are there works you won’t edit? What are your favorite kinds of novels to edit?

Over the years I’ve gotten better about compartmentalizing my work as an editor and my work as a writer. When I write, I write with my left brain—the goal is to just get the plot down and the basic scene mechanics on the page. When I revise my own work, I do so with my right brain, deepening the emotion of those scenes and shaping the work’s thematic elements based on what I’ve given myself to work with to start.

When I edit—whether for myself or others—I have to do both at the same time, making sure the pages’ contents are on point mechanically and emotionally. It’s a tricky balance to strike, but, like I said, I’ve become more confident in my ability to tackle this over the years, and practice does make for something approximating perfection.

I’m much more of a genre-focused editor than I am focused on editing literary works. With genre, there are more tangible benchmarks for me to work with when it comes to evaluation, whereas in literary works there’s more room for playing fast and loose with structure, characterization, narrative mode, etc. This is fantastic for writers who have a clear vision for the story they want to tell, but as an editor—for me, anyway—it can be tough to assert myself in the same ways since editing literary work (or memoir) can be a bit more personal; I don’t want to trod on anyone’s experience.

In the end, though, editing for others gives me an opportunity to not only help other writers realize the full potential of their concepts. It also helps me see my own work in a different light. I’m often in awe of how other writers confront challenges similar to those that I face in my own work, and it can be really inspiring to see.

Let’s talk about Imminent Dawn. Give us a brief description of the novel and since book two is on its way, the overall series.

Click the image for the book trailer.

Click the image for the book trailer.

Imminent Dawn takes place during the first round of human trials for an internet-access brain implant. Though it follows four perspective characters—including a ruthless tech magnate, a relentless investigative journalist, and an advancement-hungry administrative assistant—Chandra, the art-school dropout, really forms the story’s core.

Chandra enrolls in this research study because she believes the EMPATHY internet-access brain implant can help reunite her with her wife, who’s in a coma Chandra feels responsible for. Ultimately, Chandra’s goal is to have the internet-access brain implant installed in her wife’s mind as well, and she hopes that through the implant, the two of them will be able to communicate with one another in some way.

The majority of book one takes place on the research compound, though we do get to see some of the overworld’s politicking and the state of the North American Union as a whole. If Imminent Dawn is an action, Mourning Dove is the reaction that really lets us see how our characters handle the adversity posed by the fallout from the research study. Mourning Dove also lets us get enmeshed a bit more in the broader world, as it features scenes that take place in Texas, Quebec, and Costa Rica.

What inspired you to write the story? As I recall from your interview over on WROTE Podcast you mentioned that the story started as a short, and grew from there. Is that correct? (To hear the interview click here)

Imminent Dawn did start as a short story meant to be a modern Flowers for Algernon. After having written the short story, however, I realized there was more to the narrative than just what Chandra had at stake. It’s then that I added the journalist on the outside of the study, and from there, the addition of the ruthless tech magnate and the advancement-hungry administrative assistant really helped me see there was series potential here.

In this way, it went from a simple short work of fiction to the sprawling, Game of Thrones meets Black Mirror book series we’re looking at now!

As I mentioned I just finished the novel and it was excellent (for my review of Imminent Dawn click here). I enjoyed it quite a bit. I think what I found so interesting was the idea of following multiple characters, personally I love that kind of story telling as you can really explore the characters. Is that what you wanted to do with the novel from the start or, as you wrote it, did it morph into that kind of story telling?

Like I mentioned above, it really morphed into that over time. What I love about this kind of storytelling is that it gives us an opportunity to see how individuals of different backgrounds handle these momentous events in human history, even if the “history” is forward-looking and inherently speculative.

We have the four perspective characters in book one, but we’ll have nine in book two. Books three and four—whose events will be concurrent—will have a total of at least a dozen perspectives across both installments, though book three will have about half of those perspectives, and book four will have the others.

That is a lot of perspectives to keep track of, I can’t wait to see how you handle it. I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun to read.

Also I enjoyed that you didn’t put this story too far off from our time, meaning we can still recognize the world you are writing about. You did manage a few changes in your world building which I found fascinating, namely the North American Union or NAU as it’s referred to in the book. I would love to hear more about the world building you did for the story. What did you change? Why did you change it? And how did this affect your story telling?

I wanted this story to feel like it’s something that could happen in our world at any time. The actual lore behind it all (not present in book one) is that the EMPATHY series takes place on a divergent timeline, where subtle changes near the end of the twentieth century (and particularly in the twenty-first) led to serious advancements in telecom and vast, tectonic-level political changes both in the United States and abroad.

This not only allowed me to create an eerie distant-but-not-too-distant feel, but it also freed me up to do what I wanted regarding some of the laws that govern research studies and the world as a whole. It also gave me more freedom to shape how the characters view the world and the news taking place in it to a greater extent. In other words, it let me divorce myself from actual events in our world and replace them with similar moments and movements that might better serve the planned longer arc I have for the series.

Without giving anything away, I want to compliment you on the ending of Imminent Dawn, you could have chosen many endings for the book that would have allowed you to continue on with the series, but the road you chose was… well, nicely done. Was the ending always planned the way it was, or did that change as you wrote the novel and the more you dug into your characters?

I always knew the ending had to be bittersweet. For me, there’s something poetic to giving everyone what they want, but not quite how they would have wanted it. This irony really sets us up to see how people react to getting what they wish for in ways they never would have wished for it.

Writing an ending like the one we have in Imminent Dawn also allowed me to feel as though I was resolving the central question of the book while still providing a sense of direction for what might come in Mourning Dove and the later books in the series. Some reviewers have mentioned they didn’t like the threads I left dangling for the non-perspective characters, but—good news! Some of those people will, in fact, be perspective characters in books two through however many we end up with here.

Now, what can we except to see in Mourning Dove (by the way love the title)?

Click the image for the book trailer.

Click the image for the book trailer.

Mourning Dove, per its back cover, is an evocative, sweeping symphony of love, revenge, and desperation in cacophonous times. At its core is the struggle to balance how we view the past while still embracing the present and looking toward the future.

More tangibly, readers can expect a sweeping investigation into the goings-on from book one, while other characters will be left grappling with how their lives are forever changed by what they witnessed and experienced on the research compound. Where will they go from here? How will they move forward when the past truly has them in its grips? How do they reclaim what once was while also adjusting to a new, immutable reality? These are the questions with which the primary cast must concern itself over the course of the book.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?

Strap in. I’m proud of Imminent Dawn, but perhaps even more excited to see how readers feel about Mourning Dove. My recent decision to split book three into two installments (Event Horizon and Rubicon) has only invigorated me further; it’s letting me see the series in ways I’d never considered before.

Though I know what happens in every book in the series (including the final scene of the last book, Nightshade), I’ve got plenty of wiggle room to address the how. There are so many new, exciting characters that are begging for me to bring them into the fore a bit more, and as I evaluate which ones really merit that kind of treatment, I grow even more enthusiastic about getting Event Horizon ready for publication in late 2019, along with the subsequent episodes in the series.

That is impressive. Good luck and I can’t wait to read what you having in store for us. I want to thank fellow NineStar Author R. R. Campbell for stopping by today. If you want to check out all the books and authors over at NineStar Press click here.
Don’t forget to share this post with friends and family who love Sci Fi books. If you have any questions for R.R. Campbell leave them in the comments section below and I’ll have him pop back over and answer them. Until next time have a great week.


About R. R. Campbell:

r. r. campbell is an author, editor, and the founder of the Writescast Network, a podcast collective for writers, by writers. His published novels include Accounting for It All and Imminent Dawn, which debuted as the number one new release in LGBT science fiction on Amazon. Its sequel, Mourning Dove, is slated for release in April 2019 with NineStar Press.

His work has also been featured in Five:2:One Magazine’s #thesideshow, Erotic Review, and with National Journal Writing Month.

r. r. lives in Stoughton, Wisconsin with his wife, Lacey, and their cats, Hashtag and Rhaegar.

Contact R.R. Campbell:

Websites:

www.rrcampbellwrites.com

www.writescast.net

www.empathyseries.com

www.accountingforitall.com

Twitter and Instagram: @iamrrcampbell

Facebook: facebook.com/iamrrcampbell

Goodreads: goodreads.com/iamrrcampbell

Get your copy of Imminent Dawn here:

Amazon click here.

Barnes & Novel click here.

NineStar Press click here.

Kobo click here.

Smashwords click here.

Preorder Mourning Dove here:

NineStar Press click here.

Book Announcement and Interview for J.S. Strange

Happy Wednesday Scribblers, this week I’m welcoming J.S. Strange to share details about his newest book Murder on Rocks and to share details about himself. I’m so happy to J.S. a great friend of this Blog introduced me to J.S. and even though I haven’t read his book yet, I’ve got a tone of questions and have added the novel to my must read list.


Welcome to my Scribbles Page J.S. I promise this won’t be too painful of a process.

Before we jump the interview proper, why don’t you tell us something about yourself that’s not in your bio?

Well, I’m a massive Britney fan. I’m a self confessed Britney enthusiast. I suppose it’s because I grew up with her music, but also I really admired her for getting through the bad times and coming back better than ever. I could go on all day about how successful she is, how hard she works, and what she means to me, but I know a lot of people would just roll their eyes and think I’m being weird.

It’s not weird at all, we all have people we admire.

You are from Wales and after reading about you and Murder on the Rocks you very much want to spot light your home in this novel, it is something I can relate to as I do the same thing in my books. So, I want to ask you a question I get asked a lot, why Cardiff? Why Wales? What makes these places so interesting that you want to write about them?

I wanted to write a novel that had some realism to it. To do that, I wrote about places I knew about, or had been to. Some parts of the novel feature where I live, or where I work. Others are memories, or from when I’ve passed through the area. Welsh crime fiction needs to be taken seriously. I’ve read before that publishers won’t take it because ‘nobody wants to read Welsh crime fiction’, which I think isn’t true, because they’re out there. Yet compare Welsh fiction to the likes of Scottish fiction, or London fiction, and it barely compares. I wanted a city, and knew the importance of a location featuring as another character in your story, and Cardiff is a place of beauty, creativity, development – and yet it has another side, too. A darker side. I wanted to explore both, and write about both. Cardiff was a natural choice, because it’s up there with crime fiction settings such as Edinburgh. Wales, because I was born there and live there, and I think I wanted to help put it on the map, in whatever way I could!

I totally agree with that. I love books that don’t use the ‘traditional’ locations.

I also find it fantastic that you want to bring LGBT characters to the mystery genre. I especially love the point you bring up about Jordan being gay, “There is no tragic coming out story, and no internal sexuality struggle. His sexuality is not a plot device – it is his character. It is him.” I think it’s important in writing to go beyond the ‘gay’, you’re gay. GREAT! Now what else are you? What’s next? It sounds like this is your thought as well. Am I right? Care to expand on that?

Yes, that’s exactly right. I know sexuality is a big part of people’s lives. Living with the knowledge that you’re gay, and having to come out for the first time is scary. You have to constantly come out every time you meet someone new, or you start somewhere new. It’s not just a one time thing. Being gay, or being part of the LGBTQ community is not without it’s torments and struggles. But there are lots of stories about that, and it isn’t everybody’s experience. Lots of people come out and they live happy lives, even happier because they’re being their true selves. Also, I don’t think it defines who you are. You might be gay, but you offer a lot more. It’s not solely what you’re about or who you are. So Jordan Jenner is that type of man. He’s gay, but so what? He does the same job as straight male detectives, or straight female detectives, or even gay female detectives. He lives the same life, albeit he dates men. The story is simply there to say that gay men exist, that they do the same jobs as everybody else. He’s also there to serve a purpose of being in the crime and mystery genre, and hopefully holding his own with the likes of straight male manly leads, like Strike and Rebus. It’s important for me to write a gay character, to explore that side of him as the series progresses, but never detract from what the series is mainly about: a murder, and Jordan has to solve it.

Nicely said. I couldn’t agree more.

Something else that caught my eye as I read your information is that you wrote this after you hit a wall on your last story, a series you say you may not go back too. Why is that?

I was writing a zombie series. The first novel was my debut, and it didn’t do too badly, but could have done better. The second novel completely flopped. I had it all planned out, but one bad review came through and I was incredibly disappointed, with myself and with the story. I think second book syndrome existed, and I didn’t know how to move past this, even though the idea was there. I was going back and forth trying to write and third, and it wasn’t happening. But I still wanted to write. I read crime and thriller and mystery often, so I wanted to try it myself. I was terrified of that. I’d always told myself I couldn’t write a mystery, that you had to be clever to do so, but I gave it a go. I’m glad I did, because it brought me something new, something exciting.

I’m glad you found working on something new exciting. Bad reviews are never easy, I hope you’ll be able to go to your first series and finish it up.

As a follow up, what is it about Murder on the Rocks that excites you so much?

The possibility of writing this new series excites me. I really like Jordan Jenner as a character. I think he’s a great lead, and there is a lot more to explore with him. He strikes me as quite a complex character. I’m thinking of new ideas, and new stories to tell, and at the moment it all feels fresh and new. I think more people are interested in the series as well, which is exciting, and I think the idea of growing that series will be a great thing to do.

Okay we’ve danced around the topic a little so let’s dig in, tell us about Murder on the Rocks. What can you share without giving too much away?

Murder on the Rocks begins with Jordan Jenner at the crime scene. He has just returned to work following the seemingly natural death of his mother. His first case back involves the murder of a writer in a prestigious writing group. As Jordan investigates, he learns that his mother’s death may be involved with the murder of the writer. A sub-plot in the novel is Jordan’s developing attraction to Lloyd, a colleague (Buy the book here).

Sounds fun. I will be sure to add it to my TBR list.

Now, if you don’t mind, let’s chat a little about you. You mention that you enjoy travel. Where have you been and where are your top five dream locations to visit?

I love travel. I’d actually love to travel more, and depending on what happens with my job next year, I might look at taking a little break and going away to different places for a bit, but that’s easier said than done! I’ve been to America – California, Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, Arizona, New York and Flordia, and would love to go back. I’ve been to Turkey too many times, Spain, Paris and Amsterdam. I’m going to Edinburgh soon, and then Ireland. I’d love to go to Venice, Sweden, Austria and other parts of America when I can. Recently I’ve liked the idea of going to somewhere like Bulgaria, or Cyprus.

Sounds like you have quite a few places to go. Several of the locations you mention are places I want to go to as well, especially Ireland and Paris.

Staying on the subject of travel, what are your top five must dos in Wales?

There is plenty to do in Wales. I’d say you have to go and visit St Fagans, a Welsh life museum. It’s like a right of passage for Welsh people, and it’s a good day out. Other places would probably include The Skirrid Inn, the oldest pub in Wales. You should definitely visit places like Cardiff Castle, and other castles that are around the area. Wales has a lot of history. I’ve never done Snowdonia or Pen-Y-Fan, but lots of people see that as a great tradition.

Don’t mind me while I take notes here. I may need to hit you up for travel tips, because, yes Wales in on my list of places to see as is London.

When you’re not writing or traveling what do you like to do?

I work in television, so when I’m not writing or travelling, I’m normally in work, editing for the Welsh news. I edit news items that get broadcast. It can be a stressful and scary job, especially when you’re editing minutes before air. Other than that, I like to relax with a new book, and I love discovering new authors.

At one point, I worked on our agency TV Show and was heavily involved in the editing process. It’s crazy how much more goes into it, so you have my complete respect on that. You’ll have to check out Recommendation section on my website I have a tone of great authors I enjoy, you may even recognize one.

We are to our last question, is there anything else that you would like to share with you us today?

Murder on the Rocks is the first in the Jordan Jenner Mysteries series. I have just finished writing the second, and now I need to edit it and redraft, but I’m hoping to have it published later this year, with Panther Publishing.

Wow! That is great news, I know how people don’t like to wait long for sequels so good luck.

I want to thank J.S. Strange for stopping by today and chatting with us. If you enjoy mystery novels and are looking for one that isn’t your typical run of the mill book check out Murder on the Rocks. Remember to share this post with friends and family who love mystery books. If you have any questions for J.S. Strange leave them below and we’ll have him pop back over and answer them. Until next time have a great week.


About J.S. Strange:

Author Photo.jpg

J.S. Strange is a Welsh author, living and writing in Wales. His new novel, Murder on the Rocks, published with Panther Publishing. When he’s not writing, Strange works for a leading broadcast television channel as an editor. He lives with his two cats, Miley and Dolly.

To buy Murder on the Rocks click here.

Contact J.S. Strange:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/JackSamStrange

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JackSamuelStrange

Instagram: www.instagram.com/jsstrange

Website: www.jacksamstrange.com

Interview with Author Sara Codair

Welcome to another Wednesday Scribblers. As you all know this month has been a month of author interviews and I’m very thrilled to share all these amazing writers with you. This way we all are exposed to books we might not have known about otherwise. This week it is my pleasure to share my chat with Sara Codair.


Welcome Sara.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and talk with us about your writing and about your novel Power Surge. Before we dive in, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us something that we won’t find in your bio.

You’re welcome!

A lot of people are surprised to hear this, but I hated reading until I got to high school. Once I outgrew picture books, I only read when forced to, and then I would look for the thinnest books with the biggest letters.

Oh my gosh! I’m not the only one. You just made my day.

I’ve always had a passion for the ocean, the salt marsh, and all the creatures that live in both. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said Marine Biologist. When I was 12, if you told me that one day I would be an English teacher, I would not have believed you.

Marine Biologist to English teacher that is a big leap. Now, when I was reading your bio something that caught my eye was that you mention you’re also a photographer. Personally, I love taking pictures, most of them are rubbish but I still enjoy it. What is it about photography you enjoy so much? Are we going to see a photo book at some point?

Photography is another way to tell a story. It’s a visual form of a personal essay and memoir, and they are my way of saying “I was there. I climbed that mountain. I hiked that path out to the secluded lake. I grew that tomato. I live on this lake.”

I’ve liked taking pictures almost as long as I’ve enjoyed writing stories. I took some classes in college, and actually worked as a photographer for a few years. When I freelance wrote for newspapers, I made twice as much money because I did my own photography. After realizing I hated reporting, I worked at two different portrait studios while I went to graduate school. At one point, I had my own business making and selling jewelry, and my ability to take good photos of my products helped me stand out among other online sellers.

That is very cool.

Now, photography is just a hobby. If I get good shots when I hike, I’ll upload some to Unsplash – the free stock photo site I use for making aesthetics for my books.

I’m not sure if you’ll see my photos in my books anytime soon. You won’t with Power Surge, but if my solar punk fantasy WIP gets published, I’d like the cover to be based off of one of my own photos.

That would be excellent. You get the credit for not only writing the book but for the cover as well. Nicely done.

What has it been like since you released Power Surge? Have you been enjoying having it out in the world for all to see? The reviews seem to be very positive so that has to make you feel proud. Overall are you happy with the reception the novel has had?

It’s been equally exciting or stressful.

I’m thrilled that most of the people who have read it like it. Shortly before it came out, I’d seen too many horror stories about reviewers being out right mean on Goodreads and authors being mean to the reviewers.

Sadly, I heard something similar.

I don’t have a lot of reviews yet, but reading the good things people said has been a huge confidence booster. People seem to be reacting to the book how I hoped they would.

I did get my first negative review shortly after you sent me these questions. I probably spent way too much time thinking about it, but I did learn from it.

I’m glad you got a take away from the negative review. That can be helpful in dealing with it.

I worry Power Surge isn’t really reaching enough people, and I haven’t figured out an effective way to change that. It doesn’t help that my brain seems to short circuit every time someone talks to me about the book face to face, and I dissolve into a puddle of awkwardness.

I don’t think you’re the only one. That happens to all of us at one time or another. It would be great if there was a magic marketing pill we could all take.

Tell us about Power Surge without giving away too much?

One thing you don’t get from reading the blurb is that Power Surge is about mental illness as much as it is about family lies and demon hunters.

After having adverse reactions to medication, Erin is trying to manage anxiety, depression, and ADHD without it. They’re barely getting by at the start of the book. At first, Erin doesn’t cope so well when they have to deal with a new boyfriend, a demon stalker, and a possible apocalypse.

Throughout the story, Erin is fighting themself as much as they are fighting demons. Finding a way to manage their mental illness as a key to their survival as defeating the demon that is hunting them.

Wow, that sounds pretty epic.

Tell us, what was it like to write the novel? What about the editing process, for me that is always a bit hard, but it’s also a great way to improve the story. What was it like for you?

Writing a novel is an immersive experience.

When I turn my internet off, set a timer, and empty my mind of everything but my story, I’m living somewhere else as someone else. I’m battling monsters and exploring futures. I’m feeling what my characters feel in all their failures and triumphs.

By the time I finish a first draft, I’m content and exhausted. It’s the same type of feeling that I get after hiking a steep trail up a mountain.

Editing is something different. It’s where I figure out if I actually managed to convey the experience I envisioned, and it’s where I trim the excess. The later is my favorite part. Sometimes I’m reluctant to let things go, but once I do? Deleting them is cathartic. Of course, I never actually delete anything. Save-as is my friend. I have a document for each WIP called “The File of Misfit Lines,” (inspired by “The Island of Misfit Toys” from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer).

Nice.

My least favorite part of editing is finding the typos. I think my apostrophe key has a tractor been that draws my fingers to it when ever I end a word with s. This is troubling because when I am reading, my eyes and brain just don’t focus enough to see every apostrophe. I have to use the word processor’s search feature for “’s” and that gets tedious when it’s a 300 page novel.

People tell me to read out loud, but that doesn’t always work for me unless someone else is looking over my shoulder to tell me when the words I say don’t actually match the ones that are on page.

In general, I catch the most errors when I look at things in different mediums: my computer, paper, and my kindle. When I’m proof reading on my kindle, I make the font big so I can only look at a couple sentences at a time. This forces me to see and think about word choice, structure, and punctuation.

I wish I had that much discipline when it came to editing. I try, and I’m getting better, but still. Editors are my friend.

I know you have a short story coming out Weird West Anthology, care to give us a heads up? What is it about? When can we expect to see that story?

Red Tide Rising is a classic western set on Mars: there are sheriffs, outlaws, and a dwindling supply of food and water. The blurb from the anthology sums it up nicely: “Two Martian sheriffs must stop a gang of outlaws from stealing a settlement's precious water, if they can keep their marriage together long enough to do it...”

The e-book release date is March 15.

Right now, there is a kickstarter running to raise money for print book formatting, distribution through Ingram, marketing, and to pay the authors professional rates as opposed to just royalties. There are some unique rewards for backers. If you’re interested, click here.

Thanks for sharing all that. Sounds unique and the kickstarter campaign is something to check out.

Clearly, you have a lot going on so what else do you have coming out? What’s up next for you?

I just sent Power Surge’s sequel to beta readers. I don’t have an official release date yet, but the editor and I are aiming for some time in November 2019.

While I wait for feedback, I’m working on a handful of short stories. I don’t say too much about them as they are early drafts, but I can give a few hints: magic robots, under cover police in a steam punk world, and werewolves.

Oh, all that sounds fun. You’ll have to tell us more when you can.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’ve published dozens of short stories and micro fictions, many of which tend to be dark, political, and/or pulpy. If that’s your thing, check out some of my shorts.

NSP-Halloween2017-HalfBreeds-f500 (1).jpg

Half Breeds (click here for more information) is a stand alone short m/m paranormal romance about a half-demon boy and a half-angel who boy finding their place in a new high school. It's in the same universe as Power Surge but not part of the Evanstar series.

A Curious Case in the Deep (click here for more information), published in Broadswords and Blasters, is a pulpy adventure about two women on a deep-sea expedition.

Ink and Ash, (click here for more information) published in The Society of Misfit Stories, is about siblings who find themselves on opposite sides of the law when the government bans the use of magic wands.

Keep up your writing and thank you so much for taking the time to swing by my Scribbles Page and chat with me.

Well Scribblers, that’s it for this week. If you have questions for Sara leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure they stop by and answer. Remember if you know anyone who might be into a supernatural creature story with a bit on the darkside, share this and let them know. For now have a great week and we’ll see you next time.


About Power Surge:

PowerSurge-f500.jpg

Erin has just realized that for the entirety of their life, their family has lied to them. Their Sight has been masked for years, so Erin thought the Pixies and Mermaids were hallucinations. Not only are the supernatural creatures they see daily real, but their grandmother is an Elf, meaning Erin isn’t fully human. On top of that, the dreams Erin thought were nightmares are actually prophecies.

While dealing with the anger they have over all of the lies, they are getting used to their new boyfriend, their boyfriend's bullying ex, and the fact that they come from a family of Demon Hunters. As Erin struggles through everything weighing on them, they uncover a Demon plot to take over the world.

Erin just wants some time to work through it all on their own terms, but that's going to have to wait until after they help save the world.

Buy Power Surge here.


About Sara Codair:

winter headshot bw.png

Sara Codair teaches and tutors writing at a community college and has published over fifty short stories and poems. Their cat, Goose, edits their work by deleting entire pages. Sara’s stories appear in Broadswords and Blasters, Vulture Bones, Alternative Truths, and Drabbledark. Sara's first novel, Power Surge, was published on Oct. 1, 2018. Find Sara online at https://saracodair.com/ or @shatteredsmooth.

Contact Sara here:

Find them on Twitter: @ShatteredSmooth

Find them on Facebook here.

Find them on Instagram here.

Find their Website here.

Find them on Amazon Author Page here.

Find them on Goodreads here.

Interview with Author Jeremy Martin

Happy Wednesday Scribblers, I hope you’ve been having a good week and for those of you affected by the Polar Vortex I hope you have stayed safe and warm. As promised I want to bring you more authors this year, so please welcome fellow NineStar Press Author Jeremy Martin. We will be chatting about his debut novel Foreign To You.


Welcome Jeremy.

Hello! (waves)

Before we dive into the interview why don’t you tell us something that isn’t in your bio and what you do for a day job.

Something that isn’t in my bio…is that I’m taking Japanese lessons? Been taking it for a year now. I don’t know a lot, but it’s pretty fun. Japanese culture, language, history, all of it, is so enthralling to me. A dream of mine would be to live in Japan for a little while and potentially write a novel there.

Japan is amazing. Years ago I had the opportunity to go there for work. The people and the country are amazing. I hope you get the opportunity to check it out. What about a day job?

I have a full-time job as an estimator at a masonry company. I measure blueprints for residential and commercial projects. Sounds fancy, but I just highlight lines with colored pens.

(Chuckles) Hey. I know that is a lot of work, my dad was a contactor so I’m sure that it is more than highlighting and coloring.

Care to share what you enjoy reading with us?

In the realm of books, I can read anything! If the book has great characters, it could have any plot, honestly. I joke about it with my friends that if Maggie Stiefvater (the goddess of all writing) wrote a book that takes place all in one room, I’d still read it because her characters are always thriving beasts.

Sounds like she has a fan for life.

Oh. yes.

Thank you for those tidbits. I love getting to learn more about people than what’s in their bio. Now, congratulations on your debut novel, I can’t wait to read it. Let me ask, what inspired you to write this young adults fantasy novel? Why did you pick this genre?

Thank you! I started writing Foreign To You because I love shifters. But! I wanted a more gruesome and realistic (hah) view of them. It had always been a desire of mine to have a story with shapeshifters, but I didn’t want to do wolves or hawks or more of the common types of animals.

When I started writing Foreign To You, the plot kind of developed on its own, honestly. The first draft was rough, but as I started polishing it, I found that there was this plot that really spoke to me and my issues with certain social topics.

Excellent. Can you tell us, without spoilers, what social issues and topics you address in the novel?

The title, Foreign To You, explains a lot of what the book is about. It deals with the fear and anxiety that comes from failing to understand another person or culture, or whatever! I also try to tackle some religious aspects, but I’m not sure I executed them too well.

Well, you have me intrigued for sure. Since this is your debut novel how does it feel? I remember my debut novel and for me it didn’t feel real; it was like a crazy dream. What about you? What was it like to get that email from NineStar that said, ‘yes we want to publish your book’?

I think I cried? I cried and kept saying “Do I want this? DO I WANT THIS?” and ran around my apartment for a few hours. After querying so much, it was nice for a “YES”. Since then, it has been an amazing trip.

I got to contact an artist, Rozenn Grosjean (lean more here), to make a cover for my novel…and I mean…just look at it. You aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover…but please, do so with mine. Rozenn is so kind and talented and she painted everything my words are on paper.

Your cover certainly is beautiful. If you don’t mind me asking how did that work using a cover artist that wasn’t provided by Ninestar?

I actually confirmed with Ninestar before signing my contract that I wanted to find an artist on my own to bring my story to life. It was actually a big reason why I considered small publishing so heavily. The ability to control most of the aspects of my novel was very appealing. I was in contact with a couple artists and talking numbers and ideas, and Rozenn was the first to ask if she could read my novel to get a better idea of what to draw. After that I knew she was the artist I had to go with. Thankfully, we are probably going to work together for the cover art on the sequel. So more beauty to come!

It’s a breathtaking cover and I’m glad you are enjoying being published.

It has been wild reading some of the reviews coming back from the ARCs and just getting hit with emotions and the realization that some people are reading my book RIGHT NOW and either loving it or hating it. It’s too much some days.

How have the reviews been so far?

I have already had a night where I received a less than enthusiastic review on Goodreads and had to call a friend to keep my head up. I was sprawled on my couch, staring at the ceiling, going ‘I’ve failed. I’ve failed’. But it’s funny because the reviews are all over the place! I will have one that says, ‘The characters are bland’ and the very next review says ‘I loved the characters. So well done’. And there are some authors that say you shouldn’t read your reviews, and part of me really understands that. If I’m not in the right headspace, a bad review can bring me down hard. But I love them just as much as I love the good ones.

I totally understand that. I try to avoid reading the bad reviews, but I can’t help myself. Now please, tell us about the novel, without giving too much away. What can people expect to read in this book?

Well…Foreign To You is very dark. There isn’t a lot of happiness for my characters and a lot of realistic repercussions to their actions. A lot of my journey with writing this book was to gather up all the YA tropes and kick them in the butt. I wanted a story that felt fresh and new. And I think that’s what I’m most proud of. A few reviewers have defined it as “trope-defying” and that makes my cold heart so warm.

But yeah, expect death, crying, blood, angsty boys, and you know…sadness?

That sounds like a lot to put into one book. And it sounds like an emotional roller coaster. So, given what you’ve said about the book who is your favorite character? Is there a character in your work you feel especially connected to? Why?

You aren’t supposed to have a favorite character (Okay, totally Finn)! It’s like having a favorite child (my favorite child is Finn)!

Finn was and is (wink) still a fun character to write. He is very damaged and seeking acceptance and love and a lot of other things that he feels are outside of his reach. And in a lot of ways, that was me a few years ago. In some ways, Finn’s journey is my own in an alternate timeline.

So, when we read about Finn we are reading about you. Cool. So that all said are there any types of scenes you find hard to write (action, love, death, etc.)?

Love is really weird for me. I am not that affectionate of a person and I think it shows in my writing. I try to put in a kiss or a ‘I love you’ but it always comes across as forced or stalkerish. I feel like I write characters that have similar views of what I believe love to truly look like. To me, love is expressed more than said with words. It’s less “I love you!” and more “Hey, how are you doing lately? You okay?”. It makes affection and desire hard to write because I have to really focus on showing that my characters care for the wellbeing of each other and give proof to the reader that there is a connection despite no written confirmation.

I can see how that can be an issue, I’m sure you found your balance just fine.

Well, we are coming to the end and I have just a few more questions for you. So, what do you have coming out next? What’s up next for you?

I am currently working on drafting up the sequel to Foreign To You! To me, I always imagined this story as a Duology, and I feel like I will be able to complete it all in the next installment. There are a lot of things I want to do with the sequel and it is daunting as heck. I don’t want to give too much away…but I’m adding some new POV’s and there is this scene where I have all of these bodies—

Oops…almost gave too much away.

(Laughs) Nice. Last one, is there anything else you’d like to share?

Don’t be afraid to contact me on social media! Message me and tell me how much you loved the book, how much you despised it, whatever! Stalk me on Instagram? I have a lot of pictures of my puppers.

Puppies. Ah, we love puppies. Well Jeremy, thank you so much for taking the time to swing by my Scribbles page and chat with me. I’m looking forward to getting your book and reading it.

Awh, thank YOU! I really enjoyed myself! You are an excellent host, my good sir.

Thanks, I try. Well Scribblers, that’s it for this week. If you have questions for Jeremy leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure he stops by and answers. Don’t forget to share this with friends and family who may enjoy reading a shifter story with an edge. For now have a great week and we’ll see you next time.


About Foreign To You:

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The harmony between humans and fianna, a species of shapeshifting deer, begins to wither as racial tensions and deeply rooted resentment turns violent.

Ruthless hunter Finn Hail and prophesied liberator Adelaide may be heroes to their own species, but they are enemies to each other. With war on the horizon, the reluctant pair must team up to find the most elusive of prey: the god of the Forest.

As enemies press in from all sides, true intentions begin to show. For Finn to save the boy he cares for most, he might need to aim his gun at the very god he seeks. And Adelaide, with her festering hatred for mankind, will have to determine if peace holds true salvation for her people.

Buy Foreign To You here.


About Jeremy Martin:

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Jeremy Martin, born and raised in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, considers himself to be a part-time writer and a full-time mess. If he isn’t nose-deep in a book, he’s obsessively playing video games, re-watching The Office for the umpteenth time, or lost in nature. Foreign to You is his debut novel.

Contact Jeremy here:

Find him on Twitter here.

Find him on Facebook here.

Find him on Instagram here.

Find him on Goodreads here.

A Knight in Distress – Interview with Barbara Russell

Welcome to another Author Interview this week. One of the things I wanted to do more of this year is bring you amazing writers you might not know about and today I’m pleased to bring you fellow author Barabara Russell she is a fantastic author and a wonderful friend. Let’s get into it shall we.


Welcome Barbara.

Thank you, Marvin for having me. I’m really excited to have a chat with you.

It’s my pleasure. People can read your full bio at the end of this chat, so why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and your writing? Tell us something not in your bio.

I spend most my time working with a microscope in a lab with air conditioning set too low, haha. Even in summer, it’s freezing. Anyway, I have plenty of time to plot and think about my character while I’m observing ultra magnified soil samples. This speeds up writing. Sort of.

Soil samples speeding up your writing. Really? Okay, sure, so what got you involved in writing? Why did you pick Young Adults as your genre of choice?

I was six when I read a collection of Norwegian fairy tales (I can’t remember how or why it was in my home), but I thought, ‘wow! I want to write story.’ I like YA as genre because I can add funny stuff, more than in adult novels, and I’m a sucker for stories that make me laugh. I prefer funny stories to sad stories.

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And A Knight in Distress has some fantastic fun moments that actually had me laughing out loud, but I won’t give anything away here. Why don’t you tell us about A Knight in Distress.

It’s the story of a young knight in training who’s quested with saving a princess from a bad wizard. Only, he ends up being rescued by the princess.

I love that you mixed things up in this story that you had the Princess be the hero and the Knight needing to be rescued, but you didn’t do it in a cheesy way. You really wove it into the story and it all makes sense. I also, like that they had to work together and you showed what a challenge that was because of the generally believed in norms. All that to ask, how did you manage it all? How did you not get caught in cliché?

Er… ahem, actually, I think there are a lot of clichés in the story, haha. The trick is—at least what I meant to do—to turn them into something funny. Basically, when in doubt, add something funny. That’s my rule.

And it worked and worked well. I thought it was brilliant. Now I’ve got to ask, who is your favorite character? I know there are so many to pick from but do you have one? If so can you share?

Ah, I think it’s Snitch, the bird that can hear and repeat people’s thoughts. It gave me the opportunity to add more funny scenes (see previous answer, lol.)

He was good. I liked him a lot and felt you did a great job using him to lighten some of the books moments. Will there be a sequel to the story or is this going to be a stand alone?

There will be a sequel. I’ve already sent to my publisher. Thanks for asking.

Really! I can’t wait. That is amazing. I’m so happy for you. You’ll have to let me know when it comes out so I can pick up a copy.

Of course.

When you’re not writing and reading what do you enjoy doing?

Walking my dogs, which actually means running along the pavements chasing my neighbour’s cat, or any other cat of the quarter. Oh, cats and possums of course.

That sounds lovely, well not the bring dragged by the dogs, but being out with them and enjoying. What’s coming up next? What other books do you have out that we need to check out?

I have a book coming out at the end of January with Black Rose Writing—Mummy Dearest, A Pharaonic Adventure—a middle grade fantasy set in Auckland. And another novel coming out on February—The Heart Collector, my first adult novel. It’s a romantic suspense with a steampunk setting.

Even though it’s not out yet. I can you all Mummy Dearest, A Pharaonic Adventure is fantastic. I loved it. And the Heart Collector will be added to my list the minute it’s out. I can’t wait.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Yes, since you’re asking. To those people who don’t read books for whatever reason, please, don’t say “I don’t like reading” out loud. Every time you say that, somewhere in the world, a writer gets writer’s block.

So, that’s how it works. I’ve often wondered about that. Thank you for clearing that up for me and thank you for being here.

Thanks for having me!

Of course, you are always welcome to swing by and chat. Well Scribblers that is all for this week. I have you have a great week and we’ll see you next time. If you’d like to read my review of A Knight in Distress you can find it here.


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About A Knight in Distress:

Knights are supposed to rescue damsels. That’s the natural order. So when Nathair, a knight in training, finds himself rescued by the princess he’s supposed to save, he’s annoyed. And when the princess proves she can fight like a knight? Well, that’s enough for a boy to think about a career change.

Buy it on Amazon UK here.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Buy it on Barnes & Noble here.


About Barbara Russell:

I’m an entomologist and a soil biologist, which is a fancy way to say that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs. Nature and books have always been my passion. I was a kid when I read Ivanhoe by Sir W. Scott and fell in love with medieval novels. Then I discovered medieval fantasy, and I fell in love again. In fact, I took it too seriously and believed that my elderly, bearded neighbor was Merlin and his black cat was Morgan le Fey. When I read Harry Potter and learned about Animagi, I knew I was right. Then I grew up and… nah, I’m joking. I didn’t grow up. Don’t grow up, folks! It’s a trap.

Contact Barbara Russell:

Find her on Twitter here.

Find her on Facebook here.

Check out her website here.

See her Amazon Author Page here.

Interview with author J. P. Jackson

Happy Wednesday Scribblers. This week I’m thrilled to have fellow author and all around amazing guy J. P. Jackson back on my Scribbles page to talk with us about his newest novel Magic of Die. I finished reading Magic or Die over the holiday and I have to say, it was amazing. I loved it and I can’t wait for the next novel in the series to come out. If you want to read my review you can find it here.


Welcome back J.P. It’s great to have you back.

Thank you for having me.

Of course, now why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and your writing? Since you’ve been here before why don’t you tell us something not in your bio.

I’m claustrophobic. I actually never knew until a few years ago. I ended up in the last row of a minivan getting a ride from the Car Dealership to work, and within a few minutes there was this overwhelming sense that the metal around me was squeezing in. I started to imagine all sorts of horrid things, and I was convinced the van was going to end up in some sort of collision, where I would be stuck, compressed by steel on all sides, slowly suffocating, and help wouldn’t arrive on time.

Worst 20 minutes of my life.

Update: That feeling has returned now several times, whenever I’m in small tight spaces. So I avoid them like the plague.

I like to try and channel some of that emotion into my writing!

I can’t imagine, at least you found a way to channel those feelings. What got you involved in writing? Why did you pick demons and all things dark as your vehicle for story telling?

I think I’ve always had stories running around in my head…and I love to read. Eventually I thought, “Why can’t I write the stories?” It was also a bucket list item for me to be published, so I set out to achieve that.

As for my demons…how could you not love them? They’re just misunderstood monsters waiting for the right person to love them and care for them. LOL. I don’t know why I went ‘dark’, but I’ve always had a little evil streak in me, and that naturally fell out onto the pages of my tales (or should I say tails?). It’s funny, I don’t think my writing is all that dark, and yet I keep getting told, “wow, that was creepy.” So, hey, I say go with it. Plus I find some measure of beauty in the darkness…

I can see that in your writing you do an amazing job painting a beautiful picture with your words. It’s very impressive. Okay, now tell us about Magic or Die.

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Magic or Die started out as a short story that my editor wanted me to write for another project. Before I knew it, I had a full-fledged novel on my hands.

The story revolves around James Martin – an extremely powerful empath who is forced into completing the last year of his contract with a facility called the CMRD. James is broken, on many levels, and although he’s a good guy, he doesn’t always make the best decisions.

James’s job is to help five people, all in their early twenties, find a degree of control over their lethal supernatural abilities.

Problem is, if they can’t get their talents under control, the CMRD will euthanize them.

It’s a story about survival, and learning how to work as part of a team.

I know you had to do a lot of research. Did you find any of it creeping you out to the point where you said, “Okay that is too much and goes to far even for me?”

To be honest – I didn’t do that much research.

Seriously? Wow. Care to share?

Magic comes naturally to me, I see it everywhere, and I might be a fairly well-versed pagan (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). So understanding elements, colours and their meaning, herbology, minerology, affinities etc., is second nature. There’s definitely a few things I had to flip through my books to remind myself on, or get some unusual correlations put together, and there’s a few websites I like and trust for their content…but did any one thing lead me to the darkest realms of the internet?

No – not really. I’ll tell you a secret though…

I can’t watch horror movies.

They’ll keep me awake for weeks. I’m too sensitive and impressionable. My mind takes things I’ve seen and twists them even further.

I’ll let you in on another secret…

I’ve had people tell me, “OMG, thank you for scaring the crap out of me! What is wrong with you and your brain?” And, I’ve had others say, “Well, that’s not that scary!”

So, one person’s eternal nightmare is another’s stroll through the garden of souls. It’s really subjective.

That is certainly one way to put it. I’ve got to ask, who is your favorite character? I know there are so many to pick from but do you have one? If so can you share?

In Magic or Die? Oooh, tough choice. That’s like asking a parent which one of their children is the favorite!

I suppose Annabelle holds a little place in my heart. She’s so small and tiny, but has not yet come to terms with how powerful and capable she really is. She lacks the confidence to master the demons within her. She’ll find her way, but it might take a little bit of a journey to get there.

But I wrote the entire book with Isaiah in mind. I wanted a little bit more of a romance than my first book, Daimonion, and so for me, Isaiah is my fantasy hunk. I find it interesting that different people have pictured Isaiah differently than me – and he is often people’s favorite – but not always. I like the fact that Isaiah is capable of doing any kind of magic possible, but he’s going to have problems when his demon starts making demands of him that will test his comfort zones.

Definitely something to look forward in the next novel. I know I was surprised at the request of Isaiah’s demon. I’m very curious at how that is going to get worked out. So no spoilers lets move on. I know you’re working on a sequel, but I’m curious how many books do you plan for the series?

I’d like to write five books in this series. One for each of the students and their journey. It’s going to be a bit of a challenge though because at different points in time, the characters will be pulled away from each other.

Five books from each students POV that would be cool to read and I can see how you set it up based on what the first book. I wish you luck. That is going to be a lot of work.

You’re telling me.

I want to ask about a rather difficult topic. You wrote a Dark Urban Fantasy book in the MM genre and there is next to no sex, which I think is excellent, LGBTQIA+ don’t and should not have to contain sex in them to sell, however are you worried that there is an expectation in the market for MM books to have explicit sex? And are you worried that it will affect your sales? In your opinion what can we as authors do to change this stereo type? Also, do you think there is a role that the publishers should be taking to address this issue?

The expectation that any LGBTQ+ fiction must contain romance or sex is sickeningly prevalent, and I’m so tired of it. Honestly. My characters might have sex, but nine times out of ten I’m not going to write about it. If that’s what you want, then I’ll suggest some really good M/M Romance authors. I write fiction. Paranormal and Urban Fantasy fiction. It. Does. Not. Have. To. Contain. Sex.

Period.

100% Agree. Nicely said. I wish more people would understand this and talk about it.

Am I worried about sales? Sure I am. I’ve already seen where the expectation for that kind of a story has deterred folks from purchasing my books. But, in all honesty, if that’s the kind of read they were looking for, they would have ended up disappointed in my work – so, I prefer to market my stuff to anyone who’s interested in a really good dark story.

I think authors who write queer fiction should market their books in the realms where they fit. Did you write a western about a gay cowboy who inherited land and has to ‘settle the west’? Great! Market that to folks who like reading Westerns. Did you write an epic alien saga that features invading non-binary humanoids from another planet? Then sell it to Sci-Fi fans.

Get my point?

Absolutely.

I don’t think that queer literature has to be marketed to Romance readers just because they might be more accepting of the queer content. It’s almost as if we’re closeting ourselves by only focusing in on an audience that is looking for gay content. The problem is – that’s not our market.

Half of my beta readers do not identify as part of the Rainbow Tribe. And, in fact, a lot of the readers I’ve connected with do not either. The people who are reading my books are folks who like Paranormal/Urban Fantasy stories.

We need to be brave and force our marketing companies and publishers to flog our works into more mainstream areas. More and more, queer content isn’t an issue for non-queer folk. Anyone will read it.

Now having said that, we don’t want to forget about our communities either – one of the reasons I started writing was to put creepy queer stories on the shelves in hopes that someone from the Rainbow Tribe would pick up one of my books and say, “Yes! That’s me! I’m in this book!”

So we can’t forget about where we came from, or who we represent, but we shouldn’t limit ourselves to that either.

Thank you. I’m so glad you shared that. I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Okay, let’s change subjects here. When you’re not writing and reading what do you enjoy doing?

I read a lot. Anywhere from 30 – 50 books a year. I’m also learning to enjoy exercise. LOL. I’m in my last year of my forties and keeping the weight off and getting in better shape has really become a focus. I’d like to be more muscle bear than bear. Beyond that, I love watching movies with my husband, and finding new restaurants to enjoy. We both love to travel, and when I have time, I also like horticulture and gaming (my PS4 is sadly neglected). My spare time is really limited.

Oh, I’m sure. Time always seems to be at a premium these days. So then, what’s coming up next? What other books do you have out that we need to check out?

This year I’m really putting an emphasis on creating content instead of watching other people’s works. I hope to be able to bang out two books, both sequels – one to Magic or Die, and I already have about 10 chapters of that written. It’s tentatively called Blood Rites and Sacrifice. And then I need to get book two of the apocalypse written as well. It will be called Nephalem. I’d definitely suggest people read Daimonion. One reader described it as the TV show Supernatural, but from the demon’s perspective…if the demon was gay. I love this. A lot.

I’m toying with writing a Paranormal Romance as well – but again, darkly interwoven into the shadows – hexes and demonic contracts and unearthly creatures…but instead of a waifish pasty near-dead main character (as is often the case), I want to write it from the perspective of a gruff guy. A bear, like me, but really tough around the edges who ends up being a witch. Sounds like fun, right?

I think I might also try out sketching some of my characters. I used to be able to draw, but I haven’t used those skills in years.

I might also have to get my profile pictures updated…hmmm….

There is nothing like a good well taken photo and I’m sure whatever you come up with will be amazing. Anything else you want to share with us?

You know I love it when I hear from my readers. Make sure you hit me up on my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Goodreads profiles. I’d love to hear who your favorite characters are, and why, and what you think might happen next!

I want to thank author J. P. Jackson for stopping by my Scribble page and chatting with us for a while. Until next time have a great week everyone. Happy New Year!


Where to find Magic or Die:

Buy it on Amazon here.

Buy it on Kobo here.

Buy it on Barnes and Noble here.

But it on NineStar Press here.


About J.P. Jackson

J.P. Jackson works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.

At night however, the writing happens, where demons, witches and shape shifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. The insurance company refuses to accept any more claims of ‘acts of the un-god’, and his husband of almost 20 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summoning’s in the basement. And apparently imps aren’t house-trainable. Occasionally the odd ghost or member of the Fae community stops in for a glass of wine and stories are exchanged. Although the husband doesn’t know it, the two Chihuahuas are in cahoots with the spell casting.

J.P.’s other hobbies include hybridizing African Violets (thanks to grandma), extensive travelling and believe it or not, knitting.


Contact J.P. Jackson

Twitter find him here.

Facebook find him here.

Goodreads find him here.

Instagram find him here.

Interview with Fellow NineStar Author Riina Y.T.

This week I’m thrilled to have fellow NineStar Author Riina Y.T. here on my Scribbles Page to have a sit down about her new novella Paradise Lodge.

Before we jump into that, I want to remind you all that I’m participating in an event on Facebook called 12 Days of Christmas Book Buying Event. It’s a great way for you to learn about new authors and new books. It’s like having a Personal Book Shopper. You go onto the event page. Post what kind of books you like and how much you want to pay and authors pitch you their books. It’s easy and there is no pressure to buy anything. It’s a great way to find new books you may have never heard of or found otherwise. So check it out here.


Before we jump into learning more about your new novella, tell us a little about yourself, something not in the bio:

If this would be a real life interview, you would have gotten to meet Yuuko, my seven-year-old toy poodle. We’re together 24/7.

Ah, I love dogs. I miss having them in my life.

She’s the best part of my life. I’m a management assistant for an electronic engineering company. Snacks are only real snacks if they’re sweet. I’m not a fan of pasta but I wish I could have authentic Ramen (karai yasai!) with Gyouza or Kitsune Udon every day!

I see you live in Germany. I had the pleasure of living there as an Exchange Student and I’ve gotten to return on business. How did you end up living there?

Student exchanges are such a fantastic way to get to know a different country and grow as a person! I was actually born and raised in Germany. When I turned twenty-one I spent one year in the US, one in London, England and then nearly two years in Tokyo, Japan. I’m back home in Germany with my family now.

I have to ask, how, and to whom, did you lose your heart in Tokyo? (It so happens to be one of my favorite cities as well so I’m curious).

Isn’t Tokyo just breathtaking?

It really is and the people are amazing. I can’t wait to go back.

I’ve been fascinated by Japan since I did a presentation about it in high school. I’ve been listening to J-pop/rock and V-kei since my teenage years as well. In 2010 I moved to Tokyo for nearly two years and they were the most incredible months of my life! There is a guy, too, of course there is, ha! He’s unreachable and I could only admire from afar but deep down I know there’ll never be anyone like him for me. That’s the dreamer in me talking, but hey, it’s been ten years since my first trip to Tokyo and I’ve yet to meet someone more amazing.

That is so cool. Now moving on, what got you into the writing world?

Back in 2009 my closest internet friend and I started writing (MM) fan fiction. Over the course of three years we've collected nearly three hundred drabbles and short stories as well as a few novellas, most of them starring our favorite Japanese pop band. When I discovered the fantastic MM romance community, and all the original fiction focusing on LGBTQ+, I was in awe. It was like finding a piece of your life you didn’t know was missing. I took a break from writing but eventually went back to it, only this time I'm creating my own characters.

That is amazing. I also see you offer book reviews as well, so I have to ask, which do you find easier; writing or reviewing?

Writing, because I can do whatever I want with my guys. I like the freedom it gives me. Reviewing feels a lot like schoolwork. There is a lot of pressure behind it for me.

I agree writing is a lot more fun. I don’t mind doing reviews, but it’s difficult.

Jumping over to your new novella Paradise Lodge where did the idea come from? What excited you about writing this story?

Ky has been on my mind for a couple years now, I've wanted to give him a story for so long. I listen to a lot of British pop, especially boy bands. It puts me in a good mood. When I was brainstorming possible scenarios for a New Years Eve gone wrong, I wondered what would happen if the party Ky and his bandmates had planned didn't go as expected. It felt like the right time to spend some time with him!

I was excited to write both, Ky and Azariah. I have a soft spot for musicians and exploring the possibilities when bandmates develop feelings for each other, which is pretty much what got me into writing all those years ago. Knowing their story would be something sweet, a feel-good romance, I had a lot of fun with it from the start.

That is great. Okay, so what can you tell us about Azariah and Ky?

We learn Ky’s zodiac sign is Leo, which I also happen to be, so I feel like there is a special bond between us. I have some experience with Scorpios (Azariah’s zodiac sign, which we actually don’t learn in the book!) and it made the way they interacted with each other come more naturally.

Azariah is usually quite serious and shy, patient, honest, hard-working, orderly. His judgment is good and he evaluates and weighs things up endlessly, often to the point of indecisiveness. But he also lacks forethought, acts impulsively and sometimes imprudently, which can cause problems. Like so many Scorpios I know…

Hey now, be careful. I’m a Scorpio.

(Chuckles) He’s a bit of a mystery, you never know what they’re thinking! He can be a little unpredictable but has his heart in the right place.

Okay, I can go with that.

I hope people will forgive him his moments of stupidness.

Oh I’m sure they will. They sound like amazing characters. So the story should be a lot of fun to read. What else do you have planned? What’s up next for you?

Having so many characters on my mind makes it difficult for me to decide whose story is the most 'interesting', so I'm working on a handful of projects at the same time. I have a couple of Young Adult ideas and another sweet, friends/lovers reuniting story I'm working on. Then there is one college themed and another with paranormal touches. I also want to tackle something that will ask for a lot of research! Perhaps one day I'll write that 'vampire assassin' story I can't get out of my head.

Oh, vampires. Love that. I say go for it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’m grateful I was able to bring some of my characters to life and share it with people. I want to thank everyone who decided to give my boys a chance – thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Nicely said.

Well, Scribblers that it for this week. Can you believe we are already approaching the holidays? Crazy right. I want to thank Riina for being here today. Don’t forget to check out the 12 Days of Christmas Book Buying Event over on Facebook (click here). Remember to like and share by clicking on the links below. If you have a question for Riina leave them in the comments and I’ll make sure she swings back by to answer them. Until next week have a great week.


Book Info:

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Azariah Bell is a nervous wreck. He isn’t prepared to spend the final week of the year with his best friend, Ky O’Sullivan, lead vocalist for their pop rock band, Moving Insignia—especially after the fight he caused before they parted ways two weeks ago.

Afraid of not being taken seriously by Ky, Azariah was concerned about what confessing his feelings would do to their friendship, or the band. He tried to keep his emotions in check, but instead, he exploded in anger over some petty issue, and now he’s potentially lost Ky forever.

Ky is looking forward to the band’s annual writing retreat for a week of songwriting and recording at a secluded mountain resort. Spending Christmas with his family gave Ky time to reflect on how he’d handled Azariah’s epic meltdown. It wasn’t good, and Ky is determined to uncover the true nature of Azariah’s unusual behavior. They didn’t keep secrets from each other, or so he believed.

Expecting to see the rest of the band when they arrive by helicopter, Ky and Azariah are shocked to learn they are alone at a deserted lodge. When they discover they’ve been set up by their bandmates so they can “sort it out,” their choices are few. But it’s critical for them to resolve their problems if they have any hope of enjoying the new year together, let alone make that new album happen.

Buy Links:

Find it on Amazon here

Find it on Kobo here

Find it on Smashword here


Author Info:

riinaytprofilephoto-200x355.jpg

Author of Spring, Bax & Butterflies, Missing Piece & Blame the Fireworks.

Riina currently resides in Germany. She spent countless exciting days in the UK and US and lost her heart in Tokyo.

She would be thrilled if one day her stories could brighten someone’s day in the way those beautiful romances always lighten up her dull everyday life. Riina is looking forward to sharing many more stories with the world.

When she doesn’t daydream about boys in love, and isn’t glued to her Kindle, Riina loves to travel the world and explore the unknown.

Contact:

Check out here web page here

Find her on NineStar Press here

Find her on Facebook here

Find here on Twitter here

Find her on Instagram here

Find her on Goodreads here

Interview with Leslie E. Owen Agent, LLC

In my continuing effort to shed light on the mysterious world of Publishing I couldn’t be more pleased to share my recent interview with Literary Agent, Editor and Author Leslie E. Owen. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Leslie over the last year plus and I’ve finally gotten her on my Scribble Page for a sit down.


Thank you so much for talking the time to stop by.

If you don’t mind please give my Scribblers an introduction of yourself. Something not found in your bio.

What’s not in my bio? My first publishing job was as an editorial assistant/receptionist in Foreign Language Textbooks for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in New York. I got this job because I could type 80 words-per-minute and could type in foreign languages, having been fluent in German and Italian, and familiar with French and Spanish. I was an arrogant little twit, but the editors felt sorry for me, and educated me about living in New York and publishing, so that at least I wasn’t an uneducated arrogant little twit. I went on to work as director of foreign rights for Henry Morrison, international publishing rep with Lynn C. Franklin, children’s book agent for Goodman Associates and Carolyn M. Swayze, and acquisitions editor for Tradewind Books. Along the way I wrote articles for Publishers Weekly and reviewed for them, wrote for The Horn Book, the SCBWI Newsletter, and several newspapers, and was a film scout for Nevelco and a freelance reader for Four Winds Press. So you could say I’ve done a little bit of everything.

Holy Cow! That’s very impressive. You made me chuckle with the ‘arrogant little twit’, I’m sure we’ve all been there… when we were younger, of course. What got you interested in the publishing Industry?

I’ve been a writer all my life. When I got out of university, my mother told me I could live at home for three months but I needed to get a job. I was accepted into the MFA program at Brown, but I didn’t have the money to go to grad school. Publishing seemed like a good choice. I got the job at HBJ, found a dump in Brooklyn, and that was that. My second job – with a considerable raise – was for the major literary agent, Henry Morrison. Henry was a giant of a man and a giant of the industry. I sat on his blue sofa in the parlor of his Stanford White home in the West Village. He asked me who my favorite authors were. I told him James Hanley and Christina Stead, neither of whom he had ever heard of – he represented Robert Ludllum and David Morrell (both of whom would have known Hanley and Stead), amongst others. Henry taught me everything I know. If I know anything at all about books, it’s because Henry and our clients – some of the best writers of the 20th century – taught me.

Wow! So, with working for Henry Morrison and learning from the greats is that part of the reason you became an agent so you could help find new greats?

I think I have, in science fiction & fantasy, anyway. But, not really. I just like working in publishing.

With all your experience and knowledge, can you give us your take on the publishing industry as you’ve been around it since childhood and since, I believe, your Grandmother was involved in the industry as well. What has changed for good or ill? Where do you see it going?

When my grandmother (Helen Hammett Owen) was involved in children’s publishing, it was a gentleman’s business, led by strong women (Anne C Moore, Ursula Nordstrom). When I was involved in the 80s and 90s in traditional publishing, the writing (literally) was on the wall, in terms of American publishing’s survival. There was the great boom of bestselling fiction, especially in thrillers; sci-fy & fiction was booming in mass market and trade paperbacks; romance was branching out beyond the mass-market paperbacks of Harlequin. Children’s books was suddenly becoming big money – advances for children’s writers were improving. You could still make a living writing “mid-list” books. You could make a living writing paperback books. But Henry, and his great friend, the CEO of Bantam Books, Oscar Dystel, saw that the future of American publishing was grim: the weird practice of returns was going to destroy both independent bookstores and publishing. Henry and Oscar came up with a model that could have saved American publishing, but only two of the major NY publishers at that time were willing to listen, both of them known for their eccentricities, Donald I. Fine and George deKay. Their idea went nowhere, and Bertelsmann made their first major purchase of American publishing, followed by Penguin and Hachette and all the rest. When I started out, there were over 25 hardcover American publishing houses and at least 10 mass market publishers; now there are 5 in toto. Did Henry and Oscar foresee the collapse of publishing and the start of Amazon? I like to think they did.

I’m not a fan of Amazon – sorry, M.D. – nor am I a fan of the world that Amazon has created. Amazon has been the cause of two major movements that have devalued the monetary worth of the published writer: they (and their pals at NaNoWrimo) have sold this idea that anyone can write, and they’ve also sold this idea that writing is worth as little as 99 cents. I can remember when I could sell a short story – me, essentially a nobody – for $500. Now you pay magazines to publish you. American writers make less money per year now, when you factor in the worth of the dollar, than they did in the middle of the Great Depression.

No apologies needed. I’m not a huge fan of Amazon either and I agree that authors are greatly undervalued. Authors are selling themselves short when they list their books for 99 cents or even worse free (unless it’s for promotion or a giveway). I honestly don’t know how anyone, short of the Biggies, can make a living. It’s rather depressing.

What’s the future hold? We’re back in the 17th century. Rich oligarchs rule the world and the writer/artist/musician must have a wealthy patron in order to live. (It’s even called Patreon.)

I’m a fan of Robespierre, I’m afraid. Burn it all down, I say. Bring on Madame Defarge.

I hope we don’t have to go that far before things swing the other way, but you never know and none of us have a crystal balls.

Okay, so let’s move on a bit. As an agent, what do you look for when you pick up an author? Why is it important for authors to have an agent and what can authors expect agents to do for them? Basically, how does being an agent work? Oh, and, are you taking on any new clients?

Great writing, an original voice, and a marketable product. It really depends on the genre you’re in. If you want to write adult books in traditional publishing, you really need an agent if you want to go with the Big Five. (Yes, I know you can self-publish and you can indie publish without an agent. That’s not what M.D. asked me.) An agent: can offer beta readers, sensitivity readers, and editing services; an agent will market your work; an agent will schmooze on your behalf so you don’t have to (writers generally suck at schmoozing); an agent will go over the contract with a fine-toothed comb and take out all of the awfulness, like giving you a draconian non-compete clause; an agent will see your project through to publication and then all the publicity and marketing afterwards; an agent will sell your subsidiary rights with a better percentage than a publisher would ever give you; an agent can sue them when they refuse to send you your royalty statements.

Agents are the middlepeople between authors and publishers. They have good relationships with both their authors and editors. They have good relationships with foreign agents, salespeople, marketing people, and the film industry. A good agent is fantastic. No, I am a very small, boutique agency, and am still stuck in a day job. I have five clients. That’s all I can handle right now.

Not only are you an agent but you are also a writer and an editor? I’ve had the opportunity to read one of the books you’ve edited and it was amazing. I’ve also had the chance to read some of your work, also brilliant. Given that you do all three where does your heart lie? What is your passion?

When I started at HBJ, it was mandatory that all new hires complete professional training. I took in-house courses in editing, proofreading, copyediting, and developmental editing. This was standard. Now new hires go to university to learn this stuff, from the programs at NYU, for example. Henry was an old-fashioned agent. He did not have an agency contract. He worked by handshake. He also edited his clients’ manuscripts – and when he discovered I could edit, that went to me. I didn’t edit Bob Ludlum, but I did many of the newer clients. I enjoy editing, of helping the author’s voice unfurl. So many new writers, especially those self-publishing, have bizarre ideas about editors. But there are also a number of people who claim to be editors who simply do not have the professional experience to claim so – just because you’re an English major, it doesn’t mean that you can edit.

As for writing, I’ve been writing all my life. My mother claims I was dictating to her before I could hold a pencil. I can remember writing with a pen (scandalous!) in kindergarten and first grade. I think my first story was about a wild horse and I guess I was about six. My first play was about a ghost and a librarian, and it was performed by my 4th grade class. My grandmother, Helen Hammett Owen, was my first editor. I always ran whatever I was working on by her. She didn’t mince words, ever, whether I was eight or twenty-eight.

Where is my passion? Writing, I guess. It’s like asking you to choose which triplet you like best. I am all three. (And thanks for the compliments on my writing. It means a lot to me that you’ve liked my work.)

Of course. It was a lot of fun to read, and some heavy stuff, so I found it completely enjoyable.

Moving on, can you share with us some of your various projects? Not just the blurb but what inspired you to take it on? Did you feel it was a story that needed to be told? Was it a different voice you wanted to highlight?

I’m working on a literary novel, The Mortal Part, which I have nearly finished. Like my first novel, the psych thriller A Million Sherds, the story was percolating in my head for some time. I read about the hidden ten-year love affair between Danny Kaye (one of my all-time favorite performers and someone I was lucky enough to meet) and Laurence Olivier, and that idea – hidden relationships – planted a seed. Then my son introduced me to symphonic metal (do NOT laugh!) with the music of Tarja, the Finnish singer from Nightwish. On her first solo album she does a cover of a Christmas song which she dedicated to her late mother: You Would Have Loved This. It’s about the first Christmas after you’ve lost someone you adored – and out of that soup came this character, Sir Hugh Ross, actor of stage and film, fully-formed. I wrote the prologue and first three chapters before I even knew what I was doing, even as I was still in the middle of writing A Million Sherds.

In the middle of this story germinating, I came out, after being in the closet my entire life. First I came out as bisexual (which I am), but ultimately declared myself as genderqueer, demisexual. I think, if I were a teenager today, I would probably be trans. (If you’ve read my story Set in Place, that is very much autobiographical.)

Much of the work I’ve done since starting The Mortal Part has been the examination of queer and hidden spaces.

So. The Mortal Part looks at the loss of a spouse through the eyes of an elderly (72) bi actor, Sir Hugh Ross. Many novels have been written about what life and grief looks like for the surviving widow or widower, but The Mortal Part looks at grief through queer eyes.

I remember you letting me read a bit of it a while ago, and it’s beautiful, well what I read of it. I know it’s going to be a heavy book, but I look forward to reading the whole thing when it comes out. Do you have an ETA? Where are you in the writing process of The Mortal Part? Or can you say?

I’m about 25,000 words to the end. No, no ETA. Agent has to go over it first.

Clearly you’ve done quite a bit in the publishing world, so what is some advice you can give authors who want to get their books published? Who are looking for an agent? Who need an Editor?

If you want to get your novel traditionally published, there are multiple ways to get an agent and/or a publisher. Firstly, know your market and your audience. If you are writing genre fiction, read who’s writing in your genre. Not to copy them, but to see what works and what doesn’t, and who is publishing what you’re writing. If you’re writing literary fiction, it’s a good idea to check out university and independent publishers, market some short fiction, and look at where you might win some prizes. Lit fiction is all about prize competitions. (Be careful not to post your WIP on your website. That could be considered your 1st serial rights to a traditional publisher.) Build your platform. Website, blogging, Instagram, Twitter, whatever you enjoy. Don’t do something you don’t enjoy, it shows. Go to writer’s conferences, even local ones. Join a local writer’s group. Find your writing partners and beta readers. Get a list of good, reputable, professional editors. Pitching on Twitter can be a great way to land an agent, so practice writing your loglines. And get someone to look – many times – at your query letter. Please remember that a query letter is a business letter. It should be concise, professional, and free of gimmicks. Do NOT address a female agent by her first name. EVER. (Even if she’s your neighbor.) Don’t get discouraged. It’s hard. Even if you get an agent, it’s still hard. Even if you have a publisher, it’s still hard. It’s never not hard. As Richard Widmark said in Cheyenne Autum: “Endeavor to persevere.”

That is some great advice. You know, I want to ask, what do you have to say to Readers? We all read and given how the industry has changed over the years, what is something you want to ask or say to readers?

To Readers? I dunno, keep reading? I enjoy talking to my readers and I enjoy being a reader. Every now and then I read about readers doing really cruddy things at behest of authors, especially in gaming Kindle and Amazon, and I don’t understand that at all. I mean, I’m totally geeked out that Elly Griffiths follows me on Twitter – hell, I was totally geeked out just sitting next to Robert Barnard on the podium of a panel in NYC. I’ve had conversations with some of my favorite writers, as a reader, not a professional.

But I have to say I don’t get the “I don’t make any money and I can’t afford to buy a book over $5.99.” There’s something called the Library – and writers benefit from it. My local library did a huge gig for me when Pacific Tree Frogs was published – including a hands-on frog event! – so I don’t understand why readers with genuine money concerns don’t use the Library. I buy books when I can – and I still work as teaching as the day job. I will download to read ASAP – the new Louise Penny, for example – but I also buy hardcover books and ask for them as gifts. I recently bought N.K. Jemison’s boxed set of her Hugo Award-winning trilogy. My kids gave me the collected works of Ursula K. LeGuin for Chanukah. I buy Star Trek books. I recently discovered some cool middle grade writers. I always buy Jane Yolen’s latest.

Hell, I even have a signed and framed poster of A Walk Among Tombstones from my friend Larry Block.

I agree. Book are not expensive and there is nothing wrong with Libraries or, as you said, asking for books as a gift. I did the same with some books I wanted.

Stepping away from publishing let’s talk about another passion of yours, and mine, Star Trek. I know you’ve been on Trek panels, been to various conventions, and you know a slew of people inside the Trek Universe. I have to know, who is your favorite person to have met in regards of Trek? What is it like to be part of that world? Do you feel it gives you a greater appreciation for Trek or does it leave you with more questions than answers?

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My favorite person to have met, or my favorite person I’m friends with? My favorite person I’ve met would have to be Bill Shatner. I first met Bill when I was 12. Growing up in Connecticut, halfway between New York and Boston, meant you had great school trips. In 6th grade, we went to Stratford to see Julius Caesar, with Shatner as Caesar. That was my first live performance of Shakespeare. After the play (which was wonderful), Shatner and the cast came out to talk to us. He was courteous, funny, and treated us as if we mattered. I have been a lover of Shakespeare ever since – I perform in a Shakespeare troupe called First City Shakespeare. The 2nd time I met Bill was at the Chicago 50th anniversary convention. I got his autograph, and thanked him for that long-ago Shakespeare performance. His eyes lit up and he got a huge smile on his face. “You were there? You saw that? That’s fantastic!” and we spent 6 minutes talking Shakespeare. The other people in line hated me but I DID NOT CARE.

I am friends with the Klingons, the Ferengi, and the Andorians. I guess my two favorite Trek actors I know are John (JG) Hertzler and Bob (Robert) O’Reilly. In fact, Bob is now a client. The thing is, if you can talk film, and acting, and Shakespeare, you will find you have so much in common with the wonderful actors who played character roles on Trek. They are all incredible people – from John de Lancie, to Jeffrey Coombs, and Gary Graham, and Armin Shimmerman; René, Max, John, Bob.

I love being a small part of the Trek world. I love that I can talk to many of the production people – Mike Okuda, Doug Drexler, Gabe Koerner, Tobias Richter. I love that I am friends with Rob Burnett and Larry Nemecek and David Gerrold. And I will always be grateful for my friendship with the late Emmy award-winning screenwriter of TAS, Russell Bates. I miss him so much.

Wow! I’m only a little jealous… seriously, that is amazing. I’m not sure I would even be able to get out two words if I were to meet any of these people.

From: Star Trek: The Original Series

From: Star Trek: The Original Series

Now how about something fun. If you could write a series arch (say either 13 or 26 episodes) for any trek series current, future, or past what would it be? Would you use a current property like the Original Star Trek or Star Trek: The Next Generation or would you create your own universe for it?

I have a treatment and a pilot episode of a 13-episode series centered on the Enterprise B and the Treaty of Algeron. While this was dealt with in one novel, it’s never been dealt with in canon. I would love to have this series be part of All Access.

My inner nerd just got all giddy. That would be cool. Way cool.

Personally, I think it would be great to film A Million Sherds or Cochrane Day.

After reading A Million Sherds that would be amazing, and completely different from anything that anyone has ever seen in a Trek series. I’m sure there is a way to do it and keep the integrity of the story but it’s beyond me. Still, it would be incredible to see.

Johnny Frakes would be great as Kyle Riker.

I can see that.

I’m curious at what your opinion is on all the new Trek coming out and the announcement that Sir Patrick Stewart will be returning as Captain Jean-Luc Picard. What do you think? What are your hopes for the show?

I hate all NuTrek. I despise the work of Alex Kurtzman and Akiva Goldsman. I can only hope that the new board fires him. Discovery, so far, has been awful. And the new Patrick Stewart series is firmly set in the Disco/NuTrek world. It is NOT in the original universe and has nothing to do with TNG or the Capt Picard that we knew and loved.

Ugh. I was hoping for a ray of light. Cause I loved Captain Picard. Bummer.

Is there anything else that you would like to share or let people know about?

Stop listening to silly internet rules about language and writing. Tell your story the way it needs to be told. Be true to your voice. (And stop fridging characters.)

Nicely said. Well that’s it. We’re at the end. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and swinging by for a chat, Leslie. I know how busy you’ve been, so I really appreciate it.


About Leslie Owen

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Leslie E. Owen is an experienced Literary Agent and Copy Editor. She began her publishing career in New York as an editorial assistant with Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1981, after graduating with degrees in Creative Writing and English Literature from the University of Arizona in 1980.

She has held positions as Literary Agent, Director of Foreign Rights, International Publishing Representative, and Acquisitions Editor in New York and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Leslie's extensive and varied career also includes freelance reading for Four Winds Press and working as a Movie Scout for Nevelco.

She has written articles and reviewed for Publishers Weekly, The Horn Book, the SCBWI Newsletter, and the Greensboro (NC) News & Record.

Leslie's recent works have been published in Zoetrope and Jewish Monthly, and her children's science book, Pacific Tree Frogs, was published in 2003 by Tradewind Books in Vancouver, London, and Sydney. The book earned a top-ten-pick rating in Canada. In 2004, Pacific Tree Frogs was published in the U.S. by Crocodile Books.

Where to Find Leslie:

Check out her website here.

For her Agent Facebook Page click here.

For her Editing Facebook Page click here.

For her Facebook page click here.

Find her on Twitter here.

Interview with Author Mike Galloway

I want to welcome author Mike Galloway to my Scribbles Page today. Mike is the author of TCS: The Studio (Tribal Culture Studio Book 1) and Before the Game: Drake.


Mike thank you for stopping by today for a chat. Before we dive in why don’t you introduce yourself and your writing.

Well, my name’s Mike, and I’m working on a coming-of-age erotic LGBT novel series (wow that’s a handful). It’s about a young college dropout named Jason who wants to pursue his dream of having his own modeling agency while getting a boyfriend along the way. TCS: The Studio is the first book in the series, and Before the Game: Drake is a spin-off involving Drake and Gage, two water polo players Jason interacts with during the first book.

Excellent. Let’s jump in.

First, I want to compliment you on your website I checked it out and it’s really cool that you set it up from the characters’ point of view. Considering all the work that goes into creating a website, how many books do you plan on having in the series? Is this going to be an ongoing series with books for each of the models?

There will be at least three books in the main series, more likely four, with each one building on the events of the previous book. In addition, there will be some spin-offs that can be much more erotic in nature or focus on events that don’t fit in the main series. The main series mostly focuses on Jason, while the spin-offs would focus on the others. Ryker, Noel, and Tyler are also heavily featured in the main books.

Tell us what inspired you to write this series.

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I was heavily interested in photography while I was in high school, taking pictures of friends and sporting events. Several friends of mine were water polo players as well, so I decided to combine the two interests to make the core of the series. Jason is based off me when I was in high school, except a little bit more eccentric.

As for why it’s in San Diego, I wanted to set TCS aside from the numerous stories that take place in LA and San Francisco and breathe life into a fresher setting. I am also more familiar with that city as I have family down there. The last couple of years, I’ve made a few trips down there to visit family, scout out settings, and watch a whole lot of water polo.

Clearly you enjoy water polo, did you play? Or were you just a spectator?

I wasn’t able to play myself, since my parents didn’t want me hurt. I was on the yearbook staff in my senior year of high school, so I got to go to a lot of the games to take pictures.

Well, I guess if you couldn’t play then being a supporter is the way to go. Moving on from water polo, what can you share with us about the book and the series?

The first seeds of the series were planted around six years ago, with three of the main characters living in a dorm room in San Diego while attending college. While a lot of the original work for that is lost (About three computers ago), the setting and the characters marched on. As time went by, I decided to age the characters up a bit to further reflect the new story ideas I had. Other characters came and went, and a few that didn’t make the cut in Studio might appear in other books.

Sounds like a long journey. It always amazes me how the writing process works like that. You may have one idea and by the time you finish it’s completely transformed into something you never expected.

I guess I’d say so. On the other hand, I don’t consider myself a pure pantser, since I have to know where the story is going to go before writing it. This is especially true when writing a series, since every book has to be intertwined with the others to make one whole arc composed of several smaller ones.

Nicely said. So, I have to ask, who is your favorite character right now?

That’s a tough one. Everyone’s got their quirks, and it’s hard for me to pick just one. In some ways, I kind of like Tyler because of how brutally honest he can be. Tyler’s also the easiest character for me to write as he’s not afraid to speak his mind.

I have a few characters like that, and I would have to agree. The free speakers are always the easiest to write for. If you don’t mind I want to jump back to your website, if you decide to write something different are you going to create a special website for that as well?

Depends on its size. I’ve written some short stories, and those can be found in the archives section of TCS’s website. That section is not “in character” so that I can showcase my other work. If I plan out an unrelated series or standalone book, then there may be a site for that.

Cool. Well considering how much work you put into this website I can’t imagine wanting to waste it.

Of course not. TCS is my passion.

From your bio I see you were raised in Central California, what was that like? Everyone thinks that California is either San Francisco or Los Angeles, so what was it like where you lived?

I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, which is the closest place California has to a Bible Belt. Until the 1990’s, members of the Ku Klux Klan ran Visalia where I’m from specifically. Growing up, my brother claimed he had seen a cross burning a few blocks south of our house.

It’s hard to believe that people are like that, but sadly they are, and things like that happen everywhere.

Many of the people were homophobic, and in high school, the school district had one of the schools make a “bullying” documentary targeting LGBT people. In short, the message was, “If a straight person gets bullied, it’s the bully’s fault. If an LGBT person gets bullied, it’s their own fault.” Keep in mind this was in the 2000’s, and there were several people in the valley who have been killed due to their sexuality, even to this day.

I’m glad I got out of there and into a more accepting environment.

I can’t imagine growing up like that. We forget how lucky we are. Especially when you hear stories like that. I’m glad you made it out of all that.

You mention you’ve been writing since you were fourteen, care to share a little about what you wrote early on? For me, when I was younger, writing was a way for me to process my emotions, what did writing mean to you at that time? Does it still mean the same thing now?

Writing’s been a form of therapy. I’d rather not go into specific details regarding the stories I wrote as a teenager, but when I was a senior in high school, I had written a script for a full-length RPG that will never see the light of day. The plot might return, but the script itself is long lost and wasn’t very good.

Fair enough. Still a full-length Role-Paying-Game sounds pretty amazing. I hope you are able to use it again.

I see that you now live in Las Vegas, that has to be quite a change from where you grew up. Obliviously you must like it there, care to tell us about it?

Vegas has given me a lot of opportunities that I could not get before moving here. There are things to do every single day. Just about every weekend, people can go to different fairs, open mic nights, and on the first Friday of every month, we have the aptly-named First Friday, a block party south of Downtown where people sell their goods/art/local food. I’ve gone a couple of times, and it was great to see all the different performers and people having fun.

That sounds amazing. Tell me, when you aren’t writing what do you like to do, other than going to street fairs?

I like to travel around. I’ve been all over Europe, been to the east coast a few times, and a few other spots. I’ve got plenty of stories of different experiences I’ve encountered. In fact, the hotel in Before the Game: Drake is based off the hotel I stayed at in New Jersey. I’m also a bit of a gamer, playing Final Fantasy XIV in the few spare hours I get whenever I’m not working on something.

Is part of that ‘something’ creating the characters you have on the website? Did you create them or did you hire someone to create them?

BTG Cover Drake.jpg

I hired an artist on Patreon to do the base artwork. I’ve worked with Finch for around two years. He drew all the guys, while I did all the typography, editing, and formatting for the website and for the novel. His page (NSFW) can be found here.

Very cool. I’ll have to check it out at some point. What’s next for you? What can we expect to see in the near future?

I am working on the second book, TCS: Into Summer as we speak. It focuses more on Tyler, who’s (mostly) on the back burner in the first book. I am also writing some non-TCS related stories that I hope to share soon.

Sounds like you have a lot going on. Is there anything else you want to share with us today?

First, I’d like to thank you for this wonderful opportunity to be interviewed here. It means a lot.

It’s my pleasure.

Second, please look forward to the next free promo weekend on Amazon, which will be in either November or early December.

Oh, free promos. Cool. Where can people find that information?

Facebook’s the easiest way to get into contact with me (as myself). There and Instagram are where I will provide info for the free promo weekends or other events that will be happening in the future. Twitter’s “in character” just like the site, so the guys won’t be advertising as much.

Excellent. Well thank you for stopping by and spending time with me and my Scribblers.

Find the books on Amazon here.

That’s it for this week Scribblers. I hope you check out Mike’s books and go find him and his boys on Facebook, Twitter, Instgram and on their website. Until next time have a great week. Remember you can share and like this below. If you have questions for Mike, leave them in the Comments section and I’ll ensure he pops on over and answers them.


About Mike E. Galloway

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Raised in Central California, Mike E. Galloway grew up in a world filled with the expectations of heteronormativity and homophobia. He overcame these expectations by writing LGBT stories and vignettes ever since the age of 14 and has never turned back since.

Mike lives in Las Vegas, NV and is currently working on a 3 to 4-book series featuring a young gay photographer who is on a journey to find love and his way in the world. The first of the series, TCS: The Studio, was released in September of 2018. Find out more or join the community by clicking here.

Social Media Links:

Find Mike on Facebook here.

Find TCS Studios on Instagram here.

Find Jason’s Twitter Page here.

Find Ryker’s Twitter Page here.

Find Noel’s Twitter Page here.

Find Tyler’s Twitter Page here.

A Knight in Distress – Book Announcement

Happy Wednesday Scribblers. Today I’m excited to share a new book with you. The book comes from fellow author and writing buddy Barbara Russell. I’ve had the pleasure and reading several of Barabar’s books and could not recommend A Knight in Distress more highly. I plan on having Barbara over for a chat, but I wanted to provide you with this announcement today. Even though I’m not including a review at this time I’ve read the novel and A knight in Distress is amazing and is a total must buy.


Blurb:

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Blurb:

Knights are supposed to rescue damsels. That’s the natural order. So when seventeen-year-old Nathair, a Briton knight in training, finds himself rescued by the princess he should have saved, he’s annoyed.

By saving Princess Bryhannon from the warlord Torgall, Nathair hoped that his dreams of becoming a knight, paying off his family’s debts, and overcoming the stigma of his russet skin would come true. Now that he’s failed, he must find another way to fulfil his desires.

Bryhannon is a Morrigan: a witch blessed with the power of the raven goddesses of war. To Bryhannon, it feels more like a curse. With magic this strong, she has a difficult time hiding her abilities. If the wizards discover who she is, they’ll kill her for women are forbidden to use magic or weapons, and she is good at both. Her only hope is to find the Rache: a magical artefact, which will gain her the protection of the infamous Raven Coven of Tintagel.

While in Torgall’s land, Nathair and Bryhannon discover his plan. Torgall wants to steal the animax—the fuel powering the automatons that have replaced the round table knights of New Camelot—and sell it to the enemy.

Before Bryhannon can seek safety in the Raven Coven, and Nathair can prove he deserves to be a knight, they must prevent Torgall from stealing the animax, or the enemy will use the animax to fuel an army of clockwork knights ready to invade the land of the Britons.

Where to Buy:

Amazon – Click here

Champagne Book Group – Click here


Excerpt

One

Nathair hadn’t planned to end his last day at Sir Lancelot’s Academy for Knights getting caught cheating on his final examination. Especially since the cheating had been a misunderstanding. The incriminating piece of parchment was still in his best friend’s extended hand. General Baldwin loomed over Nathair in his emerald uniform, one eyebrow arched in disappointment.

“Sir, I wasn’t—” Nathair started, standing at his desk.

“Don’t even try, Locksbay.” General Baldwin held up a hand to silence him. “The situation is clear enough. I’ve caught your friend Tristan red-handed passing you that piece of paper with the correct Numeracy answers. Cheating is not only against the academy rules, but the Knights’ Honor Code as well.”

Ouch. That hurts. Nathair wasn’t a cheater. He was an average student maybe, but never a cheater. He bit down the remark and ignored his fellow cadets whispering and giggling behind his back. They leaned forward on their wooden desks, heads turning from him to the general like in a game of stool-ball. Many cadets would enjoy seeing the only russet-skinned boy at the academy being publicly scolded.

Tristan of Greystone stood and bowed to the general. His blond hair swished about his shoulders. “General Baldwin, it’s my fault. It was my idea to help Nathair. I knew he needed help with Numeracy, and I thought to pass him the answers. He didn’t ask me anything.”

That was true, and swyve. Tristan excelled at many things—he was the academy’s top cadet—but persuading people was his most honed skill. His confident tone, reassuring smile, and bright blue eyes could soothe the most inveterate criminal into turning himself in.

General Baldwin waved a dismissive hand. “You can sit down, Greystone, and keep going with your examination, but I’ll take fifty points off your final score for breaking the rules.”

Tristan did as told, casting an apologetic glance at Nathair.

General Baldwin took Nathair’s test and scanned it. “Let’s see why you wanted Greystone’s intervention.”

When his gray eyebrows shot up, Nathair smelled trouble. He didn’t need the mind-reading power of the mind-wrens to guess what the general was thinking. The bell echoed in the high-vaulted ceiling of the

Training Hall, and Nathair exhaled. Chairs scraped back against the wooden floor.

Now he was done for.

“Locksbay,” General Baldwin’s voice sounded stern, “…follow me to my office.”

“Of course, sir.” He collected his quill, parchments, and ink bottle and stuffed them in his bag.

“Sorry,” Tristan whispered. “I’ll wait for you here.”

With heavy feet, Nathair followed the man who might expel him. He swallowed hard, thinking about his mentor. What would Ewhen say when he heard about this? Nathair shuffled behind the general along the Champions’ Corridor lined with famous knights’ suits of armor. They headed to the eastern tower of the castle toward the mechanical winch.

Before entering the narrow cabin that would lift him up to the third floor, Nathair hesitated. Traveling suspended by an iron cable wasn’t his idea of a safe trip. In comparison, the clockwork stairs, despite the grinding noise of the steps winding up, seemed safer. Nathair stepped inside the cabin and shoved his hands in his blue cloak pockets, while the winch coiled up with a grinding of metal against stone. From a gap between two metal plates, he caught a glimpse of rotating wheels and pumping pistons.

Once at the landing, Nathair trudged toward General Baldwin’s office. The oak door closed behind them with a thud. The room had four floor-to-ceiling windows, a high-vaulted ceiling, and a fireplace that resembled a dragon’s open jaw. Despite the size of the room, Nathair’s chest constricted. He breathed in the familiar smell. The musty scent of old parchments mingled with that of the armchairs’ worn leather.

“Sit.” General Baldwin sat on his throne-like chair.

Nathair groaned and dropped down onto one of the stuffed chairs. No chance this would be quick.

General Baldwin scanned Nathair’s test, his eyes darting up and down. “You have twenty-five points. It’s not good enough, but it’s not an excuse to cheat either.”

He didn’t reply. He’d rather take the blame than involve Tristan. Besides, telling the truth wouldn’t change his score.

General Baldwin drummed his fingers on the desk. “What happened? You were a good student. Not the finest, but decent. This,” he gestured at the paper, “is not what I’d have expected from you, and I’m not talking about today’s examination.” He opened a drawer and pulled out a leather folder fat with parchments. He unfastened the string and spread them out.

Nathair gripped the armrests.

“I had a look at your tests and assignments, and I’m very disappointed.” General Baldwin flipped through the stack of papers. “In your last Wildlife and Wild-flora test you scored an Insufficient, same thing with Music and Courteous Conversation.”

He shook his head. A sickening lump crawled into his stomach. Please, anything but Poetry.

“For example, Poetry.” As General Baldwin read, his frown deepened. “Dame Puddifoot wrote only one word about your poetic skills: hopeless. What is your obsession with cats? Cats are all over your poems. You must love them.”

Hardly. Cat rhymed with everything: fat, hat, sat, bat, mat—the possibilities were endless.

“And I see no extracurricular skills or activities.” He stared at Nathair.

He wiped his hands on the trousers of his uniform and pulled back a curled strand of his chestnut hair. Call it a hunch but breaking into Lady Guinevere’s Damsels Academy using nothing but two knives probably wasn’t an extracurricular skill the general would be interested in, but then someone had to release those greasy pigs into Lady Guinevere’s dormitory. Last week, the ladies had filled the cadets’ quivers with honey. It was only sensible that the cadets returned the favor, and Tristan needed help to sneak into the rooms of his many girlfriends.


About Barbara Russell:

I’m an entomologist and a soil biologist, which is a fancy way to say that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs. Nature and books have always been my passion. I was a kid when I read Ivanhoe by Sir W. Scott and fell in love with medieval novels. Then I discovered medieval fantasy, and I fell in love again. In fact, I took it too seriously and believed that my elderly, bearded neighbor was Merlin and his black cat was Morgan le Fey. When I read Harry Potter and learned about Animagi, I knew I was right. Then I grew up and… nah, I’m joking. I didn’t grow up. Don’t grow up, folks! It’s a trap.

PS I hate gardening. There, I said it. Sorry fellow Kiwis.

Where to find Barbara:

Find her on Twitter here.

Find her on Facebook here and here.

Find her website here.

Find her blog here.

Find her on Amazon here.