Question and Answers with Lori Blantin CEO of IndiGo Marketing

Happy Thursday everyone. This week I’ve had the honor of having two wonderful guests here on my Scribbles Page the first was fellow Ninestar Press author Sarah Elkin, you can read her Guest Blog here. And today I’m excited to shake things up and bring you this great chat with Lori Blantin, Lori is the CEO and Creative Director of IndiGo Marketing. I have had the pleasure of working with Lori in the past and I’m thrilled to bring her here today.

Welcome Lori, instead of me giving a summary of your background and your experience why don’t you tell us about yourself and your company in your own words.

I’ve been an avid reader my entire life.  My happy place is curled up in a cozy spot with a great book.   In 2008 I discovered Goodreads and soon after joined several groups where I could talk books with other avid readers. A year later I read my first M/M romance and I was hooked! Eager to find other M/M readers, I joined the Goodreads M/M Romance group and was so excited until I realized that there were only 7 members and no discussion happening.  Not to be deterred, I reached out to the author who had stated the group and asked her if she would make me a moderator.  She did, and with the help of a few friends, we grew the membership to over 20,000 members.  That caught the attention of a small boutique publisher who approached me about helping them with their social media marketing.  That was the beginning of my passion for helping authors market their books.

What attracted you to marketing and PR and why did you decide to break out on your own?

Before becoming involved in the M/M Romance group, I didn’t know anything about marketing. My career as a Data Aggregation Specialist was dull and dry and aside from my passion for spreadsheets, not very creative.  When Silver Publishing hired me, I finally got the chance to grow my creative side and fell in love with book promotion.  After working part-time for several publishers, I decided to branch out on my own and IndiGo Marketing & Design was born.  IndiGo has always been a side hustle but it’s my biggest passion and I hope to grow the business into something I can do full time.

PR and Marketing are two areas that, not only authors, but others who want to create a brand for themselves aren’t always experienced with and have trouble with. I know I’m still learning and I have a background in marketing and events. Can you share with us five basic marketing strategies anyone can take to improve their brand?

Even as a “marketing professional”, I find marketing my own business much harder than marketing for someone else.  I think that’s a challenge that most entrepreneurs face and as an author, you must think of yourself as an entrepreneur.  Once you do that, you’ll discover that your marketing strategies are not that different from any other small business.

  1. Create your brand.  Before you do anything else, you must have a clear vision of who your target audience is, what your “author voice” will be and what “look and feel” will most adequately reflect who you are and the story you’re telling.

  2. Once you know what your brand is, then you need to start applying that brand everywhere.  You do that by creating a website and developing social media sites that consistently reinforce the message that you’re delivering about your persona, your books and your readers.

  3. Develop a social media strategy.  Now that you know what your brand is, you have a website and social media accounts, it’s time to develop a marketing plan that will put those to the best use.  Be consistent and follow the rule of thirds.  1/3 of your content promotes your books, 1/3 of your content consists of sharing content that others post and that is relevant to your followers and the final 1/3 should be posts in which you engage with your followers on a more personal level.

  4. Take advantage of unexpected opportunities to promote your books.  Develop your “elevator pitch” so you have something prepared whenever you get the chance to talk about your book.  Always have some free swag with you to hand out or leave behind.  Hand out cards with a promo code or have a few autographed copies of your book with you that you can offer up for charity auctions or gift baskets.

  5. Don’t try and go it alone.  Take advantage of the marketing assistance offered by your publisher.  Work with other authors in your genre and cross-promote.  Develop relationships with bloggers, readers and “influencers” to help you get the word out.  Consider hiring someone to help you with your marketing.  Consistent, effective marketing takes a lot of time and you may find that your time is better spent writing and letting someone else do the heavy lifting. 

When it comes to authors what would you say are the three mistakes that writers make when it comes to marketing their work? How can they avoid these mistakes or fix them?

  1. Don’t be a passive bystander.  I see so many authors that don’t do anything to market themselves.  You must play an active role in the promotion of your book.  If you’re relying on your publisher or think that just having a book on Amazon will generate sales, you’re not going to be successful.  

  2. Don’t wait until your book is in the editing process to start thinking about your marketing strategy.  You should start formulating your plan before you even start writing your book.  Have a checklist that includes marketing your book throughout the entire process.  Promo shouldn’t be an afterthought.

  3. Don’t be “that” author.  Even the most popular, bestselling authors get negative reviews or find themselves criticized in social media posts.  While it’s tempting to defend your work or yourself, it’s never a good idea.  I’ve seen too many promising careers implode because the author ended up on the “authors behaving badly” list.  Yes, there is such a list and you don’t want to end up on it.

Visuals, like book trailers, teaser sheets, sell sheets, or other videos are exceedingly important for marketing, what are the three or five things that all of these visual colleterial pieces must contain in order to be the most impactful?

  1. Well designed, professional looking visuals are imperative for being noticed.  It all starts with a great cover.  A bad cover can be the death knell to what may otherwise be a great book. Invest in a high-quality cover and the rest of your visuals will be much more effective.

  2. Make sure that all your visuals reflect your brand and fit the theme of the book or books they represent.  Someone scrolling though a crowded timeline or Facebook group should be able to instantly associate that image with the book and author. 

  3. Sometimes less is more.  Focus more on why the reader should want to read your book rather than where they can purchase it.  If you’re sharing graphics on social media, it’s better to include purchase links in the body of the post rather than crowding the graphics with logos.  The only exception to this rule is if the book is available from Kindle Unlimited since this is something that many readers look for. 

  4. Entice readers by including snippets from reviews or testimonials from other authors.  Quote a line or two from your book that is provocative and will leave the reader wanting more. 

  5. Include a call to action.  Announce a price reduction, offer a prize for signing up for your newsletter, create a sense of urgency with a limited time offer or announcing a new book in a series.   

Can you tell us why having a proper media kit is so important? And what is the best way to make use of your media kit once you have it?

Having a media kit that includes all the basic information about our book, the book cover, purchase links, your author bio and contact links is something every author should have as soon as that information is available.  You can’t market your book without one.  Your media kit should also be in different formats; text only, Wordpress HTML and Blogspot HTML.  One you have a good media kit, you’ll use it for cover reveals, blitzes and tours, review sites and other promotional opportunities.  Your media kit should also include printed materials like a sell sheet that you can leave at events, book signings, libraries, etc…

A question that stumps so many creative types is how to build their mailing list, given the rules with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that the EU has enacted and California will be adopting next year, what are some ways to increase those names on our lists?

Giveaways using a platform like Rafflecopter are probably the most effective way of growing your email list.  You should also have a subscription form on your website and Facebook page that asks your visitors to leave their email address.  Having gated content, like a short story or serialized content, on your site is another way to collect email addresses.  This is content that is hidden until your visitor enters their email address.

No matter what method you use, be sure that you make it clear that by leaving their email address, they’ll be receiving emails from you and make it very easy for them to opt-out.   If you have a checkbox, make sure the default setting is that the checkbox is empty. Of course, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the laws so you stay compliant and they may vary depending on your location. 

Now that we have those names on our mailing list or subscribers to our blogs, what do we need to do to keep them? What suggestions do you have for us keeping these friends engaged?

My best suggestion is to be realistic about how much time you’ll have to devote to email campaigns.  Unless you’re an author who cranks out a book every 3 months, coming up with content on a regular basis can be daunting.  Before you send that first newsletter, really think about what your content is going to be, where it’s going to come from and how often you’re going to send out a newsletter.  If you write cozy mysteries and feature a lot of food in your books then chances are good that your fans would be interested in recipes, food blog reviews, that awesome new sauce you just discovered, etc…  But if you struggle to identify what your target audience would be interested in, then a monthly newsletter is probably going to be overwhelming to create and not very effective.  And again, remember the rule of thirds that I mentioned above.  Don’t make your content just about your books.  Engage your fans by appealing to what their interests are and if you’re not sure, ask them!

Okay, what have I missed?  Is there anything you want to talk about that I missed?

You had such great questions I don’t think we’ve missed anything!  I would like to reiterate what I said earlier about making marketing a priority as opposed to an afterthought.  Start the process early and don’t be afraid to ask your publisher what they plan on doing to market your book.  If you don’t feel like you’re going to get what you need from your publisher, then consider hiring a professional.  There are lots of great companies out there.  Just take your time and make sure you find one that is a good fit for you and the types of books you publish.  You’re hiring them so ask lots of questions, let them know what’s important to you and make sure you understand what their expectations of you are.

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About IndiGo Marketing:

IndiGo was founded out of a passion for books and the authors who write them.  As the mom of a gay son, it’s so important to me that authors who write LGBTQI+ books have every opportunity to find their audience.  I’m so honored to be a part of that process and I know its cliché to say that what I do is a “labor of love” but it really is.   

Where to find IndiGo Marekting:

Check out the website here.

Find their Facebook Page here.

Find Lori’s Facebook Profile here.

Find them on Twitter here.

Find them on Instagram here.

Guest Blog by Author Sarah Elkins

This week I’m pleased to have Sarah Elkins here my Scribbles Page as she shares with us her journey in the writing world and gives us insight into her new novel The Facility. So without further ado, Sarah Elkins.

I have always daydreamed. A lot. As a kid I'd be going about my school day while at the same time, in my head, I was having adventures with characters from books or T.V. shows that I liked. I don't remember exactly when it was that I realized the shows and books I enjoyed had all started as stories inside someone else's head. When that thought occurred to me, however, my mind was blown. I could share the weird stuff I imagined with other people, if I could just figure out how to translate the pictures in my head into words.

In middle school I wanted to be a film writer. I wrote down one of the adventure stories I had going on in my skull as a script. It was over three hundred pages of pink jelly pen scrawlings detailing the exploits of characters loosely based on myself and friends. There was even a talking car and the main character was a were-dinosaur of sorts. I'd ask friends if they wanted a character in the story and what super powers they wanted. Anything went. It was a blast. I even made some storyboards for the script to better visualize what was happening in it. In high school I still wanted to be a writer and researched what it would take to work in film. It was before indy films were big so I researched the screen writer's guild for a project. I was absolutely heartbroken to learn how much it cost to be in it. I was from a lower middle class family. I wasn't sure how I'd get to go to college much less how I could afford to move to California and pay to be a writer.

I started to think of other ways I could tell stories and it dawned on me. I could just work on my own and write them. I could draw them as comics or write them as novels or do both. I hadn't taken an art class since middle school and had a bad experience already in high school regarding the art class there. The short version is the art students were in charge of selling valentine's candy. I knew no one would buy me one so I bought one myself so I wouldn't look like a loser when they delivered them. My candy didn't arrive. I insisted I knew I was supposed to get one because I bought it and had to go to the art room and show them where I signed up. Needless to say I felt miserable and didn't want to register for art class my last two years of high school even though I had free periods. I wound up just hanging out in the nearby park by myself. Is it any wonder I spent a lot of time in my head daydreaming growing up?

I decided to learn how to draw comics on my own and started posting a very poorly thought out fancomic on the outside of my locker in the school Band Hall. (It was the only place my school even had lockers.) I learned a lot from that little comic. When it came to writing prose I worked on a fantasy horror book at night using an old lap top my family had gotten at a pawn shop. I put each chapter in its own file. Part way through writing the book I asked my English teacher if I would get extra credit for writing a novel. She said yes and I was so excited I finished the book well before the end of the year. I wanted to turn it in early enough that she'd have time to read it. Only she didn't. I didn't get the extra credit and to my knowledge she didn't even look at the files.

I was heartbroken.

For years after that I thought I had no business writing prose. I focused on learning how to make comics. How to write them. How to draw them. I dated another artist I knew from online. Things didn't work out with the relationship but I learned a lot from them. Mainly, I learned that their opinions of the ideas I wanted to execute in my writing were contradictory to what they wanted to do. I'd mention a webcomic idea and they'd shoot it down insisting I do a pitch to a company. I knew I didn't have the experience to finish a comic for a company. I didn't even finish the pitch. I tried that several times. They didn't seem to like my ideas regarding prose either but I experimented with that anyway. Eventually I posted a few chapters of a story online and showed them to a friend who had just sold his first book to a publisher. That friend said I should stick with prose and not give up. I was super excited and filled with a bit more confidence. But I knew I had a lot more to learn.

Still I focused on comics. I worked as a professional flatter (comic coloring assistant) for eight years until my right arm hurt too much to hold a pen. I couldn't even feed myself with it. It was constant pain any time I tried to move it. I had to quit work. The remains of the relationship with the artist I had dated (who I had tried to remain friends) with evaporated. It was more than half a year or so before I was able to see an orthopedic surgeon who knew what was wrong with my arm and how to treat it. During that time I dusted off my little netbook computer and wrote on a story to deal with the pain and stress of suddenly having no future.

I wrote draft one of The Facility with my left hand.

I can't remember if I finished the rough draft before or after I started to recover use of my right hand. My memories are a bit fuzzy due to the pain and lack of sleep. I know at one point I didn't sleep for a week, then broke a toe and didn't realize it because the pain of my arm was so severe I just couldn't feel anything else. I don't think I was able to use my right hand until I was already hammering away on the second book, now titled The Hunt, which will hopefully be out later this year from Ninestar Press. Looking at the timestamps on the earliest drafts of The Facility I finished it while smack in the middle of my arm problems. I queried it to literary agents and publishers. Sending out queries was one of the jobs I gave myself so I had a purpose. When queries didn't come out well I worked to rewrite the book. After being diagnosed and learning how to deal with my ever ossifying elbow tendons I wrote a different book and serialized it on Patreon.

The Facility is a story in which I recycled some characters from those early pink jelly pen adventure scripts I wrote as a kid. I replaced the concept of the main character being a were-dinosaur with her being a were-Tesla. I tossed in ideas from the failed comics I had attempted over the years. I poured my stress and anxiety and pain into it to give myself a future in a time when I thought I had none.

It's a book I felt I needed to tell myself to distract myself from the pain and fear of the future so I'd survive and also a book I wanted to share with others. The Facility is rough. It's no perfect first book. The characters, particularly Neila the protagonist, are messy and anxious. The plot builds slow and then things happy quickly. In that way it echoes the damage done to my arm. There were signs something was wrong for years. Signs I ignored. Until everything came to a head and it felt as if I had been stabbed. My muscles were red and swollen. It hurt to make a fist. It hurt to sleep without it on a pillow. It hurt to sleep with it on a pillow. I didn't sleep much.

The things that got me excited to be a writer as a kid, the idea that I can share my constant daydreams with strangers, and the things that got me excited to be a writer as an adult, that I could help someone else escape whatever they were going through when they read my work, are very different. Both are ever present in my mind. Psychic Underground: The Facility was born of both those reasons for writing. I am proud I finished the book and prouder still that it's found a place in print and in the hearts of readers. They may be few but they are dear to my heart. Thank you if you've read the book, and thank you if you choose check it out. No matter what I go through, I will not stop writing because it means I can continue to create worlds and have adventures even when my body betrays me.

Sarah, thank you for sharing your personal journey with us. I’m so glad you persevered and continued writing, it’s an inspiration to everyone who has a dream. Never give up your dreams and they won’t give up on you. Well Scribblers, I hope you enjoyed this week’s author spotlight. Remember to like and share below, especially if you know people who may enjoy The Facility. Until next time have a great week.

About The Facility:

Being psychic is just another aspect of life for Neila Roddenberry. So are dreams of a past life as Nikola Tesla. She's sure the last part is the result of reading the wrong mind at the wrong time without realizing it. neither are things she talks about much. Her friends know she's psychic, but no one knows about the dreams. She's twenty-three, asexual, and unemployed with ambitions to become a freelance artist and writer.

On the way home from visiting friends, Neila gets caught up in a terrorist attack, then wakes up in an underground psychic testing facility. Raised by a doomsday-prepper father, Neila is unusually prepared for the possibility of being whisked away to a secret lab somewhere. When she is faced with the choice of working for the scientists studying psychics at the facility, she takes the job as both an agent and a test subject.

But not everyone in the facility wants to be there.


Where to Buy The Facility:

Get it on Amazon here.

Get your copy at NineStar Press here.

Get it on Barnes and Noble here.

About Sarah:

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Sarah Elkins is a freelance comic artist and writer who nearly had to give up art entirely due to a form of ossifying tennis elbow that forced her to be unable to use her dominate hand for nearly a year. She spent much of that time writing novels with her left hand as a means to deal with the pain and stress of possibly never drawing again. Thanks to a treatment regime she is able to draw again albeit not as easily or quickly as she once did.

Sarah enjoys reading science fiction, horror, fantasy, weird stories, comics of every sort, as well as any biographical material about Nikola Tesla she can get her hands on (that doesn't suggest he was from Venus." She has worked in the comics industry since 2008 as a faltter (colorist assistant,) penciler, inker, and colorist. She contributed a comic to the massive anthology project Womanthology. Currently she (slowly) produces a webcomic called Magic Remains while writing as much as her body will allow.


Where to find Sarah:

Find Sarah on Twitter here.

Check out her website here.

Find her 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

Blog Take Over by Matt Doyle

Happy Wednesday Scribblers. This week we are shaking things up. I’ve invited fellow NineStar Press Author Matt Doyle to drop by and take over my blog for the week. Matt’s going to share about himself, his writing, and his amazing series The Cassie Tam Files. I’ve had the pleasure of starting the series and I can’t wait to see what Matt has to share with us.


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Hey everybody. Before we dive into my main post, I wanted to give you all a short introduction to myself and my work. Don’t worry though, I’ll keep it brief. So, my name is Matt Doyle. I was born to an Irish family in England, and that dual nationality status is something that I’ve always liked to embrace. I identify as pansexual and genderfluid, and believe me, it took a long time for me to find the right terms to fit my circumstances.

I’ve done a lot of different things over the years, including performing a duet with my brother at a charity concert and spending ten years working in pretty much every side of the pro wrestling business. I also run a pop culture website, and design T-shirts. Oh, and I created my video game at age fifteen, and intend to eventually get around to working on a new one when time allows.

I’m a published author. While I started out with a four-part self-published series, I also have three books with NineStar Press and (a fourth on the way), and have appeared in multiple anthologies ranging from Queer Sci-Fi’s annual flash fiction collections to Bad Dog Books’ furry series, ROAR.

I’m a lifelong sci-fi fan and so, while I tend to write stories that span multiple genres, there’s almost always a grounding in science fiction. I also tend to write LGBTQ+ characters in almost every story. Growing up, I was less interested in coming out stories, and really wanted to see stories about people like me who’d found their place in the world. So, my characters usually (but not always) are already comfortable in themselves and their orientation just happens to be part of them rather than a focal point of the tale.

So, that’s me in a nutshell. Today though, I want to talk a little about my current series, The Cassie Tam Files. It’s a lesfic mystery series with a sci-fi setting, and is published by the LGBTQ+ publishing house NineStar Press.

The Cassie Tam Files – An Introduction To The Themes And Characters

The World of Cassie Tam And New Hopeland City

The books are, in many ways, reminiscent of the old novels of the noir era, and have had comparisons to the works of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Marele Day before now. At the same time though, that science fiction influence is still there. The story is set in the near future, and New Hopeland itself was built to be a very technology focused place. What this means is that, through the setting, you get to see some examples of potential places we could be heading with technology. Everything you see in that regard is a natural progression from where we’re at. From VR being used by businesses to tech enhanced theaters, and futuristic fursuits to theoretically plausible vampire gear, everything exists to a degree now. This just ramps it up.

So, expect hardboiled inner monologues and forays into a dingy criminal underworld, all playing alongside cyberpunk-ish science fiction elements and a slow-burn shy FF romance that spans the whole series.

Cassie Tam

Our protagonist is a PI working in the fictional city of New Hopeland, Utah. She’s a snarky, hardboiled detective that solves cases with a mixture of smarts and toughness, all the while sticking stubbornly to her rigid moral code. It’s that stubbornness that is, in some ways, both her best tool and biggest downfall in the job. Once she decides that a particular outcome is the correct one, she pursues it doggedly, no matter the consequences, which does seem effective, but also lands her in a lot of difficult situations.

Cassie is a lover of horror films. She doesn’t strictly have a preference for style; practical effects or CG, creeping dread or gore, it’s all much the same for her. Despite this love of the genre, they almost always give her nightmares though. This is something that confuses her as she’s encountered plenty of real-life life or death situations and can’t quite figure out why fiction hits her that hard. When not scaring herself silly, she’s a big coffee drinker. I’m not entirely certain that her blood isn’t ninety per cent caffeine at this point.

Despite her confidence in her abilities, and the tough persona she adopts when on a job, Cassie is not the most confident when it comes to social situations, especially romantically. She tends to keep most people at arm’s length until she knows them well, and is prone to bouts of embarrassment with prospective romantic partners. Her previous relationship ended despite neither her nor her then-partner Charlotte doing anything specific wrong, so when she starts to find herself attracted to her client in Addict, she isn’t entirely certain how far to push it. After all, if you can seemingly do everything right and still have things fall apart, that’s got to be a risk going forward too, right?

When it comes to technology, Cassie makes use of what she needs, but has a bit of a love-hate relationship with the various new things that get released. She has a particular issue with Tech Shifters as one of her first major collaborations with the police in New Hopeland was during a spate of brutal murders carried out by people in Tech Shift gear.

Lori Redwood

Cassie’s client in Addict is a Tech Shifter. This means that she uses a metal suit to roleplay as an animal in her free time, in this case a panther called Ink. The process involves an operation to insert rubber tipped plugs running from the Shifter’s head down to the base of their spine, so it’s not something that people enter lightly. It also means that Lori keeps her head shaved at all times so as to avoid hair getting tangled in the plugs.

For Lori, Tech Shifting is a form of non-sexual kitty-play that she uses to destress from the week, though there are many reasons people do it. She’s well respected in the local Tech Shift community and actually runs a regular meet for those looking to meet like-minded people. Lori works as a photographer for a local news company, and is often called upon to cover some difficult cases. For Lori, that causes some issues because she often feels like she’s not able to do enough to help people. This is something that spills over into other parts of her life too, as she has a tendency to blame herself for things that she can’t control.

In Addict, she hires Cassie to investigate her brother Eddie’s death. He was a virtual reality junkie, and the police put his death down to an accidental overdose on experience enhancing drugs. Lori doesn’t believe this because, to her knowledge, he never used drugs, and was working towards getting a career in a VR focused company. Though initially going through a whole host of emotions in response to her situation, she grows an attraction to Cassie.

Unlike Cassie, Lori is quite naturally flirty and approaches most social situations with a smile and the occasional joke. She particularly enjoys teasing Cassie when she gets flustered, but never acts in malice. She is willing though to point out when Cassie is doing something silly, like overanalyzing a situation that simply doesn’t require it, and so tends to try to keep Cassie on track rather than encourage some of her potentially negative traits. Lori tends to fall hard and fast in relationships, and is making a conscious effort not to push this too hard with Cassie as she fears scaring her off. 

Bert

Perhaps the most popular character in the series, Bert is an AI gargoyle that lives with Cassie. Familiar Units were built to act as replacements for flesh and blood pets in New Hopeland. Their durability meant that they wouldn’t get hurt when playing with heavy handed children, but would also be very good in security roles. Most units are built to take on one of these two roles exclusively, known as Family or Protector classes. Bert differs in this regard because he has a hybrid programming of the two.

The reason for this is due to Cassie’s job. She reasoned that Protector class programming would be useful for tough cases but that, as she lived and worked in a small apartment, she couldn’t have a miniature tank running about the place. The result of this hybrid programming is that Bert has a few character quirks. He’s certainly loyal to Cassie, and will rush in to save her if her life is in danger, often in a brutal manner. At the same time though, he enjoys playing and gets bored easily. This often results in him causing mild issues, such as deciding that the bag of sugar on the kitchen worktop may be an intruder that needs to be taken down. Cassie describes him as being akin to a particularly sarcastic house cat that happens to be loyal enough to protect its owner.

Bert can only say, “Caw.” Despite this, he is perfectly capable of showing a range of emotions, often including exasperation. 

Devin Carmichael

A regularly appearing and popular side character, Devin is a bit of an enigma in the city. He’s known to be an assassin for hire, but the police won’t touch him. The reason for this is that, when they can’t themselves deal with a criminal that’s committed an atrocious crime, Devin is often called in to clean up. As such, he has become strangely ingrained with the fabric of the city, working with not only law enforcement but the criminal underworld.

Like Cassie, Devin has his own rigid moral code. He understands his job and what it entails, but will not take every job that comes his way. He likes to understand not only his client and target, but the reasons for the hit, and won’t kill someone that he views as relatively innocent.

Though their roles should put them at odds, he and Cassie get along well, with Devin describing her as the closest he gets to a friend in his job. Though she’s never hired him to kill anyone, Cassie has worked with him in a number of different capacities, such as paying for information and for additional protection when Bert isn’t an appropriate option. He seems to know more than most about what’s going on in the city, at least most of the time. 

Where Are We Right Now?

The series is set to run to five books in total. Right now, the first three are already available. The details for these are as follows:

Addict – Cassie is hired to investigate the death of a local VR junkie. Though she expects it to be an open and shut case, she soon finds herself drawn into a potential murder investigation that threatens not only her life, but that of her client’s.

The Fox, The Dog, And The King –Cassie finds herself hired to find a missing dog. The case sees her not only hunting for the pooch, but also getting embroiled in a conspiracy that could shake the New Hopeland criminal underworld to its core.

LV48 – When walking home from a night out with Lori, Cassie is attacked, and wakes up at the police station. She expects help, but instead finds herself forced to act as bait to draw out an attacker with a fascination for blood. She wouldn’t mind so much if doing so didn’t mean facing down a tech-suited wannabe vampire.

An untitled fourth book has been signed by NineStar Press and is currently going through the editing process. This book collects two novellas into one. The first is told from Lori’s POV and sees her helping Cassie on a case relating to workplace harassment. The second is back with Cassie as she’s hired to deal with a stalker.

The fifth, final book will bring the previous four together and see Cassie delving into the deep secrets of new Hopeland City. I’m currently busy road mapping the book before I start writing. 

And Finally…

Well, that’s about it from me! So, here’s a big thank you to M.D. Neu for hosting me today, and another to everyone who reads my ramblings. Please do feel free to check the books out. You can find them on Goodreads, and all the purchase links are on my site.

There’s plenty more to come from me too. My current plan for what to do after I finish with Cassie is for something that I can only describe as James Bond meets Alien with a genderfluid protagonist. In the meantime, I cover a ton of different things on my site, ranging from diverse books and comics to video games and anime. I also have a webstore, so feel free to check that out too. Thanks again everyone, have a good one!


Thank you Matt for taking the reins today and sharing The Cassie Tam Files with us. I hope everyone rushes out to pick up their copy of book one and diving in on this amazing series. Now, don’t forget if you know someone who might enjoy these novels or anything else you’ve read on my Scribbles Page you can share this post by clicking the ‘share’ button below. Until next time have a great week.

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.

book promo photos final 20TH Feb 2019 ~01.jpg

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.

ASymposiuminSpace-f500.jpeg

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

A New World-Conviction Book Launch

Wow! Wow! Wow! Hey Scribblers. Conviction is here, this is book two of my epic Sci Fi series A New World has arrived. I’m excited for you all to get your hands on the newest installment. Check out the blurb and an exclusive expert from the novel.

Here is the blurb for Conviction:

Conviction Composite.png

A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It's home to 7 billion people with all manner of faiths, beliefs and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding, who will soon be told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice.

Todd Landon is one of these people, living and working in a section of the world called the United States of America. His life is similar to those around him: home, family, work, friends and a husband.

After the attack on San Jose, Todd is appointed to Special Envoy for Terran Affairs by the nentraee, a position many world leaders question. Undeterred Todd wants to build bridges between both people. However, this new position brings with it a new set of problems that not only he, but his new allies Mi’ko and Mirtoff must overcome. Will the humans and nentraee learn to work together despite mistrust and threats of more attacks by a new global terrorist group, or will the terrorists win? Will this bring an end to an already shaky alliance between nentraee and humans?

Here is a short excerpt from the book:

Excerpt:

This is a fun moment where Todd finally meets Faa, Mirtoff’s companion animal. It’s a moment I’ve been wanted to share with people since they first met Faa way back in book one:

“Hello, Todd,” Mi’ko said, speaking English.

“Good afternoon, Mister Vice Speaker. You wanted to see me?” Todd turned to Mirtoff. “Oh, Madam Speaker, hello.” He bowed.

Todd hadn’t spent a lot of time with the speaker general. However, during his interactions with her, she seemed remarkably intelligent and professional. Unlike those times, today, she didn’t have a cup of tuma. As always, her auburn hair was braided up into a bun with a few wisps running along the side of her face. Her brilliant dark brown eyes, which Todd had learned were rare for the Nentraee, always seemed to sparkle, giving her a kind appearance.

“Todd, a pleasure,” Mirtoff said.

Faa trotted over next to her and sat down as she spoke.

“I should go.” Todd adjusted the cuffs of his shirt. “I didn’t mean to interrupt you.”

“No sense, Todd.” Mi’ko waved him over. “We are finishing up, and I requested your presence, so there is nothing for you to interrupt.”

“It is I who should go.” Mirtoff dusted off her pants. “I need to get Faa back for his lunch.”

“A cádo.” Todd knelt to look at Faa. “I didn’t know you had one, Madam Speaker.”

Todd hadn’t seen one this close. From what he understood about them, they were akin to dogs or, maybe, cats. Bigger than Bianca for sure, Faa seemed to be about the size of a cocker spaniel, if not a little bigger.

“Oh, he’s beautiful. I love his eyes,” Todd said. “Hello, little guy.” He stuck his hand out for Faa to sniff. “I’m not gonna hurt you.”

“Provider, this human Todd?” Faa asked, tilting his head toward Mirtoff.

“Jesus H. Christ!” Todd shouted and dropped on his butt.

Both Mi’ko and Mirtoff shared confused expressions as Faa jumped on the chair behind Mirtoff. A small whimper came from his mouth.

“It talks. I didn’t know it could talk. How in the holy hell does it talk?” Todd picked himself up off the floor and knelt. “I’m…I’m sorry. He startled me. I didn’t mean to scare him.” He gestured to Faa. “You never said they talked.”

“You have animals that speak on your planet, don’t you?” Mi’ko questioned.

The cádo shook and his eyes were double their normal size.

“Well…” Todd tried to calm his voice. “Parrots or some other birds, but that—not like that. I thought he would mimic words like them, but he’s smart. He knows what he’s saying, doesn’t he?”

Mirtoff’s hand gently rubbed Faa’s back and his head.

“Human scared Faa.”

The Nentraee words came out slow and deliberate so Todd could understand.

Mirtoff sat. Faa climbed onto her lap and nuzzled her arm.

“It’s all right, little one. He won’t hurt you.”

Todd recognized the words. “I’m sorry.”

“Faa, this is Todd Landon,” Mirtoff said. “Todd, this is the cádo who selected me, Faa.”

“Hello,” Todd said and waved.

Faa turned to Mirtoff and then to Todd. His muzzle shifted around, and then he finally said, “Todd.” He swished his tail.

“How?” Todd asked.

“They communicate at a lower level than we do, but they have intelligence. However, they are totally dependent on us.”

“But the language? The intelligence?” Todd asked.

Faa murmured as Mirtoff rubbed his head. He had stopped trembling.

“The best comparison is they are similar to small children,” Mi’ko said. “We assumed since humans have animals that talked and are smart it wouldn’t be so shocking. You said yourself you talk to your cat all the time.”

“But Bianca doesn’t talk back.” Todd paused. Well, she did, in a way, and they understood each other, but not like this. “I just…that is an animal trait that we’ll need to let people know.”

Faa sniffed the air and got up. He jumped off Mirtoff and sauntered to Todd. He sniffed the air again. “Todd Landon.” He seemed to struggle to pronounce the words.

“Just let him come to you,” Mirtoff said.

The three watched Faa move closer, each step cautious. Todd remained kneeling on the floor.

“They don’t eat meat, right?” Todd asked.

“Correct.” Mirtoff kept her eyes on Faa.

Faa sniffed and moved closer, his tail swishing. With a nimble movement, he jumped and landed on Todd’s lap. Faa pushed his front paws into Todd’s chest and stared at him. “Todd Landon.”

Todd’s heart skipped a beat as Faa looked him in the eyes.

Faa was gray and had a short muzzle, dwarfed by his large green eyes and his floppy ears.

“Faa.” Mirtoff snapped her fingers and pointed to the floor, addressing Faa in Nentraee words that Todd didn’t recognize.

Faa mentioned Todd’s name twice, along with other words, but Todd couldn’t focus, his heart starting to pound. He wasn’t fearful of animals, but he had never run across an animal that looked him in the eyes as if sizing him up for a meal.

Relax. It’s fine. He’s just like a big dog. He’s not going to hurt you. Look at those big, beautiful eyes. I’m sure he’s more scared of you than you are of him.

Faa continued speaking and used Todd’s name again.

Todd turned to Mirtoff and Mi’ko for some hint of what the creature said. He couldn’t read their expressions.

“He likes you and wants to be friends,” Mi’ko said.

Faa nudged against Todd’s legs and started to murmur happily.

“Okay, by far this is the oddest thing I’ve experienced since I started.” Todd paused and sat so Faa could sit more on his lap instead of knocking him over. “He’s adorable and beautiful. Don’t get me wrong.” His voice cracked as he forced a small chuckle. He wasn’t sure what to do with the cádo resting happily on his lap.

Faa is a heavy little beast.

Mirtoff called to Faa in Nentraee and clicked her fingers.

Faa’s muzzle shifted.

“I’m sorry, Todd,” Mirtoff said. “I didn’t expect him to act that way. He’s normally not that curious. It’s good information so we can address this with our population. I should have had you and Faa meet sooner.”

Faa jumped off and walked to Mirtoff’s side.

Todd’s shoulders and neck relaxed now that Faa was off him.

Faa nudged the back of Mirtoff’s leg and addressed her in Nentraee.

“He hopes to see you again, and he wants to be your friend,” Mirtoff said.

Mirtoff and Faa moved to the door. She knelt next to Faa and whispered in his big floppy ear.

Faa giggled and then padded over to Todd, glancing up with his big doe eyes. “Bye Bye, Todd,” he said in English, then padded back to the door, and Mirtoff and he walked out.

“Bye, Faa.” Todd waved.

Amazing. That was incredible.


Want to check out the reviews of Conviction before you buy it, click here.

Here is where you can buy Conviction:
     Click here for NineStar Press.
     Click here for iTunes.
     Click here for Amazon.
     Click here for Barnes & Noble.
     Click here for Kobo.

Alternatively, ask for it at your local bookstore or you can find it at the San Jose Public Library (click here).





For the launch I have a giveaway going on so don’t forget to sign up below. That’s it for this week. Don’t forget to share this post with family and friends who love epic Sci Fi stories by clicking the ‘share’ button below, and since you’re down there today don’t forget to like this post as well. Until next time have a great week.

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

Why I Write and How the Stories Come to me?

It’s kind of funny, to think about these two questions. Why do I find it funny you may wonder? Because I get asked this by people who’ve known me a long time. Friends I’ve known for years and family members who have been around my whole life. So, I get a chuckle out of the question right before I freeze and can’t come up with an answer.

Today, I figured I would try to answer these questions here in an honest and intelligent manner.

Reading.jpg

When I was a kid I didn’t read very much. I’m dyslexic and reading was, and still is, a challenge for me. I hated reading and writing, but I loved telling stories and talking. I could make up crazy stories off the top of my head and people would listen–which was cool. It distracted folks from the dyslexia and helped me not feel like I was stupid or ‘retarded’ like some kids called me. Plus, I’ll be honest, I enjoyed the attention.

As I got older and had to read and write more for school, I forced myself to find books I liked. I needed the practice and to improve my reading speed if I would survive in school. In High School I got lucky, I had amazing teachers who introduced me to literature works, some good and others not so good. They also took the time to help me with my reading and encouraged my writing.

I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for some of my amazing English teachers. To them I say thank you.

During this time, I slowly (very slowly) realized I was attracted to boys. Not girls like all my guy friends. This was in the 70s and 80s when there were no openly gay men or women even when I found Stephen King and Star Trek, I loved the worlds they created, but still no people like me. When I found, Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice it was the first time I saw two men together raising a child. Are they a gay couple? If you believe the subtext they sure are. A messed up gay couple, but there it was in writing for the first time in my life. It was amazing.

Then AIDS hit and I remember hearing how gay equaled AIDS, and AIDS equaled death. What does ‘gay’ stand for? Got AIDS Yet. This ‘joke’ bothered me then and bothers me now. However, what AIDS did, after hundreds of thousands of gay men died, was, for good and for bad, it gave us the tragic gay character. I wanted to change this. I needed to change this. So now, I create strong characters that anyone can relate to, that happen to be gay. My characters needed to be so much more than gay! Gay would not be the focus. Which leads me to the second thing I noticed especially in gay fiction. Almost everything I found and still find is gay romance or gay erotica novels. There is nothing wrong with that, but, for me, I wanted more out of my characters. I needed to create something different that would appeal to everyone.

I wanted to see a gay character attack the Death Star and blow it up, be an Officer on the bridge of the Enterprise who had a partner on ship, be the married couple that have to deal with a paranormal attack on their family, and have to flee in the night with their kids, as coffins blew up out of the ground around them. I wanted to see heroic gay characters save the realm and have the audience cheer for them in the theater. No one would bat an eye at the fact that the person the characters were saving weren’t someone of the opposite sex. I wanted to see real gay people living in all these fantastic worlds. That’s why I write.

How do I get these gay people to live in exciting worlds? Well the ideas for my stories come from all around me. They come from family and friends. I see something that will happen and it will spark an idea, a ‘what if’. Most of the time my ideas start off as the characters talking to me in my dreams. They will come introduce themselves and tell me who they are and what happened to them. When I wake up, I make notes and start from there.

How Stories.jpg

I know it sounds bizarre to speak about characters talking to you, but for me that’s how it works. It’s not always just the main characters either. I’ll get background characters or secondary characters who will come forward and tell me about themselves. That happens if they’re not happy with how I’m handling them in the story. I remember I had one secondary character furious with me and wouldn’t quiet down until I heard what she had to say. What I ended up discovering about her made me fall in love with her and now she’s one of my favorite characters to write about.

Okay, so that is a bit about why and how storied come to me. As always if you have questions leave them below in the comments section. Don’t forget if you know someone who might enjoy my novels or my writing you can share this post by clicking the ‘share’ button below. Until next time have a great week.

Q&A with Author CJ Bedell

Happy Wednesday Scribblers, this week I’m welcoming Chris Bedell to my Scribbles Page for a Q&A about their upcoming Young Adult LGBTQ thriller I Know Where the Bodies are Buried, which comes out latter this year.

Welcome to my Scribbles Page.

Before we jump into the Q&A why don’t you tell me and my Scribblers something about yourself and your writing that they won’t find in your bio?

One thing that fascinates me about writing is ambiguity. As humans, we like things to be in simple terms. However, that often isn’t the case—sometimes the truth can be somewhere in the middle. And when that theme manifests itself in writing, it is quite interesting.

Let’s talk about your upcoming Young Adult thriller I Know where the Bodies are Buried. When does it hit the stores?

The release date is still set fir 2019. However, I’ll post on my twitter (@ChrisBedell) when I know something more specific.

What can you tell us about the cast of characters? Do you have a favorite character?

The story is about teenagers. Carson, and his friends Chelsea, Freddie, and Amanda attend a New England boarding school. Carson’s “boyfriend,” Billy, allegedly died of suicide but Carson doesn’t believe it. So, Carson dates another student—Dean—who was close to Billy under the guise of trying to prove Billy was murdered. Except Carson doesn’t count on falling for Dean in addition to uncovering unpleasant things about Billy. Finally, the book rotates between the present (NOW) and the past (THEN) with the Billy mystery unraveling in the present and the past providing insight into Billy/Billy’s relationship with Carson.

That sounds intriguing. So, what makes this book different than what is already on the market, what is going to excite readers of young adult books?

My book is a twist on the Gone Girl narrative that inspired a lot of Adult Mysteries/Thrillers. I thought it’d be interesting to bring that to a Young Adult book. Particularly if the villain is male. Although overlooked, men can be as cunning and manipulative as Amy in Gone Gril.

What inspired you to write this story?

I’ve always wanted to write a Young Adult book about hazing, but didn’t just want it to be a “morality play.” Hazing is only a minor component of this book, but the implications from a hazing event reveal something major about one of the characters in I Know where the Bodies are Buried. Also, as I previously mentioned, I love Gone Girl and wanted to write a twisted Young Adult Thriller. Adam Silvera’s History is all you Left Me is also a comp title for the book—it inspired my book’s dual timeline.

We’ve talked a little about your upcoming book, would you like to share anything about your current books?

Sure. Just recently, I signed a contract for a Young Adult Paranormal novel—Deathly Desires—which is coming out September 19th of this year. The pitch for Deathly Desires is Tara Sim’s Timekeeper meets Pretty Little Liars when 17-year-old Cody enters a relationship of convenience with a grim reaper to get over a past unrequited crush. Plus, a I Know What you did Last Summer situation, which guarantees death if not solved. Also, my Young Adult Fantasy novel In the Name of Magic is currently out now and can be bought here:

Buy it on Amazon here.

Buy it from NineStar Press here.

Buy it on Barnes and Noble here.

Buy it on Smashed Words here.

Buy is from Indiebound here.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

That nothing is as it seems in my Young Adult LGBTQ Thriller I Know where the Bodies are Buried, in addition I hope readers enjoy the twists and turns. Furthermore, I Know where the Bodies are Buried has series potential, and I’ll release more information on my Twitter as it becomes available.

Excellent. Thank you for stopping by today.

I want to thank Chris for hanging out and sharing all about their upcoming book as they mentioned it will be released sometime this year, but Chris will announce the actual date on Twitter as soon as more information is learned. So keep your eyes and ears opened for more about this new young adult thriller. In the mean time if you know anyone who loves young adult books share this blog post and help get the word out. Have a great week and we’ll see you next time.

About I Know Where the Bodies are Buried:

History is all you Left Me meets Gone Girl: 17-year-old Carson befriends, and dates a classmate (Dean) to prove his ex-boyfriend's (Billy's) death was murder; not suicide. Except sleuthing unravels Billy's secret depravity and Carson actually falls for Dean. The novel rotates between the present (NOW) and the past (THEN). Here is the more detailed blurb:

NOW: 17-year-old Carson believes his former “boyfriend” Billy didn’t commit suicide by jumping off a cliff, and into the ocean. Billy’s sweater and suicide note might’ve been found, yet a body was never discovered. So, Carson befriends, and “dates” his classmate, Dean, on the possibility that Dean knows something about Billy’s death. Dean and Billy both belonged to the same community service club—where Billy devoted a lot of time to. Clues unravel like: an eyewitness seeing members of Charity Now in the woods near the cliff before Billy’s suicide, a diary entry, proving Billy lied about his father being homophobic, and a hazing incident involving a student’s death—that Billy might or might not have been responsible for. Carson doesn’t only have to grapple with Billy’s duplicity, though. Genuine romantic feelings for Dean emerge. Except Carson will have to finish his sleuthing if he wants closure about Billy’s death. Even if that means finding out facts about Billy that he wished he never knew or choosing between stringing Dean along or being honest.

THEN: Billy makes Carson feel special when he flirts with him at a party in addition to helping Carson deal with a past trauma. However, Billy refuses to go public with their relationship, and Carson must decide whether he can handle a secret relationship or if they should breakup.

About CJ Bedell:

Chris’s previous publishing credits include Thought Catalog, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, and Entropy Magazine among others. Additionally, his debut Young Adult Fantasy novel In the Name of Magic was published by NineStar Press (a small press) in 2018. Furthermore, his 2019 publishing credits include: his Young Adult Thriller novel I Know where the Bodies are Buried by Magnolia Press, and his Young Adult Paranormal Romance novel Deathly Desires from Deep Desires Press.

Contact CJ Bedell:

Twitter is the best way to get in touch with me.

My Twitter handle is: @ChrisBedell

Two books. Two Fantastic Authors

Happy Wednesday Scribblers, this week I wanted to draw your attention to two amazing books and two great authors. These writers have different styles but are amazing and I adore each of them. Both books have recently been released and are ones you need to buy.

The first novel is the third book in J. Scott Coatsworth’s Oberon Cycle series Ithani. All three books are available for you to binge read and his newest title Ithani promises to be just as amazing as the first two.

Check out the blurb:

Time is running out.

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After saving the world twice, Xander, Jameson and friends plunge headlong into a new crisis. The ithani--the aliens who broke the world--have reawakened from their hundred millennia-long slumber. When Xander and Jameson disappear in a flash, an already fractured world is thrown into chaos.

The ithani plans, laid a hundred thousand years before, are finally coming to pass, and they threaten all life on Erro. Venin and Alix go on a desperate search for their missing and find more than they bargained for. And Quince, Robin and Jessa discover a secret as old as the skythane themselves.

Will alien technology, unexpected help from the distant past, destiny and some good old-fashioned firepower be enough to defeat an enemy with the power to split a world? The final battle of the epic science fiction adventure that began in Skythane will decide the fate of lander and skythane alike. And in the north, the ithani rise….

If you are new to the series here is the blurb to wet your appetite:

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Oberon is one of the natural wonders of the Universe - a half planet that shouldn’t exist, at least according to the laws of nature.

Oberon is also a nest of secrets. The Skythane - the first human colonists of Oberon - keep some of them, and so do the “landers” who work for OberCorp, the company that is exploiting the planet for its natural resources.

Now Oberon is in danger. A solar flare threatens to end most life on the planet, but an ancient prophecy leads Quince, Xander, Jameson and a small group of landers and skythane on an epic quest to save the planet - and unravel its secrets along the way.

Other challenges await on the horizon, for the world, and its inhabitants. Will they find the answers they need, and their way to each other, in time?

These books are worth the read. Here is where you can find them:

Buy them from Dreamspinner Press here or here.

Buy them from Amazon here.

Buy from Barnes & Noble here.

Buy from Google Play here.

Buy from Kobo here.

Buy from iTune here.


Author Bio:

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Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecting their own reality.

For his Author Website click here.

For his Author Facebook (Personal) click here.

For his Author Facebook (Author Page) click here.

Find hin on Twitter here.

Find him on Goodreads here.

For his Author QueeRomance Ink click here.

For his Author Amazon page click here.


As you know I dabble in poetry (if you forgot check out my poems here) and a type of poetry that has always both eluded and fascinated me is Haiku. That said, the next book up this week is a collection of Haiku. The book is Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volume 1) by a good friend of mine Cendrine Marrouat.

Check out the blurb here:

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Haiku are unrhymed poems consisting of about 17 syllables spread over three lines. This poetry form started in Japan and has been very popular in many countries around the world for decades.

Haiku force you to be concise. They teach you impactfulness. As such, they are the embodiment of the "Show don't tell" technique. A technique that allows readers to experience stories in a more personal and meaningful manner.

Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volume 1) is not just a celebration of Cendrine Marrouat’s love for haiku. It is also an invitation to enjoy the flitting moments that make life beautiful...

Extracts:

“Cherry trees in bloom:

Spring in the English garden

where two lovers meet.”

“The fog has rolled in—

details of branches melt

for a split second.”

Here is where you can find the book:

Buy it from the Website here.

Author bio:

Cendrine Marrouat (pronunciation: “san-drEEn mar-wah”) is a photographer, poet, author, and French instructor. Originally from Toulouse, France, she has called Winnipeg, Canada, her home for 16 years.

Cendrine specializes in nature, black-and-white and closeup images. Her photography seeks the mundane to capture the fleeting, but true beauty of life in its many forms.

Cendrine is passionate about haiku. She has studied the Japanese poetry form extensively and written many pieces since 2006.

In 2015, Cendrine was recognized a Top 100 Business Blogger by BuzzHUMM. Social Media Slant also made Fit Small Business' Best Small Business Blogs of 2015 & 2016 lists.

Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volume 1) is Cendrine’s 12th book. Other releases include five collections of poetry, three photography books, a play, two social media ebooks, and a spoken word CD.

For her Website click here.

Find her on Twitter here.

Find her on Instagram here.

Find her on YouTube here.

Well Scribblers that is all I have for you this week. Remember, if you know someone who loves SciFi or novels poetry send them a link to this post. If you have questions for either Scott or Cendrine leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure they jump back over to answer them. In the meantime have a great week and see you next time.

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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

A New World-Contact has Arrived

Happy 2019. I hope you are all having a wonderful new year. Can you believe we are already almost to the end of January? Wow!

This week A New World-Contact has arrived, and it’s already gotten some amazing reviews. Check them out here on Goodreads and here on Amazon. It’s incredible and I couldn’t be more thrilled. As I mentioned last week, I have a lot of virtual and personal engagements planned for the next several months. You can click here for all the details I shared last week.

I wanted to share what is coming up next. Well, A New World-Conviction will be released on March 11, 2019 so you won’t have to wait long for the next book. Find our more about it here. Also, coming out on June 24, 2019 I have my urban fantasy T.A.D.-The Angel of Death. Learn more about TAD here. It will be a busy few months, but I’m excited and it is my hope you will enjoy what I have in store.

I haven’t forgotten about The Calling-Book Two, which has the working title of The Called. I’m getting the first draft finished and as promised this will be the last book of the series, but you never know what other stories will come out of this universe.

Also, regarding my A New World series book three Conspiracy is finished and working through Beta reads right now.

Those are all the current updates I have right now. Next week I’m honored to bring to my Scribble Page author Barbara Russell (find out more about Barbara here), she will talk to us about her current and upcoming books which I can assure you are great reads.

If you have questions please share them in the comments section below. If you want to help me out, please share my website with your friends and family especially if you know anyone who loves Paranormal writing or Sci Fi books remember to recommend me. The other way you can help me out is to leave a review of my books. Reviews really make a difference. Check out Amazon reviews here.

Until next time have a great week.

Countdown to Contact

Happy Wednesday Scribblers. Can you believe that there are only five days until my aliens (the Nentraee) land in their debut novel A New World-Contact. Do you want to learn about their clans? What about getting a handle on their language? Click here for the nentraee clan info and here for the nentraee language info. I have been working on this novel and this series for more years then I care to admit. The idea for A New World-Contact started as a family drama back when I was twenty-five and has morphed into what will be release on January 21, 2019. It should be epic.

As part of my launch festivities over the next several weeks I will be doing various blog tours, interviews, and appearances. Here is a schedule of what has been confirmed as of this posting:

On Saturday January 26, 2019 I will take over QueerRomance Ink’s Facebook page (find it here) come hang out from 10am – noon (PST). So, if you’re around please check in, say hello, and stay for a while. I’ll answer questions about the novel, the series, and the characters. I’m looking forward to chatting with folks and, of course, there will be giveaways to be won.

Beginning Monday January 28, 2019 and ending on Friday February 1, 2019 I will stop by a new Blog each day and share info about A New World-Contact and the characters that live in that universe. Here is the schedule and where to find blogs and me:

January 21, 2019 – MM Good Book Reviews find them here.

January 29, 2019 – Love Bytes Reviews find them here.

January 30, 2019 – The Blogger Girls find them here.

January 31, 2019 – Queer Sci Fi find them here.

February 1, 2019 – Bayou Book Junkie find them here.

Early February I will, again, be a guest on OutLook Video. I’m thrilled to have been invited back and I’m looking forward to sharing more about A New World-Contact with them and you. Find OutLook Video here and the backlog of episodes here on CreaTV.

On February 8, 2019 I will be over with Vance and Baz on the WROTE Podcast. Those guys are amazing and you never know what we’ll be talking about, so don’t miss it. Here is where you can find WROTE Podcast.

February 21, 2019 will be the official launch party for A New World-Contact. As with last years launch of The Calling this event will be held in downtown San Jose at the Axis Building, Lobby Lounge (38 N. Almaden Blvd., San Jose CA) from 6pm – 9pm. If you will be in the area drop by, it should be a lot of fun. I will have books for sale and I’ll be signing them of course. Who knows maybe there will be a few special announcements. For more information on the launch party please check out my Facebook Page here.

You can still preorder A New World-Contact from my publisher NineStar Press here and you will get it three days early (January 18, 2019).

Well Scribblers there is a lot happening over the next month and beyond. Until next time have a great week. If you have questions or would like more info about any of the events I have planned please let me know in the comments below.

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.

Happy New Year 2019

Happy New Year Scribblers, I want to wish each of you a wonderful and joyful new year.

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As a reminder coming out on January 21, 2019 my Sci Fi novel A New World-Contact will be released by NineStar Press (want to see what other great books are offered by NineStar Press check them out here). To learn more about my new Sci Fi series click here. To learn more about Contact (Book 1) click here.

Also, as part of my cover art reveal you still have time to sign up for the drawing to win a NineStar Press Gift Card, click here.

Here’s to a great new year for us all.

Happy Christmas

Merry Christmas Scribblers! I hope you’re all enjoying the Holiday Season. As you may have noticed I’ve taken a bit of time off from my scribbles page. Not only have I been busy with the holidays, but I’ve been completing the edits on my new Sci Fi series to be released on January 21, 2019: A New World-Contact (Book 1). Also, I’ve been working on A New World-Conviction (Book 2), coming out on March 11, 2019 to learn more about Book 1 and Book 2 click here.

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The official launch party for A New World-Contact (Book 1) will be February 21, 2019 here in San Jose, CA. There will be more details coming. I will also, be doing a book signing in Sacramento, CA so keep an eye out for more information. Hitting the shelves in June 2019 will be my new urban fantasy novel T.A.D. - The Angle of Death click here to learn more.

Along, with getting these new novels ready for the world this upcoming year, I will again, be a judge for the Rainbow Awards, which means I have a bunch of reading to do, which, luckily, I’ve started.

Coming in the New Year I will provide more author interviews, more book reviews, and I will be adding to my ever growing list of book recommendations, click here for the list of books that I consider a must read. I will also be showcasing more of my poetry, which if you missed any you can check here.

Finally, I want to wish you all a wonderful season and I hope your new year is a blessed and prosperous one. Remember to be kind to each other and never give anyone the power to make you feel less than. You are all wonderful and special.

Merry Christmas!