My Favourite Sci-Fi Properties by Matt Doyle

When M.D. Neu invited me to come back to his site, we had a chat about what sort of post to do. In the end, we settled on my talking a little about some my favorite Sci-Fi properties. Now, I’m an author, but I’m not going to directly mention books too much here. The thing with the franchises includes is that most of them do have books attached. I want to talk about franchises as a whole though, with a focus on how I first discovered them, regardless of the medium. So, let’s dive in!

Live-Action TV

Star Trek: The Next Generation – My first sci-fi love. When I first started watching the show, it was already a few seasons in, so I missed the whole pre-growing-the-beard-in bits originally. Everything about it really stuck with me though. The characters were great, the stories were cool, and I loved the futuristic multi-cultural society within the Enterprise. Picard remains my favorite Captain – and I’m super excited for the upcoming series – but there wasn’t anyone that I disliked in this.

Farscape – In my opinion, one of the more underrated sci-fi shows. The big selling point of the show was that it was using puppet work rather than just doing CG for everything, and boy did that risk pay off! To this day, I still feel like you forget that some of the characters are puppets, and just view them as people. Alien people, but people, nonetheless. The show had some wonderful concepts too, like the idea of living ships that can give birth and the way they’re connected to their pilot.

Battlestar Galactica (2004) – I never saw much of the original series, only catching snippets of the occasional episode here and there before Buck Rogers. This remake though…wow! I was hooked from the get-go, loving the dark story tones, enjoying the battles, and falling in love with the characters. Honestly, if either Starbuck or Gaius Baltar were on screen, I was happy. They both had awesome story arcs. Okay, and they were both nice to look at too. The main thing though is that I really loved the way it all played out.


Ghost in the Shell – The 1995 film is one of those masterpieces that, even if the animation is a little dated, still holds up well today. From the sprawling cyberpunk cityscapes to the high octane action, it was – and still is – something special. The Tv series that follows Standalone Complex 1st Gig and 2nd Gig was also excellent, updating the animation for a more modern market. It also touched on Matoko Kusanagi’s bisexuality a little bit more too, though never making it the focus of the show.

Psycho Pass – Another cyberpunk masterpiece from Japan, this time focusing on a Utopian society that isn’t really. This was a show that I saw long after its release, and I’m really glad I finally got to see it. The Crime Coefficient concept is a really interesting one, and the longform story that the first season tells is a wonderful mix of philosophy and memorable characters.

Children’s Franchises

Sonic the Hedgehog – Now, how you classify this one may vary a little. The trick is to look at the complete universe rather than just the early games. That way, not only do you have Dr. Eggman/Dr. Robotnik and his advanced tech machines, but you also have a whole lot more. There’s aliens, genetic creations, massive mechs and alternate dimensions! Regardless, Sonic has been with me since my childhood and I’m still very kind to the Blue Blur. I still love the franchise and buy the new games the first chance I can get, I still collect the comics, and I even cosplay some of the characters. As to why I love it so much? As a kid, it was colorful fun that spanned games, comics and cartoons. As an adult, there’s a touch of nostalgia, sure, but I adore the extended universe. The bigger tales they’re telling, the massive cast, it’s all so much fun!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Another franchise that has been with me since childhood, and spanned multiple incarnations over games, comics and cartoons. This is a bit more cut and dry in terms of classification with the mutagenic ooze and Dr. Stockman’s machines, I think. This is still a favorite because I feel like it has grown with me. The simple stories that aired in my childhood fit my age bracket, and as I got older, I found that the comics touched on more complex themes. As an adult, I enjoyed the CG animated series from Nickelodeon; it balanced being child friendly with references for the adults well. My favorite though is the current comics. I wouldn’t recommend them for kids given the darker tone, but my word they are phenomenal!


Alien vs. Predator – So, I love both franchises individually. Alien 1 and Alien 3: The Assembly Cut are among my favorite films. The same can be said for Predator 1 & 2. When it came to the cross-over films, things were a bit mixed for me. The first AvP film was, in my opinion, underrated. The second was mostly disappointing. No, for me, the best AvP release are SD Perry’s novels. Machiko Noguchi’s story in the novels AvP: Prey and AvP: War was absolutely fascinating as she dealt with xenomorphs and tried to integrate with the Yautja. Both are great reads. I’d recommend avoiding Hunter’s Planet though.

Honorable Mentions

RoboCop – My Nan’s favorite film was RoboCop. She even called her dog Murphy after the titular character. Looking at it, the original film is really quite a wonderful piece though. I once heard it described as a smart film pretending to be a dumb film (the remake was described as the opposite). It is also generally taken that some of the themes around large corporations have become reality to a degree too. In that respect, it’s an enjoyable film with a mildly prophetic nature. And an awesome earworm of a theme song. Honestly, I enjoyed the second film too.

Ancestor by Scott Sigler – This is the only item on the list that is a standalone rather than a full-blown franchise. I picked up this book because it was described as Jurassic Park meets Predator. It didn’t disappoint. It basically tells the story of a team that trying to recreate the ancestor of all humanity in order to harvest organs for life saving operations. As it happens though, the ancestors aren’t exactly friendly. It has a wonderfully likable cast of characters, the action is excellent, and the conclusion is plenty satisfying.

So, there’s my list. There are plenty that I missed, like Terminator and new Dominion Tank Police, but on a whole, I think that’s pretty solid. But what about yourselves? What do you think of the titles listed above? What would you include?

Thank you to Matt Doyle for stopping over to share his favorite Sci Fi stories. Remember to like and share this post below. Until next time have a great week.


About Shadows of the Past

PI Cassie Tam is not the only person who lives with regrets, and like most people, she just wants to get on with her life. But in New Hopeland, the past never remains buried. When she’s hired to track a stalker that’s been using some interesting tech to mask their identity on the city’s security cameras, Cassie ends up face-to-face with her darkest memory.

Can Cassie find out who’s responsible before her past mistakes tear her – and her friends – apart?

Pre-order Now: NineStar Press



Matt Doyle is a speculative fiction author from the UK and identifies as pansexual and genderfluid. Matt has spent a great deal of time chasing dreams, a habit which has led to success in a great number of fields. To date, this has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing multiple works of fiction.

These days, Matt can be found working on multiple novels and stories, blogging about pop culture, and plotting and planning far too many projects.

Website - Twitter - Instagram - Pinterest - Facebook - LinkedIn

Beware Mohawks Bearing Gifts by SA Collins

Happy Wednesday Scribblers. This week I’m thrilled to bring you one of my dear Friends, SA Collins newest works. He is an amazing author, so if you like alternate universe with Sci-fi elements you need to check out his new book.


It’s 1847, New York.

William Matthias Hallett is a fashionable dandy of the Manhattan social set. His life is laid out before him: a world of soirees, riches, and luxury. Yet all he wants to do is find an adventure so deliciously wicked that it will satiate his soul for an eternity.

Disguised in a lower-class manner, into the notorious Five Points he goes, seeking that spark of adventure. That is until it greets him in the form of his old schoolmates from Dartmouth College—a pair of Mohawk warriors who will up-end his world and all he knew it to be forever.

Buy it here from NineStar Press




Wherein we learn of the legend of Skywoman and her twin boys, Spruce and Flint, and how that was just the beginning…

 The Haudenosaunee Territories

As recounted by Tiyanoga to the people

October 21st, 1203

3:12 p.m.

“I speak to you now, the words and the voice of the people. Words that speak of our coming, our creation, and our enduring peace. These are the words of our fathers, our mothers, given to us since time immemorial. Hear now of the sacred warriors, the Tewakenonhnè, and learn what they tell us…”

We, The People, carry the story of Skywoman and of our creation with us. She resonates with us because she is the beginning.

From an early age we hear about her fall from the world of the Skypeople. Spying our world through a hole amongst the roots of the Tree of Life, she grew curious of our watery planet below. Ridiculed by the Skypeople for her curiosity, she was pushed from her world through the hole and fell in a fiery blaze to ours. Seeing her plummeting toward the Earth, geese flew high into the sky to ease her descent to our world. On their wings she watched in wonder as they glided over the vast oceans of the planet.

Knowing she needed a place to land, several aquatic animals scoured the water’s depths to find some soil to put onto a great turtle’s back. When they did, they created our home, Turtle Island. From the moment her feet touched upon the land, she began to seed the plants and create the beginnings of animal life that would populate this new world. They fell from the garments she wore as she walked around, and they took root and thrived in this strange new land.

Enraptured with her staggering creations, she gave birth to twins. The first, a virile strapping boy, she named O’so:ra (Spruce), bringer of all good things in life. Yet, where Spruce possessed a robust body and a healthy glow, his twin, Saweskira (Flint), clawed his way from his mother’s womb into this world sinewy and pallid in color and of ill purpose. One brother a bringer of light, love, empathy, and compassion. The other of darkness, malfeasance, calculated evil, and deception. Even in this, the balance of life must be maintained. The brothers, simply by being, kept that balance.

Would that their differences ended with their outworldly appearances. Our hearts are heavy knowing this is not so. But, as with all things in life, each responds and interacts with the world around them according to their own gifts.

Spruce moved about his world enthralled with every aspect of life his mother gifted them. His keen and sharp mind, coupled with his compassion and deeply profound respect for all the possibilities life afforded him, became the wellspring of his own creations. He demonstrated from childbirth his ability to imbue wondrous things on the island. Expanding upon the flora and fauna his mother started, he freely gave of himself to the world around him.

Flint, however, would toil his days away finding his brother’s marvelous creations. Taking fiendish delight, he perverted them into beings of a darker purpose—bending Spruce’s creation to his conniving will. Under Flint’s maligned hand the common garden snake grew fangs saturated with poison to fill others with its toxic venom.

The boys moved about in a world immersed in brotherly affection laden with sibling competition. The latter trait, however, would come to shake the world to its core.

As their bodies grew in stature, so too did their conflicts. Smaller skirmishes between the twins eventually grew to outright warfare. Ultimately, Spruce found he could no longer bear to ignore the darkness that seemed to pour from his brother’s very soul. Enraged and saddened by his brother’s relentless assault on life, Spruce, bearing the heaviest of hearts, decided to put an end to it.

Thus, the brothers engaged, and an awesome battle ensued—a cataclysmic tussle that continued to rage with little regard for the passage of time. Whether one year or one million years, no one can say, for no one was there to mark its passing. What is known is the twins, in their epic sibling conflict, created the mountainscapes, deep canyons and gorges, as they flung their titanic bodies across Turtle Island, slamming each other into the fertile soil, hardening soft mounds of earth with brilliant fiery gazes that could melt the ground into sharp peaks, reaching heights this world had never known before.

When it seemed the world could no longer bear more of their anger, Spruce finally gained the upper hand and, in his victory, banished Flint to the shadows of life where darkness dwelled and bitterness and anger could make a home in him. There, in the oppressive darkness, Flint’s heart grew black.

Though the battle ended, their sibling war was far from over.

Deep in those darkened places, in the blackest recesses of his banished realm, Flint raged, swearing he would not be gone forever. From those obscured caverns, sitting on an obsidian throne of his own making, he withdrew to lick his wounds and bide his time. For time, that uncontrollable but progressive companion, Flint knew would be ever in his favor. He counted on his brother’s good nature leading Spruce to grow weary of watching for him. Flint felt all but assured he would work his way back to his rightful place to dominate the world his brother denied him. Patience and planning were all he required now.

Slowly, over the millennia, he crept back into everyday life, slithering through the cracks he created, testing his brother’s resolve to keep him at bay. Whenever threatened by Spruce, Flint and his horde would retreat to their shadows, eager to fight another day.

But then Spruce did a thing his brother did not expect. For reasons no one can fathom, Spruce decided his works here were complete. Confident his brother was no longer a threat in this world, he became resolved to take his leave, to simply walk away. What Flint did not know, what he could not have guessed, was that his brother’s gaze turned skyward—he sought life beyond their world. He wanted to return home, to the land of the Skypeople.

Spruce’s final imprint on this land—he created the people of Turtle Island and imbued them with the knowledge to be the world’s custodians, or balance-keepers. By them, the world would be cared for and treasured. They would become the check and balance against Flint and his minions should they rise.

For a time, it appeared to work. But patience was Flint’s greatest weapon. He could wait several millennia if that is what it took to achieve his ultimate goal. So, Flint prodded the people. He poked at their defenses. Never so much as to do them great harm, but to test their strategic maneuvers and resolve.

Weary of smaller engagements, Flint reached into the world, revealing a shrewdness in his offensive tactics, eventually doing great damage to the people, weakening their defenses. Whispers from Flint in men’s ears and in their hearts became commonplace. Meanwhile, Flint’s work continued, maneuvering the people against one another to the brink of oblivion. In this, Flint’s plan began to establish his evil intent: fear, mistrust, and deceit would he plant in men’s hearts.

It worked.

As the infighting waged between the people, they realized they were losing too many of their kind to keep Flint in his place. The Onondaga Faithkeeper, in desperation, appealed to Spruce through prayers and offerings, begging for his assistance, explaining that the people were losing the battle, and all would be lost if he did not intercede on their behalf.

His heartfelt plea fell on deaf ears. For decade after decade, with further losses amongst the people, maddeningly Spruce remained silent—removed from their request. The people who remained, left to guard the planet, stood strong in their resolution to oppose Flint; they just did not possess the means necessary to defeat such a foe and in their weariness, their frustration festered between them, further playing into Flint’s plan.

Under Flint’s influence, the people argued amongst themselves about the correct way to defeat him. Flint saw this as an opportunity and played into this—pooling malcontentedness where he could, nurturing it, cultivating enmity toward their brothers and sisters.

On the eve of a particularly cold and bitter winter night, in the midst of a great battle, the people warring amongst themselves, tearing at one another to the brink of desolation, their prayer, long since forgotten, was finally answered.

He came.

Spruce returned one last time.

He returned to us not as we remembered, but as another great man: Dekanawida—known to us as the Great Peacemaker.

Dekanawida came to a man, a Mohawk man—Aiionwatha—who sat near a lake grieving over the butchering of his entire family during a recent battle. The Peacemaker consoled the man in his all-consuming desolation. Tears that seemed to have no end dried upon Aiionwatha’s face as he spoke to the man, though not because of his words, but of the calming peace emanating from every part of him.

Resolved that the conflict had to end, the Peacemaker implored Aiionwatha to help him bring the people together. Using the analogy of a bundle of arrows, he explained how they needed to get the warring peoples to understand that a single arrow could easily be broken, but combined and of like purpose, they were nearly unbreakable.

The Peacemaker knew the words of peace should come from one of their own. Dekanawida stuttered to the point of shaking bodily just trying to convey a single thought—coaxing Aiionwatha to be that voice to the people. At first Aiionwatha was afraid no one would hear him. But Dekanawida assured him the calming and abiding peace that poured from his soul would warm their hearts and they would welcome Aiionwatha’s words.

It was hard work to bring the people together, but under Aiionwatha’s impassioned tongue, and the Peacemaker’s influence, the people began to respond and see the way to the Great Law of Peace.

That was until Aiionwatha and Dekanawida came to the great Onondaga Nation. Here the great chief, Atotarho, was rumored to be the most removed from Aiionwatha’s words. He had heard of Dekanawida and Aiionwatha’s pilgrimage amongst the nations and wanted none of it for his people. As Aiionwatha continued to speak his words of unification and lasting peace, Dekanawida noticed that snakes moved within the hair of the great chief, whispering Flint’s twisted words above anything Aiionwatha and Dekanawida could say or do.

Aiionwatha was resolved to give up when Dekanawida suggested he try one more time. While Aiionwatha spoke, imploring reason, Dekanawida stood behind the great chief, humming a soothing Onondaga tune that relaxed him, and began to comb the snakes from his hair, separating Flint’s influence from Atotarho’s ears. The snakes fell to the ground in cinders and ashes with each combining, leaving twisted singe marks on the ground around him—a testament to Flint’s convoluted maniacal ways. The truth of Aiionwatha’s words could finally be heard, and the unification was complete, uniting the original five nations—Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca—to a common goal and purpose. The Great Law provided a method for other nations to join and the Tuscarora were the first to do so. Like that bundle of arrows, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy became strong.

But Spruce had a higher purpose in mind.

In their slumber, he visited each nation in the guise of Dekanawida. He moved amongst them as they slept, gifting the people with the ability to engage Flint and his twisted beasts. This gift, however, would come in the form of preternatural powers that would manifest themselves in unique and powerful ways. Not every man—or later, woman—would answer its call.

At first, Spruce chose warriors whom he observed showed the most promise; who were sound of heart and character and ultimately would not abuse the powerful sacred knowledge given to them by the Creator through the Peacemaker.

So, the Tewakenonhnè or Guardians, as they came to be known, trained under Spruce’s tutelage in this way. As a warrior moved into his declining years, a new able-bodied young man of good mind and a great heart was called from the village into the Guardianship to learn its sacred knowledge.

Seeing the people had taken up the cause for themselves, Spruce decided to take his final leave from us. He gave us every tool we would need to succeed. The rest, he instructed, was up to us.

As he left, he approached the Faithkeeper of the Mohawk nation, and gave him a special wampum belt. Not of the white and indigo beads we crafted of our own, this belt, silver and shimmering like the ripples of a lake, is the most powerful and sacred of them all.

Gifted with this final tool to assist him in managing the Guardianship, he became the Guardian’s first Central. I say to you now, as that Central, I bear the responsibility of the Guardian’s care, welfare, and their training. I am not their master. I am their caretaker, their counselor, and their elder voice when need arises in the Grand Council for the Guardians to be heard.

“This is the way of the people; this is how the Tewakenonhnè came to be.”

About SA Collins:

SA “Baz” Collins hails from the San Francisco Bay Area where he lives with his husband, and a Somali cat named Zorro. A classically trained singer/actor (under a different name), Baz knows a good yarn when he sees it.

Based on years of his work as an actor, Baz specializes in character study pieces. It is more important for him that the reader comes away with a greater understanding of the characters and the reasons they make the decisions they do, rather than the situations they are in. It is this deep dive into their manners, their experiences and how they process the world around them that make up the body of Mr. Collins’ work.

You can find his works at and as a co-host/producer of the series.

Social Media:





Three Year Bookaversary! The Reunion

Happy Wednesday Scribblers. As I touched on last week this is the three year anniversary of my novella The Reunion. This short little ghost story was what wet the appetite of readers and introduced me to the reading community. Before my debut novel The Calling came out, The Reunion was picked up by my publisher NineStar Press and released as part of their Halloween Anthology. It was an exciting moment for me. I had never done anything like this before and it was a huge step outside of my comfort zone.

I remember worrying that no one would buy the eBook. They did. Then, I was worried Readers would hate the story. They didn’t. Then, I was terrified people would hate me and my writing. Luckily that didn’t happen either.

As of this posting The Reunion is:

21st on Goodreads List of Short Reads

295th on Goodreads List of Best Gay Paranormal Book

183rd on Goodreads List of Best M/M Novellas, Short Stories

I really couldn’t be more pleased with how well this wonderful novella has done. Okay, well if they were number one that would be pretty freaking cool.

Spooky Story.png

Anyway, today is The Reunion’s third birthday so how about going out there and picking up a copy and showing it some love. It’s less than $3 for the eBook and it’s a fun read that will get you into the Halloween Spirit for sure. Buy your copy from one of the many online retailers here. Do you need more convincing? Click here for the reviews.

Here is the story blurb:

It’s been twenty years since the quiet Midwestern town of Lakeview was struck by tragedy. But every year on the anniversary of the event Teddy returns home for ‘The Reunion’. Lakeview, like Teddy, has secrets and not all mysteries should come to light.

If you’ve read The Reunion and want to help celebrates its third birthday, share this link below and tell your friends and family all about it and why you love Teddy and his friends. What’s your favorite ghost story? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time have a great week.

Thank You for all Your Support

Happy Wednesday Scribblers. I hope you are having an amazing week. This month marks my third year as a published author. Crazy, right? This week I thought I would take a moment and thank you all for being around and taking the time to support my writing. There are a lot of authors out there and if you’re a reader, I’m sure you have a stack of books fighting for your attention. So, thank you for adding my books to your stacks.

Another thing I wanted to do this week is share some amazing reviews and graphics that have been created for my books and short stories. If you post a review to a public forum, there is a chance a portion of your comments (no names are associated with the review) will be used for promotional materials, which I think is pretty amazing. So if you’ve taken the time to review any of my works, check out the graphics to see if you can see if your comments are being used.

Here are some pieces that have been created for each story.

Spooky Story.png
FB-Ads Dragon2.png
A Lush Read.jpg
A New World Series - Two.png
Great Read.png

What do you think? Tell me in the comments below.

As a reminder book reviews are incredibly important, so if you’ve read a book and you want to help my works reach more readers please leave a review on one of your favorite platforms. Another way you can help get the word out about my works is by sharing my posts and encouraging your other readers you may know to buy my books. If you live here in the US and want to signed copy, you can always order one through my website (click here) and I would be thrilled to send you a signed copy.

If you would like to buy any of my books you can find them here.

NineStar Press:


Barnes & Nobel:



Remember, you can always leave me questions below, or you can contact me directly (click here) I always respond to your questions and comments as best as I can. As always, don’t forget to share and like this post. Until next time have a great week.

Top ten inspirations for Taking the Plunge by J.B. Reynolds

This week I’m pleased to have J.B. Reynolds over on my Scribbles Page to do a Top Ten list about his new novel Taking the Plunge. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know J.B. over the last several years and I’m happy to call him one my friends.

  1. I’d been dreaming about writing a novel for more than twenty years and decided it was time to stop dreaming and start doing. I wanted to finally be able to say, “I’ve written a novel.” It’s not the novel I would have thought I would write twenty years ago, or even three years ago (when I started getting serious about my writing), but that leads me to inspiration number two…

  2. The characters came from a story I’d already written. The main characters had already appeared in my short story, What Friends Are For. In that story, (spoiler alert), a woman confesses to her acquaintance that her husband has been cheating on her. The acquaintance’s advice is to make a pile of his belongings in her back yard and set fire to it. I thought, what would happen if she followed through with that advice? I’d begun writing an entirely different novel but I set that aside when the story for Taking the Plunge grew wholly and organically out of that question.

  3. Location, location, location. Taking the Plunge is set in the mountains of Central Otago in the South Island of New Zealand in the early 2000s. While I grew up in and now live at the opposite end of the country, I too lived in Central Otago in the early 2000s. The landscape there is beautiful, but also wild and unforgiving. I figured that for my first novel, with so much to learn in the writing process anyway, it would be much simpler to set it in a place that I had first-hand experience of. While it’s been many years since I’ve been back to Central Otago, the landscape is so imposing that it stamps itself on your soul, and my memories of it are still vivid.

  4. Small Towns. The heroine of Taking the Plunge, Kate Hensley, lives in Cromwell. Cromwell is a forty-five minute drive from the alpine resort town of Queenstown, and is kind of like a lesser known and much less interesting little cousin. I like the idea that in small towns, everybody knows your business whether you like it or not, and that there’s only one of two degrees of separation between any two people. Because the services available are so minimal, you can’t afford to be picky about using them. You can’t hide in a small town. Whether you’re rich or poor, everybody shops in the same supermarket; everybody’s kids go to the same school. Small towns are great melting pots for characterization.

  5. Gossip. I write in the novel that gossip is as good as firewood for keeping people warm on cold winter nights. Since the entertainment options are so limited in small towns, gossip becomes a primary form of entertainment. Small towns are fueled by gossip. I find this idea fascinating – that in a small town you can go about your life, minding your own business, doing what you do, and yet down the street you can be sure that your neighbors are gleefully discussing your business over a nice, hot cup of tea.

  6. Snowboarding. The climate in Northland, where I currently live, is subtropical. There was a dusting of snow on the very top of Mt Tutamoe on a particularly icy winter’s day a couple of years ago but apart from that, it doesn’t snow. In fact, it’s been years since I’ve been to the mountains. However, I did quite a bit of snowboarding in my teens and twenties, in NZ and Canada and Washington State, and there really are few things in life that compare to the hysterical joy of a fresh powder run, whether you’re skiing or snowboarding. The snowboarding elements in Taking the Plunge are not just a plot device, but an attempt to capture a little of that joy on the page, in lieu of actually being there. My kids have never seen the snow, and so next winter my goal is to take a family snow holiday and hopefully experience that joy in real life again.

  7. Jane Austen. I used the StoryGrid method, by Shaun Coyne, to outline the novel. If you’re a writer and haven’t heard of it, it’s well worth checking out. I found it immensely helpful. The StoryGrid method is based around genre, and the conventions and obligatory scenes of specific genres. While outlining Taking the Plunge I read an annotated StoryGrid version of Pride and Prejudice, where Jane Austen’s take on the conventions and obligatory scenes of ‘the love story’ are explained. I don’t want to compare Taking the Plunge to a masterwork like Pride and Prejudice, but it was certainly an inspiration.

  8. Sir Terry Pratchett. Terry Pratchett is probably my favorite writer. I love his stories because they are so wise, yet the wisdom is dispensed in such a fun way that it doesn’t even seem like wisdom. Again, I don’t want to compare my writing to a master craftsman like Sir Terry, but I think whatever I might write in whichever genre, from now into the future, his writing will serve as the aspiration.

  9. Smiles. I like books that make me smile (I say smile rather than laugh because laughing is a social behavior but reading isn’t, so getting someone to laugh while reading is an incredibly difficult thing to do). There’s tragedy in Taking the Plunge, but there’s comedy too, and that’s the aspect that’s most important to me. If I can elicit a laugh from readers of Taking the Plunge then that would be my absolute greatest reward, but eliciting a few smiles would be almost as good.

  10. Stephanie Plum. I’ve read three or four of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels now and I think she’s a great character, feisty and funny but vulnerable too. I’m not sure Kate Hensley is quite is likable as Stephanie (at least not currently) but once I’d outlined Taking the Plunge I realized Kate’s story was bigger than one book. I doubt it’s as big as the twenty-something novels featuring Stephanie Plum, but I’ve now outlined two sequels, and depending on how the writing for those goes, there could be room for more.

Wow. Thank you so much J.B. Reynolds for stopping by. Congratulations on your new book Taking the Plunge. If you want to learn more about J.B. check out his details below. If you have a question for J.B. leave it in the comments and I’ll have him swing by and respond. As always don’t forget to share and like this post. Until next time have a great week.


Author Bio

J.B. Reynolds lives in rural Northland, New Zealand, where he raises children and chickens. He writes humorous fiction in which tragedy meets comedy and character reigns supreme. His first short story was published while he was a university student, and in between that and a return to serious writing in 2016 he has worked as a graphic designer, landscaper, ski and snowboard technician, film critic, librarian, apple picker, and baker of muffins and teacakes. Taking the Plunge is his first novel.

Nowadays, when not writing, he’s a husband, father, and high school teacher (not necessarily in that order). He enjoys sailing, cycling, and playing music, really loud, when his wife and kids aren’t at home. He has a big garden where he likes to get his fingernails dirty, and he loves to eat the things that grow in it.

Book Blurb

Sometimes all you need is a leap of faith...

When her husband's recent infidelities are exposed, Kate Hensley does what any sensible woman would; she kicks him out of the house and pursues a younger man. Could her snowboarding instructor, Evan Randall — blue-eyed, blonde, and gorgeous — be the solution to her problems?

If only love lust were that simple.

Gossip travels fast in the high-country, and while Kate’s new BFF supports her romantic endeavours, it seems no one else does. With opposition to her amorous adventure mounting, Kate learns that Newton’s third law applies to love as it does to motion, and she must decide whether the price of being true to herself is one she’s prepared to pay...


Buy Links

Social Media Links

Am I Really a Fraud and a Failure?

Wow! A new month, October no less. This time of year happens to be my personal favorite. However, these past few weeks a blanket of sadness has covered me and my family as I have lost my sister, Dawn, to cancer. It has been a challenging time, and each day has both highs and lows. These past few weeks have seen more lows than highs, and I have taken many moments to stop and ponder my writing and what I’m doing. I debated quite a bit about this blog post, but I finally decided I would post it and share some of my thoughts about this writing adventure I’ve been on.  So, here we go.

This month is special as back on October 23, 2017 my first short story was published by NineStar Press. The story in question, The Reunion, it’s my first short story and if you aren’t familiar with the plot here is the brief blurb:

It’s been twenty years since the quiet Midwestern town of Lakeview was struck by tragedy. But every year on the anniversary of the event Teddy returns home for ‘The Reunion’. Lakeview, like Teddy, has secrets and not all mysteries should come to light.

This time period was special for a different reason a darker reason, it was also around this time that we learned that Dawn had a cyst on her neck that needed to be removed. We would find out later that it was cancer.

This is me with my sister Dawn. I often say that my husband, Eric, is my biggest supporter, and he is, however, Dawn was my fist Champion and Protector.

This is me with my sister Dawn. I often say that my husband, Eric, is my biggest supporter, and he is, however, Dawn was my fist Champion and Protector.

When it came to my short story, I remember being thrilled. Of course I told Dawn, and she was as excited as I was. I wasn’t able to believe that anything I wrote would ever be published. She of course never doubted me.

I still have these feelings two years later, but now she is no longer here to remind me that I am good enough.

With The Reunion coming out I knew I had one more short story coming out in December 2017, A Dragon for Christmas (which was dedicated to her and my niece), and in January 2018 my debut novel, The Calling would be launched. So much was happening, and it was crazy roller coaster ride. At the time I had a group of wonderful people around me helping me work through planning a launch party and helping me set up all the back end details that are associated with being a Writer. With these amazing people including my sister and the rest of my family, I could be more excited.

It was great.

Fast forward to today and here I am, I have four novels out, and two short stories. I’m currently working on the edits for the next novel in my A New World series Conspiracy and I’m working on the edits for the sequel to The Calling. This is all amazing. I’ve accomplished something that hundreds, if not thousands, of people are never able to do, and I’m grateful. I count myself as a lucky man.

But as I mentioned, Dawn isn’t physically here to share in my joy anymore and that is difficult.

By now you are probably wondering why the title of this post is called Feeling like a Fraud and a Failure. Well, because if I’m honest I feel like a fraud and a failure, since October 2017 I’ve learned a lot about the writing and publishing world. I’ve also learned about and met so many amazing authors who tell these stories that touch your soul, and here I am writing fluff. I’m not complaining, I love my stories and I love the writing I’m able to share with people, however, my writing is mind candy, it doesn’t really do anything for you, it’s enjoyable for the moment and just as easily forgotten when you are finished.

I think part of all this, has to do with the loss of Dawn, I know she is still around me spiritually. She is still, of course, cheering me on, but I miss being able to call her and talk to her on the drive home. Somehow talking to her reminded me of my specialness.

I never set out to be a serious, hard-hitting author who tells stories that make you think. I’ve only wanted to write stories that are fun and take you on an adventure.

Now, I sit here wondering why. Why not write something profound? Why not write something with meaning? Why not write something that will change the world? Why not write something that makes a difference? The answer I come up with is that I’m a fraud. I’m not a real author, real authors write those kinds of stories, but I don’t. I’m the empty calories you enjoy for the moment then when you’re finished you wonder why you ate that candy at all.

I think, as writers, we all want our work to have some kind of meaning. Some kind of impact on people or on society. Part of my writing journey has been listening to other authors share their stories some write to make a difference, some write to be famous, some write to make money, some write for fun.

Why do I write?

I like to think I write to tell good stories that people can relate to, but looking back on what I’ve written I wonder are they good stories that people can relate to? Are they anything more than just a random collection of words on a page that a few people will enjoy? Does it matter? Mostly, I wonder why I feel like I’m a fraud and a failure when I’ve accomplished more in my writing in the last two years than most people will every accomplish?

Dawn, was older than me and I always wanted her to be proud of me. I know she is, I saw it the last time I went to visit her and brought her copies of my books and she cried, because she was so excited. I know she supported me in what she shared on Social Media about me and my silly little collection of words.

Please, forgive this whining and this moment of reflection I don’t want anyone who reads this (all five of you, including my husband) to think I’m unhappy or ungrateful, because I’m not. I wake up every day look at the copies of my physical books sitting on their little stands and remind myself of what I’ve accomplished and how blessed I really am.

I think, today, as we are getting closer to my family’s private memorial for my sister, all of this is hitting me hard, because it’s all becoming more and more real to me.

Thank you for letting me share this. I shall step out of the light and move on to brighter topics and continue to remind myself of what I’ve done. I won’t just be doing this for me, I’ll be writing for my sister too, because I can’t let her down, she has faith in me and my writing and that is pretty powerful, well, at least to me. Tell me do you ever feel like you are a fraud or a failure in what you do? Do you have moments of doubt and indulge in a little self-pity? Do you have someone in your life who reminds you to keep following your dream? Share your comments below and let me know that I’m not the only one who feels like this.  In the meantime have a great week and see you next time.

T.A.D.-The Angel of Death Book Launch

Happy Wednesday Scribblers, today it is my honor to announce the launch of my newest novel T.A.D.-The Angel of Death.


Tad loves bouncing around in time and watching mankind grow and change. He loves humanity and helping when he can. However, his job isn’t conducive to helping people.  He’s an Angel of Death.

Doug is fun loving and a drama queen.  Despite his witty exterior, he has a dark history and is prone to self-destruction. He’s also an amazing drag queen and hairstylist with big dreams.

When Tad pushes the boundaries of his duties too far, his angel wings are stripped away from him, and he is sent to New York City to live as a human. Lost and alone he ends up meeting Doug, and the two start a friendship that will shape them both and last a lifetime.  But nothing is simple when you’re dealing with a former Angel of Death and a Drag Queen. Could these two cause the fabric of our world to collapse or will they manage to keep the future as it should?

Here is an Excerpt from chapter one:

Doug glanced up at the big void where the buildings once stood.

How could anyone do that? All those people, and for what? Thank God, no one I know was there. Thank goodness, Garret’s train was running late. Even from across the river, seeing the buildings fall, one minute there, the next not, awful. Not knowing if Garret was alive or dead. The not knowing was awful, and it seemed to last forever. Then getting his call when the phones were back up. It was a relief. Still, the not knowing? Horrible. How do survivors do it?

Doug shuddered. He had to look away before he started to cry again. That day. The world wasn’t the same. How could it be? Would it ever be the same again? He swiped at his eyes, keeping the tears he was trying to hold back from dropping. He caught his reflection in one of the storefront windows and fussed with his spiky blond hair.

One year.

The months right after the attack had been hell for everyone. People from all over the world sent support and offered help. But New York was moving on, as it should. They already had seven different architects offering new designs to fill the empty skyline. Mayor Giuliani was doing everything he could for the city, and there was even talk of him running for president.

Doug checked his flip phone and picked up his pace. He was running late. He shouldn’t have spent the night at Tim’s, but leaving such a sexy guy was no easy task. Not to mention they might have partied too much.

I doubt that is even possible. You can never party too much.

There was a large group of mourners, and he had to step to the side to let them pass. He took a deep cleansing breath, pushing all thoughts from his mind, and started walking again. He rushed past the families and friends heading to Ground Zero. Now he had to hustle to make it to work. He’d gotten lucky no one he was familiar with was killed. Still, every time he thought about the attack and looked up at the twin lights filling the night sky, he wanted to cry.


Why President Bush didn’t blow up the whole of the Middle East after the attack, Doug would never understand. Instead, the president sent troops to Afghanistan, searching for Osama bin Laden and taking out Al-Qaeda.

Just as long as they find and kill the monsters who did this to us.

Doug couldn’t help but stop again and glance up to where the twin towers once stood. He quickly wiped at his eyes. “I need to get out of here.” He moved over to the brick façade and leaned against the wall as more people passed him, heading to the memorial ceremony.

“So much suffering and for what?” Doug mumbled. He started walking again, taking a deep breath and trying to avoid the crowds. A woman in a dark jacket passed him and bumped his shoulder, causing him to step closer to an alley. She didn’t bother saying anything; however, Doug thought she said something about his size. He caught his reflection again. He hated how everything made him feel so fat. Nothing he wore looked right on him. Even the baggy pants still made him look fat and messy. He would need to start at the gym if he wanted to continue dating Tim and keep up with his partying. He frowned.

At least I have good hair.

He played with the spikes of his hair.

“It’s my fault,” a gruff voice whispered from behind him.

Doug startled and turned around, but no one was there. He glanced over to the dumpster.

Sitting there, a raggedy black man, with kinky hair in desperate need of a cut and wash, stared at him. The man had the most beautiful green eyes Doug had ever seen. The rich tones of his skin really made his eyes pop, quite possibly the unkempt man’s best feature. The man was in shambles, and tears streamed down his dirty cheeks.

The anniversary affects everyone.

“I did this,” the man groaned through his sobs. “And now I’m being punished.”

Doug wasn’t sure what to do or say. Should he walk away and get to the salon? Leave what appeared to be the crazy homeless guy alone? Could he do that now that they made eye contact? Could he do that today of all days? The man needed help. The man needed a shower and clean clothes. Perhaps, if he talked to him, that would be enough…well, the talk and ten bucks.

That’s what Shannon would do. Talk to him and give him money. Shannon was such a kind soul, and I need to be more like him, more like he was. To honor him. Just like my drag name. Maybe Miss Enshannon needs to be more. I need to be more.

Doug’s heart ached at the memories of Shannon and how wonderful he was. When he picked his drag name there was no doubt on what it would be, but to honor someone you loved had to be more than using their name.

“It’s not your fault.” He knelt close to the man, still keeping his distance just in case. “It was the work of terrorists. They killed all those people, not you.”

“I should have stopped them. I should have done more,” the dirty man moaned.

“Oh, baby, no one could have done more,” Doug offered. Some people thought the government knew about the attack beforehand and the president allowed it to happen. Doug didn’t buy it. Why anyone listened to these people was beyond him, but they did. He just wished they would shut up and crawl back under the rocks they came from. They weren’t helping anyone, and in the long run, their remarks and comments only hurt people more.

“Now, I’m being punished. They sent me here and took my wings,” the man whispered.

Was this guy a pilot? Oh, that would be awful. I bet he was supposed to fly one of the planes, and he couldn’t take it. Survivor’s guilt.

“No one is punishing you. Look, it’s a tough day for everyone. We all feel like we should have done more.” Images of the planes flying into the towers and then seeing and feeling them collapse; even at the Paul Mitchell campus on Staten Island, they were affected. I really need to call Garret. Doug pulled out his flip phone and checked the time. “I’ve got to get to work.” He stopped and peeked at the crowd of people passing by and then faced the guy. A bright smile filled his face.

I know what I’ve got to do. A makeover. Help this guy out.

“You want to come with me? We’ll get you a shower and give you a cut. My girl Minx knows all about your hair type. It’ll be fun.”

What the hell am I doing? I must still be drunk from last night. Or affected by what Tim and I took. This guy might kill me. No. He’s sad, and on a day like today, someone needs to be nice to him. Plus, I’m a big enough guy I can take him…

Doug extended his hand.

I hope.

“You want to help me?” The man glanced around at his filthy surroundings.

Doug nodded. “Sure. Why not?”

“Most people ignore me. Some people give me money, but they rush by.” The man’s voice was filled with surprise.

He stood and Doug took in this guy’s build. Strong shoulders, even if hidden by a disheveled brown shirt and coat. Doug got a whiff of the funk that enveloped the man. It was a mix of… Doug didn’t want to think what, and he pulled back.

Definitely a shower and some new clothes. These are getting burned.

“Well, not today.” Doug dusted off his pants. “I work at a salon near Washington Square. You know it?” His face got warm. “Anyway, we can walk there and get you all cleaned up. My boss won’t mind.”

Or at least I hope not. Nah, the bitch owes me for helping him with his makeup the other night at the club. What a show that was. I killed it.

“Thank you.” The man beamed a bright pearly smile, in contrast to the dirt on his face and clothes. His teeth and mouth were probably the cleanest part of him. What’s more, there was no foul odor coming from his mouth.

Good oral hygiene. I’m not even sure that is possible, given the state of him, but thank the lord.

“What’s your name?” Doug asked as they weaved through the crowd, people giving them a wide birth. “I’m Doug.”

“I don’t have a name.”

Doug froze. “What?”

“I don’t have a name.” The man met Doug’s gaze with his big eyes and innocent face. “They used to call me…” His gaze dropped to the sidewalk.

“What?” Doug stood watching him. A tall man with a goatee hit his shoulder as he passed. “What did they used to call you? Can’t be any worse than what they’ve called me.”

The dirty man faced Doug. “They used to call me the Angel of Death before they took my wings.”

Doug let out a nervous laugh as he glanced around. There was a break in the stream of people.

Great, this guy is crazy, and I’m stuck with him. Good job, dumb ass.

Doug shook his head, studying the sky.

This is all Shannon’s fault. I should have kept walking. Everyone tells me not to make eye contact with the homeless. Why didn’t I listen?

Doug cleared his throat. “Well, we can’t call you that. How about Angel?”

The man shook his head.

“Well, I’m not gonna call you Death, no matter how cool it sounds,” Doug teased as they walked again and got to the intersection. They crossed the street, ignoring the odd looks they were getting. He was used to odd looks. He had been getting them his whole life. People needed to suck it. “Oh, I know. How about Tad?”


Doug smiled. “Short for ‘the Angel of Death.’ Well, that would be Taod, but that sounds dumb.”

The man shrugged.

“Tad it is.” Doug’s mouth grew into a smile and warmth rushed through his body that wasn’t there this morning. It was nice. Doing something good for someone on a day like today felt like a good call. Even the stench coming off the man seemed to lessen. Maybe the man didn’t smell bad after all. Or maybe I’m getting used to it. Gross. As long as he doesn’t go all batshit crazy, he could deal with the smell, which would be fixed soon enough. He hoped.

They picked up their pace and walked in silence. Doug wasn’t fully sure why he was doing this. Was it because today was such a hard day? Was it his small way of acknowledging that we all need help sometimes? Was it because the world was a massive shit hole and he wanted to make it a little better? Was he doing it for Shannon? Shannon had been so kind and sweet, never having it easy. At least Doug passed for straight, when he wanted to, which wasn’t often these days. And forget it when he was onstage with his big blonde wig, big red lips, and big old fake titties. Hell, this might even be fate for all he knew.

Fuck it, who cares? I’m fierce, and Tad’s gonna be fierce.

Doug pulled open the door to the salon. “Hey, girls, I have a project,” he announced in his loudest, most over-the-top voice possible. “This is Tad, and we’re gonna make him fabulous.” He snapped his fingers and everyone in the shop froze and stared at them.


There you have it, a brief excerpt from T.A.D.-The Angel of Death. I hope you liked it. T.A.D-The Angel of Death is available in both eBook and print. You can pick up your copy either here at my publisher or from all other retailers here. If you live here in the US and would like a signed copy you can order one directly from me here.

Feel free to check out the reviews here.

Well Scribblers, that all for this week. If you want to help me out, please share this post with your friends and families who are readers, or who love urban fantasy stories. Don’t forget to live this post below. Until next time have a great week.

Interview with Barbara Russell

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

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

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

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

Tell us about your newest project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I didn’t have time to write it yet.

What can we see coming out from you next?

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

Thanks for asking!

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

Her Flame Barbara Russell for mobi.jpg

About Barbara’s Newest Novel:

Her Flame—Auckland Steampunk First Class#1

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

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

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

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

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



ARC copies on BookSprout:

Me and dogs 2.jpg

About Barabara Russell:

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

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


Where to Find Barbara:

Email her here:

Find her on Bookbub:

Check her out on Twitter: @brussell84Kiwi

She can be found in two locations on Facebook:

Here is her author page on Amazon:

Her Blog:

All-author page is here:


Landing page:

Mother of Words – By Claire Buss

Being an indie author is a lot like being a mum. I have two wonderfully challenging, sometimes obtuse, often hair pulling, irritating, confounding and then randomly awesome WIPs (works in progress). I also have two children – haha! The key juggling point is time. Time to think, write, edit, format, publish and promote my beloved books on top of keeping two smalls alive and well. It’s a lot. And I get grumpy when I can’t write when inspiration is knocking and then I get guilty for being the grumpy mum.

All that aside, I love and adore being a writer. My kids aren’t too bad either! It’s both challenging and rewarding and when you get a moment to catch your breath you suddenly realise how much you’ve achieved and how far you’ve come. You get that ‘wow’ moment.

Three years ago, I was not a writer. Today, I have 15 published titles and it is my business. I am a multiple award-winning author who is beginning to earn a small crust as a result of my imaginations. That is a thrill like no other. There are people out there who have never met me, I don’t know them and yet, they have picked up one of my books, read it and enjoyed it. I think that will always be a source of joy for me.

My latest projects include working on Haunted, an anthology of Halloween inspired short stories and poems written by a group of very talented indie authors. It is the second Sparkly Badgers anthology and the first one that I’ve been solely in charge of and the pressure was intense. Obviously, I wanted good writing in the anthology but also there was an element of imposter syndrome as I wondered – who am I to say yes or no to other writer’s submissions. In the end, I enlisted some help for the selection process from Brent A. Harris, one of the Inklings Press guys who himself is a great writer and incredibly generous with his time and expertise. 

Haunted will be released at the end of September and will be a free ebook which is very exciting. All the authors involved in the anthology will have the book to giveaway in their newsletters, competitions and giveaways and I can’t wait to find out what readers think of the spooky tales. 

Here’s the blurb:

SB spooky anthology cover.jpg

Join us on a pumpkin spiced, ghost-riddled, spooky journey amongst the imaginations of fifteen horrifyingly excellent indie-authors. Let them take you on a candle-lit journey through the minds of the depraved, departed and desperate as they tell you their haunting tales. Lock the doors, close the curtains and don’t turn off the light! 

You may be asking who on earth are the Sparkly Badgers? Allow me to introduce them – they are a collection of indie-authors who get together on Facebook and support each other with their writing endeavours. We share marketing tips, promote other authors, give shout-outs for new books upcoming, have a weekly critique spot, flash fiction prompts and writing exercises to improve our craft, a weekly blog share and of course the Sunday check in where I make sure everyone is alright and that cake has been eaten. Very important! If you’d like to join the Sparkly Badgers group, come find us on Facebook. We also have another anthology available to buy and all profits go to the Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled. The Sparkly Badgers’ Christmas Anthology is available on ebook and paperback at 

The other project I’m working on at the moment is the third in my hopeful dystopian series, The Gaia Solution. Beta readers are hopefully enjoying the first part of the book while I scramble to finish writing the second half of the book – I’m afraid the summer holidays beat me on time management this year. In addition to working on that, I’m also gearing up to go wide with books one and two so The Gaia Effect and The Gaia Projectwill be available on Nook, Kobo, iBooks as well as Amazon and a whole plethora of independent book outlets plus large bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Waterstones. The Gaia Solutionwill obviously join them and there will be a box set and an audio book collection in the semi-near future. 

Here’s the blurb, or at least, this is the blurb at the moment lol:

Kira, Jed and their friends have fled New Corporation and joined the Resistance, but their relief is short lived as they discover how decimated the human race has become and learn of an environmental crisis that threatens to destroy everyone’s safety. Kira and Jed must travel up the mountain to the New Corporation stronghold, City 50, to bargain for sanctuary while Martha and Dina risk everything to return to City 42 and save those who are left. Gaia, the fading spirit of the Earth, uses her remaining influence to guide Kira and her friends but ultimately, it’s up to humanity to make the right choice. 

It’s been a real roller coaster writing this series because The Gaia Effect was my debut novel, my first book baby to be released into the wide-world and really, the first time I’d ever let anyone read my work. I have always loved reading and making up stories, I loved writing stories and poetry as a young girl but life, as if often does, got in the way and my writing was set aside. It wasn’t until I had my son and found, by chance, a local writers’ workshop at my library that my passion for story telling was reignited. I took a break after writing The Gaia Effect and wrote a completely different genre, a humorous fantasy novel, The Rose Thief, inspired by my love of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. In between these two books I’ve released collections of short stories and flash fiction as well as poetry books and had short stories published in other anthologies. 

The Gaia Solution.jpg

The Gaia Solution isn’t up for pre-order yet but if you want to be kept in the loop you should sign up for my author newsletter - You’ll get a free copy of The Blue Serpent& other tales, my flash fiction collection, as well as Ye Olde Magick Shoppe, a short story from my humorous fantasy world, Roshaven. If everything goes to plan, The Gaia Solutionwill be out this November. In the meantime, you can get your hands-on book one, The Gaia Effect, at and book two, The Gaia Project, at 

I can be found lurking on Facebook in my author group - you can follow me on Twitter @grasshopper2407. My website has the details of all my books and various other projects including the first chapters of bothThe Gaia Effectand The Rose Thiefso be sure to check it out at

Thank you, Claire, for stopping by and sharing a little about yourself and your books. Scribblers you need to go out, right now, and grab these books. They are amazing, and a lot of fun to read. Remember you can help out both Claire and I by liking and sharing this post with your readers friends. If you have a question for Claire leave it below and she’ll swing by and answer it. Until next time have a great week.

Author Bio

Author Pic.jpg

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet based in the UK. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead, Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and Pinterest addict Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 with her debut novel, The Gaia Effect, setting her writing career in motion. She continues to write passionately and is hopelessly addicted to cake.

Top Ten List with Jacqueline Church Simonds

It’s a new month, can you believe it. We are well on our way to Fall and Winter.  This week I have another fun Top Ten list with fellow author Jacqueline Church Simonds, her Top Ten is all about why she decided to write her Heirs of Camelot series. Let’s get to it shall we:

10. I am a King Arthur fangirl. I have been ever since I saw Disney’s “The Sword and the Stone” when I was 4 and it first came out (yes, I’m old).

9.  I have read books like “The Once and Future King,” Stewart’s Merlin trilogy, and “The Mists of Avalon” so often, the pages now come out of the books. Did I mention I like King Arthur stories?

8. So naturally, when I returned to writing, I decided to play with my favorite story. I originally meant to write a “mouse’s eye view” of the Round Table and all the characters and doings. Yes, Anya interacts with Merlin, King Arthur, and Morgaine (OK, more than “interacts.” Ahem), but she knows she isn’t the focus of the story; she is the chronicler—how we know this epic tale at all. The book that became “The Priestess of Camelot” (prequel to the series) is Anya’s own story, which her daughter demands be written.

7. In my first draft, I thought it would be fun to make a frame tale (a story that starts and finishes, and sometimes interrupts, of what happens with the heirs of King Arthur, Merlin, and Anya as a result of Anya’s work in the novel. (This is a common enough story-telling technique. Think “Princess Bride,” etc). But beta readers said, “What the heck is going on with the characters in the frame tale? I want to hear more of that!” (I took out the frame tale, and “Priestess” stands alone.)

6.  I have long been interested in the concept of reincarnation, both personally and as a writing topic. David Mitchell attempted something with it in “Cloud Atlas” (one of the few times the movie was better than the book). What do we owe each other in next lives? Can we feel the ties across time to those we have loved and hated? Is there such a thing as timeless love? And so, “The Midsummer Wife” was published by Strange Fictions Press/Vagabondage Press on Midsummer Day, 2018.

5. The minute I wrote the end of “The Midsummer Wife,” I knew it was a series. The air turned blue with my swear words. I am not a big fan of series. I had no interest in writing one. Yet, here we are.

4. I decided that if I was stuck writing a series, I’d approach it more like C.S. Lewis did in the Narnia and Out of the Silent Planet series; each book is different in tone, few of the original characters are present throughout—and those who are, are vastly changed. So, “The Priestess of Camelot” is a Historical Fantasy; “The Midsummer Wife” is an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance.

3. I’m sort of veering off on this point, but I should advise readers I write sex-positive love scenes. I know many folks don’t like reading about it, or call the sexual bits “racy,” or whatever. But adults have sex. Consensual, loving sex is in my personal top ten list of being an adult. However, I try to give folks a heads up on this. One of my beta-reads was on a New York subway train and read one of the “juicier” scenes in “Midsummer.” I got a text from her exclaiming that it might have been nice to know she should read it in the privacy of her own home (LOL).

2. The next book in the series, “The Solstice Bride” (launching in October, it’s in the publisher’s hands. Click here for the GoodReads placeholder), is an Urban Fantasy/Dystopian. It is DARK—I mean, we bump into an actual Black Mass. The world is in the crapper and the protagonists have to correct what went wrong in “The Midsummer Wife.”

1. I have “completed” the final book of the series, “Mistress of the Rose Moon,” about 8 times. Each time I go back and tear it apart. I’m currently in mid-rubble-rebuild. I’m really hoping we can put it out for Midsummer Day, 2020. We’ll see. In “Mistress of the Rose Moon,” we return to King Arthur-y stuff, with an actual hunt for the Holy Grail, but with aliens, talking cats and dogs, and all the happy endings you can eat. Well, except for the bad folks.

Thank you Jacqueline for that great Top Ten list and I can’t wait to started reading the series. As Always I want to thank Jacqueline Church Simonds for stopping by today and chatting with us. As always don’t forget to share and like this post. Until next time have a great week.

About Jacqueline Church Simonds:


Jacqueline Church Simonds is an author and publishing consultant. Her first published book was “Captain Mary, Buccaneer,” a historical adventure novel loosely based on the real pirate women Ann Bonney and Mary Reade.  Simonds has done the usual authorly wanderings in life: she was a lady’s companion, a sound and lights roadie for a small Southern rock band, and managed an antiques shop. She’s sold everything from computers to 1950s pulp magazines to towels and baby clothes. The one constant in her life is a love of words, books and writing. She sold some short stories and poetry early, but didn’t pursue it until later in life. She has had a life-long love of King Arthur and was always drawn to novels about that great hero. Finally, she sat down and wrote stories from her own point of view. She lives in Reno, Nevada with her husband and beagle.


Where to find Jacqueline:

On Twitter

On Facebook


Check out the Pinterest storyboard for “The Midsummer Wife”:

and “The Priestess of Camelot”:

and “The Solstice Bride”:

Heirs of Camelot series

Priestess of Camelot Final  Cover.jpg


Anya, a pagan priestess of the Nordic Rus tribes, leaves her home country and arrives in Britain. There, she joins the sisterhood of Avalon, headed by the scheming Morgaine.  When Anya runs afoul of the Avalonian high priestess she is sent to Camelot to spy on the court while acting as healer. But there, she falls in love with the High Druid, Merlin, and King Arthur, bearing sons to both of the great men of her time.  After losing both of the men she loves to Morgaine’s treachery, she embarks on a plan that unfolds over the next 1,500 years to return Goddess worship to the island nation and save it from a danger Anya can see but cannot understand.

Midsummer Wife Cover.jpg


After a nuclear attack on London that heralds The Time Foretold, Ava Cerdwin, the high priestess in charge of fulfilling a 1,500-year-old prophecy, must assist the heirs of King Arthur and Merlin in healing the devastated country. The descendants of Britain’s great men of legend have kept the myths and relics for sixty-one generations, but no one is quite clear on what they must do next. Nothing goes as planned: Ava falls for the wrong heir, the panic attacks are getting worse, the complex obligations of reincarnation are straining old relationships, and Morgaine and her henchwomen are trying to kill them. Somehow, some way, Ava has to make the Healing happen, or Britain is finished.

THE SOLSTICE BRIDE  (Due Out in October)

In this second book in the Heirs to Camelot series, it is twenty years after the Healing. Morgaine has taken over Ava’s body, defeated Harper, humiliated Ron, and is the authoritarian leader of dysfunctional Britain. After years of study with the Goddessians, Falke returns to Britain and, with the aid of Ravenna, the queen’s daughter, must go back in time to stop Morgaine from defeating Ava. But first, they must help the resistance discover why all the psychic adepts in Britain are disappearing—and what monstrous plans Morgaine and her son Prince Robert have in service to the Dark Lord, Adramelech. Falke and Ravenna struggle to find a way to accomplish their goals as their love deepens. The Solstice Bride is a dark adventure and love story with implications for the entire universe.

On Reading – by Joyce Hertzoff

As my t-shirt says:

T Shirt.jpg

I love to read. I’ve been reading since I was five, I think, usually three or four books at a time, even when I was young. Now I have fifty or more unread books on my Kindle app and at least thirty on my to-be-read piles.

I recently listened to a vlog about monogamous knitting, i.e., knitting only one thing at a time. I’m a polygamous knitter and reader, usually two print and three or four eBooks at a time. Somehow I keep the plots straight.

Once I started a book, I always felt I had to see it through to the end. Then I took a course called The Art of Reading based on lectures by Timothy Spurgin. One precept of that class was to read the first fifty pages before deciding whether or not to go on. If you weren’t engaged in the story, it was quite alright to stop. I've become much more intolerant of books that don't 'grab' me right away. Those that don't stimulate my mind or appeal to my own interests are often set aside, and might never be picked up again. I'm also turned off by books that should have been edited with more care; poor grammar, spelling and paragraph construction make it difficult to read, so I don't bother. I see this most often with self-published books, but this isn't always the case; many self-published books are excellent and well edited, while some poorly proofed books come from established publishers. There are too many books being published now that we have to be more selective in the ones we read. But if we limit ourselves to writers we’ve read before, we miss out on many of the great new ones out there.

Spurgin's lectures say we can all learn to read more artfully, with increased appreciation and absorption of the material the same way we can learn to listen to music or look at any visual art on less than a superficial level. But some of that has to come from the artist that created the book, music or painting and some of it has to draw on our prior experiences. If they haven't infused their work with something meaningful, how are we to create meaning? And if our life experiences haven't prepared us to understand, much less appreciate the work, how can we?

Spurgin emphasizes that he's talking about Literary fiction (with a capital L). But I contend that what he says about characters is applicable to all sorts of stories. We wouldn't read what he calls pulp fiction if the characters weren't interesting, rounded, surprising. Likability is not necessary. Often I find the antagonist in a story more interesting than the protagonist, especially when the author paints the hero as someone who can do no wrong, who is admired by all, and/or is the handsomest/most beautiful character in the story. In stories where the author takes the time to give the bad guy a history that explains his current behavior, then that antagonist can elicit sympathy even more than the protagonist. The good gal sometimes has no internal conflicts, but those doing wrong do. They feel guilt and fight with their inclination to be evil.

I find extensive, detailed recitations about what something or someone looks like usually takes me out of the story. Spurgin says descriptions can trap us. That's a major tool of the mystery story, but can be used sparingly for any genre.

Descriptions should serve a purpose in a story. We don't have to know the hair color of every minor character, unless it's important, say when everyone else has blond hair but that serving girl is a brunette and this figures in the story. Does it matter that a character has brown hair or black? If so, than describing it is fine.

Frankly, I rarely pay much attention to style when I'm reading unless it's unusual, such as the style one of my favorite writers, Rumer Godden uses.

Lovejoy to her continual disgrace, could hardly read. ‘She has changed schools too often and missed too much,’ the Inspector had told Mrs. Combie severely. That was true. When Lovejoy and her mother first began to come to Catford Street between their bookings, Lovejoy had appeared and disappeared so often in school that the teacher asked her, ‘Are you a canal child?’ Canal children sometimes came to school if their fathers’ barges had to go into the dock for repairs. Lovejoy had said nothing but she had been mortally offended. ‘Do I look like a canal child?’ she might have said. An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden

I've tried to write that way and found I couldn't sustain it. But that’s just it. If a writer has a unique style or voice and can sustain it throughout a book, we enjoy that novel all the more. I've enjoyed books in all kinds of styles. Perhaps paying attention to style is one way we can read artfully.

I have a hard time with authors who are so ambiguous, so opaque, that I can't even grasp what they're saying or even what their story is about. I don’t want to have to think too much when I read for pleasure, but that’s not to say I don’t want to think at all.

Probably the most important for me is a bit of mystery or intrigue. Spurgin used Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude as an example.

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

That's a great first line! There've been some great ones used by authors in various genres over the years, but I always look forward to those awards every year for worst opening line. They're so laughable.

I don't go to movies often. Occasionally I'll catch one on Netflix. I've heard that the movie made from The Martian is better than the book, belying the claim that movies are never as good as the book they’re based on.

Like others, I always develop my own idea of what a character looks like, even if the author doesn't say and then I’m disappointed by the movie (or TV) version; lately, though, I believe producers and directors are more careful casting characters.

I don't know how often it happens now, but years ago, it was popular to novelize popular movies. Those books were often not much more than the script, reformatted to a novel. Never very good because they lost some of the action and expressions in the movies.

What reading taught me was that I…had at least one story that needed to be told…that other people’s stories could speak to me in ways I never imagined…that the story I had to tell could speak to other people in ways I never dreamed. ~ Glynn Young


I want to thank Joyce Hertzoff for stopping by my Scribbles Page today and sharing her thoughts on reading.  If you have questions for Joyce leave them below, or you can find her on Social Media, see the links below. As always if you enjoyed this content and want to help spread the word not only about Joyce Hertzoff like and share below. What do you look for in a book?  What is requirement to read a story? Tell us below. Until next time have a great week.

About Joyce Hertzoff:


Joyce Hertzoff retired in 2008 after forty-five years in the scientific literature publishing business. The Crimson Orb, the first novel in the Crystal Odyssey series, was originally published by the Phantasm Books imprint of Assent Publications in June, 2014. The flash mysteries, Natural Causes and Say Cheese were published in the anthologies The Darwin Murders and Tasteful Murders. A short story, Princess Petra, appears in The Way Back anthology and another one, A Woman Hobbles Into a Bar appears in the charity anthology Challenge Accepted.. Her young adult fantasy novella A Bite of the Apple, published in 2016, won the New Mexico Press Women’s fiction contest prize in the YA category. It earned second place in the National Federation of Press Women contest. In 2017, she republished The Crimson Orb and published the sequel, Under Two Moons. In March 2018, she published the third book in that series, Beyond the Sea as well as a middle grade book, So You Want to be a Dragon. Joyce often shares a booth at conventions and markets with RJ Mirabal.

She is a mentor and facilitator at Writers Village University, an online university offering MFA certificates. She is managing editor for the school’s MFA program eZine; The Village Square. She’s also a member of Southwest Writers.

Where to Find Joyce:


Author Blog:



Book website:




About Joyce Hertzoff’s books:

Apple print cover.jpg

A Bite of the Apple is a novella. It won the New Mexico Press Women’s Association prize for YA fiction in 2016.

Short Blurb: Anabet Haines dreamed about traveling from the family farm to the exotic places her Aunt Gillian described, so when her aunt recruited her as the next portal traveler, Bet jumped at the chance. In the capital of Nokar, Bet and Gill were tasked with traveling through a portal to locate a thief, Rolf Peters, and the portal key he stole.

After one lesson in hand-to-hand combat and the use of a knife from weapons instructor Morgan, a visit to Cass the magician to obtain a substitute key for the portal, and a dressmaker for appropriate clothing for the journey the situation escalated. A rebel group threatened the High Council and abducted Morgan, forcing Gill to remain behind while Bet had to travel alone.

Cass provided Bet with a green apple as the substitute portal key, and three enchanted red apples to help her find anything that isn't natural to the world at the other end of the portal. He led Bet to the entrance to the portal and sent her on her way.

With little training, four enchanted apples and a knife from Morgan, can Bet locate the thief and return him to Nokar? Or has she bit off more than she can chew?

Click here to buy.

The Crystal Odyssey series:

The Crimson Orb: While others seek the Crimson Orb, teenage Nissa searches for her mysteriously missing magic teacher, Madoc the wizard, and discovers how little she knows about her world and how resourceful she can be.

Click here to buy.

Under Two Moons: In the sequel to The Crimson Orb, Nissa, Madoc and their siblings seek the source of two mysterious books. Instead, they learn the truth about their world and its two moons.

Click here to buy.

Across The Sea:  In the third story in the series, Nissa, Madoc, their siblings and friends continue their search for the source of Madoc's books, hoping the technology one shows is still alive in the continent of Fartek, across the Great Sea.

Click here to buy.


So You Want to be a Dragon: When the harbor of Lorando is torched by three dragons, Bekka, her little sister Cora and their neighbor Derry devise a plan to keep the dragons away. They will parlay with the dragons, plead with them. But to get close enough to do that, they must transform themselves into dragons. They ask a shapeshifter for help, and he reluctantly tells them the steps needed to take on the form of a dragon. Can the three children achieve their plan to convince the dragons to leave Lorando alone? If they do, how will they shift back into their human forms?

Click here to buy.

Challenge Accepted - A Charity Anthology.jpg

Challenge Accepted: A Charity Anthology: A blind spaceship pilot. Cops and maintenance personnel in wheelchairs. Taking on bad guys with only one leg or no arms. It's not what you are that makes you something special. It's who you choose to be. Seventeen stories about people who rise above anything that tries to stop them, even their own limitations.

Click here to buy.

Podcasts and More

Here we are, it’s Wednesday again Scribblers. I hope you are having a great week. This week, I wanted to give a shout out to some of my favorite podcasts. If you don’t listen to podcasts you need to start, they are fun and a great way to keep up with the topics you find most interesting. I also love that they make my commute to the office and back home bearable.

Here is my list of favorite podcasts in no particular order:


WROTE Podcast: WROTE is a weekly podcast where the hosts Baz and Vance chat with guests about LGBTQ storytelling in all genres and mediums. However, there podcast isn’t just about LGBTQ storytelling, they talk to all kinds of LGBTQ content providers and consumers.

What I love about Vance and Baz is how lively the conversations are. You can tell they have fun with their guests. You never know where they conversation will go, but you will have a great time getting there. I can’t tell you how many wonderful new authors I’ve learned about thanks to this podcast. Each podcast is about an hour which is nice.

Find the WROTE Podcast here.


The WritesCast Network: This podcast is a writing-podcast collective for writers, by writers, with the mission to gather all of your favorite writerly audio on one convenient RSS feed. The Writescast Network started with the R. R. Campbell writescast, which features author, editor, and agent interviews full of writing wisdom from storytellers across the globe. They have expanded to include Biblio Breakdown and Novel Approaches, both of which are more craft-intensive.

R.R. Campbell and his co-host Sione Aeschliman are intelligent and great to listen to, as a writer, I find myself agreeing with a lot of what they share and taking mental notes on how to improve my writing.  As a Reader I love R.R.’s one-on-one conversation with authors, it’s a great way to find out about books and new authors I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise. The Writescast Network episodes are about a half hour and the indebt writing conversations on Novel Approach last bout an hour. Both are high quality and very informative.

Find The Writescast Network here.

Gay Talk 2.0.jpg

GayTalk 2.0: The Ultimate PodCast: Is a group of three friends that come together every Monday to provide listeners with hilarious commentary on all the current events of the week.  The hosts sit around the table with cocktails in hand bringing the latest on art, current events, news, music, and other topics that impact the LGBT community.  The show consists of several segments that are chosen to provide listeners relevant, current, informative content with a funny gay twist. Most topics discussed on the show are those that closely affect the LGBTQ+ community. The hosts don’t shy away from any topic; Sex, politics, alcohol, addiction, fetish, gossip, celebrities, or tragedy. They cover it all.

The banter, oh my goodness the banter. Tom, Chris, and Nick (or Trish) are funny as hell. These guys are great. I may not always agree 100% with them, but if you are looking for conversations on current events that are discussed with a lot of heart (and seriousness when applicable) then you have to check out this podcast. I can’t recommend them enough. This podcast hovers around an hour to an hour and a half and it’s worth every minute.

Find GayTalk2.0 here.


Queer Words: Conversation with queer-identified authors about their works and lives.

That really sums it up, Wayne Goodman is charming and welcoming to his guest, who are all authors. Wayne will have them answer a few questions and then do a reading from one of their works. It’s another way to find some amazing books and learn about some fantastic authors. The podcast typically goes anywhere from twenty to thirty minutes.

Find Queer Words here.

You really need to check out these amazing podcasts, they are always a wonderful break from your day-to-day.

New_5.21_Book Signing.png

As a reminder, this week I have two events coming up. First, Friday (August 16th) at 7 p.m. I’m going to be part of a Meet the Authors event here in San Jose at the Billy DeFrank Center.

I’ll be joined by the amazing J.Scott Coatsworth, the outstanding SA ‘Baz’ Collins, and the brilliant Jeanne Marcella.

Find more information by clicking here.

Between the Pages.jpg

Second, this Saturday at 11 a.m. I’ll be live on Facebook with A. F. Stewart for their live stream Between the Pages. We’ll be chatting about my Sci Fi series and my upcoming work. Check out the details here.

A lot is still going on. I hope you check out these podcasts they are all top quality and every entertaining. I learn a lot from each of them and wouldn’t miss a week. Do you have any favorite podcasts? What do you listen to on the drive to and from work? Let me know in the comments below. In the meantime have a great week and see you next time.

Summer Vacation 2019

Happy Wednesday Scribblers, can you believe summer is almost over and the kids are getting ready to head back to school? Where does the time go? This week, in the vein of summer (at least for those of us here in the Northern Hemisphere) I figured I would share with you all a little about where I went on Summer Vacation.


This July Eric and I packed up the car, plugged in the iPod, and headed to southern California for a week away at the happiest place on Earth. This trip was special as it was Eric’s birthday and we haven’t gone away for his birthday in quite a few years. So, this year we splurged and stayed at the Disneyland Hotel and we set up some amazing dinning reservation for the week. As many of you know we go to Disneyland when we can, but this year, like I said we did some things we don’t normally do, and we had an absolute blast.

Staying at the Disneyland hotel we got lucky and stayed on the club level, which granted us access to the E Ticket Lounge on the 10th Floor. The lounge had amazing views of the park and offered heavy snacks and adult beverages throughout the day, which was fantastic. It was especially nice with the heat and humidity that was going on while we were there.

Disneyland may be the happiest place on Earth, but not so much when it’s in the 90s and 100s (32c – 38c) and hovering around 50% humidity.

Because of the heat and humidity we would get to the parks early then leave when it got hot. Our plan was to return to the parks in the evening when (in theory) it cooled off, it didn’t work as planned most days.


Did I mention we got to do things we don’t normally get to do? Well we did, we got to ride in the back of the monorail, when we were heading to the park. So cool!

One of the big reasons for going to Disneyland was to check out Galaxy’s Edge and ride Smugglers Run. Galaxy’s Edge was amazing. The whole land, was incredibly detailed and I could spend hours getting lost in all the scenery. While there, we didn’t really eat anything, but we did manage to try the blue milk and green milk, which was good. Personally, I liked the blue milk more, but they were both tasty. We also got a Tatooine Sunset, which was yummy. Of course we managed to ride Smugglers Run twice (we were Engineers both times) and overall we did quite well. I still can’t believe that Eric got 100% accuracy… whatever.

No, we didn’t get lightsabers or droids, but we did explore the shops and interact with the natives, which was fun. Sadly, I didn’t see Rae, nor did I get to see Kylo Ren, but you can’t have everything. Next Trip.

While we were they, as I mentioned, we set up some great dinning reservation. We ate at the Napa Rose, Carthay Circle, and Steakhouse 55. The food was amazing and I think Eric enjoyed himself.

This trip we also got to spend a couple days with my amazing cousin, which is always a blast.

As you can see, me and the hubby had a wonderful holiday and enjoyed our time away, despite the heat and humidity. Where do you like to go on vacation? Did you go anywhere this summer or do you travel at other times of the year? Let me know in the comments below. In the meantime have a great week and see you next time.

Reaper: A Horror Novella – Creepy As Hell

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

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

Well, for starters, I’m extremely ambitious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So sorry, no favorites here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The future is definitely bright!

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

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

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

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

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

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


Book Blurb for Reaper: A Horror Novella:

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

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

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

Buy Links:

Find Reaper: A Horror Novella on Amazon here.

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

Who is Jonathan Pongratz:


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

Where can we find him:






A Non-Binary Perspective on M/M Fiction by L.A. Ashton

Happy Wednesday Scribblers, this week I have fellow NineStar Press Author L.A. Ashton over as a guest blogger.  L.A. will be sharing their perspective on writing M/M romance. It’s a thought providing post that I hope you all enjoy:

For many readers, books are an escape. We slip between the pages to experience a life more interesting, be a person more daring, and revel in stakes immensely dire. But the thing that makes readers really connect with a story isn’t usually the wild rides or fantastical surroundings. It’s the thing that speaks to us and our lives—it’s the very real and very relatable.

Whether its sharing religious or philosophical beliefs with the protagonist, having the same dry humor or sharp temper, or maybe being a boy who also loves boys, it’s the similarities that can make a story speak to our heart. All those little details that can make a person feel seen for the first time, or maybe feel like they can better see themselves.

I was a voracious reader before I was a writer, but I rarely felt seen. It wasn’t something I even realized I was missing until I started penning my own stories, and for some reason the main characters kept turning out bisexual. The reason for that became apparent over time. I was also writing a lot of M/M, which was something I was neither ashamed of, nor thought had any deeper meaning—I was a queer person who wrote queer fiction.

All sorts of people write M/M, and while I am a huge supporter of #OwnVoices, the movement was never meant to snatch stories out of other people’s hands. The M/M stories I read and wrote were ones I cherished, and so long as they were written with care and kindness, I wouldn’t be giving them up.

To be clear: I am not an “M/M Author”. While I have written three gay romances, I have F/F and other things in the pipes right now. But M/M was where I kept landing, and where I was finding myself most often.

As time went on and I became more comfortable in my own skin, I couldn’t help asking myself some questions. Questions like, “Why have I gravitated toward M/M so fiercely?”; “What about M/M is especially lucrative right now?”; and eventually, “Why is it easier for me to connect with male main characters?”

I hadn’t heard the terms non-binary, genderfluid, agender, genderqueer, etc., until I was well into my twenties. Finding those terms was like a lightning strike: illuminating, but terrifying. I had never questioned being a girl, because I had never been taught beyond the binary. If being a man didn’t feel right, then, obviously, I was woman.

But it wasn’t obvious. I had just been ignorant, and now my world was exploding.

It took me a while to accept those terms for myself, which feels strange in retrospect; I would never call myself a girl now—it’s not what I am.

I don’t understand gender at all. As someone who has spent massive amounts of time thinking about their gender, I am startlingly clueless. And I think that’s one of the traits that comes along with being who I am: sometimes I’m closer to one end of the spectrum, and sometimes another, but usually my gender could be summed up with the general idea of a void or black hole, or perhaps an old fashioned question mark.

I will never have a body that aligns with who I am inside. I would have to be a shapeshifter or something else from legend; there is no single form that I feel can capture me best. But I can escape.

For me, writing M/M is like slipping into a skin that binds and frees me. I can experience life in ways that aren’t possible, and envision something sure and certain. It is the exact magic that made me fall in love with reading in the first place: the transportation out of myself that also connects me even more firmly with who I am. It is the fantastical and the relatable, the real and the imaginary.

Reading and writing are liberating. They have been my safe haven and my refuge, a place to feel powerful as well as peaceful. All I can hope to do with my writing is offer some of that in return, whether it helps someone feel-out their identity, or just makes their afternoon a little brighter.


Wow! A special thank you to L.A. Ashton for stopping by today and providing this wonderful guest blog post.  If you have questions for L.A. Aston leave them below and I’ll ensure they swings by to answer, or you can find them on Social Media, see the links below. As always if you enjoyed this content and want to help spread the word not only about L.A. Ashton like and share below. Until next time have a great week.

About L.A. Ashton:

L. A. Ashton is an LGBT+ author writing LGBT+ fiction. They were born and raised between neat grids of corn and soybean fields. They enjoy rock music, traveling, and anything else that adds color to their daydreams. They believe in the healing properties of art and of having a cat firmly stationed on one’s lap.

Where to find L.A. Ashton:

Official Site:




About: Valhalla

Sakuma has served as a Valkyrie for centuries, smoothly escorting thousands of souls to the grand halls of Valhalla. While the world tears itself apart during WWII, he is summoned to retrieve the soul of a fallen Japanese soldier, Ishii Hiroshi. To Sakuma’s surprise, Ishii refuses his invitation to eternity.

The two meet again and again as the war repeatedly sends Ishii to death’s door, and what should have been a fleeting encounter becomes something much greater for the both of them.

Sakuma is determined to give Ishii the reward he so deserves, but Ishii’s stubbornness may condemn him to an eternity outside Valhalla.

Where to Buy:


Barnes and Noble:



Ninestar Press (publisher):


About Echoes

After one thousand years of listless eternity, Oskar is used to his particular brand of loneliness. But a long walk through middle America and a few chance encounters will lead him straight to a man he’d known to be long since dead—his childhood best friend, Aranck.

Being undead hasn’t stopped Aran from living life to the fullest. He has all the money and power his charm and business savvy could earn him, and plenty of friends. Lately, though, something seems to be missing. After a millennia, perhaps the world’s shine has worn off—and that’s when Oskar stumbles back into his life, reminding him of who he used to be.

Together the two vampires remember what it felt like to live, all the while navigating a conflict with the local pack of werewolves. A lot has changed in a thousand years, and only time will tell if those changes will bring Oskar and Aranck closer together, or ensure they remain apart.

Where to Buy:


Barnes and Noble:



Ninestar Press (publisher):

Top Ten List with Kay Doherty

Happy July Scribblers, I hope you all had a safe and joyous 4th of July. This week I welcome fellow NineStar Press author Kay Doherty for a fun Top Ten List about shifterwolves and shifterdragons. Let’s get to it shall we:

What are the top ten reasons you picked shifterwolves and shifterdragons to write around?

  1. When I first started writing I joined Out in Colorado Fiction. There was talk about doing an anthology centered around dragons. The short story I started for that soon became a novel and by the time I reached the end, I realized there was potential for a series. Thankfully, my editor at NineStar, BJ, agreed and the Chevalier Series was born.

  2. I’ve always been drawn to characters with special abilities. When I was teen, my youngest brother and I were fascinated with the X-men and the things they could do. I would make up stories in my head where I was the one who could control the weather or start fires in the palm of my hand. Such a cool idea.

  3. I love dragons. Always have. They embody strength, fearlessness, loyalty, and danger.

  4. My husband loves wolves and volunteers monthly at a wolf sanctuary in southern Colorado called Mission: Wolf. They give tours, educate visitors about wolves to help dispel rumor and myth, and allow you to meet them. You can go into the enclosure and touch them. It seemed natural to me that when Luca stumbled on his mate, that mate would be a wolf.

  5. I wanted to explore the paranormal genre as a writer because I love it as a reader. I probably have hundreds of MM romances with shifters, vampires, witches, you name it.

  6. Luca, Tanner, and the rest of the pack give me the opportunity to explore racism, hate, and discrimination, and find a way to live in a world thick with it. I’d not experienced any of those things until I came out as omni and polysexual. These guys give me a chance to work through it all with them. Tanner really embodies a lot of my struggles with my day job and learning to accept that people will hate me simply because I’m in a committed bisexual poly-family.

  7. Writing shifters and other paranormals freed my writing. I love the two contemporary MM romances I’ve written, but I felt like my creativity could really fly when I didn’t have to follow the “real world” rules. I could make my characters whatever I wanted and give them all these sweet-ass abilities. It’s been so much fun to write.

  8. Having wolf-shifters and dragon-shifters opened the door to have other paranormal beings. As the series progresses there are vampires, phoenix, sorcerers, lion-shifters, hawk-shifters, and whatever other creatures I can imagine. Pretty sure I threw a gryphon in there just for the hell of it.

  9. Writing shifters gave me the opportunity to write complex characters. It’s one thing to write a human with human thoughts and emotions. Add in a supernatural half and you create a whole new level of problems. Animal behavior is so different from human behavior and its fun trying to weave those together in a way that’s cohesive and believable.

  10. It’s sexy!

I love these quick top ten lists, they are so much fun and I believe you get a real feel for the author and the stories they create. I want to thank Kay Doherty for stopping by today and chatting with us. What do you think about dragons and wolves? What about shifters? Let us know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to have Kay stop by and respond. As always don’t forget to share and like this post. Until next time have a great week.

Kay Doherty.JPG

About Kay Doherty

Kay Doherty is an omnisexual/polysexual who lives in Colorado with her poly-family, Mike, Keri, and Tigz. Her house is overrun with cats and dogs. Family is important to her so there are daily texts, frequent visits to her parents, and constant banter with her brothers. She happily suffers a severe addiction to coffee and Mexican food. She loves to read and write and can easily become consumed by it for hours, much to the dismay of Mike and Keri (Tigz is an enabler). On occasion she can be convinced to venture out into world of the living despite being annoyed by the sun shining in her face.

Where to Find Kay

Email address:


Fine her on Facebook: @kaydohertyauthor

Find here on Twitter: @kdohertyauthor

About Hearts of Fire (Chevalier Book One)

Luca Duray has been quite happy living a solitary existence for decades. But when a steel trap around his leg catches him when he’s weak and hungry, his life is irrevocably changed. He knows the wolf shifter who offers him assistance is more than he appears and immediately makes plans to keep the pup close.

Disowned by his pack for being gay, Tanner McBane is forced to become a lone wolf. While on a hunt, he stumbles upon an injured dragon shifter and provides aid. It’s not easy surviving on his own and when money gets tight, he finds himself face-to-face with the dragon shifter once again during an interview. Tanner isn’t sure a wolf should be working for a dragon, but he accepts the job and unknowingly creates a bond to his new boss. Soon, Tanner learns Luca isn’t just his boss—he’s his mate.

The mating of a wolf and dragon shifter is uncharted territory for both Luca and Tanner, but they are determined to make it work despite widespread prejudice, death threats, and the untraditional pack Tanner finds himself leading. Tanner only hopes that the bond he forms with Luca will prove to be unbreakable.

Where to buy Hearts of Fire

Find it on NineStar Press here.

Find it through GoodReads here.

Coming in August 2019 Hearts of Blood (Chevalier Book Two)


Interview with Author Andrew Peters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Andrew J. Peters:

Andrew Peters.jpg

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

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

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

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

Where to find Andrew J. Peters:

Find his website here.

Find him on Facebook here.

Find him on Twitter here.

Find him on Goodreads here.

About his latest title Irresistible:


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

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

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

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

Buy his novel here.

June 2019 Writing Updates


Happy Wednesday Scribblers, this week I wanted to shine the spotlight on some things I’ve been up to. As you know I’ve been focusing a lot on other authors, so today I wanted to share my updates.

It’s been a busy six months. As you all know, I’ve released two new novels. Books 1 and 2 of my A New World series. Contact (book 1) and Conviction (book 2) have done amazingly well and have gotten some outstanding reviews. Both books can be found on Goodreads lists of Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books and Best Science Fiction Books (click here), which is exciting as this is the same list with such incredible works as Dune, 1984, and Brave New World. I’m honored that my novels are even on the same list as these amazing works.

Also, within the past six months I’ve launch a store here on my website (click here) where, for now, if you live here in the United States you can get signed copies of my novels currently out in print (The Calling, Contact, and Conviction). And, until the end of the month you can get 25% off my books by using the promo code: PRIDE19 at check out. It’s a wonderful way for you to support me and to get a signed copy of my books especially if you can’t make it to one of the events I’m attending.

Speaking of events, two weeks ago I was at SacPride. It was a very windy, but fun event and I got to meet a lot of folks and connect with readers and fans. I had a blast.  A big thanks to QSAC for the invite. Check out the photos here.

Not only have I been attending events, but I’ve been featured in the media; Outlook Video, Wrote Podcast, Divine Magazine, and The Writescast Network and that’s only since January 2019. To see all my media interviews click here.

Coming up next on the engagement front, me and three other area authors will be at the Billy DeFrank Center (click here) on August 16th talking about LGBTQIA writing and what our experiences have been in the writing community. It should be a great conversation so if you’re in the area I hope you can come by. Also, we will sell our books, with a portion of the proceeds going to the DeFrank Center to support their mission and their work in the LGBTQIA Community. You can find more info here.

On the writing front, I’ve finally finished all my edits for book 3 (Conspiracy) of my A New World series and the book is off to the publishers for them to pick up (keep your fingers crossed).

Also, in my writing world. I’m wrapping up the edits for T.A.D.-The Angel of Death so you can look for that novel coming out in the Fall 2019. To find out more about my newest novel click here.

One final writing update is that The Called (book 2 of my The Calling series) is finally getting wrapped up. I should finish the first draft in the next few weeks, which means from there it goes into the editing process. I know a lot of you have been patiently waiting, so I’m looking forward to getting this book out to you hopefully in 2020 or early 2021.

Well Scribblers that is all I have for you this week. Remember, if you have questions for me leave them in the comments below or you can email me at Don’t forget to show your love by liking and sharing this blog post with other readers. In the meantime have a great week and see you next time.

Genderfluidity and Pansexuality by Grace Kilian Delaney

Happy Wednesday Scribblers. I was reminded that today is the third anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. We has a humans are capable of great works of beauty and can show huge amounts of compassion. Conversely we are capable of mass destructions and cruelty beyond belief. We need to choose the kind of world we want to live in and focus our efforts on making that world. Kindness, compassion, and understanding should be the foundations we build our world on.

That said, this week I’m honored to have fellow Ninestar Press author Grace Kilian Delaney here to speak her truth and to share her story. Everyone, has their own story. This is hers.

Thank you, M. D. Neu, for having me at your blog! Before I get into the topic, I’d like to take a moment to remember the lives lost on this day, June 12th, at Pulse nightclub. I wish I had more to add, some words of hope. But this tragedy only fuels the importance of Pride to me, to celebrate the LGBTQIA community and to honor those who fought and continue to fight for equality.

In the little suburb of Boston where I grew up, I never heard the words bisexual, pansexual, gender fluid, or transgender. A person identified as gay or lesbian, and if they dressed in a way considered opposite of their assigned sex at birth, they had to be a musician. Or at least this was how my mostly sheltered, young teenage mind understood life back in the late 80s early 90s, a time when men wore makeup and drove up Aquanet’s stock value as much, if not more than women, and when Glam metal bands like Poison and Mötley Crüe ruled magazine covers and airwaves. It was also when I decided I wanted to be a badass musician like Chrissie Hynde or Joan Jett. Screw makeup. Screw dresses. But as acceptable as that was for those female musicians, I was a mere mortal, too afraid to present myself in such a masculine way for fear of being rejected by my family. So I settled for ripped jeans and thick, black eyeliner like every other girl at my high school, and silently accepted sometimes I was uncomfortable as a young woman.

It wasn’t until a shy male friend of mine asked if he could model a dress he bought that I realized I accepted, loved, and remained attracted to him however he chose to represent himself, and in turn grew more accepting of my own inclination to wear clothes that matched how I felt on the inside. This wasn’t a full-on revelation yet. This was more of a fuzzy awareness, a half-light of teenage sexual awakening. Full awareness came twenty years later. The main reason for such a gap is, I fell in love at a young age, got married, and presented as a straight, cisgender woman to the outside world. My partner knew I was bi (pan) from the beginning of our relationship, and he recognized, accepted, and even loved that sometimes I felt more masculine than feminine. But we lived in a mostly straight world, occasionally hanging out with friends who were cisgender gay or lesbian without ever discussing identities that fell under the transgender umbrella.

Writing romantic stories, gay and straight, had been a long-time hobby, and after reading The Backup Boyfriendabout five years ago, I became inspired to publish a novella about Devon, a cross-dressing mechanic and Stone, a bisexual heavy metal rock star. Devon identifies as gender fluid, a discovery he makes in Waking Oisin. Creating these characters helped me stitch together my own history and understand and accept that I am gender fluid, attracted to a person as a whole, not their parts, and overall be more comfortable with who I am.

Grace thank you for stopping by today and sharing your story.  If you have questions for Grace leave them below and I’ll ensure she swings by to answer, or you can find her on Social Media, see the links below. Until next time have a great week.

About Grace Kilian Delaney:


Grace Kilian Delaney is a LGBT writer, musician, animal lover, and author of the sweet and sexy bisexual romance Living on a Dare: A Shore Thing Novel. She spends her free time performing kitchen concerts to an audience of her two cats and a dog and loves long beach runs. Her previous books include Seven Minutes(Dreamspinner Press) and Waking Oisin(NineStar Press).

Where to find Grace Kilian Delaney:

Twitter: @GracekilianD

Facebook Group: Delaneys Dirty Dearies


Amazon Author

Mailing List:

About Living on a Dare:


Stuntman Draven O’Connor never turns down a dare—even if it means getting down on one knee to propose to his former college roommate and friend. The same man he’s been crushing on since the first day they met. The same man that has grown distant over the past year. And the same man who just agreed to be his fiancé. 

Julien Bouchard is tired of living a lie. He spent the past year exploring his sexuality in secret, enduring countless dates with women to appease his mother, and dodging his best friend, Draven, who knows everything there is to know about him, except the one thing that could change their friendship. Ready to face his friend, he meets him at a bar and is greeted by an unexpected marriage proposal. The dare isn’t surprising; it’s the scorching hot kiss that sends Julien’s head and heart in a tailspin—and gives him an idea for the perfect plan. 

But his plan hits a bump when news of their fake engagement spreads to their families as fast as a wildfire, forcing them to confront their true feelings about each other and hope they don’t get burned.

Where to buy Living on a Dare:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US:

Universal Link: