Author Interview: Lindsey Kinsella

Biography

Lindsey Kinsella is a Scottish writer and author of the science fiction novel “The Lazarus Taxa”.

While a qualified and experienced naval architect and an avid car enthusiast, he always reserved a space in his life for a deep fascination with paleontology. This drove his writing process as he strove to write tales of the rich and complex history of life on Earth.

Tell us about your book, The Lazarus Taxa.

68 million years in the past. Deep time—the true final frontier. But all is not as it seems. Which should be feared most—the dinosaurs… or the people?

The Lazarus Taxa follows the first scientific expedition through time to the Late Cretaceous.

Your Amazon Author bio says you have a deep fascination for paleontology. Tell us about that hobby and how it factored into your book.

It’s hard to remember when my paleontology obsession first arose, but watching the BBC series Walking with Dinosaurs as a child was probably a driving factor. Since then, it has grown and expanded beyond dinosaurs and into everything from Cenozoic mammals to giant Carboniferous insects.

This love of the science was my original inspiration to write The Lazarus Taxa. I wanted to show dinosaurs in a new light—in a way in which I felt popular media didn’t. They are real animals with their own personalities and motivations and I wanted to show them in their natural environment.

When and why did you start writing?

I started writing during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. In truth, I originally began simply to pass the time. Being confined to the house certainly gave me plenty of time to work on the book.

How long did it take you to write The Lazarus Taxa and at what point did you decide to publish the novel?

It took me almost two years to finish the novel. I certainly didn’t have my process worked out which certainly reduced my efficiency, but I also lost faith once or twice and didn’t touch it for months at a time. The prospect of publishing was always quite distant, and I don’t think I ever truly believed I’d do it.

The moment I decided for certain to publish was when I received the manuscript back from my editor. I had been tentative about paying to have it edited, but eventually figured it was worth a go. However, I was blown away by how good it read after the marvelous Donna Marie West had worked her magic.

Are you working on another book or project you would like to share with us?

I am currently working on a fantasy novel title “The Heart of Pangaea”. This draws on similar source material as before and features all manner of prehistoric creatures, but in a very different way.

Subject material aside, it’s a completely different book from The Lazarus Taxa, it’s quirky, funny, and family friendly, but with strong emotional themes.

I do also have plans for a follow up to The Lazarus Taxa where I will explore new time periods and follow up on how the newfound technology of time travel begins to impact the world.

What is your strangest writing quirk?

I think my blend of fiction and non-fiction is the most unique aspect of my writing. The Lazarus Taxa is heavily influenced by the science of paleontology, and so I make a point of writing interim chapters which take a break from the story and delve into the science. These chapters not only allow the reader to learn some amazing paleo-knowledge, I think they enrich the story by imparting some important background information.

What was your favorite part of writing The Lazarus Taxa?

I loved writing the more horror-orientated chapters. There are two sequences in particular which are really tense—I loved building that tension before releasing it into some intense action. I’m pleased to hear that these seem to be the parts of the book readers enjoyed most too!

What will you do differently in writing your second book?

I have definitely plotted my work in progress more carefully which has improved my efficiency and reduced the number of rewrites required. In truth, though, I’m very much still finding my process, so I’m sure I’ll do it all differently again next time.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing or immersed in paleontology?

I’m a huge car nerd and I spend a lot of time maintaining my cars. I currently have a little yellow MG B which is my pride and joy, and an Alfa Romeo which I am in the process of coaxing back to life.

What does success look like for you as an author?

In a way I already feel it’s been successful. People have read my book and enjoyed it. I get messages all the time from readers asking when I’ll write another and I couldn’t ask for more than that.

Is there anything additional you want to share with readers?

Just a reminder that you can download a free sample of The Lazarus Taxa ebook from Amazon, Google, or Barnes & Noble, so you can find out if it’s right for you without spending a penny!

Website: https://www.facebook.com/LindseyKinsellaAuthor

Book Locations: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play

Excerpt

Sid’s train of thought was cut abruptly short by the sound of disturbed rocks tumbling not far away in the darkness. Both he and Dian paused and kept completely silent as they tensely listened for the slightest of further noises. Sure enough, another knock, slightly louder this time, echoed through the cave and both torches quickly turned towards the source—or at least where they deemed the source to be.

Such was the disorientating nature of the scattered and rebounding sound waves within the cavern that Sid and Dian found themselves shining their torches in opposite directions. Regardless, neither of the searching lights found anything out of the ordinary.

“Probably just the echo,” said Dian.

Sid was uneasy with this. It sounded different from the previous noises. Somehow, it seemed more… real. The smell of the animal scent markings was faint, but it was still something he had been mindful of since entering the cave. He knew, with little doubt, that they weren’t alone inside the mountain. The question was whether the existing tenant was open to squatters. Dian, who seemed content with her “echo” hypothesis, took another photograph and this time the flash illuminated something in a distant corner. Something dark. Something… moving.

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Author Interview: Abigail Manning

Biography

Abigail Manning is a wife, nanny, and author of YA romance. She resides with her husband, Marcus, in the beautiful state of Tennessee. In school, she studied both Early Childhood Development and Theatre Arts, both of which aided in the development of her Emerald Realm series, based off of retold fairy tales.

Abigail has always adored working with young children and drawing inspiration from their creativity. Her stories are geared towards young adults, but inspired off of children’s tales. She greatly enjoys the challenge of reinventing stories that most readers grew up with. She has only recently begun her career in writing, but already has growing ambitions revolving around her blossoming stories.

Tell us about your Emerald Realm Series.

The Emerald Realm is a series of fairy tale retellings that all interconnect within a single realm. Each book retells a classic fairy tale such as Snow White, Goldilocks, or Cinderella, but with a twist on the tale that you wouldn’t have expected. Each book features its own main character and possesses a happy ending, but a large story connects them all with a shared villain.

Is the series complete or can we expect more books? If it isn’t complete, what can you tell us about the future of the series?

The series is fully written but at this point in time only four out of the five books are released. The final book is coming soon, however! So, stay tuned!

Have you thought about what you want to write after the Emerald Realm Series is complete?

Absolutely! While the Emerald Realm may only have five books, I have currently written over seven full manuscripts… The extra two are each the first book of their own series, and I have big plans for them moving forward.

What drew you to write YA romance?

I always enjoyed reading YA romance, so it just felt natural for me to adapt it as my writing style. I also prefer to write clean romance, so my stories are also a good read for teens or anyone who doesn’t like things to get too spicy.

Tell us how your writing journey began.

I haven’t been writing for even a year yet, and only started in July of 2021. I just had a few days off work and a story on my mind that I wanted to put to paper, and I never really stopped!

What are your writing necessities (time, location, music, food, etc)?

I am a morning bird, so I get my best work done after I wake up, but unfortunately 90% of the time I can’t pick up my computer until the afternoon. I usually prefer quiet while I work, but will occasionally play some instrumental music, and no matter what I always need a cup of tea by my side.

What is the hardest aspect of writing for you?

Probably trying to avoid being repetitive. When writing fairy tale romances, it’s easy to fall into the tropes that they have created, but I like to strive to be original in both my stories and my writing. A thesaurus is often my best friend!

How have you improved as a writer since you began?

I would definitely say so. If anything, I’ve grown more confident in my writing and take criticism far better than I used too. There’s definitely a huge difference between the writing in my debut novel and my current WIP.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love binging Netflix with my husband or watching him game. We also have a puppy that tends to soak up more of my time then I realize.

What does success look like for you as an author?

For me, success is having my books read by someone that I’ve never met. I just think it’s incredible that maybe, somewhere around the world, I might be someone’s favorite author.

Anything additional you want to share with readers?

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy fairy tales or just sweet clean romance, check out the Emerald Realm series and stay tuned for more exciting stories to come!

Website: abigailmanningauthor.com

Book Locations: Amazon

Excerpt

Poisoned Heart: A Retelling of Snow White

           “I take great pride in hunting down my victims, but you were no challenge.” He eyed me with annoyance. He spoke as if he was disappointed that I was too easy to kill. “I desire more excitement in my hunt than a pompous brat can offer, so princess, I am offering you a chance at escape.”

           I gasped through my tears. It sounded like he was going to let me run just so he could catch me again, delaying my death long enough for me to potentially freeze in the cold on my own. My breathing grew unsteady as panic filled my every bone.

            “So, here’s my deal, princess. I’m going to let you run, and after twenty-four hours, I’m going to come looking for you, just like a game of hide and seek.” I couldn’t see his mouth, but I imagined a sick smile on his face. “If I can’t find you after fourteen days, then congratulations, you win. I’ll return to my kingdom and explain that you got away, but if I find you…” he raised the dagger to my throat and my breath hitched, “then I’ll finish the job I was assigned.” He dropped the dagger and took a step back. I allowed myself to breathe again, filling my lungs with the icy air.

  “Time starts now, princess. Better start running.”

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Author Interview: Anat Eliraz

Biography

Anat Eliraz was born in Israel, but spent a few years of her childhood in Singapore, where her love for fantasy started. She describes her life as being quite normal, even though she has driven a tank and jumped out of an airplane!

Between being a mother to four, working as a physiotherapist in a neonatal intensive care unit and training in Martial Arts, she still finds time to write.

Anat loves to use double meanings and word games in her writing, allowing her readers to play along or double check themselves, as the story unfolds.

Tell us about your book, Jewels of Smoky Quartz.

‘Jewels of Smoky Quartz’ is a portal fantasy about a nurse who also practices martial arts and one day finds herself in another world. She needs to use her wit and skills to survive and find her way.

When and why did you start writing?

I started writing in primary (elementary) school. Mostly songs, poems and lots of unfinished stories. I wrote because it was a sort of way to deal with things I was going through in life. I used the fantasy setting, because I had the influence from D&D games I played at the time.

Why did you decide to write and publish a novel?

I wrote my whole novel about a year before I decided to publish it. I wrote it because I got an idea and it just kept expanding in my head that I felt an urge to put it down on paper. I would wake up in the middle of the night and just had to write what I thought about.

The idea to actually publish it came in the first lockdown, when I listened to podcasts about writing and publishing and started thinking ‘why not?!’

What have you written since you published Jewels of Smoky Quartz? Do you plan to publish any more books?

I am currently writing the sequel to my published book and another fantasy story that takes place on earth during WW2. I hope to publish them too!

You are a mother of four, train in martial arts, and have a full-time job. How do you find time to write?

As I wrote before – a large part of my book was written at night. I would wake up and not be able to fall asleep again unless I wrote what was on my mind. I also write on lunch breaks or on rare occasions that I have a cancellation. My kids are quite big and my husband is frequently abroad from work, so instead of ‘couch potating’ in front of the T. V., I write!

How did holding a copy of your published novel for the first time compare to jumping out of an airplane or driving a tank?

It was amazing! I was so excited and thrilled! Jumping from a plane was fun, but this was coming just after holding my children for the first time. In a way- it’s holding my creation,
which I put a lot of love into.

What is something you learned writing your first book that you do differently now?

Now I have readers feedback and it really boosts me onwards. I learned a lot about the editing process which I intend to do differently now. I was extremely “green” back then, and leaned heavily on what I was told, which later I learned was not quite true…

What is your favorite aspect of writing?

The ability to create! Create a world, create characters and make them ‘real’! I love the space it allows me to take real debates and let my characters deal with them, whether they make mistakes or choose the best solution.

What is your strangest writing quirk?

I usually write with pen(cil) and paper before I put my work on the computer. I have over 150 pages of my published book written by hand and currently over 50 pages of my WIP. It’s easier for me to write in a notebook when I am not at home, so it’s always in my backpack.

What does success look like for you as an author?

Success as an author is having people enjoy my writing and making contact to talk or ask about it/ writing in general. If people read my book and then say- wow! This is a book I really enjoyed/ that really surprised/ inspired me… Then I am in a state of pure bliss! Of course I want my book to become a best seller, but the personal contact and reviews seem so much more important, in my opinion.

Anything additional you want to share with readers?

‘Jewels of Smoky Quartz’ has twists and turns and lets the reader take somewhat of an active part in the reading. They might smile when they realize they found the clues strewn throughout the story, or turn back pages to see how come they missed something.

I have also written a song in the book and a friend took the words and brought them to life! It was not done in a professional studio, it was done at home with minimal essentials and lots of love!

You can find it on YouTube by writing the name of the book. Hope you enjoy!

Website: Best place to find me is on Facebook

Book Locations: My book is available on Amazon as a paperback, an ebook, and is free on
Kindle unlimited.

Excerpt

She was put down on a stone floor, her ankles were released and then her hands, but by the time she pulled the sack off her head, she only saw a door close and heard the lock. She was in darkness. There was only a thin line of light coming from under the door. She waited for
her eyes to adjust.

Coming to her feet, she moved to stand by the door. The door was at one corner of a small cell. She could make out the lines of wall meeting wall and ceiling. It was ten feet by five, the door being at the side of the five-foot wall. She touched the walls and walked slowly around. After
a few small steps, her feet touched straw on the floor. It covered the floor at the inner part of the cell. She continued to move when her hand came upon an iron ring in the wall. She pulled at it, but it held fast. It was about waist high and she found another ring a foot or so
from it.

Coming back towards the door, she could make out something dark in the other corner. She touched it quickly with her foot and retreated.

It was a wooden bucket.

Five-star hotel, she thought. Can’t wait for dinner…

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Author Interview: Jon Cronshaw

Biography

Jon Cronshaw is a best-selling author of fantasy and science fiction.

He lives with his wife and son in Morecambe, England.

He’s a voracious reader, a keen musician, and a history geek.

Your Amazon author site lists several pages of books. Summarize what you have published for our readers.

I’ve been writing fiction full-time since 2017 and have written in a few genres.

My first series is a post-apocalyptic/dystopian series set after the end of the world. It’s made up of four novels, starting with Wizard of the Wasteland.

My books Blind Gambit and Blind Reset are gamelit novels that I used to write honestly about disability. I’m legally blind with less than five-percent vision and wanted to write a book about me coming to terms with that as someone who loves but can no longer play videogames.

My series The Ravenglass Chronicles is a 21-novella epic fantasy inspired by the tarot’s major arcana. I love writing in this world and I have many other stories to tell in the Ravenglass Universe.

Speaking of which, my most recent novel Dawn of Assassins is the first book in an adult fantasy series set in the Ravenglass Universe. It’s a story about a pair of thieves reluctantly recruited by a master assassin…with lots of banter and swashbuckling.

If someone wanted to read your books, where do you recommend they start?

Probably with The Ravenglass Chronicles. It’s foundational to what I’ll be writing in the future. And fans of this series have enjoyed the Easter eggs in Dawn of Assassins.  

You have a PhD in history. Do you include a lot of history in your storytelling?

I steal relentlessly from real events in history and twist them to my characters and world. I love it when I come across stories in history that would seem too far-fetched for fiction.

What is your favorite book/series that you’ve written? Why?

Definitely Dawn of Assassins. I felt like it was first book I’d written where I hit the pacing perfectly.

How/why did you start writing novels? When/why did you start publishing?

I’ve always been creative, writing music, producing art, crafting stories.

I also work as a journalist doing political and court reporting as well as feature writing for several newspapers and magazines in the UK.

I published my first novel Wizard of the Wasteland in June 2017 and wrote my last freelance piece of journalism for The Guardian in February 2018.

The opening scene to Wizard of the Wasteland came to me in a dream. It’s about a self-proclaimed wizard displaying his magic in a post-apocalyptic settlement. Only the magic is just technology from before the fall.

It wasn’t the first novel I’d written, but it was the first one I felt was good enough to share with the world.

What do you do differently now than you did when you first started writing/publishing?

The biggest shift I’ve had is to think about the reader first rather than my own ego. I think we all write for ourselves when we start, but I had a moment where I realized there’s something incredible about making someone else hallucinate and take them on a journey That’s the closest thing to magic we can do.

What is your strangest writing quirk?

It might be that in my first drafts I don’t include description or any detailed action. I love writing dialogue, so my manuscript is something like a messy screenplay.

What have you struggled with the most during your writing journey?

I’ve written a lot of books. When I worked as a journalist I pretty much knew going on how long a piece would take.

Writing a novel is a completely different game. It took me eleven days to write the first draft of my novel Knight of the Wasteland. It’s taken me six months to get to the same point with my book Trial of Thieves.

I hoped by now that it would be easier, but each story I work on seems to present a new set of challenges.

What does success look like for you as an author?

Being able to get my wife out of teaching is a great feeling. And being able to pay my bills from stuff I’ve plopped from my imagination almost feels like I’m running an elaborate scam.

Anything additional you want to share with readers?

If you go to my website joncronshaw.com and drop your email address, I’ll send you a free novel, Birth of Assassins, plus a bunch of other stories set in the Ravenglass Universe.

Website: joncronshaw.com

@joncronshawauthor on TikTok, Instagram, Clapper, YouTube, and Facebook.

Book Locations: Amazon

Excerpt: From Dawn of Assassins by Jon Cronshaw

The assassin’s blade shimmered bright blue on black as the teardrops took hold. He glanced back at the washed-out echoes behind him, the thin reflection of the real world—scentless and silent and rendered in greys.

His target’s mind glowed a purplish-yellow through the ghost of a door—a tiny spark soon to be extinguished.

He drove his dagger into the door and dragged downwards, tearing a rift between realms large enough for him to pass through.

Ducking into the portal, the assassin stood for a moment, allowing himself to acclimatise to the sensory overload—the smells of damp socks and wood smoke, the stream of noise from the city beyond, and the colours…so many colours.

The target lay on the bed, his mouth half open, his sleeping breaths punctuated by the occasional snort.

The assassin wiped the lingering teardrops from his blade with his jacket’s hem. As successful contracts mounted up, the tears became harder to summon, as though each completed job took something from him.

He reached inside his jacket and uncorked a vial of his own blood. He allowed a drop to fall onto the blade, replaced the stopper, and returned the vial to his pocket.

For a moment, nothing happened.

He turned his head, averting his gaze as the blade glowed brilliant white and turned to fire in his hand.

Silently, he crept towards the target, his dagger throwing orange light across the walls.

He stared down at the man’s jowly features, his paunch creating a mound beneath the blankets.

Taking a breath, the assassin drew his blade across the man’s throat, slicing through flesh, tearing through the windpipe, and scraping along bone.

The man’s eyes opened. He clawed at his neck, gasping and gurgling for breath.

Something hissed.

The familiar smell of searing flesh filled the room.

The assassin stood back as the man convulsed.

The blade dimmed and grew cold in his hands, no doubt sated by its latest victim.

The hissing grew louder.

Flames erupted across the man’s body, spreading along his limbs and torso.

Flesh curled and slid from bones, turning to ash in less than a minute.

The assassin had seen death—too much death—but he could never get used to the stench of burning hair.

Covering his nose, he turned to the nightstand, struck a match, and lit a beeswax candle.

He dropped the candle onto the bed, resting it on its side, allowing the blanket to catch alight.

Fire spread slowly at first and gathered speed, engulfing the wool and throwing up smoke.

Taking one last look at the charcoal husk, he backed towards the rift and re-entered the shadow realm, sealing the gateway behind him.

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Author Interview: Jeffrey Kippel

Biography

Helping raise social consciousness with laughter, wellness & empowerment; with my comedy book, as a talk show host & as an ambassador for rethinkFIT.

Share a little bit about your book, The Ridiculous Adventures of Serbinand.

Serbinand, an easygoing, fun, go-with-the-flow adventurer, takes a trip through space, time, and dimensions after switching bodies with an unsuspecting human on Earth. 

The cast of characters learns to navigate through their new circumstances, with the occasional interruption from the author. Through new eyes, they get to experience the world with wonder, joy, some uncomfortable situations, and a lot of hilarious moments.

If you enjoyed the comedic style of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Family Guy, Simpsons, Seinfeld, or the adventures of Star Wars, you will have a blast with this wacky journey too!

Are there more adventures coming with Serbinand?

Absolutely! Book 2 is almost complete… it’s called The Ridiculous Adventures of Serbinand: Godfried’s Turn

Humor is a major part of your storytelling. Where did you get your sense of humor from?

It sure is… since the book also has deep empowerment messages, along with self growth and self love, comedy seems to be a great way to deliver that in a subtle, yet powerful way!

My influences would have come from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Monty Python, Benny Hill, SCTV, Seinfeld, The Simpsons and, of course, Family Guy!

From your webpage it appears you are involved in a lot of different projects besides writing. Briefly tell us about what else you do.

Sure am! In fact, writing is one of the ways that I spread my message. Having helped launch and pioneer the natural bodybuilding and fitness model movements with events, expos, magazines, workshops and television shows around the world we found there was something missing. That being fit goes way beyond just strength and appearance. It also must includes mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and functional health too! So my wife and I spread that message in the Serbinand book series (she is actually co-Authoring the next books with me) along with our book and course: Rethink FIT To Be Happy & Healthy. We also coach, teach and share information, inspiration and insights on our podcasts and online tv shows.

What is your favorite aspect of writing?

 Well, I write for myself! I am the first audience. So when writing the comedy book I do so in a style where I allow myself to get into the moment and let the downloads come through. This means that I don’t have the details of the story planned out, and that means that I am unraveling it in real time, which means I get to read the story as it is being written, without knowing exactly what is going to happen next! That is fun 🙂

If you had to describe yourself in just three words, what would they be?

 Creative, Inspirational, Metaphysical 

What does success look like for you as an author?

Knowing my words make someone laugh, have an aha, new awareness or to spark the reader to rethink the way they are looking at things. To be impactful, and entertaining

Website:  www.serbinand.com // www.jeffreykippel.com 

Book Locations: It is available on Audible, Amazon , Kindle & Kindle Unlimited: https://amzn.to/3FZXEcx 

Serbinand Excerpt 

From deltic spagnoids to the Algernon Sector Serbinand and his slightly annoying, yet really super smart ship Godfried careened across the somewhat vast universe intersecting with Jime and Orville in some bizarre galactic space disruption that turned everyone’s world completely upside down, or right side up… ahh… or was it inside out…umm, outside in maybe… or… umm… well… everything changed.”

CHAPTER ONE:

SREEFS & RHINOKICKERS  

From the distant star of Placellner he travelled.  

Why? Who knows…? But that’s not the point. At least not right now. For three billion galactic years and nine point two mega seconds his ship careened across the somewhat vast universe. Turning left here and right there and looping around deltic spagnoids every so often. But all in all, besides the mishap near the Algernon sector, ahem, which we also won’t get into right now, it was smooth trekking.  

His journey would have been a lot shorter had he not stopped at Joe’s Galactic Bar. But who could blame him? With all the advertising that Joe has been doing lately, he wouldn’t be surprised if a Cornsharr actually did stop by. You know the slogan:  “No party is complete without a Cornsharr… Why not stop in and try Joe’s Galactic Bar!” 

What the hell is a Cornsharr?​, the space traveller thought as he came within a safe distance of the place.  I wonder if other beings come by just to see if they can catch a ​​glimpse of a Cornsharr​, he pondered.​  

Anyway, he decided why not​​ and stopped in for several sreefs and a shot of his favourite drink, the Rhinokicker. This strange and bizarre sort of alcoholic substance got its name during the Age of Bartenders​​. It is much like one of the Olden Age​​ soft drinks called​ Briozza, which was banned under section 77.56 of the Living Rights Act​ supplement​ 999.887.172.31457—A. Unlike Briozza though, it claimed that 3.289 seconds after tasting the rhino kicker, one would kick back their legs in disgust and charge something, usually a brick wall, scream-singing “Rhino, rhino, rhino!” The Rhinokicker has no such effect on Serbinand, although he has claimed to have hallucinated packs of rhinos flying around his head.  

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Author Interview: J.V. Hilliard

Biography

Born of steel, fire and black wind, J.V. Hilliard was raised as a highlander in the foothills of a once-great mountain chain on the confluence of the three mighty rivers that forged his realm’s wealth and power for generations.

His father, a peasant twerg, toiled away in industries of honest labor and instilled in him a work ethic that would shape his destiny. His mother, a local healer, cared for his elders and his warrior uncle, who helped to raise him during his formative years. His genius brother, whose wizardly prowess allowed him to master the art of the abacus and his own quill, trained with him for battles on fields of green and sheets of ice.

Hilliard’s earliest education took place in his warrior uncle’s tower, where he learned his first words. His uncle helped him to learn the basics of life—and, most importantly, creative writing.

Hilliard’s training and education readied him to lift a quill that would scribe the tale of the realm of Warminster, filled with brave knights, harrowing adventure and legendary struggles. He lives in the city of silver cups, hypocycloids and golden triangles with his wife, a ranger of the diamond. They built their castle not far into the countryside, guarded by his own two horsehounds, Thor and MacLeod, and resides there to this day.

Share a little bit about your debut novel, The Last Keeper.

The novel is book one of the Warminster series, and if you are a fan of epic fantasy, sword and sorcery and even some dark fantasy, The Last Keeper is for you. The book features the struggle between the fallen Keeper, and his plans for vengeance against his former sect, the Keepers of the Forbidden. He is challenged but a young, inexperienced Daemus Alaric and his allies from the realm, but the two soon discover their fates are more intertwined than they knew.

What can you tell us about the future of The Warminster Series?

Book two, Vorodin’s Lair, will be released in August of 2022 with book three, The Trillias Gambit, hitting the shelves around the holidays, 2022. The final installment is still in the manuscript phase but should be released late Q1 or early Q2, 2023.

How and why did you start writing?

I’ve always wanted to write and had begun pulling together the rough draft and map of Warminster back in my college days. When COVID gripped the world and many of us were in lockdown, I used that time to my advantage and finally put pen to paper… or I guess these days I clicked away on my keyboard.

Tell us about the decision to publish your writing.

I shared my manuscript with a trusted friend, one who led a writing class at a local community college. She read the draft and told me she thought, with some refinement, it would be publishable. From there, I sought the help of a development editor who then introduced me to my publisher.

What is something you will do differently with your second book than you did with the first?

I am limiting the number of point-of-view characters to make it easier on the reader and I am scaling back on the number of characters they need to follow. Although many of my reviews have been strong, there’s nuggets of wisdom in the not-so-good ones, and always room for improvement.

What is your favorite aspect of writing?

The freedom. Writing represents escapism for me, and it is more of a hobby that’s grown into something bigger, so I rarely mind diving back into it. And it provides a nice respite from day-to-day reality for me, and I can live through my character’s eyes for a few hours.

What is your strangest writing quirk?

I write backwards. I am a planner—or plotter—as we are referred to in the business and I know the ends of my stories and what happens to each character, so I begin at the end and reverse engineer my way to the beginning to ensure each detail is accounted for and nothing is left out. I know, it sounds weird, but it’s 100% true.

If money was not an obstacle, what would you do with the rest of your life?

I think I would become a game creator/tester or a professional dungeon master for role playing games. I grew up playing and leading campaigns for many strategy games to TTRPG’s like Dungeons & Dragons, so I would do that every day.

What does success look like for you as an author?

I want my readers to be entertained. I have a day job that provides for my family, and I think being successful as an author, there is nothing better than a reader coming back to you and asking when they can get their eyes (or ears) on the next one. Books like mine are supposed to be fun, so I define success in seeing others have fun and be entertained by them.

Anything additional you want to share with readers?

I want to thank them for their support and ask them to reach out to me through my social media channels or website to let me know what they like and don’t like. I am open to suggestions and always keep an open mind for constructive criticism.

Website: www.jvhilliard.com

Book Locations: The book is available through all major distribution channels, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Rakuten-Kobo, Scribd, Indigo, Thalia and the like in both paperback and e-book. Audio book is available at many of the same, included Audible, Apple Books, etc. And of course, you can buy direct from my publisher at Dragon Moon Press (www.dragonmoonpress.com).

Excerpt

A young boy’s prophetic visions. 

Blind at birth, Daemus Alaric is blessed with the gift of prophetic Sight. Now, as a Keeper of the Forbidden, he must use his powers of the Sight to foil the plans of a fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad.

An elven Princess with a horrifying secret.

Princess Addilyn Elspeth travels from Eldwal, the magically hidden home of the Vermilion elves, to begin her life as a diplomat to the human capital of Castleshire. During her journey, she stumbles upon a mystical creature foretelling ill tidings.

A terrifying force of evil. 

Daemus’ recurring nightmare vision threatens to catapult him into a terrifying struggle that will leave the fate of the Keepers—and the realm—hanging in the balance. Daemus and Princess Addilyn must set out to face the menace that threatens their very existence.

Will the entire realm fall to its knees?

The Last Keeper is the first book in The Warminster Series. With gripping, epic action and heart-pounding adventure, you’ll love this new adventure series.

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D.L. Gardner

Biography

Dianne is an award winning novelist, screenwriter, and artist. She has had a passion for the written word, having indulged in poetry in her young years and loving to write essays at school. She began writing novels in 2011. Dianne writes primarily fantasy novels including all sub-genres, with a love for historical fantasy, but has also written a historical novel based on actual letters by a relative during World War II.

Share a little bit about your recent release, Darkness Holds the Son.

Darkness Holds the Son is a standalone spin-off novel to the Sword of Cho Nisi saga. It takes us to a small village named Tuluva where Jareth, an unemployed mercenary, and his wife and two children are raising goats to sustain themselves. Things go well for them until the land-baron of Ogress raises their taxes, forcing Jareth to pick up his crossbow and return to the battlefield.

Jareth has an even more pressing problem than keeping his family out of debtor’s prison, though. His son Crispin has seizures that are caused by magic and if Jareth doesn’t find the source soon, it could be fatal as the boy hears voices instructing him to kill his father. On Jareth’s quest, he discovers that the same affliction is haunting all the children in the kingdom.

Tell us more about your Sword of Cho series. Are there more books to come or does Darkness Holds the Son complete it?

Sword of Cho Nisi begins with Rise of the Tobian Princess, and in it the world is introduced, a continent, and an island of magic. A wicked wizard is attempting to destroy mankind and rule the world while a daughter of a legendary king attempts to redeem herself from the trouble she caused by accidentally killing the allied king of Cho Nisi whose magic they need to win the war. There are three books to the series, each a little darker than the next.

Darkness Holds the Son is in the same world, with some of the same characters but a different story line. I’m currently working on another novel that continues to expand the world, bring the same characters back, while introducing new villains and new territory, and a touch of new technology.

You have quite a few books listed on your website. What do you want readers to know about your other books?

Almost all of them have a fantastical element to them. I have two series (Ian’s Realm and Sword of Cho Nisi). The others are stand alone novels. I also have a coloring book which I did the illustrations for with 2 short fable-like stories. You can buy it on Amazon and other retailers, but the best copy is on KaBlam because they’re the only ones that could do a flip-book like I wanted.  It’s called The Magic Plum.

I’ve done a lot of research for my novels and have two historical fantasy novels (Thread of a Spider and Cassandra’s Castle). Ian’s Realm is a portal fantasy. Pouraka and Dylan are urban fantasies. Hoarfrost to Roses is a historical mystery sweet romance with a ghost. I dabble.

When did you start writing and at what point in the process did you decide to publish?

Well aside from writing poems and prose when I was younger I began writing for earnest in 2010 with the idea of publishing a fantasy novel. The first one I got lost and scratched the whole thing. Then I started studying the craft and wrote the first book of Ian’s Realm, Deception Peak. That’s the one I wanted to publish.

In what genres do you write? Do you have a favorite?

Fantasy (epic), and historical fantasy. Those are my favorites, but I loved doing the few sweet romances too.

What advice had the biggest impact on your writing and/or career?

Probably C.S. Lewis’ simple advice to say what you mean and mean what you say.

I don’t know if it’s just one piece of advice, though that impacted my career. I studied John Truby’s Anatomy of Story and connected with his instructions i.e. how to have a plumbline that all the characters are connected to in some way and how their goals interact and conflict with each other. There’s a lot of advice out there. Marketing advice too and I think the most important thing I took away from all that I’ve studied is to just write because you love writing.

You’ve written at least one screenplay. How involved are you in that arena and how is it different than writing a novel?

You have to think action when you’re writing a screenplay. Everything gets cut into a few minutes of action to tell the story. Some dialogue, true but the dialogue has to be real. It has to sound like you and I are talking. But it’s all action.

I worked with some Indie filmmakers to make a couple of concept films and I’m currently pitching one of our screenplays. I’m not sure where it will go, though.

We won a lot of awards for the film. You can see it on FilmFreeway. It’s an adaption of Ian’s Realm

What is your favorite aspect of writing?

It’s exciting when the story unfolds. I love developing the characters and having them interact with one another. The whole process is amazing. You get caught up in this other world, and you’re there and have to solve problems according to your characters personalities. You’re with them, you see what they see, smell what they smell, taste what they taste, feel what they feel. It’s pretty involved.

Where do you get your story ideas?

That’s a good question. They happen from current events, or historical events, or just by asking ‘what if?’. Ideas are everywhere. Sometimes a walk in the woods will ignite a flame.

What does success look like for you as an author?

Success is people reading and enjoying my books. I really would like to have more people know about them and read them. It’s hard breaking the ice when there are so many authors, so many ads, so many people praising the success of others and you’re like standing there with your book waving it in the air saying, “here’s mine!” and the crowd passes by. Sometimes I feel like I’m 2 feet tall in the middle of a parade.

Anything additional you want to share with readers?

Just that I love writing and I think you might see it in my stories. They’re written for people to enjoy!

Website: Gardners Art

Book Locations:

Gardner’s Art Bookstore
Books2Read
Amazon

Excerpt: From Darkness Holds the Son

Barin hesitated to even touch the sword. It wasn’t in his heart to wield magic, much less dark magic. As he stared, a glimmer of light rested on the hilt and a whisper like a breath of air entered the room.

“This was entrusted to you by a friend.” The voice moaned—a low, deep, and raspy voice. “They swore you would only use it for good.”

“I’ve no desire to use it for anything,” Barin said to himself for he maintained he was alone.

“Sometimes need arises and we have to go against our desires,” came the answer. A pale blue light now shone on the hilt exposing the detailed etching—a graceful horse rearing—the destrier, the Potamian symbol for honor. Barin wiped his clammy hands on his coat while struggling against the urge to pick up the sword. He had sworn never to lay eyes on it again and yet here he was. As the light around it grew brighter he stepped back.

“I have no idea why it’s shinning except that the magic it holds is of the devil. I cannot touch such a thing,” the king protested.

“Is your virtue not more powerful than the dark wizard’s iniquity?” the Keeper—the last dragon— asked.

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Author Interview: J.W. Kiefer

Biography

J W Kiefer is a father, minister, novelist, script writer and blogger who hails from the Southern Tier of Western New York State. He has a degree in Theology and Church management as well as a degree in liberal arts. He is also a reserve Green Lantern; and when duty calls, can be found assisting the rest of the core in interstellar matters. An avid vocalist and worship leader, he loves to belt out Disney tunes, especially when it is most awkward and embarrassing for his children.

Share a little bit about your recently published first novel, Death.

Death is the first book in the Justice Cycle series. In a away this an origin story, since it is the end of one character’s journey and the beginning of another.

A “Justice” is a person who has been chosen as the physical avatar of Justice on the Earth. The living embodiment of the spirit of Justice has been placed into a sentient sword that takes on bearers to wield it and to become it’s avatars on the earth. Each bearer carries the weapon until it is time for their soul to pass on to the next world and then the sword chooses another wielder and the cycle begins again. In this first book we are introduced to the cycle through the eyes of a new bearer.

The cover of Death says this is book one. What can you tell us about the next book and/or the rest of the series?

Book two should be finished by the end of the summer and available for sale by sometime at the end of 2022 beginning of 2023. It is called “Famine” and continues exactly where book one left off. In the first book our heroes are introduced to the concept of a greater spiritual world and in book two they are thrust into this greater world and the stakes get much higher for them and for the rest of humanity.

There are five books planned for the series and two prequels. Their working titles are:

There are five books planned for the series and two prequals. Their working titles are:

Book 2: Famine
Book 3: Wrath
Book 4: Plague
Book 5: War

Prequels:
The Shogun
The Musketeer

Death is your first published novel. What has the experience been like and how did you feel when it was finally published?

Well, I am a pantser, so the process has been quite interesting. The way I tend to write is that I have a general idea of the plot and the characters and where they are going. I then sit down and let the characters tell me how they are going to get from point A to B. This can make for an interesting ride, and I am at times just as surprised at what happens as the readers are. This can also make for a long process since I can be prone to writers block. For book two I have done a lot more plotting. It has helped keep my productivity moving better, though my day job gets in the way a lot making the writing process slow still.

As far as how it felt to finally publish something. Both amazing and terrifying at the same time. I was so happy that I finally did what I had always said I wanted to. I was also terrified, because now I was really doing what I always said I wanted to, and I needed to make sure I kept moving forward with it. I think it is easy to stall out after we reach our goals. For instance, once a person loses the weight they wanted, it is easy to now let your workout routine slack and then you will start to slip back into old habits. For me I have been very conscious of that and still I feel that book two should be farther along than it is.

Your Amazon bio says you have a degree in theology and are a minister and worship leader. Does your faith or theology training come out in your book?

Absolutely. When JRR Tolkien was asked if his works were Christian allegory he replied in the negative. But what he did say, however, was that it is impossible for his faith to not be prevalent in his works, since it is a huge part of who he is and by it his view of the world is shaped. It is the same for me. My faith is one of the greatest defining characteristics of who I am and how I see the world, so of course that will be in my books.

Your bio also says you love to embarrass your children by belting out Disney tunes. Do you have an especially interesting story of embarrassment you would like to share?

Well, we were at an outlet mall in Fort Meyers Florida, and I burst through the door of the Disney store loudly singing the song Prince Edward from Enchanted kept trying to sing to Giselle. I’m pretty sure I remember them throwing me out.

What is something you will do differently with your second book than you did you’re your first?

Plot more. I think most author’s first books are something they have probably been thinking about for years and so therefore know it so deeply that they can write it without a lot of planning and forethought. For me, book one was like this. I knew the story and the basic characters as well as I knew my own.

Book two, on the other hand, required a lot more planning. Book one was so intimate and a very confined to just a few characters and their small part in the universe. I found that in book two I had to establish this world that I had only hinted at in book one. This required about 6 months of plotting and world building before I could actually start on the next part of the story.

In that time, the entire story changed, and I established things in a more concrete way. I knew I wanted to make it a series, but I really had no idea what the overall plot of the series would look like when I ended book one. I had ideas, but now I have the over-arching storyline plotted out for the series. Of course, I am still a pantser, so my characters are going to ignore me and do what they want anyway.

Do you have any strange writing quirks?

I need to listen to music while I write. I see the world like a movie and that is how I write. Just like in a movie, I need the music to set the tone of the scene and to bring out the emotion for me. For me I need to be at my computer with my headphones on and whatever music I feel best fits the scene I am writing playing on a loop. If I don’t have my music, I won’t be able to lose myself in the story and nothing will come. I plan on one day releasing a list of the music I wrote to, so people can listen while they read and experience it the way it was written.

How did you get started writing fiction?

I started by writing comic books when I was a kid. I then moved on to writing scripts for plays and really bad movies my friends and I used to make. The transition to writing novels was just the next level of progression for me. I can’t draw well, so comics were out and making movies requires a lot of people, time, and money, all of which I didn’t have. Writing novels was just the natural progression. I had always been a reader had been writing short stories and about a gazillion unfinished novels since I was 15. My kids grew up and I found that I now had the time to actually follow my dreams, and so here we are. It is still a slow process for me, since I still need my day job, but who knows what next year will bring.

What is your favorite aspect of writing?

I love inspiring people. Since the beginning of human history we have used stories to inspire us as a collective species. I am a scholar, but I find that God speaks to me just as much through Star Wars as he does through the Bible. He uses these tales and the truth of those characters and their stories to inspire, to teach and to help me see areas I need to change in my own life. This is what I love about writing. I hope that, by telling the stories I have in my head and heart, I can inspire others.

What does success look like for you as an author?

Well, I think being able to write as a job would be success for me. Certainly I would like to have a lot of people read and like my books like any author. I am just getting started, so I am really just at the starting line of this journey. My first book is out, and I am learning the industry and how it all works. For me right now, I think finishing this series and then moving on to the next one that is already brewing would be how I measure success. Of course, if I became the next J K Rawlings and had millions of people reading my books that would be pretty swell as well.

Website: JWKiefer.com

Book Locations: Amazon Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and trade paperback available through Amazon.com

Excerpt

Steve’s eyes were closed, but he was not unconscious. Whatever the entity was that had been helping him, it had minimized the damage from the impact to next to nothing. He cracked open one of his eyes and saw his brother crouched in front of him, holding his head as if he were in pain.

Unsure of what exactly was happening to Jared, he decided it best to play possum and figure out his next move. Jared’s eyes were squeezed shut. His face was contorted in an expression of intense anguish. Steve had no idea how it was possible that his brother was alive. It all felt surreal, like he was trapped in some sort of low-budget horror film or something. In fact, this whole day had been one long walk into the paranormal and the bizarre. Perhaps he was having some sort of psychotic break, but he decided to go with it either way.

“I will not!” his brother suddenly shouted.

“He is going to kill you,” the voice in his mind rasped. “You must destroy him first.”

Kill me? Steve thought.

I suppose it does make sense. Why else would his brother come back from the dead? Well, maybe to see Dana, he surmised. Only a fool like his brother would rise from the grave just to save a girl. The girl he could never see as anything more than a friend until it was too late. Maybe instead of a revenge movie, he was in some ridiculous paranormal romance story instead.

It was time to put an end to Jared, this time for good. He reached inside to his unseen benefactor, and it once again provided him with demonic power. The shadows coalesced around him and this time his muscles expanded and swelled from the unrestrained power.

With a roar of defiance, he ripped his trapped arm free and sprung at his brother. Steve’s shout brought Jared back to his senses just in time to see both of his fists bearing down on his face. Before he could react to the sudden attack, Steve struck him square in the jaw with a double-fisted uppercut that sent him careening through the air.

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Author Interview: Bruno Martins

Biography

I don’t really know how old I was when I started writing stories. I wrote them for school, I’m certain, but the first time I wrote without any academic goal I was 12, I remember that much. I just loved reading and stories and the books I laid hands on didn’t last that much and I had so many stories in my head I just started playing with them until it was impossible not to write them down. I kept writing different stuff.

When I was 22, a friend of mine incited me to enter one of the largest and most prestigious Young Writers’ contests in Portugal. I did and won an Honorable Mention. I tried again two years later and won it. I went to Torino and them Rome and Sarajevo, representing my country as a Young Writer. One of the best times of my life.

Then, one day, I decided to write a Scifi novel I had been chewing on for some time: The Saga of Alex 9. I showed it to a publisher who’d just included a short story of mine in an anthology, and he loved it. I was a published novelist one year later, and soon was featured in a series alongside names like George R.R. Martin or Bernard Cornwell, hailed as an author to recon with in Portuguese Scifi. How about that?

I wrote more novels and worked in movies, TV and plays. I’ve done a lot of things in my career, but overall, I’ve been writing professionally for 20 years.

Share a little bit about your horror novel, INSIGHT.

It’s a small stand-alone psychological thriller with supernatural tones. It’s the story of Matt, a psychologist in a small US town whose wife recently died and whose 9-year-old son, Sam, stopped talking. And then strange things begin to happen – the ghost of his wife starts to appear, Sam seems to develop supernatural powers and there’s a strange man in a dark suit following him. When his son is kidnapped, Matt dives into a spiral of unexplained events and he’ll have to do the unimaginable to save his family.

What drew you to write in the horror genre?

Well, pragmatism, I guess. I love speculative fiction – Scifi, Fantasy, Horror. Of these, horror was the one that attracted me the least. But when I was writing movie scripts, it turned out horror were the cheapest movies to make in these genres, so I wrote a few horror scripts and was struck by the fact that it is a genre that draws you closer to reality and real people than the other two. It’s not about technology or magic, it’s about our inner demons and psyche. And that is something that really interest me.  

How did you get started writing fiction?

I love stories since I can remember. And I was a storyteller from the start. But I grew up watching my father reading books. Every day before or after lunch or dinner he would sit in his chair and read a novel. A crime novel, as it happens. Or a spy novel. He hated SciFi («Those are things that don’t happen and will never happen.» – i.e. «old ladies solve murders all the time.»), and Fantasy was obviously (obviously!) for kids.

Still, some of the first novels he gave me to read were from Edgar Rice Burroughs or Jules Verne. And that was besides all the comic books I read – the pride of my collection was a 50cm-long special edition of ‘Flash Gordon’. At 16 I read Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ for the first time, and loved it. Its intimate style still stays with me after all this time. As well as authors as Boris Vian, or Virginia Woolf.

But then, movies. I love movies. Much of my writing skills, my plotting skills, my ‘lay-down-the-scene’ skills, came from movies. I’d stay here a long time talking about it, so I’d better shut up. Seriously, when I was a kid, I would narrate every single scene from a movie I enjoyed to some poor family member I was able to trap. I was nasty! So don’t get me started!

You have published a number of books and from a glance at your Amazon author page they include multiple genres. In which genres do you write? Do you have a favorite genre?

Yes, I started with realistic literature. For a long time I wrote that, won awards, was published. But then I decided to turn to my long-lasting stifled passion – speculative fiction. I then published my first Scifi Trilogy, a crazy action-packed Scifi novel with a Fantasy structure: THE ALEX 9 SAGA; in the future, with magnetic weapons, space ships, space battles, but also samurai swords, cavalry charges, knights, bows and arrows, phalanxes and other infantry formations, huge battles. It’s still only published in Portuguese, but it will come out soon in English, I hope.

From then on, I was hooked on these kinds of stories. I still write realistic fiction from time to time, but all my novels/series so far have been speculative fiction: THE DARK SEA WAR CHRONICLES (space opera), LAURA AND THE SHADOW KING (post-apocalyptic) and INSIGHT (horror/psychological thriller).

You have quite a background that includes writing for newspapers, magazines, and doing research. How did you settle on writing fiction over journalism?

I always wanted to write fiction and indeed I did write fiction continuously since I was 12. However, after coming out of Business School in my mid-twenties, I suddenly got an invitation to go to Sarajevo with other award winners, writers included, to prepare an international arts fair. This was 1998 and Bosnia was fresh out of civil war. I then contacted one of the largest newspapers in Portugal and asked them if they wanted a chronicle of a young writer going to Sarajevo. They replied: ‘We want three, and why don’t you come work for us?’ And so I did.

After a couple of years I was looking for a job and sent CV’s to all kinds of publications around the world. I had 3 replies: Ideias&Negócios, one of the most prominent business magazines in Portugal at the time (ended up writing for them for 3 years); The Washington Post (helped them with a couple of stories, doing research and liaison in Portugal); and Jane’s Defense Weekly (was Portugal’s international correspondent for 4 years).

After 4 or 5 years, journalism was beginning to fall into a crisis and pay was lousy, so I stopped doing it. I did write a few more pieces for some publication – including literary and economic publications, for the Department of Tourism, for Pirelli and Goodyear, and other companies – but not as a regular occupation. So I’ve been writing fiction for 38 years, but have only a few years of journalism.

What advice would you give to someone starting out as a fiction writer?

Don’t freak out once you figure out it’s not as easy as it seems. Just write and write and write. Have fun. Most of all, don’t try to be a writer. Studies say writers are the happiest professionals out there, but I think that’s because so few get to be professionals. Most of us never make it. So write because it’s fun, because it’s a part of you, because it allows you to express yourself, because you have stories in your head that need to go somewhere. Just write. If you do it enough and if you learn a lot each step of the way and if you get lucky, then one day it will be the center of your life and you’ll be a writer and, if you start being paid for it, you’ll be a happy one.

What is your favorite aspect of writing?

Imagining the story, the twists and turns, and the characters, and the dialogues. And then, all of a sudden, somebody will tell me: ‘I loved your book!’ and that’s the best feeling ever!

You grew up in Portugal and it appears have traveled fairly extensively. Does your exposure to various parts of the world play into your stories?

I haven’t traveled half as much as I’d like. Portugal is known for discovering the world. We were the first Europeans in Brasil, in Australia, in Japan, in Angola, in Mozambique, around the Cape of Good Hope, to arrive by sea in India and in China.

We don’t really believe we’re at the center of the world. We always traded and related with many around the globe (we did our share of mischief as well, of course). But we’re a small nation of 10 million. Somehow, we believe it’s the relationships we have with others that make us strong. So, in a way, yes. All my series have characters of different cultures and I try to make them really different between themselves. I hope I’m successful in that.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

Difficult to say. I strive to have routines and somehow I always fail. I like to be with friends, to cook, to read and watch TV. I struggle with my two terrorist ginger cats to prevent them from taking over the world. I argue with my partner Ana about absolutely nothing and learn the craziest things from my stepdaughter Diana. Once in a while, I play games in my computer.

I like hanging around in a coffee shop and have an espresso while I look at people going about their business. I go to the butcher shop and to the fruit store and order things from the supermarket. I have a couple of clients for HR consulting I advise and serve a few hours a day. And things like that. It’s a hard question…

What does success look like for you as an author?

To sell. I never really had a problem in publishing – I always was able to publish, either by myself or traditionally. But selling enough to pay de bills, that’s another story altogether. It’s hard work. Success as an author, for me, would be to sell enough to have a nice income at the end of the month and don’t worry too much about it. That’s it. To earn my living doing what I love.

Anything additional you want to share with readers?

I won the Young Creators National Award for Writing in ’96, and represented my country in fairs in Torino, Rome and Sarajevo. I was in Sarajevo when Clinton decided to bomb Belgrade, which was a little bit scary, but not so much as the earthquake we felt a few days earlier.

Overall, it was a special experience for me. I was there 3 years after the Civil War and scars were everywhere. Every single wall had bullet holes in it and some quarters the windows were still covered with United Nations’ plastic, as no window had survived the war.

But the worst scars I saw were in the eyes of people around me. You could see they had all gone through Hell. Sarajevo is separated in two by a river and during the war, no-one could go from one side to the other without being shot by snipers. And children could only play outside when there was fog.

These kinds of stories were very impressive to me. I wanted to go there because I wanted to learn for myself, up close, the real consequences of war, and I did see them.

My parents were involved in the Portuguese Guinea Independence War, and I knew they had been scarred by it. And I’m fascinated by those extreme events. War brings out the best and the worst in people. That’s a little bit what I try to show in my writings.

Both LAURA AND THE SHADOW KING and THE DARK SEA WAR CHRONICLES are about war and its consequences, even though the most important themes in them are resilience and hope. A couple of years ago, the Portuguese version of THE DARK SEA WAR CHRONICLES won the Adamastor Award for Fantastic Writing, which was my latest award and one I’m really proud of.

I was chosen by Sweetycat Press as one of the international Emerging Writers of 2020, which is another honor I love.

Here are a few links where you can reach me and find my books:

Webpage
Amazon
Goodreads
Facebook

Excerpt

Her eyes told him it was too late. Her face, her pale void face, told him it was too late. He looked around, helpless. What could he do? What was there to do? What was there to help him? What should he do?

That’s when he saw him. Sam. The boy. On top of the stairs. Frozen. Looking down. Unable to move. And he could feel his shock. And he cried loud. ‘Sam! Go to your room! Your mom is fine! Go to your room!’

That’s what he wanted to say. That’s what he wanted to say for his son’s sake. But what came out of his mouth was a wail. A long, hopeless, desperate wail. And tears came pouring out of his eyes. Like a waterfall bursting through a rock. And another wail came out. And another. And Sam wouldn’t move. He wouldn’t move. He stood there. On top of the stairs. Emotionless. And he hadn’t shown any obvious emotion since then.”


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Author Interview: Brendan and Lori O’Gara

Biography

Brendan and Lori O’Gara write in the fantasy, contemporary fiction and nonfiction genres. They have published novels together and individually. The O’Garas reside just a few miles from where they grew up on Perdido Key, Florida.

When not at the beach, writing or reading, they can be found wandering the stacks in a library, perusing antique stores and thrift shops, playing tabletop role playing games, or spending time with their family. A large blended family that consists of six children, seven grandchildren and one dog named Harley Quinn.

To make this easy, Lori will answer the questions.

Share a little bit about your book, The Travelers’ Song.

The title of our book is The Travelers’ Song. It is about a group of travelers on a mission of the Seven Kingdoms in search of the greatest food of the lands. It is a covert mission. They are spies searching out the remnants of technology for the self-proclaimed Emperor who is a necromancer.

How many books have you written together? Talk about the process of collaborating. Do you do share responsibilities or split them?

Between the two of us we currently have twelve books published. I have a contemporary fiction series titled, The Perdido Key Novels. Brendan wrote and published a fantasy themed cookbook before themed cookbooks tied to fiction were cool called Gadlin O’Hale’s Fantastic Recipes: From the Seven Kingdoms taken from the greatest Pubs, Taverns, and Inns”.

After about a hundred readers saying, “The recipes are great but what happens to the characters?” Brendan asked me if I wanted to write a fantasy novel series with him. I agreed and that is where our fantasy books started. Our fantasy series is called The Necromancer’s Song the first book is titled The Travelers’ Song. We have three compendium books in the series as well that includes a cookbook.

Has writing together improved or challenged your relationship?

We have known each other since we were 12 years old. We have always been writing or adventuring together, so it is just how we operate. It hasn’t challenged or improved our relationship.

You have several other fantasy books published as well. Tell us briefly about those.

Our fantasy series is called The Necromancer’s Song the first book is titled The Travelers’ Song. We have three compendium books in the series as well that includes a cookbook.

The Dark Beginning is a brief look into the personality of our Necromancer. The Extant is a look into why evolution is a promenade theme in our story. The Two is about golems who are actually very old souls. They will play a pivotal part in the Necromancer’s Song storyline in book two (The Music of the Bones) and book three (The Serpent and the Six)

You also have some contemporary fiction novels, all with “There” in the title? Are they related to each other? What are they about?

I  have a contemporary fiction series titled, The Perdido Key Novels. They are connected              to each other and are about Native American lore, magic, romance and drama.

You have three titles under the banner of No B.S. Christianity. What does B.S. stand for and what can readers expect to experience from those books? 

My mission is to share my non B.S. (Brutally Suffocating) approach to Christianity through my writing by building a platform that attracts the derelicts and outliers in this world. I look to find the humans who traditional Christianity or religion has broken. Humans who know that there must be more to life than this and more to God than we have been lead to believe. Those humans are my tribe. My book titled Believe is basically my manifesto. The other two titles, Breath by Breath and Prayer after Prayer are guides to connect to the Divine. https://loriogara.com

Do you have any odd writing habits?

We will rehearse dialogue. Brendan takes on a character and I take on another. Then we verbally act out the scene. We are constantly talking about our work as if the characters are real people.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Write from what you know. In our fiction, we have created characters based loosely on people we know or a composite of traits from several people. The old adage is true, it is easy to write from what you know. That changes depending where you are in your own life story though.  The other best advice is, SAVE EVERYTHING you write! Save it in multiple formats.

What is the hardest aspect of writing for you?

Stopping. We have a difficult time knowing when a project is finished. We get so attached to our characters that we want to see them continue.

What does success look like for you as an author?

We love when a reader says that they read one of our books, even if they hated it. The best part is that our characters got a chance to live in someone’s imagination for a while or one of our ideas sparked something in another person. Success for us is when readers know our work and ask, “When is the next book coming out?”

Anything additional you want to share with readers?

Magic is real. There is a constant theme in all our fantasy writings that life is the most powerful of all forces in the universe and it is also fragile, taken for granted. Most of us only get one shot at life, but what if there was more to life than what we know? Live like there is always more to the story.

Website: https://the-ogaras.com

Book Locations:  Amazon, Lori O’Gara
                                              Brendan O’Gara

Excerpt

Life is the most powerful of all forces in the universe. It will survive any obliteration. Life on Earth, unforgiving and beautifully dangerous, is not the same as it was four thousand years ago. Technology dependent humans lost control and as a result, almost destroyed themselves. In this age, knowledge is currency. Technology is magic. Evolution prevails.

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