Saturday, 25 March 2017

Q & A with Jeff Horton

Heaven's Oasis
by Jeff W Horton

Claire is dead.

She’s been the love of Kevin Foster’s life for as long as he can remember; his soulmate, and his best friend.

Before she dies, Claire, an archaeologist, goes on an expedition to the Middle East and comes across evidence supporting the existence of a biblical, antediluvian site the ancients called Heaven’s Oasis, and that certain ancient artifacts can lead her to it. Claire believes that finding this site will help prove the Bible's veracity, and provide indisputable evidence of God's existence.

Following her unexpected death Claire's expeditions become public knowledge, and the subsequent assaults against her reputation from the scientific community and the media are both brutal and relentless.

Furious at the public ridicule and to prove she was right, Kevin decides to pick up where Claire left off in her search and to finish what she started. He’s willing to sacrifice everything, even his life, to restore her reputation and to honor her memory.

A billionaire arms dealer named Kain Masterson has also been searching for the Oasis, however, intending to keep what he finds for himself. The deadly competition soon becomes a struggle just to stay alive in the race to find the artifacts, follow the clues, and ultimately to find Heaven’s Oasis. 

ebook, 258 pages
Published November 22nd 2016 


Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Smashwords

Read It & Reap:  February 28, 2017


Jeff W. Horton was an Information technology professional for twenty-five years before deciding to pursue his lifelong dream of being a writer. Since becoming an author and screenwriter of family-friendly fiction, Jeff has written two screenplays and eight published novels in several genres including apocalyptic-fiction, science-fiction, religious fantasy, and romance thrillers. 

When he's not penning his next novel, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family, going to church, and reading. Among his favorite authors are many immediately recognizable names including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, C.S. Lewis, Ted Dekker, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Jeff Horton is a member of the North Carolina Writers Network.

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Q & A with Jeff Horton

 Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
First, please let me say thanks to and to everyone in the group for this opportunity to tell you a little about my latest novel, Heaven’s Oasis. I’m really excited about this one, because I feel it’s a touching love story, with a lot of suspense and thrills thrown in as well.   I very much appreciate it and I hope that some of you will take a look at Heaven’s Oasis!

The main characters in Heaven’s Oasis are:
Kevin Foster-The protagonist. Kevin is a young man fresh out of high school when he first meets Claire. He’s a kind, hard-working young Christian man, but he’s also a teenager, who’s out with a friend driving up and down the strip at beach talking with girls when he meets Claire. He attends UNC-Chapel Hill and after obtaining a bachelor’s degree, goes on to obtain a PhD and becomes a history professor. Kevin forms a deep, intense bond with Claire while they are undergraduate student, before later marrying her. The two are extremely devoted to one another. Following Claire’s death she is ridiculed in the press for her theories and her work. Determined to honor her memory and discredit those who ridiculed her in death,  Kevin sets out to finish Claire’s research and make the discovery she was certain she would find.

Claire Evans:  Claire is a warm, sensitive, and thoughtful woman. She and Kevin are both scared by the intense bond they form so early on, and end up going separate ways for a short while before coming back together for good. Claire’s interest is in archaeology, and eventually becomes an archaeologist. She makes some amazing discoveries early on and proves to be a rising star in the field, which leads to rivalries and jealousies from among her peers.

Zari Abedini:  Zari is one of Claire’s contacts in the Middle East and a friend. helps Claire with expeditions within Iraq or Iran. She is also a beautiful Persian woman who, several years after Claire’s death, ends up falling in love with Kevin while he’s following in Claire’s footsteps, and helps him complete the work for Claire as well as for Kevin, despite the danger and risk to her life.

Kain Masterson: A billionaire arms dealer, and murderer, Kain Masterson has also been searching for the Oasis believing it holds the fountain of youth, intending to keep it for himself. He and his team of mercenaries hound Claire and then Kevin and Zari after her, as they race to find Heaven’s Oasis.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
 For me and my publisher it has always been a give and take process. We tend to work well together, batting designs back and forth, until we end up with something we’re both happy with. For me the cover is very important, as it’s the first  a reader sees. As an artist it is important that the cover convey something about the novel, at some level, to the potential reader, so it’s always a struggle for me.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
My favorite writing spot to date is sitting on a balcony or porch at the beach while listening to the ocean waves crashing on the shore. Most of the time, however, I write while sitting in my easy chair in front of the television, though my most productive writing comes when I have something blocking my view, while, you guessed it, listening to a recording of the ocean waves crashing on the shore. : )
.
What is the best advice you have been given? 
Jeff W. Horton: I’d say that the best advice I’ve been given is this, there really is no right or wrong way to write a novel, everyone’s different. Another piece of very helpful advice was this, write because you enjoy it, because you love it, not just to make money. I imagine that by so doing, you may just end up writing a bestseller!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
Jeff W. Horton: Like a lot of boys growing up in the 1970s I wanted to be an astronaut when I was little. Funny, being a writer was probably the last thing I ever expected to end up doing, but I really enjoy it! Of course with our imaginations, we can go much further than we ever could as an astronaut, so I’m not complaining!

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I’d say I have to prefer paperback and hardbacks over ebooks. There’s just something about having a physical copy of a book…maybe I’m just a little old-fashioned. I enjoy ebooks, don’t get me wrong, but there’s just something about carrying a book around with me with nothing required but some light to read by and my eyes.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
Hmmm…that’s a tough one. I suppose I’d just like to be Superman; that about sums it up!  

What book are you reading now?
I’m currently working on my ninth novel so I’ve been really busy, but once I’ve finished it I’ll definitely be picking up another novel to read. I’ve found reading a novel in-between writing one to be both refreshing and helpful! I prefer reading so much to watching movies; the experience is just so much deeper and enjoyable. It certainly would be nice if we could get more young people to re-discover the joy of reading!


Thursday, 16 March 2017

Q & A with Gayvin Powers

Iona Fay: An Irish Fairy Tale 
Iona Fay #1
by Gayvin Powers 

A modern Irish fairy tale. Iona Fay, a realistic 13-year-old from the United States, searches for her missing mother in Ireland, only to discover her mother is lost to the Fairy World. To find her mother, she must forget everything she knows about reality and embrace a world of magic. For Iona, real magic begins with believing in herself. 

For girls and boys ages 8 - 14 (and adults young at heart).

Iona Fay: An Irish Fairy Tale is book #1 in The Adventures of Iona Fay. Iona Fay & the Fire Keepers, book #2, is coming out March 1, 2017.

The Adventures of Iona Fay books are filled with positive and empowering stories, written to inspire self-confidence in middle graders. Throughout the series, young readers go on epic Irish adventures to various fairy realms where Iona discovers more than she imagines about magic, family, friends, and herself. 

Kindle Edition, 184 pages
Published December 13th 2015

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Read It & Reap:  August 10, 2017


Gayvin Powers is a writer-in-residence at the Weymouth Center and teaches film and humanities at Sandhills Community College in North Carolina. After earning an MFA from the American Film Institute and BA from the University of Southern California, she was the first writer to win the Ojai Film Society Award. Iona Fay, a modern Irish fairy tale, is the first book in the Iona Fay series and Iona Fay & The Fire Keepers is being released in early 2017. For more information, go to: Gayvin Powers.com and IonaFay.com.

Connect with Gayvin Powers

                                        Q & A with Gayvin Powers 

                                               Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
The main character is Iona Fay, a realistic 13-year-old from the United States, who is searching for her missing mother in Ireland. In order to save her mother, she must embrace a world of magic and learns that real magic begins with believing in herself. Iona is an impulsive teenager who goes after what she wants while on her epic journey. In some cases, her impulsiveness works well for her, and in other situations it appears to be her down fall. Iona is a flawed character, she loves deeply, and, over the course of the series (five books planned), she learns to embrace her positive and challenging qualities while righting what is wrong with magic and the fairy world.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
Su Jen Buchheim, an illustrator from Los Angeles, is the amazing talent behind the drawings in the first two books of Iona Fay. I give her excerpts from the book and asked her to use for tone, style, setting, and image. Sometimes I send her my own sketches or photos of what I’m envisioning to help clarify what I’m trying to convey. Su Jen is a dream to work with.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
My ideal writing spot is any place in nature where I’m comfortable, cozied up with a blanket and am writing on my laptop. Since nature can’t always be ordered up, I’ll take a blanket, warm spot, and turn on some music to inspire writing. I choose a theme song for each book or script I write – it usually helps me bypass writer’s block.

What is the best advice you have been given?
Write. Just write. When you don’t know what to do, write.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a writer or an actress. Now that I’m older, if I couldn’t be a writer, I’d want to be an astronaut -- would be very cool.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I prefer paperback books. I like the feel of the pages in my fingers and to fold back the book as I hunker down into a couch while I’m reading a good part of the story. For me, it’s paperbacks all the way.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
I do have a super power. If I told you, I’d have to erase your mind with my…well, you know. Ssh!

What book are you reading now?
My mother used to be reading three books at a time; I seem to have gotten that trait from her. Currently, I’m reading Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters, Heart of the Sea (from The Gallagher of Ardmore trilogy by Nora Roberts, and the outline for my third book (getting ready to start writing any day now). I’m very excited! 


Friday, 10 March 2017

Q & A with Jessica McCrory

The Phoenix 
Prophecy #1
by Jessica McCrory 

Life has brought very little joy to Anastasia Carter. Raised in an abusive household has left her with many scars, both physical and mental and the only thing that brought her peace, was knowing that the time was coming when she would be able to finally escape from the horrors that hid behind closed doors.

She never could have imagined that her escape would come at the hands of a sorcerer who saved her from a certain death, or that she would have to give up her best friend and first love.

When the sorcerer whisks her away to another world, she is shocked to discover that not only is magic real, but she was prophesized long before to be the one who could end the darkness that was being spread by a sorcerer bent on ruling all the worlds. She transforms form a victim into a warrior, and dives headlong into a war that had been raging years before she arrived.

Now, ten years after disappearing from Seattle, she returns on the heels of her enemy, only to run into the boy who had lived next door to her throughout her entire childhood, only he isn’t a boy anymore. As he joins her in the fight to save both their worlds, Anastasia has to decide whether she believes giving in to her love for Dakota would be an unaffordable distraction, or her greatest strength.

Paperback, 548 pages
Published January 1st 2017

Find it on Goodreads
Buy it on Amazon

Read It & Reap:  August 22, 2017


I was born in California and moved to Texas with my family when I was a teenager.  I have always been an avid reader and have been writing stories since I was a kid! It has always been a dream of mine to have my stories published and it is beyond exciting to see that dream coming true!

I am a wine (red!!) lover and I love T-shirts (the kind with the hilarious sayings on them).  I have an amazing husband who is more supportive than I could have ever hoped for, two sweet kiddos (who keep my life wonderfully eventful), a dog, and a rabbit.

Growing up, reading was my way to escape reality whether it was good or bad at the time and I want my stories to offer readers the same kind of adventure I have sought out in between the covers of a book.  

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Q & A with Jessica McCrory

            Hi! Thank you so much for having me here!  So a little about myself, I spent seven years in the Texas Army National Guard until I was medically retired following a training injury.  I have been happily married for going on seven years and we have two wonderful kiddos together.  I am also a lover of red wine and all things Captain America. LOL. 

You've written two books so far, The Phoenix: The Prophecy Series, being your most recent one. How many books do you plan on having in this series? Is it an on-going series? Considered standalones?

            The Prophecy Series will consist of three books: The Phoenix, The Fighter (which will be available middle of this year) and a third, which does not have a title yet. 

            I am currently working on two standalone books, one of which will contain three separate novelettes, a prequel to my first book, Tethered Souls, and I plan on releasing five books this year! Crazy goal I know, haha.

Do you have a favorite character? Any of your characters based off anyone you know?

            I think Anastasia is my favorite character, she has been through so much in her life and she still comes out on the other side stronger then she was before. Her strength and determination are endless.

            The character Carmen, who is introduced towards the end of The Phoenix is based off of my Grandmother Carmen McGinley.  She was the one who showed me a love of books and pushed me to publish.  She passed away in 2015 before Tethered Souls had been released. 

I love your title, The Phoenix, which reminds me of the mythical bird. Does the title have any important significance? If so, can you tell us without ruining any secrets from the story?

            Thank you! The Phoenix is a symbol of a rebirth of sorts and that’s what Anastasia experiences in a way.
 
            The symbol of that means a lot to me and I believe most of us can apply it in someway to our lives.  Everyone goes through things and I believe that it’s how you come out on the other side that defines you, not the action or event itself. 

Where does your inspiration come from, especially having a passion for fantasy or anything paranormal? 

            I love all things magic- I think it’s fascinating and although one of the books I am currently working on isn’t fantasy based, I believe its something I will stick with for the majority of my writing.

            As a teenager, books are what I disappeared into in order to escape real life and with magic, anything is possible. :)

You've been writing since you were a teenager. Do you have any favorite stories hidden in a drawer that you plan on dusting off?

            Haha, how did you know?! I recently pulled out a rough draft I wrote my senior year of high school, it’s one of the books I’m planning on releasing this year! Admittedly with more adult content then the original. :)

Do you have anyone who influenced you to a writing career? Family? Another author? A personal choice?

            My Grandmother definitely pushed me in the direction of publishing.  She would read every story I wrote and give me honest feedback and helped to shape the way I wrote. 

What has been your favorite part about being an indie author? Highs? Lows?

            I love the community that you are introduced to as an indie author, the other authors have all been so supportive and one in particular has helped me out a ton with figuring out how to take that first step.  

Any last thoughts?

            I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share my stories with everyone! It has been a dream of mine since I was young and the fact that I can see it shaping and coming true in front of me is such a gift!  I definitely couldn’t do it without the support of my husband, Nathan, or without my best friend Tarynbeth who is the most awesome person/editor/idea bouncer I could ever ask for!! 


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Q & A with Eric Kapitan

Burning Down Paradise
by Eric Kapitan

Timothy has lived his life not knowing much about his sordid and violent past and how he came to be on this Earth. He’s a loner, never staying in one place for long, and the reason is simple. Timothy is a serial killer. He gets his kicks from the deaths of others. He chooses a particular looking woman each time and the more brutal and bloody the killing is, the more he feels alive.

But there is something which haunts even him. A woman, who drifts in and out of his consciousness and is always lurking in the shadows. She is his ideal victim, but he knows little about her, except that she is from his past.

When Timothy eventually makes the wrong choice with his final victim, he loses his own life in the process and is sent to Hell. Now it becomes apparent to him that death is simply just the beginning of his journey and that his true destiny awaits. A devastating war between Heaven and Hell is coming. It threatens to engulf everything and Timothy is right at the center of it.

And when he discovers the true identity of the mystery woman, it is a shocking revelation which will consume him even quicker than the fires which are already licking at his feet. He’s in for a Hell of a time. 

Paperback, 59 pages
Published February 14th 2017 

 

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Read It & Reap:  August 20, 2017


Eric Kapitan fell in love with the horror genre at a young age. Binge watching Horror Movies such Halloween and Night of the Living Dead. It wasn't long before Kapitan wanted to tell Horror stories of his own. Never afraid to push the boundaries, Kapitan believes Horror should be hard hitting and leave an impression.

Eric Kapitan currently resides in Vermont. He enjoys spending time with family/friends, drinking a nice cold Vermont beer, and going to Horror conventions.


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EQ & A with Eric Kapitan 

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
In Burning Down Paradise, Timothy is the main focus. He's a serial killer who kills to fill an emptiness that is inside of him. He often dreams and fantasizes about his ideal victim, a young woman who seems familiar to him but who he does not recognizes. He chooses his victims based on how much they resemble this dream girl.

Another main character would be the girl that haunts Timothy's dream. I don't want to go into much detail about her because she is a very important part of the plot.

I also have two characters who are my own interpretation of God and Satan.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
My good friend Adam Beckley designed the covers for my first two books. I would tell Adam about the book and what I was looking for and then he would design it.

For Burning Down Paradise, I decided to use a combination of stock photos and one original photo that I created myself. I think the key to a good book cover is depicting an interesting aspect of your book to bring to life in your cover. The detail and vivid bright colors are very important to me. In an age where everything is becoming digitized, you still need something to draw the reader in.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
At my computer desk with a cup of coffee in my hand and some nice inspirational music blasting in the background. I usually listen to film scores while writing because it helps me get into the world I am trying to create.

What is the best advice you have been given?
I've been given lots of advice over the years and I would be bullshitting you if I told you I remembered any of it. I can tell you that based on my experiences in life I would say the best advice is to keep doing what you're doing, never give up on your goals and simply stay focused. A strong work ethic is key to any type of success.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be either a waiter or a pirate. I was able to live out my dream of working in food service for a short period of time. So I'm able to check that life goal off of my bucket list. Sadly, I have yet to live out my dream of becoming a pirate. It's hard to get a peg leg in the door. Oh yes, I am full of lame jokes such the one you just read.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I like the convenience and customization of ebooks, However, I still prefer reading a psychical copy over a digital one any day. Plus, how can you not love that new book smell. Maybe Amazon should release a new version of a kindle device that is scented with new book smell. You could have all kinds of different flavors. Root beer, blueberry, nacho cheese. Wouldn't you love the smell of cotton candy as your reading Shakespeare?

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
The ability to see through walls. Why? Cause I'm a huge pervert.

What book are you reading now?
I just finished reading Blister, By Jeff Strand. I have to say I am not usually a huge fan of horror comedy but Strand is a master at writing witty dialogue. I often found myself laughing out loud while reading it. Not since Everybody Poops as a book been able to do that.


Monday, 27 February 2017

Q & A with James Hartley

The Invisible Hand: Shakespeare's Moon, ACT I
by James Hartley 

The Invisible Hand is about a boy, Sam, who has just started life at a boarding school and finds himself able to travel back in time to medieval Scotland. There he meets a girl, Leana, who can travel to the future, and the two of them become wrapped up in events in /Macbeth/, the Shakespeare play, and in the daily life of the school. The book is the first part of a series called Shakespeares Moon. Each book is set in the same boarding school but focuses on a different Shakespeare play." 

Paperback, 168 pages
Expected publication: February 22nd 2017 by Lodestone Books

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Read It & Reap:  June 4, 2017



James was born on the Wirral, England, in 1973 on a rainy Thursday. He shares his birthday with Bono, Sid Vicious and two even nastier pieces of work, John Wilkes Booth and Mark David Chapman.

His mother was a hairdresser with her own business and his father worked in a local refinery which pours filth into the sky over the Mersey to this day. They married young and James was their first child. He has two younger brothers and a still-expanding family in the area. As an Everton fan he suffered years of Liverpool success throughout the seventies and was thrilled when his father took a job in Singapore and the family moved lock, stock and two smoking barrels to Asia.

He spent five fine years growing up in the city state before returning to the rain, storms, comprehensive schools and desolate beauty of the Scottish east coast. Later years took he and his family to baking hot Muscat, in Oman, and a Syria that has since been bombed off the surface of the planet.

James studied journalism in London and later travelled through Ireland, France, Germany and India generally having a good time, before finally settling in Madrid, Spain, where he now lives with his wife and two young children.

James loves writing and reading - the former a compulsion, the latter a pleasure - as well as running, boxing, eating, drinking and trying to see, and enjoy, the good things in life.

Connect with James Hartley

Q & A with James Hartley

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
The main characters in the book are Sam and Leana. Sam Cauldhame is a new pupil at a boarding school called St Francis. His mother is a writer and his father is an archaeologist. The whole experience of boarding school is strange for Sam, who´s a fairly normal guy, but things get even stranger when he awakens one night in medieval Scotland. It´s there that he meets Leana, a headstrong young woman. Both of them become involved in the plot of Macbeth – Lady Macbeth thinks Leana might be her daughter – and things get complicated when Leana somehow turns up at Sam´s school.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
The cover of The Invisible Hand was done by an in-house designer at Lodestone Books, my publisher. I had some say in the general design, the themes and colours, and I´m happy with how things turned out. I wrote two short stories which introduce characters and themes from the series, Heart of Winter and Eve´s Christmas, and in both cases I worked with a very talented young designer called Lpixel. That process was very creative and satisfying. I like designing my own covers for stories I write on Wattpad.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
My mother-in-law´s kitchen. That´s where I wrote The Invisible Hand. These days I write in my own kitchen. I´m a kitchen guy.

What is the best advice you have been given?
Nothing directly. But I like: “No fear, no envy, no meanness,” which Liam Clancy told Bob Dylan. And, “Everything in moderation. Including moderation,” which I heard Paul Anka say years ago on a morning TV interview.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
Hardbacks and paperbacks.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
Probably to fly. I love the idea of flying over black, choppy seas at night or diving off green hills, enjoying the warm currents. I have a half-dream, half-plan to somehow learn how to fly a small plane but it sounds like an expensive hobby.

What book are you reading now?
The Maias by Eça de Queiroz: a fantastic writer I discovered by accident on holiday Portugal years ago. Has to be translated by Margaret Jull Costa, though. The Crime of Father Amaro is amazing. He would be much more widely read if he hadn´t of been Portuguese.



Friday, 17 February 2017

Q & A with Polina Traore and Dana Kaledin

Never a Dream
by Darren H. Pryce, (Original pseudonym), Polina Traore, Dana Kaledin 

A story about love, but not just a love-story!

“Never a Dream” tells a tale of eternal love, the one that never ends, and lasts longer than one lifetime. The kind of love everyone is searching for… 

Except for, maybe, Matt — he is too busy living the classic rock-star’s dream full of music, drugs and girls. Lots of girls. Life is treating him well, until reality starts to bite.
Rain, on the other hand, is a dreamer She recovers from one failed relationship and, with her eyes wide open, jumps straight into another. Her passion for antiques drags her into a new adventure that, like every castle-builder’s wish, begins in dreams. 

Wishful thinking is not something, Ed is familiar with. His life used to be strictly practical, however, Ed suffers from solitude, that even he fails to recognize. Even in a relationship he is still lonesome. But changing that means changing his whole life. 

Changes are also the thing Charlie is craving for. She’s been playing warm family life for long enough to get tired, so now she is ready for another step. Only she has no idea, where exactly is that step supposed to be leading her, and how many people she might hurt on her way.
In this story everything and everyone is connected, but that’s yet to be learnt.

Darren H. Pryce is a pseudonym for Polina Traore and Dana Kaledin

Kindle Edition, 444 pages
Published September 22nd 2016

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Read It & Reap:  May 30, 2017

Connect with Polina Traore
Goodreads  *  Website  *  Twitter  *  Facebook

Connect with Dana Kaledin
Goodreads  *  Website  *  Twitter  *   Facebook

Q & A with Polina Traore and Dana Kaledin 

Polina: Hi, we are Polina Traore and Dana Kaledin, authors of “Never a Dream” - a love story, a life story. 

Dana: Not just one life. 

Polina: But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 

Tell us a little bit about your main characters. 
Polina: Well, there are four of them, and we both have something in common with each. 

Dana: There are Charlie, Ed, Matt and Rain - four twenty-something people. 

Polina: All four have to do some serious soul-searching, they have to figure out who they are and what they want. 

Dana: And then there are some serious romantic issues they all have to face. Basically, relationship stuff that is very familiar to most of us.  

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
Polina: Dana does everything regarding design. We are really lucky to have a designer on a writing team. 

Dana: It’s a very fun process, we discuss, I do the sketches, and then we discuss different options, throw in ideas, colors. It’s a creative process like every other part of creating a book.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
Polina: I have a special chair for writing. It’s huge and comfy. But there is no special place for these things.

Dana: Agreed, inspiration can hunt you down anywhere. 

What is the best advice you have been given?
Dana: Hire an editor. 

Polina: Don’t quit your day job. 

Polina: Also, sleep at least 8 hours. But that doesn’t work for writers. We are night creatures. 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Polina: I wanted to be Storm from the X-men. I still do sometimes. 

Dana: I wanted to be a cowgirl, ride a horse and watch the cows somewhere in a field from the “Sounds of music”.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
Dana: Paperbacks seem more cozy. Ebooks are more usable, but they don’t really look well on a bookshelf. 

Polina: I prefer to read ebooks, and then get paperbacks anyway. 

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
Polina: Control the weather, hands down. Storm is my idol.

Dana: The ability to teleport would be very fun to have. 

Polly: I want that too… can I switch to being omnipotent? 

What book are you reading now?
Dana: Chapter 78 of “Never a Dream”, the book might be finished, but the work is not completely done just yet.

Polina: I should really read that sometime… sounds like fun. As for me, I’m still struggling with “Graveyard Shift”. The book is a lot of fun, but the timing could be better.


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Q & A with Jesse Teller

Liefdom: A Tale from Perilisc
by Jesse Teller 

A zealous guardian in a peaceful city, Gentry Mandrake is a fairy unlike any other. Cast out and hated for his differences, his violent nature makes him wonder at the purity of his soul. He hunts for belonging while fighting to protect the human child bound to him. Explore the mythical realm of The Veil, the grating torture of the Sulfur Fields, and the biting tension between power and purpose in this wondrous struggle against a demonic wizard and his denizens. Can Mandrake overcome such terrible foes to defend those he loves?

Kindle Edition, 260 pages
Published August 2016

Find it on Goodreads



Jesse Teller lives in Missouri. He hasn’t always, but like storytelling, it snuck into his bones. Teller fell in love with fantasy when he played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. His books explore violent issues without flinching.

He lives with his wonderful, supportive wife and two inspiring kids.

Connect with Jesse Teller
Goodreads  *  Website  *  Facebook  *  Twitter


Q & A with Jesse Teller

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
All of my characters are flawed. Some in major ways, some in minor. My main character is often carried away in passion and rage, and he's fighting that through the entire book. There are things about his warrior mentality that make him an outcast and misunderstood. I started with a concept of a warrior who didn't belong in the society he was born to. With my troubled past, and growing up in the streets, I lived a very different life than my wife, and so, finding a place in her family was very challenging for me. This book is how I came to terms with that. Gentry Mandrake ushered me into an understanding of my place in my family.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
My wife is a graphic designer, so we can do just about anything we want with my covers. We start with the concept of the book for mood and tone, and move into the specifics very carefully. I trust her and her artistic vision completely. Often, her concepts become a reality in some form. We always talk about what we want the reader to think and feel when they look at the book. So far, all my book covers have been designed with a silhouette, a shadow. I think this shows the darkness in my work, and creates the mood we strive for.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
I'm sitting in it right now. This room, my office, was meticulously designed to drip fantasy. Everything in this room has something to do with fantasy or my fantasy world. It creates a place where my imagination can't help but burst into flames. It creates a place that soothes me, but at the same time challenges me to keep moving, to keep writing, to keep working. I've got my desk, my outbox, two screens, a blotter, and a mousepad of a kraken ripping a ship in half. I have statues of two terracotta warriors, a lot of original artwork from an artist named Chris Mostyn—I love his work—and countless skulls, dragons, knight's heads. I have a dry erase board to keep me current on submissions for my two writers groups. Dozens of my favorite words are printed off and framed, hanging from my walls. One wall in my office is magnetic, and with hundreds of magnets, holds the notes for every book I write. It's perfect. It's home.

What is the best advice you have been given?
The best writing advice I've ever been given was work it like a job, punch in and punch out. Work every day. When I'm writing a book, that's exactly what I do. I have a 3,000 word quota for the day, and I write until it's met, no matter how long that means. Every successful writer I've ever read about has worked in this fashion. There are no blockbuster writers who write when the mood grips them. Inspiration is a luxury, not a necessity. You can always jam out something. That's the best writing advice I've ever been given. The best advice I've ever been given is to meet all people with respect. I was told everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Well, until I was in fifth grade, I wanted to be a fireman. Who doesn't, right? Saving people, heroics. I think for awhile I wanted to be a cop in there somewhere. They are the superheroes of our age. But as soon as I started writing, I wanted to be a writer. I started in fifth grade. I was raised by spectacular storytellers. I apprenticed under them at a young age, listening to every story they told, and learning exactly how to turn a phrase, and exactly how to capture a scene. So, by the time I was in fifth grade, I was a storyteller, the kind of guy who's talking constantly and you have to tell him to shut up. That was me. Writing was just the next natural step. I knew I wanted to do it forever, as soon as the first assignment was given.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
It depends on what I'm reading. For modern stuff, I want the paperback. I want to feel it in my hand and turn the pages. I like bookmarks. My grandpa used to use all the matches in a pack and then use it as a bookmark, not a matchbox, the folded cardboard kind. He read all the time, lots of Louis L'Amour. When he died, and I was going through his books, I found hundreds of little matchcover bookmarks. So for the new stuff, I like paperback with an interesting bookmark. I think I spend more time thinking about bookmarks than I should. Now for the classics, I like ebooks. Classics on ebook are very cheap. I got H. P. Lovecraft's complete works, everything the man ever wrote, for a dollar. Same with Edgar Allan Poe and Robert E. Howard. I bought Picture of Dorian Gray, Red Badge of Courage, The Scarlet Letter, all of these for one dollar. I like that my Kindle tells me, when I'm reading a complete works, what percentage of the book I'm in and how many hours I have left of reading. I think when I started reading H. P. Lovecraft's complete works, I had 60-70 hours of reading to do. It's very comforting knowing just how long it's going to take you to read a book. So, for me, it depends on the book. It depends on what I'm reading.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
I was playing a board game with my sons and this question came up. Their answers were super strong, super fast. My wife wanted to be able to fly. I told them my super power would be to turn lemonade into slightly colder lemonade. Since that board game, I've rethought my answer. There are two daily activities that drive me crazy, that I would love to eradicate from my life forever. If I had superpowers, I would never eat again, and I would never sleep another day in my life. Sleeping is just annoying. I never want to go to bed, and I never want to get up. The whole activity is one monstrous obstacle that I would love to rip right out of my life. As far as cooking goes, let's think about cooking for a minute. You've got to eat every day, numerous times in the day. You've got to take prep time cooking your meals, and afterwards you've got a mess to clean up. The whole activity is completely annoying. There are going to be people who say, "But oh, Jesse, think about how delicious food really is." And yeah, I'd miss pizza. I have a lot of favorite meals I would miss. But for the most part, to never have to deal with that annoyance again, that would be amazing.

What book are you reading now?
Well, I've got about 18 hours left in my H. P. Lovecraft book. I'm in the third book of the Malazan series by Steven Erikson. It's pretty spectacular. And I'm halfway through The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro. I'm always reading more than one book, not because I get tired of one before I finish it, but because when I'm not busy, and I decide to think about what I'm reading, I want to have options.



Thursday, 9 February 2017

Q & A with Alex Marestaing

Fifteen Seconds of Normal
by Alex Marestaing 

Step 1: Transfer High Schools.
Step 2: Hide your Tourette’s.
Step 3: Find your fifteen seconds of normal.

Kaeya Garay has a plan. And it seems to be working.But when a curious interruption named Thatcher Kelly stumbles upon her “safe” place in the school’s abandoned art gallery, her grand plans for normalcy are suddenly derailed.

Set over the course of three weeks, Fifteen Seconds of Normal is the quirky saga of a literature obsessed teen on the edge of a meltdown and the hope driven heroine who begins to pull him back. Fans of Eleanor and Park be warned. You won’t be able to put this one down.

A “Breakfast Club” for a new generation from EPIC Award finalist Alex Marestaing, author of I’m Nobody: The Lost Pages. 


Paperback, 294 pages
Published October 11th 2016

Find it on Goodreads
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Read It & Reap:  May 21, 2017


About the Author
Once upon a time, author Alex Marestaing wrote a random letter to the Walt Disney Company asking if they needed any creative help. Fortunately, Disney had mercy on his embarrassing attempt to break into the publishing scene and gave him his first writing job. A lot has happened since then, including four novels, a beautiful wife, three kids, two cats, an extremely mellow dog, an honorable mention at the London Book Festival, a stint covering soccer in Europe and the U.S., and fun freelance work for companies such as Lego, Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins and The Los Angeles Times. Oh yeah, he also speaks at conferences around the country giving people advice such as “Writing letters to random companies isn’t always such a bad idea.” 

Connect with Alex Marestaing
Goodreads  *  Twitter  *  Website

Q & A with Alex Marestaing

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
The characters in my latest book, Fifteen Seconds of Normal, are two high school juniors trying to make it through the worst year of their lives.

Kaeya Garay has just transferred to Glen Canyon High. The transfer is part of her plan, to escape from the stares and whispers, side effects of the Tourette Syndrome that’s plagued her since elementary school.  In case you haven’t heard of it, Tourette’s is a neurological disorder that causes a person do things like randomly shout, or make sounds, or contort their face in a wide variety of facial tics. It’s a hard disability to hide, but by transferring schools she hopes to start fresh, get asked to a school dance, fall in love, and finally find her fifteen seconds of normal.

Literature obsessed, Thatcher Kelly’s life has turned upside down over night. On top of his dad ditching the family, he’s just taken the worst school picture in the history of school pictures, a picture that has begun to circulate as a viral meme.  But, like Kaeya, Thatcher also has a plan, to rewrite the narrative by posting these artistic pictures of his own on Snapchat and Instagram. It’s his way of stealing his life back and somehow make his own way back to normal.

When Thatcher inadvertently crashes into Kaeya’s “safe” space in the school’s nearly abandoned art gallery, an unlikely friendship ensues, and they begin to help each other on their quests…and that’s when things get interesting.

I like to think of Fifteen Seconds of Normal as more than a love story. It’s a story about love, and there’s a big difference. 

Who designs the covers for your books?
It depends on the book I’m working on. When I worked on my first book series, I had no say at all as to what was on the cover. The publisher took care of everything. Though the covers were okay, I felt they were a little too “Hannah Montana” looking for the stories I had written. Nowadays, I’m able to create ideas of my own, and that’s one of my favorite parts of the process.

What is that process like for you as an author?
Fifteen Seconds of Normal took about two years from start to finish. I started by brainstorming ideas like a maniac. Then came a trip to New York to pitch the book to editors, a frantic binge-writing sessions in order to send them the chapters they wanted, editing, more writing, and editing some more. Unfortunately, I’m kind of a perfectionist when it comes to my novels, so I kept changing things, which kind of delayed the process.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
I don’t really have one favorite spot. I can write pretty much anywhere. But I do tend to get a lot of ideas when I travel. I wrote a big chunk of my last book I’m Nobody: The Lost Pages in a tiny, hundred-year-old house in Sweden. The house, with peeling paint and ancient plank floors, sort of became a character in that novel, the abandoned mansion that beckons agoraphobic Caleb Reed to come out from hiding and cross the street.

Soon I’ll be heading to Tokyo, so who knows what I’ll come up with there. An anime influenced, Studio Ghibli type epic? Who knows?

What is the best advice you have been given?
I’m always more inspired by the way people live out their lives than their words. People’s actions inspire me. But I will leave you with some advice from Fifteen Seconds (Shameless book plug…I know)

There comes a time when the fear of being alone
Outweighs the fear of rejection
And in this glorious imbalance
Love is born

Love is always a risk, especially when you’re unsure what the other person thinks of you. But if you care enough about the person, you’ll let them know, in spite the fear of rejection.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
 I always wanted to be a pilot, which is weird because I used to be terrified of flying.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
Lately, I’ve been reading on my Kindle. But I definitely love the look and feel of print books better, either hardback or paperback.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
Teleportation. I lived in Sweden for a while and my close friends and family are there. Teleportation would give me a cheap way of visiting them without the eleven-hour plane trip from Los Angeles, where I live now.

What book are you reading now?
My daughter just gave me a book called PAX  for Christmas. It’s about a fox and a boy who are trying to find each other after becoming separated during a war. I love the cover and the premise, so, that’s next on my list