Friday, 14 October 2016

Q & A with Sharlin Craig

Ornaments of Love
by Sharlin Craig 

A touching Christmas story with glowing illustrations, Ornaments of Love is a story to cherish for years to come. A beautiful tale of Ayana, an endearing ten-year-old who excitedly anticipates that special time of year when the entire family joins together to decorate and admire the Christmas tree.

But sadly this year is different. Ayana realizes that her mom and dad are far too busy with everything else to enjoy the tree with Ayana. Then, something unexpected happens and the family is brought together with tenderness and joy.

Filled to the brim and overflowing with charming moments, gentle humor, and timeless illustrations, this beautiful story is a wonderful reminder of what’s important not only during the Christmas season, but every day of our lives. Ornaments of Love is destined to become one of your favorite holiday stories. One that will remain in your heart forever.

Published December 8th 2015 by Harmony Hearts Publishing

Find it on Goodreads
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Read It & Reap:  April 4, 2017

Sharlin Craig, a Detroit native who now resides in southern California with her husband and daughter, is dedicated to writing inspirational children’s books that touch the spirit of her readers. A graduate of Oakland University, she’s taught music to children for several years while also writing music and lyrics. She’s combined her love for children and writing into authoring her debut children’s Christmas picture book, ‘Ornaments of Love’

and the accompanying 'Ornaments of Love-Slowing Down at Christmas Time' Coloring book,

Sharlin believes that with the right surroundings and daily encouragement, children are boundless. She’s passionate about helping children feel understood and empowered through her books and hopes that her stories make them smile. 

Sharlin loves being a mom and wife and her ultimate goal is to have a happy, healthy family and a full and balanced life. She enjoys spending quality time with her family biking, hiking, and just hanging out. 

For now, she is letting her creativity shine through children’s books that inspire kids to live fully and beautifully. As readers await her next release, they can unravel a little piece of her heart by leafing through the pages of her current release, “Ornaments of Love,” a gem of a story bound to be adored by countless families across the globe.

Q & A with Sharlin Craig

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
 ‘Ornaments of Love’ has one main character with 3 supporting characters. Ayana, a 10-year-old girl, is the main character. She cherishes her family tradition of putting up and decorating the Christmas tree with her parents each year. But this year, Mom and Dad are too busy with other things so they ask her if she can do it by herself. As she decorates the tree, each ornament that she unwraps and hangs up brings back happy family memories.  Mom and Dad are typical loving parents who are just too caught up in their ‘to do’ lists and don’t realize the impact their busyness is having on Ayana. Luckily, Ayana has Rosie, the fourth character in the book, to talk to and express her feelings to. Then, something unexpected happens which brings the whole family together with joy and tenderness.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
 A friend of mine, Angelika Schubert-Belle, is an amazing professional graphic designer. While in the process of writing ‘Ornaments of Love’, she graciously offered to do the graphic design for my book. Not only did she do the picture book cover and interior, but also the ebook and the ‘Ornaments of Love Coloring Book-Slowing Down with Family at Christmas Time’ cover and interior. Working with her was a wonderful experience as she’s very professional, kind, creative and reliable. I’m definitely spoiled now!

Describe your ideal writing spot.
 I enjoy writing at home in the morning hours when it’s quiet and my energy level is high. I find I’m most creative in the morning hours after my daughter goes to school.

What is the best advice you have been given?
 The best writing advice I’ve been given is:
-Don’t take “no” personally. Keep forging ahead.
-Edit, edit, edit. Read your story out loud.
-Take children on a journey in your story. Make them laugh, feel loved and be understood.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
 When I was a child, I bounced around between wanting to be a vet or a singer. As it turns out, I’m now a writer, a music teacher and a dog trainer to our 7-month-old Miniature Schnauzer puppy!
Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
 I find all book formats enjoyable. I appreciate the convenience of ebooks and the ability to look up definitions on my Kindle. I’ll always love the wonderful smell of physical books, the quality feel of hard cover books and how a paperback book fits so easily into a purse or carry on.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
 I think we’re all born with the ability to tune in to our intuition, which can, in some ways, be called a supernatural power. I find when I listen to my intuition, my life flows more smoothly. So, I would say that I’d choose to be optimally in tune with this inner voice/intuition on a daily basis.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished a book called, ‘Bel Canto’ by Ann Patchett. It’s a Pen/Faulkner Award winner and I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it! 

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Q & A with M.L. Mackworth-Praed

The Future King: Logres 
The Future King #1
by M.L. Mackworth-Praed 

Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school's handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK's prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends. 

Paperback, 1st Edition, 518 pages
Published December 5th 2015

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                                                                                     Read It & Reap:  October 13, 2016

I'm a prolific doodler, which over the years has translated into being an illustrator; a here-there artist who dabbles with embroidery, and a keen writer with a taste for fantasy, sci-fi and young adult fiction. I just self-published my first novel, The Future King: Logres, an Arthurian second-coming set in dystopian 2052 Britain. If you like YA Fantasy or are a lover of the Arthurian legends then check it out! 

                            Q & A with M.L. Mackworth-Praed 

                                        Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Principled, smart and sometimes misplaced in her judgement, fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar comes from a sheltered life in Swansea, Wales. She had everything she needed there, a good school and close friends; but after an unexpected move to Logres Secondary School in Surrey she struggles to find her place. As she gets to know her classmates and adapts to her new home, Gwenhwyfar becomes more aware of the dangerous political situation in the UK. During this journey she finds herself guided by her heart more often than her head—and soon discovers that standing up for what you believe in comes at great personal cost. 

Arthur is in Gwenhwyfar’s year at Logres. He has strident beliefs and he has yet to understand that his own stubbornness can sometimes hurt others. Eager to forge a path in the world that is different to that of those around him, he leans heavily on his History teacher Marvin, who has been his friend since Arthur fell out with his best friend, Lancelot. Arthur and Gwenhwyfar are very much on the same wavelength—they connect almost immediately and recognise themselves in one another: two lost teenagers who are trying to find their way.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
I do! That is the great thing about being self-published, you get complete control over how your book looks and feels. I studied Fine Art at university and so producing the actual cover art was straightforward enough. It was the brainstorming that was the challenging part, and choosing the colours and party logo for the ruling political party in the novel, New National, was difficult. I wanted to keep the cover as graphic and as iconic as possible—the colours of the New Nationals dominating the cover with the dividing crown motif alluding to the legends of King Arthur. Obviously I’m excited to get the next instalment in the series published for the continuation of the story, but also for the cover art—I have a great evolution planned for the whole Future King series.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
A clean desk, a clean laptop, a comfortable chair and my Future King notes spread out next to me. I got the best of my writing done while I was living in Belgium—my old apartment had plenty of light and was a great place to focus because I could work to my own routine. Writing isn’t just happening when you’re sat in front your manuscript typing—some of my best ideas came to me while I was taking the time out to do other things. I did several temp jobs while working on the first draft of this novel. They usually included digitising large amounts of paper or data entry for slow systems—perfect opportunities to scribble out some scenes on paper or to sketch out some ideas for the cover and title of my book.

What is the best advice you have been given?
Though I had great help and feedback from sample readers, I worked on this project on my own, which meant that I had to learn by trial and error. My first draft of The Future King: Logres is unrecognisable to the final published version, as my approach to writing changed dramatically. The most useful thing I learned was that you shouldn’t try to write like someone else because you’ll lose your voice. Write the book that you want to read, write the characters that you want to know. You have to enjoy the writing process otherwise your prose will become stifled and the book will die a trailing death. Writing a book is hard work, and you definitely shouldn’t expect to get it right the first time you try it.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Not many things. I wanted to be a vet until I was about eleven, then when I went to secondary school I decided I wanted to be an actor (mostly because The Lord of the Rings films were out). That eventually changed and then I wanted to be a novelist. Whilst at university I finally made a new start at the same book I had attempted on and off since college—The Future King: Logres. I feel the most at peace when I am drawing so I would be thrilled if I could make a living illustrating and writing, with a bit of fine art practice on the side!

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I prefer paperbacks. Hardcovers are too bulky to carry about and you can’t collect ebooks in the same way as you can with paperbacks. The physical act and the scents associated with reading on paper are just too unique to lose—the older the book the mustier the smell and the more delicate the ritual. I grew up with an extensive library that my grandfather collected throughout his life and there were some very old treasures in his collection. I am very impressed by the quality given by Kindle however—the way the text is displayed does almost give the feel of the printed page.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
The power to heal myself and others is pretty self-explanatory; either that or the power of teleportation—being able to teleport myself and others across the globe would be great for holidays and always seemed so appealing when I was running around as a model for Paris and London Fashion Weeks! At the moment I’m leaning toward the idea of being able to erect Utopia from the middle of the Atlantic. Those who believe in peace and green technological advancement could go and live there and hopefully redirect the path of the world. Read into that what you like!

What book are you reading now?
Ashamedly nothing—work has been keeping me busy and any spare time that I do have I’ve been trying to pour into the second novel in The Future King series. I’ve been dipping in and out of a collection of poems by W. H. Auden, and The Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling were last on my reading list so I will get back to those at some point. There are also plenty of old Penguin books on my shelf that I’m hoping to find new homes for which I can read when I get the chance!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Q & A with Damien Black

Devil's Night Dawning
by Damien Black

For centuries, the monastic Order of St Argo has stood between the mortal vale and the dark forces of the Other Side. Now a mystery warlock seeks an ancient power to rule realms, and only two of its witch hunters can stop him – if they can stay alive long enough to identify him…

When young novice Adelko is assigned to legendary adept Horskram, he rejoices at the chance to l For centuries, the monastic Order of St Argo has stood between the mortal vale and the dark forces of the Other Side. Now a mystery warlock seeks an ancient power to rule realms, and only two of its witch hunters can stop him – if they can stay alive long enough to identify him…

When young novice Adelko is assigned to legendary adept Horskram, he rejoices at the chance to lead an adventurous life. An adventurous death isn’t what he had in mind – but it comes calling when they learn of a sorcerous theft, one that could bring ruin on the Known World. They suspect a demonologist at work, but don’t know anything for sure.

Whoever it is knows who they are and wants to silence them – permanently. As they flee from one danger to another, their homeland erupts into civil war – the rebellious southern barons have reunited and want to dethrone the King of Northalde. The world they know teeters on the brink of a momentous struggle that will reshape it forever…

High fantasy meets gothic horror in this gripping tale of suspense, conflict, faith and magic – the first part in an epic saga of sweeping proportions.
Find it on Goodreads
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Read It & Reap:  April 9, 2017

For as long as he can remember, Damien Black has been blessed and cursed with a hallucinogenic imagination. His sleep is disturbed by strange dreams that he struggles to remember upon waking, glimpses of worlds where superstitions are reality and prayers might actually work.

The only cure he knows for this malady is writing, an auto-exorcism he performs on himself daily. Over the years, these scribblings have evolved into horror-strewn tales that plot a winding course through the tropes of fantasy fiction.

Q & A with Damien Black

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Horskram and Adelko are monks who belong to a religious order that specialises in fighting evil spirits and hunting down warlocks. Rather than go for the usual wizard/warrior hero set-up I thought I’d do the opposite: have protagonists who are essentially pacifists but opposed to wizards of all kinds. Adelko is a promising novice assigned to Horskram, a legendary adept with decades of experience. He is unassuming and humble, but his keen mind and thirst for adventure get him into trouble. Horskram is a former crusader who has renounced violence; he has a dark past that gradually becomes revealed as the story progresses. He is hardy, wise and intelligent, but certainly not flawless! He makes mistakes.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
Red Raven designed the cover for my book and I love what they came up with! They gave me five mock-ups to choose from, so I put it to a panel of friends to see which ones worked best. We narrowed it down to two and I went for the more understated one as I felt it best reflected the slow pace of the story, which gradually builds over time to an action-packed climax.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
Ooh, tricky! Well I write at home, but anywhere comfortable and warm with the minimum of distractions and noise will do. I believe that writing is fundamentally about what comes from within, location is about finding the best place for you to channel that.

What is the best advice you have been given?
The self-published fantasy author MJ Sullivan advised me to keep writing and not worry too much about sales and publicity in the early stages. He says three books is the magic number, when people really start to take your series seriously and invest in it. That rings true, as I’ve heard both JK Rowling and George RR Martin didn’t really take off until they released the third books in their respective series.

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

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I love paperbacks. Always have done – the cover art, the feel, everything about them appeals, even when they get a bit dog-eared.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
I think I’d have extended longevity like Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings. The problem with life is there is simply never  enough time. At forty I feel I’m only just getting to know myself. We can waste a lot of years through trial and error, making mistakes. Learning from those is of course part of life’s journey - I just wish we had more time to gain the benefit of those lessons.

What book are you reading now?
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. I like it because it’s a slow burner set in a quasi-medieval world with some very dark elements, but nothing too graphic or obscene. There is quite a lot of violence in my own work, but it’s also nice to read writers who don’t use it so much. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Q & A with Gary Ballard

Under the Amoral Bridge 
The Bridge Chronicles #1
by Gary Ballard 

Artemis Bridge is the know-to, go-to guy, the amoral fixer in 2028 Los Angeles with the connection for any illicit desire no matter how depraved. He prides himself on remaining above it all, but when an associate dies in his arms, he is burdened with a damaging video of the current mayor he can't sell or trade. With assassins dogging his every step, he has only days before the corrupt mayor is re-elected, handing Chronosoft corporation complete control. 

This taut futuristic thriller is the debut novel by Gary A. Ballard, originally published serially on the World Wide Web at

Paperback, 170 pages
Published January 31st 2008 by CreateSpace

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                                                                                 Read It & Reap:  March 23, 2017

I began writing things down at the age of eleven, and I haven't stopped since. I have written far too many things that have gone unpublished, from very terrible horror novels in my teens, to comics during my time at Belhaven College until finally settling on cyberpunk science fiction after graduation. I have released three novels in a cyberpunk series called The Bridge Chronicles. The Bridge Chronicles in turn is one slice of cohesive universe that began as a pen-and-paper roleplaying game.

I currently live with my beautiful wife and three very insane dogs in Mississippi, where I continue to write my novels.

Q & A with Gary Ballard

Tell us a little bit about your main characters. 
In my cyberpunk series, The Bridge Chronicles, the main protagonist is Artemis Bridge. He's a fixer in near-future Los Angeles whose nickname in the seedy underworld is The Amoral Bridge. If you need something illegal, immoral or unethical, he "knows a guy" that can get it for you. For a fee, he'll connect you with that guy. He does not touch the goods, he does not know from the goods, and he promises complete anonymity with no judgement. Of course, in the process of the series, he gets involved in a whole lot more than he would like, but that's where the fun starts for the reader.

In my Cthulhu Mythos series, The Stepping Stone Cycle, Dr. Jack Carter is a forensic psychologist who works with the FBI. The series begins with Jack waking from a fugue state in an asylum, having lost the last two years of memories. Since he was the last person to see his wife alive, he comes under suspicion for her abduction and possible murder, but he insists on his innocence. Through the process of investigating their disappearance, he discovers a conspiracy of murders tenuously connected to his case, all of which point to the creeping growth of something supernatural just out of the edges of perception.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
I'm a graphic artist as well as a writer, so I design my own covers. The process is a welcome creative exercise, allowing me to do visual work as well as writing.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
I really only have one writing spot, which is my computer room/office. I tend not to work well with laptop keyboards, so sitting at a desk is really my best option. Turn on Spotify, crank an album of whatever I'm in to at the time and burn through some pages.

What is the best advice you have been given?
Think of yourself as a writer first, regardless of whether you make money writing or not. You have to get your mind set on the concept of being a writer and stick to it or else it's just a hobby.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A Planet of the Apeman! Actually that's true - I loved Planet of the Apes as a kid. As far as profession, I really did want to be a writer since I was about 11 years old and first started writing stories down on paper.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I can read either one, and both have their strengths, but just based on convenience as well as storage, I have to say eBooks. Not killing trees to satisfy my reading desires helps as well.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
I want to know everything. If it were physically possible, I'd want to read every book ever, even the crappy ones. Information and knowledge are my ultimate highs.

What book are you reading now?
I've been mostly trying to catch up on Marvel Comics last year's worth of comics but between that I'm slowly making my way through Arthur C. Clarke's 2001. My classic sci-fi knowledge is woefully inadequate and the movie version is one of my top 10 movies ever. So I owed it to myself to read the book, and it's sequels.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Q & A with C.K. Stone and Tia Tormen

Hidden Design, the Prophecy
by C.K. Stone and Tia Tormen 

An ancient Prophecy, foretold millennia ago . . . 
Child of the Traitor
Conceived in Betrayal
Shall pierce the Veil
And destroy the Hidden 

Mikki Daneen is living the life she's always dreamed but she hides an extraordinary gift--the ability to perceive her clients' most intimate desires. A secret liaison brings death and destruction to Mikki's life, but she's not the only one in danger. Mikki must uncover the secrets of a culture she never knew existed, and expose the true betrayer. Will her psychic visions be able to help her find the evil that is driven relentlessly to slaughter, before it's too late?

Hidden Design, The Prophecy, is a full-length contemporary fantasy/thriller novel that contains elements of romantica.

The story is set in New York City where Mackenzie Daneen is a successful interior designer, in part because she can psychically link into the most secret desires of her special clients and give them exactly what they want. Mikki is on top of her world until an old boyfriend/FBI agent asks her to glean details on a kidnapping suspect, Seth Harkinson, by using her psychic ability. When she learns more than she bargained for, her life starts falling apart. Through Seth, she uncovers the truth; she may be the child the prophecy speaks of. She runs for her life from a demon-possessed beast that is hell-bent on hunting down and killing the innocent children who possess magical gifts; children of whom the prophecy may speak.

While she and Seth fight for their lives, they discover they have a connection that runs deeper than either of them imagined.

Kindle Edition, 302 pages
Published September 1st 2016 by Silken Slipstream

Find it on Goodreads
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Read It & Reap:  February 21, 2017

Tia Tormen is a writer, photographer, graphic designer, videographer, video editor, make-up artist and poet. She has also studied psychology and loves to do dream interpretation.
She spends her days working a regular job and her early mornings and evenings writing. When she isn't writing she can be found studying the ancient martial arts, Tang Soo Do Karate and Haidong Gumdo Sword or attending her writing and critique group. 

She is a mother of five and has enjoyed every insane minute.
Hidden Design, the Prophecy will be her first full length novel with co-author CK Stone.

CK Stone is a snarky, sarcastic pain in the aa--never mind. He dislikes having to write bios, but is willing to talk in person about himself for extended periods of time. Among other things, he is an actor with a few indie films and some extra work to his name; he is also a cartoonist, a writer of florid prose, assorted lyric poetry, haiku and is the producer of a mixed bag of Limericks. He has nothing published under the name “CK Stone” until now, but has several short stories published under the name on his day-job paycheck. The publications include a story in the anthology "TV Gods" and another in "A Realm Beyond," both from Fortress Publishing. There are two short stories published in “Triangulation” from Parsec INK and another piece in “Six from Parsec” His prize-winning story “The Thithshtach Diner” was also published in the ezine “Speculon.” He even has clean (!) limericks published in a chapbook. CK has also read stories for podcasts for Psuedopod.

An avid reader of science fiction and fantasy and eldritch horror for years, he is active in the SF/F community in the Pittsburgh area. He also accompanies Tia to Tang Soo Do and is certified for his black belt test in Haidong Gumdo. Other evenings, he participates in the same writing and critique group as Tia, where he spends time convincing other writers that he knows what he's doing.

His eclectic erotic journey grew out of his passionate adventures with Tia and happily, those adventures are ongoing and show no signs of slowing down. Serious about his writing, he has the scars of self-flagellation to prove it. Unfortunately for all his seriousness about writing, sometimes the world demands a lot less solemnity. Go figure. He charges at life from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania where he resides with the beautiful Tia and a variety of ghosties and ghoulies and long leggedy beasties.

1. Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Tia: Mackenzie (Mikki) Daneen is a bit odd. She has all this intuition but hasn’t a clue about who she is or what she can do.  One minute she can be child-like and need a lot of help and support, and the next she can be strong and capable of taking on the world. I think there are many of us that can be like that. Having a character that starts out weak and only grows stronger as the story progresses, seems unreal. No one I have ever known, has been like that. We wanted to make Mikki more human and in turn, make her feel more real to the readers. We gave her good moments and bad moments and did not have her react in exactly the same manner each time or have her strength progress from being a complete weakling to being a fictionally strong person. 

CK: Tia gave a quick breakdown of Mikki and she is THE main character in the novel, but there are a lot of other characters that are just as colorful: Seth Harkinson, probably the first person to realize how much more there is to Mikki than what she even knew. Paul Wilkins, FBI agent and ex-boyfriend who found himself in the friend-zone. And Vincent Jenour, Mikki’s gay boss and probably her best friend. 

2. Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
CK: Tia designed our book cover. I had input, though. She would say, "what do you think of (blank)?" and I would answer. Then she would do what she thought best. 

3. Describe your ideal writing spot.
Tia: Right in front of my computer. I have a desktop computer, not a laptop—I hate typing on those. My computer is situated on a large desk in a home office. The space implies work, so it’s easy to sit and work without too many distractions. However, I do have a family, but I also have a door to the room. I rarely close the door because family is what keeps life interesting. I would miss out on so many interesting things to write about, if I kept that door closed. 

4. What is the best advice you have been given?
CK: That’s a difficult question to answer; there has been lots of advice. Some of the advice had included “keep writing.” And “get the first draft done, then make it pretty.” I suppose the best advice boils down from everything everyone has ever said to the statement: Sit your ass in the chair and put the words down.  Almost everything else derives from that. Yes, you have to polish, yes, you have to have a story worth telling, yes you have to submit (argh!) and yes, you have to promote, but without doing the first and most important thing--the actual writing--all the others don’t mean squat. 

5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Tia: I always wanted to be a mother and a writer and write lots of books for my lots of children. I have five — children, not books, and love them all for the unique people they have grown to become. The writing and the books had to come second because my love for my children outweighed my desire to write. I’m getting to that now. I may never write childrens books as I planned, but I am writing now, and working on a brand new, Indy publishing company that specializes in cross-genre books and stories.  I love it all; the writing, the designing and the publishing!
6. Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
Tia: Paperbacks, hands down. I personally don’t care for ebooks, but I have been exchange reading for reviews, and with so many authors only publishing ebook, I was forced to adapt.

CK: I’m definitely with Tia on this. I like hard-copy books. Ebooks are convenient, I suppose. You can have a whole library at your fingertips, but it doesn’t have the same frisson when I finish a good book and close the cover. One of our first readers complemented us when she said, “I honestly groaned when I realized I was on the last page [because the story was finished].” I don’t think there is the same feeling when you flick the page away on an ebook as when you put the paperback or hardback book to rest. 

7. If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
Tia: What makes you think I don’t already have one? Lol. 

CK: Is irritating people a supernatural power? Not that that’s the one I want, but if we’re talking currently held abilities. . .

8. What book are you reading now?
Tia: A Stephen King book. Blaze (Richard Bachman).I’ve been a King fan since I was ten and have read everything of his at least once and many of them twice. My favorite King book is “The Stand.” Yes, it is long, but I have re-read that one about a dozen times. Just for the record, I did not care for the movie.  I have been reading a lot of Indy author books lately as well. 

CK: I literally just finished “Kindred,” by Octavia Butler, and now I’m reading an anthology of erotic short stories called “Stretched” edited by Tinder James, then I have “The Flesh Made Word” edited by Bernie Mojzes.  I have a couple of novels on my ‘to read list’ lined up after that. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Dazzled by Darkness by Erica Miles

Dazzled by Darkness: A Story of Art & Desire
by Erica Miles 

Sara is a book-smart Jewish girl who works at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. 'G' is a street-smart Latino apprentice who creates radical, in-your-face art work. When these two NY opposites meet, something clicks and wheels begin to turn. In this unique novel about mental illness, art history, and time-travel, readers will experience life in the 1960's and life during the Renaissance (and other great periods of Art History) like they never have before! The two main protagonists each escape into their own fantasies (hearing voices on the part of schizophrenic Sara; imagined interactions with Dead Master Artists, on the part of "G"), both ending up in a Compulsive-Obsessional World of Art & Desire!

Kindle Edition, 433 pages
Published November 2015 by Createspace (first published May 18th 2015)

Find it on Goodreads
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                                                                                   Read It & Reap:  September 20, 2016

Erica Miles received her B.A. in Theater from Brooklyn College and her M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her poetry and short stories have been frequently published in the Greenwich Village Literary Review and Void Magazine. In January, 2016, her debut novel, Dazzled by Darkness: A Story of Art & Desire, was nominated as a Big City Book Club Selection for The New York Times.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Q & A with A.M. Rycroft

The Taming 
Cathell Series #2
by A.M. Rycroft

Imps, ale, and intrigue… This dark fantasy tale follows the brash Thystle Moran, sword for hire. Only one job has ever bothered her, one that promised to be easy money, but ended in the death of her friend. Now, an imp with questionable motives says her friend's death was no accident. Thystle seeks retribution as her world spirals out of control. She faces off against her dark past, a betrayal, feelings for a young woman, and the interests of a shadowy group known only as the Immortals. Can Thystle complete her quest for vengeance before someone ends her first? 

Paperback, 122 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Mighty Quill Books

Find the Cathell Series on Goodreads
Buy it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

                                                                                                                              Read It & Reap: February 9, 2017

A.M. Rycroft is a dark fantasy and horror author. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

She has been writing since a young age, and though she attended art school for a time, she found her way back to writing again after art school. Her first dark fantasy/horror novel Into the Darkness was written while she attended the University of Pittsburgh. Her writing has been compared to the works of David Eddings and Stephen King.

When she is not writing, Rycroft is a writing coach and a periodic cartoonist. She enjoys keeping fit with weight training and walks through her local parks. During the summer, A.M. is frequently seen riding the roller coasters at the Kennywood amusement park.

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Q & A with A.M. Rycroft

Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Thystle Moran is the main character in The Taming. She is a sword for hire and a vampyre, but not the Twilight or Interview with the Vampire type. The fact that she is a vampyre is more tangential to her character rather than a full definition of who she is as a person. Thystle doesn't like to over-analyze her life. Her past has its dark points, which she'd rather forget about and face each day as new. The events of The Taming kind of shake that philosophy, however.

Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
I have designed the covers for my last two books myself. I learned a lot about graphic design while I attended art school, prior to dropping out and moving in the direction of writing instead. It's a bit of a long process for me. I look for an inspiration for the cover and then try to bring that idea to life, while also tying one cover into the next in some way, since the two books I've published so far exist within the same series. I can't say whether I will continue to design all covers myself, but most people seem to like my work, so I think being able to do them myself has worked out alright.

Describe your ideal writing spot.
My home office. It's comfortable and quiet for the most part. Everything is arranged how I like it, and the feng shui of my writing space has to be just right. I've never been one who could sit down in a coffee shop or other public place and be able to write. I'm too prone to people-watching, so having other people around is too much of a distraction for me. And I'm usually writing very late at night, so most coffee shops are closed then.

What is the best advice you have been given?
I feel like I trot this story out to much, and I know someday soon, Joe Hill is going to come find me and tell me to stop telling people this story already, but his advice was the best ever given to me. I met him during a book signing at a small event in Massachusetts last year, and it wasn't long after the release of my first book. I was feeling really down, because the book wasn't receiving as much reader attention as I'd hoped. I asked him what he recommended for an author in my position. He thought about it a minute and then told me to just keep writing, because it's what I love to do, and eventually, the recognition will come. Writing is a long game, he said, and finding success with it takes patience. It was great advice and made me feel a lot better. Now, almost a year later and a second book on the shelves, and I'm actually starting to see a change in the recognition I'm getting. So, Joe Hill was totally right.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A police officer or a fireman or a fighter pilot or maybe a mobster. Of course, I didn't really know what that last one meant.

Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I know it's really disappointing to all those indie authors out there who only put ebooks out as a way to save money, but I don't buy ebooks. I will read a short piece in ebook form for a friend, if they ask for help with something, but that's as far as ebooks and I go. I just can't get into a book that isn't on paper in my hands. I feel like I just can't focus on the words right when I'm looking at an ebook. But I also understand the importance of ebooks for some people as a way to transport multiple books at once without having a stack of paper books, so I offer my books in ebook format too. I'm just not a fan of reading that way.

If you could have any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
It took me a long time to figure this one out. I don't like flying, so the ability to fly was out. I feel like the ability to walk through walls is an invitation for trouble, like I'd get stuck someplace, so that's out too. I finally settled on super speed. I was always the slowest runner in my class as a kid, and I continue to be the world's slowest jogger when I'm at the track. I've come to terms with that in adulthood, but if I could be the fastest, even for a short period of time, I think that would be great.

What book are you reading now?
I'm juggling a ton of writing projects right now, so I don't have a lot of time for reading, however, I recently started reading the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. I got a couple volumes of the graphic novel as gifts, so I'm working my way through those.