Author Interview: Mary R. Woldering #Tuesdaybookblog

Today I’m fortunate to present Mary R. Woldering author of Children of Stone.

Hi Mary, thanks for agreeing to this interview.

10014489_228282274027119_1981351165_oQuestion 1) What part of the world do you come from?

The United States

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

Strong characters and their interaction with each other

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

I don’t recall. I just wrote a story when I was about 14.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Chaotic and full of distractions, but I manage.

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

No idea what you would consider interesting or a quirk. I do a lot of research & Googling.

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

Opener of the Sky – Book 3 of the Children of Stone Series.

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

That I have very few readers. I think the story is a great one and so do my few readers, but news of the tale is just not spreading.

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Sure! I preceded it with the blurb.

Children of Stone Book 3 – Opener of the Sky

I had grown fierce and hard
Thrilled by death, torture, blood…
the madness of it when I tasted its warm saltiness
A warrior god.

… from the poem Howl by Mary R. Woldering (as told by Raemkai-2012)

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Marai, a former shepherd, who discovered a fallen ‘star’ and was gifted with amazing abilities by the unearthly Children of Stone, has been separated from those he loves.

Turned sojourner, he begins a desperate mission to find them, but the spectre of wickedness and corruption is never far behind and his journey to wisdom becomes even more uncertain.

While Opener Of The Sky, the third book in the Children of Stone series, is the continuing story of Marai’s magical search for his companions, it is also the story of Maatkare Raemkai, a sadistic shape-changing warrior-prince, whose twisted relationships once propelled him into power, then nearly destroyed him.

Through sorcerous manipulation of the women Marai loves, he has planned his own revenge. The sojourner Marai is just in the way.  Will he be too late to save those he loves or will he welcome them in victory?

In this excerpt from Sokor and Khmenu, Ariennu and Naibe attempt an escape from the clutches of their captor Prince Maatkare one day away from the king’s palace. He, being part wolf/dog tracks them, manipulating them into the very temple where he offers sacrifices. He’s intent on teaching them both a lesson.

(Reader’s note. Ariennu is nicknamed MaMa and Naibe is called Baby, but they are not mother and daughter.) 18+

 

Ari stared at Maatkare Raemkai as he chatted, noticing Deka sat next to her prince oblivious to the surroundings. She had done the same thing in Little Kina Ahna when everyone had lived with Marai.  That much of her personality had not changed. For Ari, Maatkare was much more interesting.

So good looking though. He was even fun to drink with last night before it got to be too much; watching him show off for his men. Ariennu mused, a slight smile on her lips. Maybe not the worst idea in the world, except having to share him. And whatever he did to Naibe this afternoon was uncalled for, knocking her out like that.

She paused, tucking in her thoughts, when she saw the prince glance her way as if he had heard every one of them.

The signal to Naibe was a yawn.

Ari leaned to a servant.

“Where is your privy? My friend and I need to…”

The servant glanced at the priest who spoke to the prince.

Maatkare, his eyes glimmering a little in recognition of something, motioned for an older guard to follow them. He raised a forefinger, then lowered it in a quiet but mystical gesture.

Don’t be gone too long, ladies. His thoughts whispered as he pulled Deka a little closer.

The shaded stall with an open half wall provided just enough room for a person to squat. After a moment, Ari rose and gestured to Naibe that it was her turn:

I’m going to cover myself and stand over you. If you just concentrate on getting to the king and not being seen, I think it’ll work.

She wrapped the prismatic illusion around herself like goddess Nut’s mantle, hugging Naibe up into her arms and slipping away past the guard who paced just a few feet away.

As soon as she reached the causeway to the river, she let Naibe down and dropped the illusion. The two women gasped and then caught their breath, shrinking back into the shadow. Once there, they tried to get their bearings.

“Do you think he saw which way we went?” Naibe whispered.

“No, but we have to keep moving down the river. I’m sure the guard has already told…Oh Goddess…fast. The bastard knows already.”

Ari stopped and crouched with Naibe as guards with bobbling torches erupted from the gate to priest’s house.

“Bring him out here. Stupid bastard let them run off.”

Prince Maatkare.

Storming by.

He whirled as two men dragged the guard who had been set over the women out to the wall near the water in the causeway channel.

Naibe and Ariennu crouched lower, wrapping secrecy around themselves.

“Highness. They used sorcery. Gone in a flash.” The guard pleaded, then accepting his fate, whispered: “Have mercy…”

“I do have mercy on you, because you have served me well.” The prince replied. “And I have mercy on your children.”

The shup sound of a blade striking hard into a body was followed by a groan. A shadow drifted over the three figures who supported the fourth, followed by a snapping sound. It meant the man’s neck had been broken in a quick gesture of mercy.

Ari clapped a quick hand over Naibe’s mouth to keep her from squealing aloud in horror.

“Take our unfortunate old friend to the open edge of the water. He has been given a message for Lord Sebek. What you men will know” the hand gesture again, as if he was imprinting the men with a different story, “is that as he was chasing the women, slipped at the muddy bank and the crocodiles got to him before we could. I will write a message to his family of his noble deeds in my service and award them his pension. Be careful of the crocodiles yourselves. They can be keen on those who break the rules or bear tales.” He grew silent as the guard’s body was carried away.

Ari faded herself into the color of the wall. She couldn’t make out everything the prince was doing but it seemed to be additional ritual gestures, followed by the spiritual howl of a wolf-dog. It grew in piercing volume overtaking Ari’s heart and filling her heart with uncustomary terror.

Naibe’s mouth opened in a silent cry.

Maatkare stopped, as if he noticed, and sniffed the air.

For a moment, Ari thought she recognized the flash of shiny fang teeth in an eerie grin but realized it was an image of warning he had conjured up so that he would appear as a beast before her eyes.

I know you are near, ladies. I can smell your scents. Because you decided to run away, you now see a little more of how I am. I will find you before dawn. I hope the chase will leave me feeling less upset by that time. The prince’s thought voice was calm and unruffled, just as it had been when he spoke to the unfortunate guard. He moved back up the causeway, scenting and searching for them.

As soon as Ari saw he was far enough away to appear the same size as a shabti doll, she silently grabbed Naibe and darted around the perimeter of the priest’s home and into the first entrance they could find that didn’t seem to be part of the building complex.

The path became a shrouded tunnel.

Ari saw two sentries at the open gate entryway.

Another temple, maybe? She thought, hurtling by the men with Naibe in tow. The sentries stirred as if they sensed something, stared at each other, then they closed the gate behind the women who were still moving deeper inside the passageways. Ariennu relaxed, her image becoming visible. She waited with Naibe in the dust and dark, while they caught their breath.

“Killed the guard, the bastard did, just to teach us a lesson. He set the whole thing up, because he knew we were up to something. I don’t even think N’ahab would have done that, goddess curse his soul.” Ari spat at the ground, then pulled Naibe to the left branch of the path when they came to a division.

The new hallway was close and torch lit with paintings on the walls. At intervals there were more paths and arched hollows that became other tunnels, but Ari was certain they would find the way out of the other side at any moment.

A right then another right then a left. Um. She paused to stroke the stone in her brow, hoping to clarify any message her Child Stone transmitted.

Where am I supposed to go? Damn. I’m going to get us lost. She froze. City of the Dead, Sokor. A Labyrinth, and I led us both in here.  She turned to Naibe. “Let’s just try to be calm and quiet. They will help us. They just have to.”

“Um, Ari…” Naibe paused, her hand staying the older woman’s hand. “You do know where you are going don’t you?”

“I just know we have to go deeper in. I can still feel his thoughts, Babe. He’s looking around down here…tracking us. He can smell us. If we keep moving in where the burial boxes are, there are enough of them and dust in the twists. I want his nose confused over what he thinks he smells. He can’t stay past dawn. Sooner or later he’ll have to give up on us and keep moving up the river. He’ll have to leave us.  Then we can get out and get down the river to Our Father Menkaure. If he’s going to keep showing me how he is ‘Prince Dangerous’ and killing people over nothing, we’re not safe. I’ll curse my own soul if I ever let some man kill me, whether he was glorious on his couch or not.”

“I didn’t like it, Ari.” Naibe admitted, just above a whisper.

“No? Really? I thought he was one wild hump! That El of his knew how to seek out every single part in my belly and womb like it was made for it. Mmm…Mmm…I wish I didn’t have to get away. I’m getting another itch for it, just thinking about it working me.”

Ari turned every way she could, realizing the underground complex must have been huge. So far she hadn’t found any two passageways that looked alike.

“With me, he put up a wall over his soul instead of becoming open to me. Devils came out of his eyes the more I sent up my loving to him. He just sucked it out and still gave nothing back. It was as if he was broken and couldn’t love me like a normal man. He could give the pleasure twice over to fill in that missing part and I was screaming for it, but then I couldn’t stop thinking of my Marai and how much I missed the real love he had for me…and then I couldn’t breathe. I fainted.”

“No I saw everything he did when you first came in. Read it off your stone when you were crawling around the cabin floor all shocked. Bastard choked you hard enough to end you and then painted night in front of your eyes…said he would drink your heart for saying Marai’s name to him.” Ariennu stopped walking and sat by the wall where five corridors branched out in the dark.

Now which way? She asked herself.

Naibe shuddered as if she wanted to gag in worry.

Ari she tapped the nearly imperceptible rise in the middle of her forehead just at the top of her nose. “Come on little one… some help here. Show me those little balls of light Marai told us about that led him in the dark to your boat of wonders so long ago, if this is still real…”

“It’s alright MaMa.” Naibe petted Ari’s shoulder.

“Still my fault we’re having to run like this. We should be at the palace soaking in asses milk, not having to get away from someone who’s no better than a slave master.” She saw the small lightened area in one of the corridors. “There. That way. I see those lights, I think. We have to go.” Ari got to her feet and pulled Naibe up.

After a series of twists and turns and more walking, the elder woman slowed, realizing the lights might have been an illusion born of her own fatigue.

 

Push on if you must

Or stay

Or go this way

 

A voice exploded just under her brow. It was louder than the usual whisper-like singing to which she had become accustomed.

“Finally! Ouch, damn. Naibe, watch your step, there’s something back here. I thought it was a wall but there’s something out in front.” She murmured, then felt the lid of a low stone box with some carved object on top.

A Stone box. It’s like my dream when I saw Marai lying dead in that black box somewhere. She felt for the edge for a moment but realized the box in her dream had been plain and slick to the touch. This one was smooth but not as finely polished

“I can feel a draft coming over the top so maybe it’s in front of a hall that leads us out of here the back way.” Ari couldn’t see much in the dark until she paused and became calm enough for her eyes to switch into a kind of night vision.

In the back, a niche containing a platform for offerings. Something furred, broken and wet with gore lay in the dish. Her hands leapt up away from whatever it was as if they had been lightning struck. Atop the lid was a carved image. She felt the shape: Animal. Legs, haunches, muzzle and upright ears of Wepwawet as Guide of the Dead.

She gasped, realizing the irony of the place she had entered with the younger woman. The prince’s words from late last night rang in her ears.

 

I’m the Lord of the Dead by the Blood of Aset…the Lord of the Dead

 

She remembered the revelry of the party, and the way a very drunk Maatkare cried out his howling lament about his ill-fated marriage to the king’s daughter. Women always tryna put a collar on me.

That was the moment she knew she had to get him away from the king’s private area and onto his boat.

Well damn me she thought.

Ari suddenly realized the prince was here on more than business. This was a centering and safe place for the disciples of Wepwawet who presented as a wolf/dog.

He must be from the wolf school with all his skill with a bow, the howling, the…Oh goddess…shape shifting that’s so fast no bones bend or skin stretches…he just is. I led us both to his safe space…He came here to cleanse himself? Our dinner host was his witness while we were cleaning up?

Ariennu sensed something wasn’t right in the tonality of the Children’s voices. Sounds like a man imitating…like…She tensed, all the hair on her arm rising as she heard the great wolf/dog’s panting approach to the opening of the chapel.

The sound of his clawed feet tip-tapped on the hardened earth floor of the path. The panting merged into an evil titter; breathing in the dark; a faint growl that grew stronger and more threatening.

 

Push on if you must

Or stay

Or go this way

Either way leads to pain

You see, I know what they sound like,

Your little friends

These voices in your crystal eye.

 

The black furred hand/paw touched her arm just before it faded into illusion.

“MaMa!” Naibe cried, panting. “He’s finding us. Hide!” Naibe ran around the stone box. This time she grabbed Ari and hid in her cloaking arms. The women clung to each other, wide-eyed and silent. Before the shroud of silence covered them, Ari saw the silhouette of a black wolf/dog thin like smoke. In its place, Ari thought she saw a gold armlet flashing in the slight available light of a distant torch.

Oh. He’s here? She hardened her resolve, crouching and ready to fight.

In the distance, the women heard a faint scampering snapping, growling, yodel-howling, circling and finding the way.

They’re coming Ari. Dogs…He has power over dogs. He’s sending dogs. Naibe grabbed Ariennu harder, as if it would help her gain more invisibility.

I know Baby, I know…the elder woman listened silently for a long time as the sounds circled, grew louder and finally paused outside the room where they had become the most confused.

Footsteps.

Maatkare stood in the doorway, golden wrist and arm bands glimmering in ambient torchlight.

“I know what you tried to do.” He began to pace, trying to seem thoughtful “Maybe I would have done the same thing too if I had been in your situation. But now you’ve caused a good man to die, because you outwitted him with your little trick.”

The sound of dogs growling grew louder.  His thought voice growled too, half human half dog as if he had become one of them.

Easy brothers…he started, then spoke aloud “Perhaps I should let them come at you. They are my trick, Red Sister. See if you like it.” Maatkare’s dark hand swept the air in front of him. Ari sensed an almost-whisper.

Suddenly, black ravenous shadows emptied past him around his torso and over his shoulders; into the chamber pouncing, snarling and biting. Ariennu felt herself knocked back hard by the weight of several animals standing around and towering over her. She shrieked angrily, struggling against their bodies.

“Call them off! Damn you!” she swung, kicked and shoved, but accomplished nothing.

 

“You’re afraid…tsk, tsk…fearless Lady Ariennu…worried by some puppies.”

 

“Am not…get them off me…”

 

“About to soil yourself, you naughty ka’t” he chortled, toeing the threshold and gesturing. “Just a very small sample of what I can do, if you come to annoy me.”

Puppies?  Ari froze, her eyes clearing a little.

The clawing and biting beasts had become gregarious, yipping puppies. They frolicked happily about her prone body then left, heading past the prince and out the doorway as they vanished.

It had been a magnificent illusion.

 

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?  

The last 2 books in the series Book 4 “Heart of the Lotus” and Book 5 “The Lake of Memory” plus some spin-offs in other time periods including a Steampunk Crime novella “Miss Hattie and the Hoppers” and an autobiography of sorts. There are other plans in other times and places.

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

Createspace covers. They are very professional looking.

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Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-R.-Woldering/e/B00OND7QMU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Website:  Palace intrigue, murder, madness, confusion, bizarre twists and plot turns…dangerous hookups, evil geniuses, punk sorcerers, traitors…

https://www.maryrwoldering.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChildrenofStone

Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/ChildrenofStoneNovels?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

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Author Interview: Claire Buss

Today I’m fortunate to present Claire Buss author of The Rose Thief.

Hi Claire, thanks for agreeing to this interview!

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

I’m from the UK, just moved to Southend-on-Sea sAuthor Pico I’m looking forward to being inspired by living next to the seaside!

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

I think a good story needs to capture the reader’s imagination so either a wondrous setting, imaginative storyline or characters that you can really connect with. Ideally all three in one book if possible. What I enjoy the most about reading is forgetting that I am turning physical pages because I am so swept up in the story world.

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book? 

Gaia Raven CoverMy first book, The Gaia Effect, was the result of taking part in a local book writing competition. I saw free writing workshops available at my local library and thought that would be a great opportunity to get back into writing. The workshops led to entry into the Pen to Print Book Competition with an opening chapter. I was fortunate enough to become a finalist in January 2015, all I had to do was write the rest of the book by August 2015! It was an amazing experience and I am so proud of The Gaia Effect, the first of many books I hope.

Tales from Suburbia jpgMy second book, which I released in July 2017, is called Tales from Suburbia and is a collection of short stories, plays and blog posts that intermingle my own personal experiences as a mum, the peccadillos of suburbia and the perils of social media. The subject matter varies from social observation to the humorous reflection of toddler life. Burying my Baby is heartbreaking. One, Two, Cha Cha Cha is hilarious. This collection is full of human foibles and folly and is both amusing and empathetic.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I am a stay-at-home mum so it can be difficult to juggle set writing times, it’s better if I try to remain flexible and jump on any and all opportunities to write. I often manage to get an hour in first thing as my little boy is a very early riser, between 5 and 6am usually. He watches Fireman Sam and I work on my latest project. When I am writing first draft I do sit down with a 1000 word daily target in order to make sure I get the book out of my head and onto paper. It’s a case of doing as much as I can, when I can.

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Hmmm, well I am a touch typist so I don’t have to look at my fingers when I’m typing which my husband finds highly amusing. I never plan, I’ll have a vague outline of the story – only about five lines or so – but absolutely no idea who is going to do what or how we will get from the beginning to the end. I think that’s why I enjoy writing so much because I have no idea what’s going to happen next.

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

My latest book is called The Rose Thief, it’s a humorous fantasy set in a world where magic exists and humans live alongside fae folk.

Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher has a problem. Someone is stealing the Emperor’s roses. But that’s not the worst of it. In his infinite wisdom and grace, the Emperor magically imbued his red rose with love so if it was ever removed from the Imperial Rose Gardens then love will be lost, to everyone, forever. It’s up to Ned and his band of motley catchers to apprehend the thief and save the day. But the thief isn’t exactly who they seem to be, neither is the Emperor. Ned and his team will have to go on a quest defeating vampire mermaids, illusionists, estranged family members and an evil sorcerer in order to win the day. What could possibly go wrong?

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

I am always surprised at being able to string words together. I think because I don’t have a writing plan and never know what’s going to happen back, it’s always impressive reading the first draft for the first time and thinking, wow, I wrote this!

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

 The Rose Thief Cover 1           Ned’s train of thought was disturbed by a blood-curdling scream coming from the direction of the Black Narrows. This in itself was not unusual. Most sounds down the Black Narrows were of the screaming persuasion. It wasn’t a place you visited after dark. Or in the middle of the day. Or ever, unless you were one of the unlucky hundreds who happened to call it home. There was no immediate response so the screamer tried a different tack.

            ‘It’s Two-Face Bob! Eee’s been murdered!’

            That did the trick. Soon the Narrows were filled with onlookers – some brought a stool and a beverage, the forward thinkers of Narrow society – others got stuck in the crowd. The murder alarm had started bonging in the thief-catcher’s office and seeing as the spell that ran the alarm had a bad habit of growing ten decibels a minute, it seemed to Ned to be a good idea to get away from that and investigate. Thief-Catchers were not required to investigate all murders, most were covered by The Guild of Inhumers. There was a monthly newsletter outlining who to look out for. As long as the correct paperwork had been logged and a receipt issued, everyone knew where they stood. They might not like it but at least they knew about it. The murder alarm somehow knew who had receipts and who didn’t. It was spell casting beyond Ned’s blocked ability, he couldn’t even manage the volume control.

            There was a bit of shoving and muttering as Ned pushed his way through the ranks. He didn’t have to look too hard to find the murder scene, all he had to do was follow the curious crowd. A fair number of the shifty looking men in nondescript clothing had come to make sure Two-Face Bob was actually dead. Certain people owed certain things and if his death were true, life had suddenly become a lot brighter. It only took one look to know for certain. One of Two-Face Bob’s faces stared lifelessly at the smog-ridden skies above, both eyes missing. The other face, which incidentally remained on his head, attached to his body, had eyes popping, mouth open as if to scream and a terrified look of fear and shock frozen in place. Someone had clearly taken a violent dislike to Two-Face Bob. Looking down at the separated visages of Two-Face Bob, Ned felt a flicker of unease surge in his stomach. It could be because he hadn’t eaten in the past twenty-four hours. Or it could be because Two-Face Bob had been to see him less than five minutes ago, claiming intel on the Rose Thief. Ned didn’t hold much weight with coincidences. The viciousness of the attack was unusual for the type of murder usually committed in Roshaven. Put that together with Two-Face Bob’s extensive protection system of both magical and mundane origin and it was obvious.

            ‘He’s been ripped apart by a wraith,’ Ned muttered under his breath.

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?  

I have a short story in the new Inklings Press anthology, Tales from the Underground and one in a brand new anthology called Quantum Soul – both of which should be out by the end of 2017. I shall begin writing the sequel to The Gaia Effect in January 2018 and I have plans to revisit the world of The Rose Thief with some additional stories. I also have a techno-western, a re-imagined fairy tale, a possible multi-book series as well as a second short story collection and a book about my book club. Lots more to come!

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

So far, the best money I’ve spent is to have the cover of The Rose Thief designed by a proper artist who is talented and knows what he’s doing, the wonderful Ian Bristow.

Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

You can contact me via Facebook – www.facebook.com/busswriter – or twitter – www.twitter.com/grasshopper2407. I also have a website – www.cbvisions.weebly.com where you can find the sign-up link to my newsletter, the latest news, and other social media links.

Author Interview: Stacey Rourke

Today I’m fortunate to present Stacey Rourke author of over a dozen books spanning various genres.

Hi Stacey, thanks for agreeing to this interview!

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

A1MziozdK1L._SY200_Born and raised in Michigan, hence my hatred for the cold. I live where the air sometimes hurts my face.

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

Strong character development. I need to feel for the characters, to engage with them to want to accompany them on their journey.  

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

My children. Many literary works still portray women as damsels in distress that need to be rescued by big strong men. For my daughters, I wrote The Conduit, which was the first of many strong female leads I created to empower females of all ages to be the hero of their own story.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I do most of my administrative and marketing tasks in the early part of the day, and tackle writing and editing later in the day when my mind is more awake and able to tap into creativity.  

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I act out a lot of the dialogue to myself, playing the part of every character, to make sure it flows and is believable.

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

Veiled, an urban fantasy novel

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Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

Vampires and politics really work well together. There are so many jokes about blood suckers I could insert here, but it would almost be TOO easy. LOL!

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

51r8Z4QbRCL“Wait!” Finn attempted to plant his feet with all the weak resolve he could muster. “The puppy, we have to get the puppy.”

“Puppy?” I pulled up short, searching his face for signs he was kidding.

“There, in the corner. Little thing won’t make it much longer if he’s left here.” I followed Finn’s nod to a tiny French Bulldog pup cowered in the corner. Covered in his own filth, every rib was clearly visible through his patchy, black hide. Ears pulled back, his slight frame trembled in a combination of fear and starvation. “He used the dog as an hour glass, taunting me with the promise of a meal if I could just get off the table. He gave the dog water but no food and told me when his time ran out, so would mine.”

“That’s the heartbeat I heard.” Helping Finn lean against the wall, I retrieved the frightened pooch. After letting him sniff my hand, I unhooked the chain wrapped around his neck and carefully folded him into my arms. Pointed ears perking, he thanked me with a feeble lick to the point of my chin. “You slaughtered my entire family, but your soft side comes out for a puppy?”

Giving me a minute to tuck the pup under one arm, Finn eased his weight back onto my shoulders. “No, I’m still starving. I was hoping you would cut the little guy’s throat and let me drink him.”

“I’m not feeding you a dog!” I yelped, tone dripping with disgust. “Ugh … thank you for reminding me why I loathe you.”

“If you loathe me, why did you save me?” Finn asked—his tone not one of accusation, but genuine curiosity.

Shuffling through the shadows of the basement, I tipped my face to the light beaming down from above. “Because, no one gets to kill you but me.”

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?

The Veiled Series will continue, as will the other collections I’m working on including The TS901 Chronicles, The Gryphon Series Resurrection, and The Unfortunate Soul Chronicles.  

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

Each time I travel to book events. The opportunity to meet new authors and readers is always an invaluable experience!

Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

www.staceyrourke.com,
www.facebook.com/staceyrourkeauthor,
Twitter and Instagram @rourkewrites
Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/stacey-rourke

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Author Interview: A.D. Trosper #FridayFeature

Today I’m fortunate to present A.D. Trosper, author of both epic fantasy, and fantasy/paranormal romance.

Hi Audra, thanks for agreeing to this interview!

Thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure to hang out with you.

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

Profile picThe western hemisphere. Specifically, the western half of the United States. I’ve lived in Washington state, Oregon, California, Oklahoma, and Kansas. I currently reside in a tiny town, without so much as a stoplight, out where central Kansas starts to bleed into western Kansas.

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

Great characters that you care about. A good setting is wonderful as well, but building a beautiful world is a waste if it’s populated by characters that readers don’t care about.

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

Unveiled Cover Final 8-4-2017My husband. He’s the one who kept encouraging me to write, the one who kept telling me I could do it. Between his cheerleading and my love of dragons, my epic fantasy series was born.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I work best in barely controlled chaos, so there is no particular schedule. I may not write anything for a couple of weeks, and then spend the next week after churning out almost ten thousand words a day.

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I keep most of the story, the various backstories, and the various substories, in my head. I write down notes about characters like name, how they look, and where they are from. The rest of it is all filed away in a very messy records room in my head.

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

Betrayed Cover Final 8-4-2017 smallerMy latest book is Betrayed. It’s a fantasy/paranormal romance and the second in my Raven Daughter series in which a young woman finds out there is more to her than she realized. She was supposed to be a reaper, but her heritage makes her so much more than that and a lot of people aren’t pleased about it. 

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

How to make Napalm B. I had no idea that was even a thing until I accidentally stumbled across a youtube video while researching something else. My curious, writerly mind of course had to watch the video, because as a writer, once you realize there is a new thing you don’t know, you have to learn it or it will drive you crazy. Or at least it would me.

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Absolutely. This is a scene from Betrayed:

The man stepped from the shadows and walked toward us. Or maybe he glided, it was so graceful. Black hair hung to his waist in a straight, shiny fall. Though Caius had always seemed perfection of the human form to me, this man could almost make Caius seem average. Almost.

His height held my attention when he came to stop a couple of arms lengths away. He had to be head and shoulders taller than Caius, which made me feel absolutely shrimpy. Caius inclined his head slightly. “Hades.”

I nearly choked and my heart rate jumped into a gallop. Hades? As in the Greek god, Hades? I couldn’t help the tremble that started in my knees and worked its way up my body. Sentinels and demons wanting me dead weren’t enough? Now I had a god after me too? If he wanted me dead, I was screwed. Not even Caius could defeat a god. Without realizing it, I had reached out and snagged a handful of the back of Caius’s shirt. I didn’t know why, only that I needed some connection to keep the sudden terror at bay.

In my fear, I had missed part of the conversation.

“…relax, Caius.  I’m not here to kill you.”

“Maybe not, but there are very few I trust these days.” Caius shifted, putting me behind his back a little more.

“Now, Caius, is that any way to behave with an old friend?” Hades said smoothly and moved to where he could see me better. My trembling increased under the weight of his black eyes. “I merely wanted to get a look at the one who has everything in chaos. Shame on you for hiding her heritage.”

I glanced up at Caius’s face. I could only see the side, but if the tension in his jaw was any indication, he wasn’t pleased to see Hades. I couldn’t blame him. I did envy his calm as he faced someone who could obliterate him. Or maybe he wasn’t completely calm, but he seemed more pissed than scared. I would take that too. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any anger in myself to latch on to. Only quivering fear. Then again, I was facing a kind of devil.

Hades expression became one of affront. “I am not a devil.”

I stared at him in shock. Could he read my mind?

“Yes, I can.” He glanced at Caius. “Does she really believe all of that forked tail and pitchfork stuff?”

“She was raised in the mortal world, with all of their stories.” Caius’s voice was still guarded as he moved his arm back to block me a little more. I place my other hand on the rock hard muscle of his forearm.

“Oh yes,” irritation flashed across Hades’s face, “those.”

He took in Caius’s stance and me tucked behind him and raised a perfect eyebrow. “Protective aren’t we?”

“We share a partial bond, what happens to her happens to me.”

“Except death.” Hades held up a finger. “That you would survive.”

A growl rumbled low in Caius’s chest and I could feel the vibration in his arm.

“Just a correction of your statement, nothing more.” Hades smirked and turned his attention back to me. “Such a little thing to cause so much trouble.”

Heat flared on Caius’s skin when Hades walked around him, reached toward me and hooked one of his long, perfectly manicured, nails under my chin, forcing me to look into his black eyes. I fell into them, drowning in their dark depths as they filled the world around me. My hand tightened on Caius’s arm until my nails dug into his skin.

“Enough.” Caius’s command was sharp.

Hades chuckled and suddenly the world was normal again. He gazed down at me with interest. “She’s fantastic. I can’t wait to see her grow into her powers.” He placed his finger against his lips as he regarded me. “I won’t even have to wait that long. Your blood is maturing her faster.”

Okay, terrified I may have been, but the way he continued to talk about me like I was a show dog started to irritate me and I welcomed the spark of anger that welled inside. It helped to balance the fear.

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?  

I have several books either in the works or planned. I will be writing the third and final book of the Raven Daughter series next. After that I have a 4th book in my epic dragon fantasy to write, one more book and one novella to write for my Bound series, and a couple of stand alone books that are also waiting in the wings to be written.

Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

Buying Word 2010, lol. That is my go to for writing. I’ve tried Scrivner and a few others, but Word just works best for me. I think it’s because it isn’t highly organized.

Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

You can find out more about my books, read my blog, sign up for my newsletter, and learn more about my books all at my website: www.adtrosper.com .

Author Interview with Author, Shelley Wilson (@ShelleyWilson72) #BlogTour #NonFiction

Blog Tour Banner for Shelley Wilson HIMMTS

Thank you so much to my lovely host, Mackenzie, for being a part of the blog tour for the release of my latest non-fiction book, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed.

What part of the world are you from?

SONY DSCI live in a small town called Solihull in the United Kingdom which is about two hours from London and about half an hour from Stratford-upon-Avon, birth place of Shakespeare. It’s a very pretty place to live with plenty of green spaces and woods.

What inspired you to write non-fiction self-help?

I have always been interested in personal development, self-help, and inspirational people. The late, Louise Hay, was a huge influence on my life after I left an abusive marriage and started my life over. This genre played a large part in my recovery and my self-discovery and the more I learned, the more I wanted to share this knowledge and help others.

My non-fiction books tend to fit into memoir as well as self-help as I always share my personal experiences, the highs and the lows, as I’ve travelled along the path of reinventing myself.

What is your work schedule like when writing?

Oh dear! I’m a bit scatty when it comes to my work schedule. In every other area of my life I am uber organised and, dare I say it, a bit of a control freak. However, when I get sat behind my computer everything falls apart and I end up flipping between screens – manuscript, Twitter, Facebook, Email, manuscript, Facebook, Email, lunch! I need to teach myself how to switch off all other notifications when I’m supposed to be writing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’m not sure it’s a quirk, but I plan my books using pen and notebook, but then have to type the manuscript directly to my computer. I may also have a slight obsession with post-it notes!

Give us the title and genre of your latest book. 

The title of my latest non-fiction book is How I Motivated Myself to Succeed and it fits into the self-help, memoir, and women’s biographies genre. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

I was quite ill during the time I was writing this book and actually threw away 30,000 words because the ‘voice’ wasn’t right. My editor was wonderful and called me brave which made me cry ha ha. Eventually, I was able to pick myself up, shake off the doubts, and start over. I was surprised at how much my writers’ voice changed when dealing with external issues.

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Absolutely! Here’s a section from the opening introduction:

Screenshot-2017-10-04-01.34.23When I wrote How I Changed My Life in a Year, I used the many personal development tools that have helped shape my new life. The book you hold in your hand right now is my way of sharing the what, why, and how of making life changes, and sticking with them for the long term. I finally understand why my readers needed answers. How I Changed My Life in a Year was like making a cake without the recipe. Here was the final twelve-layered chocolate sponge, covered in gooey icing and sprinkles, but with no instructions on what was needed, or how to go about making it. Luckily, it tasted great and went down a storm at tea parties, but people wanted more – as is normally the case with chocolate cake!

I’m not a life coach, a specialist guru, or a big name in the world of self-help. I’m a single mum with grey hair and back fat, but I have an insatiable passion for life, and I want to share what I’ve learned with you, in the hope that my journey can tempt, motivate, inspire, and assist you on your voyage of discovery. Empowering women to be the best they can be has become my mission in life.

The decisions we make in life, and the incredible treks we take, don’t just happen. We are in control of our destinies, and this means that it’s down to us to make them happen. I hope this book fills in the gaps for you. I want it to inspire you to try something new, change a habit, set a few goals, release your limiting beliefs, or stay motivated to achieve the dreams you’ve already set yourself. You’ll notice the title reads How I Motivated Myself to Succeed; this is intentional. I wanted to share my personal thoughts, experiments, successes, and failures, so writing this book in the form of a self-help memoir felt right.

There are a ton of fantastic self-help books on the market today; some even include workbooks that can help you with a specific area of your life, and some are linked to online or audio courses. I’m not reinventing the wheel here; my aim is to give you, the reader, a comfortable read that feels familiar and safe. Self-help, how-to, supportive, counselling- driven books are incredibly personal to the individual reader. I’ve bought loads of motivational books because of media hype or because a favourite author has written it, only to find it to be unhelpful. I slot it on my bookshelf and wait – in time, my life will change direction, or certain circumstances will present themselves, and that book will be just the thing I need to read at that time. I fully support the saying, ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears.’

What can we expect from you in the future?

Screenshot-2017-10-04-01.33.05I’m currently working on a sequel to my last young adult fiction novel after being inundated by readers for a ‘what happens next’ book. Oath Breaker is my first werewolf book and I had so much fun writing it – and apparently readers had fun reading it!!

I’m also working on a meditation for children book that I hope to finish this year.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Paying for a professional editor, without a doubt! Best money I ever spent. My editor is fabulous and she totally gets my quirks, voice, and hang-ups. She’ll tell me off when I use far too many exclamation marks (!!!) and boost my confidence by telling me what she loves about the book we’re working on. Yes, best money every spent was on my editor.

How can we contact you and find out more about your books?

You can find me on my author blog www.shelleywilsonauthor.com or via my personal development blog http://www.motivatemenow.co.uk.  Or my website http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.co.uk

I’m also on Twitter www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72, Facebook www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog and Instagram www.instagram.com/authorslwilson

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073QXLN4H

Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B073QXLN4H

Author Bio:

Shelley is a multi-genre author of non-fiction self-help and young adult fantasy fiction. Her latest release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed is being dubbed as the sequel-that’s-not-a-sequel to her bestselling book, How I Changed My Life in a Year. She writes a personal development blog (www.motivatemenow.co.uk) as well as an author blog (www.shelleywilsonauthor.com) where she shares book reviews, author interviews, and random musings about writing. Shelley was thrilled to win the Most Inspirational Blogger Award at the Bloggers Bash in 2016, and to scoop second place in the same category in 2017. She is a single mum to three teenagers and a black cat, loves pizza, vampires, and The Walking Dead, and has a slight obsession with list writing.

Author Interview: Tom Tinney #Tuesdaybookblog

Today I’m fortunate to present Tom Tinney, author of “Blood of Invidia” and numerous other works.

Hi Tom, thanks for agreeing to this interview!

Question 1) What part of the world do you come from?

61dk10LR0gL._UX250_USA. Originally lived in Arizona, but currently, reside in Wisconsin. Travelled the world when I served in the USAF.

Question 2) What do you think makes a good story?

An unforced story. No matter the genre, if it feels like the author is “Checking the PC/genre boxes”, it’s boring and contrived. I also love to become immersed. The author needs to help me suspend reality (especially in my favorite genres of Sci-Fi and Fantasy).

Question 3) What inspired you to write your first book?

I used to edit and write for a Biker magazine (V-twin, not peddle-type). People kept saying I should write a book. So, I did. Just not the book they thought. Instead of spooling out the next “Sons of Anarchy” with “Bikers, brawls, and broads”, I wrote the epic Sci-Fi Space Opera Thriller “Threads”. It’s why I’m the Biker-Nerd.

Question 4) What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I start each session with a little clean up from the last sit down, then plow ahead. I have a spreadsheet system (and giant whiteboard) for capturing and refining my ideas. I use those to keep from straying too far off the planned story. Sometimes a writer comes up with a jewel, or two, worth pursuing and characters take on a life of their own. You should explore those, but they can’t overwhelm or distract from the story.

Question 5) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I can write anywhere. Noisy, quiet, busy, alone. Just write. I’m not one of those “Gotta have my music on” or “I need total silence” people. As a matter of fact, I’m REALLY bored with those sorts of questions in writing groups. “What music do you write with?” and “1st, 3rd or blah blah blah person point of view, which is best?” None. All. Who cares…just write the story that comes and be true to it.

Question 6) Give us the title and genre of your latest book.

51FiQ8BzT2L._SY346_“Blood of Invidia: Book One of the Maestru series”, Sci-Fi/Galactic Empire/Paranormal. We blend old classics (Vampires/shape shifters) with SciFi (Gray Aliens, Hi-tech Yakuza ninjas). By “We” I mean myself and my son, Morgen Batten, who co-wrote it with me in the cloud. He lives in Australia and we have never met in person.

Question 7) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

I could separate the “Dad-mode” from the writing effort. When we collaborated, we were both thinking about the story. We resolved differing views and nuances during great discussions (Usually via Skype) and by shooting each other examples via messenger.

Question 8) Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?

Malikae focused on his prey’s back. He pressed his hands deeper into his coat. They rested not in pockets, but through holes that allowed him to grab and manipulate the weapons held up by their hidden nylon support straps. He wore a service jacket he’d purchased at an army surplus store. The weapons had been stolen from a nearby military facility. He kept pace with his prey.

Cla-clink-clink.

A minute, but very distinct sound. The sound of a mechanical lever being thrown and engaged. Simultaneous metallic clicks originating from both of the oversized front pockets of his jacket.

He wondered for a microsecond about the safety of the other beings between him and around his target, but the thought turned to grey mist and he became unconcerned that he was on a crowded street.

He was compelled to act. Something inside him screamed for him to turn away, to return to his companions. To take his new family and run back to— who? To her. But that screaming voice died in the fogginess of his mind, as well. He wasn’t sure if it was wrong or right, but it was necessary. He knew it.

He pushed the machine-pistols forward and up, so they brushed his coat out of the way, the trapezoidal metallic protrusions on the back of his hands catching slightly on the coat.

He raised the weapons quickly and took a bead on his intended target. He drew a deep breath and released it. Some of the more observant people in the crowd noticed the black metal shapes and looks of recognition began to appear. They wouldn’t recognize the metallic pieces embedded in his hands or the set that were attached on either side of his neck beneath his long black hair.

 The more observant people started to flex away from the obvious danger, or avert their course out of the path of the barrel tips pointed through them at the target. Malikae released the breath, and at the end of his expulsion of air, the point at which the hand is steadiest, he pulled the triggers of both weapons.

Although his mission briefing stressed that his quarry was dangerous, it was only at that moment that the truth of that statement became apparent. The pistols bucked in his hand once, twice, three times in succession and his intended victim seemed to blur and then simply was no longer in his line of fire.

He watched through the grey haze of expended gasses and burning gunpowder as his bullets passed through the empty space where his target had been walking. The projectiles from his weapons tore the line of pedestrians beyond to shreds. The air, moments before the domain of generic city sounds, now filled with the screams of the wounded, dying and those terrified that they’d be next.

And still, the guns fired, the barrels searching for a target that was no longer there. They swept right and left, wherever Malikae looked, the barrels followed and the people died.

Failure. His hands shook and his legs tensed. He screamed, but it came out as a howl. He saw red, knowing the element of surprise had been lost. The weapons in his hands were now useless. Anger and frustration took the place of calculation and cunning. The emotional shift set off a rush of endorphins and adrenalin. The magazines ran empty. He wouldn’t be able to finish this with machine pistols, so he let them go and pinched the strap release buckles, dropping them, and their harness, to the ground. He’d trained with these primitive weapons in order to blend in and they’d proven ineffective.

Question 9) What can we expect from you in the future?  

Lots. Currently working on “ManaTech: Mages” a new FantaSci/Alternate History series that is part of a book deal. Also have to do two more books in the “Fabric of the Universe” series associated with my first novel “Threads”, as well as three more books that will complete the “Maestru Series” that “Blood of Invidia” started. I also write a WEBisode series on my website called “PULPED!” which is near future detective noir set on Mars.

 Question 10) What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

It’s a tie. Professional cover and professional editing. Elevated my novels.

Question 11) How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Everything can be found on my website Https://www.tomtinney.com (If fans sign-up for my newsletter, they get a free copy of “Threads” to read.

Or on my Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Tinney/e/B00EAWJWVM