Author Interview: Stephanie Ayers #Tuesdaybookblog

Today I’m fortunate to present Stephanie Ayers, author of The 13: Tales of Illusory.

Hi Stephanie, thanks for agreeing to this interview!

11224037_860439547360338_7629373995538696974_oQuestion 1) What part of the world do you come from?

I call the east coast of the United States home. I live in Virginia, closer to Washington, DC, though I crave a home in the mountains. 

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

To me, a good story is well-told with vibrant images that play like a movie in my head as I read. To me, it’s when I’m reading and the whole world disappears… that is good story.

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

I have been writing as a child. My dream to be famous started with writing, then singing, then acting, then singing, and I have found it most peaceful to write. The inspiration behind my first published book was a publisher’s admission that she loved it after I wrote a blurb to it. It began as a serial on my blog.

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

Honestly writing takes a back seat right now as we work on building our publishing house up. I’ve been doing a lot of focus with graphics, but writing is still instrumental to all I do. It must be creative, and that is a successful day.

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

Hmmm… some would say love stories with a twist, but my writing quirk is probably more along the lines of all the headless or beheaded characters in my stories.

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

The 13: Tales of Illusory is a collection of short horror stories.

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

I’m always surprised by people’s interest. I’m in my own little world, just being me, so when people step up, it’s always the biggest surprise. It’s also a surprise how well received my book cover is.

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

Sure…this is from Wade, Haunted:

The 13

The front door of the white house opened with a squeak that made Wade’s heart skip a beat. His eyes closed, and the dusty silence of the long empty house accosted him. Nothing disturbed the air, not even the buzz of appliances. Sensing the vacancy, he opened his eyes. A photo album s

 

at on the rickety coffee table just beyond the front door. His stomach clenched. Hesitant eyes searched the room as he moved towards the table, noting the crumbling paint on the walls and broken bricks of the fireplace, but he switched direction at the last minute. Despite the dead silence, he needed to know there was no one there. His feet carried him through a small opening and into the kitchen.

Cobwebs crowded dark corners, and a spider web covered the base of the sink. The stale odor of disuse exuded from the refrigerator as he opened it. Nothing there but more cobwebs. He coughed and closed it. A glance out the window showed him a yard filled with unruly weeds and tall, browning grass. He followed a short hall to a closed door. Inside the closet a few musty jackets hung on metal hangers and dust coated the floor.  

A short staircase with an ornate brass bannister loomed opposite the closet. He ascended, the ominous creaking and sighing of the steps disturbing the silence. Wade’s heart plunged to his belly. He raced to the top looking over his shoulder every other step. Once he reached the top, an open foyer looked down into the front room. With bated breath he investigated the rooms behind him and found most of them empty. He flipped the light switch in the bathroom out of habit, and a pasty white face stared at him from the mirror. Startled, he jumped and his heart quickened, until he realized it was his reflection.

Wade’s fingers trembled as he turned the knob of the last room, and the door opened without noise. Rose pink covered the walls, and gold-framed landscapes of mountains and sunsets hung on either side of an elaborate oak dresser. A large gold headboard disappeared behind a yellowed rosebud coverlet. A layer of age and abandonment coated everything. He shut the door, a sense of intrusion replacing his dread, and moved to the railing. The album winked up at him from the coffee table, drawing his attention. His curiosity aroused, he worked his way to the front room.

A cloud of dust exhaled from the couch as he sat. His hands quivered as he opened the cover; he took his time pouring over each page. Pictures of a handsome family rose from the pages. A sincere-faced father draped an arm across each son’s shoulders. A beautiful woman stood beside him, cradling an infant in her arms. As their story unfolded, the family appeared less and less, until only pictures of the woman remained. Loneliness seeped from her eyes, and he wondered what had happened to them.

With his eyes in a half-squint, he concentrated on the surrounding room, searching for a clue. A dark stain on the wall near the baseboard caught his attention. Hot breath blew against his neck. He turned and startled. The woman from the pictures sat next to him. Her ruby lips pouted coyly. Her blonde hair twisted seductively down her body, drawing attention to her full breasts. They pressed against her tight top as she leaned forward, teasing Wade with her closeness.

“What brings you here, lover?”

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

I have a holiday children’s story and two fantasies in development, along with another short story collection and a few stories I’d like to flesh out and use in a collaboration with my best friend and writing partner, A.L. Mabry.

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

Getting copies of my books and smelling that new book smell when I open the box.

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

I’m all over social media. The absolute best way is to follow my blog or my author page.

Most of my other haunts are with the handle “theauthorSAM” and I’m on Instagram as my graphic’s page, OWS Creative Studios. You can also contact me through OWS Ink and find out about any new books by subscribing to the newsletter

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Author Interview Andy Peloquin #Tuesdaybookblog

Today I’m fortunate to present Andy Peloquin, author of The Last Bucelarii and Queen of Thieves series.

Hi Andy, thanks for agreeing to this interview.

Hello? Is this microphone on?

Heh, thanks so much for having me!

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

andyOh boy, straight to the tough questions! To sum me up: Born in Japan to French/Canadian/American parents, lived in Mexico for 15+ years. Basically, I’m from everywhere and nowhere.

10 Things You Need to Know About Me:
  1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
  2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
  3. I’m a head taller than the average person (I’m 6′ 6″)
  4. Marvel > DC
  5. I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
  6. Selena Gomez, Skrillex, Simon & Garfunkel, Celine Dion, and Five Finger Death Punch are all in my writing playlist.
  7. Aliens are real, but it’s self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
  8. Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
  9. I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
  10. I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

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

An intriguing, realistic character with relatable problems, forced into impossible circumstances, making difficult choices to achieve outstanding changes, even if only one person’s life is changed. 

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

I come from a very creative family, so the innate desire to create new things is in my blood. But I was always fascinated by the darker side of fantasy societies: thieves, criminals, assassins, thugs, and the underbelly/dregs. I wanted to write a story about a killer who you, the reader, could root for. You may not agree with his actions (killing), but you can understand and empathize with them. Thus, the Hunter of Voramis was born!

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

I get about 2 hours of writing time per day, with a bit more on the weekends. I’ll usually sit down at roughly the same time every day and not stop writing until I finish the chapter, scene, or important part of the story. That usually is anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 words per day. Given the extra time I can set aside Friday and Saturday, I’m sometimes able to hit 20,000 words in a good week.

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

I HAVE to have at least one of three things: Winterfresh chewing gum, a coffee/hot chocolate/chai tea/something hot and sweet to drink, and a little cookie/pastry. As long as I have one of the above, I can get into the groove.

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

Thief of the Night Guild CoverThe latest book is Thief of the Night Guild, the second in my dark fantasy Queen of Thieves series. It follows Ilanna, a thief through the month she spends planning and executing the first bank heist ever accomplished in the fantasy world.

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

I learned SO MUCH in this particular book. I had to research lockpicking, vaults, safes, metalsmithing, basic chemistry, and more. This was also my first serious stab at romance (and not your usual kind!), so it was a fascinating chance to look at the dynamics between people to make a believable romantic interaction. Turns out I have NO idea what real romance is like!

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

Absolutely! This is a snippet from the third and final book in the Queen of Thieves series, titled Queen of the Night Guild:

Ilanna’s hand darted to her sword. The pain of her scorched flesh didn’t stop her from drawing the blade.

“Wait!” Master Gold’s voice cracked like a whip. “Follow me.”

He scurried from the Council Chamber. Ilanna fell in step behind him, her eyes wary. Chaos reigned in the Night Guild. Cries, shouts, and the clash of steel echoed off the earthen walls of the tunnels. Yet Master Gold led them away from the tumult.

“Where are we going?” Ilanna demanded. “We need to fight.”

“No, we need to hide.”

Ilanna jerked to a stop. “What?” Fury burned in her chest. “We’re under attack, and your first thought is for your own skin?”

Master Gold shook his head. “Think about it, Ilanna. I am Master of the Night Guild. What will happen to the Guild if I am killed, or worse, captured?”

“But we don’t know who’s attacking us!” Ilanna half-turned toward the sound of fighting. “We have to find out more.”

“Does it really matter?” Master Gold’s jaw muscles worked. “Either the Duke’s Arbitors have found our tunnels, or the Bloody Hand has. There’s no heroism in dying today.”

Ilanna clenched her fists. “Damn it, Master Gold! We have to help.”

“No, we don’t.” The Guild Master shook his head. “We need to be safe. House Serpent and House Bloodbear were formed for just this eventuality. They’ve enough fighters between them to drive out a small army.”

“They’re going to get killed!”

“And they’ve known that since the first day they were chosen by their Houses. Just as you knew what would happen if you were caught in the wrong mansion.” He gripped her sword arm. “But I must live. If we are to recover from this, we will need a clear head and a firm hand to direct our next step. You know as well as I that there is no one better-suited to leading the Guild in a time like this than me. If that means I must act the coward and hide, so be it. I do it for the Guild.”

Ilanna looked in his eyes. His expression showed no sign of fear, only the cold pragmatism that had made him such a useful ally. He spoke the truth. That didn’t mean she had to like it.

“Well, you may be comfortable running and hiding, but I stand with my House!”

“With those hands?” Master Gold’s voice grew harsh. “You can barely hold that sword without wincing. You wouldn’t last two minutes in a fight.”

Ilanna wanted to argue, but the pain radiating from her scorched palms forestalled her argument.

“If you will not listen to reason, you will obey a direct command. Protect me, Journeyman Ilanna of House Hawk. Protect your Guild Master. That is an order.” Master Gold’s eyes narrowed. “And before you protest, remember that you are still a Journeyman. You have not yet been released from the oaths you swore to your House, to the Guild. To me.”

Ilanna growled low in her throat. “Damn you, Master Gold!” She had to heed his command.

“Let’s go.” Master Gold jerked his head down a side corridor. “To my office.”

The Council Chamber stood a few hundred paces from the Guild Master’s quarters, on neutral territory belonging to none of the Houses. Master Gold and Ilanna covered the distance in less than a minute.

“Secure that door.” Master Gold instructed.

Ilanna threw the deadbolt. The door, built of solid Ghandian blackwood, would keep out anything short of a battering ram.

“Now what?” Her gaze darted around the room. If they dragged Master Gold’s enormous desk in front of the door, it could buy a few more minutes.

“This way.” Master Gold strode over to a bookcase, upon which sat seven golden figurines: a hawk, a serpent, a scorpion, a bloodbear, a fox, a hound, and a grubber mole. The Guild Master pulled on the hawk. Something clicked, and the bookcase slid to one side, revealing a darkened tunnel beyond.

“Secrets within secrets, Ilanna.” The Guild Master pointed to the alchemical lamp that hung on the opposite wall. “We’ll need light.”

Ilanna darted across the room and lifted the lamp from its sconce. Once inside the hidden passage, Master Gold pressed on a stone and the bookcase slid shut without a sound.

Ilanna held up the lamp. The tunnel ran for ten paces before turning a corner. “Where does this go?” she whispered.

“To the sewer tunnels beneath the city. And to the chambers of every House Master.”

Ilanna’s eyebrows shot up. “What?”

Master Gold grinned and shrugged. “There is much about the Night Guild known only to myself and the Masters I trust.”

“Master Hawk?”

The Guild Master nodded.

Relief flooded Ilanna. “So he’ll be safe.” Master Hawk could hide until the Serpents and Bloodbears dealt with the threat.

Master Gold’s expression darkened. “You’ve known Jagar Khat for years.” Sorrow filled his eyes. “Have you ever known him to back down when someone threatened his House?”

Ilanna’s gut clenched.  Master Hawk would be the first to face whatever came through the doors of the Aerie. He would protect his House, the cost be damned.

Master Gold’s hand gripped her shoulder. “You can’t go out there. You can’t save him.”

Ilanna whirled. “Damn you, Master Gold!” She drove a fist into the earthen walls.

The Guild Master’s voice dropped to a whisper. “He’ll survive this. He has to.” He spoke as if trying to convince himself.

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

SO MUCH! Once I finish this final book in my trilogy, I’ll set to work on other stories: dark fantasy romance, military fantasy, literary fantasy, a dark fantasy murder mystery story featuring this character Ilanna (from the Queen of Thieves series) and the Hunter of Voramis (from my The Last Bucelarii series), and many, many more. I may even wander into the Urban Fantasy genre to put out a few short stories, novels, or even a trilogy.

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

A pair of glasses. Heh, it sounds silly, but I refused to wear glasses for a year or two after I needed them. When I finally bit the bullet and bought a pair, it made all the time I spent on my computer so much less exhausting.

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

You can find me EVERYWHERE as Andy Peloquin. I’ve added all my links below—feel free to check them out, join the club, and enter my dark fantasy world!

Website: http://www.andypeloquin.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndyPeloquin
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andyqpeloquin
Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1383986274994456/
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8KnIEoUDWRJkAhJ16CN5Dw
Reader List Sign-Up: http://andypeloquin.com/join-the-club/
Fantasy Fiends Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFantasyFiends/
Follow on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/andy-peloquin

 

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

Author interview with Ginny Clyde #Tuesdaybookblog

Today I’m fortunate to present Ginny Clyde, author of The Rose Chronicles series.

Hi Ginny, thanks for agreeing to this interview. 

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

61n8i3d8uML._UX250_Ginny: I am Indian, but spent a great amount of time in Scotland, finishing my higher degrees. 

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

I love stories that make me want to know more. I like plot twists and unexpected results, something that I could not have thought of when I had first started reading the book.

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

Ginny: The first thing I wrote was fanfiction. It is the untold stories of my favourite anti-heroes that sparked my imagination and drove me to write about them. 

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

Ginny: I write whenever I get time. All things in my regular routine have to get done before I even sit down to write. This means that I would generally start writing in the evening, take a break to prepare and eat dinner and then write for a few more hours before I hit the bed.

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

Ginny: That’s hard to say. I believe it is something for others to decide!

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

51q9eKyWJsLGinny: My latest book is Immortal Rose which is the third part in my ongoing series. The genre is Gothi paranormal romance. 

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

Ginny: I was unsure if I could write violent scenes depicting torture and murder but now that I am working on my draft, I would say it has turned out rather well.

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

Ginny: Sorry, no spoilers!

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

Ginny: More books that have paranormal elements in it. I enjoy writing romance, adventure and horror but they are all in a supernatural world. 

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

Ginny: Definitely for advertising my book.

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

Ginny: My Amazon page

Email: forests.daughter@gmail.com

 

Interview with R.A. Andrade #Tuesdaybookblog

Today I’m fortunate to present R. A. Andrade author of The Field Trip.

Hi Ron, thanks for agreeing to this interview.

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

Ron: First, I would clarify that the world I come from is planet Earth to dispel anyB1uXJ7qnXrS._UX250_ rumors to the contrary. I was born and raised in New England, and then moved to Michigan after graduating college.

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

Ron: If people enjoy reading a story, it is a good story. What is a story people enjoy reading? I believe everyone guesses at the answer to that question, or write what they like and get pleasantly surprised to discover other people like it as well.

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

Ron: There was a point in time when I became addicted to reading novels at any opportunity. I would read anywhere and anytime, even if only there was only a fifteen minute window. Primarily reading science fiction and mysteries, many of the plots became repetitive and all too familiar. Hungering for something different, the urge to try writing my own story overtook me…so I did. I worked on that novel in the same manner I had been reading…nonstop. When finished, I considered it great; in need of little editing, which I could surely do myself.

Reading through that first novel now, only one word comes to my mind…trash.

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

Ron: There is no schedule. I write when I make the time, which can be any time of day or night. I usually write daily in blocks of time that fit opportunity and flow of thoughts. This most often occurs late night but the story still works in my mind during other daily activities that allows me to escape to my work. 

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

Ron: Nothing terribly interesting, but most short fiction I write begins with an idea intending to be a science fiction story. Somehow, I lose control of the stories along the way and the results are something else…a spooky murder where a crow is the victim…Santa Claus straightening out management at a corporate staff meeting…and of course a superhero squirrel tale.

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

Ron: The Field Trip. The back cover states it is “An adventure mixe23702427d with a touch of fantasy. Add a twist of love.” Some readers classify it as science fiction.

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

Ron: That my spelling improved dramatically. This was unintentional since I have always bragged about being a poor speller. Fortunately, there are some words I continue to misspell although used thousands of times.

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

Ron: These are a few paragraphs from an upcoming novel:

Glen backed the Mustang to the park entrance road, and then proceeded in. They passed the deserted collection booth, following the arrows that indicated the route to the lake. Parking at the edge of the lot that would have normally been crammed with a hundred or more cars and trucks on a hot August day, they sat alone.

They all got out of the car, Sunshine and Glen pulling bags, a cooler, and a blanket from the trunk. Traci watched the two in disbelief, her hands on her hips. “The world is coming to an end and you two are going to have a picnic?” She looked down at the T-shirt she was wearing that Glen had found for her, pulling it away from her body. “And who the hell is John Denver? I would die if anyone saw me in this.”

Closing the trunk, Sunshine said to Glen, “When I get my memory back I hope I don’t discover I have children. They are a pain in the ass.”

Traci mouthed “what”, and then yelled, “You know I’m standing right here.”

Sunshine chose a location on the side of a small hill overlooking the lake. Spreading the blanket on the well-manicured grass, she knelt looking across the water. The fog bank traversed the lake, hiding the far shore. She shivered.

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

Ron: A novel entitled, “Sunshine at the Oasis.” The excerpt in the last question is from that story. It may be science fiction, or maybe a mystery, or maybe….

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

Ron: That is an easy question. Undoubtedly, the money spent for my laptop. It transforms thoughts into printed words. All I need to do is place my fingers on the keyboard and it writes stories for me. Very cool.

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

Website: raandrade.com

Goodreads: R.A. Andrade

Amazon: Author page

Interview with @assaphmehr #Tuesdaybookblog

Today I’m fortunate to present Assaph Mehr author of Murder In Absentia.

Hi Assaph, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

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

assaphCurrently living in Sydney, Australia. I grew up in Israel, though. I think I owe my love of history in part to that. My favourite day trips were always to the old crusader forts that dot the country. Everywhere you dig, you are bound to uncover some site from the roots of civilization.

I’ve taken my kids there a few years ago. We went to the old city of Jaffa. Around the walls (Ottoman in origin) were arranged cannons dredged up from the bay, which date to Napoleon’s siege. At the top of the hill is a dig site and archaeology centre. You go down through the Ottoman and Mameluk layers, to the Roman settlement, which sits atop the Greek. Under it you can find traces of earlier Egyptian temples. And let’s not forget that when you go back out and look out to the sea, the rocks jutting out of the water are called Andromeda rocks – as according to legend, these are the rocks that Andromeda was chained to, to appease Poseidon and his sea monster Cetus. Don’t worry, she was rescued by Perseus, who flew to her rescue on the back of Pegasus.

Growing up like that, how can one not love history?

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

In a large part, that is a matter of taste. Things that are quoted as absolutes – good characterization, solid plot, strong voice – actually have more to do with the reader’s interpretation of them than critics would like to admit.

For example, I have received a feedback that one character in the novel sounds like a cardboard cut-out, completely unrelatable. Another reviewer said of the same character that he is a great example of a man of their class, with a unique voice that just jumps off the page. That same reviewer pointed at another character as “lacking agency”… a character that the first reviewer absolutely adored.

The upshot is simple. Read and learn about the art of writing, but don’t get so bogged down in it to the point that you are not actually writing. Consider critique of your work as a learning opportunity, not as an attack on you nor as gospel that must be adhered to. You will never please everybody. Instead of trying, make sure that your story is the best that you can make it, that it’s good in your eyes. You can then find the right audience for it.

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

Honestly, I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Seeing my name in print has been onmurder my bucket-list for as long as I can remember. Then two years ago my wife complained one evening that she finished all the books she wanted to read, so I sat down that night and started writing a book for her – and I haven’t stopped since!

The idea behind the book itself has been kicking around in my head for a while. I knew when I started what the surprise twist to the mystery was, even if the details were not formed. When I came to write it, I can safely say that I was inspired by a several authors writing Roman-era detectives (Lindsey Davis, Steven Saylor and Ruth Downie come to mind). I love ancient Rome and historical detectives in general, as well as reading classic and urban fantasy, so writing an historical-fantasy was a natural choice.

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

These days I write mostly on the train ride to and back from work. This is a hobby, and it get prioritised accordingly. In terms of overall process, I have the start and the end of the story in mind. I work towards that ending, but I enjoy discovering the twists and turns in the middle for myself as I write. I then go back and edit as needed. I spend about as much time in editing passes after completing the manuscript as I do in writing the first draft.

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

Historically-accurate food. Well, mostly historically accurate. I love cooking and food in general, and that seeps into my writing. I enjoy tremendously researching old recipes, and integrating the dishes into the story. Who wouldn’t be impressed by a feast serving dishes of brain-and-jellyfish custard? Or buying fried dormice in honey and poppyseeds from a street stall? And let me assure you, that these are historically accurate dishes.

Then again, there are also some adjustments for the fantasy aspects of the world. One of my favourite scenes to write was just such a feast.

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

My published novel is called Murder In Absentia. It’s an historical-fantasy mystery, or as I like to subtitle it – a story of Togas, Daggers, and Magic.

My current work in progress is Titles In Numina, a story of haunted houses and household gods.

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

I’ve learned a lot whilst researching Roman culture and building a fantasy world. I’ve learned the art of storytelling. I’ve learned about book production and marketing. I am not sure what I would qualify as surprising, though.

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

The following excerpt (about 800 words) is froreviewsm a scene near the middle of Murder In Absentia. Felix finds himself on a ship attacked by pirates at night. This is one of my favourite scenes, for several reasons. First, I get to write a fight scene, and as Murder In Absentia is primarily a detective mystery there aren’t a lot of them. I have also done a lot of research into realistic sword fighting techniques, and I get to write one properly, which is always a good feeling. Second, is that as a writer I get to play with the tempo of the story. By carefully choosing words and crafting sentence lengths, I hope to evoke the feeling of urgency and breathlessness that occur within a fight. I will let you be the judge of the results.

I woke up to urgent yells from heavy slumber. Not bothering with clothes, I grabbed my dagger and ran outside to the deck. A ship larger than ours was heading straight at us under power of oars. Their crew were silent, no drums to keep pace and no shouts. That they were pirates was evident from the vessel itself. A fast and decked bireme, its prow was painted with large blue eyes, slightly slanted to give a menacing look as they stared at us. Its sail was folded and the mast down, the pirates were ready for battle and boarding. A row of men stood at the railing, armed and ready with ropes and planks.

The pirate ship was perhaps three hundred paces from us, and by their angle and equipment I knew that they did not intend to ram us, but rather angle next to us and board us. Piracy does not make profit by sinking treasures — these come from the robbery of goods, selling the crew to slavery and holding any notable passengers for ransom.

Our crew was frantic, everybody suddenly awake after last night’s celebrations. Margaritus was yelling orders, the sailors were hoisting the anchor and going to the oars. Aulus Didius looked particularly dishevelled, not yet recovered from yesterday’s enchantments, and seemed unable to focus on the events storming around him.

With two hundred paces between our ships and us barely moving, it was becoming obvious that they would gain on us and that we would have to fight if we wanted to escape capture. Margaritus had broken out the weapon stores, and the crew and divers each grabbed a tall oval shield and a short gladius, and braced on the side facing the pirate ship. I picked up a shield and grabbed the handle inside the shield’s boss with my left hand, though I elected to remain armed only with my trusty dagger.

Margaritus yelled at the remaining crew to put up the sail with the hope that Didius Rufus could conjure sufficient winds, as the oarsmen armed themselves instead to prepare for boarding. I stared out across the dark waters watching the moonlit vessel closing in on us rapidly. At this distance I could make out the individual faces of the pirates and the murderous intent written on them. I wondered what mess I had gotten myself into and whether I would live to see the morning.

With fifty paces to go, the pirates banked oars, grabbed ready bows and let a volley go. All of us in the front lines raised our shields and managed to absorb most of the volley. Only two of our men were hit, though from the quick look I cast in their direction the wounds seemed slight. Our ship did not have a means to return fire — it was not a navy vessel, and was designed for the specific operation of the divers. It relied on speed generated by its resident incantator, who unfortunately seemed in a state of battle shock like a green recruit. The lack of a proper night guard could only be blamed on Margaritus.

Thirty paces to go, and another volley of arrows. This time one man fell down when an arrow that ricocheted from a shield lodged itself in his neck. The deck became slick with the blood spurting from his wound. Margaritus was shaking Didius Rufus by his shoulders, yelling in his face to get the wind up.

Ten paces, and the pirates cast ropes with hooks onto our rails, dragging us closer. We dislodged the hooks and struck at the ropes, but within the space of a deep breath the pirate ship bumped into ours, shaking the deck under our feet. The two ships screeched like racing chariots colliding.

The pirates were upon us. With wild cries they jumped from their ship onto our deck, swinging swords, axes, hooks and clubs. I braced my shield, and as the pirate who targeted me tried to land his curved sword in a neat arc from above straight on my head I took a step back, causing him to miss his mark and forcing him to stumble as he landed, and immediately with my full weight behind the shield I jumped and slammed into him, forcing him backwards and the boss of the shield knocking the wind from his lungs, yet still with his back against the ship’s rail he tried to raise his sword to protect himself, but I knocked it aside with my shield and plunged my knife deep into his chest. His eyes widened and a gurgling, rattling sound came from his throat as he lost balance and fell overboard, splashing into the waters in the space between our ships.

What followed was a mad free-for-all battle. The pirates were ferocious, the deck was slick with blood and the air was heavy with the din of fighting, the shouts of enemies colliding, and the cries of the wounded and dying.

The first few chapters of Murder In Absentia is also available as a sample through Amazon Kindle and Goodreads.

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

More Felix mysteries. I love the blend of ancient Roman culture and a fantasy world. After completing Murder In Absentia, I’ve written a few short stories (available freely on my blog), and I’m now drafting the second full length novel. I have ideas for at least two further full length novels (each is an independent mystery), and several short stories.
I expect that by the time I work through all of them I’d have ideas for more, but there’s this nagging need to retell the Crimean War from the Russian side… with steampunk elements. Who would enjoy a young and dashing Count Tolstoy with a mechanical arm?

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

Without a doubt, a professional editor and cover artist. These two things make the biggest difference in the quality of the final product. Don’t think you can get by with just winging it yourself, or relying on friends. Pay for professionals if you want to stand out as a professional author.

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

Easy! My blog is where you can find samples of my writing (short stories) as well as other information. I’m also active on Twitter and Facebook, and to a lesser degree on other social platforms. However you choose, I’d love to hear from you!

Website: http://egretia.com
Blog: http://egretia.com/news
Facebook: http://facebook.com/AssaphMehrAuthor
Twitter: @assaphmehr
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14422472.Assaph_Mehr
Google Plus: http://plus.google.com/+AssaphMehr
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/assaph/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/assaphmehr
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Assaph-Mehr/e/B015U1F3NC
Murder In Absentia on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1XbfKN1

Interview with @erineveland #Tuesdaybookblog

Today I’m fortunate to present Erin Eveland, author of Darkness.

Hi Erin, thank you for agreeing to this interview!

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

10494808_740322896032829_5112097613903221088_nErin: I live in Michigan, USA; in the same state I was born. I live in a completely different area than where I was raised. Now, I live in the outskirts of Metro-Detroit, in an area which I like to call the country suburbs. I grew up in the heart of Mid-Michigan country, a real backwoods with a small town. It’s funny how neighbors around here think we live in the country but the sticks where I grew up, well, I knew kids who could fix a refrigerator before they hit puberty, people carried coat hangers and duck-tape for car repairs and if you saw someone on the side of the road – you stopped and you helped them out.

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

Erin: An honest story is a good story. No matter what kind of story it is. As a writer, I believe you know your story is working when the characters start taking on a life of their own. They become your children and even though you have given them life they start choosing their attitudes, behaviors and what to do with it, no matter if you like it or not. They can become unpredictable and stubborn. This becomes extremely frustrating. You may have a clear path for them, but suddenly their telling you, “Nope – Nada, I’m not going down that road no matter how you’d like to write it.” I think that when writers don’t listen to their inner character, the story becomes forced, manipulated and ultimately unbelievable – which ruins the magic of any story. In my last novel, Darkness, one of my characters, Nathan, was never intended to become a “Master of Darkness.” I had a plan for him, or so I thought. One night of writing, the character Nathan decided he was going in a completely different direction. I didn’t like it at all, but I was overly compelled to write the story the way I felt the character wanted it. Honestly, I still feel like I wrote that moment in the story with my eyes closed. A close friend of mine was reading the manuscript and she told me that when she came to that part in the story she threw the manuscript on the table because she couldn’t believe Nathan would do such a thing. She wanted the character to remain “pure” if you will. She yelled at me too, I might add, which was very funny. But no matter the ‘disappointments’ in regards to that character, because the character brought to life his personal path – the story in turn has a genuine life of its own. A formulated story, where the characters are not allowed to breathe their own life, reads like stick people walking on flapping paper. It’s the same as talking to someone in front of you; you hear what they say but you feel their eyes are lying.

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

Erin: I always like to try new things. One day I thought, “Today I’m going to write a story.” Which I did, and discovered I was a horrible writer. A lot of people make the mistake by thinking they’re a reader – they can become a writer overnight. At that time, I just wanted to write a story even though I was writing material I could eventually become blackmailed with. Yeah, it was that bad and I might have burned it all one night in a fit of disgust. But maybe because I’m stubborn, I stuck with it and after two years of continuous writing, reading books, meeting others, I would like to say I started to pull it together. 

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

Erin: There isn’t one, but there should be. With children at home, scheduling etc… life gets unpredictable. I’ve spent numerous nights and early dark mornings trying to fit in blocks of uninterrupted time.    

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

Erin: I guess it’s weird to people that I like to write in my garage. It becomes my bat-cave for writing. I find that’s the place I can shut out the world and not look at chores of the house or yard that always needs to be addressed. Recently, I tore down my makeshift desk and officially moved my desk, bookshelf, papers and all in the garage next to my wood burning stove for the Michigan winter.

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

Erin: The title is Darkness, which is the first book in this dark fantasy series.

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

10365329_719433678121751_6729065329366970428_o.jpgErin: Hummmm…well, a lot I’d say, especially because when I started working on it I have learned so much by completing Darkness, and by completing it – I don’t mean the first draft. Ha!  By that time I had a few short stories published, finished a novella and had other works in the making, but this was the first steak I slapped on the table. I will say something that really threw me was the fact this story turned into a series with multiple characters and paths that intersect. When the idea for the novel, Darkness, first came to me I only envisioned one book, but by the time I started working on it, I realized that the book was a bit too big for my britches. Even the second book in the series, Shadows in which I am currently working on, has become more of a monster than I anticipated. I saw the story beginning to end, but that didn’t matter when I started writing it. It all comes back to allowing your characters to tell you the story when you’re messing it up, not the other way around.

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

Erin: Sure. I chose this little bit because I had mentioned this character, Nathan, previously. This is the first time we hear from Nathan in Shadows, book two in the series:

SHADOWS:

Nathan didn’t know if he was alive or dead. He tried to pull his muddled thoughts together. His body and mind felt trapped as though he were entombed; the blood drain from him, his brain scrambled and pulled out with a skewer and placed alongside other jars that must rest near his body, those which contained his other internal organs, neatly sealed and packaged for death. Maybe this was death. Maybe this was eternity, his personal hell.

Nathan had died, that much he was sure.

There was a mirror – a cracked oval mirror in the trailer. It was starting to fall apart at the frame because the frame was on fire. There were hands in the reflection of the mirror, his hands, and they seemed to move to cover his face because he too was on fire. He was aflame inside and out.

Nathan had heard himself cry out in the inferno, a scream that went mercilessly unanswered as he was whipped with long black threads like that of fiery eels, before the fire engulfed him. He saw his fingers in the mirror, burning to bubbling peaks. His singed hair melted around his brow like fine wax and a horror covered his face as he saw his blood starting to pour from his flesh like lava. That was inside Catherine’s trailer. That is what Catherine did to him. But he knew it wasn’t she who attacked him. It was the dark essence, the black power, and if he were still alive it would be from its pyre coffin he would arise.

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

Erin: Shadows, the second book in the Darkness series, which I’m really looking forward to. In the next year I would also like to publish a side line horror novel I’ve written entitled The Pile. The Pile is a story I wrote for myself, but I think that fans of the horror genera, which seems to have been quite depleted these past few years, would get some fun out of it.          

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

Erin: When I started writing, the only computer in my possession worked about as good as a toaster that only burnt the bread. So, for months I was consuming boxes of pens and notebooks while my interest in writing became stronger. I was addicted. I knew that writing was something I never wanted to stop doing in my life, but I also knew I really needed a computer and I became pretty desperate about it. To make a long story short, I ended up selling damn near all of my music equipment, amps, heads, instruments, accessories etc… to buy myself that computer. It was a hard, emotional process to let go of my music equipment, but after that I was so happy I did.            

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

http://www.darknesstheseries.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8185856.Erin_Eveland

https://www.facebook.com/authorerineveland