Ancient Blood Audiobook is now available!

The Ravings of a Sick Mind

I’m proud to announce that the official audiobook of Ancient Blood: A Novel of the Hegemony is now available for purchase on and should soon be showing up on iTunes and other platforms!


My novel is narrated with wonderful energy and style by voice actor Brian Rollins:


Please check out his page! He was a true pleasure to work with and is an extremely talented vocalist. I’m very pleased with how the whole process turned out. For any authors out there wondering about an audio translation, ACX makes it about as simple and painless as it can be!

Get your copy today and please leave a review!

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Thomas Rydder Blogger Book Blitz – Restless Souls and The Clearing

Council of Peacocks
Thomas Rydder Blogger Book Blitz – Restless Souls and The Clearing

Thomas Rydder’s newest release, Restless Souls, is available now. To help him celebrate, I’m taking part in his blogger book blitz.

Restless Souls

1. “Do Unto Others” (short story) – Jeremy is a street hood, lawless and unchained. When he is wronged by a local businessman, it becomes his mission to seek revenge. But his new enemy has friends – ones that don’t take kindly to intruders.

2. “Colors” (short story) – Harrison Street. attorney, biker wannabe, coward. When he finds the bike of his dreams, it seems too good to be true. It is.

3. “Simona Says” (novella) – Simona has had it rough. Death, disenchantment, and disappointment are all part of her life. She wants to be happy for a change, and she’s willing to do just about anything to find some. Anything.

Restless Souls Available Now: Smashwords or Amazon for Kindle

The ClearingA small town in western Pennsylvania – quaint, simple, peaceful. That is, until The Elder takes up residence. He has an agenda – one that is 1,000 years old, and cannot be denied. One that will change the lives of many – and end the lives of any who interfere.

The Clearing Available Now: Amazon


I was born in 1957 in a small town in Western Pennsylvania that had – and still has – one traffic light. There wasn’t a whole lot to do there, and we had few neighbors, so I learned to play quite a bit of make-believe – soldiers, cowboys and Indians, that kind of thing. At the same time, I loved to read and watch old movies. On Saturdays, my dad played in a country western band, and I stayed up to wait for him. It was during that stretch that I discovered the horror movie. You know the ones I mean. Karloff, Chaney, Lee. The masters, right?

Fast forward 40 years. I’m now the project manager for a small civil engineering firm in picturesque Charleston, South Carolina with my lovely wife and four rescue pets, two dogs, two cats. Oh – and eight feral cats outside that put up with us because we give them two squares a day.

Anyway, since childhood, I’ve loved to create. I played trumpet, sang, even dabbled in genealogy. Nothing quite did it for me. Over the years, I’d composed quite a few term papers and theses (there are a few ex-teenagers in this world who owe their English grades to yours truly), and unfailingly earned an “A”. My wife knew this, and one day just suggested that I try writing.
What the hey, I thought. So I sat down and found a writing site called Hubpages. Nice little site, and I started getting the basics of writing a little from some of the inhabitants. I wrote a short story, and everyone liked it. So, I wrote another one. Except it kept growing, and I kept getting more ideas, and it lengthened to 20 thousand words, then 30, then 40. By the time I sat back, I had the rough draft of my first novel, except back then it was called “Werewolves and Flapjacks”. Somewhere along the way I decided to submit my work (now called “The Clearing) to three publishers. I was turned down twice, and miraculously was accepted by the gentleman who gently rules this site, Mr. Tim Taylor. And the rest, as they say, is history. By the way, you need to like Tim…he’s a great guy, and I owe him much, which can never be repaid.
I now have a second book available – “Restless Souls: 3 dark fables” – an anthology (novella and two short stories) of ghost stories, and life is grand. 
Even though I make wise cracks about all of it, this is all like living a dream – and I don’t plan on waking up for a very long time.

Thomas Rydder Links
BLOG:            GOODREADS:             PINTEREST:             TUMBLR:            TWITTER:


Classic Epic Fantasy with a Touch of Romance – Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballintyne

SYNPOSISThe gates to hell are thrown wide when Alloran is betrayed by his best friend, Ladanyon, and framed for forbidden magic. He is hunted by the guards and the wizards both, tormented by the gruesome murder of his friends and loved ones, and crippled by fear for the living. Now Alloran must face his demons, or damn the woman he loves.

WHAT WORKSLots. Worldbuilding is handled perfectly giving the reader a sense of a complex, well-thought-out world. Confronting the Demon creates a world that is instantly familiar but completely unique. The magic system described simply through observations and actions rather than rambling exposition. There is just enough mystery and tension to pull the reader forward making it very difficult to stop reading at one point in the story.

The romance never devolves into cheesiness, nor does it overshadow the classic epic fantasy elements that would make Robert E. Howard happy. Dialogue and character development are handled well. Pacing it tight making this a quick, enjoyable read.

WHAT DOESN’T WORKI’m not a fan of the cover. If I saw it on the shelf, I would assume it was a Harlequin Romance and not pick it up. Thankfully, I agreed to read it based on the story line. If you can get past the cover, there is a great story here that will appeal to fantasy readers.

CONCLUSIONIf you like your fantasy filled with sorcery, demons, and a touch of romance, I strongly recommend Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballintyne. There’s never been a better time to get on board, either. Take part in the book blast this Saturday (Oct 12th) and pick up Confronting the Demon for only $0.99. It’s well worth the price.

LINKS:Confronting the Demon on
Confronting the Demon on
Confronting the Demon on

About the AuthorCiara Ballintyne was born in 1981 in Sydney, Australia, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, one masochistic cat, and one cat with a god complex. She holds degrees in law and accounting, and has been a practising financial services lawyer since 2004. She is both an idealist and a cynic.She started reading epic fantasy at the age of nine, when she kidnapped Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings from her father. Another two years passed before she began her first attempts at the craft of writing. Confronting the Demon is her debut book.  She enjoys horse-riding, and speculation about taking over the world. If she could choose to be anything it would be a dragon, but instead she shares more in common with Dr. Gregory House of House. M.D.

Christoph Fischer Books
Sebastian Reviewed at the Historical Novel Society
A big honour for me and my book:
Vienna cffee

Sebastian is the second novel of a trilogy about central and Eastern Europe during the first half of the last century. It is 1913 in Vienna, the capital of the diverse Austro-Hungarian Empire. The main character of the title is sixteen and is about to have his leg amputated because of an accident. The book mainly follows his misfortunes and how he copes with them: the amputation, World War One, a family shop to run in increasingly stringent circumstances when his father goes to fight. He is aided and hindered by friends and relatives through the deprivations and uncertainties of the war. A second storyline develops around Margit and her mother Piroska, who journey to Austro-Hungarian Galicia.

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As in the trilogy’s first book, The Luck of The Weissensteiners, the author’s considerable research shows in settings and attitudes which are described in detail and which feel authentic. Sometimes, however, there is too much background; the book at times felt like a history text. Sebastian has a large cast of characters who enable the author to explore a wide range of social, religious and ethnic issues but there was occasionally too much to take in.

As constructive criticism, I thought the cover could have been more 1b4_2011_42_109_98-480x320inspiring to a potential reader’s eye, and the internal layout could be improved. The text is not adequately centred against the page edges when the book is opened fully, and the title and dedication pages are displaced to the right, which jars visually as soon as the book is opened. A few minor errors in the first few pages would be picked up by a further copy-edit, but these were not enough to make me stop reading.

Nevertheless this is a story worth digesting, but like a rich Viennese Sachertorte: one slice at a time.

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More reviews from Amazon:
World War One: Prosecuted on the Domestic Front, February 5, 2014
War novels usually are usually caked in mud and blood. Soldiers are shot at, scarred, tortured, wounded, killed. In Christoph Fischer’s SEBASTIAN, the drama is just as intense; the battlefield just happens to be on the home front.

Set in WWI-era Vienna, this is a story about the families–mostly the women–left behind.
Their husbands and sons dispatched to battle in Serbia and other points East, the war-widows and widows-to-be must adapt to scarcity: of food, of fuel, of money, of faith in a future that could be remotely as good as the comfortable past.

This is an eminently “European” story. Fischer brilliantly captures the “little wars” that invariably occur when three generations of family members are stuck together under one roof–in this case, inside the home of Sebastian Schreiber. Petty squabbles, rivalries and intra-family intrigues are the order of the day. Making matters worse, economic hardship forces the Schreiber family to take in borders, only upping the potential for mischief and misunderstanding.

What makes this novel so interesting–and at times sad–is how nearly every character is confronted with a major choice and, due to the stress and paranoia brought about by wartime conditions, invariably makes the wrong one, derailing lives with devastating consequences.

But it is also a story of resilience, adaptation, and acceptance. Nothing turns out the way everyone hoped it would, but for the main characters of the story–young Sebastian and the two women he loves–the end of the War marks a fresh start and the promise of a better life.

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Exceptionally Brilliant!, January 30, 2014
Christoph Fischer is a master story teller and a brilliant writer. I was enthralled by this story from the introduction. The story begins with a mother’s pain at her young son’s suffering and the heartwrenching decision she had to make on whether or not to allow the doctor to amputate his leg. Set in Vienna, just before the war, the author takes you through the daily lives of the family, as they struggled to cope with life’s many challenges before and during the war. Strange I kept telling myself, this is not your kind of read. But the story flowed so beautifully that I stayed up all night until I’d finished the book. I had not done this in a long while. This is one of those stories in which you could so easily identify with the characters that you feel as if you know them all. The wife Vera, her cheating husband, Franz, her extraordinary son, Sebastian, and even her disgruntled mother in law, Rebecca and her long suffering husband, Oscar. When Sebastian leg was amputated, not once but twice, I felt a mother’s pain. It was a huge relief to me when the book ended on a somewhat high note for Sebastian; he had been through so much. I highly recommend this book.
Insightful Historical Fiction with great depth and Humanity, January 19, 2014
Christoph Fischer continues to display his mastery of historical fiction displayed in The Luck of the Weissensteiners in this book, Sebastian, the second installment in his “Three Nations Trilogy”. This novel traces the life of Sebastien, a teenaged boy who, shortly before the outbreak of WWI, has his leg amputated below the knee due to an untreated infection. As in the Weissensteiners, Sebastian and the other characters symbolize the different peoples and socio-political forces at play in their world, in this case, the Austo-Hungarian Empire in it’s final days. The aspirations, dreams, and conflicts engulfing this ensemble cast serve as a brilliant historical metaphor for that time and place. Mr. Fischer displays his deep historical knowledge and great skill at personifying events and social conflicts, no mean feat given the multitude of ethnic groups, nationalistic aspirations, and complex politics going on in the Empire in this time frame–with the end result being its dissolution. But not to be forgotten is Mr. Fischer’s feel for the humanity of his characters–this is a human story, with the human drama in the forefront, the grand and petty human aspirations unfolding before the historical backdrop. I recommend Sebastian for readers for it’s keen historical insight and human drama–bravo!
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Sebastian (Three Nations Trilogy Book 2)

Sebastian is the story of a young man who has his leg amputated before World War I. When his father is drafted to the war it falls on to him to run the family grocery store in Vienna, to grow into his responsibilities, bear loss and uncertainty and hopefully find love.
Sebastian Schreiber, his extended family, their friends and the store employees experience the ‘golden days’ of pre-war Vienna and the timed of the war and the end of the Monarchy while trying to make a living and to preserve what they hold dear.
Fischer convincingly describes life in Vienna during the war, how it affected the people in an otherwise safe and prosperous location, the beginning of the end for the Monarchy, the arrival of modern thoughts and trends, the Viennese class system and the end of an era.
As in the first part of the trilogy, “The Luck of The Weissensteiners” we are confronted again with themes of identity, Nationality and borders. The step back in time made from Book 1 and the change of location from Slovakia to Austria enables the reader to see the parallels and the differences deliberately out of the sequential order. This helps to see one not as the consequence of the other, but to experience them as the momentary reality as it must have felt for the people at the time.

On Amazon:

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Copyright © Christoph Fischer Books [Sebastian Reviewed at the Historical Novel Society ], All Right Reserved. 2014.

The Evolution Trilogy
The Writer Within
My PhotoI have been featured on Jill’s blog

I am in awe of someone like Jill… her blog has had 127, 715 views to date! like OMG… WOW! (Did you hear my jaw hit the ground?)

This is her profile on BLOGGER…







Favourite Music

Favourite Books

Mystery Author
Toronto, Canada
Sasha Jackson: think “Sex and the City” meets “Nancy Drew”. Blood and Groom was published in Nov. 2009. Dead Light District was released in March 2011. The Lies Have It was released in November 2011. For more author/book info, please see or follow on Twitter @JillEdmondson I love reading, writing, travel, good wine, good food and quick wit. On Twitter @JillEdmondson
Classic rock, random one hit wonders, old gritty blues, cheesy top 40, Broadway showtunes…
“BLOOD AND GROOM” “DEAD LIGHT DISTRICT” and “THE LIES HAVE IT” Any detective novel, crime fiction, whodunit. Love a number of classics, and funny authors – no matter what genre.

On her blog I talk about my writing journey and publishing endeavours…

Please take a look,

Vanessa xx

A game of TAG…
Tag! You’re an Author and You’re “IT”

You may know this game, but not played in quite this manner before. So, Tag you’re the author who is now “IT”. To play this game you have to share your Work in Progress (WIP) or it’s a smacked bottom and straight to bed with no supper! Miss Scarlett Flame tagged me, and these are the rules

Give credit (including URL/link) to the person or Blog that caught you and who made you “IT” I was caught fair and square whilst running away.Play by the rules – no pinching, kicking, spitting, Chinese burns, crying and definitely no tantrums! Which also means you must post the rulesYou must answer 10 questions about your current WIP, no matter the genre, because possibly we may like to get to know each other a little better (to be honest it’s only 9 because  as the 10th question is really only the next step)List 5 other authors or Bloggers with their hiding places (URL/Links) so that they can be chased down and made “IT” so we can all go home now we’ve finished playing. Go in, eat supper, and check out THEIR books.Q 1) What is the title (or working title) of you book?

RETURN (The Evolution Trilogy)

Q 2) What genre(s) does your book fall under?

Paranormal Romance & Suspense, New Adult, Science Fiction

Q 3) What actors would you choose to play the characters in the film version of your book?

I’ll give this a stab… but I might suggest different ones tomorrow! LOL

Steven Thorn – David Boreanaz
Caitlin Chance – Emma Stone (with red hair as she looked in THE HELP movie!)
Ingrid Clausen – Katherine Heigl
Lucy Santos – Minnie Driver
Ian Roberts – Chris O’Donnell
Catherine Roberts – Nicole Kidman
Q 4) What is the main outline for your book?
It is the finale of The Evolution Trilogy…

Readers will find out what happens to Steven & Caitlin and whether their love is meant to be? It also wraps up the story of the Amazonian community to reveal the future of the new species…
Q 5) Will your book be Indie published, self published or represented by an agency and sold to a traditional publisher? 

Self published via Amazon, Createspace (paperbacks) & Smashwords
Q 6) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

Still in process obviously… I think it’s likely to be a year.

Q 7) What other books in this genre would you compare yours to?

Twilight, The Hunger Games … although it is more like a TV series like Heroes or Roswell
Q 8) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Stephenie Meyer… she was also a stay at home mum who choose to write in her spare time. The ideas come from all the different book & Scifi series I have watched over the years.
Q 9) What else about the book might pique the readers attention?

A new vampire theory to throw into the midst…
Q 10) Thank goodness!! Phew I’ve ran as fast as I can and these are the author’s I’ve caught (and any who don’t have a Blog of their own are welcome to have a sleepover at mine and post their answers here)

Now for my five victims… erm five other authors who will tell you about their WIP

Susan Buchanan
Terry Tyler
James Smith
Lydia Aswolf
Kaykay Obi

ENJOY GUYS… and if you can’t take up the challenge then try and pass it on to another author that might be interested, thank you 🙂 xx

Vanessa 🙂 xx

Jessica Knauss, Famous Author
Next month is NaNoWriMo, a month which has become sacred in the lives of professional writers and those who plan to use it make the leap into professionalism. It’s a marathon writing session, and like real races, the writing athlete has to train for this one.

Mainly, what’s involved is research and planning, because the words come out a lot more slowly when you have no idea what you’re writing about.

It seems I find myself here most Octobers: how do I decide which project to work on in November so I can do the proper planning? It seems my muse loves the change of seasons, because I get more serious ideas for writing projects in the autumn than at any other time.

For the 2013 exercises, I’m really not sure how many words I’ll be able to make for a reasonable goal, because I anticipate a lot of fundamental life changes. Then again, I made my goal of 25,000 words and actually completing my novel in spite of a few setbacks and my husband coming home to vacuum when I was ready to type the last word. (I’m not sure I’ll ever know what that was about.)

Setbacks this year include:

   Not having any of those trappings I pictured and wrote about in my completion post. There was some serious inspiration in those unassuming objects, and as of this writing I’m still (five months later!) in a hotel with only the barest essentials. I left behind everything but the computer, convinced we would get the sentimental objects out of storage within four to six weeks. Sigh. But I do have story notes I can use because the ideas for both projects came to me here.
   Not being able to decide which project to write!
   Probably moving and waiting for my stuff in storage to come to me some time in November.
   Most likely, my husband ending his job. Nothing like money worries to take one’s inspiration away.

But I have grit. Cervantes wrote in prison, and a hotel is definitely better than that. So here are the possibilities:

A YA paranormal story about a sassy girl who can start fires with her mind. Her school is oppressive and she’s got to find the self-confidence to break out in spite of some serious traumas. It’s conceived as a companion piece to “Middle Awash in Talent” (title soon to be changed), which is about a sassy girl whose sister can move objects with her mind and who has control over whom in that relationship. Like “Middle Awash,” this one would be 16,000 to 20,000 words and I would complete it if I chose it for NaNo. Then the question would be whether to try to carry on with the third story I plan to write in that universe, thus completing the book-length project entirely. The third story will be about a psychic as defined against the Talents in the other two stories.


Begin and pledge a reasonable number of words for the rhino novel. An ingenue stumbles into corruption and intrigue on the rhino preserve where she gets a job. The ideas have become unexpectedly thriller-like as I think them through. There is some urgency to this project, since I’d like to complete a novel about rhinos before they’re gone from the real world.

And I must make this decision while furiously typing away on a story for a holiday anthology due at the end of October (more on that soon).

Please weigh in. Firestarters or rhinos?

Wendy S. Russo
Book Review: Phantom Touch, by Jessica Hawke
Crescent Moon Press Release Date: November 2013 YA Paranormal Bridget White just wants to be an average girl, but the car accident that killed her sister took away everything normal in Bridget’s life. Now she spends her days talking to unhappy ghosts and helping them move on to the afterlife. But dealing with death on […]

Book Review: Speak of the Devil, by Shawna Romkey
Crescent Moon Press Release Date: March 2013 YA Paranormal What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide? After dying in a car accident with her two best friends, Lily miraculously awakens to grief and guilt. She escapes to her dad’s to come to terms with the event and meets some people at […]

Lilian Roberts
26 days ’til the release of BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS. 11/11
A wonderful Review from Sandra’s World of Books, for book I “Arielle Immortal Awakening”
Paranormal Romance books are not my favorite genre of Young Adult fiction. 

I think this was because I read the Twilight Saga and I wasn’t really fond of the books.
I prefered the movies. But that’s another thing. I got Arielle: Immortal Awakening 
for free in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started on this book. I had some other books
 that were in my to be read list, so I didn’t really know when to start. I had 
promised to put up the review at least in September, so that was my goal. 
In the beginning it was hard to get into the book, but after the first 50 pages, 
the words started the flow and I actually got excited to read further in the book. 
That’s why I really want to read the next book, especially after that ending, 
you really want to read the next part, because you just need to know what is 
going to happen next.

In Arielle: Immortal Awakening, we follow college student Arielle and her friends, 
Gabrielle and Eva. Arielle is able to read their friends mind and some other 
selected people. She can’t control whose mind to read, it just sort of happens. 
Eva has gotten ino the paranormal world, with spells and other paranormal 
happenings. Arielle is afraid of telling her friends about her ‘powers’, but Eva 
does take their friends into trust and tells them about her ‘powers’. One summer, 
Arielle who spends her time in France, meets Sebastian, a really nice and 
handsome guy who is in love with her, but she is yet to be in great danger.

Lilian Roberts has a way of writing words as if they were poetry. It just flows. 
Some of the words I hadn’t even heard of before. That made it a little hard 
for me sometimes, but besides that it was wonderful to read and I would 
highly recommend this to anyone who is a paranormal fan.

Arielle falls head over heels in love with Sebastian, who has lived on this 
earth for centuries (I had to think about Twilight here, I’m sorry). Sebastian 
sort of creeped me out by him constantly saying “I love you” and “Miss me” 
when they were ending the conversation or just sometimes out of the blue. 
I mean, I had the feeling they had been dating for a week and they were 
already saying “I love you”, which to me sounded a little unrealistic. 
Besides that, the “miss me” thing creeped me out. What was he trying 
to do? Persuade her into loving him?

The book is rich in character description, you can’t help but to love the 
characters in this book. I really felt attached to Gabrielle and Eva and also 
to Arielle, of course.

On top of all that, the cover is just beautiful! I really love the bright colors 
and the castle in the background, it actually makes you think it’s a historical 
fiction, but it’s not. Kudos for the beautiful cover designs. I think I would make 
something like this if I were to publish a book.

I need to read the next part of the book, and then probably the next part, 
and the next part. I loved the book a lot and I highly recommend it if you a
re into paranormal young adult fiction and if not, you should just read it as 
well, because it’s not quite a well known book, it should just get a little more known.


The Wicked by Helen Boswell is Un-putdown-able

Council of Peacocks
The Wicked by Helen Boswell is Un-putdown-able

The Wicked is an excellent follow up to last year’s Mythology that in several ways exceeds the first book.

SYNOPSIS FROM AMAZON.A demon with a pure heart, Micah Condie lives his life by a code of ethics, but breaking that code may be the only way for him to survive. A supernatural entity in her own right, Hope Gentry would do anything in her power to protect her loved ones, but she may be the one who puts them in peril. When the Demon Impiorum challenges the laws that keep guardians and demons in balance, ancient enforcers of justice intervene. Micah, Hope, and their mentor Jonathan become entangled in a conspiracy that will test even the deepest love and trust. Someone will commit an act of betrayal. Someone will forever abandon a loved one. Someone will enter THE WICKED.

Helen Boswell

THE GOODThe Wicked boasts solid writing and strong editing. Not a word is wasted. All characters are highly developed and the story grows deeper and more complex with each page. Every chapter is filled with adventure and romance.

After the events in Mythology, Hope slowly adjusts to her new life. Then a new force arrives, throwing off her fragile equilibrium, threatening to completely destroy everything she cares about. Micah’s life is also upended as events cause a downward spiral throwing him further into the grasp of demonic forces.

The worldbuilding is exquisite. Boswell hints at a much larger world without bashing the reader over the head with endless pages of explanation. She slowly reveals clues that suggest the conflict is much multifaceted than we thought.

I couldn’t wait to finish and yet I never wanted it to end.

THE BADThere was nothing I disliked. I caught one typo. One. Helen found it on her own and sent me an updated version of the book. Because she’s just that awesome.

CONCLUSIONI enthusiastically recommend The Wicked to any fans of YA or urban fantasy. Helen is a writer to watch. This story leads to unexpected places that has me very excited for the future of this series.

Make sure you read the epilogue. It has a surprise element that hints at something wonderful and new for the future.

The Wicked on Goodreads
Helen Boswell Official Website
The Wicked on and
Helen Boswell on Twitter

Cover Art Reveal – A Fallen Hero Rises

I’m excited to finally share with you the cover of my upcoming novel, A Fallen Hero Rises. It’s been out to beta readers since September. I’m sending it off for a final proofread later this month with a scheduled publication date of late December, early January.

I created the cover myself. The stock photos purchased come from Fotalia and Pixabay.

Tadgh Dooley wakes up on the planet Maghe Sihre with no memory of how he got there. He’s wounded, near death, in the care of a monastic group called the Brotherhood of Tyche. But he has more than that to worry about. The way he came to Maghe Sihre created a crack in an interdimensional prison called the Void. And something fell out of the Void: a powerful artifact called The Sword of Kassandra.

Tadgh is also more powerful than he suspects. He is fod sel-onde, born with the ability to warp the fabric of reality.  Every time he uses his ability, the Void cracks open further.  If it cracks too much, the prisoners will slip out.  The results could be catastrophic.

Can Tadgh gain control over his power before it’s too late? And what does the appearance of the Sword of Kassandra mean for the people of Maghe Sihre? 

Slave Trader – In the Name of Freedom
Guest blogger, Kimberly Dana
I am very pleased to have the very talented Kimberly Dana as a guest on my blog.

Featured on NBC’s More at Midday as a middle school tween expert, Kimberly Dana is a multi-award-winning young adult and children’s author.  She is published by the National Council of Teachers of English, Parenthood, Your Teen, About Families, SI Parent, Sonoma Family Life, and the recipient of several writing honors from Writers Digest, Reader Views, the Pacific Northwest Writes Association, and various international book festivals.  Other affiliations include the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition, where she serves as a judge for the annual eBook competition.  Kimberly’s most recent books include her YA thriller, Cheerage Fearage, middle grade novel Lucy and CeCee’s How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School, and the delightful picture book, Pretty Dolls, voted Best Children’s Book of the Year by Reader Views.  A lover of photography and experimental cooking, Kimberly lives in Nashville and Los Angeles with her husband and spoiled shih tzu.  


Come and check out Kimberly’s links:

Guest Blogger, Leslie S. Talley
Please help me welcome, Leslie S. Talley, author of Make Old Bones. Leslie is the mother of Terri Talley Venters who was my guest last week. It’s wonderful to have a mother/daughter team published together.

Leslie Talley received her B.S. in nursing from the University of Kentucky and a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Central Florida, Orlando, where she subsequently taught, as an adjunct, Technical Writing and Business Writing for ten years.
Leslie and her husband Luke have two children: Terri Talley Venters, Wild Child Publishing author of Carbon Copy, and Damon Talley, education specialist in aerospace. Forty-four-year residents of Titusville, Florida, Leslie and Luke also have four grandchildren.

Make Old Bones
By: Leslie S. Talley
Fifteen-year-old Connie Kittredge disappears in 1953, presumed drowned, in Daytona Beach, Florida. Almost forty years later, her skeleton is discovered in the disused dumbwaiter of historic Belgrath House, situated on an island in the tidal Halifax River. The discovery coincides with the thirty-five year reunion of Connie’s Class of ’57.
Clarice and Otis Campion function as caretakers of Belgrath, newly restored and opened as a B & B. Clarice, along with their permanent guest Miss Letty, ninety-year-old star of the silent screen, decides to investigate the mystery. Could the murderer be one of Connie’s classmates, now respectable citizens? A rejected boy friend? A jealous girl? Connie, a sneaky child, loved the power of finding out secrets; perhaps she found one just too dangerous for her to live.
At a wake for Connie held at Belgrath House, someone collapses from iced tea laced with cherry laurel, proving that the murderer is still around – and dangerous. Complications cloud the picture in the form of suspicious bed and breakfasters, restoration society members, University of Florida freshmen…and a certain pelican. Clarice and Miss Letty re-double their efforts at sleuthing. The death of Connie Kittredge is tied directly to the history of the house, they learn. The house will ultimately reveal its secrets, but not before exposing Clarice to danger.
Inadvertently left behind during a forced evacuation due to Category Four Hurricane Aphrodite, Clarice finds herself confronting a killer – and a rising tidal surge.

Excerpt from Make Old Bones

What would the children think if they saw her? She thought of the others that way: children. Why did she still bother with them? Not much longer, she thought. An idea sprouted in her brain. Why not scare them? Hide. Don’t come out. Let them think some Bogeyman found her. She knew just the spot, too. She found it the previous week, the same trip that secured for her the piece of map. She came to the house by herself – well, actually to meet someone. Someone who didn’t show up. But he would. Oh, yes! And that other she’d seen – Connie hugged herself as she thought of the power.

Stubbing out the cigarette in the stone urn on the post, Connie groped her way to the kitchen at the rear of the house. Gleefully, she opened the door of one of the pantries. She ran her hand along the wall until she found the knob. She remembered that it looked just like one of the other cabinets. She wedged herself inside the tiny space: a miniature elevator. Perfect. They’d never look for her here. Best of all, she needn’t go near the third floor.
The jolt jarred her, tipping her over so that her head rested on the doorframe. A hollow noise reverberated down the shaft. Slowly her crawlspace moved…upward.


The Evolution Trilogy
The day of reckoning has arrived…
I already wrote most of this on my main blog – but for any who missed it… (drum rolls)… I finished the Trilogy!!!! (Did you hear the fireworks go off there?)

I now have to spend a few months editing, and I started by reading HYBRID again. I found a few minor things to change, and the new updated version is now online.

I am now going to read COMPLICATIONS before I start work on editing the finale.

This editing lark takes time to get right. The book will then go to my trusted readers for feedback, and I will then wait and keep my fingers crossed before starting the edit all over again!

I hope you are as excited as I am about finishing the Trilogy…

Speak soon
Vanessa 🙂

p.s. I leave you with two exciting things that happened last week…

LIVE INTERVIEW via Lydia’s Literary Lowdown with Lydia Aswolf

Okay, so first of all I got interviewed LIVE by the lovely Lydia (follow her on Twitter

You can hear the interview by clicking here… BLOGTALK RADIO

The feedback so far has been great from those who have listened to my rambling… (I did say a lot of uh huh, and yes, and blah blah… it was great FUN!)

Honestly, I am still in shock about the fact Lydia loves my writing so much… Maybe, just maybe, people aren’t just being nice after all?!?!

Favourite quote… “You are hiding your light under a bushel”


My Writing Journey

After Lydia asked me to be interviewed, I was asked to write an article for INDIE IT PRESS… and it was accepted.

This is what I wrote (pictures added by Indie It Press)

I am really happy with the feature, and am very grateful to Leisa Greene for featuring me (follow her on Twitter

Latest Interview with Madeline Dyer
I was interviewed by Madeline Dyer this week!


“I started writing as a form of escapism. My brain needed an outlet! Since I decided to take writing more seriously it has taken over my life to an extent. In a good and bad way at times…”

Write because you enjoy what you do, not to make money”

Please click on the link to read all about it!

Thanks for reading 🙂

A bit about Madeline Dyer…

About Madeline Dyer, fantasy and prehistoric fiction author.

Ever since I was little I have been a keen reader and have wanted to write my own book, that I can display proudly on a shelf in my kitchen. Wherever I am, I always seem to find inspiration, whether it be for a setting, plot or character. Now I try to always carry a notepad to jot down those ideas that come flying at me when I least expect it, (although the ‘notes’ application on my iPod is also very useful!).

The main genres I like to write are of the fantasy category, young adult fiction and prehistoric fiction. As a teenager I was very impressed with Auel’s ‘Earth’s Children’ series and even started planning my own prehistoric series – books which I still haven’t finished.

I am the co-owner of a miniature shetland pony stud, and the ponies are absolutely adorable. Each has their own personality, making them so individual – something that is important for characters in fiction too!

I am an expert author – here I write articles on a variety of topics from Pets to Article Marketing. Check out my articles!

Also don’t forget to have a look at My Blog right here on this website, I try very hard to update it regularly with all the latest writing news, new releases and recommended reads.

When I’m not writing or reading I like to do a spot of photography, drawing and anything to do with arts and crafts. Or of course watching Eastenders on iPlayer.

I get my inspiration for such writing from a variety of sources and places. The initial idea for a story may be sparked by going to an atmospheric place, reading folklore and mythology, listening to songs (with good and meaningful lyrics), seeing a very good t.v programme or reading other novels in similar genres to that that I’m interested in. Alternatively, I’ll just see something in real life and think about what could have cuased that to happen, expand on it, build a story behind and there it is – a story waiting to be written.

When I have an idea for a story that I’m really excited about I’ll try to ‘hold off’ writing it for as long as possible, so I can develop it in her mind and add new twists to the plot. And when it eventually comes to the actual writing stage I’ll write out a brief outline, add more detail, do research into the background of the story (where’s it is going to be set e.t.c) and then write the scenes that are the most exciting, usually the climax of the plot. And then it’s just the rest of the book to write that’s left. Easy!

On a recent ‘count-up’ I found I had over fifty different story lines written in great detail (both on paper and the computer) but I doubt that all of these will be novels that I finishe, and even less will be the ones that get published. This is mainly beacuse I loose interest in some of them, or think “I’ll do that one another time.”

Recently I’ve been thinking about maybe writing some non-fiction on animals and animal-narrative-fiction.

Jessica Knauss, Famous Author
Interview: World of Joy Author Diane Major
Author Diane Major
Welcome Diane Major, whose wonderful World of Joy story is “Mason and Bess at Christmas.”

JK: What is your story in the anthology about?

DM: Mason and Bess live in a world named Sanctea. It is Christmas Day when the children wake up to discover their Christmas tree has vanished. Queen Anna, Mason’s mom, accompanies the children in their search for the tree. When Mason and Bess finally find the tree, they meet Father Christmas, who has a splendid surprise.
This is a story which suggests that giving presents is fine, but it is more important to bring friends and family together to celebrate the festive season.

JK: What else have you written and published? 

DM: To date, I have written several fantasy adventure novels. They range from books for adults to my children’s series about Mason and Bess. The Mason and Bess books are all fantasy adventure, or you might call them fairy tales. I wrote these stories to inspire children, but particularly boys, to enjoy reading. They are fast-paced stories about two friends who meet various creatures, both good and bad; however, they all have a happy ending.

JK: Do you have any special holiday traditions in real life?

DM: All of my relatives come together at my house for Christmas dinner. We do this on an annual basis on Christmas Day. This is the one time of the year when my mother, children, grandchildren, brother, nephew and his family, ensure we meet to celebrate the festive season as a family.

JK: What’s next for you?

DM: As well as “Mason and Bess at Christmas” being available in A World of Joy, my third book in the series which is called, Mason and Bess, A Different Adventure, will be published in the very near future. This is a story when the children meet Dragons and Boggarts.

JK: Sounds cool! Thanks for sharing the seasonal joy at my blog.
DM: Thank you so much, Jessica.

Visit Diane’s author page: Amazon US and Amazon UK
And don’t forget to get your free copy of A World of Joy!

Sally Ember, Ed.D.
4 Stars from “April” for “This Changes Everything” on Amazon and elsewhere

“April,” an author who prefers to remain anonymous when posting online, reviewed This Changes Everything (The Spanners Series), calling it “An Intelligent, Funny, Multi-Generational, Multi-Timeline, Multi-Story.” Here is her review:

“Author, Dr. Sally Ember, Ed.D., has utilized every book formatting element recommended by successful authors. She includes: an attractive cover [cover art by Willowraven], a detailed TOC, and front flap reviewers’ remarks.


“This Changes Everything is a science-fiction story about a woman who is chosen to be the main contact for ‘The Many Worlds Collective’ (MWC). The aliens she meets will provide information to her to give to Earthers in order for Earthers to become members of the MWC.

“Ember does grab my attention in the first pages with the opening scene where Clara, the protagonist, invites aliens, who have come into her home, to a late night tea.

“While I want to know more, as the story unfolds into a grand multi-story, multi-senses, multi-timeline story within a story, I get exhausted.

“As I age, I cannot read long fiction stories in one sitting, I have to read them in chunks. When I was younger, I could get lost in worlds created by others.

“Ember has a seamless writing style that flows as she goes from event to event, experience to experience, and interaction to interaction. She uses energetic, positive, imaginative, intelligent language and humor. The aliens are ‘cute,’ telepathic and funny.

“The main story is broken up by real time events and diary entries by the author covering the not just the author’s life but all of historic time.

“Ember introduces the concept of ‘simultaneous time.’ For lovers of time travel stories you will enjoy this multi-universe present time.

“I love learning new things, the author injects biological, psychological and Buddhism, technological and historical facts into the story. There is even a reference to marginalia and a discussion of the Sandwich Generation.

“Then there are the Spanners, who exist as one giant dysfunctional family. Spanners live in the best and worst of years of the modern era.

“Ember’s stories are like a brain dump of all her education, knowledge, experiences, philosophies, hopes and dreams, and observations.

“Ember is the Alice Walker of the Spanner Generation.”

Thank you, April! Glad you enjoyed TCE!

This ebook is available on Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and nook for $3.99. Buy links, more information and review links on

Filed under: Reviews, Themes from The Spanners, This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Tagged: aliens, Book Review, Buddhism, Clara Branon, ebook, Many Worlds Collective, multiverse, paranormal, romance, Sally Ember, sci-fi, The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, Volume I

Wendy S. Russo
Book Review: Sorrow’s Point, by Danielle Devor
Crescent Moon Press Release Date: October 2013 Dark Paranormal When I was twelve, my mother disappeared. I was the first person to never find her. I’m sixteen now and she has never been found, alive or dead. I’m not the girl I should have been. Not all exorcists are created equal- especially those that are […]

Lilian Roberts
Booktrope is releasing a chick lit/new adult novel, BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS, on November 11, 2013.

Booktrope is releasing a chick lit/new adult novel, BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS, on November 11, 2013. Coincidentally, the book that was 11 years in the making is being published on 11/11. Bestselling author and movie/TV star Alex Cord says, “Great work and I hope the book does well.” So do we, Mr. Cord. 

About Between Boyfriends
At first glance, twenty-one-year-old Jan Weston has it all: a gorgeous boyfriend, fun friends, and wealthy parents who take care of all those pesky credit card bills.

Then her boyfriend dumps her, her friendships fall apart, and her parents cut her off. Suddenly without money, without a man, and without a plan, it’s time for Jan to grow up.

Determined to get her life back on track, Jan decides it’s time to make it on her own. Can she find her way as a single lady in San Diego? Can she fix her friendships, her job prospects, and her hair? And can she keep her vow that she’ll never date again, even after she meets a guy who just might be perfect for her?BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS is a sexy, hilarious story of living life, finding love, and growing up… but not necessarily in that order.

Praise for Between Boyfriends

“This book is the ultimate chick-lit read–a light-hearted romp focused on the travails of Jan, a college student dumped by her boyfriend, an SDSU student. The moment proves an epiphany, as Jan resolves to stop dating and find fulfillment as a single woman.” – East County Magazine
Between Boyfriends “presents a unique twist on the chick lit genre.” – Hollywood & Vine magazine

“Over the course of the book, Jan, who is in her early 20s, begins to grow as a person and even strikes up a true friendship with a man, a first for her.” – Rancho Santa Fe Review

“Cut off by parents? Not got a boyfriend? That’s the formula for a chick lit hit.” – Indie Author Land

“The book teaches both subtle and obvious lessons about friendship, relationships, responsibility and decision making.” – The Masquerade Crew

“Between Boyfriends is a delicious slice of chick-lit! Snappy dialogue sets this story apart from the pack as it follows a young woman who, financially cut off by her parents when she fails to attend school, learns that life is more than her Amex card, and reunites with a mother who has endured her own brand of pain.” – Jan Moran, bestselling author

“BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS is a great read. It’s got everything you’d expect in a chick-lit book: good friends, fun, and a little romance, but the thing Sarka-Jonae adds to this story is a journey.” – Caroline Fardig, bestselling author

Buy Links:
Between Boyfriends will also be available in print and as ebooks for Kobo, Sony, and Apple iBooks. 

About Sárka-Jonae
Sárka-Jonae is a novelist, publicist, and journalist, among other “ists” there aren’t room for. Her novel writing career began with Between Boyfriends, an edgy chick-lit book for women who’ve been ”between boyfriends”, which is much cooler than being single.
SJ is a graduate of Syracuse University. Before writing full-time, she was a personal trainer and massage therapist, helping people tone up, slim down, and chill out. In her free time, Sárka-Jonae loves to dance in flash mobs, in music videos, on speakers, or at home in her underwear. She practices kung fu and yoga, was briefly a Buddhist nun, and travels extensively for ”research”. She’s a huge animal lover and has been vegan since 1999. She’s committed to respectfully unveiling the truth about the horrific way factory farms abuse animals. SJ lives in San Diego with two cats and two dogs.

Social Media Links: 

Barnes & Noble to the Apple iBooks version coming soon.

Evolution of A Cover – How I Designed the Cover for My Novel Council of Peacocks

Council of Peacocks
Evolution of A Cover – How I Designed the Cover for My Novel Council of Peacocks

What you see above is a before and after shot of the cover for my first novel, Council of Peacocks. I have a background in marketing. I truly believe in the importance of image. The old adage “You can’t tell a book by it’s cover” is, in may ways, false. If a writer does not take the time to invest in a good cover, it may be a sign that they don’t truly believe in the work. And if they don’t, why should you.

However, it can also be a sign that the author has no idea what good cover art is. That’s what happened in my case.

First Mockup

Last year, long before my set publishing date, I spent a solid month looking at cover artist. The best I found for a reasonable price was Ebook Launch. Check out their site. You’ll see very professional work for prices ranging from $99-$279. I contacted Dane Low. He was super easy to work with and very quick. I wanted an angry man to represent Wisdom and a 20-something blond man to represent Josh. In the background is the Yezidi religious symbol representing the Black Peacock.
As you can see, Dane Low did an amazing job of taking my vision and making it more professional. I highly recommend his work. The problem was with my vision, his not work.

My First Revision

As much as people liked my original cover, I wasn’t satisfied. Something just felt off to me.

I spent a few weeks doing nothing but looking at covers for urban fantasy novels. I focused on the top sellers and tried to discover why some covers worked and others didn’t.

In August of 2013, I decided to learn Photoshop. Since I plan on publishing many books over the next few years, it felt like a good investment. I purchased Photoshop Elements with Premier Elements (which retails for about $120). I already owned a Bamboo Graphics Tablet which I used for drawing comic characters.

I spent the next few months watching web tutorials and playing with the program. I used what I’d learned from cover research to update the image. I felt the new cover was slightly more professional but I also completely hated it. It felt so amateurish and ugly.

Now more than ever, I realized I had no clue what I wanted for a cover.

Revisions 2-15.

I literally did 15 revisions of the cover before I figured out what the heck I wanted. Some were decent, others were a disaster. On my 8th revision I cam up with this. I liked it until I was told it looked like Wisdom had a headache.


That told me I had a lot more work to do.

Final Revision.

And here’s what I ended up with. Starting with my 16th revision, I realized what I wanted the cover to look like. I did five different versions of this cover, tweaking the graphics slightly each time.
I feel good about this one mostly because it doesn’t feel like a “self-published” cover. Look at the list of top free books on amazon. Most of them have cringe-worthy covers. I understand why. Many feel they cannot afford a professional and few people have the time to devote to learning Photoshop. 

Picture Sources:

All pictures were either purchased from Fotalia or from the free stock photo site Pixabay. I should also note that DeviantArt has some great stock art. You just have to be careful of the permissions. Some photos allow complete control while others prohibit commercial art or simply require you give recognition to the originator of the image.

My New Year’s Resolution – Write Stronger Women

A few months ago, I saw this article on CBC.CA entitled Feminist movie rating system introduced in Sweden. My first response was “This is ridiculous.” Keep in mind I actually consider myself a feminist, so I was actually quite surprised at my response. Then I read the article. It blew my mind.

To pass this rating system, a film only has to meet the following three requirements:
(1) Does it have at least two women who are given names?
(2) Do they talk to each other?
(3) When they spoke, was it about something besides a man?

So, you see, their not even rating movies based on how women are portrayed. They’re rating the movie on whether or not women EXIST in the film.

Try the test out with any of your favorite movies and you’ll see most don’t pass this test.

Then I looked at my own writing. Admittedly I write genres that typically have a predominantly male target market. But that’s no excuse. Council of Peacocks has several women in it, all of them have names. I’d like to think that they are all strong characters. All of them have lives outside of the men around them. Most have super powers or, in the case of Elaine, are trained killers.

My newest novel, A Fallen Hero Rises, has five named women but only two that appear in more than one scene (I’m not counting the scene where Tadgh talks to his mother). I actively try pump up female voices in my work because I KNOW fantasy often under-writes them.

But I think I can do better.

My first two books are all told from the POV of male characters. This year I plan to change that.

In 2014 I will write and publish the sequels to Council of Peacocks and A Fallen Hero Rises. Before they are published I plan to apply the Bechdel test. I”m also scheduling two novellas to fill in the missing gender gaps. I will write standalone stories featuring Echo (from Council of Peacocks) and Eiodeesh (from A Fallen Hero Rises). This is easier than it sounds. In fact, I already have 70 pages worth of material from Eiodeesh that was cut from A Fallen Hero Rises for pacing.

It’s very important to me that my novels represent the entire human race, not just to 48% of them.

Buy Council of Peacocks on Amazon Now
There is a dark world, hidden in plain sight, filled with vengeful djinn and shadowy demons. The Council of Peacocks, a group of ruthless wizards, has plans for the human race. For centuries they have plotted and schemed. Now, the moment of Activation draws near.

Wisdom, an immortal sorcerer, has gathered a band of hybrid youths with extraordinary powers. They are trained to stop the Council. But there’s something that Wisdom doesn’t know. The Council is no longer working alone.
If Wisdom and his students cannot stop The Council, the world as they know it will cease to exist.

Buy A Fallen Hero Rises on Amazon Now
Three hundreds of years ago, a group of heroes imprisoned a dark god in a hell dimension known as the Void. Since then, the people of Maghe Sihre have lived in relative peace. Now, a secret war starts at the edge of civilization.

A young man from Earth, Tadgh Dooley, is burdened with a dangerous and impossible power. He is fod sel-onde, born with the ability to warp the fabric of reality. An unknown force draws him to Maghe Sihre and, in doing so, cracks open the Void. Can Tadgh gain control over his power before it’s too late? And what does the appearance of the Sword of Kassandra mean for the people of Maghe Sihre?




Slave Trader – In the Name of Freedom
Guest blogger, Victoria Roder
I am thrilled to have Victoria Roder here as my guest. Please help me welcome her.


Victoria Roder lives in Central Wisconsin with her husband and house full of pets. She writes secrets and age-old revenge that lead to murder. Suspense that makes your heart pound, romance that makes it flutter, and the twists and turns that make you hold on. She is the author of action thriller, Bolt Action, paranormal romance The Dream house Visions and Nightmares, picture book An Important Job to Do: A Noah’s Ark Tale, children’s chapter book The Curse of King Ramesses II an inspirational It’s Not You – It’s Them: Six Steps to Healing and Thriving After Abuse, and her short stories have appeared in several anthologies.  Victoria also creates puzzles for magazines and activity books. Please visit Victoria at

In my action thriller Bolt Action from Champagne Books, Detective Leslie Bolt is a smart talking, gun hording, motorcycle riding investigator forced to work a serial murder case with her sexy ex-lover.  After a childhood of abuse suffered at the hand of her father, Leslie stashes a collection of pistols, revolvers, and even a Browning A-Bolt Stalker Rifle in her broom closet.  The “State Quarter Killer” is taunting police but with the help of forensic science, Detective Bolt is hot on the trail. You’ve got to check out the book trailer for Bolt Action:
Bolt Action is available in e-book:

Also available in paperback:

I’d love to see you on facebook:

The past few years have been full of high profile reads—50 Shades of Gray, Twilight, and more. Love them or hate them, you have to admit you have at least heard of them.
As Independent Authors we all dare to dream we will be next, and well let’s face it, you never know … right?  With some hard work and the right marketing any one of us could be the next most talked about Author.
With that thought I jumped on this Hop, what is a blog traffic hop? Well I didn’t know until I asked.
Basically, it’s an Independent Authors game of tag. 
One author posts, and then tags five other authors, who each link back to them. Exponentially it is a marketing gold mine, and you my fair reader have hopefully just increased your to read list. Finding new and exciting authors you may never have found otherwise. Some of us are still writing, others are just being released. 
Either way, for you Fiction Lovers, a treasure trove awaits and I’d like to thank fellow Author Marci Baun for tagging me to participate.
Click the links to find out about Marci Baun’s books.
In this particular hop I and my fellow authors each in their perspective blogs have answered 10 questions where you get to learn about our current WIP (Works in Progress) as well as some goodies as to our process, from characters and inspirations to photographic / cinematic eye candy! I hope you enjoy it!
If this or any other items pique your interest, please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions.
1: What is the working title of your book?
            Slave Trader – In the Name of Freedom.
2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
I think my main character, Detective Billie McCoy came first before the actual idea for the book. Once I’d established her, I put together some villains and thought about where I could go with them and eventually ended up with slave traders. 
3: What genre does your book fall under?
            I would say action / adventure / crime.
4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
            Umm. I have been looking but haven’t yet found anyone suitable. I think I would like someone new and unknown so they could grow and build their own reputation with the movie, and then the next one 🙂
5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
            Slave Trader – In the Name of Freedom is an action/adventure story which follows Detective Billie McCoy in her fight for freedom after she is caught up in a modern day slavery trade run by a corrupt cop.
6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
            My book is represented by Wild Child Publishing.
7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
            My story flowed quite easily so I wrote my first draft probably within a couple of months. It’s all the editing that follows which takes up the time.
8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
            To tell you the truth, I haven’t really seen any that I can compare mine to but I’m sure there must be some out there, somewhere, maybe.
9: Who or What inspired you to write this book?
At the time I wrote Slave Trader (many years ago), there weren’t too many heroines around, in books or movies, so I decided to create my own. I wanted someone who wouldn’t crumble at the first sign of trouble, someone strong in character and genuine in personality, and someone able to look after herself … hence Detective Billie McCoy stepped into my world.
10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
            It’s fast moving with many twists and action scenes, and amidst it all is a building bond of friendship between certain unlikely characters.
Below you will find authors, who will be joining me by blog next Wednesday, November 14. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases! Happy Writing and Reading!
Chad Mcpherson: Author of Dangerous Waters

Victoria Roder:

Molly Dean: Author of The Twilight Garden
Twitter: Molly Dean@mollydean1

Rae Lori:

Website –

Blog – A Writer’s Dream –

Sale sites – Amazon –

Sandy Curtis:



Buy Fatal Flaw at:

The Evolution Trilogy
I have been spending hours starting to get the formatting reading for the last book, Return, and then thought to brush up Hybrid and Complications whilst I was at it.

Now, can someone explain why what I though would take 30 minutes took 4 hours?!?!

So, annoying…

When I used to work as an Accountant I would get my stuff done really quickly, and then would be twiddling my fingers for the next job, or clock watching every minute… yet, this is truly the longest job EVER. It is never done, never finished, there is always something I can do better, some other social networking site I can join or update!

So, let me make it clear to any of you sceptical readers out there – this self-publishing lark is no biscuit! It’s gruel! I must be mad!

You just keep smiling…

I am coming to the conclusion that for my next project I am gonna go a hunting… a hunting an agent! Tally ho!

Excuse my rant & if you want to make me feel like my time has been well spent please take a look at my updated descriptions for the books and leave some feedback!

By the way, I have also included my first editorial review, by Christine Thompson, a journalist from the local newspaper in Gibraltar. I am really chuffed with the review, and glad that someone who is not my ideal reader can appreciate its value – woo hoo!

Thank you 🙂

Vanessa xx

Jessica Knauss, Famous Author
Interview: A World of Joy Author Juliet Kincaid
Welcome Juliet Kincaid, whose story in A World of Joy features not just people, but also Maine Coon cats.

Q: Tell us about your story.

JK: Another Christmas Carol is actually the third of the mystery stories I’ve written involving Jen Shirey, a young female private detective, and several Maine Coon cats. In the first story, “Cat Show Caper,” she meets the cats and their owners, Blanche Hubbard and Blanche’s mother, Mrs. Elvira Jones. In the second, “Catnapped!” Jen travels to the Hubbards’ bed and breakfast located in a small town much like Westin, MO. Here she meets Blanche’s personable son, Eric Hubbard. By time “Another Christmas Carol,” takes place, Eric and Jen have gotten to know each other fairly well and seem ready to take their friendship to the next level — until Eric’s old flame shows up.

Q: What was the inspiration for the tale?

JK: Part of the fun and festivity of the holidays for me is attending productions of seasonal favorites like the Nutcracker Ballet and A Christmas Carol. Also, in and around Kansas City, historical homes are often open to the public with appropriately seasonal decorations and costumed guides. Yet in Dickens’ original story and in our very real lives, we can have mixed feelings about the holidays. Partly, this arises from disappointment when holidays don’t meet our high expectations for them. So Jen’s cranky and not at all joyous to start the story, pretty much like Ebenezer Scrooge, but the story ends happily for Jen, as it does for Scrooge.

Q: What other writing are you working on?

JK: Currently I’m writing and publishing Cinderella, P. I. stories and a novel. Like “Another Christmas Carol,” they’re crime fiction, but not murder mysteries. They have humor and happy endings. Walls, a Cinderella, P. I. Novel is now available as a Kindle eBook and a trade paperback. And Cinderella, P. I., and Other Fairy Tale Mystery Stories is also available as a Kindle eBook. The trade paperback version of the story collection should become available this month. And coming in January 2014: January Jinx, the first in the Calendar historical mystery series.

Q: Do you have holiday traditions of your own? 

JK: My daughter and I are looking forward to attending a friend’s ladies tea, a mystery dinner theatre with a Roaring 20’s theme, and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, a wild and fun variation on the usual story from the Owen/Cox Dance Group. We will spend Christmas itself quietly with just the two of us. We’ll give each other gifts, eat well (maybe we’ll roast a duck this year), and take joy in being together.

Q: Where can readers fin out more about your writing?

JK: My web site is, recently restored after a hiatus. I post blogs on a variety of subjects including my experiences launching a new career after the age of sixty and what I learn from the books I read that help me write my own.

Q: Thanks for sharing your story from this joyous anthology.

JK: Thank you so much!

Spread the yuletide cheer! A World of Joy is available for free download now.

Sally Ember, Ed.D.
High Praise from Rebecca T for “#ThisChangesEverything”!

Here are some excerpts from the latest glowing #review, written by Rebecca T, “The Literary Connoisseur,” for Sally Ember’s original, sci-fi, romance, paranormal, multiverse, utopian ebook, This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series.

“If you’re a fan of Sci-Fi, this book was written for you!”

“If there’s one thing I can say for sure about Sally Ember’s writing, it’s that she knows what she’s writing about. She’s very, very intelligent, and so is her story. (With occasional witty humor that had me chuckling.)”

“Clara’s love life is not easy whatsoever, being the CC and all, but even though it killed me when she would pour out her emotions and heartbreak, that was my favorite part of the book. It gave a human touch to a book about aliens!”


Link to full review here:

All buy links, more reviews, Pinterest Board and other links: Look right and scroll! Available for $3.99 wherever ebooks are sold. Share!

Filed under: Reviews, The Spanners, Themes from The Spanners, This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Tagged: aliens, Book Review, Clara Branon, ebook, Epifanio Dang, Many Worlds Collective, multiverse, paranormal, romance, Sally Ember, sci-fi, The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, utopian, Volume I

Wendy S. Russo
Book Review: Reaping Me Softly, by Kate Evangelista
Omnific Publishing Release Date: October 2012 YA Paranormal Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper. At last they have something […]

Tamar Hela
Seeress Cover Reveal
Book Title: Seeress

Series: A Runes Novel #3

Author: Ednah Walters

Expected Release Date: April 2014

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Firetrail Publishing

Presented by: As You Wish Tours

Banner Made by: Julia Hendrix

I love Torin St. James…
I crave his touch…

I need his strength…

Raine Cooper is certain of two things: her love for Torin St. James and her destiny to be a powerful seeress. But when she starts having premonitions, they are unclear and disturbing. Worse, they involve Torin. Not sure what to do, she keeps quiet.

But when the visions are about her and another man, Raine realizes she needs to talk to someone. Just her luck two new students arrive at her school and they seem to have answers. When with them, her powers are enhanced and her visions become clear. There is only one problem: Torin does not want Raine to have anything to do with the two girls but he won’t explain why.

Can their love survive the secrets they are keeping from each other?


EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she’s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.

Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, was released March 2013. She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN. Visit her at

Ednah also writes YA paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. IMMORTALS is book 2. She just released book 3, GRIMNIRS December 2013. Read more about this series and the world she’s created here

Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published five more books in this series. She’s presently working on book seven. You can visit her online at or



Lilian Roberts
Interview with the M.J. Schiller, the author of the “ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION”

Today I am delighted to welcome M. J. Schiller on my Blog for a very enchanting interview. M. J. Schiller is the author of the popular “Rocking Romance Collection” 

MJ is a lunch lady in the heart of Central Illinois. My gosh, can you get more folksy than that? She met her husband at the University of Missouri-Columbia and now she has an eighteen-year-old (how did that happen?) and sixteen year old triplets! She loves to read, karaoke (where she can pretend she is a rock star) and spends WAY too much time on Facebook. She grew up in St. Louis and still has family there.

Welcome M. J. ! I am so happy to have you on my blog today.
Hi Lilian, I am very happy to be here. 

Please tell us a little about your current release “Between Rock and a Hard Place”

Glad to! 😉 BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE begins when Detective Heath “Hawk” McGowan is called to the penthouse of rock star Jasmine Barrett. Jasmine, or Jazz, as her fans call her, has discovered her best friend’s body slain in her own bed. As the killer continues to bring her dead bodies like a cat bringing its owner mice, Jazz’s terror sends her into the arms of Heath. But there are so many reasons why they shouldn’t be together. Heath actually lists them at one point—shortly before he gives in and kisses her.

Can you give us an Excerpt of your new book? 
Heath walked down the hall with a long, drawn-out sigh. He entered the bedroom, closing the door and leaning on it for a second. He threw his things on the bed and sat down on the end and ran a hand over his face. Then with a huge, exasperated exhale he threw himself backward so he was lying on the bed staring up at the ceiling. He crossed his hands behind his head to form a pillow.
There were so many reasons why he should not become involved with Jasmine Barrett. A. I am the lead detective investigating the murder of her best friend. Very unprofessional, unprincipled, not to mention, unethical. B. She’s very vulnerable right now. She said so herself, her feelings are all over the place. I can’t take advantage of that. C. We lead very different lives. She’s a rock star. I’m a cop. It would never work out. D. There’s Jack to consider. He couldn’t bring someone new into his life without a lot of forethought. E. I’m in the middle of an investigation. He couldn’t let those bottomless sea-green eyes, which seemed to cry out every time he gazed into them, distract him. Or her body, molded by the gods…or her legs, which were…geez…a living sin…or any other part of her…her siren’s voice…curvy hips…her… All these things were bad and wrong and he was a professional. All, very bad. Very, very bad. He squeezed his eyes shut. This was never going to work.

Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have gobs of people help me, and many mentors along the way! Where to start? A friend who found out I was writing told me about an essay contest on author Laurie Larsen’s website. I entered and was fortunate enough to be one of the winners. Laurie then told me about Romance Writers of America and invited me to a meeting. With the help of the very talented authors there I became published with Crimson Romance. Through Crimson I met a slew of authors who give me advice and encouragement, and not just about writing. They also help me by promoting my books and even purchasing them. Then a friend invited me to join a group called Tweets For Romance Authors. That’s where I met you, Lilian and you graciously helped me by letting me be here today on your blog.

Who is your favorite author?
Wow, that’s a big question! There are so many great ones! If you’re talking classics, I love Charles Dickens and F.Scott Fitzgerald. More recently, Nora Roberts (of course), Kristin Hannah, and the romantic suspense author, R.T. Wolfe. She’s awesome!
Where do you research for your books?
All I can say is thank heavens we don’t need the card catalog anymore! I do most of my research online, but I also feel like living life is research itself. I store information as I go along. If we go on vacation, I may use that location later, so I pick up brochures and take notes.

How do you describe your writing style?
Gosh, that’s a hard one! I think there are certain things you will always see in my work—humor, drama, action. I like including family relationships and kids, too. I try to add the odd detail that makes things seem more real, like the hero of my latest romance, BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, is susceptible to cold headaches (or you may call them brain freezes). This is based on my husband. He rarely can eat something cold without going into some exaggerated fit, claiming steel rods are being jammed into his cranium!

What do you think makes a good story?
The happily ever after, and the going through heck to get there. I love characters that are broken but are healed through one another.

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?
Yes, I have a real fancy one. My name is Mary Jean Schiller but I go by M.J. Schiller. I’ve just always thought M.J. sounded cooler!
What are you passionate about these days?
Well I’m always very passionate about my writing, trying to learn more about it and become stronger at it. Besides that I’m an advocate for our men and women in military uniform, teachers, children, and animals. I’m also passionate about music, thus my ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION.

don’t watch much TV, but when I do I like to watch with my kids and we love Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Dr. Who, and Vampire Diaries.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?
I think names evoke a feeling. I just have to hope that the feeling my reader has is mutual. I work as a lunch lady and a while back my coworkers and I brainstormed about sexy guy names, and then drew up a list of girl names as well. I still use that list!
Thank you so much for having me today, Lilian, and allowing me to tell your readers a little bit about me and BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.


How can people find you ?

You can find


BN and Amazon.

The Nightlife London – A Must-Read Sex-Filled Adventure with Vampires and Werewolves

Council of Peacocks
The Nightlife London – A Must-Read Sex-Filled Adventure with Vampires and Werewolves

I actually finished this book days ago but I couldn’t bring myself to make the update on Goodreads. Why? Because this book is so awesome and I’m afraid any review I can give it will not do it justice.

SYNOPSIS (from Amazon)Vampires Aaron and Michelle prowl the dark, gritty, strip clubs and back alleys of London on the hunt for Michael Jamison, the man who stole Michelle’s blood and left her for dead. To assist them, Aaron’s new master, Urvashi, calls in favors from her friends, Russian mercenary werewolves.

Wolves Katya and Ivan, hunters adept at killing rogue vampires, set aside their animosity for Aaron and Michelle to stop Jamison from murdering another woman – he already has one bloodless victim lying in the morgue.

Jamison, ex-special forces, feels his enemies closing in, but he won’t go down without a fight – and like Aaron and Michelle, he also has powerful friends.

Experience the violent, sensual underbelly of Nightlife London, as Aaron and Michelle mix up a wicked blend of sex, chaos, mayhem, and vengeance.

THE GOODWhat you have here is a tight, well-pace adventure that does not slow down for a second. I probably could have read the whole book in one setting but I purposefully spread it out because I wanted to enjoy it. Unless Travis can clone himself, it will be some time before the next installment. I am greedy for these characters. The more Luedke reveals about the characters, the more I want. With each book in the series, the world becomes larger and scarier.

The sex scenes in Nightlife London are off the charts. Stay in doors to read this. You may need to run to the shower to cool down.

THE BADNot enough. Never enough. I could have read another 100 pages with pleasure. However, Luedke focuses on strengthening the plot and pacing rather than giving us a big book. Which really isn’t so bad after all.

CONCLUSIONI am officially in love with this series. Do yourself a favor and get in on the action

Pick Up The Nightlife London Now
Add The Nightlife London to your Goodreads “To Read” Pile
The Nightlife Official Blog
Travis Luedke on Smashwords

Travis Luedke


Slave Trader – In the Name of Freedom
Guest blogger, Dan O’Brien
The Future of Independent Publishing

The digital craze that has grasped the minds of potential writers the world over appears to be something more nuanced, more original than at any other point in publishing history. That much is not in dispute. What is fascinating about such an idea, and all ideas that center on what publishingis going to do next, is something more foundational.

What do we mean when we say publishing?

Is there an entity to which we pay homage like the idols of the past (or present)? Or do we mean what is the normative trend in how writers publish their works at this given time? If it is the former, I hope that you can see through my thinly veiled sarcasm and see that it was meant as a jape. I imagine, if I am to correctly collect the collective consciousness of writers united, that we mean to work out the trend that currently afflicts how we seek out the publication of our stories––the great labors of love into which hours, day, weeks, and years are poured.

I see the future of our great collected endeavor doing what it has done since the inception of thought to print: it will continue. There is but a single constant in this vast universe and that is change. Independent publishing will change; hark, it has already changed from the black mark of POD and vanity publishing to something more promising––a participatory jungle of would-be writers swinging about on vines like Burroughs’ brilliant character before Disney turned him into a grunting hippie.

Writers in this climate must examine themselves first: understand what it is about them as individuals that make them worth listening to. When we have overcome the suffocating fear of introspection, the deeper examination of what skills we might deploy to achieve our goals become forefront in our mind. There is much more, but that is the stuff of another book that a business colleague and I are writing.

To sum it up: success comes from within mediated by sound and calculated choices executed toward a clear end. The fine proprietor of this blog was kind enough to allow to rant from a spell, and I have done so, albeit briefly. Here are some tidbits that this writer would like to see you help with:

I have launched a Kickstarter that at this moment is a far cry from being funded. A science fiction and fantasy epic with proper illustrations from a frustrated and brilliant artist is what awaits you, were you of course to extend the most meager of donations.

With that, I bid you adieu.

If you wish to learn more about me and my ramblings, search no more.

About the author: A psychologist, author, philosopher, freelance editor, and skeptic, Dan O’Brien has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Portent, The Path of the Fallen, Book of Seth, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog at

He has recently started a literary and publishing consulting business to help writers navigate the digital jungle. Find out more about Amalgam:

The Evolution Trilogy
And now, the time is near…
RETURN is now available online via SMASHWORDS, KOBO & AMAZON (ebook & paperback)

Please click on the links above to go to the retailer directly…

It is really exciting for me to think that nearly 4 years of writing, editing, etc have culminated in three full size novels…

Through the Trilogy, I have had a lot of fun, and have even cried at the decisions I made.

I have packed a lot in… first love, relationships, family, university life, oh, and vampires of course! Well, perhaps not, I’ll let you be the judge on whether my creation makes them qualify as vamps!

Since I was little, I always loved SciFi cartoons… Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Scooby Doo (yeah, it qualifies…). As I got older I read a range of books. Enid Blyton was fantastic with fairies, etc and then detective stories like Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie.

I read a lot of thrillers too – James Herbert and John Grisham to name a few.

I loved TV series and was hooked on Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest (I watched these with my gran a lot – oh yeah). I then moved on to young adult series like Home & Away (I know….) and loved one called Heartbreak High.

I had always liked vampires in movies – The Lost Boys, Interview with a Vampire. But, it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer that got me completely hooked. I just loved the whole bad wanting to be good angle, and the sexual tension… I also liked the alien angle used in Roswell, and others like it (yes, I have watched Star Wars & Star Trek!)

A romance angle used within a SciFi setting has to be my favourite… I believe this is known as speculative fiction, not SciFi. I believe this describes the genre for my Trilogy.

So, it is no surprise that Twilight has influenced me. It got me writing stories again for a start (only took a break of 15 years). I caught the tale end of the movie browsing television and I was hooked. Read the series really quickly and had no idea it was so big until I saw loads of people with their copy.

So, why am I telling you all of this?

Well, to explain why I wrote the Trilogy, of course… (chuckles).

If I’m honest, I do not think my Trilogy is like Twilight, the style of writing for a start is very different. But, I have of course been influenced by all of the things I love, as mentioned above.

I also did not realise how much my upbringing in Gibraltar impacted my writing until I wrote RETURN. I obviously had things that needed to be said, in a fictional setting of course.

I am really happy with the way the Trilogy ends… it definitely works for me, and I hope it works for you too.

Please let me know what you think if you read it.

Keep reading, writing and watching great films! Let the imagination run riot…

Thanks for reading,
Hugs & best wishes
Vanessa Wester

To celebrate the release of RETURN, please spread the word and download HYBRID via smashwords for FREE.

Use this coupon code RJ72J
Valid until December 8th, 2013

J.B. Cameron, Author
Fo’ Shizzle, Biatch! Readin Da Dead Is Da Bomb!
Okay… I’m officially loving right now. I’m seriously thinking of changing my Amazon page to their version!
Check out this sweet book description of Reading The Dead:
Book Description
While investigatin tha brutal murdaz committed by a mysterious serial killa known only as “Raithe,” bookish LAPD Detectizzle Sarah Milton is unprepared ta have her entire ghetto turned upside down. I aint talkin’ bout chicken n’ gravy biatch. Innate powers ta peep tha dead, lyin dormant since her motherz murder, have reawakened up in her afta a near-fatal blastin fo’ realz. Along fo’ tha ride is Sarahz irrepressible thirteen-year-old childhood “imaginary playa,” Anna Nigma, a most atypical poltergeist fo’ realz. Amid fears fo’ her sanity, Sarah must come ta grips wit tha realization dat her realitizzle is now a mix of tha natural n’ supernatural, where powerful, ancient mystic symbols can grant dunkadelic powers over game n’ dirtnap, n’ paranormal influence extendz even tha fuck into her current cappin’ investigation. I aint talkin’ bout chicken n’ gravy biatch. Forced ta hide her abilitizzles from everyone, Sarah n’ Anna have no chizzle but ta brang Raithe ta justice on they own, before tha sinista forces behind his crazy-ass cappin’ spree claim yet another victim.
and the editorial reviews are outragious!

Editorial Reviews


Reviewed by Tracee Gleichner fo’ Readers’ Favorite

Sarah Milton had a bangin-ass childhood. Y’all KNOW dat shit, muthafucka! I be fly as a gangbangin’ falcon, soarin all up in tha sky dawwwwg! Bein called a ‘schizo’ by nuff people, cuz of her imaginary playa Anna Nigma, she didn’t be thinkin there was anythang wrong. Right back up in yo muthafuckin ass. Biatch loved havin Anna ta rap to, especially when dat freaky freaky biatch had a gangbangin’ daddy dat was too busy fo’ her n’ shit. But, when her mutha takes a thugged-out dirt nap tragically, Anna disappears n’ Sarah is left ta fend for her muthafuckin ass. Right back up in yo muthafuckin ass. Biatch learns dat dat thugged-out biiiatch can only rely on her muthafuckin ass n’ throws herself tha fuck into her thang hustlin wit tha LAPD fo’ realz. After she is shot, her playa Anna returns, n’ it might be just up in time ta help her break tha cappin’ spree by serial killa Raithe.
When I first started readin dis book I wasn’t shizzle what tha fuck ta expect. What I didn’t expect was a mad unique plot, interwoven with character pimpment dat you don’t peep too often. I aint talkin’ bout chicken n’ gravy biatch fo’ realz. At first I wasn’t sure how tha fuck I would feel bout tha relationshizzle between Anna n’ Sarah yo, but ta peep how tha fuck these two playaz gots reacquainted n’ how tha fuck they thang blossomed afta all kindsa muthafuckin years, was straight-up dope naaahhmean, biatch? Without Annaz help, Sarah would not done been able ta open up her mind ta tha fact dat Anna wasn’t imaginary at all yo, but a spirit searchin fo’ what tha fuck happened ta her up in her short game here, so peek-a-boo, clear tha way, I be comin’ thru fo’sho. Not only did she need Sarahz help yo, but Sarah needed hers.

I highly recommend dis book ta mah playas dat loves a phat plot, some paranormal twists, n’ charactas dat will leave you wantin mo’ n’ mo’ n’ mo’ fo’ realz. A great read!

From tha Author Da Readin Da Dead series originally fuckin started as a screenplay I freestyled back up in 2011, purely fo’ fun. I aint talkin’ bout chicken n’ gravy biatch fo’ realz. After movin on ta short stories, I fuckin started ta feel tha urge ta try mah hand at suttin’ bigger n’ shit. While goin back n’ readin mah original gangsta script, rough though it was, I found a lil’ bit of magic up in tha evolvin relationshizzle between tha two main characters, LAPD Detectizzle Sarah Milton n’ her teenage, pimply sidekick, Anna Nigma. I realized as I read it dat not only did tha rap work across different genres, encompassin every last muthafuckin thang from a paranormal comedy ta a cold-ass lil crime thrilla yo, but at its ass, dat shiznit was straight-up bout none of these thangs. Da five-o drama, suspense, thrills, supernatural n’ mystic elements – they was just tha icin on tha cake. What drew me ta mah original gangsta script, n’ what tha fuck I endeavored ta pass along up in dis book, was tha tale of two dopest playas, separated by years, whoz ass must find a place up in they lives fo’ one another again, afta goin on ridin’ solo fo’ so long. Thatz what tha fuck dis book series means ta mah dirty ass. I hope you gonna find suttin’ of equal value when you read it fo’ yo ass. 

 God bless the interweb…

Jessica Knauss, Famous Author
Interview: A World of Joy Author K. N. Lee
Author K. N. Lee

Please welcome prolific author K. N. Lee! Her story adds some fantasy to the holiday magic of A World of Joy.

JK: What is your story about?

KNL: “The Ticking Ring” is about a young couple in Ireland. Amidst a strange snowstorm, they experience a magical moment that reveals to them what their true dreams and priorities are. Jack and Ella discover a few spectacular things about one another. 

JK: Does the story depart from your usual writing?

KNL: While the anthology A World of Joy is about joy, goodwill, family, and the holidays, I knew that I must stay true to my fantastical style. Therefore, the reader can look forward to a few surprises and a hint of magic!

JK: What else can readers find written by you?

KNL: I am the author of the urban-fantasy, The Chronicles of Koa: Netherworld, Thicker Than Blood, and the poetry collections Wicked Webs and Empty Your Heart. The Chronicles of Koa has a sequel called Lyrinian Blade coming out this December!

JK: What are your plans for this holiday season?

KNL: I’m quite the avid traveler, so this Christmas I’ll either explore Munich, Germany or go somewhere tropical! I haven’t decided, but I’m certain that I’ll have a blast working on my next science-fiction series, Freya’s Bridge.

JK: Thank you so much for sharing the holiday spirit with us. 

KNL: Thank you! 

Visit any of K. N. Lee’s many websites:
Facebook Twitter 

And of course, A World of Joy is available for download now! Thank you, readers, for spending December with the World of Joy authors. Happy Holidays! Come back December 30 for the Knauss Awards.

Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Top 7 Regrets of Less Successful Authors


Happy to say I have none of these regrets, but in case other @newauthors might avoid them, SHARE and READ!

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:



If I would have known then, what I know now” or “why didn’t I listen to …” and yes there might be much to regret.  However, it is never too late and with your next book there is another chance to do the publishing and book marketing part much better planned and in time for the book launch. Authors are always “before the next book” so why not start today writing your prequels and use the content of your older books manuscript to create lots of short stories or blog posts, guest blogs or free chapters – in order to show off your writing and at the same time announce your next bestseller.
These Are the Regrets I Often Hear or Read from Writers:

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Filed under: Writing

Java Head Musings
A Writer’s Best Friend
I’m an Indie Writer, so that means no publisher and no editor, right? That’s what I thought at first when I decided to follow the self-publishing route. I survived the formatting and book cover creation pretty well so I figured … Continue reading

Wendy S. Russo
Book Blast! Muse Unexpected, by VC Birlidis
“We’re Muses. Not vampires, not fairies, not werewolves. We’re Muses.” Sophie was sure her mother had reached an epic level of crazy. ‘We’re Muses?’ She thought Muses were lame, not to mention she found the idea ridiculous. However, Sophie couldn’t explain away her physical transformation that made Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries look like […]

Tamar Hela
Book Review: Lingerie Wars by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so I thought a romance post would be prudent. I recently read a great romance novel with lots of comedy and quirky, loveable characters. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard while reading a book! And after reading a bunch of dystopian YA novels, I needed some laughter in my reading life.

Below, you’ll find my review from Goodreads for the book: Lingerie Wars by Janet Elizabeth Henderson. If you’re looking for a fun romance to read this Valentine’s Day, I HIGHLY recommend this one!

Lingerie Wars (Invertary, #1)Lingerie Wars by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars!

This book sounded interesting from the summary, so while I was waiting on a book order, I decided to take a chance and download Lingerie Wars. And boy, did it exceed my expectations!

Lingerie Wars is about an ex lingerie model, Kirsty Campbell, and an ex Special Forces officer, Lake Benson. Kirsty suffered a bad car accident a while ago, and is now running a lingerie shop in her home town, Invertary, Scotland. She’s on her last dime–literally–and wants to make the shop a success. Lake Benson comes to Invertary to reclaim an investment: he lent his younger sister, Rainne, money to buy the lingerie shop across from Kirsty’s shop, and Rainne is not doing a great job of turning a profit. Therefore, Lake decides to stay for a while, in hopes that he can revive the business, turn a profit, and eventually sell the shop so he can move on with his life.

When Kirsty and Lake meet, they begin a competition that turns into a lingerie war: who’s shop can make the most profit before the new year. As Kirsty and Lake have trouble ignoring the chemistry between themselves, colorful characters such as old and sassy Betty (who Lake nicknames a Hobbit), Kirsty’s mom who runs a knit shop and group called Knit or Die, and the town’s unofficial mayor, Dougal, bring humor and well-timed conflict into each chapter.

The characters are very well-developed, believable, and entertaining. I honestly can’t remember the last time I laughed so often while reading a book. Seriously, I couldn’t put it down and probably LOL’ed every other page.

Henderson has an amazing sense of humor and has expertly woven it through the romance and suspense. I am now a big fan and have recommended the book to some friends. And I’m hoping this becomes a movie some day! I’d totally watch it. :)

(End of review.)

View all my reviews

I’m not kidding about the movie part. There’s a movie that I love (which is way underrated) that reminds me of Lingerie Wars: Assassin In Love (aka The Baker).

MV5BMjE1NDYwNTc0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTg1NTk5Mw@@._V1_SY500_SX351_ Lingerie Wars and Assassin In Love are similar in that they both feature small towns with quirky folk who are extremely meddlesome. The male MCs in each story have a background with weaponry and combat, only one’s former militia and the other is, well…an assassin. Both female MCs are feisty and beautiful, and find themselves attracted to the bad boys. However, it’s a secret that “the baker” is not actually a baker in AIL. In LW, it’s NO secret that the hunky lingerie shop owner, Lake Benson, is former militia.

Both stories have sizzling romance and lots and lots of comedy. In fact, I watched AIL last night and nearly forgot just how funny it is. Now it’s in my Amazon video library for good, available whenever I have a hankering for a Welsh romcom. I’m not always up for romance reads or movies, but honestly, Lingerie Wars and Assassin In Love are some favorites that I will readily recommend to anyone.

So if you’re looking for a great read, or even a great movie, I hope you’ll take one of my recommendations to heart and read/watch something new. Even if your date is a pint-sized serving of Ben & Jerry, you’ll love either one–or both!

Lilian Roberts

Paranormal Romance Book Series 

Book 1 in the Immortal Rapture series

When it comes to paranormal romance stories

, it’s tough to beat Lilian Roberts’ Immortal
 Rapture series, and for a very short time you
 can cash in those Christmas gift cards and
 get the whole series of paranormal romance
 new releases for $0.99 per book. The
 paranormal romance urban fantasy series
 is set in Brighton, England and the South of France.

Book 1, Arielle Immortal Awakening, features

 a paranormal romance virgin heroine, Arielle
 Lloyd, who is an empath and a telepath, but
 of some people. Theshe can only sense
 the thoughts and feelings
 love story begins with Arielle’s teen years, making it an appealing read for
 paranormal romance YA fans. Arielle and her two best friends are searching
 for love, though they get a little distracted by spells, warlocks, and ghosts.
 Arielle soon meets the hot paranormal romance alpha male, Sebastion,
 and things heat up.

By book 2, Arielle Immortal Seduction, their relationship gets steamy,

 evolving into a paranormal romance series for adults with a touch of
 the erotic. I recommend it for mature audiences only. Not to ruin anything,
 but books 3 and 4 (Arielle Immortal Passion and Arielle Immortal Quickening)
 add more danger, more magic, more thrills, and more paranormal romance characters.

The series is perfect for paranormal romance junkies, so if you’re putting

 together a paranormal romance reading list, you must include these four
 paranormal romance novels.

Buy book 1 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Buy book 2 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Buy book 3 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble 
Buy book 4 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble 

If you have an iPad or Sony e-Reader, even an older Sony, you can get the

 paranormal romance urban fantasy books on Smashwords.

Book 2


Ceri London

Excitement! The lovely David Njoku at IndieAuthorLand interviewed me today. Go check out my interview here.



Thank you, Indie Author Land. Some great questions and I very much enjoyed trying my hand out at a mini-story! Glad you liked it.

IndieAuthorLand host a wonderful array of interviews with authors and can also introduce you to FREE books. Follow them on twitter @AuthorIndieLand

Council of Peacocks
Tips for Designing Your Own Cover – What I Learned From Working on Cover Art for Su Williams

I met Su Williams through a group of fantastic writers I belong to, Author Social Media Support Group. She posted a draft of the cover for her second novel and wanted feedback. Here was her original draft:

She created this using Illustrator and PowerPoint. Her editing options were very limited. After offering advice for a bit, she asked if I could take her chosen images and work with them in PhotoShop. I wanted more expose and experience working with cover art so I agree.

WHY IT DOESN’T WORKThe core images are not bad. However, I believe the fonts destroy this cover. It’s impossible to read the back cover. The eyes behind the title are extremely distracting. I call this “photobombing”: insertion of a random image that obviously doesn’t belong.

LESSON FOR OTHER DESIGNERSKeep it simple. Graphics programs allow you to do tons of tricks. That doesn’t mean you have to use them. I sent her the graphic below.

The eyes are from Pixabay. The woman on guitar was DeviantArt by ModelMSangi. This was never intended to be a final cover. It is simply a mock up to show how to improve the impact of the cover by keeping it simple.

After Su sent me the images, I came up with three different alternatives: one with the old eyes, one with new eyes and one without eyes at all. I preferred the one without any eyes. Su stated she liked the image with the original eyes best.

Rock Star Cover with New Eyes

Rock Star Cover with Original Eyes

Rock Star Cover Without Eyes

WHY IT WORKS BETTERFirst of, the colors work better with the original graphics. I’m not a huge fan of the greens in the original. The wording on the back is much easier to read. I added names to all the quotes in the “praise” section. Quotes without names, I find, are not as convincing. I also added the short bio on Su and her picture. Readers like to put a face to the name. It’s very important for brand building.

WHY IT DIDN’T WORK IN THE ENDCreateSpace has very specific requirements. The space taken up by her picture needed to be left blank for CreateSpace to put one of its elements.

And here’s where I made a big mistake. Su was relatively happy with the one cover I sent her. However, i was not. I kept working on it for another 20 hours playing with different designs. To me, the cover still felt amateurish.I didn’t want to put my name on something I could not be proud of.

I read the description of her first book and realized there is a supernatural element to her series. I don’t think that comes across in any of the above images. Su wanted something that looked more painted. The graphics she sent me were not of a high enough quality to do this well. She also wanted more of the green coloring from her original design.

So I purchased two pictures from Fotalia and tried again. I read the reviews for her first book, Dreamweaver, and found a truly great quote: “Now is the time for new immortals.” I love this. It sets the ton and establishes genre in a way the original cover doesn’t. Below is the cover I came up with.

I was extremely happy with the end image, believing it to be much more professional in appearance. Su, however, believed it was a cool image but had nothing to do with her book. She asked me to try again with the original images. She also said she was running out of time because her set publishing date was only a few days away.

At this point, I had spend in the neighborhood of 30 hours playing with different versions of the cover. That is a ton of time to volunteer.

I told Su I could not devote any more of my time to her cover because my own writing and promotion was falling behind. I also suggested that self-publishing deadlines are wonderful but it is always better to publish late than put out something you might regret later. She was very thankful for the help I’d given her. We both gained from this. I learned tons about Photoshop and cover design. I also made a new friend in Su.

Here is the final cover Su decided on:

I wish her the best with the release of her second book. Here’s where you can purchase her book:

Rock Star by Su Williams on Amazon

Designers, it’s not about you. No matter what you think of the cover, if your client is not happy, you need to keep working. If the author is happy, stop. I know this is the better option but my ego still tugs at me to not put my name on something I can’t be proud of.

Authors, keep it simple. The best advice I can give you is spend a few weeks looking at covers in your genre before you decide what your cover should look like

You can do some amazing things in Photoshop but you’re still subject to Garbage In Garbage Out. The higher the resolution of the photos, the better you can manipulate them.

This isn’t the point of covers. I understood this from my love of comic books. The cover image is supposed to set a tone for the story. It doesn’t need to be accurate. My favorite cover designer, Christian McGrath, does the covers for the Harry Dresden stories. In every cover, Harry wears a hat. He almost never wears a hat in the books. Please don’t get hung up on “accuracy” in cover art. That’s not its purpose. Never has been.

Link: Christian McGrath’s Official Website

January Black – Myth Rating 5 Stars

Myth 8

January Black by Wendy S. Russo


Maer’s Review

jan black

This is one of my favorite Indie/small press books that I read in 2013. The intriguing title is at the heart of this mystery, as sixteen year old Matty tries to answer a question for the king and earn his Master’s. In an undisclosed world, he has been set a task by the king – discover just what “January Black” is. Clever, full of twists and turns and mysteries, Matty’s journey to solve the riddle is also a coming of age story. With his interest in Iris and their growing friendship, it’s also a love story.

I loved Russo’s intelligent style, her intricate world-building and characters who seemed to leap off the page. There are so many rich details on every level of this novel: story, plot and character are layered and complex.

I was thoroughly drawn in immediately and was sorry when the book ended. I fell in love with this novel and can’t wait to see what Russo has in store for us next. I highly recommend January Black!


Myth Maer


Read on for more about January Black and Wendy S. Russo!


Myth about the book

January Black

Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.

More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.

What was January Black?

It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He’s been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost…or call the king’s bluff.


Myth about the author

Wendy S. Russo

w russo

Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call. Since then, she’s majored in journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights.


You can buy January Black at Amazon.


You can follow Wendy at these links:

Wendy S. Russo

Wendy on Facebook

Wendy on Twitter

Wendy on Google+

Slave Trader – In the Name of Freedom
Guest blogger, Terri Talley Venters

I am very pleased to have Terri Talley Venters as my guest blogger again with her new release, Copper Cauldron.

Author of Carbon Copy, Tin Roof, Body Of Gold, and Copper Cauldron
Terri received her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Master’s degree in Taxation from the University of Florida. She is a licensed CPA and a Second Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. She lives in St. Augustine, Florida, with her husband, Garrison, and their two sons.

Carbon Copy, currently available from Wild Child Publishing,is the 1st thrilling novel in the Elements of Mystery Series. The title of each novel will contain an element from the Periodic Table of Elements. Tin Roof, the sequel to Carbon Copy, coming soon from Wild Child Publishing. And Terri’s romantic/suspense novel, Body of Gold, is coming soon from Freya’s Bower. Terri just finished writing, Silver Lining, the final book in the Carbon Copytrilogy. For more about Terri’s upcoming releases, please visit her website Terri is the daughter of Leslie S. Talley, author of Make Old Boneswhich is also available from Wild Child Publishing.


Penelope Manchester, a good witch with one green and one blue eye, awaits her destiny: a warrior of God with the face of an angel, the heart of a saint, and eyes which match her own. St. Michael the Archangel flies into her life and sweeps her off her feet. Meanwhile, an evil sorcerer captures witches, steals their powers and most of their nine lives, and shrinks them to the size of a doll–a Nürnberg, doll. But when he turns two of the Manchester witches into dolls, the Manchester clan fights back with St. Michael and divine intervention. Armed with the legendary copper cauldron, a fire breathing dragon, and an arsenal of spells, good battles evil.


Here is a short story featuring Terri’s main characters from her new series.

Thanks for traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to join me on this excavation, Tommy,” Victoria Ventures said. She hugged her ruggedly handsome colleague.

“When a beautiful woman calls and asks me to leave the harsh winter in Scotland to play in the dirt with her in sunny Florida, I take the first flight out of Edinburgh,” Tommy Garrison said.

“You came at the best time, we finally cut through all the bureaucratic red tape so now we can start getting our hands dirty,” Victoria said.

“How did you find this place?” Tommy asked.

“A condo developer demolished an old hotel near Disney World.  When they dug the hole for the basement, they found an entrance to a cave,” Victoria said.

“Just a cave?  I thought you mentioned an excavation every archeologist dreams about,” Tommy asked.

“I promise you, Tommy, it will be! I haven’t told you the best part yet, come on,” Victoria said with a wink.

They walked the cave system for over an hour, covering the distance of almost four miles. They barely spoke as they hiked through the spider web-like tunnel system. Victoria’s excellent physical condition made it easy to keep up the intense pace. Her excitement to show Tommy her discovery motivated her to practically run to the find of a lifetime.

“I’m glad you marked the path with ropes, if I got lost I’d never find my way out again,” Tommy said.

“I’ve walked this tunnel so many times I don’t even need the rope anymore. But it’s good to have just in case,” she said.

“Like the guy who killed the Minotaur in Crete, didn’t he use a rope to find his way back out of the labyrinth?” Tommy asked.

“I forgot how nerdy you are,” Victoria said.  She laughed, poking fun of her college boyfriend.

“Yuk! Did something die down here?  It smells like rotten-eggs,” Tommy said, holding his nose to mitigate the foul smell.

“We’re getting close now. You’re smelling the sulfur commonly found in hot spring water,” Victoria said.

“This all reminds me of how they discovered the ancient roman baths, in Bath, England. During the Victorian era, hot water started leaking in someone’s basement.  They started digging and uncovered the archeological find of the century,” Tommy said.

“Sorry I’m walking so fast, but I’m anxious to see the look on your face when you see what I found,” Victoria said.

“You mean what your team found,” Tommy said correcting her.

“What I’m about to show you no one else has seen, at least no one still living,” Victoria said. She grinned at the joy of teasing Tommy. His perplexed look proved priceless.

“I’ve been in a holding pattern waiting for you to arrive. I need a diving partner, and no one will take the risk. The cave dead ends into a hot spring,” Victoria said.

“Sounds fascinating, but I imagine the fear of diving in an undiscovered hot spring sounds intimidating,” Tommy said.

“It’s not exactly undiscovered. In fact someone discovered it thousands of years ago. They left markings. The Ancient Egyptians discovered it before the Spanish did 500 years ago.

“Okay, now you just gave me the biggest hard on. Did you say the Ancient Egyptians were here?” Tommy asked.

“Yes, but I’m not an expert in hieroglyphics, that’s one of the reasons I called you. I merely possess the most basic knowledge, and I don’t recognize much,” Victoria said.

“No one has ever found evidence of the Ancient Egyptians in the new world. But we studied Egyptian hieroglyphs together in graduate school.  I’m surprised you’re so rusty. I recall feeling furious when you earned an ‘A’ when I got stuck with a ‘B+’,” Tommy said.

“Do you regret turning down your fellowship at Harvard to be with your father in Scotland after his heart attack?” Victoria asked.

“Not as much as I regret not staying in the States to be with you,” Tommy said, feeling his heart ache for the missed opportunity with his college sweetheart.

“You’re here with me now,” Victoria said, smiling through her bashful feelings.

“So if the Spanish found this cave in the 1500s, why haven’t we heard anything about the discovery?” Tommy asked.

“I think I know why this place is still a secret. Look here. Our predecessors left warnings,” Victoria said. She shined a light on the cave wall a few yards away from the start of the hot springs.  She and Tommy stared at the engravings.

“Don’t feel bad for not recognizing the hieroglyphics, they’re not Ancient Egyptian,” he said.

“What are they?” she asked.

“Something older, Sumerian perhaps,” he said.

“The one below it is written in Spanish,” she said as she translated.

            Do not touch the water, or you will watch everyone you love die

Ponce De Leon

“Come on,  We’re almost there,” Victoria said.


She grabbed Tommy’s hand and led him to the start of the hot springs.  She pulled out her lighter and ignited the incense to mask the pungent smell of sulfur. She shined her flashlights on the control box for the lights she recently installed.  She placed her finger above the “on” switch and looked at Tommy.

“Ready?  3, 2, 1,” she said, as she pressed the switch and the lights shone brightly on the hot water springs.  A layer of steam hovered several inches above the milky water.

“Oh my God, the only thing stopping me from diving in is Ponce De Leon’s warning,” Tommy said.   


“I have a confession to make,” Victoria said, grinning up at Tommy.

“No, please don’t tell me you risked your life by touching the water?” Tommy asked.

“Only by accident. The other day when I installed the lights, I tripped and stumbled. My hand automatically reacted by going down to brace my fall.  It accidentally landed in the water,” Victoria said. She held her right hand up to show Tommy.

Tommy gently took her hand in his and examined it. He enjoyed the intimate moment of caressing Victoria’s hand. He ran the tips of his fingers over her soft skin as he admired her youthful hand.  He instinctively pulled her hand to his lips and kissed it.

“Your hand is as beautiful as I remember. It’s like you never dug in the dirt in your life,” Tommy said, still holding her hand as his strong feelings for Victoria came rushing back, filling his heart with love again.

“I know.  That’s just it, until the other day, my right hand looked as rugged and aged as my left.  Here, look,” she said, holding her left hand next to her right to allow Tommy to compare the astounding difference between the two.

Tommy looked at her hands and he jerked his head back, shocked at the sight before him. While Victoria’s right hand appeared youthful and unblemished, her left resembled his own–wrinkled, rugged, and covered with tiny scars from digging in the dirt for a living.

“When I noticed the change, I initially thought it healed from the medicinal powers of the hot, sulfur spring water.  But then I did an experiment, and I realized this is something much more,” she said.

“Victoria, no, what are you saying?  It can’t be,” Tommy said.

“My cat is fifteen years old and ready to be put to sleep, but I can’t muster the courage to say goodbye,” Victoria said.

“You still have that calico cat from college, Amaretto?” Tommy asked.

“Yes, I brought her down here,  carried her in one of those papoose things mothers use to tote their infants around.  I submerged her in the water for only a second, and now she’s as good as new,” she said.

Tommy stared at Victoria incredulously, his eyes bulged from his head as the shock settled in.  “Do you mean you discovered…”

“The Fountain Of Youth.”

Find Terri’s books at these sites:

The Evolution Trilogy
A HUGE thank you…
I have just written a melancholy blog post on my main Author blog called “Perseverance” – where I discuss (or talk to myself as I write) my dilemma for the year.

Mainly, the question I ask myself is “should I continue writing or get back to my “real” job?

I don’t have the answer to this yet, time will tell… but, from what I know most writers lead a double life – they have their day job and then at night they write.

Either way, I am extremely grateful for the moderate success I have had to date. Since HYBRID has gone free (or permafree – what a word!), I have had sales for Complications and Return. I have not had any new reviews on Amazon though, which makes me think readers don’t love or hate it, or just have not read it! But, tracking sales/ ratings is driving me to insanity… I keep thinking “Why does that one sell?” “Why does that one get downloaded all the time for free and mine slips down the ratings?”

I am convinced that publicity and promotion is key, but if I do this all the time when do I actually write?

So, I have made a decision to write – yay! And I will have to watch as my books slide down the charts again – easy come, easy go!

If you happen to enjoy my books, it would make my day if you leave a review – on this blog, amazon, anywhere…

To those of you who have – THANK YOU. You are the reason I have worked so hard over the past few years. I know a lot of you have had enjoyment from my writing and so I know I have some promise. To those of you who don’t like my writing – you know what, I respect you for sticking your neck out and saying so. I can be pretty critical too, but find I have to bite my tongue recently or I’ll get accused of “jealousy”.

Anyway, to anyone who visits this site for the first time… I hope you forgive my rant. Being an “indie” author is really hard, not all of us can achieve the sales Amanda Hocking got – she is what I call a true indie success story. She inspired many of us to give it a go, but I am afraid the bubble is set to burst or perhaps just loose air and fizzle out.

If you are a new writer I suggest you try to get an agent first, they are still looking for new talent. In this current market, they have found their feet and will use their marketing knowledge to sell books in a way indie’s will struggle to compete against. Not every book should be represented or published, not every book is a mass paperback, but there is certainly enough out there to know that your book might have a place amongst the big boys! Don’t lose faith, persevere… and if nothing works, ask me for help. I might be able to give you a few pointers.

Publishing a book is no longer hard – getting noticed is.

All the best,
Vanessa 🙂

J.B. Cameron, Author
Independence In A Digital Market
There’s no mistaking the signs. Electronic books are more than a passing fad. They’ve established themselves in popularity as not simply a supplement to traditional books, but as their potential replacement. Though reports show that ebook sales have levelled off in recent years, vendors such as Amazon UK are reporting record highs in ebook downloads, surpassing sales of both hardcover and paperback books.
This changing digital marketplace invites both accomplished authors and newcomers alike to offer their wares in an unrestricted, free market environment. Some readers are feeling the pressure of caveat emptor, as they shop for books from their favorite NY Times best-selling author, now ingloriously set alongside John Doe’s latest treatise on “1001 Ways To Pluck Navel Lint.” Others are viewing the changes optimistically as they discover exciting new titles from indie authors on sites like Goodreads. No matter how you feel about the digital revolution in literature, this is a trend that’s only going to become more prominent as the technology evolves to support even more media-rich storytelling.
In this current, ungoverned marketplace, it’s not surprising to find the same sorts of issues that you would find in any unregulated bazaar. Shoddy craftsmanship, price gouging, and questionable reviews are all issues that ebook readers must face on a regular basis when considering the best outlet for their entertainment dollars. To be safe, most readers will stick to familiar names. Some may even choose to purchase the ebook version of their favorite writer’s latest works, despite its cost often exceeding that of the print version. Unfortunately, the concept of “getting what you pay for” is the rule of law for established authors in this new marketplace, where an appearance on a best-seller list serves as an open invitation for inflated prices.
The age of the 99¢ ebooks are on the decline. In a recent article in Publishers Weekly, Mark Lefebvre, Kobo’s director of self-publishing and author relations, admitted that even the $1.99 price point is “dead.” Royalty limitations instituted by the vendors themselves have forced many authors to embrace the $2.99 to $5.99 price range, falling back on the lesser price only when offering discounts. For newcomers to the table, struggling authors with only a small handful of books, this price point is an immediate detriment to their sales figures. Despite the author’s best self-marketing efforts, most readers will always have second thoughts about spending that kind of money on an unfamiliar name.
The marketplace seems to be trending towards stabilization on behalf of readers. The increased price for books means that, barring an exceptional title or a phenomenal marketing effort, untested writers will be forced to prove their work belongs on the digital bookshelf, alongside those of established authors. The threat of a bad review forces independent authors to work twice as hard as established ones, to provide a more compelling, original story, complete with professional editing and artwork. The added cost for these services means they either increase their own price tag and risk driving off potential readers, or absorb the loss. Either way, the situation places a first-time author at an immediate disadvantage.
Yet as the mantra for the indie author goes, “Book sales are not a sprint, but a marathon.” 
There will always be as many poorly written, badly edited books dumped on the market as there are people seeing digital publishing as a get-rich-quick scheme. Bad reviews and a unfamiliarity with the author usually cause such titles to languish on the digital bookshelf until they fade into obscurity. 
The independent authors to stand the test of time will be the ones who persevere, who make the effort to provide a quality title again and again. Whereas traditional authors had to simply contend with rejection from publishers, this new generation of authors also faces a substantial financial hit, until such time as their accumulated works receive their much-deserved recognition from readers. Though unfortunate, it’s a fact of life for serious independent authors in our new age of digital publishing. As any traditional author will be quick enough to declare, a real writer needs to pay their dues. Burgeoning authors in the evolving ebook market are paying every day in lost sales and the increasingly higher cost (both in time and money) of publishing and marketing their books. It’s a paradigm that most established authors don’t even fully understand.
Over time, independent authors will establish themselves in the eyes of a new generation of readers, in much the same way as the Internet fundamentally opened the doors to a world of previously unknown independent artists in the music and film industry. When that happy day comes, there will be no more discrimination between traditional authors and indies in the eyes of the readers. There will only be good authors and bad authors.
Unfortunately, I don’t personally see the price of ebooks dropping in the near future. The increasing cost of marketing online, coupled with piracy concerns, means there will always be a hefty price tag for digital editions. The same factors that have driven up the price of video games over the years also play a role here. 
Examining that parallel market further leads us to realize that independent game designers provide a substantial savings in their products, compared to established gaming studios. Though (in general) their work may not have the polish of the titles released by industry-recognized giants, that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable. Independent titles, whether in music, gaming, or film, fills a niche market as a viable alternative to potentially derivative work delivered by established entities who’ve lost touch with their customer’s desires. Sometimes, the quality can even amaze.
There’s a similar need for independent authors in today’s marketplace. More readers are discovering this fact daily. Whether these writers choose to retain a lower pricing structure for their work, or emulate those of their traditionally published peers is entirely up to them. Having the freedom to establish their asking price is one of the few perks of self-publishing. Having the freedom of choice to buy their books is the readers’.

Jessica Knauss, Famous Author
Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop — Celebrating 50,000 Hits!

Sometime when I wasn’t looking (in October, I think), this blog hit a thrilling milestone: 50,000 page views. I never imagined it would come this far.

I’ve now had many more views than that, but I still thought I would take this opportunity to celebrate by giving you, my readers, FREE BOOKS.

The books up for grabs:

Egyptomania by Bob Brier. A fun study of the fascination with ancient Egypt in the Western world and a great resource for understanding what the museums are talking about. This is a publisher’s Advance Reader’s Edition paperback with just a few signs of wear. Full review to come later.

Dragon’s Child by M. K. Hume. The first book in a new King Arthur series that’s sure to enthrall all round table enthusiasts. Another publisher’s Advance Reader’s Edition, but with almost no signs of wear.

The Abencerraje. The softcover edition of this enchanting short story from medieval Spain includes the original Spanish with modernized spelling and the popular new English translation. A Top 20 Amazon bestseller and 2013’s #2 bestseller at Açedrex Publishing, which has also been adopted as a college textbook.

Tree/House by Jessica Knauss (yours truly). The softcover edition with the gorgeous new cover of my jaw-dropping, head-scratching coming-of-age novella. Highly rated on Amazon, Tree/House gives any reader a lot to ponder.

The Fleet Angels of Lakehurst by Barbara Marriott. Loose Leaves Publishing‘s first book is a humorous and factual tribute to the Navy helicopter pilots from Lakehurst who saved so many lives. Seven ***** reviews on Amazon and Silver Medalist in the Stars and Flags Military Book Award!

Three fiction, two non-fiction! Prize winners and bestsellers! Have you chosen your favorite yet?


To win, just comment below. Please tell me which book you’d like and include your email (written out to avoid spam if you desire) so I can contact you for a mailing address if you’re a winner. Winners will be drawn on January 11th and notified the same day. Increase the number of times your name is in the “hat” by following this blog via GFC or email, liking my and/or Açedrex Publishing’s Facebook page or following me on Twitter or Pinterest. Drawing is open to US residents. (Sorry, I wish postage wasn’t so expensive!)

There are a lot of other books that need new homes! Check out all the other blogs on this linky list to enter their drawings — you could get quite a library going!

Thanks for 50,000 magical internet moments! Many more to come!

Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Most #self-pub #ebook #authors are earning more $ on fewer books and earnings discrepancy will grow greater over time

Most #self-pub #ebook #authors are earning more $ on fewer books and earnings discrepancy will grow greater over time, favoring the #indie authors! Full explanation and more data in article linked, below.

A few more excerpts, paraphrased for Twitter, just to whet your appetite!

86% of top 2,500 genre fiction bestsellers + 92% of Top-100 best-selling books in overall Amazon store are e-books!

Indie authors outnumber trad pub authors in every earnings bracket but one. Even extreme outliers do better w/self-pub.

Self-pub authors make 50% more profit than trad pub, even though indie books represent only half of the gross sales revenue.

“Our data suggests that even stellar manuscripts are better off self-published.”

“When given a choice, readers will buy books other than those vetted by [the New York Times]. The Kindle bestseller lists prove this.”

image from

Advice self-pub author, Hugh Howey (article author), gave publishers three years ago, when the Big 5 were still the Big 6. Did they follow it? What do YOU think? (From the same article):

“Publishers should stop trying to convince themselves and others that they’re relevant, and start actually being relevant. Here’s how:
1. Offer much better royalties to authors.
2. Release titles faster. It can take 18 months after a book is turned in to be published. I can do it myself in a week.
3. Use up-to-date accounting methods that are trackable by the author, and pay royalties monthly.
4. Lower ebook prices.
5. Stop futilely fighting piracy. Hint: all such fighting is futile. Piracy can only be made redundant with cost and convenience.
6. Start marketing effectively. Ads and catalog copy aren’t enough. Neither is your imprint’s Twitter feed. Especially if your author has more Twitter followers than you do.”

Link to article I’m referencing, here:

Are you an author (either or both trad and indie/self-pub)? DO THIS!
“The website is now up and running again. Even if you’ve read the info here, I encourage everyone to visit and take the Author Survey and sign the Petition.”

Thanks, Joe Konrath and Hugh Howey!

If you’d just like to read Hugh’s report without the Q & A and conversation with Joe (less entertaining, but shorter), here is the link:

Filed under: Blogging and others’ content, Indie or Self-Publishing, Writing Tagged: ebook, indie authors, self-publishing, Writers

Scribbling Tales
A Zombie Bites Back

battle of dornoch

Picture depicting battle at Easter Ross


Hollywood is awash with films about zombies, but according to Scottish legend there really was such a creature in the 9th century.




Máel Brigte the Buck-toothed  was a 9th century Pictish nobleman, most probably a Mormaer of Moray. He was challenged by Sigurd to a 40-man-a-side battle to settle their differences. Treacherously, Sigurd brought 80 men to the fight, and Máel Brigte knew he had been betrayed when he saw that each of Sigurd’s horses had two men’s legs on its flanks. Máel Brigte exhorted his men to kill at least one man before they died and although a fierce fight ensued he was quickly defeated and killed. Sigurd had his enemies’ heads strapped to his victorious men’s saddles as trophies, but as Sigurd rode home, Máel Brigte’s buck-tooth scratched his leg. The leg became inflamed and infected, and as a result Sigurd died.

The site of the battle is unknown. However the saga states that Earl Sigurd built a stronghold in the south of Moray, then a much larger province than today and that he was buried in a mound on the banks of the River Oykel.


moray scotland



river oykel

River Oykel


Máel Brigte’s power centre was probably in or near modern Inverness. In the 13th century a farm near Dornoch, now called Cyderhall is recorded as “Syvardhoch”, meaning “Sigurd’s mound”.It is therefore possible that the battle was staged in Easter Ross somewhere between these two places.





Easter Ross


Little is known of Máel Brigte’s life, but the story of his death is recorded in the Orkneyinga Saga.


Orkneyinga Saga


The Orkneyinga saga (also called the History of the Earls of Orkney) is a historical narrative of the history of the Orkney Islands, from their capture by the Norwegian king in the ninth century onwards until about 1200.


orkneyOrkney Islands


It goes to show, legend is stranger than fiction.



Oh, Father Jack

The Man Who Wept Blood


Java Head Musings
Radiant Heat: An Earth Minders Romance
Yay! My new Sci-Fi/Paranormal Romance is live on Amazon. Here are 2 maps from the future world you’ll encounter is this new series.  You can find Radiant Heat: An Earthminders Romance at Amazon:   Radiant Heat – Treyton … Continue reading