Author Spotlight: Jay Shaw

Today I’m fortunate to present Jay Shaw, author of The Space Colonel’s Woman.

The Space Colonel's Woman - by Jay Shaw - CoverHi Jay, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi Jason, thanks for having me. I’m a New Zealand author, a mum of two teens, and a lover of books. I’m an incurable romantic who stays up early and sleeps in late, writes in bed, loves both action and romance movies, survives on a diet of M&Ms, bottled water, and steak with mushroom sauce.  I have a passion for tall, dark-haired, military men in thigh holsters and combat boots, photography, baking, thunderstorms, bootleg jeans, and boots. My ultimate guest list for a dinner party would include: Queen Elizabeth I, Leonardo Da Vinci, JJ Abrams, Patty Jenkins, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jason Momoa, Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Obama, and Carrie Fisher.

 

How long have you been writing?

Five years now, though it wasn’t until last year that I published my first novel Wolfhaven – a paranormal action romance set in a world of feuding wolf-shifter packs.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always been in love with the written word and the power it has to transport you to another world. It’s limitless, and the idea that with the turn of a page you can escape whatever life is throwing at you – even if it’s only for an hour or three – is intoxicating in the best way.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

I have two current projects.

Limelight and Longing is the first of four movie star romance novellas in which Jenna Long meets actor Jacob Starr at a convention. The attraction is immediate and scorching, but neither is in a position to act upon it. It seems their connection will forever be chalked up to missed opportunity and fantasy. Until, eighteen months later when…

The Shifting Tide is the third full-length novel in the Dragonus Chronicles – my science fiction action romance series which hails the adventures, trials and tribulations, losses and loves of Brigadier General Mark Holden, Julia Holden, their family, and the inhabitants of Dragonus Galaxy. It follows on from The Space Colonel’s Woman, and The Hunted.

 

The Hunted - by Jay Shaw - eBook coverWhat genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I prefer a mix of genres in my books, because I tend to get easily bored as both writer and reader. A story which has both action and romance within its pages has my full attention, be it on Earth, or set in another realm, universe, or dimension. I love the freedom of science fiction, the way my imagination has free rein to explore the endless possibilities.

 

What authors influenced you?

Wilbur Smith – his ability to plunge his readers into majestic sweeping vistas, while making us believe in the courage and determination of his characters.

Clive Cussler – all hail to his power of description, for his sexy rugged heroes and their taste for adventure, who allow readers to join the treasure hunt.

Diana Gabaldon – for proving a book doesn’t have to be just one genre.

Anna Hackett – at the top of my one-click-to-buy list. She writes action romance and sci-fi romance with such enviable skill and her characters live with you long after the story is finished.

 

What are you currently reading?

Diffraction – by Jess Anastasi

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! If you haven’t already you need to read her Atrophy series.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

Yes, every day. The quality, however, isn’t always the best. But then you can edit a bad page, unlike a blank one. I keep pen and paper beside my bed and immediately on waking I’m writing. You know that space between sleeping and waking where all those fantastic perfect ideas and visualizations live? I can’t always decipher what I’ve scribbled, but it’s better to have it down than to forget forever.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

No. I listen to music while I’m editing. I don’t find it influences how I write, but after I’m finished I’ll notice the lyrics either reflect my story, or add extra depth; almost as if they’re the soundtrack.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

I love that our writing grows with our experiences. I’ve tightened it up. There are less ‘ly’ words, though I’m still fighting to eradicate ‘had’ and ‘that’, lol. I think the more we get to know our characters and the worlds they inhabit, the better we get at telling their story and crafting their journey. It becomes our journey as writers and I think that’s the most obvious when starting a series from the beginning. You travel with not only the characters but the author as well. And I think by the time you reach the end, you’re part of an enduring friendship.

 

Wolfhaven - ebook CoverHow do you create the covers for your books?

I have a mental vision of what I want the covers to look like. Then I send a tonne of stock images to my designer and hope like hell she can translate them into gorgeousness using her artistic genius. Choosing a designer is the hard part. I recommend Googling and checking out their portfolios until you find someone who mirrors your own creativity, then having a chat to see if you’ll work well together.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?

Hell yes!

I grew up with such influences as Star Wars, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, MacGyver, Battlestar Galactica, Romancing the Stone, Wonder Woman, and Tour of Duty. Then along came Stargate Atlantis, Jupiter Ascending, and The Dresden Files. Everyday heroes standing up for what is right against intimidating odds, finding great love and fighting to keep hold of that love while their world around them heaped danger and adventure on them. An environment where they can prove themselves, can grow and learn who they are inside, and use that knowledge to gain victories. Without struggle there is no strength, without strength there can be no triumph.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

All my books are available from:

Ebook: www.amazon.com/Jay-Shaw/e/B01CXLFUMG

Print: https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=jay+shaw&sitesearch_type=STORE

 

Where can we find you online?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JayShawAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jayshawauthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15094075.Jay_Shaw

Pronoun: https://books.pronoun.com/jayshaw/

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Jay-Shaw/e/B01CXLFUMG

 

What is your favorite book and why?

To write: is always the one I’m working on because I’m immersed in those characters and their story.

To read: is a much harder choice and I’d never be able to narrow it down to just one. Here’s my top five:

Valhalla Rising – by Clive Cussler

The Burning Shore – by Wilbur Smith

Pillars of the Earth – by Ken Follett

Voyager – by Diana Gabaldon

Plus anything by Anna Hackett, Jess Anatassi, Veronica Scott, and Sarah Madison.

 

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

“Black Wing eight, clear and headed for uploaded coordinates.” She radioed while staring out the canopy at a squall of vibrant cobalt, lime, and fuchsia clouds, and the blink of golden stars, smeared across the vast ink-black ocean of uninhabited space. Julia understood the concept of a nebula, but to see one in reality; sheer brilliance and scale dwarfing anything that dared to challenge it, was awe-inspiring.

“Acknowledged, Black Wing eight.” Major Walker, Second Helmsman for Columbus, answered in her ear. “Initiate Flight Evasion Sequence one, under Subsection A.”

Julia accessed the menu on her display, loaded a program similar to the flight simulator Stephen and Lieutenant Colonel Dawson created for Phoenix City’s glider training program.

“Initiating Flight Evasion Sequence one, confirmed.” A red AIA icon waited at the base of her display while the F490’s radar matrix registered the outer rim of the Solaris asteroid belt with soft pings and a rash of white dots.

“Black Wing eight, you’re cleared for commencement. Black Wings four, seven, and twelve you’re on a sixty-second staggered start. Confirm.”

“Copy, Columbus Flight, Black Wing eight commencing simulation. Wings out.” Halo and the other pilots radioed their confirmations in her ear as Julia accelerated her AIA through the Heaven’s Arch.

It was breathtaking. Black Wing eight cut through the soaring cotton-candy clouds like a samurai sword through the finest silk. Julia’s wrist didn’t ache as it had after her teaser flight with Halo, proving Black Wing eight was born for space. The inertial regulators didn’t compensate for all the Gs as they cut swathes through Solaris’ luminescent layers of gas and dust, but the push-pull on her body sure added to the thrill. Static scratched in her ear, making Julia wince as Black Wing eight plunged from auroras of bright color into the midnight chaos and lightning storms of the asteroid zone.

Despite the lack of telepathic communication between her and her craft, Julia was lost to the addictive power and graceful beauty of a CobraF490 in her natural element. The two of them flew together in a symbiotic union of style and speed; an osmosis of motion. Black Wing eight translated Julia’s subtle stick-twitches into breakneck swoops, spiral-dives, arcs, and last minute wing-tip turns around, over, and between, the stately avalanche of colossal planetoids.  

Lightning struck from on high in lethal stabs, one-two-three, and Julia gasped; blinked through the livewire echo on her retinas, to haul Black Wing eight into a vertical climb. Her display bleeping with virtual panic as rock debris the size of houses and aircraft carriers cascaded through their previous position, down into the abyss beyond. Bright gold stars streaked by as the excess Gs held her into the seat. Adrenalin licked cool and addictive over every inch of her skin, kick-started her heart and sent it racing. She whooped in delight; thighs tensing to contain the surge of heat pooling low in her belly. Only one other thing ever made her this hot, this primed. And stuck in his office, half a system away, her General was totally missing out. Julia crowed on a bubble of pleasure as she rolled before executing a smooth forty-degree sweep between two massive asteroids and streaking toward the co-ordinates where Columbus waited with her time score.

The Shifting Tide – Dragonus Chronicles III, Jay Shaw

 

Any parting words for writers?

Write what you want to read.

Pay for a professional cover.

For every story there is someone somewhere waiting to read and love it.

Go with your gut. If it feels wrong it usually is.

Enjoy the ride.

 

Author Spotlight: RJ Batla

Today I’m fortunate to present RJ Batla author of AGAINST THE BEAST and FIRE EYES AWAKENED.

Hi RJ, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi! Thanks for the interview Jason! I’m a Texan, born and raised, a Christian who loves my family and a fan of good old fashioned fantasy, sci-fi, and superhero books. I’m a country boy who has always loved to read and be outdoors in any form or fashion. I consider myself to be one of the ‘nice guys,’ and try to help anyone I can when I can.

 

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for around seven years now, but I’ve gotten serious about it in the last two and have written over two hundred thousand words since then. Most of it probably wasn’t that good (or will ever see a published book in its current form), but it has helped hone my writing craft. It’s been a journey, but now that I (kinda) know what I’m doing, it’s a lot of fun!

 

What inspired you to start writing?

To get the voices out of my head!

Just kidding. But I’ve always wanted to write a book and I’ve been telling stories to myself in my head for a long time. I wrote a little in college, and some family had said it was pretty good. So I continued on, enjoying the learning of a new skill and telling a story.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

So I’ve got several projects going at the moment. FIRE EYES AWAKENED is my first full-blown novel, and it’s at the editor right now. I expect to release it around May or June.

The RANGER’S FIELD MANUAL is the companion guide to the world of Terraunum. I’ve gotten it written and edited, and might be available now for free for signing up for my email list! There is a smaller version available now for an email signup, but anyone on my list will get the expanded edition as soon as I can.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I don’t know that I prefer any, but I’d have to say fantasy comes the easiest for me. I like the creation of worlds, the magic (both the system and in general), and the old school sword & sorcery battles.

All of my current works are based in Terraunum, a future earth where Marvels have amazing powers over the elements and much more. It’s Epic Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery with a good bit of Superheroism and some technological elements of Steampunk. So a blend of genres.

 

What authors influenced you?

Oh wow, several. Terry Brooks, who was the first author I really latched onto in the fantasy genre, is a clear influence. Also Jim Butcher, who writes the Dresden Files, my favorite series – I love the main character Harry Dresden, a smart-aleck wizard with a strong sense of justice. Those would be the two biggest influences, though everything I read tends to influence me in some way.

 

What are you currently reading?

So I’ve got several books on my reading list right now. I tend to read several books at once (I know, a little crazy). Right now, here is what I’m reading:

Outbreak by Joshua C. Chadd; Mistress of Masks by C. Greenwood, and Thinblade by David A. Wells

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

I try to write every day, but it usually turns into around 4-5 days per week, depending on when the kids go to bed and how much time I have at night. The day job gets in the way (as per the usual), so I do all my writing at night. Usually I can knock out between 500-1000 words per hour after I have my outline done, so I am able to make good use of my time.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

Absolutely not! I love music and tv, but I can’t do either and write at the same time – I get too involved in one thing and get sidetracked.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

I’d like to think it has gotten better – better at telling the story, better at getting my point across, more succinct, clearer, more descriptive without wasting words. I also think I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, and how to make sure and only include what is good/important but to make sure I do include those same things.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

RJBatlaI come up with the general idea for what I’m looking for, then I work with the professionals to get it done right. I am by no means an artist (drawing wise), so I hire out freelancers who are pros. I have two different cover artists that I use, and they are both amazing.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?

Absolutely! Movies – anything superhero-related, action/adventure, and even some of the drama. I’ve also been heavily influenced by a couple of animated shows, particlularly Avatar: The Last Airbender (the series, not the movie), and Naruto, a manga adaption.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

I’m exclusive with Amazon right now, so that’s the only place to get any of my books. I’ve only got one out, but several are in the works and will be out as soon as I can get them out there.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

Now that is a tough question. Because you’re making me pick ONE, I’m assuming a work of fiction, I would have to pick Summer Knight (The Dresden Files, Book 4) by Jim Butcher because it introduced me to the Dresden Files series that I love.

 

How do you market your books?

I use Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Ads, and my email list. But mostly it’s word of mouth from other authors and friends.

 

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

Sure, here is an excerpt from AGAINST THE BEAST.

Royn parried the sword from the left Skeptor and threw up an air shield on his right. Steel clanged against bone as the two traded blows. The second one broke through the air shield quickly and thrust at Royn’s midsection.

Royn teleported at the last second, the creature’s sword hitting nothing but blue light. Growling, they advanced on his new position, circling around again. Clearly they meant to keep his attention divided. The left one started in again, and Royn counterattacked, matching the strikes with his own as the second one circled and jumped in again. Thank God for his Ranger training, or he wouldn’t have lasted ten seconds against these things.

“Flying Knives!” Royn called, arcing his arm and sending dozens of daggers of sharpened air at the Skeptor. They imbedded themselves in the bone, but didn’t penetrate, didn’t even slow the thing down. Again Royn teleported away at the last second.

They continued to circle, and this time Royn put everything he had into his sword work, until he found an opening. “Aha!” he said, driving his blade right into a Skeptor’s chest.

It clanged and bounced harmlessly off the bone armor, the force prying the sword from his hands. “No!” he said, teleporting away, then right back to get his sword and away again too fast for them to react. Damn that was close.

Five more times they circled and advanced, each time Royn throwing a different attack at the second Skeptor, and five more times Royn teleported away. But there was a problem. Royn’s energy was draining quickly—the second bean was wearing off, his reserves already depleted. He was weaker than he thought. He hadn’t fully recovered. He shouldn’t have come. The Skeptors circled again. Like vultures. Might as well be. One of these times they were going to get him. Just a matter of time. How could he win this battle? His attacks fell right off of them, nothing stuck. He was severely out matched.

What is that blasted buzzing? Royn dodged a sword attack and deflected a fireball with an air blast.

“Now.”

From behind him the second Skeptor launched another fireball. Diving away, the heat singed his clothes as he tucked and rolled on the landing, immediately jumping up before he was blasted again.

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

Definitely Indie, though if someone wanted to pay me an insane amount of money I could be convinced!

The main reasons I chose Indie is the ability to actually get your work out in the world and let the people/readers/fans decide if it is good enough, vs someone in a corporate office. So in a word control – I have ultimate say on anything involving my works.

Plus it’s on my timeline – if I need to push something back because I have time with my family scheduled, it doesn’t hurt anyone or myself.

 

Where can we find you online?

Here they are:

WEBSITE: rjbatla.com

TWITTER: @RJBatlaAuthor

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/rjbatla

EMAIL: rjbatla@rjbatla.com

 

Any parting words for writers?

Keep working hard. Take it one day at a time. Grab any time you can to write, market your current works, or read – either for fun or for honing your craft. You eat an elephant one bite at a time, and you write a book one word at a time over a sustained period. You can do it!

 

Author Spotlight: Mackenzie Flohr

In my ongoing “Author Spotlight” series, I present Mackenzie Flohr.


Author Spotlight: Mackenzie Flohr

14225545_1055346424585970_2984355175129179776_nToday I’m fortunate to present Mackenzie Flohr author of The Rite of Wands.

Hi Mackenzie, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. For as long as I can remember, I have loved the arts. My parents introduced me at a very young age to the artistic and cultural opportunities that the city of Cleveland had to offer. I spent my teen years developing my love of theatre and writing through The Beck Center for the Cultural Arts in Lakewood, Ohio.

 

How long have you been writing?

I have honestly been writing since I was a young child. My best friend and I would create little stories and draw pictures.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

I honestly didn’t think of writing as a career until I was on my way to Indiana to view a Lord of the Rings exhibit. That is when the concept of The Rite of Wands first came to me.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

The Rite of Wands is the first book of an epic fantasy series. It follows the story of 12-year-old warlock Mierta McKinnon after he endures a harrowing ritual called The Rite of Wands in order to gain his magical powers.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

Science Fiction & Fantasy.

 

What authors influenced you?

J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Michael Ende, Christopher Paolini.

 

What are you currently reading?

Gnarled Bones and other stories by Tam May.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

I usually write a few days per week at night between the hours of 12 – 3 AM.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

Sometimes if I really need to concentrate. Music seems to bring out emotions that I cannot quite describe. I actually created a playlist for The Rite of Wands, which can be found on my website.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

When I first started I really struggled with getting clear thoughts onto the paper as well as describing something so others could understand what they should be seeing. Now I feel I can get into a character’s head much easier than before.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

MFlohr-RiteofWindsI work exclusively with Blue Harvest Creative, who design absolutely amazing covers.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?

When I write I can see my characters vividly, almost like they are performing in front of a green screen. Sometimes they also look and sound like actors. Specifically, for this series, the character of Mierta McKinnon was heavily inspired by actor Matt Smith. As the character evolved, I grew more confident to write this character for him, knowing I could take this character anywhere.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. The story of Frodo and the hobbits, and their struggle to destroy the one ring of power, really touched me on an emotional level. I especially loved the relationship between Frodo and Sam, and it made me realize we all need a Sam Gamgee in our lives.

 

How do you market your books?

I am a member of several Facebook groups which support indie writers like myself. We share our triumphs and our struggles as well as mutually advertise our works through our various blogs, Twitter, and Facebook pages. I also have an amazing team behind BHC Press, which also helps me properly market my book and develop my brand.

 

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

Chapter One

Draconiera Mountain–The kingdom of Aracelly
1238

 

“Mierta McKinnon.”

The twelve-year-old warlock startled, hearing his name announced telepathically. Mierta stood up on shaky legs and brushed his brown bangs out of his green eyes. The room inside Draconiera Mountain was suffocating. Hot springs bubbling up from deep beneath the ground created a dense fog, which pushed down on Mierta’s shoulders. Sweat was already dripping from his brow onto his long dark royal blue robe. His heart raced as he approached a large wooden door. He occasionally glanced over at others who were anxiously waiting their turn, wondering which of those he made eye contact with would succeed.

No matter what happens. No matter what I see. I cannot allow my fears to overcome me, Mierta told himself. I will achieve what I have come to do. I cannot fail. I won’t. I will make Mum and Dad proud.

A loud creaking echoed across the room, and the ground shook underneath his feet. Two tall wooden doors opened up to a pathway of complete darkness.

“Step inside,” he heard the dragon say. Mierta swallowed hard and expelled air through his mouth.

Upon entering the pathway, a warm mist rose from below. Water splashed against rocks, and occasional water droplets hit his skin. A faint glow shined in the near distance. He walked towards the glow until he found himself in a large circular cavern. In the centre of this cavern was a short round pedestal. An opening off towards the right looked like it was open-aired, and off to the left side was another doorway, which was currently closed.

Mierta gazed up at the source of the glow and caught a glimpse of the magnificent creature standing on a rocky ledge. He could hear his pulse beating in his ears. He felt like his body was paralyzed, yet he felt unsteady. His own rapid breathing masked the sound of Lord Kaeto stepping into the light.

Mierta gasped, shielding his eyes against the bright yellow light from Lord Kaeto’s wings, trying to conquer his fear. When his eyes adjusted, he noted the ebony veins that traced a pattern like fingers. The veins seemed to pulse with power.

“Lord Kaeto,” Mierta uttered, bowing, keeping his eyes averted to the ground.

Lord Kaeto was the last of his kind—an omniscient ancient breed of telepathic dragons that had been around for longer than any could remember. The residents of the kingdom looked at him as if he were a God, straight out of the stories of old.

“Mierta McKinnon. Rise,” he spoke. “It is your time to participate in the Rite of Wands in which your soul shall face the ultimate analysis. You will be taken on a journey of your lifetime, viewing portions of your past, present, and future. Do you concede?”

“Yes,” Mierta answered, his voice breaking.

The Rite of Wands is a tradition among witches and warlocks when they reached their twelfth birthday. It was a ceremony, which once completed, would signify their initiation into the magical community of Aracelly.

I will not fail. I cannot fail, Mierta recited to himself.

“Very well,” Lord Kaeto nodded, pleased. “The Rite of Wands shall commence!”

Lord Kaeto tilted his head upwards and blew fire from his mouth.

Mierta lifted his hands to cover his face. When he heard the sound of the bolt slide open from the other side of the room, Mierta lowered his hands to watch as the door opened with a loud creak.

“Dragomir will be assisting me with the ritual.”

Out stepped a warlock wearing tall black boots, a black tunic with a golden lacing, royal blue breeches and a long sleeved white linen shirt. His face was hidden behind an orange and golden mask shaped like a dragon’s head. The warlock raised his right hand into the air and shouted, “Forina olivet!”

A lightning bolt crashed down beside him, followed by the sound of drums beating, which gradually became louder until it matched every thump of Mierta’s frantic heart.

While the door closed behind him, Dragomir walked to the edge of the room and bowed to the dragon. The drums stopped abruptly.

The warlock bowed his head toward Mierta.

Mierta glanced back not assured.

“His appearance may look frightening, but do not fear,” Kaeto continued. “I assure you he is only here to help me perform the magic, which is tiring for me. Now, Mierta, keep your eyes upon mine at all times. You may feel a tingling sensation as I investigate your essence.” He turned toward the warlock. “Dragomir, you may begin, wand at the ready.”

Mierta watched Dragomir raise his wand and hold it out towards him. He took in a deep breath. He had heard stories about the Rite of Wands, but it was forbidden for anyone to discuss specifics of their individual ritual. The little knowledge he had told him the ceremony represented a kind of test before he would either be accepted as a full member of the magical community or not. If he failed, there would not be another chance; he would become a Magulia-a magical person without his or her powers.

The Rite of Wands began when Lord Kaeto entered his soul, though he did not know exactly what would happen. What he was about to see was a mystery. However, how he endured would determine his fate.

When Mierta stared into Lord Kaeto’s golden amphibian eyes, they were not frightful like he expected. Instead, they appeared old and sad, like he already knew what he was about to see. This sent a chill down Mierta’s body.

Lord Kaeto could see what Mierta’s heart desired. There was both good and evil inside him, caused by a deep hurt that had yet to be mended.

Please, do not curse me to a life without magic, Mierta begged.

At the same time Dragomir shouted, “Fedish ramtatí!”

It did not take long before Mierta started to feel the effects of the spell. First, he experienced what felt like a dozen small black bugs crawling up his skin. His mind urged him to scratch to rid his body of them. He reached out a hand to scratch his left arm, when suddenly Dragomir cast another spell. “Gañoth!”

Mierta abruptly stopped. A small, “oooof” escaped his lips as he promptly was thrown backwards against the pedestal located directly behind him. He felt as if all the air was being released from his lungs, followed by intense pain, as though he had been punched in the stomach. Stars filled his vision.

Dragomir watched the young warlock’s eyes start to roll. He pointed his wand straight at Mierta’s heart and stepped in close to deliver the final blow. There was no hesitation in Dragomir’s movements or guilt in his eyes. He swung his hand around in a large circle and shouted, “Draciolamus!”

Mierta gasped and his eyes re-focused. He was rewarded with air returning to his lungs. He took in several deep breaths, treasuring them as if they were to be his last. He closed his eyes and reopened them just in time to see a set of arms and hands appear, detached and demon-like. They were the colour of misty grey mixed with black. As the disembodied parts slithered toward him like a snake, a moaning sound emanated from them.

He must have cast a spell that causes hallucinations. Oh, how brilliant! I reckon as long as I don’t give in to the fear, I will get through this, Mierta thought.

Mierta wanted to break the trance; however, he was determined not to show the dragon any weakness. One day, he was certain, he would become the most powerful warlock in Iverna. He would do wonders for the magical community while he sought vengeance for the crime committed against his mother.

His body trembled while the hands crawled up his legs. His pulse increased again and his breathing became uneven once he felt them slip underneath his breeches. They climbed up his legs and made their way under his wool shirt until they reached his chest. Then they stopped.

“Lord Kaeto?” Mierta questioned, perplexed.

He let out a cry when he felt a sharp, stabbing pain.  One of the hands had entered his body through the right side of his chest. Crying out again when the other hand followed through his left side, Mierta looked down to see a gruesome sight of blood saturating through his royal blue robe where the hands had entered him. He felt overly hot as blood rushed to his face and nausea built in his throat. Taking a step forward, he heard a squishing sound. He looked down to see blood had pooled at his feet.

“Lord Kaeto,” Mierta uttered between breaths. “What?”

A high-pitched ringing filled his ears. The world before him rapidly spun and transformed into white puffy clouds. His eyes rolled into the back of his head and his knees buckled as the darkness engulfed him.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

The Rite of Wands is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

Where can we find you online?

Website: http://www.mackenzieflohr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MackenzieFlohrAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mackenzieflohr

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16247559.Mackenzie_Flohr

BHC Press Author Page: http://www.bhcauthors.com/Author_Mackenzie_Flohr.html

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I had thought originally about going the traditional route, but I realized I wanted more control over my work if someday it should be adapted for a television series or movie series. I also found a great group of people to support and develop me as a writer!

 

Any parting words for writers?

Keep writing! Look for what inspires you, and drives your muse. Stories pick their writer. You never know if you’ll be chosen to write the next best-seller.

 

Author Spotlight: Michelle Murray

In my continuing series presenting new and emerging authors, I present author Michelle Murray.


Author Spotlight: Michelle Murray

miranda-cospaly-casey-2Today I’m fortunate to present Michelle Murray author of The Dream Walker Land of Mystica series and Rainbows and Dreams.

Hi Michelle, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I am a working mother of two fine young men, one in college, and the other in high school. I started writing myself in high school. A number of my poems and short stories won awards, and were published in anthologies. I was even featured in Whos Who Among American Poets. I’ve always enjoyed fantasy, and children. I combined my two loves, and Dream Walker was born. Rainbows and Dreams is a collection of some of my poetry.

 

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since high school.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

The freedom of expression, the ability to write down my feelings and thoughts with no judgement, no talking back. The ability to create worlds, feelings, moods from a pen and paper. There is magic in that, taking words and painting a picture.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

I have a couple projects in the works, one is a sequel to Dream Walker’s Destiny, and one is a prequel called Lighting’s Journey. I also work on my poetry from time to time.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

I prefer fantasy and poetry. I can’t pick between the two, they both have a hold on me.

 

What authors influenced you?

I love the classics, and believe we can learn much from them as authors and readers. Shakespeare, Mark Twain, JRR Tolkien, have always inspired and influenced me.

 

What are you currently reading?

Right now, nothing. If you know some good poetry or fantasy, please feel free to recommend some.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

I try to write at least two times a week, but it doesn’t always go that way. I’m really trying to get more of a schedule down for my writing, this is one of my goals for this year.

 

Do you listen to music when your write?

Unless you count teenagers, computers, tvs and regular household noises music, no I do not listen to music when I write.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

I started with poetry and short stories, and evolved into a novel. I created characters, a world, and gave more detail than a poem or short story would. I went back and added chapters, tweaked descriptions, and just kept filling in the gaps in the story so to speak. I have learned to rewrite things and change my sentence structure.

 

How do you create covers for your books?

51blfiktrrlI hire someone to do that for me. Generally I have an idea what I want, and I describe it. The artist usually sends me a couple different pictures to choose from based on that description. For my sequel Dream Walker’s Fight, I want Miranda in or around some clouds with a dark presence haunting her.

 

Are there any nonliterary influences for your writing?

I am inspired by nature. The trees, the clouds, the sky, rainbows and butterflies. I love to go for walks and see what will inspire me! Movies tend to be the same stuff sequel and reboots so I don’t find a lot of inspiration there.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

I don’t really have a favorite book, as I said before I love the classics. I also enjoy Robin Hobb, Margaret Weiss, and Collen Huck.

 

How do you market your books?

This is a challenge. I used to post on Facebook and Twitter but I think people were getting tired of that. I contact bloggers, reviewers, do author interviews. I try to do things besides just saying “buy my book.” I have gone to the girl scouts, boys and girls club, and donated books to the libraries and other organizations. I would like to do more of this, but seem to be hitting a snag in these plans.

 

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

I have been posting on my Facebook excerpts from Dream Walkers Fight, stay tuned for more!

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

All three Dream Walker Land of Mystica Series books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. Rainbows and Dreams is available for Kindle only at this time.

Amazon: The Dream Walker

Amazon: The Dream Walker Returns

Barnes and Noble: The Dream Walker

Barnes and Noble: The Dream Walker

 

Where can we find you online?

You can find me at Facebook.

My website.

You Tube.

Twitter.

GoodReads.

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I knew Dream Walker was special, and a good story. I wanted to get it out there, I didn’t realize how much work or what I was getting into. I have been lucky it’s been finding an audience and readers are enjoying it!

 

Any parting words for writers?

Keep at it! Keep writing, keep submitting just keep trying!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Spotlight: Victor Mark

In my ongoing series highlighting authors you may not yet know, I present Victor Mark.


Author Spotlight: Victor Mark

Today I’m fortunate to present Victor Mark, author of Sebastian in Another World.

Hi Victor, thanks for agreeing to this interview.

Thanks for having me.

 

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? How long have you been writing?

Almost five years now… Gods, I’m old, haha. I can’t believe it’s really been that long.

 

What inspired you to start writing?

I honestly can’t remember. Probably something to do with Zelda, cause that’s the oldest story I remember writing.

 

Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?

Which one? I mean it, I’m currently working on editing the second part of Sebastian in Another world, and writing the third part. Also, I have three other stories that I’m writing, on and off. One is about pirates, one is about trees (walking, talking trees; think Ents, but less awesome) and one about a quasi-roman empire conquering the known world.

 

What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?

Fantasy all the way, for me. I’m huge into fantasy.

 

What authors influenced you?

Let’s see now. My influences vary depending on what I’m writing. For Sebastian, my biggest influence was C.S. Lewis, but I also drew inspiration, in the storytelling, from George R.R. Martin. ASOIAF is a big inspiration in my quasi-Roman empire story. Jack Whyte’s Camulod Chronicles also helped.

 

What are you currently reading?

That’s a bit of a story. I’m reading, actually reading, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy. I’m on Perelandra, but haven’t read it in a while. I’m also midway through Jack Whyte’s A Dream of Eagles, but need to get my hands on one of the books. Also, I’m listening to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Currently on the second book, The Great Hunt.

 

Do you write every day? A few days per week?

Um, no, hahaha. I write when I feel like it. Not great for productivity, unfortunately. If I forced myself to write, though, I feel like my writing would suffer.

 

Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?

Sometimes I do, sometimes not. Sometimes I listen to youtube, or movies, or SAO, but usually if I’m trying to write I’ll stick with my own thoughts.

 

How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?

I feel like it’s gotten loads better. I mean, I can tell how much better I’ve gotten since I first started. Anyone can see that, if they know where to look.

 

How do you create the covers for your books?

dc6d591c-4c3f-41b9-82fe-9dd97461f47e-705x1125Um, mostly just using the cover creator’s that the sites have. It doesn’t lead to perfect covers, but they’re usually good enough for me.

 

Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?

I mean, even if I can’t think of where I draw my influences from, I’m sure that I have some. I mean, no matter what people say, they have influences that they follow the pattern of, literary and otherwise.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

I don’t really know. I love a lot of different books for a lot of different reasons. Harry Potter is good, and The Hobbit, and Narnia, and Sherlock Holmes. It really depends on my mood.

 

How do you market your books?

Not really at all. I’ve shared it on Facebook a few times, publicly and in groups, but that’s about it. I have some friends online that I’m fairly certain are planning on buying it. They’ll buy it even though they’ve read it a few times, because they were my beta-readers.

 

Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?

Sebastian in Another World is available on Amazon as a paperback book, printed through CreateSpace. It’s also available on Google Play, Kobo, iBooks, Kindle and Barnes and Noble as an e-book, distributed using the Pronoun software.

 

Where can we find you online?

Facebook

Reddit

Great Angemon 

 

If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?

I wanted, and still want, to be published traditionally, but for now I went indie because I couldn’t find an agent that wanted to represent my book. And I think that’s fine. The way I see it, if I can get a following, I can go back to agents and see if they want to take another look at it.

 

Any parting words for writers?

Yeah, sure, I’ll give this a shot. Um, let’s see… Don’t give up. I mean, yeah, you may not think what you’re writing is any good, but you can only get better. Take a look at what I wrote just two or three years ago. Also, if you don’t hate yourself at least once while you’re writing, you’re doing it wrong. Trust me on that score.

Thanks for having me!

Author Interview: Alvin Atwater

Hello! Today I’m pleased to present an author interview with Alvin Atwater. He’s written a couple novels released The Destined on July 12th. He was kind enough to subject himself to a few questions to get you the reader acquainted with him. Please show him some love and read on and look for The Destined out now!


Tell us a little about yourself: I’m Alvin Atwater, 25 years old, Florida-born, Florida-reared, serviceman (Navy). And well, I hope to become your name-brand author, especially for urban fantasies. (Typically those with male protagonists.)

Tell us your latest news: I’ll be returning from deployment soon! Can’t wait. And my book, The Destined is going to be released nationwide on July 12th 2016. I was supposed to have a signing, but I’d have to push that back until deployment ends.

That makes sense. Hopefully you’ll be back sooner rather than later! So when and why did you begin writing? I’ve been writing since I was a child BUT began seriously writing back when I was in the eleventh grade. The signs were all there: my work was always read before the class, my English teacher asked me to rewrite the play, I scored both a 6 and a 5.5 on the Florida writing test (6 is the highest) and generally had an infinite imagination. Not going to lie, I felt it to be weird at first but often enough, it turned boring real life into fodder. Fodder to be able to create stories out of nothing, no inspiration, just to cure boredom. Suddenly living in the country with no internet didn’t seem so bad.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? I kind of accidentally answered that in the last question, funny, but the eleventh grade when I began to take it seriously.

What inspired you to write your first book? Honestly, the very first one was simply brain storming a world, ideas, powers, and a bond between a couple, brought together and shaped into a story.

Do you have a specific writing style? First person POV is my all-time favorite style but sometimes, I’d take a tiny stroll into the 3rd person limited side. It’s similar to first person in its own way.

How do you come up with the title of your books? With Fragment I came up with this title right in the middle of the book during a special moment when the character names the blade. It was during a heated time, where death was imminent.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? For Fragment, it’s the super-underdog can stand just as tall as the others.

How much of the book is realistic? Fragment is fantasy but the world is real. Pretty much a view into the Greek era.

What books have influenced your life most? Hmmm, Well, I’m currently reading up the Demon Accord series by John Conroe. The main character, Chris has motivated me to have a need to go to the gym. I listen to my audiobooks while I work out.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Kevin Hearne all the way.

What book are you reading now? Executable from the Demon Accord series.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? I’m still journeying through the list of authors, sticking mainly to just Urban Fantasy.

What are your current projects? Demi (working title), Fragment Book 2, The Destined Book 2, Kill the Hero, possibly Mind Control (episodes 8-16), and many more.

Wow, that’s a lot on your plate! Looks like we’ll be seeing a lot of your work in the future.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. God, without a doubt.

Do you see writing as a career? Yes, though it’s challenging.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Yes, I would form it from what I learn reading and listening to my favorite authors.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? To be honest, I don’t. It may have come from watching TV, reading, imagination and then finally deciding to place my own ideas.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? Here is an exert from Demi:

“Don’t act like you’re too drunk to recognize me, Epex,” she said, walking toward me, a supermodel-like prep in her step.

I gazed at her for real this time, barely snapping out of my sloppiness, realizing whom I spoke with. If she found me already then that meant my location was discovered, so soon. But how? Maybe the ascending left an obvious mark of power use, as it faded? How could I be so careless? “Eight years and you can’t even explain to yourself to your fiancée.” I burped in response, the nice and long beer belch. “Ew. Let me fix this.” She snapped her fingers causing heavenly light to briefly surround me. All of my drunkenness faded, leaving me fully aware, alert, and oh shit this is bad. Amelia, my pre-determined “love” of destiny had come for me.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Motivation. I’ve actually gotten into a war with Writer’s Block for Demi. The core idea is there but I sort of lost direction to where I want to go with the story. I’d love to locate some beta readers willing to give their opinion.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? Kevin Hearne. In Iron Druid Chronicles, he is funny, epic, realistic and impressive. The Iron Druid series is my favorite of all time.

Who designed the covers? Fragment’s cover was made by Yvonne Nikolova. The Destined’s covers were made by Tate Publishing staff.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? For Demi, it was a breeze until I hit the writer’s block. I’m torn between giving it: the urban fantasy coat but slipping too close to Dresden Files or keeping what I had going on for the first 15 or so chapters but somehow make events happen without appearing to be out of nowhere.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? I typically learn from reading. However, I learned to ramp up my sense of humor (or narrators).

Do you have any advice for other writers? Yes: never give up. But you’ve heard that one before. And…it would be nice to have more Urban Fantasies with male protagonists. We don’t have enough. Wink Wink.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? There are hidden jokes in everything I write. I will never tell; they are there to guess. I want to extend the humorous first person narrative to you. Even if fantasy isn’t your cup of tea. I’d like to thank those that keep the belief of reading as a golden value.

Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it? atwaterwriting.com

Thank you so much for the interview. I hope the launch of your new book goes well and we hope to hear from you again. Keep us posted on how things go!