Author Spotlight – Allan Hudson

allan_hudson_color2Welcome!

 

Please introduce yourself. 

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog Aurora. It’s an honor to be included in your Writer’s Treasure Chest. My name is Allan Hudson and I live on the east coast of Canada in the province of New Brunswick. My home is in a small village called Cocagne and is situated across the road from the Northumberland Strait. I’m fortunate to have a loving, supportive family and consider myself a very lucky man.

 

  1. When did you start writing? 

Like many avid readers, I always felt there were stories I’d like to tell. I participated in a creative writing course at our local trade school, an eight week evening class, many years ago hoping to kick start my desire to get those ideas down on paper but more important things occupied my time. It was only after I discovered that my favorite author, Bryce Courtenay, started writing when he was 56 years old. He went on to write 20 best sellers before he died last year. That was eight years ago and was the inspiration for my own writing. I knew then that I needed to sit and get started. I was 55.

 

 

  1. What motivates you to write? 

I’ve come to realize that wanting to get the stories out of my head and onto paper is what motivated me to write but as time passes, it is for the sheer joy of writing, of getting lost in the world of my characters. When I sit and write, the story is all I think about, hoping that somewhere, someone will enjoy reading the story as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. I also get inspiration from my surroundings, the east coast of Canada where there are fabulous sunrises and sunsets on the waters near my home and the people in my life.

 

 

  1. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre? 

I have two favorite genres, action/adventure and historical fiction. As a reader I’ve been drawn to action novels from such authors as Dennis LeHane, Harlan Coben, Peter May and Chuck Bowie to name a few of my favorites. These types of stories are ones I enjoy writing. My first novel, Dark Side of a Promise, is an action/adventure novel as is my second, Wall of War.

I equally enjoy historical fiction such as Bryce Courtenay, Edward Rutherford, James Michener and Beth Powning. I very much like novels that begin early in time and carry the reader along in the growth and development of the main characters, as well as their surroundings, while teaching me about the past. My WIP is such a story.

 

 

  1. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you? 

At present my goal is to write as often as I while I maintain a full time career to pay the bills. I look forward to retirement soon when I can spend more time near a keyboard. I’ve dreamt so long of holding a book I wrote in my hands and with my first novel and subsequent short story collections, I’ve done that. My second novel is presently at the editors and will be self-published. My goal with my WIP is to have it traditionally published.

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it? 

I must admit, that writer’s block has never been a real issue for me. There are times when I stare at the cursor on the computer screen and wonder where I’m going next and the words seem to stall. I usually walk away from the screen, maybe even turn it off. Sometime I only need a few moments to stop thinking about the story or maybe a day or two but that is the extent of any type of block I experience.

 

 

  1. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors? 

I’m still a new, hopeful author myself so I’m not sure if my advice is sound. I feel that the best strategy is to write. Write as often as possible, get the story down on paper. Find a few beta readers you can trust, polish your work the best you can. Get professional services like editing and cover design. Turn to your fellow authors, like this friendly blog, and share, share, share. Discover other authors, comment and review their books so that they will be happy to help you along.

 

  1. Please, tell us about your work.  

In my action series, my main character is Drake Alexander. I am fascinated by foreign cultures and try to share my own wonder of travel through my novels. Dark Side of a Promise takes the readers from the shores of Canada to the young country of Bangladesh and around the world. The second novel in the series is called Wall of War and like Dark Side of a Promise, is an international thriller. It takes place mainly in Peru. At present it is being edited and I hope to publish this summer.

 

My WIP, my third novel, is a history of his family beginning in 1911 with his grandfather who lives in Scotland and eventually immigrates to Canada. It is a different genre from my earlier action/adventure stories but will explain the history of the Alexander family in a format similar to the historical authors I’ve mentioned above. My own work history is diversified by having dual careers in the jewellery industry and construction.  My central character in The Alexanders will be involved in similar businesses with the up and downs of beginning in a new country. There is much tragedy in his earlier years but the will to overcome and succeed is the theme of this new series.

 

I love short stories as well and always have several on the go. My short story, The Ship Breakers, received Honourable Mention in The WFNB short story contest and was picked up by Ryerson Hill-McGraw to be part of their iLit digital series available to high school teachers across North America as part of their curriculum. I have three collections published simply called SHORTS, Vol 1,2 & 3. Each are dedicated to one of my grandchildren.

 

I have published the beginning of a new detective serial on a separate page on my blog (South Branch Scribbler) and will be adding to it at regular intervals featuring Detective Josephine (Jo) Naylor. It is titled The Shattered Figurine. 

 

 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!

  

__________________________________________________________________

 Contact Allan Hudson: 

 

www.southbranchscribbler.ca

 

https://www.facebook.com/southbranchscribbler/

 

https://twitter.com/hudson_allan

 

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+allanhudson1953

 

https://www.wattpad.com/user/allanhudson

 


wall-of-war4Allan Hudson Books:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Allan-Hudson/e/B00HP8FSEI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1485787317&sr=1-1

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Spotlight – Phillip T. Stephens

pts-portraitWelcome! 

Glad to be here.

 

  1. When did you start writing?

The first story I remember writing was a parody of Miles Standish for a fifth-grade assignment. It went over well enough to encourage me to finish the parody of the entire book. I was inspired by a stage-based spoof of Gun Smoke called Pistol Mist that my dad wrote for the church youth group. He repeated it at every church he ministered so it had a great impression on me.

The long version was terrible, which taught me some projects have a limited span. Before that, however, I wrote comedy sketches for my tape recorder and tried to convince my sisters and friends to perform.

No one cooperated.

I wrote seriously in high school, including a novel (75 pages). My creative writing teacher hated everything I wrote. She wanted flowery prose sprinkled liberally with Latinate words. I preferred a Hemingway style—shorter, Anglo-Saxon words and direct sentences. (She also heaped praise on her son, who was in my class, as a model for our writing.)

I began to read writers like Anthony Burgess, Terry Southern, Philip Roth, John Fowles and John Le Carré. I reread Catch-22, which I first read in eighth grade (it took the entire summer). The second reading convinced me my writing was juvenile, so I threw it away.  I didn’t discover I could write well until I took my first college creative writing class.

 

  1. What motivates you to write?

I can’t not write. I write daily, whether it be a series of posts for a Twitter novel, a blog post, or articles for Medium. Perhaps as a child no one paid the attention I wanted so I knew I could preserve my thoughts on paper for a time they would. Perhaps, like the Hebrew prophets I’m compelled to speak and writing is my platform. I know I never wrote to be cool or admired because when I first shared my writing, I received little positive feedback. Most of my friends thought it was stupid.

I might go a day every two or three weeks where I finally say, rest. But it’s hard.

 

  1. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre? 

I call my genre “wry noir.” Dark novels with a sardonic twist. My first published novel, Raising Hell, was a dark fantasy novel about an optimist who drives Lucifer crazy, (as was the follow up novella, The Worst Noel). My second, Cigerets, Guns & Beer, was a Western mystery/suspense novel. Ironically, my latest novel Seeing Jesus is a light-hearted YA novel (although bullying by adults and peers is a major theme).

I know not settling on a genre hurts my brand marketing. Wit and wry observation defines my brand, which is much harder to market. But I read every genre growing up, and personally enjoy writing in several.

 

  1. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
  • I want to create intelligent books that any reader will enjoy.

 

  • I want to change readers’ perceptions of the world in some small way: to help them recognize that the world is not about us and it never was. Because of this we have a responsibility to leave something of value in this world and not take from it.

 

  • I also hope to help them recognize that other people don’t see the world in the same way that we do, they process information differently, form different values. We’re responsible for our own actions and not for theirs.

 

I was raised a Baptist Preacher’s Kid and everyone expected me to follow my father, grandfather and every uncle into the ministry. Fooled them. I took one message from my faith—Life is about service, not self-fulfillment, a message that seems sorely lacking in Christianity (not to mention the current political climate). I wouldn’t write if I didn’t think my writing served the world at large in some small way.

In grad school, studying literature, art and philosophy, the reigning aesthetic theory proclaimed, “Art for art’s sake.” I still adhere to that, especially given the current beliefs that art should be profit-making and reflect a narrowly-defined set of values. I also believe artists share a responsibility to make our work transformative. Our art should stand on its own; our vocation requires us to put our work in the larger frame of cultural revolution.

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

Not really, although I will confess to procrastination. When I sit down to write, even if it’s two in the morning, I write. My first college fiction teacher John Vandezande (who wrote the book Night Driving, now out of print) said to write anything, no matter how bad. Start at the middle of your story, the end, at whatever point you can put words on paper.

I agree. You can fix bad prose. You can’t fix what isn’t written. Write paragraphs stream-of-conscience, outline, jot down notes and impressions. Anything to get your thoughts moving through the pipe. This is the only advice I ever give writers that I believe will benefit everyone.

I’ve thrown away entire chapters, sometimes as many as three or four. I stopped novels after ten or twelve chapters. I never thought they were failures. They got me to the chapters I needed and I wouldn’t have written the books I finished without them.

 

  1. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

Most writers never make a living writing fiction. (Few make a living selling books at all.) You need to seriously evaluate the role of writing in your life. If you want to write for self-fulfillment, recognize that, but be honest about your talent. If you don’t spend your free time thinking about your work, how to improve your work and studying other writers to see how they make their art, you probably aren’t ready to be a professional.

If, however, you’re determined to sell your work to the world, show your work to writers and readers who won’t pat you on the back and say, “this is good.” Find readers who will find the flaws and recommend improvement.

When you think you’re ready to publish, hire an editor and proofreader.

Most of all, don’t blindly follow the advice of every blog post. Most advice contradicts a blog posted the week before. Good writers take any number of approaches to writing—some from the seat of their pants, others with outlines and notes; some write 500-2000 words a day no matter the circumstances, others try to find a quiet space to concentrate when time permits; some write rough drafts by hand, others word process everything. Explore different approaches until you find techniques that work and stick to them. It’s okay to try something new, but if it doesn’t work for you, don’t trade it for something that works on that writer’s say so.

 

  1. Please, tell us about your work.  

I just finished a Twitter Novel, Doublemint Gumshoe (which I’m still Tweeting #TweetNovel), about a hapless, hopeless detective who stumbles onto a missing persons case that’s way over his head. I wanted the challenge of composing a story 144 characters at a time. When the last Tweet is posted, it will run more than 800 installments. I may rewrite it and re-release it as a real novel. I haven’t decided yet.

My biggest seller (which is like saying the biggest ant in the hill)—Cigerets, Guns & Beer—features an ex-con whose car breaks down in a small Texas town and ends up neck deep in the fallout from a thirty-year-old bank heist and murder. To make the novel more fun, I threw in a UFO and back story that connects the murder to Roswell.

During the seventies and early eighties, gas stations would sell Texas drivers beer from oil barrels next to the pump. They’d pack the barrels with ice, singles and six-packs. Drivers fill their tanks, grabbed their six-pack and popped a top as soon as they hit the highway. I joked to a friend that all we needed was guns and we’d hit the Texas Holy Trinity.* That line planted the seed for the novel. I’d been kicking around the idea of a stranger and thirty-year-old crime since grad school but couldn’t find an angle into the story that I liked.

I lived Raising Hell. I escaped from the worst job in the world, with a micromanager from hell, only to walk into a situation with four different managers with four competing agendas and every one expecting me to jump to their beck and call in a second.

From that came the idea of an optimist sent to hell by accident and Lucifer trying to find a way to destroy his optimism. Unfortunately, the hero, Pilgrim, believes that he’s already in hell so it can’t get any worse. He might as well make his punishment the most enjoyable form of eternal damnation that he can.

An agent suggested I write Seeing Jesus. We spent some time discussing my desire to write a non-fiction book about the way metaphoric thinking unconsciously drives our belief systems. She recommended that I read Gaarder’s Sophie’s World, and write something similar. (She rejected it, of course.) In the novel Sara Love learns to cope with bullying by adults and children through lessons provided by a homeless man no one else can see.

I plan to release an extended adult version this year, with a different ending, appendices and discussion questions.

 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!! 

How could I resist? Sharing on a great blog like this? I’d be a fool not to.

*Readers have just witnessed the joy of fiction writing. I’ve shared this anecdote dozens of times, but I just now made up the line, “Texas Holy Trinity.” I intend to use it with the anecdote from here on out, but that’s what all fiction writers should do—strive to improve your story at every opportunity.


Contact Phillip T. Stephens:

 

Twitter: @stephens_pt

cigeret-coverPhillip T. Stephens’ books:
on kindle
Cigerets, Guns & Beer http://amzn.to/1QG7t4m
The Worst Noel http://amzn.to/239NCNF
paperback
Cigerets, Guns & Beer https://t.co/7kTafuZEGp
The Worst Noel http://bit.ly/1mmJQAn
.
.
Doublemint Gumshoe #TweetNovel

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seeing-jesus-medal-cover

Seeing Jesus also recently won three Human Relations Indie Book Awards

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phillip T. Stephens will be one of the writers featured at this month’s #MysteryThrillerWeek, this month Feb. 12-17. Join him and others for advice, blogs, networking, reviews and links to hundreds of novels.


Author Spotlight – Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

profile-picAbout the Author:

Mikhaeyla Kopievsky is an Australian indie writer and the debut author of “Resistance (Divided Elements #1)”, a dark dystopian tale set in post-apocalyptic Paris.

Mikhaeyla loves writing about complex and flawed characters in stories that explore philosophy, sociology and politics. She holds degrees in International Relations, Journalism, and Environmental Science.

She is currently working on Book 2 of the Divided Elements series and looking forward to the online launch of Resistance, which takes place this weekend at https://resistancedividedelementsbooklaunch.wordpress.com/

Readers can catch up on the events of the launch and add to the ongoing discussions at  https://resistancedividedelementsbooklaunch.wordpress.com/


Welcome!

When did you start writing?

I started writing my debut novel in late 2013. I was gearing up to participate in my first NaNaWriMo (a cataclysmic failure which I went on to blog about) and was excited about finally committing to starting AND finishing a novel. Looking back at that post brings back a lot of memories and feelings. I am so proud of how much I have learned in the years since, how much I have persevered, and how much I have grown as a writer and author!

 

  1. What motivates you to write?

Originally, I was motivated by the burning desire to read a *good* story. I had hit a rough patch of reading, where everything was leaving me unsatisfied. Books I started failed to live up to expectations or failed to ignite my imagination or failed to challenge and inspire me. I wanted to write *those* kinds of stories. Since immersing myself more in the writing and literary world, I have been blessed to find a whole cavalcade of great books – which constantly motivate me to write better, to craft more interesting stories and to provide my readers with an unparalleled reading experience.

 

Now, I’m motivated by the tiny seeds of story ideas that are constantly bugging me to be planted! I have at least ten ideas for new books and series that will have to wait until the Divided Elements series is complete before they get their day in the sun. But the desire to explore these ideas and worlds and characters is incredibly tempting, so I am always pushing myself to finish the current project so that I can start on the next.

 

  1. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?

I tend to write in dystopian, post-apocalyptic and urban scifi/fantasy. I love stories set in gritty environments that challenge both the characters and the readers to reimagine the word they live in and confront complex sociological, political and philosophical ideas.

 

  1. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

Like most authors, my dream is to be able to write full-time – to spend my days dreaming up new stories and wrestling with words to craft the perfect novel! Obviously, there are the pipe-dreams – to win acclaim and prestigious awards, to have a major Hollywood studio offer me a movie deal, to see gazillions of copies and never work again – but really, the major goal (and dream) is to connect with readers. Awards and movie deals and sales are nice, but there is something very special in reading a review of your book or getting an email from a reader and seeing how much they have been touched by something you have created.

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

Not so much writer’s block, but I’ve definitely found myself at points in the story where I needed an elegant and complex solution to a plot problem and twisted my mind inside-out for days (and weeks) trying to find it. I also usually baulk at writing difficult scenes – especially those that require a lot of emotional vulnerability. I typically leave these scenes unwritten for the first draft and come back to write them when I am well-rested and ready to really unleash the next level of myself into the book.

 

  1. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

Learn your craft! There are great websites and books and blogs out there that give excellent advice and support to new writers. My favorites are:

 

Books:

“Save the Cat” Blake Snyder

“Story Engineering” Larry Brooks

“Plot and Structure” James Scott Bell

“Hooked” Les Edgerton

 

Websites:

Fiction University – http://blog.janicehardy.com/

Helping Writers Become Authors – https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/

Stand Out Books – https://www.standoutbooks.com/blog/

 

  1. Please, tell us about your work.

“Resistance” is the first book in my new dystopian series Divided Elements. Readers have described it as a “whirlwind cross between Fahrenheit 451 and Divergent” and as a “thought-provoking and subversive” addition to the dystopian genre.

 

The story is set in a post-apocalyptic Paris and follows Anaiya 234, a Peacekeeper in the Fire Element. When forbidden murals start appearing on crumbling infrastructure around the city, Anaiya is selected to undergo a radical procedure to change her identity and go undercover in the unpredictable Air Element. Tasked with uncovering and dismantling this new Resistance, Anaiya must first overcome the internal conflict of her divided identity. But, when notions of self and truth become fluid, and concepts of obedience and loyalty shatter, will her new alignment bring success to the mission or place it in dire jeopardy?

 

This book will appeal to readers of classical dystopias like Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and George Orwell’s “1984” as well as to fans of YA dystopian novels like Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” and Pierce Brown’s “Red Rising” who are looking for more challenging ideas and mature content.

 

See what other readers are saying about Resistance (Divided Elements #1) on its Goodreads page.

 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!

__________________________________________________________________

Contact Mikhaeyla:

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32719178-resistance

Website: http://www.kyrija.com/mikhaeyla-kopievsky

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikhaeylaK

 


Mikhaeyla Kopievsky Book Launch of Resistance:

 

resistance-kindleAmazon: http://mybook.to/DE1Resistance

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/resistance-45

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1168636508

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/resistance-mikhaeyla-kopievsky/1124987737

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Resistance-Mikhaeyl-Kopievsky/9780995421851

 

 

Also:

The official online launch for Resistance takes place on Saturday 4 February. There will be excerpt readings, an author Q&A, and special guests to talk about the development of the book’s cover art and discuss the themes of the book. I would love to invite your readers to attend – they can RSVP here (it’s an open invitation, so feel free to share with friends and family!)


 

 

Blog Tour – The Thief of Hearts by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

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The Thief of Hearts

 

By

 

Elizabeth Ellen Carter

 

Blog Tour


aboutbook1 

December 1890

 

London, England

 

Some seriously clever sleight of hand is needed if aspiring lawyer Caro Addison is ever going to enjoy this Christmas.

 

To avoid an unwanted marriage proposal, she needs a distraction as neat as the tricks used by The Phantom, the audacious diamond thief who has left Scotland Yard clueless.

 

While her detective inspector uncle methodically hunts the villain, Caro decides to investigate a suspect of her own – the handsome Tobias Black, a magician extraordinaire, known as The Dark Duke.

 

He’s the only one with the means, motive and opportunity but the art of illusion means not everything is as it seems, in both crime and affairs of the heart.

 

As Christmas Day draws near, Caro must decide whether it is worth risking reputations and friendships in order to follow her desires.


excerpt23

 

He turned the card over and with a thumbnail flicked a tab made of the same backing as the playing card. Even up close the addition was difficult to see. Tobias placed the card on his lap and pulled out a deck of cards. He flicked the edge of the deck of cards towards them. Each time the Queen of Hearts stood out.

 

“I want you to think I can read your mind, but in reality…”

 

Tobias split the deck and showed them the Queen of Hearts and then the other half of the deck. The card that had been just before the Queen of Hearts was fully a third shorter than the rest of the cards. He put the pack together and flicked through the deck once more.

 

“I make you see what you want to see. I suspect The Phantom does the same.”

 

“You mean his crime scenes are illusions?” Margaret asked. Tobias gave her a smile and Caro wished oddly that its brightness shone on her too.

 

“I think so. From what I read in the newspapers… no sign of entry or departure?” he asked. Caro confirmed it with a nod. “That tells me he’s creating an illusion of invulnerability. But it is an illusion. A trick. He wants to force the attention of the police away from something else – in the same way a magician will use a gesture or an action to distract you.

 

“Find out what that is then you will find his sleight of hand and that will be his vulnerability.”

 

Tobias stood.

 

“Now, if I’ve sated your curiosity, I’ll take my leave of you. My crew and I have our last show this evening.”

 

Caro rose and Margaret did also. Tobias took Margaret’s hand and bowed over it then released it. Then he took Caro’s and held it. Then his eyes held hers for a moment and he dropped a kiss on the back of her hand.

 

“I’m so glad it was you who paid me a visit… instead of a representative of Scotland Yard.”

 

“Not at all, Mr Black,” she replied, her voice a little huskier than usual, “you have been more than gracious with your time.

 

“Call me Tobias.”

 

He was flirting with her! Caro kept the smile to herself as he escorted them both to the entrance of the theatre.

 

“Just one more question, Mr Black,” Caro asked. “You wouldn’t happen to know how someone might dispose of a suite of diamonds would you?”


buylinks

 

The Thief Of Hearts cover

The Thief Of Hearts cover

 

Amazon.com  – https://www.amazon.com/Thief-Hearts-Elizabeth-Ellen-Carter-ebook/dp/B01MAWBWI5

 

Amazon.com.au  – https://www.amazon.com.au/Thief-Hearts-Elizabeth-Ellen-Carter-ebook/dp/B01MAWBWI5

 

Amazon.co.uk – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MAWBWI

 

 


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Elizabeth Ellen Carter is an award-winning historical romance writer who pens richly detailed historical romantic adventures. A former newspaper journalist, Carter ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats.

 


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authorinterview1

 

About The Thief of Hearts

 

Australians suffer a little bit of cognitive dissonance when it comes to celebrating Christmas. First of all, being in the southern hemisphere, we celebrating in the middle of our summer but happily sing about ‘dashing through the snow’, Frosty the Snowman and that the ‘snow lay all about, deep and crisp and even’.

 

Another thing we missed in our local customs was being outside of the TV ratings periods. Conventional wisdom had it that in the depths of bitter winters, people would gather around the electronic hearth and watch television. And since Christmas fell right in the middle of the northern hemisphere’s TV ratings period, all the best TV shows had a Christmas episode.

 

They were fun and whimsical, often suspending current storylines for something a little bit light-hearted and fun.

 

So, in that Christmas spirit, I wrote The Thief of Hearts, a veritable Christmas punch of few Hercule Poirots, Girl’s Own Adventures stories, a dash of While You Were Sleeping and other Christmas-themed rom-coms.

 

Why Did You Set It in Victorian England?

 

Many of our Christmas customs started with the Victorians, including our beloved Christmas tree and the fun Christmas crackers.

 

Victorian England was a fascinating era.

 

They were very mindful of their past and had built up quite a romantic imagery of its chivalry – just look at the pre-Raphaelite works as examples of high Victorian romanticism and yet they were very technologically advanced and sophisticated.

 

Many of the things we take for granted today, inexpensive mass-produced consumer goods, electricity, telephony, stored music, motorised transport, photography and film, even the concept of television had their origins in the 19th century – no wonder Steampunk has become such a popular sub-genre of sci-fi!

 

There were high hopes for the upcoming 20th century as being the most accomplished century yet. The groundswell for true equality for men and women was beginning and within a relatively short space of time, women were fully enfranchised and were open to the same job opportunities.

 

Late Victorian England was time of man-made wonders and magic falls into that neatly.

 

Why write a mystery?

 

One of my favourite authors is Agatha Christie. I love the way she blended mystery and romance in many of her stories. If you look at Poirot and Miss Marple, there are often secondary characters who begin or advance a romance through the story and, with the solving of the mystery have their happily ever after.

 

I thought it would be fun to do something like that for The Thief of Hearts, so the mystery is very much front-and-centre but there is a definite romance between Caro Addison, an aspiring lawyer and Tobias Black, a magician and former solider whose paths are destined to cross.

 

There is more than one mystery in The Thief of Hearts. There is the obvious one in the mysterious diamond heists where the thief as apparently left no clue, but there is also one a little closer to home and that is what are Bertie’s real intentions towards Caro?

 

She is positive that he is planning to propose. While her mother would be delighted by the news, Caro herself is having second thoughts. She loves Bertie, but she’s not ‘in love’ with him – so to avoid an unpleasant scene with someone she likes, Caro invents reasons not to be alone with him.

 

The Thief of Hearts is full of misdirection.

 

What did you enjoy researching?

 

I had a lot of fun with the research for The Thief of Hearts.

 

Victorian England was full of innovation and invention – so discovering the polyphon which was a precursor to the record player, simply had to be included. So too the passenger lift, the glorious elevators found in the most luxurious hotels and as a necessity in the growing high rise buildings that is emblematic of New York.

 

The rise of literacy in the Victorian England which came as a result of pressure from the church welfare reformers, gave birth to a large number of newspapers to cater for interests and tastes of a wider group of readers. In fact it could be argued that modern journalism as we know it today, started in the Victorian era.

 

The Victorian period also gave rise to the mystery and detective story. The origin of this was also interesting. The 19th century saw the rise of the middle class who were at removed a lot of direct contact with crime – particularly street crime. In addition, criminal executions which were once public affairs, were now performed behind prison gates.

 

What didn’t change was the public’s appetite for the gruesome details and, indeed some broadsheets specialized in it thus beginning the still popular genre of True Crime and the origins of the crime and detective novel where real crime wasn’t enough.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

 

There’s so much! I’m working hard on another 19th century title called Captive of the Corsairs. Although it is set in the Regency era, it is not a typical Regency at all. It’s set in Sicily and Turkey and centres on the pirates of the Barbary Coast – North Africa who conducting slaving raids into Europe.

 

It’s intended to be a stand-alone, but some of the characters are calling for their own stories, so I think this may turn into a three book series.

 

I’m also keen to set started on another mystery romance series! This will be a six book series set in Medieval England. The hero and heroine are more mature, they will be in their mid-to-late 30s and there are some younger characters too who are terrific.

 

Hopefully my Roman era historical romantic suspense will have found a publisher.


Hosted By: Secret Realm Book Reviews & Services

Author Spotlight – Karen Ingalls

Karen Ingalls Head Shot

Hello,

 

Please introduce yourself.

 

My name is Karen Ingalls, an author, blogger, survivor, and advocate. I am the author of three books and several articles. I volunteer, advocate, and write about women’s health issues.

I write two weekly blogs: www.outshineovariancancer.blogspot.com and www.kareningalls.blogspot.com. The first one is about health/wellness, relationships, and spirituality while the second one is for writers and avid readers.

 

  1. When did you start writing?

I began writing at around ten or eleven years old. I wrote poetry, short stories, and started a novel besides journaling about my life. Coming from a dysfunctional family I found writing to be a way to deal with it. Reading was another escape so I was an avid reader.

 

 

  1. What motivates you to write?

I am motivated by something deep inside me. I like to address social and health issues. I believe that through articles, pamphlets, and books important and inspirational information can reach the general public.

 

 

  1. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?

My genre for non-fiction is health/wellness. For fiction it is historical or biographical. I am a retired RN and nurse therapist who has used complementary therapies right next to traditional medicine. I believe they both have a role in our whole health. This is what I did before I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and continued it with full support from my oncologist.

I have always liked to read historical and biographical fiction and non-fiction. My family history lends itself to write about a too often loss of healthy father-son relationships, and the strong scorn my grandfather suffered as an illegitimate child. Things have changed since the 1880’s, but there is still a stigma attached in many cases.

I find people fascinating and love to learn about their lives…and then write about them.

 

 

  1. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

I like to write fiction and non-fiction that might bring some peace, sense of hope, understanding, or love to the reader. Social and health issues are my motivators for books, publications, and articles.

My dream is that through writing “Outshine” and my various articles women will begin to pay attention and act on any symptom that is typical of ovarian cancer. 22,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed, but 14,000 of us will die before 5 years. The main reasons are because of the subtlety of the symptoms, women not listening to their bodies (especially below the waist), physicians not considering ovarian cancer as the first diagnosis to rule out, and lack of good testing. Therefore too many women are diagnosed in the later stages of III and IV.

 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

Writer’s block does not happen very often, but when it does I do well to first step away from my desk and do some activity (walking, gardening, etc.) that takes my mind off the writing process. Then I go back to my desk, meditate, and as I gaze out at the lake I let the words come to me.

 

 

  1. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

Trust yourself; believe in yourself. The publishing world is a difficult world to understand, maneuver through, and from which to be recognized. However, do NOT give up. Contact author and writer blogs, websites; check out book clubs (my favorite is Rave Reviews Book Club); do book presentations, and use social media aggressively.

 

 

  1. Please, tell us about your work.

 

My first book is titled, “Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir.” It won first place in the category of Women’s Health for the Indie Excellence Book Awards. All proceeds go to gynecologic cancer research. Ovarian cancer is one in which there is little awareness even within the medical field. There will be 70% of the diagnosed women who will not survive this disease every year.

A novel, “Novy’s Son” is based on a true story of a son searching for his father’s love and acceptance. This is a common social problem when a father is unable to teach his son what it is to be a man and a father himself someday. This has been coined the loss of the “Iron John” by Robert Bly.

My recent novel, “Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens” is based on the true story of America’s preeminent sculptor from 1880-1920’s and his model. The love affair lasted twenty-five years.

 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!

 


 

Contact Karen:

www.kareningallsbooks.com 

http://www.outshineovariancancer.com  

http://twitter.com/KarenIngalls1           

http://www.pinterest.com/kcingalls    

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Karen-Ingalls/1473379352893458

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/karen-ingalls/37/509/ba8  

http://goodreads.com/kareningalls  

 


Karen’s Books:

Karen Ingalls Outshinehttp://www.amazon.com/Outshine-An-Ovarian-Cancer-Memoir/dp/1592984622/ref=sr      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Ingalls Novy's Sonhttp://www.amazon.com/Novys-Son-Selfish-Karen-Ingalls  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Ingalls Davida

http://www.amazon.com/Davida-Model-Mistress-Augustus-Saint-Gaudens/dp/1530397871/ref

Author Spotlight – Stephen Morris

By T Lewis Med SizeWelcome!

 

  1. When did you start writing?

I started telling stories when I was in grade school and began to write them down shortly thereafter. I wrote my first books – one was a story involving time travel using a “timeract,” similar to the tesseract from “Wrinkle in Time” and another with characters similar to those on “Bewitched,” my favorite television series — in middle school. I wrote an epic poem similar to “Paradise Lost” in high school.

 

 

  1. What motivates you to write?

I love to tell stories. I love it when people catch a glimpse of a larger world outside themselves when they are listening to or reading something of mine.

 

  1. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?

I write fantasy novels for adults, both historical fantasy and contemporary fantasy.

I first became interested in the occult and magic when I was in kindergarten – or even earlier — and saw The Wizard of Oz on television for the first and second times. The first time, my mom says I was terrified of the Wicked Witch’s appearance in Munchkin Land amidst smoke and flames and ran straight to bed! (I must have en 5 years old or so.) The next year I began watching the movie again and made myself stick with it past the appearance of the Witch and after that — I was hooked!

The Wicked Witch of the West became my favorite character because not only is she the most interesting but she is the only one who wields any real power in the movie. She became my idol for years and years! (When a major storm recently struck Manhattan, I made a comment on FB about the wind picking up our house and depositing it atop someone wearing peppermint stripped stockings and glittering red shoes and my cousin responded: ‘You’ve been chasing those shoes for YEARS!’ LoL!)

 

  1. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?

My goal at first was to write a story that I wanted to read because I was having a hard time finding adult-level books that were supernatural thrillers or that involved the  supernatural that were not just Horror or Gothic genre. But now my goal, my dream, is to share what I have learned about the legends, history, and folklore of a variety of cultures and to stir those all up with a dash of my own imagination to make new stories are brand new while being based in historical reality. 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?

Although I go through phases of writing more followed by phases of writing less, there always comes a point when there is such a critical mass of words and ideas in my head that is it simply easier to write than to not write. But the first pages of each chapter in a book are like pulling teeth or climbing up a rock wall by my fingertips  – but eventually, maybe halfway or 2/3 of the way into the chapter, that it feels like I’ve crested the hill and the  of the chapter is like sledding down a mountainside of fresh snow. 

 

  1. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

 

Read. Read! READ! And then read some more. Then write. And keep writing. And then come back to it after you’ve given up in frustration. Write stories that you want to read and there will always be someone else who wants to read it as well. 

 

  1. Please, tell us about your work. 

All the magical and fantastic elements in my books are based on authentic medieval or Renaissance occult beliefs and practices, as well as local legends and history from the places where my stories are set.

STORM WOLF, coming out in late August or early September, tells the story of Alexei who inherits his grandfather’s magical wolf-pelt and thereby assumes the position of village “metsatöll” (Werewolf) in rural late 1880s Estonia to protect the area by fighting the terrible storms in the sky that could devastate the farms and fields. But he breaks the terms of the wolf-magic and loses the ability to control the shapeshifting, becoming a killer. Heartbroken at what he has become, Alexei flees his home and wanders through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Bohemia in hopes of finding an enchanter who can free him from the curse.

In the COME HELL OR HIGH WATER trilogy, a witch curses Prague as she is burnt at the stake in the Old Town Square during the 1350s. The curse begins to work its way through the life of the city. A university secretary meets the ghost of the witch in contemporary Prague and inadvertently reawakens the curse. Now a group of professors specializing in folklore attempts to prevent George, a powerful priest, and Elizabeth, an Irish vampire, from unleashing a curse which threatens to destroy Prague with a mammoth flood–can the professors find a way to defend and save the city?

 

Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!! 

Thank you for the opportunity to “chat” with you!

 


Contact Stephen:

www.stephenmorrisauthor.com

smmorris58@gmail.com

 


Stephen’s book “Storm Wolf” and more:


IMG_2916Storm Wolf:
https://www.amazon.com/Storm-Wolf-Stephen-Morris-ebook/dp/B01JF9SJTU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1470608504&sr=1-1&keywords=storm+wolf+morris#navbar

 

Amazon Author Central:  http://www.amazon.com/Stephen-Morris/e/B0089PYB6C/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

Come Hell or High Water trilogy: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Stephen+Morris+come+hell+or+high+water

 

Author Spotlight – Mark David Gerson

Mark David GersonHello and Welcome, Mark David

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1. When did you start writing?
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Perhaps the better question would be, “How long did I resist writing?” I often joke that my Muse tricked me into writing, given that for most of my early life, I resisted anything remotely creative. My first jobs out of university were in public relations, where I had to write, even if what I wrote at first was largely formulaic. However, that experience gave me the confidence to try my hand at freelance work and, before I knew it, I was a full-time (self-taught) freelance writer and editor, doing mostly magazine, newspaper, corporate and government work. However, it wasn’t until my early 30s, when the double-whammy of a creative and spiritual awakening knocked me over the head, that I began to explore more creative avenues. And it wasn’t until my late 30s that that exploration began to take form with The MoonQuest, my first attempt at a novel. I’ve just released my 13th book…so I guess I’m hooked! (The MoonQuest became the first book in a trilogy and went on to win multiple awards and a film deal.)
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2. What motivates you to write?
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There’s a scene in my novel The StarQuest (The MoonQuest’s sequel and Book II in my Q’ntana Trilogy) where the main character must pass through The Coil, a serpentine tunnel in which she will be forced to face her deepest fears. To her surprise, and to mine the instant I wrote the words, her greatest fear is the loss of her storytelling ability.
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“Your stories,” my character is told when she argues that other things must be more important, “are the blood and air that course through you, giving you life. Without them you are barely alive.” If it’s true for her, I realized as those words flowed onto the page of my manuscript, it must also be true for me. In effect, I write because I can’t not write.
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3. What genre do you write in and what made you choose this particular genre?
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I don’t write in a single genre. My 13 books include fantasy, literary fiction, books for writers, memoirs and books that could be classed as spiritual/metaphysical. I write whatever I feel called to write. I write the books that insist I write them, regardless of subject or genre.
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According to fantasy author Michael Scott, some stories wait their turn to be told while “others just tap you on the shoulder and insist you tell them.” All my books have tapped me on the shoulder. Some have been even more insistent!
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Then, there are the books I started without even realizing I was starting a book! The MoonQuest emerged through some writing I did in a workshop I was facilitating. The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write started its life as a series personal essays I wrote to help me through my writer’s block on The StarQuest. And Dialogues with the Divine, where I thought I was journaling, not book-writing.
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4. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
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My goal is to tell the stories that yearn to be told through me as honestly, truthfully and vulnerably as I can, and to the best of my writerly ability. And my goal through those stories is to inspire, encourage and, of course, entertain. By the way, when I use the word “story,” I’m including everything I write, nonfiction and fiction alike.
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Of course, I have dreams. Who doesn’t? I dream of finally seeing my screenplay adaptation of The MoonQuest on the big screen. (It’s been optioned, but it’s a painfully slow process.) And I dream of seeing my books reach the broadest audience possible.
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In the end, as I noted previously, all I can do is write what I feel called to write, do what it takes to get those books or screenplays out into the world and trust that they will go wherever they need to go.
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5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
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As I answered to an earlier question, my first book for writers, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, grew out of my own blocks and frustrations as I tried to write The StarQuest. I’m grateful that the tools and techniques I developed for that book — and later expanded into a book solely on writer’s block (Writer’s Block Unblocked: Seven Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow)— have kept me largely block-free.
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6. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
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This is for all writers, not just aspiring ones. Trust the story, even if you don’t yet know what it is. Trust your innate creativity. Take it word by word and allow your pen or the keyboard to spell out the story for you. Allow yourself to be the passenger on your creative journey, not the driver. And, of course, get a copies of my books for writers! Seriously, if you can begin to believe that your story always knows best, you’ll never go wrong.
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7. Please, tell us about your work. 
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My 13 books break down into five titles for writers, two memoirs, a book of metaphysical/spiritual inspiration and, now, five novels.
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The books for writers cover such topics as screenwriting, memoir-writing, writer’s block, how to write your book (even if you don’t know what it’s about!) and the all-encompassing and perennially bestselling The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write. I also have two recordings of instruction and inspiration for writers.
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If you want to know more about my journey as a writer, Acts of Surrender: A Writer’s Memoir will do the trick! Plus, Dialogues with the Divine: Encounters with My Wisest Self hones in for a closer look at one of the challenging periods covered in Acts of Surrender.
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I mentioned The Q’ntana Trilogy. What I didn’t mention is that my screenplay adaptations of not just one book but all three (The MoonQuest, The StarQuest, The SunQuest) are on their way to the big screen as a trio of epic fantasy films.
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My newest books are also my newest novels: the award-winning Sara’s Year and the just-released After Sara’s Year, a pair of 50-year sagas set in Nova Scotia and my native Montreal. Both books tie in nicely with two of the questions you asked me, about dreams and about writer’s block, because they’re stories about following your dreams and about writers and visual artists pushing through all that holds them back.
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Finally, I should point out that I’m not just a writer. I also coach writers and other artists, consult with them on their creative projects, give talks about writing and creativity and facilitate workshops and retreats. You’ll find more about everything I do on my website, www.markdavidgerson.com.
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I also regularly posts tips and inspiration for writers (and non-writers) online. Please look me up and follow me on these sites:
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Twitter – @markdavidgerson
Instagram – @markdavidgerson
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Thank you. It was such a pleasure to have you here as my guest.
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Mark David Gersons’ books:

(please, click the cover to get to the respective book page)

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