Sunday Surprise

We won’t have 12 interviews, but I’m still introducing you to the other authors in the upcoming bundle. Only 6 days until release, yay! In the meantime I managed to read a few of the bundle’s books and  his is a fun romp of magic schools and crazy gods (much like the ancient Greek gods of mythology) on Martir, where both the magic and the crazy gods are real! Ladies and gentlemen, I’m very proud to present you Timothy L. Cerepaka!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Cherokee, Texas in the United States of America.

Why do you write?

Because writing is one of my favorite activities. It also helps that I’m making good money doing it, too.

When did you start writing?

When I was 12, so I’ve been writing for about a decade now.

What genre(s) do you write?

Under Timothy L. Cerepaka, I write epic fantasy/swords and sorcery. Under my Lucas Flint pen name, I write young adult superheroes.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My goal as a writer was to make a living, which I am currently doing. So I guess I’ve already achieved it.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Write to market. That advice helped me go from making mid three figures a month to making lower-to-mid four figures a month consistently.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I’m a discovery writer, which means I don’t use an outline. I’ve tried outlining in the past, but I just find it too much of a waste of time, time I’d much rather spend actually writing the book.
I’m a fast writer. One of my most recent books took me a mere 10 days to write, though my average is around two or three weeks, depending on the length of the book of course.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

The Mages of Martir series (which The Mage’s Grave is the first book of) is actually a sequel series to my Prince Malock World series, which you can also find on Amazon and other retailers. You don’t need to have read any of the Prince Malock books in order to understand Mages of Martir, but you will understand the world and characters a lot better if you do.

Barb sez: I confirm you don’t need to have read the other books – I haven’t and I enjoyed The Mage’s Grave! 😉

Tell us about your latest book

My latest book is Powers, the second book in my newest superhero series, The Young Neos. I just uploaded it to Amazon and it still isn’t published yet, so I can’t give you a link, but it should be available for purchase soon.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes! The third Young Neos book, Counterparts, is scheduled for a May 2017 release, while I have another superhero series that I will probably release in the fall, depending on how things go. I don’t want to say much about that series yet, however, except to say that it is unrelated to my current series.

On the fantasy front, I have a few ideas I am batting around, but my fantasy books don’t sell as well as my superhero books, so I don’t know when I’ll get around to actually writing any of these ideas. It may not be until 2018 that I put out another fantasy novel, but we’ll see.
Find him online

Timothy L. Cerepaka

My website
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Sunday Surprise

And it’s another author from the bundle! We’re back to the U.S. of A.! And we have the same aim (quit that DayJob) and the same weaknesses (marketing hell…)! And he does write a lot! 🙂 And I love his covers! 😀 Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Joseph Robert Lewis!

Where do you live and write from?

Maryland, USA

Why do you write?

I love all sorts of art, from drawing and music to woodworking and landscaping. But the only one I seem to be any good at is writing. But beyond that, I really love how easily writing allows me to explore all sorts of people and places and ideas, real or imagined, all using the exact same old laptop and comfy chair. My hope is that my writing will make my readers happy, just genuinely happy, whether that means being entertaining and funny, or letting them explore different types of characters and plots that are less mainstream.

When did you start writing?

I first started wanting to write a novel in high school, and I continued to want to write a novel through college, but I didn’t actually weld 100,000 words together until sometime in my early 20s. But since then, I’ve learned to write more consistently and to complete books in much less than two decades.

What genre(s) do you write?

Science fiction and fantasy.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

Right now, my selfish writing goal is to be successful enough that I can quit my day-job and write fulltime. It’s challenging to write several novels each year just in the narrow span of free time between a fulltime job, raising two daughters, romancing my fiancé, staying in shape, and taking care of the house. And the cats. So, in addition to trying to write great stories that readers will love, I’m also trying to learn more about marketing. So far, all I’ve really learned is that I don’t particularly like marketing, and that I’m not particularly good at marketing.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Write. Finish. Publish. The tricky thing about any skill is that you really only get better through practice, which is fine for tying shoelaces or making hummus, or any other activity that only takes a minute or two. But when the activity takes several weeks or months to complete just one attempt, the idea that writing a whole novel is “just practice” can be a little disheartening. But it’s true. You can’t spend forever trying to write the one perfect novel, because you’ll never succeed and you’ll never get any better. You just have to keep writing, finishing, and publishing, and trying to learn from your mistakes along the way so the next one can be a little better.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Over time, I have come to embrace outlines as completely necessary. After spending months researching ideas and kicking ideas, I eventually reach a point where I think I have all the pieces for a good story, and then I have to sketch out a chapter-by-chapter outline with as much detail as possible. That way when I sit down to write, after a long day at the office and a long evening of checking homework, making dinner, and cleaning the house, I will know exactly what I want to write next and quickly get into a writing headspace. Regarding speed, all I can say is that I’ve released about two millions words and two dozen books in about six years, so make of that what you will.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

Elf Saga: Doomsday is the first book in my Elf Saga series. It’s your basic epic fantasy, sword-and-sorcery tale of knights and dragons, but with a little twist. All of the main characters are women from different nations and cultures, it’s written with completely modern language and dialog, and it’s funny. Can I say that about my own book? The reviews all say that, so I’m going to say it too. It’s funny. So if you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Supernatural, or Archer, then you will probably like Elf Saga.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)

My latest book is “Elf Saga: Solarpunk”, which is the fourth and final book in the Elf Saga series. Each book in the series is set 33 years after the previous one, so this one is 100 years after the first one, Doomsday. Solarpunk takes place in a more modern era, with gunslinging elves who watch movies about dragons. The heroines find themselves confronting a massive ecological crisis involving spirit creatures from beyond the stars, metal-eating insects, and plagues that bring together alchemists, shamans, musicians, and mermaids on a strange quest not to save their world, but to transform it. Plus, it’s funny.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

My new project is a science fiction series full of aliens, spaceships, cyborgs, and dinosaurs! I’m writing it as an old-fashioned serial, which I’ll start releasing soon, maybe once a month, and then I’ll have larger story arcs bundled together into larger volumes as well. Inspirations include Farscape… yeah, mostly just Farscape. But also the Transformers comics, the Legacy of Kain games, the Black Sails show, and a lot of other random titles!


Find Joseph online

Web Page




Sunday Surprise

And it’s another bundle author! And I’ve even met her in person, although that was 8 years ago – almost. Where did time fly? Sheesh! Anyhow, from Canada, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Marcelle Dubé!

Where do you live and write from?
I live in the Yukon, in northern Canada. That’s where I do most of my writing, though I’ve been known to write in Montreal, Vancouver, Oregon, Europe, and various airports along the way.

Why do you write?
Because I can’t NOT write. Believe me, I’ve tried.

When did you start writing?
I was about 16 when I first started. After a few years, I stopped. Almost 15 years later I starting up again and haven’t stopped since.

What genre(s) do you write?
I write fantasy and science fiction, mystery, contemporary fiction… just about anything. One day soon I’m going to try a western!

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Let your two-year-old self out when you write. As in, don’t let your inhibitions or society’s constraints stop you from writing what’s in you to write.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
My goal is to keep growing. I challenge myself by trying something new with each new project… either a new technique or a subject matter that scares me – for instance, in my last novel, Shelter, I wrote about something that scared me enough to keep me awake nights.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
I am definitely a “pantser,” as in I write by the seat of my pants. I’ve tried outlining, but once I’ve done the outlining, I feel like I’ve already written the story, so what’s the point of carrying on? Being a pantser has the advantage of never being bored as you write, but it also feels as if you’re always sailing off the edge of the world, in total darkness. And it means — for me, at least — that I write slowly, because sometimes I have to wait and let my conscious mind catch up with what my subconscious is doing. And sometimes I paint myself into a corner and then have to figure out how to get out of it. Very frustrating.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle
In Jilimar, Leah’s husband Owen can’t remember the first fifteen years of his life but Leah doesn’t care. They love each other and are building a life together. But a little part of her always worries that one day, Owen’s past will catch up to him.
When it finally does, Leah knows that, somehow, their neighbor Hector is involved in Owen’s disappearance. Before she can confront him, however, she is attacked by monster dogs, rescued by a man using a bow and arrows, and knocked out.
Then she wakes up on a different world, one on the verge of madness and war.
Now she must learn to survive in this strange place where the touch of a wraith can cause murderous madness and staying out in storm season spells certain death. She grows fond of the kind strangers who take her in and teach her the rituals that help protect against the wraiths. The rituals keep her alive long enough to discover the secrets of this new world, and of the stranger she calls husband.
Then she learns that the madness threatening Jilimar will soon descend on Earth, and only she can stop it.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)
My latest novel is Shelter.
It’s a modern gothic story featuring Ash Gantry, a young woman on the run from her abusive husband. After six months, Ash finally finds a place to call home in Albans, Ontario. But her new home hides a dark secret, one even more dangerous than the man hunting for her.

Any other projects in the pipeline?
Well, yes. I’m working on finishing the fifth in my Mendenhall Mystery series, featuring Mendenhall Chief of Police Kate Williams. I’m also working on the second in my SF/F/alternate history/mystery (did I mention my stories don’t fit into neat category boxes?), the A’lle Chronicles. The first one is called Backli’s Ford. And, in between, I write short stories.


Find Marcelle online





Sunday Surprise

And here’s another bundle author! This time from the U.S. of A. and I even had the pleasure to meet her – although both being introverts, our conversations weren’t worth listening to… but our books are worth reading, I promise! 🙂 So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sabrina Chase!

Where do you live and write from?


Why do you write?

My favorite writers don’t write as fast as I read–and I like telling stories. Then I discovered it was even more fun having readers!

When did you start writing?

I think I was around 13, probably a school assignment. That poor teacher probably wondered where the spaceships came from. I make no apologies for my love of spaceships.

What genre(s) do you write?

Science fiction and fantasy of all flavors (steampunkish alt-history, high fantasy, YA adventure)

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My goal is writing that sucks the reader in, transparent and immersive. Readers should not even be aware of the page or the writing, just the story. I also want my books to be the kind that people read again and again for pleasure, like old friends.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Use all five senses to really draw the reader into the world you’re creating. Never forget you are competing for the reader’s beer money (i.e. deliver entertainment and value).

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Improviser, or pantser. I vary on speed, never as fast as I want to be… there are too many books I want to write.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle.

Firehearted was the very first book I wrote. It started off just as a short story, but one of my beta readers got quite agitated and insisted there was more and I had to write it. I used things I learned from my military history hobby, filing off the serial numbers of some historical battles and using them in the story. At heart it is about how different cultures have different descriptions of honor, but they all have the concept of honor–and understanding the core allows for mutual respect. Also, pet tigers are cool!

Tell us about your latest book.

One Blood is the continuation of the story started in The Scent of Metal, which was my revenge-for-Pluto book. Pluto is really an abandoned alien ship! And a computer geek explorer wakes up the AI by accident. Find it on Amazon.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Soul Code , the sequel to One Blood with more evil aliens and rescued AI ships!


Find Sabrina online



Author Central



Sunday Surprise

As promised, I shall start introducing you to my fellow bundle authors! And the first is ahead of me, down under, so I thought it would be perfect to introduce her first! 😉 Although she was the first to answer my questions probably because she’s ahead of the rest of us… And hey, we have the same writing guru (altough we did different online workshops from his list)! 😀 Anyhow, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Diane J. Cornwell!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in a country town in Northern New South Wales, Australia, about 2 hours from a major city and an hour from the closest beaches.

I love the peace and quiet, and slow pace of a country lifestyle, which is so different from the fast pace of cities.

Why do you write?

To amuse myself.

When did you start writing?

In primary school.

What genre(s) do you write?

So far, I have written in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Cosy Mystery.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My goal as a writer is to continue to learn how to write stories that immerse the reader from start to end without putting the book down. Basically write every story as a Page Turner while leading the reader on an emotional journey.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Best advice? “Keep writing and keep learning” from Dean Wesley Smith.

The next best advice was from Boy George talking about singing. He said “Break their hearts.” I took this to mean let the reader feel the emotions of the characters in each story.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I outline just enough to know where the story leads, then wait for my muse to change direction as the action unfolds. And enjoy the story as I write it.

I would say I am a slow writer, as I only write in the mornings, averaging 500 to 700 words per hour. If I am not interrupted by family and friends, or chores requiring my attention, I can keep writing for 3 – 5 hours.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

Rider is the first in my Tracker series.

It came about during a Dean Wesley Smith workshop course on Genre differences. One assignment gave us a male protagonist who works with horses and an female assassin antagonist, in a big city setting, searching for a missing person. I had to come up with story outlines for Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I let my muse play with the four outlines since I was out of my depth with Romance and Fantasy. Fun, to say the least. Yes I got the assignment done, and finished the Genre workshop.

After the workshop, I was planning on writing the SciFi story, but a Series course was developed by Holly Lisle, so I changed tack and chose to work through the series course writing in the new fantasy world I created based on the fantasy outline during the Genre course.

Thankfully, I am still amusing myself after writing Rider, Guard, Judge and Mage. Now I am writing the fifth Tracker story, I hope to tie up all loose ends developed over the four stories. I want to end the series positively, in case I want to add more stories to the series in a year or two, but I can’t guarantee there will not be any deaths of main characters or even minor characters.

When I have completed the Tracker series, I still want to write the Science Fiction outline from the workshop. And if I have time, the Romance and Mystery outlines at some future date.

You can visit the Tift Publishing Tracker Series page to see the covers and blurbs of the rest of the published Tracker series, and follow the links to the different distributors. However, I don’t expect the fifth book will be ready for a few months, as I have to finish writing it, then get it edited while the cover is created and approved. As soon as possible, the cover will appear on Tift Publishing home page and Coming Soon page, advising the publishing date.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I definitely don’t have a problem writing outlines from one or two ideas. There are always ideas popping into my head. If I think they are worth following up at a later date, I write down enough of the idea outline, 2 – 3 sentences, to remind me later what I was thinking, then promptly forget it while I work on current WIPs. Otherwise I would not get any stories completed, because I would jump from one idea to another.

An example of other projects is, while writing one scene, I wanted a talisman for the assassin, so I stopped writing to make a tatted bangle with beads. I had to borrow a jewellery making book from the library to work out the clasp. Once done, I went back to the scene and added the details of the tatted bangle. Then had to add the bangle onto the assassin’s arm in the cover images. Here’s a link to my djmills writer blog page with images of the bangle.

Story reveal here so stop reading if you want to read the stories.



My assassin, Misty Locke, is not a mage. Can’t do any magic at all. So, mages can stop her from killing them, if they are quick and agile.

She can not receive images in her mind from dragons and tracker horses. As she rides a tracker mare, Sweetie, but can not “hear” Sweetie communicate, and can not receive dragon images in her mind, I worked out how she could receive a talisman so that she can “hear” both trackers and dragons. The dragons would gift her a talisman, with the magic in the beads to allow her to receive dragon images.

The side benefit was she could also “hear’ her tracker mare, Sweetie, when she touched the talisman. You can read about the dragon talisman on my writer blog.

This was done to keep true to the culture in the Tracker series world. Now I am thinking about tooth extraction of citizens of Convane by medic mages or ordinary citizens. Fun and games.

If you want to learn more on my creative efforts you can follow my writing blog.

Or my DianeJCornwell author blog announcing new releases and sales, and other information for readers.

You can also sign up for the Tift Publishing Newsletter to announce each release and other publishing news, or by clicking the Tift Publishing link on the other two blogs.

Sunday Surprise and Happiness is…

And some writerly quotes, words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever  for pondering on Easter Monday! 😉

Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him.
William Faulkner

Forget perfection. You can’t control success. You aren’t anybody else. You are you. It doesn’t matter if anyone believes in you. Let their disbelief charge your batteries. You can believe in you.

Focus on today. Not tomorrow. Not next year. Make something. Create something. Act in defiance of reality’s accord. Spit in the eye of any who expect you to do differently.

Relish in the unmitigated thrill of doing what nobody wants you to do.

Nobody wants you to be an artist.

But you do, so fuck them.

Chuck Wendig

I think the really productive pulp-speed writers at a deep level don’t care about the finished product. They did the best they could while writing. That was all they could do, so them move on.

The lack of caring comes from the fact that real pulp-speed writers of any era love the process of writing. Some love it for the challenge, some love it for the creation, some love it for the fear.  So when a story is finished, all the things they love about writing are done.

So they move on to the next story.

They just let go.

Very few writers have that ability. That’s why there are so few pulp-speed writers and so many writers who want to produce more but never seem to be able to.

Have fun with the writing. It is the first step to picking up production as a writer.

Dean Wesley Smith

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Oscar Wilde

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
Bernard M. Baruch

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday Surprise

Words of wisdom, writers on writing, take your pick and go WOW! Have a great Sunday!

But if you don’t write, the world will never know what you might have done.
I realized back then that I had to take complete responsibility for my writing.
I had to set up times to write.  I needed to make sure that I stayed on task.
I hoped that someday I would get fan mail from readers who would be eager for my next book, and maybe that would help inspire me, but I knew that that day would never come unless I practiced my craft, all alone, with no audience but me.
Over the past few years, that realization has grown.  And you don’t have to just write the novels, you have to sell them.
Your publisher cares whether you sell, of course, but not nearly as much as you do.  It’s like horse racing, where you’ve only got one little horse.  The publisher might be backing you, but he’s got dozens of horses all in the same race.
His chances of winning are excellent.
So we have to take responsibility for our writing—not just for writing our own novels, but for editing them, writing the blurbs that sell them, getting cover quotes, and marketing them both in person and on the web.
Yes, agents and editors may help, but ultimately we must be responsible.  Writing a book is only part of the job.  It may take a couple of months.  But promoting a book well can require years.

David Farland

The bigger the issue, the smaller you write. Remember that. You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying on the road. You pick the smallest manageable part of the big thing, and you work off the resonance.

– Richard Price

The key there is: I cannot be pinned by expectation.

Some people think outlining a book robs the book of its magic. Some people think the business kills the joy of making words and creating art. But for me, the great thing that will siphon the joy out of what I do — the pesticide that murders the butterflies flitting about in the dark shrubbery that is my heart — is expectation. Not my expectation. But yours.

And now we come full circle because once again, I say:

Nobody wants you to be an artist.

Not the people who love you. Not the people who hate you. Not the people who don’t know one whit about you. Nobody wants that for you or your life.

I want you to think about that for a moment.

I want you to focus on that for a moment.

Take the idea like a pebble or a pearl, tuck it in your mouth, swirl it around.

This is what that does for me:

When I sit down and I start to write, I take a secret thrill in what I’m doing. Because this is forbidden territory. This is verboten. Everyone has built a fence of expectation around what I’m doing and yet, here I am, having climbed the fence. I’m making art and the world doesn’t want me to make art. I’m in a secret garden stealing your vegetables. I’m traipsing about someone’s home in the dark while they sleep. I’m mixing potions. I’m making monsters. I’m tap-dancing on the edge of a cliff, and the world can watch me kick off my shoes, pirouette, and lift both middle fingers in the air with a smugly self-satisfied look on my big beardo face.

Chuck Wendig

But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.
Elizabeth Gilbert

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

– Stephen King

Violate conventions and you are marked as an outsider. A rude outsider, at that.
Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

If you want little, give little; if you want much, give much; if you want all, give all.
Matshona Dhliwayo

Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! Someone who dared asking  for it! And then answering the writerly questions! How cool is that? Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Jelterow Mckinnie, Jr.!
Why do you write?
To entertain readers – I want the reader to leave the story with a new way of thinking about something that is probably quite common.
When did you start writing?
At college – I had a very nice professor (Dr. Firestone) who was very generous in his reviews of my writings and he always encouraged me to save them and publish them one day. He always assured me that there was an audience for them, somewhere.
What genre(s) do you write?
Mostly fiction – however, I look forward to getting into more nonfiction one day.
What does your writing routine consist of?
I try to write at least one chapter of the book at a time. But, I do that over and over until the chapter is built up the way that I want it to be. For example, when I was writing Diary of a Teacher I went through each of the chapters and first put the things that I wanted to convey into them. The points that I want to get across. Sometimes, there will not even be characters – only the ideas that I want the reader to walk away with. Then once I’ve done that for all of the chapters – I go through the chapters again, this time putting in the conversations that I want to have take place and begin to put the main characters where they need to be. Then I’ll go back through the chapters and include the traits and tags that I want the characters to have and convey to the reader. This process continues over and over and over until I’ve added all the elements of the story needed to convey the message behind the story to the reader. So, I guess I’d say I write the story in layers!
What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
My strengths are a God given vivid imagination and the God given ability to write the fiction in such a way that it seems and feels real to the reader.
I did not develop these qualities – God gave them to me and I thank Him and give Him all the praise for them, in Jesus Mighty Name!
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
Sometimes I will see something strange or something quite practical and just let my imagination run away with me. Other times, while talking somebody will say something or I will say something and we agree that it would make a nice story. Most recently, on the current book I’m writing, Jairus, I was listening to Kenneth Copeland preaching about developing your faith and he was speaking about how God had him visualize how determined both Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood were to get through that crowd to Jesus. Then, praise God the Lord allowed me to have the idea to put it into a story so that those struggling to visualize it on their own could.
I don’t put myself into the stories too often; but on occasion I have. What I do is merge various people’s personality traits and create the character that I want or need for the story to move along. However, Live, Laugh, and Love the Golden Moments of Life does have a lot of myself in it; primarily because it is about my grandfather and I – all the fun we had in Liberty City (Miami, Florida).
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Outliner – the last time I tried it the other way I reached halfway and didn’t like the story.
Personally, I think I write slowly – but there are those who claim that I write very fast. At the end of the day it takes me about three months to finish a story that I’m diligently working on.
Tell us about your latest book (add link if published).
Currently I’m working on Jairus – this will be my first official piece of Christian Fiction and I pray that the Lord uses it to help people build their faith! The book will provide the back story for the miracle that took place for Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood. After all, Jairus was a Pharisees in charge of a synagogue at a time when most of the Pharisees were against Jesus. Just how did he come to a point in his faith that he turned to Jesus for help and had enough faith to get the help for his daughter? Likewise – the woman with the issue of blood, what is here story? She’s important enough to include and she has very strong faith; but, she’s given no identity. People, to this day, wonder about who she is and what obstacles she had to overcome in her life. The book addresses these issues – it’s going to sell millions of copies!
Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie – the technology supports it and I don’t have to go about the place begging somebody to publish me. The cost are a lot lower and Amazon’s reached the point where they can bring a print on demand paperback to market for under $10, which is a milestone! That said, one day the traditional publishers will reach out to me and we can definitely work some type of a deal at that time.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
Spreading the Gospel – Jesus is Lord!
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
Sell books! While praying the Lord instructed me to start asking for more author interviews and reviews – and I have; and praise God, you are one of the wonderful people facilitating my request; and, I thank you very much and pray that you are wonderfully blessed!
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Dr. Firestone’s advice to go ahead and do it!
Social Media: Google me (Jelterow Mckinnie, Jr.) – that’s probably the best way for the reader to use the method they like the most to get in touch with me.

Random Friday

And since I’m away, I’m going to introduce you to a guest! I found her through Goodreads and thought you might be interested in meeting someone else! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Claudie Arseneault!

Where do you live and write from?
I live in Quebec City, the capital of Canada’s majority French province. I’ve been here all my life, and English is a second language for me. I love my city, for all of its conservative faults. I think I see myself in a lot of its contradictions.

Why do you write?
Funnily enough, I recently wrote an entire guest post on this topic (it’s not up yet, but keep an eye on Ayah’s wonderful Why I Write series for it!). I won’t repeat all of those words here, but the short version is this: I write because it makes me feel like I belong. Writing allowed me to find my community. Writing reminds me that I am a professional, that I have found my path. Even when it is stressful and hard, writing is like coming home.

When did you start writing?
About ten years ago. At the time, it was a complement to my intense roleplaying habits. I ran games with a single player, and I wanted to write out the scenes between characters he didn’t witness. Then I heard of NaNoWriMo, got a sudden burst of inspiration, and after that first rush of creativity and fun, I could never go back.

What genre(s) do you write?
Fantasy is my main turf, although I tend to play around a lot in the genre. My latest novel, City of Strife, is a crossover between high fantasy and political fantasy, while one of my other projects is… steampunk-fantasy-ish. Without the steam. Kind of falls a lot into the kind of magic/technology mix you’d expect from the Tales of _____ series, or Final Fantasy. I do also write science-fiction, and when I do, it’s absolutely solarpunk—a community-driven, eco-conscious, hopeful subgenre. I love the subgenre enough to edit an entire anthology of solarpunk dragons, Wings of Renewal!

What does your writing routine consist of?
I don’t have one. I write whenever and wherever I can. This means I write on my cellphone in the bus to/from work, I write at a cat café in the city, I write after work on weekdays when my brain is half mush from the day’s labour… anything I can get done, I try to do it. I sit my ass in my chair and try to ignore twitter and social media until I have the strict minimum done. It is not always successful, but that’s okay. (I also do not necessarily recommend it? I have to watch myself because I will overwork myself if I’m not careful).

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
Characters. I have absolutely no qualms stating that: I’m good with characterization. A lot of it comes from all the roleplaying I did, and creating such a wide range of characters over the years. I pay a lot of attention to details when I build a character, and a lot of time thinking of silly things that are unrelated to the story, but that help me nail their personalities.
I also tend to build storylines that have a great many threads, and with practice, a lot of craft-studying, and trial and error, I’ve grown quite good at tying all of them into an epic ending. I like to think the last quarters of my books are the best part—that the payoff is worth it.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
Everywhere. This isn’t a question I have a great answer for, really. I draw inspiration from other stories, from history, from things I feel aremissing from what I read. I used not to put much of myself in my writing, but now I do.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Outline. Gosh, I would have written myself into a corner a dozen times over without outlines. The degrees of precision I put into them varies a lot from one project to the next, but I always have a general outline before I start (typically, the ending is more vague, and I outline it as I get nearer). Although, really, I frequently end up ditching or redoing my outlines as I write, so it’s a little of both. But I never start without some basics down. I’m also definitely a fast writer. Not in terms of words/minute, but it terms of time I can and do put into it, yeah! I get through drafts fairly fast.

final-coverTell us about your latest book
Okay, here is the short version of the blurb:
Isandor, City of Spires.
Bickering merchant families vie for power through eccentric shows of wealth and brutal trading wars. Unspoken rules regulate their battles, but when an idealistic elven lord provokes the powerful Myrian Empire, all bets are off. They are outsiders, unbound by local customs, and no one knows how far they’ll take their magic to dominate the city. Nobles and commoners alike must fight to preserve their home, even if the struggle shatters friendships, destroys alliances, and changes them irrevocably.
City of Strife is the first installment of the City of Spires trilogy, a multi-layered political fantasy led by an all LGBTQIAP+ cast. Fans of complex  storylines criss-crossing one another, strong friendships and found families will find everything they need within these pages.
It is indeed published, and you can find it here on Amazon. The book’s page on my website also contains a list of trigger warnings and all other buy links. This universe has been with me since the very start of my writing, and I’m happy to share it at last!

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie all the way! I can’t even imagine going a traditional route. First, too much of it is still hostile to wide LGBTQIAP+ casts, and I don’t have time to waste arguing about the validity and existence of my characters, or being pressurized to add a romance. Second, indie publishing allows me to choose my contributors and encourage marginalized freelancers with my money. Third, I like being in control. I like leading projects from beginning to end, and earning every bit of those way-better royalties. I do wish I had a larger marketing reach, but I’m working on that too! I just created The Kraken Collective with fellow indies, a cooperative of QUILTBAG science fiction and fantasy! We share platforms, advice, and skills, leading to high-quality books and great times.

Any other projects in the pipeline?
The second book, haha. The City of Spires trilogy was conceived as a unit, and I want to get the second one out as fast as I can. Spare my readers the long years of wait between cliffhangers (there are some).
I do have another project besides that one, called Baker Thief, which is sort of a fantasy-mystery-romance, except instead of actual romance, you have the slow bound between an aromantic spectrum character and a demisexual one. There’s a lot of me in it—twins, French puns and sentences, a city that draws upon Québec’s history—and it gets quite tropey at times, which I love.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
Two things: first, I want to provide a large array of stories in which the whole LGBTQIAP+ spectrum gets to play a part and be a hero. This is especially true of aromantic and asexual people, because these are also my stories, and I hope that through the body of work I can give voice to a large part of the spectrum. Second, I would love to earn a living with this? A lot? Hey, we can always dream. So I write or work on my projects almost every day, and I follow and listen to other marginalized voices, and hopefully as years go by things will get better.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Find the writing advice that applies to you. Seriously, every writer has a different process, and a lot of writing advice disregards that, especially when it comes to writers with disability. So, sure, try out the writing advice out there, but know that if it doesn’t work, it’s not you. You’re still a writer!
One that worked for me was: “open a blank document and rewrite.” This is a follow-up to the more common “your first draft is crap”, but it taught me not to be afraid to start over. My process changes between projects, but for novels, I will often scrap almost the entirety of the first draft. Because I need to reach the end to see the story as a whole. So I tend to rewrite with only a few looks at the first draft, from beginning to end. Even later in the project, I still apply that to entire scenes too. Sometimes it’s better to start from scratch. Scary and long, but better.


Claudie Arseneault is an asexual and aromantic-spectrum writer hailing from the very-French Québec City. Her long studies in biochemistry and immunology often sneak back into her science-fiction, and her love for sprawling casts invariably turns her novels into multi-storylined wonders. The most recent, City of Strife, comes out on February 22, 2017! Claudie is a founding member of The Kraken Collective and is well-known for her involvement in solarpunk, her database of aro and ace characters in speculative fiction, and her unending love of squids. Find out more on her website!

Sunday Surprise

redemption-final-smallREDEMPTION – A Many Lives Standalone Story
One of the best books I read this year. A tightly-woven tale of what it means to be redeemed by love ★★★★★” – Margo Bond Collins, NY Times bestselling author.
From New York Times bestselling author, Laxmi Hariharan, comes REDEMPTION the much anticipated next standalone story in the Many Lives Series. For fans of Nalini Singh and Christine Feehan. Experience a thrilling paranormal romance where shifters, vampires and immortals fight to save those they love.
Read REDEMPTION free in KU * 99c for limited only * here
When differences threaten to tear fated mates apart
I submit to no one—not even him.
Not till I was taken
Now a terrible emptiness tears me apart. For,
he’s just…gone
Will I see him again?
I never needed anyone
Then I met her, a cage fighter, my shifter. Mine.
The one I must protect
Now I want her. In my life, in my blood.
Her, only her.
Reclusive designer Mikhail Anton blames wolf-shifters for his memory loss, refusing to accept the signs that he is immortal. On meeting Leana Iyeroy, a cage-fighter and shifter, Mikhail is drawn to her in ways he can’t identify. And when vampires threaten Leana, he must acknowledge his abilities to rescue her from certain death. They must team up to save their city– before their differences destroy everything they love.
Read REDEMPTION free in KU & 99c for limited time here
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