Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! She has a brand new book out! And she’s another fantasy author! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome J. Elizabeth Vincent!

Where do you live and write from?

I live and write in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It’s such a beautiful area that I’m never lacking in inspiration from nature. We also have a thriving arts community that I treasure very much.

Why do you write?

Reading and telling stories has been something I’ve been passionate about since I can remember. Seeing someone’s face light up when they’ve read or heard one of my stories, when they can imagine themselves in it—well, there’s nothing quite like that feeling. I think most people need some sort of creative outlet, and writing is one of mine, probably my main one, as I’ve always felt connected to the power of words and what they can be used to create.

When did you start writing?

I’m not exactly sure, but I remember in high school deciding that writing was something I wanted to do. Between a particularly encouraging freshman English teacher and a best friend who couldn’t get enough of my stories, I was hooked.

What genre(s) do you write?

I will try just about anything, but my favorite genre to write is any kind of fantasy. I like the freedom of being able to rewrite the rules of reality while still having the boundaries of the way “people”—be they elves, monsters, or humans—relate to each other. I’ve also written plenty of nonfiction, along with romance, suspense, poetry, and even horror.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I often write early in the morning, around 5:30 a.m. My full house is quiet then, and I haven’t yet allowed anything but the story enter my overcrowded mind. I write for one to two hours before starting the rest of my day, which includes working as a freelance editor and designer and homeschooling my three children.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

When it comes to fiction, I’ve found a way to make the words flow in a way that’s easy to read and very natural. I believe that comes from years of reading and editing for others. I think the biggest help is just writing through, practicing my craft as much as I can.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

I find inspiration everywhere, especially in nature, but I also find inspiration from art, books, and television. For example, one night I was brainstorming story ideas, and I thought how cool it would be if there were a superhero like Jessica Jones but with wings and set in a fantasy world. However, when Mariah, the character who came from that idea, grew, she became something much different and developed a unique personality all her own.

I don’t often put myself in my writing. Like many people, I find myself kind of boring, but sometimes I’ll pick out a particularly juicy or odd element or thought from my life and grow an idea from that seed.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I do a muddy mix of both outlining and flying by the seat of my pants. I often start with some kind of outline, but I usually don’t stick to it to the letter because once I’m in the zone, the story starts to write itself. However, when I get stuck or feel like something is not working, I’ll go back to the outline, reworking things until the story feels better.

As far as speed goes, it all depends on the day or week. When there is a lot going on with my family or freelance business, my writing slows down, but when those things are slower or more even, I get a lot more words in.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published) + indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

My latest book was actually my debut novel. I also have two nonfiction books published under my real name and a couple of short stories published under my pen name.

Raven Thrall (Legends of the Ceo San: Book 1) tells the story of a girl with wings who has been sheltered all her life, only to be suddenly driven from her home and everything she knows. Years later, she finds herself locked in a struggle with her own identity when she is asked to return to her homeland, where her kind is still persecuted, to help another young family facing slavery because of their special gifts. In her quest, Mariah must decide between doing what is safe and doing what is right.

I decided to self-publish my second nonfiction book along with Raven Thrall for many reasons. One was that I prefer the creative control and the ability to oversee every step of the publishing process, from story building to price setting. Also, having worked in the publishing industry in one form or another for the last twenty years and with constant self-education, I felt confident that I could do a good job on my own or at least that I knew how to find the right people to help me.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes, I have three works in progress. Healer’s Sacrifice is a prequel novella set in the Legends of the Ceo San world. It’s very close to being finished. I have also started Book 2 of the Legends of the Ceo San series, which is tentatively titled Revelation of the Dragon. I’m also working on a third draft of an urban fantasy/lesbian paranormal romance novel called Blood Mastery. I actually finished the first draft of Blood Mastery before I wrote Raven Thrall, but it’s been my biggest challenge, and I’m still working on getting that one right before bringing it to my readers.

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

Honestly, my goal as a writer is and has always been to entertain (with fiction) and to educate (with nonfiction). If I can help someone have a better day by giving them a fun read or by offering them some new information, it makes me happy. Personally, I want to make writing a large part of the way I make a living as well, so I plan to keep writing books as long as it makes me and my readers happy.

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

When I was 16, I wrote to my favorite author, whose books are still a source of inspiration for me. Stephen R. Donaldson was kind enough to write me back. He gave me the best piece of writing advice I’ve ever gotten, although it took me almost 30 years to apply it. His advice was to apply the seat of my pants to the seat of my chair and write.

I’ve learned that writing consistently not only gets the job done but that the act of writing makes you a better writer, just like practicing dance makes you a better dancer. You can’t expect to be a good writer if you only practice once or twice a year or when you feel like it. Writing every day (or as close as you can manage) hones your writing muscles. It teaches you that the blank page is not an obstacle. It teaches you that you can write when you’re mildly sick, when you’re not in the best mood, and when the muses are giving you nothing but drivel. You sit and write like you go to work every day. It’s a job, and some days are better than others. Thankfully, with writing, you usually get at least one chance to go back and polish or even redo it, but you can’t do that until you get it on the page to begin with.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Barb!


Raven Thrall will be free on Amazon Kindle from Monday, May 21, 2018 at 12:00 am PDT to Friday, May 25, 2018 at 11:59 PM PDT!

Fantasy & Urban Fantasy Author J. Elizabeth Vincent







Sunday Surprise

Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!
Hello there! Tell me a little about yourself (name, age…)

S’pose it can’t hurt. My name is Pierce Landcross, and I’m . . . how should I bloody say it? One who has fallen out of favor with the law. I’ve been told I’m the most wanted thief in England. It seems ’about right, considering I tried stealing from Queen Victoria inside her palace. I’m twenty-seven and have been scraping by my whole life with no real direction on the horizon.

I like it! Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Ten words, eh? Right. I measure up to around five-eight in height, slender build, with shoulder length hair, green eyes, a nasty scar across my throat and a brand mark of a figure-eight on my chest. Long story.

Okay… Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

Bloody hell, where do I begin answering this one? Being a thief, a smuggler, and all-around troublemaker, I haven’t left many mates in my wake. One enemy of mine, in particular, is a German named Volker Jäger. He was once a general in Hamburg where I attempted to highway rob a friend of the mayor. Ol’ Volker was assigned to find me, but with some help, I managed to escape. Volker was discharged shortly after and has been hunting for me since to redeem himself.

Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

Unfortunately, killing comes with the territory of being a fugitive. *Sighs deeply* I’m not proud of the lives I’ve taken, but nor do I regret it, especially when it comes down to taking out those threatening people I care for. It drives me to act whenever a loved one is in danger, it’s just who I am. I once offered the Queen my life for my folk’s when they were imprisoned at Newgate Prison. Which, I might add, turned out utterly different from what I had expected. I bloody swear these one-eighties that keep happening to me is truly the story of my bleedin’ life.

Where do you live?

My world is one heading steadfast toward the next new cycle of the human existence. Since the dawning of the Industrial Revolution, there has been this strive to invent and bring about new gadgets and machinery by inventors known as Contributors. These sods are working their way up to the peak to this steam-powered age to reach the new era, The Age of the Machine. Whether it’ll actually occur or not is anyone’s guess, but I’ve seen a thing or two to not discredit that such a stage will come. As of where I live, it depends on where I am. Other than being a hunted outlaw, I’m a wanderer by nature. My brother and I grew up with my folks who traveled with Gypsies until Joaquin and me got separated from them in Abney Park in London. Afterward, we roamed about, trying to find them. We never did, and all we achieved was becoming common criminals.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

Aye. I managed to find someone, and surprisingly enough, she loves me as much as I love her. Her name is Taisia Kuzentsov, a Russian lass who grew up performing in the circus before setting off on her own to explore Europe. Tai is very brave who can hold her own in the face of danger and believe me, we’ve encountered our fair share. She’s also a protector who has no quarrel about putting herself in harm’s way to keep her loved safe. When I look at her, her beauty completely undoes me sometimes.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Staying alive, mostly. To tell the truth, I suspect I’m cursed. It seems that every time I bloody well peer my head up for a single moment, something happens and I wind up in another life-threatening adventure.

Heh. Authors tend to do that to their characters. Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

Aye. My mum, Nona, dad, Jasper, and my grandmother, Élie Fey. As I mentioned before, my brother and I were raised by Gypsies. Taisia actually came across my folks during her travels and joined up with them on theirs. My family is a pretty unique bunch. Mum is the person in charge of the family. S’pose her assertiveness comes from her father, who’s a forest elf living in the Netherlands. Dad also has his own special bloodlines and Grandmother Fey is an enchantress. My brother, Joaquin, is an outlaw like me, doing what does to keep on living.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I talked about the bloodlines in my family. I’ve inherited these, which doesn’t make me into any superhuman, or anything, but it has made me a target for a witch named Freya Bates, who has this grand plan that no one knows about and for some reason or another she needs me dead to achieve it. Like I said, earlier, I’m cursed.

Nah, I’m sure you’ll survive! What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I’d asked and what are your answers to them?

Interesting question. Erm, s’pose if you were to ask me what I’d like to do other than be a thief, I’d say be an English professor. Aye, stop your laughing now, even though I sound like a hick, I’m very well-read. I love books, you see, and teaching literature would give me a chance to explore more deeply into the novels I’ve read while enlightening others.

The other question would be what’s all is in store for me. A lot, actually! Grandmother Fey used to be a fortuneteller of sorts. She once told me each life has many paths that lead in different directions. No one can truly see into the future because the future is always changing. I dunno my whole story yet, but I can tell you it involves me traveling through the Netherlands and following clues to a family inheritance, dealing with the Hellfire Club in Scotland, sailing to Sonora, Mexico with my mates, the Sea Warriors where I’ll be hunting for fugitives, a jailbreak in New Orleans, and returning to England to face my most feared enemies.

Okay, I guess we’re done with the gentleman… hello there, milady! Tell me a little about yourself.

My name is Clover Alice Norwich, and I’m ten years old. I am the daughter of a terrible man, Lord Tarquin Norwich, and sister to Archie Norwich. I write fantasy stories and hope to become an established author one day.

Oh, cool! Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

I’m tall for my age, with red wine-colored hair, dark brown eyes, with some freckles sprinkled over my face.

What is your role in the story?

Mainly I get the boys out of trouble. Father had ordered Archie and me to travel to France to capture Mr. Pierce and bring him back to Southampton where he could be questioned about the Toymaker, Mr. Indigo Peachtree. That plan fails when Mr. Pierce is saved by the Sea Warriors during our crossing over the Channel. After that, I use my crafty planning to keep us three alive while we try finding Mr. Peachtree.

Way to go, girl! What is your relationship with the protagonist(s)?

Like I said, Archie is my brother. My older brother, who is caught between obeying our ruthless father while trying to find a way for us to escape him. Archie is a good brother. I don’t know what I’d do without him. Mr. Pierce is my friend, which didn’t start off that way, considering we were sent to catch him and bring him to Father.

I wish I had an elder brother too – only a twin sister and more sisters around here, sgrunt. Where do you live ?

I live in Southampton inside a stuffy old mansion. My life as a noble is very dull and unproductive. If it wasn’t for my writing, I’m awfully sure I’d go mad.

I bet you would! Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

*Giggles* No. I’m only ten, after all. Although, if I was years older, I’d marry Mr. Pierce. He’s very handsome and kind. He also likes reading which is very appealing to any writer.

Tee-hee! Indeed! He could become your first reader! What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

I was kidnapped by Mr. Pierce’s older brother, Joaquin, and handed over to some bad people working for my father at his castle on the Isle of Wight. They didn’t know who I was, so they locked me in the dungeon. Never had I experienced such mistreatment nor I have been so frightened. I suppose the biggest challenge I face is acclimating to this exposure of cruelty.

Mean people. They shall be punished! Do you have a moral code?

Sure, I do. I have lots of them, I suppose.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I died once. I don’t want to go into details because it was a very dramatic experience for me, especially because of who shot me dead. But I crossed over to the other side and came back!

Color me impressed! What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I’d asked and what are your answers to them?

How about what kind of books I write? My answer is fantasy stories where I cast myself as the protagonist and explore other types of worlds. Another question would be what are my plans for the future. I’d like to grow up and live in a quaint little cottage in the countryside and spend my days writing my stories and to travel the world, preferably with the man I love. *Giggle and blushes* Like Mr. Pierce.

Book(s) in which the character appears and links

Legacy (vol.1) Legacy-The Reunion




Legacy-The Reunion Goodreads:

Full Series Synopsis:

Author’s Facebook:

Michelle E. Lowe is the author of The Warning, Atlantic Pyramid, Cherished Thief, and Legacy. Children’s books, Poe’s Haunted House Tour, and The Hex Hunt. Her works in progress are the continuations of Legacy. Currently, she lives in Lake Forest, California with husband Ben, and their two daughters.



Twitter: @MichelleLowe_7


Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! From my latest curated bundle, Thieves… She is even out there this weekend, if you are at the Wild Wild West Steam Fest in Santa Ana, go and greet her! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Michelle E. Lowe!

Where do you live and write from?>
Southern California.

Why do you write?
Why does someone want to be a cop, or actor, or engineer? It’s installed in us at birth. I believe that we’re meant to do these things, even if we don’t realize it right away. I love stories, and I love telling stories. Creating worlds, characters, and plotlines out of thin air is a magical thing which is fascinating that people (especially someone like me) can do it.

When did you start writing?
I’ve written small stuff throughout my life. Short stories, poems, things like that. When I was nineteen and in college for graphic design, I was alone, grieving in my dorm room. I’d just lost my older brother in a motorcycle accident. To occupy my mind, I decided to write out this story that had been playing around inside my head for a while, and once I started, I couldn’t stop! I swear, it happened in a snap. As hokey as it sounds, in a split second I’d found my calling. I like to think my brother was telling me something.

What genre(s) do you write?
Fiction mostly. I wrote one nonfiction book about the life story of the infamous highwayman, Claude du Vall, but the rest are all fiction. Steampunk/fantasy, science fiction, a few children’s books, even a thriller.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
I’ve been writing for the better part of twenty years now and would like to make it my full-time profession. Doing what you love and making an actual living at it IS the dream, right? To do so is to promote and to reach out to readers so to build a fan base. I’ve attended events like Gaslight Steampunk Expo and Gaslight Gathering in San Diego, WonderCon, and this weekend, I’ll be at the Wild Wild West Steam Fest in Santa Ana, signing books. I love doing these shows because I get to meet people and chat with them, which is always a treat for me. I also make connections, which is critical for any business.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
I’m not sure if this qualifies as advice and it wasn’t said to me personally, but there’s this lovely quote by Toni Morrison, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”I like this quote a lot because if an author writes what they want to read, the story will be more enriched by the care and devotion the writer is willing to put into it.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Having an outline is a must for me. I don’t like diving into a story with no compass. Having said that, I don’t restrict my story to any framework. Most of the time, I end up writing a completely different story outside of the outline. Planning out a story beforehand simply helps me push forward faster and allows me to document little details I might later forget. Outlines aren’t barbwire fences that demand to be followed, but a guide assisting you on your way.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle
Legacy (vol.1) is my steampunk/fantasy story. It’s the first of a six-part series, (which are all written, the last four only need to be edited.) The premise is that an evil man named Tarquin Norwich is searching for a toymaker, Indigo Peachtree, and the only way to do so is to force two outlaw brothers, Joaquin and Pierce Landcross, in helping to find him. Tarquin sends his children, Archie and Clover across the English Channel to snare Pierce in France, while Tarquin and his oldest son, Ivor, go after Joaquin in the north. Nothing goes as planned, however, and the story becomes a cat-and-mouse scenario of who can find who and what first. Here is a link to a short video about Legacy which includes excerpts of the book itself. 😊

(buy the book on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords or get it in the bundle Thieves)

Tell us about your latest book
I just released the second installment of Legacy, titled Legacy-The Reunion. It basically picks up where the first book leaves off, but with a completely different storyline. In this story, Pierce Landcross discovers that his long-lost parents are imprisoned in Newgate Prison and goes in to rescue them. He soon finds out that there has been an inheritance left to the family and when Pierce goes to the lawyer to collect it, he discovers that in order to claim the fortune, he must first follow a series of clue throughout the Netherlands to its location. Pierce is also accompanied by a beautiful and clever young woman, Taisia Kuzentsov, and together they seek out the loot. Their quest isn’t without risk. A dangerous bounty hunter who has his eye on the inheritance and on the price on Landcross’s head, is tailing them, waiting for the right time to act.

(buy the books on Amazon and Barnes&Noble)

Any other projects in the pipeline?
I’ve just started on the next series, The Age of the Machine, which I have set up as being four books total. This series will be more steampunk than fantasy like Legacy is, and hopefully just as much fun to write!


Find Michelle online






Random Friday

Words of wisdom, writers on writing, total randomness but I don’t have anything to say. So I shall let others speak for me – they’re so much better at it! Have a great weekend!

It’s really hard to understand people who are wired differently. I’m never really going to understand people who think going to clubs and getting drunk with friends is fun, and they’re never going to understand why I think staying home on a Friday night and working on my art is fun. I don’t believe everyone who doesn’t have drive is just out partying all the time, but we all have different things we do. Some people watch a lot of television. Some people like to shop. Some people go to concerts. Or roller skate. Or play basketball. If I played a lot of basketball on weekends would that be a problem?
Also, I think many people don’t realize that the drive exists before getting the work, and when you’re going head to head with some kid who is pulling 40 hours a week at art making before they get their first job, you’re up against someone who has jet propulsion while others are still trying to invent the wheel. That drive comes early, and it sometimes never goes away. It’s a huge advantage. Where does it come from? I don’t know. It’s not fair, but it’s an essential, and it will topple the talented, confound the uninitiated, and look like magic to others.
I’m not going to apologize for my focus and ability and I don’t think anyone should have to. No one feels the need to apologize for being smart and studying a lot, why should I apologize for making art a lot?
I don’t think any amount of explaining will get through to people who simply don’t get it. Either you have drive or you don’t. I feel a lot of sympathy for those who don’t and who want it. It must be like trying to see a color you simply can’t see.
Colleen Doran

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
Franz Kafka

Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.
Philip José Farmer

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

Artistic freedom.
I have no one I have to answer to for my choices in what I write, how I write it, or why I pick a project I pick.
No one.
If readers don’t like something I write now, I figure they might in twenty years. So I don’t let readers into my process at all. I don’t write for money or fame or any of that stuff.
I just write for me.
And only me.
Total artistic freedom.
That is something that I never had as a traditionally published writer. Not once, not ever. Even when writing my own books there were always gatekeepers and sales forces and so on.
And anyone going into traditional publishing now not only gives up all rights to their work, but also gives up all artistic freedom.
In this modern world, a writer does not need to do that. I have no idea why any writer would willingly do that.
Maybe, just maybe it’s because complete artistic freedom and everything that means scares writers too much. Too much responsibility or something.
Dean Wesley Smith

Sunday Surprise

Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever! Hey there!

I am Morgen, a Faerie Queen and head of Avalon’s ancient Mystery School. My age is of little consequence. If you knew the truth, no doubt you would blush. Faeries age differently than humans. One month in a faerie realm, such as Tir na Nog, can register as a hundred years by mortal reckoning. Avalon is slightly different. Our years coincide more closely with those on earth because we were once of the mortal plane.

Don’t worry, you’re talking to another immortal here. Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

I am a red – haired, ethereal beauty with green eyes.

Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become your enemy?

Yes, the earliest and perhaps most important enemy you should know about is my half-sister, Morgause, who happens to be a witch. Married to a loveless petty king, Morgause was always jealous of my relationships with Merlin and then Arthur, the High King. This was never more apparent then when she seduced Arthur, utilizing my form and conceived a child by him. Morgause is very adept at shapeshifting. She also cursed Merlin. Can you tell that she covets the throne? Through the years she has worked very hard to destroy Arthur, but I have never let her get that far.

I have heard many versions of these tales… Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

Yes, on both counts. As an emissary of Avalon, I espouse peace. Indeed, Peace now and forever is my goal. Unfortunately, two individuals forced my hand. Rather than reveal their names, I suggest that you read the series.
Faeries are immortal, but when a fae takes human form, such as I have done, then death is inevitable. In the final book, “Epiphany” I make such a decision.

Where do you live?

Avalon, which has both an earthly realm and a faerie realm. I also live from time to time at Camelot as Arthur’s paramour.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

Merlin, the arch mage, was my first love. The fact that he also taught me such magical arts as shapeshifting made our relationship memorable, indeed. Ah, I will never forget our outrageous game of fox hunts hare. Naturally, I spent that summer locked in Merlin’s arms. Tall, dark and magical, Merlin fairly oozes magic. He is Irresistible in every sense of the word. Need I say more?
The arch mage seasoned me for Arthur, High King of Britannia, my Otherself. What can I say of Arthur? All the women desire him. He is charismatic, genuine and kind, not to mention gorgeous. Our relationship spans countless lifetimes. Each of us sought mortal form so that we could create a lasting peace throughout war torn Britannia. How did we achieve such a lofty goal? I wielded the faerie magic of Avalon, while Arthur utilized the power of the sword, a powerful combination of Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine that brought the proud Saxons to their knees. How could I not love such a man? Arthur is the kindest, wisest ruler Britannia has ever known. If Merlin personifies magic, Arthur is power incarnate.

A certain writer had an obsession for Arthur of the Britons (1972 British TV series)… but I digress! What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

In book one the challenge that usurps all others is the attainment of peace and the unification of Britannia under Arthur’s rule as High King.

Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

Yes, I was secretly raised as a foundling (faerie child) by Queen Igrainne. King Uther always sensed I was not of his seed. Indeed, I was too witchy for his taste, so he placed me in a nunnery.
In Avalon, I am one of one of nine Faerie sisters who run the Mystery School.

Please give me an interesting fact about yourself.

I am a faerie in human form. Sh…don’t tell anyone! Many people have a fear of the fae.

Not me, I’m often called a witch by mortals! What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I asked.

–What is it like to be a faerie in human form?
It is exasperating to know that you once possessed powers that you cannot hope to access as a person!

–Do faeries make love like humans?
Hmmm…. Faeries make love, but as they are more energy than physical form, it is a very different experience. Faeries blend energies in an act that is quite sensuous. Yes, once I reclaimed my faerie essence, I blended with Arthur. It was sheer magic!






Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! Another writer no less! Can you believe it? Yes! Here we go, then! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Carol Weakland!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Mill Creek Park not far from a 19th century grist mill that is powered by a beautiful waterfall. The setting is idyllic, and it continuously fires my imagination.

Why do you write?

I live to write. Indeed, my life feels quite stale when I cannot apply this form of creative expression. I simply must lose myself in that storyline far so different from my own. It is there I connect with characters every bit as real as the individuals who inhabit my life, characters I know better than myself. There is a sacred quality to sharing a heartfully conceived bit of writing with someone you have never met. It is a divine dance that honors both reader and writer.

When did you start writing?

I started dramatic storytelling at the tender age of three. Apparently, I always had the knack for creating a good yarn. In the third grade I wrote a story about a horse and won first prize. I then began writing short plays, which I would perform with my friends. This is an appropriate beginning for someone who not only performs one woman plays based on famous literature, such as Jane Eyre, but also writes the adaptations. I have also written, “The Arthurian Trilogy,” a series of plays based on King Arthur, as well as the Morgen of Avalon series and Land of the Twilight Mist.

What genres do you write?

Morgen of Avalon falls into the romantic fantasy genre, which happens to be my favorite. Land of the Twilight Mist is a young adult fantasy and “The Arthurian Trilogy” plays are fantasy dramatizations.

What does your writing routine consist of?

Much of what I write comes through dreams, twilight dreaming or daydreams, so it is necessary for me to have paper and pencil ready to jot down images and dialogue as it appears. I am also one of those writers who is blessed to hear the dialogue and descriptions of a book play out in her head. That means I must sit down before the computer and relax so that the creative inspiration flows!

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer?

I feel I have a wonderful understanding of characters, especially the way they speak and think, due to my work as an actress. My stories evolve over time without pushing or rushing to meet a deadline. They feel very connected to the archetypal monomyth, mentioned by Joseph Campbell, that runs through the consciousness of all beings. I feel very adept in connecting to these timeless collections of ideas.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I actually give a speech on this topic called “Creative Inspiration!” As I mentioned, my ideas often come though twilight dreaming, but I also turn to nature when the well runs dry. A walk in the park can open whole new vistas of imagination. Watch a hawk dancing in the sky. Listen to the sound of the wind in the leaves. Quite often nature will speak to us when we venture outdoors. This is where writing magic happens. Sometimes we simply must experience life before we can write a certain aspect of a book. I could not write Morgen of Avalon until I became a Reiki healer. Morgen is what we call today an energy healer.

Do you put yourself in stories?

Yes! I can honestly say that every character in my novels is based on some aspect of me.

Outliner or improviser?

Both, actually… When I started writing “The Arthurian Trilogy” years ago – it was through intuition. I had no outline. The Trilogy, however, became my outline for the Morgen of Avalon series. This is not to say the book series follows the plays exactly, but they at times share the same dialogue and situations before they set out on individual paths. Land of the Twilight Mist was written strictly from intuition.

Fast or slow writer?

Slow and steady.

Tell us about your latest book/ audio book

Morgen of Avalon: Epiphany Book 3

Epiphany is the third and final book in my Morgen of Avalon series. Morgen is King Arthur’s healer, his love, the Faerie Queen who helped him create and maintain a peaceful Britannia. This is a magical re-imagining of Arthurian Legend which depicts Avalon not only as a faerie realm, but also the home of an ancient Mystery School. Morgen and the Sisterhood teach a host of students including – Guenevere, Galahad, Percival, Tristan, Isolde and Mordred the mysteries of Avalon and faerie magic. Although Arthur and Camelot stand at the pinnacle of success, a host of miscreants threaten insurgency. Will Morgen be strong enough to still the Saxon uprising that threatens Avalon, faeries and everything she holds dear? The answers are found in – Epiphany!

I have also just narrated the Morgen of Avalon: Dreamspell (book 1) audio book! This is a dream come true!

Indie Publishing or Traditional Publishing – Why?

I chose Indie Publishing for my novels and plays so I could maintain a higher level of control over their content.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes, I am currently working on a time travel romance called THE HIDDEN LEGACY and a book of meditations called SACRED AVALON: MYSTERY SCHOOL TEACHINGS AND MEDITATIONS FROM THE FAERIE TRADITION.

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

My goal as a writer is to inspire readers to open their hearts to nature in all its glory as well as the magic found in every living thing great and small. I find that speaking to people at book signings, as well as offering workshops and speaking at events all work toward achieving this goal.

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

Do not stress over the written word. You must simply allow it to flow. I have forgotten the exact words or even who said this, but I agree whole heartedly!


Find Carol online:

Author Central

Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! Yes, we met in person – at that Anthology Workshop I mentioned the other day! And she’s in Nightly Bites Volume 2! And in Celebrating Male Lovers with her pen names! And let’s not forget she curated Love Magik Glow, another great bundle that includes yours truly… Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kate Pavelle!

I met Barb G. Tarn at a writing workshop in Oregon. Aside from sharing a car to get from the airport in Portland to the coastal and scenic Lincoln City, we also share a European heritage, a love of adventure, and a passion for storytelling.

She was kind enough to invite me onto her blog today, so I’m here to answer a few questions about my recent spy thriller release, Unsavory Company.

Is the book a stand-alone, or are there books I’m missing?

Aha! A good question. Many years ago I had decided to write a book. I was moving along quite nicely, but some “helpful” article in the Writer’s Digest said that new writers often start out strong and finish strong, but the middle tends to sag. And to keep the middle from sagging, it’s necessary to invent all these secondary plot threads, which will reinforce it.

So I threw in about ten totally unnecessary plot threads, which more or less obscured the main plotline. It was a lesson learned, and I chalked up the 250,000 words to experience. However, since I still loved the characters, I invented Gina, who meets my bad boys from my first effort at a thriller.

But will there be more?

Yes, I plan to write more in Peter Christoff’s world. I have another Gina Francesca Migliore book in the works right now.

Why the Balkan War?

My family defected from Czechoslovakia when I was a teen, so I had a first-hand experience at what it’s like to be a refugee, not speak a language, and not have money. I have also experienced fear, because we had been pursued by the Czechoslovak equivalent of the KGB back then. You can read about all this in my Cancelled Czech Files series book On the Run. In Unsavory Company, I wanted to draw on some of those old memories and feelings, but empower Gina to take action.

Second reason has to do with art smuggling. After the Eastern Bloc regimes fell apart, the power vacuum in the Warsaw Pact gave rise to a ruthless form of capitalist pursuit, where roving gangs of “entrepreneurs” were stealing art from churches, castles, and even cemeteries, and were selling historical artifacts to wealthy buyers in the West. When I had returned to Czech Republic in 1990, I was stunned by the damage. The Balkan War had occurred near this period, was influenced by similar forces, and the Balkans were always a crossroads of cultures and commerce. The culturally rich and historically intricate environment drew me in both as a setting, and as a subject for further research.

You mention a CIA source in your acknowledgments. Who was he?

Um… the lady in question had been quite gracious with her input. She had me run the plot by her, and when I had a question, she suggested ways in which the system would, or would not have, worked. In many cases, she had said, “I cannot answer that question – but tell me what you are trying to achieve. There might be another way.” She does not wish to be named, but she took great glee in making suggestions and laughing at the potential situations. In her experience, this plot was feasible, especially in a pre-digital era.

I had decided, from the outset, not to make my CIA field operatives a part of some bizarre “black works” action. These actions are outside the law and unconstitutional, and the blasè portrayal of intelligence work as “off the books” discredits the real, and necessary, work of men and women in the intelligence community in the eyes of the reading and movie-watching public.

So… is it true you got your start writing gay romance?

Absolutely! Even though my first seven novels were gay romance and were published by Dreamspinner Press under Kate Pavelle, now I write all kinds of contemporary and paranormal romance, both LGBT and “straight,” under the Olivette Devaux pen name. Kate Pavelle is now reserved for humor, thriller and suspense, weird fiction, and so on. The genre and general feel of my books is always apparent from the book descriptions.

Thank you for having me over, Barb! For those of you who’d like to pick up a copy of Unsavory Company, it’s available on Amazon in both mobi and print, and at many other online stores in the ePub format.

If you would like to keep abreast of news from my writing cave, claim the military historical humor story below. Doing so will add your e-mail to my newsletter. If you find out it’s not for you, you can unsubscribe at any time!

Free story: Naked Gun by Kate Pavelle, claim your copy here:

Random Friday

To celebrate the release of Nightly Bites Volume 2, I present you 5 characters interviews!

Character Name: I am the Aswang, and nobody ever gave me a proper name. Heck, even the dog has a name! But not me.

Which book/world/story do you live in?
The short story “The Aswang Who Ate Stardust” is about me. Well, kind of. It’s also about the people I’m not allowed to eat anymore.

Tell us about yourself:
I was born long before the white men came to the Philippines, and I used to eat little humans still in their mother’s womb. That’s what all Aswang do – but we are solitary creatures, and we can shift our shape. Which is why nobody ever gave me a proper name, I think. Anyway, I had made a human friend long ago. He was the only one who could see me for who I was, and we talked and talked and talked, and then he taught me how to meditate. And then he taught me how to eat energy from elsewhere, not just people and animals. Then he died, because that’s what humans do. I was good though, I didn’t harvest his energy, not even a tiny bit. He was a friend, the only friend I ever had. Which is why I still glean stardust – I mean life force – from other things. Sometimes it’s hard, but I’m sticking with the program. If I start eating people again, I’ll never make a friend again and that’s a sad fact of my life.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Well – I can shape-change, which is pretty useful, and I can suck stardust out of just about anything, so I’ll never really starve. My weaknesses? Computers. Man, those things are hard to figure out.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).
The dog of my human almost-friends, Jeek. He can see me, just like the monk used to see me. This, however, doesn’t make him a friend. He keeps barking at me no matter what I turn into. I like the man who smells like home, Raf. He’s cute, and his energy would taste super-succulent. So far I’ve feasted only on the stardust of his culinary creations, though. And his friend, Adam. He’s scary, but I like him because I know he’d protect Jeek and Raf from me. His stardust is strong and abrasive, like a desert storm. I hope the will see me one day, and talk to me. I hope he gives me a name. He gave a name to a dog – and am I less important than a dog?

Are you involved in a romance? If so with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?
Romance is for humans. I love them, though. I love their warmth and the stardust they give off when they create beautiful things.

What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?
I want to be their friend so bad it hurts – and I really want them to give me a name. A real name.

Give us your favorite piece of advice:

Never shape-shift into a coffee mug, because coffee’s hot.


Character Name: Jesslynn Cotterill

Which book/world/story do you live in?
You can find me in my own story in this anthology, as well as in the novel Shades of Gray.

Tell us about yourself: 
I have no idea what you want to know. I’m married to Oren, and am the mother of two children, Alexander and Tristan. My story takes place before the War Between the States in Virginia.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? 
I may not be beautiful, but I’m clever. I believe that brains will triumph over beauty always.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).
My husband Oren is important, of course. I mentioned my children. Though I have birthed many, only Alexander has grown out of babyhood, and now Tristan, not even a year old, is showing signs of the same malady that took the others. It is because of this that I should mention our neighbor, Jorick. An odd man, he is rarely home, and when he is he never walks in sunlight, only under dark skies. Neither does he seem to age or sicken. It is a secret I desperately need to discover if I want to save my sick child.

Are you involved in a romance? If so with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?
I love my husband, of course, but I would not go so far as to call marriage a romance. An important institution, yes. As for why he is appealing, he is a good provider, he is honest, forthright, and is able to take guidance from a firm handed woman. So many men have a problem with this, leaving many a wife in unhappy circumstances.

What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?
To save my children. I cannot bear to lose another.

Give us your favorite piece of advice:
Beauty fades, leaving only your wit and resourcefulness. Cultivate those over the appearance of the flesh.


Character Name: Dennis

Which book/world/story do you live in?
Present day, Toronto.

Tell us about yourself:
I’m a brand new vampire, only been one for about 6 months. I don’t look like a typical vampire. I’ve got red hair and I was fair skinned before I became a vampire so no change there.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?<
Greatest strength: I’m good with numbers and I like to help people, which led me into the field of accounting before I became a vampire. Greatest weakness: my fear of blood.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).
Giselle, my sire. Dr. Wilson, my therapist.

Are you involved in a romance? If so with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?
I’m with Giselle but since we’re vampires I don’t know how long that will last. She’s exotic and super strong for her size. I found her eyes captivating.

What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?
To be a real, full-fledged vampire, so my sire Giselle doesn’t have to take care of me anymore. And to make her proud.

Give us your favorite piece of advice:
Be willing to confront your fears. Even if it ruins your favourite jacket.


Character Name: Wolfgang Feuerlieiben

Which book/world/story do you live in?
So Many Nights, So Many Sins

Tell us about yourself:
I am old. Truth be told I stopped counting long ago but the world into which I was born was very different from yours. I have seen empires rise and fall. I have seen wars fought – mostly for the same reasons – over and over. I have seen humanity at its best, but mostly its worse. I have killed more times than I can remember – guilty, innocent – they are all relative. I hunt other vampires – usually because they are careless, wanton or stupid. And because it gives me something to do. Mortals are not a challenge – well unless there are lots – but vampires tend to be a little harder to despatch. Ennui – that’s the problem. Immortality is boring, and one must find something to fill the void. Humans live – they are born, they raise a family, or get employment, they have more descendants and they die. A few leave a mark on the world, most do not. But they much achieve whatever it is they are destined to achieve in a short time – and they make the most of it. Vampires don’t have that luxury. We are the lords of procrastination.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?<
Strengths – Arrogance, stubbornness, experience. Weaknesses – Arrogance, stubbornness, experience.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).
I can’t – they change so often.

Are you involved in a romance? If so with who and what is it about them that you find appealing? What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?
I meet someone in the course of the story. Other lovers – the priest who gave me the curse – who disappeared and I’m seeking. There have been others – but they are either long dead or long gone.

What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?
To die well.

Give us your favourite piece of advice:
He who fights with monsters should be careful, lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gazes long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.


Character Name: Alain

Which book/world/story do you live in?
The Raven.

Tell us about yourself:
My father was British, my mother is French. We moved to London when he passed away. We live with my aunt, uncle and cousins, but luckily I have my own room in the attic. I’m twenty-two and will be such forever. I was turned in 1997.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?>
I’m a hacker. Wikipedia says: “In computing, a hacker is any skilled computer expert that uses their technical knowledge to overcome a problem. While “hacker” can refer to any skilled computer programmer, the term has become associated in popular culture with a “security hacker”, someone who, with their technical knowledge, uses bugs or exploits to break into computer systems.” Well, I’m of the first kind. As for weaknesses… they say I have Asperger Syndrome. I don’t care.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).
Besides my mother, I can’t think of anyone. My cousins are nice, but I’m not that attached to them. That’s probably why when a raven enters my life and reveals itself to be a vampire, I’m ready to follow him and become immortal.

Are you involved in a romance? If so with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?
I’m a socially awkward. I don’t care. Bran says it’s a good quality to be immortal – not being attached to anyone.

What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?
I want to interact with computers, not people.

Give us your favorite piece of advice:
It takes stamina to watch the centuries go by.

Nightly Bites Volume 2 available as ebook and paperback

Grab it today!

Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! That Diabolic Shrimp who reviewed my book! And he’s a writer too! I thought his latest cover was awesome, and I invited him over. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Joshua Grant!

Where do you live and write from?

I live and write in the United States in the beautiful mountainous state of Colorado.

Why do you write?

My writing has always stemmed from boredom. I love reading books, watching movies, and playing video games, but when I ran out of material I enjoyed, I just decided to write my own. I love making a story with worlds and characters that I personally love. But as I wrote, I found that writing gave me a deeper perspective or moral issues too. Thus, in addition to being entertaining, I love to have a complex moral issue at the heart of each of my books.

When did you start writing?

I started writing in 8th grade when my English teacher, Mrs. Munos, assigned a short story to us. I did some dorky horror story with people snowmobiling across another planet, but my teacher left a kind note on it that encouraged me to keep going. I then began my journey in earnest when I was bored after a test and began writing my first attempt at a book.

What genre(s) do you write?

I bounce around the genres, but mostly write Horror, Sci Fi, and Fantasy, most of which is geared toward Young Adult. I like to sprinkle a lot of humor throughout my writing as well.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I’m kind of a weird creature of habit. I take a nice long walk around the neighborhood where I let my thoughts wander. I then come home, sit at the kitchen table, sharpen two pencils, and just go to town. I never make a plan, but typically have the whole book plotted out in my head before I even begin. When I finish writing everything long hand, I type it up as my first level of revision. I then usually shelve it for six months before going back and revising it several times before publishing.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

One of my biggest strengths as a writer is persistence. I never write anything that I wouldn’t love reading myself. My love of my own stories and characters, and the twists I love to throw in, give me the juice I need to finish a novel in the first place.

I’m a very visual person. This is a great benefit as it gives me an edge in my descriptions. I love describing stuff in my novels and feel like a do a pretty good job while maintaining a balance between description and story flow.

Another one of my strengths is through creating likeable characters. I’m a huge people person, am a sensitive guy, and love to laugh and joke with people. I try to translate a lot of these qualities into characters to try to make them both believable and enjoyable to read.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

Most of my inspiration comes from other books, or movies and video games. My horror book Pandora was influenced by the Resident Evil video game series. I wanted to create a book that captured the gritty feel of playing those games and trying to survive. I also wanted to create an imaginative and creepy environment filled with horrifying creatures.

On the reverse end, my YA fantasy novel The Fifth Ascendant was inspired by things like Final Fantasy or The Last Airbender. I wanted to capture the quirky humor of those series as well as the spiritual and deep emotional impact.

Of course, in all my series I write a lot of emotion with some kind of deeper meaning at the heart of things. I put myself in my stories in the sense that a lot of their emotions or struggles come from something in me, or something I’ve had to go through. Most of the characters have some part of me in them (but then there are some characters I just write for the fun of it and have nothing to do with me).

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I make a general outline in my mind for each book. Most chapters are already planned out in my head before I start writing. But as I write, stuff usually comes to me and then I improvise. Some of my best twists and plot points emerged as I was in the middle of writing something. It all just have to feel right. As far as writing speed, it varies. I generally write a chapter every two days. The longest thing I ever wrote, The Fifth Ascendant, was written in two months (the revising took much longer though).

Tell us about your latest book

My latest novel, The Fifth Ascendant, is by far my favorite thing I’ve ever written. The emotions, humor, and overall story are a huge part of my heart. I was very much inspired by the Final Fantasy series, as well as anime like Avatar: The Last Airbender when I wrote it, and tried to capture a lot of the fun characters and witty interactions those series offered. Check it out below if you’re interested!

The world of Drina is on the brink of destruction.

Twelve year old Kal’s dreams have grown dark. A missing Ascendant. The deaths of imperial soldiers at the hands of terrible monsters far below Skytown. It all must link back to the mysterious powers of his upcoming Ascendancy or perhaps his newfound visitor, a kid that only he can see—but none of it can prepare him for the adventure of self-discovery and world shattering consequences he’s about to be hurled down.

Nash, Ruka, and Jia are all on a top secret mission for the Heretic cause, a mission that could save their people and maybe the entire world—but one of them has a secret, a dark and tangled past that could doom them all.

Magic, humor, outrageous heists, horrific monsters, and yes, a fur bearing trout and a pickle are all along for the ride in this manic quest to keep the world of Drina from descending into darkness.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Once upon a time, I was dead set against ever self publishing. I wanted to go the traditional route and tried hard at it for several years. The climate and market of writing has changed vastly since then. In recent years, it has become a much better option to publish Indie, but only as long as you’re willing to play the long game and put a decent amount of time and effort into marketing. Now I’m an indie author and can’t ever imagine going back. The freedom and complete control of the entire process is liberating and challenges me to grow as a person. In many ways it pays better to you as an author as well. It fills me with a greater sense of pride when I actually sell something too, knowing that every part of that product was mine. I absolutely love it!

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I have a cagillion projects I’m working on at the moment. I’m working on three different series simultaneously, but I have a certain strategy for releasing them so they’re not all at once. I published The Fifth Ascendant this year and am currently writing its sequel, The Sixth Ascendant. I’ll be releasing the sequel to Pandora in the Fall, another horror book called Jericho where a man, his son, and a police officer they’ve never met all find themselves trapped in a desperate situation to survive the darkness that has befallen a small town. I will also be releasing a collection of short fantasy stories this year called Silly Tales from Albanon. Each humorous story follows a different character, from an adventurous gnome, to an Orc detective, to even a teddy bear assassin, all of which builds towards a surprise ending.

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

Each of my novels simply tries to capture certain emotions and examine a moral issue. When I feel like I’ve accomplished this, I publish it. I want to entertain people and make them feel something, but ultimately I create novels to satisfy something in myself.

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

Great writers write. It’s simple, but the message is powerful. You just got to believe in yourself and keep going. No great book was ever produced without a healthy amount of perseverance.


Find Joshua online and join the shrimps of his tank (including yours truly) at Diabolic Shrimp

Sunday Surprise

Words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call it… here’s your monthly dose of quotes! 🙂 (and thank you, Lyn, for posting the #LTUE2018 quotes)

“… Every time you write a book, you’re actually writing two books at the same time – the one on the page, and the one in your head. That’s why it’s so difficult to edit your own work – because when you read what’s on the page, you’re filling in the gaps with the stuff that’s only in your head…”
– Maxwell Drake

“…There is no such thing as Writer’s Block. All writer’s block means is that you’re bored, you want to be doing something else, you’re stuck, you’d rather be playing Call of Duty. Want to know how to get past writer’s block? Give yourself a good shake, clear your head, sit down in the chair and get back to work, and remember that this is the best job in the world and how lucky you are to have it… and that just like any other job, you don’t get to wallow if you want to get paid. I mean really, how long would an accountant last if one day he looked at his spreadsheets and was too bored with them to do his job? Who would hire a builder who lost the vision halfway into building a house? I could go on, but you get my point – if you want to have a carer as a writer, you don’t get to have writer’s block…”
Larry Correia

“…If you want to effectively write the other [other gender, race, culture, politics] you have to start by doing your homework. Get out of your comfort zone. Meet people who are different from you; talk to them and listen to what they say. Read books written by/for people with other points of view. Open your thinking. And keep in mind that no matter how much research you do, the character you’re writing only represents one person, and not all members of the other group…”
(Panel discussion)

“…As humans, we operate on a trust cycle – for example, I trusted a pilot I had never met to fly a plane built by people I didn’t know to bring me here to speak to a room of strangers. And even though we know there’s no guarantee of a tomorrow, we plan for it anyway. Science Fiction builds on this forward-thinking mindset…”
– Todd McCaffrey

“A good writer can watch a cat pad across the street and know what it is to be pounced upon by a Bengal tiger.”

― John le Carré

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