Random Friday

And here’s another author of Sci-Fi Stories – Starships! I did meet him, twice! On the Oregon coast, for those offline workshops that will be held in Las Vegas from now on. Anyway, I met Russ and his lovely wife Rita (who is in Sci-Fi Stories – Space Opera Mashup) in Lincoln City in October 2011, then again in October 2014. They are both great writers and I’m glad they sent me their stories.

He’s also been on this blog before because we shared bundles as well as anthologies (he’s also in Nightly Bites). But here’s six questions about Starships to Russ Crossley.

1. What is it about starships that draws you to them?

I have been an SF fan going to back to the 1960’s when the NASA space program was in full swing. I watched every launch and watched every SF show/movie, and read every book, comic book etc I could get my hands on with a starship because I thought that is where we were, and still are today, headed.

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

Solitary Man is about a man alone on a starship with an artificial intelligence on a mission to a newly discovered planet far across the galaxy. When he learns he and the AI are expendable he joins with the AI to survive. When when they meet the alien race inhabiting that far away world they may have found the answer they are seeking not only for themselves but all humankind.

3. What inspired your story?

The idea of people traveling great distances across the galaxy has always intrigued me. I think we will need artificial intelligence or learning machines to help us. This was the kernel to write this story.

4. Do you always write about starships? If not, what do you write about?
I’ve written on many topics in many genres but right now I write a lot of stories about starships in my Blaster Squad series set in the 42nd century. Book seven will out later this year.

5. What should readers know about you?

I live in a small town in British Columbia with my wife and two wonderful dogs.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I have a massive DVD movie collection and I have a large collection of Star Trek paperbacks dating back to the 1970’s.

International selling author, Russ Crossley writes science fiction and fantasy, and mystery/suspense as well as their various subgenres.

His latest science fiction satire set in the far future, Revenge of the Lushites, is a sequel to Attack of the Lushites released in 2011. The latest title in the series was released in the fall of 2013. Both titles are available in e-book and trade paperback.
He has sold several short stories that have appeared in anthologies from various publishers including; WMG Publishing, Pocket Books, and St. Martins Press.

He is a member of SF Canada and is past president of the Greater Vancouver Chapter of Romance Writers of America. He is also an alumni of the Oregon Coast Professional Fiction Writers Master Class taught by award winning author/editors, Kristine Katherine Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith.

Feel free to contact him on Facebook, Twitter, or his website www.russcrossley.com. He loves to hear from readers.

Hastings 1066 Fortnight

And last but not least the lady who started it all! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Steph Bennion!

Where do you live and write from?

I quit the big bad city of London last year and moved to Hastings on England’s south coast, so you can blame me for the idea of writing themed stories about the eponymous battle. This part of Sussex is known as ‘1066 Country’ and as you might expect there are all sorts of events planned to mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

Why do you write?

I write stories to scratch the itch that is the urge to create, but also with the hope that readers will be entertained! A big part of it is to pass on the love for the stories I read in my youth: books by Arthur C Clarke, Robert Heinlein and the other masters of science fiction.

When did you start writing?

I started writing and submitting short stories to various publications when I was in my teens, albeit with erratic success, so I’ve been at it for thirty years now. My first few novels were truly terrible and now live in a darkened drawer somewhere. I came close to giving up writing fiction and for a while concentrated on music instead (I was a songwriter and bassist in a weird folk-rock band), but then had an idea for a tongue-in-cheek adult fantasy novella which I managed to sell to a niche publisher. That royalty cheque gave me the boost I needed to persevere.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write mainly space opera on the hard sci-fi side, for young adults and adults young at heart. My Hollow Moon novels centre around working-class folk who find themselves battling the consequences of upheavals caused by those in power; stories of friendships and how people come together in times of need. I read a lot of science fiction and have a fondness for planet-hopping tales that keep the human element firmly in focus, preferably with a few spaceships thrown in. Science fiction at its best takes contemporary issues and shines new light on them outside their normal context, all against a background of adventure, mystery, humour and thrills. What more could you want?

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

I like to inject a dose of humour into my writing – not in a ‘comic novel’ way in the vein of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or the Space Captain Smith books, but space opera is often so overblown I find it hard to resist poking fun at science-fiction tropes or turning a plot device on its head. I like to think it makes the space opera I write a little bit different. What I will say is that comedy is deceptively hard to write.

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

My main goal is to complete the Hollow Moon series; by my latest reckoning there’s at least another two or three novels to write before the main story arc is concluded. I’m sure I’ll be distracted by other writing projects along the way…

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

Writing is a craft that can be learned: it’s important to read widely and study the masters. Oh, and don’t give up the day job…

What is your story around the Battle of Hastings about? How did you come up with the idea?

The Battles Of Hastings is taken from the journal of a headstrong young time traveller who, after she and fellow time travellers realise they each come from a future with a different past, embarks on a journey through multiple realities to try and put history right. While I was researching the events of 1066 it struck me how incredibly close King Harold of England came to winning the battle. Exploring this through a tale of parallel universes seemed the obvious way to go. The challenge for me as a science-fiction writer was that the second law of thermodynamics pretty much prohibits time travel into the past, but I still wanted to offer an explanation of how a time machine might work.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Time-traveller Jane Kennedy, the narrator of The Battles Of Hastings, also features in an unpublished novella of mine called Catastrophe Jane, which is set in an alternate-history version of my native Black Country during the industrial revolution. I never got to grips with the time-travel science in this earlier work and so put it to one side, but writing The Battles Of Hastings resolved many of the issues I had with this so hopefully there will be more of Jane’s adventures to come. I’m also tentatively outlining a synopsis for book four of my Hollow Moon series, as well as the usual festive tale for December. The seasonal short stories are generally sci-fi spoofs of classic fairy tales and a lot of fun to write!


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Hastings 1066 Fortnight

And now the only gentleman of the lot! From the depths of England once again, please welcome L.J. Hick!

tmas1stcoverWhere do you live and write from?

I live in Warwickshire in England and I write only when I am at home.

Why do you write?

I write because I love it. I have loved reading books ever since I can remember and I always wanted to write regularly, whether that comprised of a novel, short story, review or blog. Writing allows me to express myself through my stories.

When did you start writing?

I started writing back in school. Strangely, it dropped off a little when I was studying A level English. That might be because my writing time was filled up with assignments and projects from a slightly overzealous English teacher. I did not start to write an actual complete novel until 2012 when I suddenly had more time to do so.

What genre(s) do you write?

It would be easy to say science fiction and leave it at that. The truth is that I write across various genres. Sci-fi, horror, humour and mystery would probably cover most of my writing, but I like to think that I cover a much broader range than that. Some people stick with one particular genre and that is probably a wise thing to do. When people mention horror, I always think of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Fans of one genre will almost certainly look for writers specializing in that area. Despite the advantages of specialization, I find myself moving from one genre to another. For instance, Last Days began as a purely fictional reworking of history and then developed into a science fiction fantasy with comedic tones. Atom, on the other hand, is a mystery/ horror novel.

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

I feel that my strength as a writer is my sense of humour and understanding of history. I think that the more you write, the more you learn. I have a very good editor in Nigel Dean, who takes great delight in ripping some parts of my books to shreds and praising other parts. I think that is what you need as a writer. Someone to give an honest appraisal of your work. I also like to think I have an eye for detail, which helps when developing a plot across a series.

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

My goal is to make just enough money to spend my days writing on a laptop on a beach in the south of England. I would really like to see one of my books on the television or at the cinema as well. I have read and digested all the material about marketing I can find, and hopefully, this will help. I also try to make every book better than the last one and different to all the other works out there. I believe that the best way of improving your craft is to practice it continually and listen to the advice of people you respect.

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

Read your text aloud to yourself. The biggest single thing I had a problem with was editing and continuity. When you read your own work, you are somehow blind to all the silly errors and omissions you make. Read it aloud to yourself and you will pick these things up. You might feel a little strange at first, but you soon get used to it, despite the strange looks from the wife.

What is your story around the Battle of Hastings about? How did you come up with the idea?

It is about a young man called Thomas who is befriended by an older man called Kauko as they march with Harold’s army. Kauko is intent on protecting Thomas above all else and Thomas has no idea why. The story is linked to the appearance of Halley’s comet that year. At the time people would have attached great significance to the appearance of a comet, as indeed they do today. The idea that human life is mapped out and predetermined by fate or greater beings is alien to me, and so I use the story to advocate the freedom that belongs to us all.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

The third book in the series of The Last Days of Planet Earth, The Children of Raphael is finished. This is more complex that the previous two, so the editing is particularly painful. I hope to have it released in time for Christmas. I am also working on a dark romance novel called Fugue, which I am about halfway through writing.


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Sunday Surprise

Aand… Happy Easter! Welcome to today’s author interview! This month we’re lucky, we have a bunch of people as Authors of the Month on Goodreads! Let’s go with the first, then! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Alp Mortal!

e4cb38d9fb3ba90bf4bb4e7c0c450b5bf8912d23Where do you live and write from?

Currently, I am split between four centres of fiction writing worship: The Isle of Wight, UK in the town of Newport; in the mountains of the Vosges in Haute Saone, France, and in Indiana, USA, where I stay with Shannon from time to time. I also spend time in St Tropez with Chambers – usually if we’re getting a Fenchurch Mystery ready for publication.

Living this way really helps to keep me topped up with ideas for new stories – travel broadens the mind … and the vocabulary!

Why do you write?

I write to express myself, to connect, to excite and to entertain. Originally, it was a way to preserve memories in a more challenging way than simply writing a journal. A lot of my early stuff was more autobiographical, at least, a story was more likely to have been triggered by a very personal experience/encounter than anything else. That is less true these days but it is still a factor which for me is vital in processing my emotions/issues/questions. I love to tell stories; I am a story teller first and foremost.

20562587When did you start writing?

I began writing in January 2009. I did do some writing when I was much younger – mostly poetry. I abandoned it for a very long time, concentrating on other art projects when I had the time for anything creative. I started travelling in January 2009 and the idea of writing to preserve the memories occurred to me after a conversation with a close friend, so I – and you – have them to thank/blame!

What genre(s) do you write?

I write m/m romance, m/m/f romance very occasionally, m/m romantic thrillers, and gay-themed crime stories and series (mostly with Chambers Mars when we write as Carter Seagrove). I am just about to start my first Sci-fi project which is also gay themed (Trojan Horse – a kind of Space Opera). I have a gay-themed soap opera (Swallow Close) on the table but that is languishing due to project overload. At some point in 2015, I hope to output a series of poems based around the themes of Metaphysics, Gestalt Theory, Solipsism and Synesthesia – themes which occur in my stories too.

I shuttle between stories of varying length and style – epic fantasy sagas alongside very brief encounters, poetry and things which are essentially plays.

b56739ba431b15d90b57ddee630dfd1bec384a0eWhat does your writing routine consist of?

These days, I write in very short and concentrated packets – slotted in between all of the promotion work and company administration which I have to do since The Project started. In the early days, I wrote whenever I had the chance, and always between 8pm and 11pm in the evening. That tends to be between 11pm to 2am now … but if I have to write something down, then I just do it. I am always working on 5 or 6 projects at the same time and jumping from one to another is second nature – I actually find it very difficult to concentrate on one writing project at a time.

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

My friends and readers tell me that the strength of the stories which I have written lies in their originality and diversity. I hadn’t heard the phrase ‘cookie-cutter’ until I started writing – it seemed like something to avoid. However, I write just what comes into my head – a very strange place – so I guess that accounts for it. I like strong stories with a point and characters who I can love or hate who have a realism about them, some quirk or other. I guess I try hard not to repeat anything except at a general level. I don’t know if the skill is strengthening – it definitely shifts focus – for example, from an action-based story to a dialogue heavy story but I don’t really control that process.

I see stories as moving images – I don’t hear them – I describe what I see. My artistic and other interests are very varied and I suppose that helps to keep things fresh and exciting.

20456951Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

Inspiration comes from everywhere – it’s why travel is so important to me. I find that a lot of the energy for a story comes from my own experiences and relationships. There is a lot of me in each story. The things I study the most also feed into stories – ecology, art, cooking, veganism, Buddhism, social history, evolution, mythology, fast cars, poetry (especially John Donne, Andrew Marvel and Coleridge), Metaphysics, Gestalt Theory, Synesthesia and Solipsism. Fundamentally, I find the greatest source of inspiration to be the idea that a set of words can influence how a person feels and thinks – that suggests a very deep connection and a privileged one too.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I write without a plan – I just write – sometimes 10k words at a time, sometimes 10 words. Generally, I will be outputting 2 to 3 stories a month. So far 1.7 million words have found their way onto the shelf. Speed is of the essence for me. I’ll have the perfect phrase pop into my head and I have to write it down – if I don’t, it’s gone forever. Being an Improviser (I like that word) means that I am usually relying on the deus ex machina to help me out at the end – so far so good!

I took a Goodreads prompt for this year’s Don’t Write in the Closet event and it’s really hard to write to someone else’s prompt to a deadline – good discipline for me though.

4054839_origTell us about your latest book

I recently published The Baker of Son Frere http://carterseagrove.weebly.com/thebaker.html

A romantic thriller – I have included the blurb here because it was a better summary than I could think of –

Mali arrives in the village of Son Frere to research an old legend which is the basis of his latest romance novel – the story of the two medieval lovers, the Knights, Michaud and Tristan, is compelling. Mali meets local historian and bakery owner – Rex – a man who, despite a warm and generous welcome, appears to Mali to be hiding something. Bas – Rex’s counter assistant – with whom Mali starts a fling, injects much needed energy into the project and awakens Mali to the prospect of something more than just lustful sex, even the prospect of a relationship.  Mali returns to Paris with Bas, who is restarting his degree course, and their relationship becomes more serious, and the passion for the mystery only fuels their passion for each other.  The deeper Mali probes into the mystery, the more strangely Rex behaves and Mali is even more certain that Rex is hiding something, perhaps even stalking him. The truth is far more sinister than he could have imagined.  Past and present collide and an unspeakable evil threatens to engulf them all.  The story is written as two stories, interlaced, where the medieval and the contemporary stories are presented side-by-side. Each unfolds to reveal a despicable evil; one which persists to the present day, and one which threatens Mali’s very existence.

The story was also the subject of our first book trailer on YouTube [https://youtu.be/F7z2uAOXFCE]

This story fits into the category of m/m romantic thriller. I seem very comfortable combining the two – then I love murder mysteries, thrillers and psychological suspense stories just as much as I like men and romance. A perfect match.

7b38eb9210e16bff7ff0a1a3712806369f2767deIndie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie publishing without a doubt because I have the control and the freedom to publish what I want, when I want and how I want. Chambers and Shannon also feel the same so it made sense for the three of us to combine forces and start the Carter Seagrove Project – our own publishing house which will hopefully ask for submissions later this year. I never wanted to experience the rejection by a traditional publisher – that seemed a pointless and energy sapping exercise given that there was an alternative. Those traditional publishers which I did look at –

  • Had very long lead times which meant that a story which they did accept might not get onto the shelf for a year – that seemed crazy when I could publish the same book the same day.
  • Seemed less interested in LGBT fiction/only wanted a vampire story (assume it’s BDSM now)
  • Were going to pay me less than 10% royalties – excuse me?!
  • And still expected me to do most of the promotion work

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Always lots of stories! Completion of The Map Stick (parts 5 to 7); the Twelve Crimes of Hannah Smith, my web-based serialization; the Sci-fi project; the soap opera; more book trailers; at least three audiobooks this year; a graphic novel adaptation of Fenchurch Mysteries; more of the Tales of the Unexpected series; more of the Brief Encounter series; the second part of Dark Matter (called Dark Energy); a contemporary family saga called Gloriana (based on the lives of the Queens of England collectively referred to as the She-Wolves); the poetry; the screenplay for one short film; sister story to The Baker of Son Frere – no title yet; a second series of The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries (as Carter Seagrove); and a few previously published stories still need to be completely re-edited and re-published … and whatever else crops up!

38755b4534279f5e1c3bccc77cc00160065b77fdWhat is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My goal was and is and will remain, to excite and entertain a reader by delivering a good quality, original story. I spend every waking minute trying to achieve it – so much easier now with the support of Chambers and Shannon. I would like my stories to have a long and happy life – periodic re-editing and re-covering plus much better promotion work might make that a reality. I always wanted to collaborate – hence the stories written with Chambers. I/we also support other indie artists and projects through direct sponsorship/collaboration – for example, our funding of 3 short indie films in 2015.

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

The best piece of advice was: “Just write, publish and repeat.”


Born in 1965, I’m English by birth from the Isle of Wight, living in Newport, spending part of the year in France in the stunningly beautiful department of Haute-Saône in the Franche Comté region. It is heavily forested and very tranquil but the winters are pretty harsh and my home is 820 metres above sea level so I get plenty of snow. I am also spending increasing amounts of time in the USA, co-managing The Carter Seagrove Project LLC – an independent publishing house, incorporated in the State of Indiana. I will be 50 years old in 2015. I only started writing in 2009, proving, I suppose, that it is never too late. I didn’t think about self-publishing until late 2012, now, more than two years later, I’m even more energized by the process than ever before. I’m a qualified English teacher, specializing in teaching English as a second language (TEFL), though I don’t do much of that now. In the distant past, I taught software skills. In the very distant past, I was a project manager on big IT projects and at the very beginning of my career, I was an Internal Auditor. I have degrees in Internal Auditing, Computer Auditing, and Project Management. I’m studying for my degree in Sustainable Development at the moment. Renewable energy is what really interests me and I generate my own power at home via a solar panel. I’m a member of The Society of Authors, The Society for Editors and Proofreaders, and The Independent Author Network. I am a Smashwords Author and a Goodreads Author. I grow some of my own food and from Easter to the end of October, I’m outside for the largest part of the day, tending the garden. I write in the evening and during the winter when there is very little else to do. I have no great philosophy except “energy follows intention” and “honour your gifts”. These two principles keep me sane, very happy and exceedingly busy! Together with Chambers Mars, I am half of Carter Seagrove, author of Dust Jacket and The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries. Alp Mortal, Chambers Mars and Shannon M. Kirkland are The Carter Seagrove Project LLC – an independent book publisher. Find us at http://www.carterseagrove.weebly.com, on Twitter @carterseagrove and on Facebook www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.

Website – www.alpmortal.weebly.com

Project – http://www.carterseagrove.weebly.com

Email – alpmortal@hotmail.com

Project – thecarterseagroveproject@gmail.com

Twitter @carterseagrove

IMDb – http://www.imdb.com/company/co0518613/?ref_=tt_dt_co

Facebook www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.

Sunday Surprise

c438b8dfa2823083a6c72c807428ed14f8de0fa8-thumbSooo, did you get Strange Portals or not? NO? Shame on you! Go get it now, it’s free! And you’ll be able to read a wonderful story by today’s guest! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome inkslinger DM Yates!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in West Jordan, Utah which is about 13 miles from Salt Lake City, surrounded by beautiful mountains.

Why do you write?

I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I have all these stories and poems that run through my mind constantly and always have.

When did you start writing?

My twin brother once told me that I started writing as soon as I learned the alphabet and a teacher placed a pencil in my hand. I believe him because I can remember having to read my stories to the class.

What genre(s) do you write?

Here’s where I’m a little odd. I write in fantasy/new age/spiritual/romance – sometimes all 4 genres in the same story. My poems are the same in genre too.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I’m one of those writers who must feel motivated. If I try to set a schedule, my writing is horrible. I go with the flow, but once I get going just try and stop me.

51tk-bK44hL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

My strengths are from the many places I’ve lived and the many people I’ve met from all over the world. One of my hobbies is research – I’ll research any topic especially about people and places. I find people’s personalities and traits so interesting. I’m someone who loves to study just about any topic and I’ve never lost interest. That’s how the qualities have developed.

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

Sometimes I dream bout something; sometimes a tale will start to evolve in my thoughts. Within each story lies a treasure to be found by the reader and so I want to share those treasures. I’m in every story because a part of me is in each character I develop. My main protagonist has many of my qualities – especially my stubbornness.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Once I see the story I make an outline in circle form. I start with a main circle and draw spokes off of it with smaller circles. Sometimes those circles have spokes with circles too. The beginning starts at the top with the main ideas and continues clockwise around the large circle. This guides me through my story. When I’m done writing, I’ll check this outline to make sure I’ve covered everything I wanted to say.

I’m a fast writer once the thoughts are there. I just can’t be slow and meticulous like others. I have to type out my ideas as quickly as I can and I never hand-write stories.

Tell us about your latest book

My latest book isn’t published yet but is soon to be. It continues the tale of my main character Einarr and his close relationship to the great dragon Zavat and is set in the 1300s.

The first in this series is ‘The Lone Hero’ and can be found anywhere e-books are sold. Here’s the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Lone-Hero-DM-Yates-ebook/dp/B00HAL1KRY/

If you’re not into fantasy I have another novel, ‘Always’ which is a roller coaster ride of emotions set in modern day England: http://www.amazon.com/Always-DM-Yates-ebook/dp/B00A04RIHO/

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I choose Indie publishing. First, because it gives me the freedom to write what I want, how I want, and choose the cover I want. Secondly, I do have health issues and I can’t be stressed by demands from a publisher. Nowadays, whether you’re an Indie or under contract to a publisher, you have to do all the footwork in marketing, so why not do it your way?

41yQPuCF+5L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Any other projects in the pipeline?

I have so many projects going. I’m working on a 3rd book in the dragon series plus the next historical romance for Einarr. I have poems I’m editing and another children’s book I’ve been working on. I’m also still trying to edit and revise my short story collection about a quirky older woman from the Midwest and her overly chunky tabby cat.

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

My goal is twofold. First, to get my stories out to the world which means writing them to the best of my ability and then marketing, marketing, marketing. My second goal is with my poetry – I want to bring readers back to poetry and the beauty of it. So many readers today avoid poetry because they don’t feel they can understand it so I write simple poetry in rhyme.

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

Never give up and write all the time. Write about anything; just write.

Barb, I want to thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity and for introducing me to your friends. I strongly believe we all need to support each other. It makes attaining our goals so much easier. Thank you again.

It was a pleasure having you! 🙂 I love your answers, you might end up in one of my WoW Sundays one day (that’s Writers on Writing or Words of Wisdom for whoever is new to this blog…) And MERRY CHRISTMAS to everybody!

Where to find DM Yates:

Blog on my works: http://dmyates.weebly.com

General blog: http://dmyatesbelieveinyourself.blogspot.com

or http://dmyatesjournalings.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/DMYatesAuthor

twitter: @merridm

google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/116251745641302231477/+DmyatesbelieveinyourselfBlogspot/posts

Sunday Surprise

My name is Brenda de Zorig and I’m a journalist for the Konigtown Gazette. I’ve been on the road for years as an actress in an itinerant company, but eventually decided to go back to my hometown to start living of the thing I like the most – writing. So while I write my Masterpiece, I took this job at the Gazette and they send me on various assignments… I thought I might as well starting interviewing random people. Since I intend to write fiction, but truth is always stranger than fiction, I’m eager to hear about people out there – on my world or Beyond.

Hello there. Tell me a little about yourself

Ruby Iyer, 17 ½ years

Describe your appearance in ten words or less.


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

My Ma and Dr. Braganza.

My Ma’s been like my worst enemy forever.

Dr. B, she just parachuted into my life. She wants to destroy everything I love, and of course I am not going to let her.

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

Yes. Perhaps ….

Where do you live(world/town/whatever)?

Bombay, India

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

It’s complicated

He’s just so different to me, Vikram. You know what I mean? He’s good for me. Yet he’s not the kind of person I would have chosen for myself. Still working this out.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Saving my best friend and my city from being destroyed by Dr. B.

Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

Unfortunately I do. But I normally pretend they don’t exist.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I had laser surgery to fix my short-sightedness when I was twelve.

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

What is the one thing you want to do before you die?

Ans: Find a pair of jeans that really fit.

Okay, let’s see who else we have here… a young man! Tell me a little about yourself

Vikram, 22 years

Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Tall, dark and… Surly

What is your role in the story?

Ruby would say I am her love interest. I say I am the one who saves her from many a tricky situation.

What is your relationship with the protagonist(s)?

Partners. We are the only thing standing between Dr. Braganza destroying Bombay city.

Where do you live(world/town/whatever)?

Bombay, India. But I studied at Oxford before I moved back to Bombay.

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

Bombay – I love the city, which is why I chose to come back home to serve her. Ruby too I suppose. Though she confuses me. I love her innocence and her spontaneity. But she can be really confusing sometimes. She thinks too much and ties herself up in knots.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Saving Ruby from herself. And then saving Bombay from Dr. Braganza.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I love smoking cigars. Picked it up in Oxford. And Famous Grouse is my choice of whiskey. It’s the Brit in me.

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

Is there a sequel to The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer?

There is. I really come into my own in The Second Life of Ruby Iyer. Look out for it.


ManyLivesOfRubyIyer_cover_purpleBook(s) in which the character appears and links

Get your copy of The Many Lives of Ruby and The Ruby Iyer Diaries

About the author:

A near life experience told Laxmi Hariharan to write. She never stopped. Laxmi is the creator of Ruby Iyer, and the Bombay Chronicles series. London is where she writes. Bombay is what fires her imagination.

Follow @laxmi, on Facebook. More at Young Adult Old Soul

Writer Wednesday

And since I’m still in London and offline most of the time, I shall welcome another guest. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kira Tregoning!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Beltsville, Maryland and write from home most of the time. My cat tries to help me write, but her version of help isn’t really help!

When did you start writing?

I started writing stories as a kid. My first attempt at a novel started in the 5th grade. I remember staying for hours in my room writing up ideas and working out chapters. I used our old computer, a Gateway, for most of this. That machine seems like a dinosaur to me now, but I loved it and I used it so much I probably ran it into the ground!

What genre(s) do you write?

Mostly fantasy. I’m also interested in historical fiction, which I may try my hand at one day, and fairy tales.

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

I mostly think of the kinds of stories I would want to read and try to write those. My inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere, but I tend to pull out elements from my own experiences. For example, college. I mashed that up with fantasy and asked the question “What would I do if I had magical powers while in college? What if my friends had powers too?” I just went from there. That tends to be how I start most of my stories—a simple question of What If?

Do you have a specific writing routine?

Not so much. I usually just sit down and write. All I need is either my computer or my notebook and pen. I’ve been known to write anywhere whenever an idea pops into my head.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Definitely an outliner. I’m a planner. It doesn’t work out too well when I try to improv too much! And I tend to be a slow to medium writer, unless I’m really on a roll.

Tell us about your latest book

My latest book is the second in a series. A Shadowed Soul came out June 2, 2014. This book picks up where the first left off with the continuation of the story about Sita Newbury and her friends Roxie and Ariene. All three have magical powers and met while at college. They found a magical world and became active in the protection of that world. In the second book, their enemies circle around them, waiting for a weakness and a chance to strike. One of their own remains trapped in the Chaos world of Metanoia. And the threat of soul-eating demons called Pur looms ever closer with millions of lives and the survival of two worlds at stake. Sita and her friends Ariene and Roxanne must stay one step ahead of their enemies and find a way to track and defeat the demon Pur. But each of the Aligerai faces their own internal battle. When their enemies strike too close to home, the Aligerai must decide whether to stay together . . . or splinter apart.

You can find A Shadowed Soul on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Soul-The-Aligerai-Book-ebook/dp/B00KQPYGHM and on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/444651

My first book is Rise of the Aligerai: http://www.amazon.com/Rise-of-the-Aligerai-ebook/dp/B00ANTA7Z6

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I did my research for about a year before I published. I chose to self-publish because when I looked at what was happening in the traditional publishing world, I didn’t get very good feelings about it. It seemed to me from everything I was reading that traditionally published authors were doing the same amount of work as indie/self-pub folks, but earning a lot less from their efforts. Granted, the traditional publishing machines still have a lock on generating buzz, accessing bookstores, and lending credibility—but I see that changing over the next few years. I chose to self-publish for all these reasons and more, and I have yet to regret my decision.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m about halfway finished with the third book in the Aligerai series. I have another book set in the same universe that is about a third of the way finished. I’m also working on an unrelated fantasy novel about a merchant’s daughter who mistakenly goes on a quest for a prize that doesn’t actually exist. What follows in that story is mostly a comedy of errors.

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

I suppose my goal is to write the stories I have in me as well as I can. I’m not necessarily writing for fame or fortune—although that would be nice! I’ve always loved books and writing and I see this as my way to contribute. I started writing because I had the stories in my head and my very active imagination and I felt if I didn’t write them down I would burst. I started publishing because I wanted to share my ideas and my stories with others.

Author bio and links:

My name is Kira Tregoning.  I’m a language enthusiast, writer, and book lover.  I graduated from University of Maryland with degrees in Linguistics and Classics, which I use in writing my novels. I’m also a big UMD Terps sports fan. Go Terps!

I read a lot, and the large number of books I have in my living space is a running joke among my family and friends.  Mostly I read fantasy, but I enjoy other genres as well, including historical fiction, science fiction, mythology, and of course the classic novels.  I write mostly fantasy books right now, though I have some ideas for expanding into other genres later on.


Twitter– @KiraTregoning

Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/kiratregoning

Rise of the Aligerai on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rise-of-the-Aligerai-ebook/dp/B00ANTA7Z6

A Shadowed Soul on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Soul-The-Aligerai-Book-ebook/dp/B00KQPYGHM

 Kira’s on Goodreads, on Smashwords and Amazon Author Central.

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