Indie Spotlight – Nathan Hall

Today I am welcoming Nathan Hall, author of An Altar on the Village Green into the Indie Spotlight – over to you, Nathan:

After reading The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist and The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan as a teen, I just KNEW I had to be a writer. I started immediately on my first novel, which was terrible. Sometime later, I started on my next novel, which was less awful, and in late 2017 I started on what would eventually become An Altar on the Village Green, book one in The Chained God.

I’ve spent several years as a freelance fiction editor, working with authors like Sarah Chorn and Michael Wisehart. I’m also known for my reviews, ramblings, and writer Crash Course series on my website.

I live in Indiana with my wife, two cats, and one sassy bearded dragon.

Website | Twitter


Good morning, Nathan, and welcome to my blog!

What made you decide to publish your book independently? What was your path to publication?

An Altar on the Village Green sits pretty evenly between Fantasy and Horror, and draws inspiration from video games, such as respawning on death. The first person narrative contains third person visions (Lances from the past amid their own supernatural Horrors) whenever the main character dies. This kind of experimental story is a perfect fit for self-publishing.

The path from concept to completion was a strange one. The series started as an idea for a video game I was dabbling with. But very quickly the story behind it grew into something I had to tell as a novel. Or, by the time I’m finished with it, four novels.

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? (What’s your inspiration?)

I’ve always been into Fantasy and Horror. From reading Goosebumps and Edgar Allan Poe to The Hobbit, The Riftwar Saga, and the Wheel of Time, I’ve felt at home in both genres.

The biggest inspirations for Altar are video games, actually. Dark Souls is the obvious one, but readers will probably see a lot of themes in common with the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, as well. Hope in a hopeless situation, helping people who are perhaps doomed to suffer, risking and sacrificing out of compassion even if it doesn’t gain you anything.

Do you only read the genre that you write?

I read in many different genres. After Fantasy and Horror, my favorite is probably Thriller. I love a shorter book that pulls me through the whole story in one afternoon.

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Video Game you are playing? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?

I’m finally getting to read The Forever King by Ben Galley! It feels like the kind of old-school Epic Fantasy I fell in love with growing up, and I’m having a great time.

Recently, I watched I Care a Lot, which is a treat if you enjoy rooting against despicable characters. Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage remind the world that they’re world-class actors.

You can always catch me playing Dark Souls. Every few days I think up a new way to play that game. But in the last week I’ve been obsessed with Hades, which just dropped on PS4. It is gorgeous, fun, and addictive as hell.

I listen almost exclusively to video game music while I write! Undertale, Xenoblade Chronicles, and of course the Skyrim soundtrack. I also want to shout out AdLibPiano on YouTube. Check out Sayoshigure, Sunrise, and Twilight.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Enjoy it. That sounds like pat advice, but it is vital. It is so easy to get bogged down in the process that you lose the spark. And if you do, it can be difficult to get it back. So, love writing. Throw yourself into it with reckless abandon. Keep going.

The more you write, the better you’ll get. Sure, there are tips on craft I could give, but if you love it, you’ll get to those.

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

I’m working on The Hanging Tree, a more traditional Epic Fantasy.

Criminals are hanged from the Godtree. Those that survive are healed of all ills, granted invulnerability, and are driven by their god to fulfill a unique, divine purpose.

However, when a young man accidentally kills one of the Hanged, it sets off a mad scramble. To catch him, to save him, to find answers. How did he kill someone who can’t be harmed? Could he do it again? And would he?

It’s a story about trauma, grief, and how our obsessions can drive our lives off the rails.

This all sounds very intriguing! I wish you well with all of your future projects. Thank you so much for taking part in my blog series today, Nathan!


An Altar on the Village Green (The Chained God Book 1)

“If one suffers, I suffer. If one is chained, I am chained.”

My faith called me to become a Lance. My compassion drew me into one of the fallen lands. Through my connection with the Chained God, I alone can find and destroy the Horror that stains the land.

Death can no longer chain me.

But I couldn’t have imagined the madness waiting for me in this village. I’m not sure my faith can withstand the secrets I’ll uncover. Or that my compassion can survive the violence to come. This Horror may swallow me whole.

Death can no longer free me.

A creature stalks in the dark. Buildings burn. People die. An altar has been built on the village green.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | goodreads


Who is next on Indie Spotlight?

Taught to read at the age of three, words have been central to Marian L. Thorpe’s life for as long as she can remember. A novelist, poet, and essayist, Marian has several degrees, none of which are related to writing. After two careers as a research scientist and an educator, she retired from salaried work and returned to writing things that weren’t research papers or reports.

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Indie Spotlight – John Gerard Fagan

Today I am welcoming John Gerard Fagan into the Indie Spotlight.

John Gerard Fagan is a writer from Scotland and the author of the memoir Fish Town – a book about leaving everything behind for a new life in rural Japan. He writes in Scots, Scottish Gaelic, and English. For more information see Johngerardfagan.com and follow him on Twitter @JohnGerardFagan

Welcome to my blog, John!

What made you decide to publish your books independently? What was your path to publication?

Once I had finished my manuscript, I made a long list of agents and some independent publishers that I felt would be a good fit for my book. Guts Publishing was my first pick from the Indie publishers for several reasons and by some stroke of luck they got back to me first. I was really impressed with the owner Julianne Ingles in that she ‘got’ the story and what I was trying to do with the experimental form. 

I knew it was likely that I’d be asked to change the book’s form to something more traditional if I went with a big publisher, so that was the tipping point that swayed me towards signing for Guts. I signed the contract within a week of sending the book off in January 2021 and three months later it was published. It has been one of the best decisions I have made and I wouldn’t change a thing. 

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? Have you ever written in other genres?

I had never written a memoir before. I had written diaries when I went travelling but nothing that wasn’t for my eyes only. I wrote Fish Town just to get down some memories about my time in Japan as I was leaving and it just rolled into a memoir that I felt was a good story to share. I’ve written in a variety of other genres, which includes Japanese literature, crime, horror, sci-fi, and mad wee Scottish stories. I don’t like to limit myself to one genre and don’t really think about the genre until the story goes in a certain direction. 

Do you only read the genre that you write? 

No, I read far and wide. I’ve read a lot of great Scottish memoirs by the likes of Limmy, Frankie Boyle, and Aidan Martin, but this year, for example, I’ve read Japanese horror, including Abe’s Woman in the Dunes, Russian lit in The Idiot by Dostoevsky, and a fair few noir novels like Drive by James Sallis.

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?

I usually have two or three books on the go at the same time. I’ve just finished Wyndham’s classic post apocalyptic novel The Day of the Triffids, which I thought was excellent and one of the best in that genre. I’ve just started two intriguing books from two brilliant Scottish writers: The Knitting Station by Kristi Wishart and Boyle’s Law by L. G. Thomson. I had been meaning to read more Scottish writers since I returned from Japan and not just the well-known ones. Both are great finds.

TV-wise, I’m currently re-watching Twin Peaks and nearing the end of season 2 and it’s better the second time around. Other TV shows I like to watch are It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Scrubs, Freaks and Geeks, and I’m looking forward to the next seasons of The Boys and The Mandalorian. Depends what mood I’m in. Over lockdown I watched the American version of The Office and it’s now one of my favourites.

In terms of music, for inspiration, I listen to Ludovico Einaudi to get me into a calm and relaxed frame of mind before writing. If I’m writing fast-paced scenes I’ll throw on some Slipknot or Pantera. I also like to write with white noise playing in the background too. Depends on the story.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Be willing to put in a number of years before your writing is any good. Don’t take rejections to heart. And if you are serious about being a writer, don’t give up. It took me 16 years to get to where I am now. And finally, don’t be afraid to throw your first novel in the bin; I binned my first five and am glad I did. 

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

I have just finished a novel set in Yaizu, the fishing port where I first lived in my memoir. It’s about a lonely factory worker who is losing sense of reality and is hearing mysterious chimes at night. I am currently querying this novel with agents and it will be my debut novel. In the meantime, I’m working on an 11th century Japanese novel and several short stories. 

Thank you so much for taking part in my Indie Spotlight, John and good luck with your novels and short stories!


Fish Town

“Disillusioned with life in Glasgow, I sold everything I had and left for a new life in a remote fishing village in Japan. I knew nothing of the language or the new land that I would call home for the next seven years.”

Goodreads  | Buy from publisher | Amazon UK | Amazon US


Who is next on Indie Spotlight?

After reading The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist and The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan as a teen, Nathan Hall just KNEW he had to be a writer. He started immediately on his first novel, which was terrible. Sometime later, he started on his next novel, which was less awful, and in late 2017 he started on what would eventually become An Altar on the Village Green, book one in The Chained God.


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Indie Spotlight – A.R. Clinton

Today on my blog I am welcoming A R Clinton into the Indie Spotlight:

A R Clinton writes epic, grimdark science fantasy (with an emphasis on the fantasy!). The first novel of her epic fantasy series, Song of Sundering, is available now, along with the prequel short story. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, daughter, two puppies, and cat. Besides writing, she plays video games, powerlifts, enjoys the occasional Magic the Gathering game, and is currently binge watching through Netflix comedy specials.

Twitter | Email | Website | Instagram | Facebook

The prequel short story is available for FREE here


Welcome to my blog today, Ashley.

What made you decide to publish your books independently? What was your path to publication?

I decided from the get go that I wanted to publish independently. I have some friends in an editing group that worked in the traditional publishing industry before branching out on their own, and they often spoke of how the benefits of trad publishing have diminished dramatically in the past 20 years. Even if authors do manage to find an agent and a manuscript gets purchased by a publisher, the author is still expected to do all the marketing and platform building that a self publisher would have to do. So, why do the same work for 70% less benefit? Is validation by an industry that publishes selfie books for profit worth that? I didn’t think so, so here I am

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? Have you ever written in other genres?

I found a love for speculative fiction and worlds later in my life and through gaming more than reading. I was in my late teens when I started gaming, starting my first foray into MMOs with Star Wars Galaxies (right after watching the movies for the first time since I was six), and I just fell in love with the big immersive worlds. I stuck to games (video, tabletop or MTG) for quite a while, then started reading science fiction and fantasy novels written in the worlds I played games in. From there I branched out into other writers in the science fiction and fantasy genres, occasionally dipping my toes into horror as well. I wrote a few novellas when I was younger—along with poetry. Some of which were published when I was between 12 and 18 in local publications where I lived in California at the time. I didn’t think much of it, but looking back now, I see that I have always had an interest in speculative science based stories as well as understanding human nature. My stories at the time tended to have these elements even though I had not read any science fiction or fantasy at the time.

Do you only read the genre that you write?

I grew up reading ‘classic’ literature. From the great American novels to greek and roman myths. I probably should have caught onto the fact that I like fantasy when my favorite books turned out to be ancient mythology based. As I got older, I picked up a lot of the ‘hot’ novels, but my passion for reading died off for about 8 years until I really embraced my nerdy side.

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?

I just finished reading Dune as part of my Amazon Book Club. I am debating between diving into some more of NK Jemisin’s work next or re-reading the Dark Tower. I am currently rewatching The Expanse and also gearing up to re-read the first 8 novels before the final novel is released. For music, I listen to either EDM or death metal, but when writing I typically listen to ‘epic’ soundtrack music like Two Steps From Hell or E.S. Posthumous.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Finish what you start. If you lose interest in a story or it gets too hard, take the step back to figure out why you are feeling stuck. A lot of ‘writer’s block’ for me was due to writing a story that reflects something in real life that I hadn’t fully processed yet. Take the time and then get back at it. And when it’s done, find an editor that you click with and let them tear that thing apart. I learned so much working with my editor and if you intend to make a career out of writing, investing in a good editor is an investment in yourself. In a similar vein, find a community of writers that you respect and trust—and when you are ready for that editor, they can point you in the right direction to finding a good one.

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

I am working simultaneously on the second and third book in the first Sunder trilogy. My first draft process is not at all linear, so jumping around to the ‘big’ moments in both books is my version of fleshing out my bare bones outline for the series. I have several short stories and novellas in the works (also in the same universe). All of my shorter works are available for free on my website once they are completed. Currently, the prequel short story to Song of Sundering is available on my website.

Thank you so much for visiting today and good luck with all of your projects!


Song of Sundering

An old war reignite. New magic emerges.

War advances toward Prin’s backyard, old knowledge of Source magic shatters, and the precarious hierarchy that keeps Prin stable is collapsing under the weight of refugees. While the leaders of Prin’s Topside play games for power, the Underground factions are ready to take as much blood as they need to win.Founded on the bones of a crashed generation ship, Prin is the only city that reclaimed some lost technology and built walls after the cataclysmic Sundering. Fortified by Terran knowledge and supported with Illaran magic (Source), the region thrived until the Xenai, a strange Source-wielding race, began to march from their home on the west coastlines to Prin.Ayna Shae races to save her beloved city from a series of resource and political threats. Controlling a new Source power is the best path to win the war, bring peace to the city, and keep her only child safe. But, does duty demand that she risk her Sourcemancer daughter’s life to discover the crystal’s secrets?

Buy here | Add to goodreads


Heart of the Mountain

Betrayal leads to Purpose

The Xenai have always been united with a singular goal and a clear code. When the assassin Fiher is sent on a mission that reveals the true intentions of the Maharin Council, he must decide whether to continue on the path his kind have chosen or strike out on his own, where he will be exiled as an enemy to all living beings on Sunterra. Heart of the Mountain is the prequel short story to A. R. Clinton’s epic fantasy Sunder Series.

Buy here | Add to goodreads

The prequel short story is also available for FREE here


​Who is next on indie Spotlight?

John Gerard Fagan is a writer from Scotland and the author of the memoir Fish Town – a book about leaving everything behind for a new life in rural Japan. He writes in Scots, Scottish Gaelic, and English. For more information see Johngerardfagan.com and follow him on Twitter @JohnGerardFagan


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Indie Spotlight – Dom Watson

Today on my blog I am welcoming Dom Watson into the Indie Spotlight!

Dom Watson exists in the deep green of Suffolk, England. When he isn’t writing about space-age detectives and hyper intelligent Neanderthals and pipe smoking babies he can be found at the nearest tavern enjoying ale. Or maybe, talking to magical tramps on the roadside. He is trying to give up caffeine but the brain won’t allow it. The brain is the boss and it needs the caffeine to bring out all the wonderful ideas that will change the world. Dom is just in it for the crack. Vents about mental health because no one else will. Will donate his body for medical research for ten minutes peace. Don’t sleep in the nude. The night is hungry.
Contact him here: Twitter: @WatsonDom


Hi Dom. Welcome to my blog!

What made you decide to publish your books independently? What was your path to publication?

It just seemed easier, publishing independently. Trying professionally always seemed so deflating. It’s like you need a secret handshake to gain access to the inner sanctum. When you have a full time job and a family, trying to fashion the perfect cover letter and entice the agent/ publisher it always seemed such a Herculean task. I’ll perhaps try again one day but I have enjoyed the self publishing community. They have really been more accommodating in wanting to know you as a person instead of this secret clique.
When I finished the novel and released it through Kindle I just sort of sat on it really. I was like ‘ Oh, what happens now. I’ll start another. And then one day I noticed SELF PUBLISHING FANTASY BLOG OFF. SPFBO. I enrolled the book and then about two months later I woke up to this sterling review from Fantasy Book Critic which galvanized me into continuing. I learned a lot from that. And gained some great contacts. Didn’t win though, but I didn’t expect to. But it was a start. A welcome one.

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? Have you ever written in other genres?

My specific genre. Now that’s an interesting one because THE BOY WHO WALKED TOO FAR is a bit of a genre blender. But, if you take fantasy and sci-fi as genres then those were the steps in which I played as a youth. My parents separated when I was at a young age so perhaps it was a form of escapism. But at the time (early eighties) Star Wars and Doctor Who were in full flow and then later, the BBC adapted John Christopher’s The Tripods. So there was all this grandeur within all this drab disappointment and I think my brain ran with it. And then later, through school I found The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and it sort of snowballed that I could create stories in my own mind and perhaps show the people my foibles (tries not to laugh).

Do you only read the genre that you write? 

Oh hell no, Where’s the fun in that? Sometimes I think it is healthy to branch out and try something different. I love fantasy and sci-fi and horror but there are some great writers out there who dish out some great crime fiction and adventure. You have to explore. You won’t learn anything by reading the tortured hero x 10. It’s like going to a restaurant and ordering the same thing everytime. What’s the point in that?

Yes I have to agree with that – I like to read all sorts of genres for a bit of variety.

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?

I’m reading Maggie Shipstead’s Great Circle. Damn it’s good. It’s about a fictional aviator who flies around the globe, and then in another linked arc, it’s about an actress in contemporary LA who gets the comeback role of a lifetime to play the said Aviator. It’s fantastic – nuanced. Her prose makes me salivate. That indivisible line of art and brilliance. TV, I’ve nearly finished Brand New Cherry Flavor – shit. This is my playground. Sometimes you wait for a show to completely blow you out of the water. This is it. Doesn’t hold back. It takes the grime of Hollywood and paints a picture of witchcraft mingled with the avarice of the dream factory. And it’s bloody terrifying. Get some. Music wise and for inspiration I always go for Tool or A Perfect Circle. I’m a big Maynard James Keenan fan. Not just Maynard though, Adam Jones etc. All the musicians he plays with through Tool, APC and Puscifer are on their A game. Tool, were always masters of the musical epic. They create the perfect soundscapes for me to create. Art feeds art. Sometimes I’ll put on a soundtrack. Mad Max Fury Road is my favourite. Just as mental as the film. Dredd too, love that soundtrack. Damn.

Wow – you’ve given me some new things to watch and listen to there, thank you!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Just write. It doesn’t matter how many words you write a day. It could be a 100. It could be 5000. If so, kudos. Even if you take a little notepad into work and write down some words on your lunch break. Get them down. And be prepared to sacrifice some weekends. Because one, you’ll need the extra money to pay for an editor and a half decent cover design. But seriously, just write, don’t be too harsh on yourself because what you are doing is basically akin to godhood. You are creating worlds, and no bugger will ever take that away from you. And get lots of tea bags.

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

I am, as we speak/type/ converse? putting the finishing touches to Smoker on the Porch. It is set in the same universe as the BOY and yet a long, long way away. In Suffolk in 1989 in fact, But there are clues – little Easter Eggs to that tale at the arse end of creation. It can stand alone and no one would be the wiser, but some will get it. It’s very dear to me, Smoker, so I needed to give it justice. I finished the original draft prior to Covid but getting the second draft done was like a minefield. Nothing to do with the book, just home schooling and the stress of life really. But, it’s there. Looking wonderful and horrific and more streamlined than the BOY. It moves quicker. It’s told in the first person so you get all the neurosis as well. It is essentially a dark fairytale at the end of Thatcher’s Britain with cosmic terror and soda stream. After that I start on the sequel to the BOY. It is going to be brutal. It’s Die Hard With A Vengeance meets Godzilla by way of the Apocalypse Now highway. An old enemy has come looking for Hieronymus Xindii with a bleeding bag of old magic. Feuds will be settled on the Stage of Furies. I can’t wait. After that I have a few ideas but one thing at a time.

These new projects sound very intriguing – good luck with all of your projects!
Thank you so much for visiting the Indie Spotlight today, Dom.


The Boy Who Walked Too Far (The Xindii Chronicles)

Synopsis

For aeons we had swam in the dream sea, our night-time thoughts observed, scrutinized. An intelligence had formed within that endless sea. It whispered to us of a fabled land of enlightenment. Beckoning. On the last outpost in creation, the remnants of the universe gather and wait out the inevitable darkness. The Construct houses the holy and the sinners’ of ages. Here at the end of everything even murder is not outdated. Dispatched by the Pope of Numbers to investigate, the Mapper Heironymous Xindii – one of a select few who can fuse reality and dream together – and his trusty confidante, Solomon Doomfinger take up the case of a man ripped to shreds by another’s dream. It is a case that will define or break them. The city of Testament stands on the abyss of an invisible war and at its centre a force like no other. Here, among skulking gods, wingless angels and krakens, Xindii will face his own history and a future only pre-determined by the power of friendship. Walk with him.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | goodreads


Who is next on Indie Spotlight?

A R Clinton writes epic, grimdark science fantasy (with an emphasis on the fantasy!). The first novel of her epic fantasy series, Song of Sundering, is available now, along with the prequel short story. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, daughter, two puppies, and cat. Besides writing, she plays video games, powerlifts, enjoys the occasional Magic the Gathering game, and is currently binge watching through Netflix comedy specials.

Indie Spotlight – Peter Hartog

Today I am welcoming Peter Hartog into the Indie Spotlight.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Peter has spent the second half of his life in the Deep South. Despite being an unapologetic damn Yankee, that hasn’t stopped him from appreciating mild winters, Southern hospitality, or SEC football.

Peter has been an insurance professional for too many decades, which means before smart phones and the internet. Yeah, he’s THAT old, but he still enjoys all manner of science fiction and fantasy media, MMOs, reading, playing tennis, cooking, musicals, cheering his beloved New England pro sports teams, and the occasional good cry. He’s been playing tabletop RPGs since the golden age of The Keep on the Borderlands (which he still owns and has been kept in pristine condition). 

BLOODLINES and its sequel PIECES OF EIGHT are Peter’s first attempts at novels but won’t be his last. A blend of science and urban fantasy mixed with dystopian crime thriller, his work has been lauded by Kirkus Reviews as “a riveting multi-genre tale with sharply drawn characters in a striking futuristic world.”

When he’s not reveling in geek nirvana, you can find Peter with his wonderful wife, two amazing sons, three fuzzy rescue cats and one fluffy golden retriever doing whatever it is a menagerie like that does.

You can find him as @althazyr on Twitter, as Peter Hartog on Goodreads, or visit his website at peterhartog.com to find out what he’s currently reading or his thoughts on writing, life and other random stuff.


Hello Peter, welcome to my blog here in sunny Massachusetts!

What made you decide to publish your books independently? What was your path to publication?

After querying BLOODLINES and getting unceremoniously rejected by a broad spectrum of literary agents with little to no quality feedback, I gave up. I got tired of waiting. It’s as simple as that.

Now, I know that sounds like sour grapes (no, it IS sour grapes), but ironically, the rejections motivated me. I started reading about the differences between traditional versus self-publishing, the pros and cons, the negativity surrounding self-publishing and the so-called onus of “not making it”. Then I began my research into the wide variety of distribution platforms available, the depth and quality of professional cover art design, the number of skilled editing services offering everything from simple line editing to more in-depth developmental review, all of it. It opened a whole new world to me, and I took the plunge.

While my writer head is firmly in the clouds, my years of living and breathing in the professional world reminded me that publishing first and foremost is a business. Agents are trying to find work to generate sales if they want to stay in the game. Their use of demographic trending, potential local, regional, national, and international forecasting, the “What’s hot versus what’s not” takes in Hollywood and abroad, those are a few examples of the factors involved in their selection process. 

My Guardian of Empire City stories didn’t make their cut. It hurt, but I get it, and I didn’t feel I had the benefit of time hoping the publishing industry would move in my direction. I simply wanted to see my books out in the wild and I haven’t looked back.

I’m glad self publishing has been a positive experience for you!

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? (What’s your inspiration?) Have you ever written in other genres?

As I mentioned, I have a tabletop gaming crew who I have known for more than 30 years. We’ve played all kinds of RPGs, from AD&D (1st edition baby!) to Don’t Rest Your Head to (one of my favorites) Monster of the Week.

I’ve been running games since the 80s, and I love coming up with campaign ideas to terrorize…err…mesmerize my players. About ten-ish years ago, I’d been watching the television shows The Blacklist and Person of Interest, and the concept for doing a crime thriller was born. But I needed more. As a fan of Blade Runner, Harry Dresden and Harry Bosch, I wanted to combine elements of science fiction, fantasy and the police procedural to come up with something I hoped was refreshing and new. I needed to do something that was as sweeping and epic in scope as it was down-to-earth and humanly visceral.

I asked myself these questions:

What if the players were part of a clandestine cadre of law enforcement armed with an assortment of powers and technology that had to stop horrible monsters who were equally equipped? And rather than make up a setting, why not use New York City as the base but call it Empire City instead? And what if the world went through some horrific events, survived, and magic returned to be considered an integral part of the world’s new technology? What would their first case be, and how can I combine the elements of magic and technology to really make things weird and fun, but grounded by the characters?

I went with Evil Hat’s Monster of the Week game system and unleashed my idea on my poor players. The first “case” for the Empire City Special Crimes Unit was BLOODLINES.

That game ran for over a year. About two years later, I had put PIECES OF EIGHT together, and that took another year for my players to solve it. THE DEVIL’S SHARE (my current WIP and the third book in The Guardian of Empire City series) followed a couple of years after that.

As I was running THE DEVIL’S SHARE, the writing bug hit me. I wanted to pay my players (who are some of my best friends) the greatest compliment by novelizing their exploits. The previous cases had been so much fun, and my players had created these brilliant characters, most of whom are in the novels, although altered to fit my vision of them as they related to the story. 

But I needed a protagonist, a relatable lead who was completely independent of those games. I came up with Tom “Doc” Holliday, a down-on-his-luck homicide detective (overly used trope, but I’m a sucker for it) who somehow possessed a magic he couldn’t control and didn’t understand (another overly used trope) that also came with a destiny he didn’t want (and a third overly used trope)? Holliday is a very rough amalgamation of Rick Deckard, Rick Castle and Steve Rogers.

A long time ago, I tried my hand at writing epic fantasy and fell flat on my face. The story concepts I had never truly grabbed me. Somewhere on my hard drive are four chapters from this story which I might revisit someday. My plan is to stick with Holliday for the foreseeable future.

I love down on their luck detectives! I’m looking forward to getting to know Tom Holliday.

Do you only read the genre that you write? 

I read a wide range of genres, from romantic comedy and the occasional erotica, to police procedural and thrillers, high and low (and all the sub-genres) fantasy to hard science fiction and space opera. Twitter has been fertile ground for finding all manner of wonderful stories, and I try to keep an open mind.

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Video Game you are playing? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?

Books:

A WITCH STEPS INTO MY OFFICE (ALEXANDER SOUTHERLAND, P.I. BOOK 2) by Douglas Lumsden – a fun urban fantasy following the misadventures of a private investigator named Alex Southerland. It’s the second in the ongoing series.

After that, I’m on to Jonathan Nevair’s epic sequel JATI’S WAGER (WIND TIDE BOOK 2).

As for television, I am a sucker for all the cooking competition shows on The Food Network (although I’m a terrible cook), especially Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. My wife and I are avid fans of all the Marvel shows, plus I absolutely ADORE the Bad Batch (and Clone Wars and Rebels). And now that football and hockey season are coming, I’ll watch the Patriots and Bruins any chance I get.

And after a 2-year hiatus, I’m back to World of Warcraft (RP server, of course). FOR THE HORDE!

I love listening to music while I write. Movie and television soundtracks are always on shuffle. Some of my favorite inspirational music includes:

Person of Interest

Mr. Robot

Tron: Legacy

Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049

The Shawshank Redemption

Escape From New York

1492: Conquest of Paradise

Jati’s Wager is a great book (my review). I’ll be watching the Patriots too and my husband and son are big fans of the Bruins!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Be creative. Be yourself. Be true. And write on.

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

My current WIP is THE DEVIL’S SHARE, the third installment in the series. I’ve been in a writing drought for the past three months, but that’s normal for me. After the release of a book, my creative side goes dormant to recover from all the “writing trauma”. I have a tentative goal of next summer to finish the first draft.

However, what I am excited about is the upcoming release of the BLOODLINES audiobook, scheduled to be released sometime in September or October, and featuring the voice talents of Todd Menesses (toddmenesses.com). To hear someone else reading the words I’ve written will be surreal, to say the least.

I’m also slowly putting together the notes on the fourth case for my RPG crew. This time, a strange shift in magic has sent our intrepid Special Crimes Unit into an alternate Gaslamp version of Empire City, filled with fog, my horrible excuse for different European accents, and a vicious serial killer preying upon the ladies of the night. Has Jack the Ripper arrived in Empire City? Or is it some copycat hoping to forge their own bloody legend?

Sue, thank you so much for this interview! I hope I didn’t bore you and your readers too badly.

You’re very welcome, Peter, thank you for visiting my blog today and good luck with your new audiobook and book sales!


BLOODLINES (Book 1 of The Guardian of Empire City)

Those dark and terrible things from your nightmares are VERY real.

They walk among us, masquerading as your neighbor, your lover, even your friend. You see, Empire City is full of them…if you only know where to look. How do I know this? Well, for starters the name is Detective Tom Holliday. I work homicide for Special Crimes. My friends, what few I have, call me Doc.

And the other reason?

I’ve got magic of my own.

Welcome to Empire City, where magic and technology co-exist, and humanity endures behind walls of stone and spell-forged steel. A place where danger lurks around every street corner, and anything is possible.

When former hotshot homicide detective Tom “Doc” Holliday is recruited to join Special Crimes, he trades in his boring desk job for a second chance to do what he does best: hunt down killers.

And his first case doesn’t disappoint—a murdered woman with a bogus past, her body drained of blood, and two eyewitnesses wasted on the designer drug goldjoy claiming a vampire did it. Armed with a fickle clairvoyance and saddled with a team whose past is as checkered as his own, Holliday embarks upon an investigation through a dystopian landscape filled with bio-engineered vampires, interdimensional shadow parasites, and the magical masterminds behind it all.

But to solve this murder and safeguard his city, Holliday will have to uncover the truth behind an ancient shadowy conspiracy and confront a destiny he never wanted.

Buy Bloodlines here | Add Bloodlines to goodreads


PIECES OF EIGHT (Book 2 of The Guardian of Empire City)

How do you stop a killer who’s already dead?

Some secrets never die. When the mutilated corpse of an ex-con is found in the bowels of an old church, haunting Biblical verses scrawled at the crime scene speak of divine retribution, and a killer hellbent on revenge. For Special Crimes detective Tom “Doc” Holliday doesn’t need his fickle clairvoyance to see that a murder like this is only the beginning.

With few leads and fewer suspects, Holliday and his quirky team of paranormal specialists embark upon an investigation that will lead them down a dark and twisted path, and test the bonds of family and friendship. From the frozen streets of Little Odessa to the diabolical wealth of Park Avenue, Holliday will need more than his Insight to hunt down an unstoppable killer.

But when Holliday suspects the killer might not be what it seems, he’ll have to unravel a twisted web of greed and lies to save an innocent soul, or lose his own, and watch his world die.

Welcome back to Empire City!

Buy Pieces of Eight here | Add Pieces of Eight to goodreads


Who is next on Indie Spotlight?

Dom Watson exists in the deep green of Suffolk, England. When he isn’t writing about space-age detectives and hyper intelligent Neanderthals and pipe smoking babies he can be found at the nearest tavern enjoying ale. Or maybe, talking to magical tramps on the roadside. He is trying to give up caffeine but the brain won’t allow it. The brain is the boss and it needs the caffeine to bring out all the wonderful ideas that will change the world. Dom is just in it for the crack. Vents about mental health because no one else will. Will donate his body for medical research for ten minutes peace. Don’t sleep in the nude. The night is hungry.


Related Posts


Indie Spotlight – Jeffrey Speight

Today I would like to welcome fantasy author Jeffrey Speight to the Indie Spotlight!

Jeffrey Speight’s love of fantasy goes back to an early childhood viewing of the cartoon version of The Hobbit, when he first met an unsuspecting halfling that would change Middle Earth forever. Finding his own adventuring party in middle school, Jeff became an avid Dungeons & Dragons player and found a passion for worldbuilding and character creation. While he went on to a successful career as an investor, stories grew in his mind until he could no longer keep them inside. So began his passion for writing. Today, he lives in Connecticut with his wife, three boys (his current adventuring party), three dogs, and a bearded dragon. He has a firmly held belief that elves are cool, but half-orcs are cooler. While he once preferred rangers, he nearly always plays a paladin at the gaming table. Contact Jeff by Email: jeff@jeffreyspeight.com

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Hi Jeff, welcome to my blog! As you know your book, Paladin Unbound is on my TBR and I am looking forward to starting it this month.

What made you decide to publish your book independently? What was your path to publication?

This is an interesting question. When I wrote Paladin Unbound, I had no intention of publishing it. I wrote it for myself as a new hobby/form of therapy. I had built Evelium for a D&D campaign I was running for my kids and just kept building out the world and characters. When they moved on to another campaign after like three sessions, I decided to keep working on it and wrote what became Paladin Unbound. The first draft was pretty much a mess, as I hadn’t flexed my creative writing muscles in a long time, but I gave it a heavy re-write and ended up pretty happy with what I had. I handed it to a good friend of mine who is a published author. He gave it a read and encouraged me to publish it. It sounded like fun, but I really had no idea where to start. I queried some agents and sent the manuscript out to a few publishers. While I was doing that (with no success), I entered SFFPit on Twitter. I was very skeptical that a pitch competition would result in anything legitimate, but Literary Wanderlust requested a manuscript. I spoke with a few of their authors and haven’t looked back since. There were definitely a few bumps along the way, but my experience with indie publishing has been very positive.

That’s great that you were successful through SFFPit – I hear so many stories of disappointed people not making it through those pitch competitions!

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? (What’s your inspiration?) Have you ever written in other genres?

I’m a dyed in the wool fantasy guy. I grew up loving The Hobbit/LotR, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Legends of Drizzt, Ravenloft, etc. I started playing D&D in middle school which really got me hooked. So, high fantasy that’s a little on the dark/horror side is my wheelhouse. My love of D&D was definitely an inspiration for Paladin Unbound, but I didn’t set out to write a “D&D story”. I think you can enjoy Paladin Unbound even if you’ve never rolled a D20. Having had no prior aspirations to become a published author, I never tried to write in other genres. I sat down with Umhra’s story in my mind and just started writing. I feel at home in other worlds. 

Do you only read the genre that you write?

No. I’d say I mostly read fantasy, but I also enjoy Science Fiction, Horror, and broader fiction. For me, it’s about prioritizing, as I’m busy with work, family, writing, etc. My schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time for reading, so I usually have an audio book going during parts of my workday and then read for a bit before bed. There’s so much great stuff out there right now, I’d love to add a few hours to my day to get to more of it.

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Video Game you are playing? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?

I’m enjoying Zack Argyle’s Voice of War right now. It’s a very compelling story and Zack is a great guy. I’ve met some tremendous indie fantasy authors through this process that I may never have gotten to know had I not published Paladin Unbound. It’s been a true blessing. The TBR is growing faster than I can cut through the books, though. As for TV, I’m watching Demon Slayer when I have a chance. It’s a ton of fun. I haven’t had a lot of time for video games lately. It shouldn’t surprise you that I love The Elder Scrolls games. Oblivion is my all-time favorite game. In terms of music, I listen to Of Monsters and Men a lot. Their music is so full of fantasy threads and imagery. I find it very inspirational as I gear up for writing. When I write, I often have something ambient as to not distract me. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Voice of War and can’t wait to read the sequel Stones of Light (also on my TBR)

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Well, I’m new to this and haven’t spent my entire life trying to become an author. I just wrote a story I wanted to tell and wrote it for myself. I think aspiring authors often try to write what they think other people are going to want to buy/read and it can come off as forced. Your writing will be much more authentic and fulfilling if you write for yourself first and let everything else figure itself out. If it’s a good story, you’ll find the right publisher and the readers will come. If you go the indie route, prepare to do a lot of the heavy lifting to attract those readers yourself. Your publisher will help you put together the best possible version of your book, but marketing will largely fall in your lap.

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

I’m just about ready to send the manuscript for the sequel to Paladin Unbound to my publisher. I hope that will be ready at some point next year. I’ve been working on approving the audiobook version of Paladin Unbound. I’m excited about that coming out in the near future. I’ve begun writing the third book in this trilogy. It’s outlined (which is new for me as I’m naturally kind of a pantser) and I’ve written the first 10k words. I’m excited to share the rest of this story arc with everyone. 

Thanks so much for shining your spotlight on me. The book community has been so wonderfully supportive. Indie books like Paladin Unbound wouldn’t be possible without the help of awesome people like you. 

Thank you – it is always amazing to hear that this little hobby is actually helping people! Thank you so much for visiting the Indie Spotlight today and good luck with your book sales – I will be on the lookout for the sequel to Paladin Unbound!


Paladin Unbound

The last of a dying breed, a holy warrior must rise up against a growing darkness in Evelium.
The most unlikely of heroes, a lowly itinerant mercenary, Umhra the Peacebreaker is shunned by society for his mongrel half-Orc blood. Desperate to find work for himself and his band of fighters, Umhra agrees to help solve a rash of mysterious disappearances, but uncovers a larger, more insidious plot to overthrow the natural order of Evelium in the process.
As Umhra journeys into the depths of Telsidor’s Keep to search for the missing, he confronts an ancient evil and, after suffering a great loss, turns to the god he disavowed for help.
Compelled to save the kingdom he loves, can he defeat the enemy while protecting his true identity, or must he risk everything?

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58022890-paladin-unbound

Buy Links:

Paladin Unbound: Speight, Jeffrey: 9125763608186: Amazon.com: Books

https://www.literarywanderlust.com/product-page/paladin-unbound

https://www.bookshop.org/contributors/jeffrey-speight

https://www.thebrokenbinding.co.uk/product-page/paladin-unbound-jeffrey-speight (signed bookplate paperback with a bookmark!)


Who is next on Indie Spotlight?

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Peter has spent the second half of his life in the Deep South. Despite being an unapologetic damn Yankee, that hasn’t stopped him from appreciating mild winters, Southern hospitality, or SEC football.

Peter has been an insurance professional for too many decades, which means before smart phones and the internet. Yeah, he’s THAT old, but he still enjoys all manner of science fiction and fantasy media, MMOs, reading, playing tennis, cooking, musicals, cheering his beloved New England pro sports teams, and the occasional good cry. He’s been playing tabletop RPGs since the golden age of The Keep on the Borderlands (which he still owns and has been kept in pristine condition). 


Related Posts


Indie Spotlight – L. A. Wasielewski

Today I am welcoming L. A. Wasielewski into the Indie Spotlight.

L.A. Wasielewski is a gamer, nerd, baseball fan (even though the Brewers make it very difficult sometimes), and mom.  When she’s not writing, she’s blasting feral ghouls and super mutants in the wastelands, baking and cooking, and generally being a smart-ass.  She’s very proud of the fact that she has survived several years with two drum kits in the house—and still has most of her hearing intact. 

Twitter | Facebook | Website


Hi L. A – welcome to my blog today!

What made you decide to publish your books independently? What was your path to publication?  

I originally queried by first book, The Alchemist: Dawn of Destiny, out to about one-hundred agents.  Within the first two or so months, I realized that traditional publishing really wasn’t what I wanted.  The rejections didn’t fuel that feeling, rather, it made me realize that I really, truly wanted to self-publish.  I could have control over everything, from covers to content, and I could do it at my leisure.  Now that I’ve self-published three books, I’m never looking back!  I love that I have complete control, no deadlines (except for self-imposed ones), no urgency.  I’m a stay-at-home mom, and this year I’ll also be homeschooling, so I really appreciate the ability to drop projects for days/weeks/months at a time when my family needs me and not have a looming deadline hanging over my head. 

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? Have you ever written in other genres?  

I grew up reading fantasy.  Darksword, Death Gate, Dragonlance.  (Hmmm…I’m noticing a distinct Weis/Hickman theme!)  I also really enjoyed the Swords books by Fred Saberhagen.  I loved being able to lose myself in the beautiful worlds, become attached to (or hate) the incredibly crafted characters.  Then, when I started playing video games, I was immediately drawn to fantasy RPG’s.  I remember many a night staying up way past bedtime, playing Phantasy Star, Dragon Warrior, and Final Fantasy.  So, I think writing fantasy just came naturally?  It’s what I love, and I knew I could invent some pretty great stories and worlds!

I do have the beginning kernels of a potential sci-fi series that I tinker with from time-to-time, but it’s definitely a “mess around for fun, let’s see what happens in the future” type of project.  I don’t have any plans to work on it in earnest any time soon.

That sounds interesting – I hope you do end up working on it!

Do you only read the genre that you write? 

Yes and no? I’m always in the market for a good fantasy book, and probably 70% of what I read is the genre, but I also LOVE celebrity biographies or memoirs. The funnier, the better.  Eric Idle’s Sortabiography had me laughing so hard I nearly threw up…and I mean that as the absolute best compliment!

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?  

Currently reading two books:  Dan Fitzgerald’s The Archive (my “at home” book on the kindle), and Will Birch’s Cruel To Be Kind, a biography of Nick Lowe, the musician/songwriter (my “sitting while my kid is at drum lessons” book!) As for TV, I’m a creature of habit and usually fall back on my comfort classics.  Emergency, Simon & Simon, and Mama’s Family are what my kid and I are currently watching.  I also love Mysteries Of The Abandoned and Rick and Morty.  Music doesn’t “inspire me” per se, but my last book was written primarily with the help of the E.S. Posthumous Pandora channel, and a lot of Moody Blues, ELO, Jethro Tull, Genesis, and a mixture of other 70’s rock.  

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?  

It’s ok to take a break from writing.  There’s nothing worse than forcing yourself to write because you think you MUST every day.  Trying to force progress only makes it worse in the end. If you’re blocked, if you just don’t feel like it, if you’re too busy—that’s totally ok.  I once took THREE MONTHS off from writing because I was hopelessly blocked and overwhelmed with things on the home front.  And when I returned to start again, it turned out to be just the break I needed.  Your stories will emerge eventually, and you need to take care of yourself first. 

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?  

Right now I’m enjoying my break after finishing the final book in my Alchemist Trilogy.  The Alchemist: Awakening will be releasing September 1st, 2021.  And by “enjoying my break”, I mean fiddling around with several Alchemist side-projects and outlining a new fantasy series, that will star a group of bad-ass ladies in their late-30’s and early-40’s.  That one won’t be on the publishing radar for quite some time, but it will absolutely come out at some point.  I’m already super excited about this project, and these ladies are filled to the brim with sass and snark–my kind of people!  I will also have a backstory novel starring a fan favorite Alchemist Trilogy side-character, publishing mid-2022, as well as several Alchemist side-projects in various stages of completion—from a collection of shorts to other backstory novels, and some other surprises!  

I will definitely add The Alchemist series to my TBR – I love those covers and the story sounds intriguing!
Thank you for visiting the Indie Spotlight today! Good luck with your book sales and all your future projects!

The Alchemist: Dawn of Destiny

Book Description

Buy here:  http://author.to/LAWasielewski

Add to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18538281.L_A_Wasielewski


The Alchemist: Dark Horizon

Book Description

Buy here:  http://author.to/LAWasielewski

Add to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18538281.L_A_Wasielewski


The Alchemist: Awakening

Book Description

Buy here:  http://author.to/LAWasielewski

Add to Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18538281.L_A_Wasielewski


Who is next on Indie Spotlight?

Jeffrey Speight’s love of fantasy goes back to an early childhood viewing of the cartoon version of The Hobbit, when he first met an unsuspecting halfling that would change Middle Earth forever. Finding his own adventuring party in middle school, Jeff became an avid Dungeons & Dragons player and found a passion for worldbuilding and character creation. While he went on to a successful career as an investor, stories grew in his mind until he could no longer keep them inside. So began his passion for writing. Today, he lives in Connecticut with his wife, three boys (his current adventuring party), three dogs, and a bearded dragon. He has a firmly held belief that elves are cool, but half-orcs are cooler. While he once preferred rangers, he nearly always plays a paladin at the gaming table.


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Indie Spotlight – Darren Arthurs

Today I am welcoming Darren Arthurs into the Indie Spotlight, over to you, Darren:

I live in the South West of England and writing is something that crept up on me, I had no idea I would have the patience or the depth of story to be able to write actual novels. I’m generally not that patient.

I describe myself as a hobbyist writer, I enjoy writing and I need an output for the ideas that I have that grow and grow until they are written down, but I’m not one of those people striving for a publishing deal, in fact it’s pretty rare that I submit work to editors or publishers. I think I’ve done it three times.

I squeeze writing into a busy life of working full time, having a family and everything that entails. I also listen to and review music, mostly from small labels but occasionally a band or artist will pop up that I have either reviewed before or I have heard of. So I write every day.

I’m quite low key on social media, I visit Twitter far too often and I find myself reading things more than posting stuff but I can be found here:

Twitter | Amazon Author Page


Hi Darren, welcome to my blog.
What made you decide to publish your books independently? What was your path to publication?

I was amazed how easy it was to self-publish, when I first started to write, I initially thought nobody would get to read anything I had written, but then I found there are thousands of self-published books out there.

I told some friends that I had written a book (Broken Umbrellas) and they asked, “where can I get a copy?” so it seemed the logical route to put it onto Amazon via KDP. I gave some friends early copies of the book, and they gave feedback on spelling mistakes, grammar issues and what have you, and then once I was happy, I designed a cover and loaded it onto KDP.

Printed paperbacks came a little later, I had to do research into doing that, but I think I sell more paperbacks than downloads.

I try to keep everything as cheap as possible, I would love it if people took a chance on one of my books based on it’s price and loved it. It is more important to me that people read my books rather than I end up sitting on a pile of money. 

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? Have you ever written in other genres?

Broken Umbrellas is a story that I struggle to describe to people, it’s essentially a story about a young boy wanting to escape a terrible homelife and one day deciding to leave. It’s funny, heart-wrenching and hopeful, but it’s not a genre I have stayed in. My first two novels are centred around the story rather than a specific genre and I like the freedom that self-publishing gives, I can flit from horror to romance and then sci-fi with no real worries of offending a fan base. So far my genres are domestic fiction, weird fiction, crime/comedy and, my latest release was a fantasy book in the style of Lord of The Rings. So I make use of that freedom.

Do you only read the genre that you write? 

No. I think I would grow bored of reading just one genre, my preferred genre is probably crime but I like to pick up a book without much knowledge of the story and give it a go. I also like to dip into the catalogue of classics, things like Les Miserable, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, so my choice of genre is often decided by mood. I also read other indie writers when a story piques my interest. 

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?

My current book of choice is a Tess Gerritsen called Girl Missing (apparently it was originally published as Peggy Sue Got Murdered), my aunt put me onto Gerritsen, the novels are gory and very medically detailed – she was a doctor before becoming an author – and it’s right up my street.

I don’t watch much TV, I’m a sucker for documentaries, particularly ones on art or jazz music, but I’m a fan of The Good Doctor, we’re making our way through the third series and we’re hooked. 

I tend to write in silence, I may listen to some Blue Note era jazz because I can let it play in the background and I prefer instrumental over vocal jazz so words don’t distract me.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

In my experience of being around creative people, there seems to be those who have great ideas but lack the skills to produce them, and those who can do the polishing but lack the great ideas. I think if you have the great idea, you will find someone to help make it shiny and brilliant (editors of course) so keep chipping away at the ideas and write, write, write because writing is like anything, the more you do, the better you get.

Oh, and read lots. It’s fuel.

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

Right now I’m working on a short novella, it’s darker than anything I have ever written and will be gruesome and, hopefully, will blur the lines between good and bad. The title is a gob-stopping ‘Flat-Pack Construction and the Art of Body Disposal’, I like this title, it’s quirky and strange. A little like the story.

I write my fair share of short stories, they rarely get sent off for submission because they are often too long for a traditional short story, and too short for a novella so I’m toying with the idea of some kind of anthology of everything I’ve written that doesn’t fit nicely into a specific box.

I like the idea of a prequel to my fantasy story, The Ceramic Dolls, I gave characters a back story that I would like to explore more.

And my crime/comedy double, DeLuca, needs a third book, so that is definitely in the pipeline.

I like the title Flat-Pack Construction and the Art of Body Disposal as well! It is definitely intriguing. I wish you every success with your books and future projects! Thank you for visiting me on my blog today, Darren!


Broken Umbrellas 

Broke Umbrellas cover

Meet Toby. Toby is a seven-year-old boy living in foster care and at his ‘forever home’ with a loving mother and father. He spends his time exploring his home and garden, watching his favourite television show and learning about the great outdoors. When life at home changes with the introduction of his mum’s new boyfriend, Dean, Toby knows he needs to find a safe place to live. Armed with a map and compass, a four-wheeled wagon and accompanied by his toy rabbit Harold, he prepares to make a journey of his own where he will sleep under the stars, find food and put his survival knowledge to the test.

Broken Umbrellas is a funny, moving and uplifting story of one child’s decision to make his life a little better.

https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Umbrellas-Darren-Arthurs/dp/B08NWWK9RB/

Amazon UK | Amazon US | goodreads


One Thirty Seven

One Thirty Seven cover

A bicycle crash has left coffee shop owner Miles with a new perspective on life. He’s struggling to find the motivation to run his coffee shop, he’s separated himself from his friends and family, and he spends his time talking to a ginger cat called Meredith. He knows he needs to return to his normal life but something seems to be stopping him, could it be a side effect from the brain injury he suffered? Could it be the feeling that he never lived up to his father’s expectations? Could it be his obsession with his older sister’s love life? Or, is it, that for some reason, the cat he speaks to talks back?
He finds himself on the upward curve, slowly putting his life back together, when he’s woken at the same time every night by a marching band of small people walking past his window…

One Thirty-Seven is an unforgettable, intriguing story which will make you laugh, make you scratch your head and make you wonder what is true and what is not.

Amazon UK | Amazon US


DeLuca

DeLuca cover

Breanna DeLuca is a wise-cracking, streetwise woman whose mundane life of delivering groceries and dreaming of becoming an international DJ is interrupted when she’s asked to find her old childhood friend who mysteriously disappeared a few months before.
What should be an easy payday turns out to be something more complicated than she had ever imagined where she will find herself mixing with drug lords, European criminals, gym owners, car salesmen and a dangerous gangster with his own reason for finding the missing woman…
DeLuca is a character you’ll immediately love and find yourself rooting for in this funny story of lost friendships and family connections.

Amazon UK | Amazon US | goodreads


DeLuca Finds A Man

DeLuca Finds a man cover

Breanna DeLuca is back!
Just when Breanna thought she was about to return to her quiet existence, she finds herself in possession of something that some of Europe’s most powerful criminals are after – and they don’t care who gets in the way…
Why are people turning up dead?
Who is the dangerous hitman on Breanna’s tail?
Why is Sukier doing community service?
Will Pavek ever cheer up?
And how come Breanna’s mum is on a dating website?
Welcome back to the world of Breanna DeLuca.

Amazon UK | Amazon US | goodreads


The Ceramic Dolls

The Ceramic Dolls cover

The King is dying and there are many eyes watching the throne.
Chief among these is the young prince, Sever, the king’s own brother, the evil Lord Hesk and those from the holy order of The Hall who wish to unite the clans and follow one religion.
But none can claim the crown until they have in their possession two ancient Ceramic Dolls.
So begins a race across the kingdom where the dangers are many and the promise of power will tempt even the most loyal.

The Ceramic Dolls is a tale of fantasy. A story of power, corruption, politics and action.

Amazon UK | Amazon US


 Who is next on Indie Spotlight?

L. A. Wasielewski photo

L.A. Wasielewski is a gamer, nerd, baseball fan (even though the Brewers make it very difficult sometimes), and mom.  When she’s not writing, she’s blasting feral ghouls and super mutants in the wastelands, baking and cooking, and generally being a smart-ass.  She’s very proud of the fact that she has survived several years with two drum kits in the house—and still has most of her hearing intact. 


 Related Posts


 

Indie Spotlight – Jamie Jackson

Today I am welcoming Jamie Jackson into the Indie Spotlight.

Jamie likes to think she sprang into being fully grown, with books in both hands.

Alas, this is not how her life began.

It involved a very long, winding trail of school where she never paid attention to her teachers and probably should have. Somehow, she managed to graduate college with degrees in both English and Theater. She then fell into jobs that had absolutely nothing to do with either of those (other than the brief period of time where she got to work in wardrobe on traveling Broadway shows).

She got married, had kids and took a ten year hiatus from writing anything at all. But she never stopped reading.

And then, one day, she made a New Year’s resolution to sit down and actually finish a project.

It was fanfiction. But from there, she then went on to write a book, and that turned into an eight book series. Which she intends to publish in its entirety.

You can find her on Twitter under @VillainLeaning, or email her at jamienrjackson@gmail.com.

Hi Jamie, and welcome to my blog!

What made you decide to publish your book independently? What was your path to publication?

So while I was writing the first draft, I did research into querying and traditional publishing versus independent publishing, and a big part of it was control over the final product, as well as keeping the rights to my characters and stories. There were some serious horror stories out there about publishers keeping the rights to these things and it taking years for authors to wrest those back. And I did look into querying, but some of the questions the agents had, like, “why should you be the one to tell this story?” essentially made me go, because I wrote it? And then finding out that authors who are traditionally published may still end up doing most of if not all the marketing themselves, it seemed like I might as well do it on my own anyway.

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? What’s your inspiration?

So, I chose New Adult Urban Fantasy because that’s what I enjoy reading about. I wanted to write something that I would want to read.

Have you ever written in other genres?

I do currently have what is meant to be a horror/romance WIP, but it is quickly veering off the tracks and might end up more paranormal.

Do you only read the genre that you write? 

No. I will read pretty much anything I can get my hands on. So all Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror, Crime, Thrillers, Romance, Historical Fiction. Everything.

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Video Game you are playing? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?

Currently reading Demons, Ink by Clayton Snyder. I’m rewatching episodes of Arrested Development while I wait for new seasons of The Boys, The Witcher, The Mandalorian, etc. The only video game I’m playing right now is Animal Crossing. I listen to metal, rock, pop, okay, everything but jazz. I listen to pretty much everything but jazz while I’m writing.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Get that first draft down, it doesn’t need to be perfect, you just need to finish the story. Betas and a good editor are essential.

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

Currently book 2 in this series is undergoing edits to get it ready to publish so hopefully it will be out this fall.

Well I wish you good luck with your series and thank you very much for joining me in the Indie Spotlight today, Jamie!


Fear and Fury

Meet Megaera, Meg for short. She’s like Deadpool, except for funner. For a girl with the power of fear the recruitment attempts from both sides are never-ending. A self-described not-a-hero, villain-leaning humanoid, Meg just wants to live her life, work her dead-end job and have everyone else (especially the heroes) leave her alone. But when a bigger fish who can turn superpowers back on their users enters the picture and threatens the person Meg loves the most (herself), she must turn to the last group of people she would admit she needs help from. Forced to team up with the heroes she despises (but won’t murder, because let’s face it, orange is not the new black), Meg will have to face the choices from her past that she won’t get therapy for. Self-centered, snarky, sarcastic and a little bit dramatic, she’s going to have to save the world, even if that wasn’t her intention. And try not to get shot in the process. Because that shit hurts.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | goodreads


Who is next in the Indie Spotlight?

Darren Arthurs lives in the South West of England and writing is something that crept up on him, he had no idea he would have the patience or the depth of story to be able to write actual novels. He’s generally not that patient. 


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Indie Spotlight – Anthony Lavisher

Today I am welcoming Anthony Lavisher into the Indie Spotlight.

Since reading The Lord of the Rings at an early age, and later, the works of his favourite author, David Gemmell, Anthony has been inspired to write his own stories.

When he is not forging tales and filling blank pages, Anthony spends his time working in his local library, reading, gaming and enjoying adventures of his own.

Anthony lives in Wales with his wife, Amy, and their cat, Mertle.


What made you decide to publish your books independently? What was your path to publication?

When I finished the first draft of my first novel Whispers of a Storm in 2009, I had no idea of how to proceed. So I picked up a copy of the Writers and Artists Year Book and spent the next year or so sending out my manuscripts to literary agents and publishers.

In all that time I heard back from probably one of them out of 20, the usual, cursory ‘thanks, but no thanks.’

I did what all writers need to do and that was to  carry on writing, and in 2010 my wife, then my girlfriend, was flying back from Inverness and she read an article about a company who would publish the book for you, at a price, of course.

Deciding that it might be the first step I needed, to get myself out there, I went with Author House, and in April 2011, my first novel was published.

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? Have you ever written in other genres?

I grew up reading everything fantasy, and nothing else, really past the age of 9. From Tolkien and Gemmell, to Feist, Weis and Hickman, and also getting heavily into Dungeons and Dragons as a teenager, my first novels were naturally steered towards the fantasy genre.

I have never really thought heavily about specific genres with my writing. If I have a burning need to write a story, it needs to be told, no matter where it would appear on the shelf.

My recently released novel, The Last Tiger, is a contemporary thriller – it is set in India, after I was inspired by my first visit to that wonderful country, way back when now, long before I started even writing fantasy.

Do you only read the genre that you write?

I only read fantasy, as I mentioned previously, growing up, though I started to deviate into other genres, particularly Historical fiction, and Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe Books (thanks to the tv adaptation, with Sean Bean in the lead role).

When my favourite fantasy author David Gemmell passed away in 2006, I never found another author to capture my imagination as much as he had, and my reading suffered greatly. In fact, it was about the time I started writing myself, started having the idea for what would one day become the Storm Trilogy.

Nowadays I work a few days a week in my local library, and I try anything that catches my attention. Yes, the book’s cover really is the first thing I see and judge. I find myself picking up books I would have never tried in my youth, and my inspiration and imagination is all the richer for it.

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?

I am currently reading Kiss Me When I’m Dead by Dominic Piper, which is an absolutely fantastic read, and also, Roman Political Life by TP Wiseman (which may give a clue to what genre my next novel is in).

After that, I have Hope, by one of my favourite authors of the last few years, Terry Tyler.

I am currently watching Money Heist (Part 1) and The Gift (Season 2) on Netflix and The Handmaids Tale (Season 3) on Dvd.

I write in silence these days, though, when I writing my first novel, I used to listen to a lot of movie soundtracks – Braveheart, Gladiator and The Last of the Mohicans (a particular favourite of mine).

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Keep on writing, and write for yourself, first and foremost – if you are loving what you are writing, so will others who read it.

For me, personally, I keep going forward with a manuscript, allowing it to evolve naturally. I don’t plan it meticulously, as for me that would not work, though it does very well for other writers. Once I have finished the first draft, I can then worry about the editing process, and all that comes after that.

And I don’t write on days I don’t feel like it – I never force myself to write, though I love what I do and seem to have settled into a nice routine of writing in the mornings on the days I am not in the library.

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

As hinted at before, I am currently putting the finishing touches to a novella, that returns readers to The Four Vales, the land where my fantasy trilogy is set. Beyond that, I am about 75% finished with Rise of Eagles, the first part of a four-book historical series set in the Roman Republic, around the time of the Spartacus Rebellion.

Thank you so much for taking part in the Indie Spotlight, Anthony, and good luck with your future projects!


Whispers of a Storm

The inhabitants of the Four Vales have enjoyed over fifty years of relative peace, since its armies defeated the Reven Hordes threatening their homeland. Under the fair rule and guidance of the high duke, its people have thrived and prospered, free from the shadows of war. The Vales are peaceful and the capital city Karick is quiet. But in the gardens of the high duke’s keep, dark plots are whispered and fell deeds being planned. A humble stonemason falls asleep whilst working in the gardens and upon waking, inadvertently overhears a conversation that plunges him deep into the heart of the coming storm. A young noblewoman is to be kidnapped and used as a pawn in this dark game…

Whispers of a Storm follows the stonemason and noblewoman’s fortunes as they unwittingly become involved in a dangerous game of survival, as they try to find out what dark storm is about to break out across the Four Vales. Who would seek to unsettle this harmony? Why would they want to? How can the stonemason and noblewoman discover what is going to happen and more importantly, expose those behind the plot, before it is too late?

A tale of political intrigue and high adventure, Book One of The Storm Trilogy follows the fortunes of two individuals, whose personal journey of survival may yet help to save and shape the future of their homeland.

Amazon | goodreads


Shadows of a Storm

A dark plot to kidnap a Valian noblewoman has been thwarted, her life spared by those who would seek to fight against the rising tide of violence that threatens to shatter the stability and peace of the Four Vales.

Saved by those with agendas of their own, Cassana, daughter of the Lord of the North Vales seeks the sanctuary of her home. Danger chases after her ever faltering step, the shadows filled by those who will not allow her to escape a second time.

With dark storm clouds gathering over the capital city Karick and the shadowy menace of betrayal lurking in its marble halls, one man has the knowledge that could stop those seeking change, before it is too late.

Pursued by those that would silence him the stonemason Khadazin flees southwards, seeking the protection of a monastery, a place where he believes he will be safe, where he can recoup and plan his revenge.

With increased Reven attacks and brittle unrest in the capital, sides will have to be chosen and stances made. Who will rise to stand against those wreaking havoc, who will seek the storm and embrace the chaos starting to take hold?

A gritty tale of political betrayal, Book Two of the Storm Trilogy picks up where Whispers of a Storm left off, plunging the reader, once again, deep into the midst of the action, the danger and the adventure.

Amazon | goodreads


Vengeance of a Storm

The Four Vales stands on a knife-edge and its people hold their breath as the threat of war looms. With their hopes failing, can those with enough courage and strength left stand firm against the tide of madness that threatens to wash away the fragile peace of the land?

As the shadows deepen and the bloody grip of the Brotherhood begins to tighten, the capital city Karick is plunged into chaos. With its streets running with blood and the hatred of those orchestrating it, the storm clouds gather, readying the Valian people for war.

Far north, Cassana, daughter of the Lord of the North Vales is beset by danger, the shadows full of blades and her ears full of treachery. To the south, the renegade stonemason Khadazin hides in his sanctuary, nursing his wounds and his desire for revenge, unaware of what is happening in the wider world, uncertain of the knowledge he has and the allies that will stand with him.

Seemingly thwarted at every turn, can those still cherishing peace stop the madness? Will they have the strength to rise up and thwart the promise of war before it is too late?

Vengeance of a Storm is the thrilling conclusion to the Storm Trilogy, a gripping tale of treachery, intrigue, courage and sacrifice that thrusts the reader once again, deep into the heart of this epic adventure.

Amazon | goodreads


The Last Tiger

Jon Galnia is a husband, a father, a Mafia Don, a man who believes that Fate and Destiny are two sides of the same fickle coin. Rich beyond his wildest dreams, his inherited empire expands beyond America, far beyond the streets of his bloody playground, currently far beyond the reach of the authorities desperate to pin even a traffic violation on him.

Fate is about to intervene.

Plucked from the sky by those who hate him, or perhaps by those who want what he has, Jon’s private jet crashes in central India, sabotaged by fate, though, perhaps, guided by destiny. Unbeknownst to him, Jon is about to play a daring hand in an even bigger power struggle, one that will shock the world and, perhaps more importantly, the self-centred, ruthless Don.

A tale of corruption, of adventure and heroism, The Last Tiger is a thrilling tale of one man’s quest for survival and his uncertain hand on the pages of history.

Amazon | goodreads


Who is next on Indie Spotlight?

Jamie Jackson likes to think she sprang into being fully grown, with books in both hands.
Alas, this is not how her life began.
It involved a very long, winding trail of school where she never paid attention to her teachers and probably should have. Somehow, she managed to graduate college with degrees in both English and Theater. She then fell into jobs that had absolutely nothing to do with either of those (other than the brief period of time where she got to work in wardrobe on traveling Broadway shows).
She got married, had kids and took a ten year hiatus from writing anything at all. But she never stopped reading.
And then, one day, she made a New Year’s resolution to sit down and actually finish a project.
It was fanfiction. But from there, she then went on to write a book, and that turned into an eight book series. Which she intends to publish in its entirety.


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