Friday, November 28, 2014

Guest Blogger: John Guzzardo

Just when James Allister begins to feel dead and trapped in a hopeless marriage, he receives word of a discrepancy in a circulation report at his newspaper, The Sun-Courier. When he digs into the error, his bosses tell him to leave things alone, which doesn’t sit well with James. He then embarks on a journey down a path through the darkest corners of his employer in an effort to ferret out the truth. 

James soon discovers the Sun-Courier’s publisher and owner, Alan Phelps, is too blinded by his own arrogance to see that the reporting errors could be discovered. Worse still, James believes that Phelps may, indeed, be the originator of the whole scheme in an effort to save a newspaper he cannot accept is in its death throes. Adding to all this, the family of one of Phelps’ trusted aides has stirred a controversy in the form of sexual misconduct allegations against James himself. 

Can James clear his name and save his career and The Sun-Courier, or will the losses be just too great to bear?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Guest Blogger: Angela Deppler


More than mosquitos are eating the good folks of Springfield, Tennessee. 

Joshua Constance, a detective for Nashville Metro PD gets asked to help Evan Stovall, a sheriff of a small town called Springfield, catch a killer that’s eating its prey. It’s a case where the dead are piling up and the killer can’t be caught. For Evan and Josh, with the help of Josh’s dead partner, Bruce Miller, and a sometimes angel named Brad, the chase is on and there’s Hell to pay.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Guest Blogger: Susanne Mathews

What price is a woman willing to pay to restore a man’s honor? 

When her husband is falsely accused of treason and murdered, Isabelle de Caen vows to find those responsible and see justice done. Of royal descent, Isabelle is stunned when the king orders her hasty marriage to one of his favorites, a man she detests. To save herself from a fate too awful to contemplate, she disobeys the king’s edict and commits treason of her own to find the truth. 

Childhood friend, Guy Poirier, an aristocrat in New France, has always loved Isabelle. When he discovers her hiding in his cabin aboard ship, he agrees to hide her from her fiancĂ© and help her clear her husband’s name. It doesn’t take them long to realize there’s more at stake here than her husband’s murder. With the fate of the colony in their hands, can Isabelle and Guy prevent a war and find love in the new world?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Guest Blogger: Missy Turner

Detective Audrey Heller works for the Temporal time bureau in the year 3024. Framed for a murder she didn't commit, and on the run from a dangerous foe, she goes against all the laws she has sworn to protect. She is prepared to go to any extremes to save her partner and the man she loves. 

To Christian Deluca, Audrey Heller is most rude and angry woman he has ever met. She is also, apparently, someone he falls in love with in his future, or so she claims. With a murderer/mole in the police department, on the loose and a baby on the way, it's a race against time. The clock has turned back and circumstances are different. Can Audrey and Chris still make a future together, Or will the bomber erase their pasts.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Guest blogger: Mark Iles

Please tell us about your latest book.
The Cull of Lions is book II in The Darkening Stars series, and follows on directly from A Pride of Lions. In this my character Selena Dillon and her friends escape the planet that they crash landed on, after their successful attack on the alien home world, Mantis. The first order of the day is to try and rescue their friends Franks, his wife and child who were last seen in the rabbit holes of Loreen. There are also some surprising developments with the Manta.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m busy writing book III at the moment and also a Young Adult fantasy book.
How do we find out about you and your books?
I promote via the following social media, and I’m always happy to hear from readers and other writers:

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
A lot. I spent a great many years in the military and saw service in several conflicts. I use these real experiences to flavor my novels – the horror, dark humor, camaraderie and the effect it all has on ourselves, our relationships and family.
When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first MS?
I’ve always been interested in reading and as a child used to jot down stories and then bin them, before my parents found them. I wrote my first short story during the Falklands War. It was a scifi, based on my experiences there and it was published by Back Brain Recluse.
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
I wrote a martial arts book in 3 months and that was professionally published. My first novel, Pride, took several years and Cull about 7 months.

Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I write most evenings but also when I want to. As you say, I go with the flow.

What is your writing routine once you start a book?
This is a difficult one. I used to write a chapter and then edit heavily, before submitting the BSFA Orbiter writing groups. This was quite slow, which is one reason it took so long to write my first novel. Orbiter submissions are limited to about 10k bi-monthly. With my second novel I took some advice and just wrote, editing on completion. The trouble with this was that I was unable to submit much to the writing groups for feedback but got around this by using more Beta Readers on completion.
Sometimes I’ll write without stopping for 12-14 hours, other days I find I’ve burnt myself out and can’t write for a while.

What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?
That’s not an issue with me, as I live on my own with my black lab, Bella. When I have my children for the school holidays I tend to spend as much time with them as I can, and write when they’ve gone to bed.

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I watch movies a lot but rarely watch the TV, in fact I believe I’ve only watched it about 3 times in 4 years. My dog and I will go for a long walk through the countryside, or along the beach and maybe I’ll stop and have an ice cream or a pint on the way home.

What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?
Once a story is in my head I just have to write it down no matter what, if I don’t it drives me mad. With that in mind I guess you could say my motivation is a quest for sanity, to not have things buzzing around in my mind all the time and driving me up the wall. The trouble is once you’ve one idea out of the way, up pops another.

Where do your ideas come from?
Generally it’s from nightmares, or a chance encounter/experience. A young lad I know once saw some star-shaped party favors on a table at a friend’s birthday bash and picked them up. When I looked at them in his hand it inspired me to write a short story called ‘A Hand Full of Stars’, which was accepted and published by the anthology Escape Velocity.

Do you feel humour is important in science fiction, and why?
Definitely, I feel it makes your readers relate to your characters more. The trick is not to use old jokes! I write primarily SF, fantasy and horror and, as I say, I served in the military and the dark humor stays with you. An example of this is during a conflict while under attack a friend of mine hit the deck and then said to his friend. “I can’t stand up. Why can’t I stand up?” The guy he was with looked at him and said, “because you’ve been shot, you twat.” Sounds horrible but it’s true, it’s how the military deal with real life situations. In the olden days the military used to be given a hefty tot of rum before their battles. Consequently if someone got injured they’d just laugh or get fighting mad, I guess that humor stayed with the armed forces after. Shame about the tot.

What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?
I don’t write romance but I do have romance in my novels. I don’t find it difficult to write, I just touch on it more than anything.

What kind of research do you do?
I think about my book, what in it, where I have my characters go and what they do. If I have them visit a star system I research that and so can include as much scientific detail as I can. Likewise if I have someone visit a certain forest, I research what trees and plants are there, when they flower, what they smell like, climate at certain times of the year, the animals there and so forth. Everything is so important, if you don’t get it right you can guarantee that a reader somewhere will pick you up on it.

Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?
I think with me my material often writes itself. I may have had a dream and then put pen to paper but then I go into auto mode. It may come out as fantasy, SF, or even occasionally poetry.

Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
I was bought up in Slough and have two sisters. I joined the RN when I was 17 and since then have generally lived in the Portsmouth area, apart from a stint in Scotland and two tours of Hong Kong. I’m now divorced, my eldest daughter Sabrina lives in Blackpool with her husband Mark and 3 children, my son Robin lives in Bristol, and my two youngest in Teeside. One of my sisters is in Chichester and the other in Boston, Lincs. So, as you can see I don’t have much family near me. I do, however, speak regularly to them on the phone and visit when possible.
Education wise I didn’t leave school with much but took some GCE’s in the RN. A few years ago I decided to take an MA in Professional writing and it went really well. Since then I’ve passed Diplomas in Copywriting and Proofreading, working in both fields on and off since. Now, however, I’m focusing on my own writing and editing work.
One of my favorite places is the New Forest, particularly Lyndhurst. It’s steeped in history, you can feel it when you’re there. The NF is where Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland, and the shops have lots of memorabilia to it. I love visiting the area and enjoy camping there in the summer months, spending the days down the beach and with a barbeque in the evenings. It’s my idea of heaven, and when I’m a bit stuck I find it all so inspiring.

Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?
These include Stephen King, Arthur C Clarke, John Wynham, Geoff Nelder, Kevin J Anderson, James Herbert and Brian Lumley. Then there’s some of Tolkien’s works, LOTR and The Hobbit.

What do you think of critique groups in general?
Online ones are great and a huge benefit to all concerned. The feedback from other writers improves your own work and you develop your critiquing skills by your feedback on the work sent to you in return. I’m not a huge fan of face-to-face writers’ groups. I find they limit any feedback on your work, perhaps giving you five minutes or 500 words to read, and then tend to try and give you a subject to write about for their next meeting. I write what I want to, not what others want me to and I’m not into writing about the inside of a ping pong ball, or a single given word.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
With a series of books behind me and hopefully a writing career that’s taken off, ha ha. I expect to still be working but if not I may consider moving abroad to live, perhaps Spain or Greece but somewhere near the sea.
How many books have you written, how many have been published?
To date I’ve one non-fiction book professionally published, a self defence app by Kiwa Media, a self-published short story collection, two novels (one due out any day) and three novellas.

After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?
Both. I always buy copies of my books, both as giveables or to sell. I read them to ensure I have all the details correct for follow on material.

Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero, or heroine?
This has to be Selena Dillion, from my two novels. This is a woman who has had a tragic life, yet faced up to her issues, never given in and overcomes adversity.

What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
The easiest book was my martial arts one. I hold an 8th Degree black belt in Taekwondo, and used to train up to four hours a day, seven days a week. Consequently the book was easy to write and I had a ball taking the photos. The hardest was A Pride of Lions. Jumping from short fiction to full length is a major move, and there was so much to learn.

Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
That’s a bit like the age old question, which came first the chicken or the egg? It can be anything from the look in someone’s eyes, a sunset, a handful of party favorites, a gesture or memories of a true life experience.

What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
Making sure you have all the elements right. This can be anything from personal history and dislikes of your characters, their weapons, hair and eye color. Then there’s the editing at the end.
I’m a firm believer that all writers need someone else to edit their work, as a friend once said to me we stand too close to it to do this ourselves. But you still have to edit numerous times before sending to an editor, and then again after.

Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?
Yes, I get this and all I do is leave it. Trying to force things doesn’t work for me, it has to come back on its own. I’ll watch movies for a while or go out, and after a while I can write again. This can take anything from an hour to a couple of weeks.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
Seeing your work in print, something you’ve created from nothing using your heart and soul. To see your work published and people talking about it is the most wonderful thing.

If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
I’d be a member of a starships crew. However, as they haven’t been invented yet it would be something sensible, like a pirate.

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Don’t ever give up, no matter how hard you find it. Join an online writer’s group and study the art of writing. Doing my writing degree was the best move I ever made. But remember that sharpening the pencil doesn’t make you a writer, writing does.