IAM Interview with…Kim Smith

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author for Indie Month today is Kim Smith, author of An Unexpected Performance and several other adult fiction books. Let’s find out a little more about the lady herself in today’s spotlight interview.

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AUPsmallIf you could have any superpower, what would you choose?

I would totally be able to fly. It has been a dream of mine many times. It feels so weird to be shooting through the air and have the ability to look down and see the world below. It would enable me to get, quite literally, a bird’s eye view of the places I want to visit and write about.

Night owl or early bird?

Early bird. I can accomplish more in the hours before dawn than all the others during the day. It may be because I can feel free to focus on whatever task I am doing. Other times, people, and ‘have to do’ things hone in on my time.

One food you would never eat? Chocolate covered insects. No way.

Your most unusual or random habit? Petting my dog with my feet. She loves the constant stroking and her fur feels good. It’s totally weird, but wonderful.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

A drama award, a theatrical mirror, and two teens destined to be great actors if their roles don’t get them killed first.

 

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

http://www.kimsmithauthor.com

http://www.facebook.com/mkimsmith

http://www.twitter.com/mkimsmith

Kim’s Radio Show-Writer Groupie – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/writergroupie

Amazon link for Kindle

Amazon link for paperback

IAM Interview with…Mari Wells

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author for Indie Month today is Mari Wells,introducing herself through one of our quick ‘This or That’ interviews. Enjoy!

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Pirates or Zombies?

Zombies, I’m writing a novel right now about Zombies. I like the monster aspect of them, and their history is quite interesting. My Husband keeps asking me to write about Pirates though, so many soon. I do have an idea or two for a Pirate story.

 

Popcorn or Chocolate?

Chocolate, always hands down Chocolate. You can’t add popcorn to coffee or ice cream. Raspberry popcorn doesn’t sound as good as Raspberry chocolate. Popcorn truffles just turns my stomach.

 

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

When I was little, I wanted to be a mom, and a poet. Some really mean teachers in middle school told me I couldn’t ever be a poet. I believed them for a really long time too. (For that matter, they told me never to pursue a career in writing.) I believed that for a long time too.

 

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?

Hmm, I’ve had lots of crazy ideas. One idea I’m currently playing with takes what society considers as okay for men/ no no’s for women and trades their places. There’s some taboo subjects in this idea and a lot of comedy. Another idea is a mermaid who works for a fishing company or a sushi shop.

 

Reading or Writing?

Reading or Writing is another hard question. I personally think you can’t have writing without reading. Both are my favorite pass times, they take me from this boring world and let me hang out with my own and other’s imaginations.

 

Good Book or Good Film?

A good book. I’ve never been in movie fog for weeks, but I’m often in book fog for that long. Movies also “spoon feeds” me, I like to imagine what a character looks like or what the setting looks like.

 

Vampire or Angel?

Vampire! I like my angels. Angels are cool and if you can create a good “Bad Boy Angel” I’m a content reader, but Vampires have me 99% of the time. There’s something about vampires that stop my heart. Vampires have been my thing since I was a little girl, and they always be my thing.

 

Drive or Be Driven?

Be Driven, I freak out when I drive. If cars get too close to my sides or ride my tailgate. I get all shaking and have to pull over and let someone else drive. Driving is usually at the root of my panic attacks.

 

Early Bird or Night Owl?

I’ve been an Early bird and a Night Owl. I’ve burnt the candle at both ends too. However, as far back as I can remember I’ve been a Night Owl. Night Owl is my favorite, there’s nothing like being awake late at night writing a paranormal story. 😀

 

Quiet Night In or Out On The Town?

This one was the easiest question of all, No Doubt about it, Quiet night in. I’m the kind of girl that would rather curl up with a good book (or writing utensils) than go out to party. If I really have to, I’d watch a movie (Young Frankenstein anyone?) and cuddle on the couch with the whole family than be out on the town.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Google +

www.mariwells4@gmail.com

IAM Guest Post…You’re Never Too Old

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our featured author today is Clinton Harding, a regular visitor to the blog since we ran our first Indie Author Month in 2012. We recently hosted a week-long tour feature for Clinton celebrating the release of Book 2 in the Bad Monsters series. If you missed that, or any of his previous features and guest posts, you can check them out here

Back to today – Clinton’s shared a great post on the young adult fiction genre and why you’re never too old to enjoy great books…

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YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD…

 When you walk into a brick and mortar bookstore (the few left anyway) or browse Amazon’s list of new book releases and see books under the category “young adult” what do you expect to see? Most people will say the Twilight series of books, maybe The Hunger Games trilogy, or any other single or set of books with young adults or children as protagonists dealing with common growing pains on their way to adulthood. Now, name the target audience for these books. This is an easy one. People will roll their eyes and probably say, “duh! What section of the store are you in? Young adult.” I can hear the forehead slapping right now.

 I’m not sure the definition and categorization is correct here.  For one, I don’t believe young adult fiction is written specifically for one audience, let along one that is a less mature age group. Publishers Weekly reported in late2012 that 55% of people buying and reading these types of books are 18 years or older. I’ll buy that. A lot of my friends read young adult fiction, a couple prefer the stories to some of the “adult fiction available. Most of them were reading Harry Potter (not an “adult” fictional series) in high school when the books were just coming out and bursting into a cultural phenomenon, book that are targeted at children and not high school students or anyone older.

The young adult and children’s fiction genres have good quality reading options for readers of all ages. The writing style is generally simple, sure. Description of the setting, characters, the over physical sights in the novels are not verbose. Vocabulary is simplified. However, some of deepest world building can occur in these adolescent novels.  The narrative is rich. The characters are vibrant, individualized, fully formed.  Even without paragraph-length descriptions, novels like those in the Harry Potter series have wonderful , colorful characters that people fall in love with and the worlds they inhabitant are no less realized. These novels can tackle adult issues, sociological and political and relationships.

Going back to my original question… what aspects of the novel makes it young adult? Again, generally the age of the protagonists makes the difference. Teen protagonist saving the world, dealing with homework, bullies, dating, family issues… yup, that’s a young adult novel typically. If you’re an older reader, immersing yourself in those types of stories is childish by the standards of other people.  Same as wearing capes and tights is stupid and kid-stuff.Except for a few cases, of course.That’s the stigma that separates the genre and leads to hesitation in readers of a more mature age. Is the young adult genre childish, though? I don’t think so.

Orson Scott Card wrote in the eighties “Ender’s Game”. Originally considered an adult novel (first a short story published through the magazine “Analog”). It’s about an eight or ten year old boy named Ender Wiggin who is by all accounts a genius. Ender is sent to a military academy in space so he can learn the art of war and so later he and the other cadets can lead the fight against an alien race of insects that humanity is at war with.  The novel contrasts the lives of children and adults, how the adults treat children, how the thoughts and ideas of children are no less real than an adult’s own because a child can manipulate and destroy as easily as an adult but he or she is also capable more so of creating and helping. Overall, the novel explores compassion and cruelty and how the concepts relate to humanity and humanity’s treatment of each other and another species.

Deep stuff, right?And there is a lot more themes woven into the novel, I touched on only a few Card explored. Remember, though, “Ender’s Game” is about a boy who is about eight or ten years old. Originally “Ender’s Game” was marketed as adult science fiction. Later editions of the novel place it in the young adult category because of the protagonist’s age and that at its core the novel is a Bildungsroman, a coming-of-age story about a boys’ moral and emotional growth. Can adults enjoy the story? Of course. Can adults learning something from the story? Damn straight! “Ender’s Game” is sometimes suggested reading at military organizations, the United States Marine Corps is one such group. “Ender’s Game” is today enjoyed by adults and younger readers a like without discrimination and despite its categorical labeling.

Another example of young adult fiction with adult themes is the His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. A number of years ago the first book in the trilogy, “The Golden Compass”, was adapted to film and starred Nichole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Box office results did not garner the property a sequel. Too bad since the material asks questions about religion, free will and the right to knowledge and how that plays into freedom and a person’s maturity. Again, main protagonist Lyria is a maturing little girl and developing into womanhood so the series is considered young adult. Its themes, however, contradict the silliness and juvenile perceptions of what most people view as an adolescent novel. If the film had done better, His Dark Materials may have found a wider popularity and acceptance like Potter or Twilight.

Should adults limit their to-read selections to what the publishing industry and general public considers adult? After all, many adolescent readers do not stick to roaming the young adult fiction shelves. They branch out. Those who like horror will find their way to Lovecraft and King and McCammon and Matheson. Fantasy lovers will read Lord of the Rings, they’ll crack open Brooks, Jordan, Erikson, or Martin. When I was in junior high and high school I was reading adult fiction. Reading young adult never crossed my mind.  What’s more is that some of the great portrayals of child heroes/protagonists are in adult novels, stories that spin a tale of how the child establishes his or her moral footing and uses those convictions to face adult challenges.

Why are adolescents allowed to read adult-marketed fiction but adults cannot venture to read young adult? Probably because someone younger reading A Song of Ice and Fire or Tales of Malazan or “The Shining” is considered mature while an adult reading Potter or some other younger title is juvenile.

Labels are the problem. Humans love to label and put things into boxes so we know what to avoid and what is acceptable. We do it to each other, to our neighbors. Genres in fiction are labels.

I always encourage people to read or watch entertainment based on their enjoyment and not popular perception. Fads fade in this fast-paced, internet, information at your fingertips world. Good novels—regardless of being adult themed or young adult themed—don’t transform into bad fiction when the census decides it’s ready to move on to the new/next shiny, noisy attention grabber.  Harry Potter—in my humble opinion—will remain a favorite of so many people because of its readership’s genuine love for the material, because the stories are good, because Rowling wrote something special. That young wizard turned on a generation to reading. Roald Dohl wrote memorable fiction that stand the test of time, regardless of the generation.  Multiple generations know about and enjoy “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “The BFG”, and “Matilda”. Lord of the Rings is another example where generations later people still love the books long after the author has passed and the first generation with him, it is the introduction of many to fantasy novels.

Good fiction is a category of its own, the only category that matters.

 

IAM Interview with…Jewel Thief, Michael Crandon

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Look whose back again! Our indie guest today is author Hazel West, who is joining us for a very special feature: interviewing jewel thief Michael Crandon, the lead character from her latest book… A Company of Rogues.

We’ve featured Hazel several times before on the blog, reviewing her books, as well as in interviews, so it’s a great pleasure to have her join us again to share her latest book with us – we hope you enjoy her character interview as much as we did, it certainly got me wanting to read the book! If you’d like to know more about Hazel, check out our previous features with her here.

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Company of Rogues coverMichael Crandon used to be an impeccable thief, never leaving a trace and never getting caught–that is until he takes a job with a flamboyant millionaire, Charles Randall who has got it into his head he wants the Dalton Emeralds, famous for belonging to Elizabeth I herself. When the heist goes horribly wrong and Michael is forced into hiding, he decides to swear off thieving and turn to more cultured and safe pursuits, such as knitting and drinking tea–oh, and consulting for other thieves on the side; he has to make a living somehow, after all. Then his comfortable world is turned upside down when the Emeralds are stolen and his old partner tells him Randall is out for his blood thinking him responsible. And as if that weren’t bad enough, he’s found himself forced into the company of a young, naive con man who’s got himself mixed up in the mess as well. Reluctantly, Michael agrees he has no choice but to find the Emeralds himself before Randall exacts his pound of flesh. Along with Reilly, the young grifter, Justine, a romance writer and Michael’s lady love, and Victor, the huge, yet friendly, Russian pub owner, Michael conducts this unlikely company of rogues to the ultimate goal of finding a peaceful existence once again–if that could even be possible for the ever unlucky Michael Crandon.

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Hi Michael, thanks for stepping out of the pages of A Company of Rogues to be with us today, it’s been a while since we’ve interviewed a character. So, let’s get started – can you describe yourself to me?

Describe myself? Very well. I’m a middle-aged, retired jewel thief, now running a consulting business for other thieves when they need help on a heist. I’m rather plain in appearance, nothing special—no flash and dash like everyone seems to think jewel thieves should have—and I rather like a good cup of tea and knitting at the end of the day.

How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?

Well, as of now, I finally have a somewhat normal and peaceful existence, and I’m quite happy with it. I run my own business and have plenty of time for the things I like to do, mostly living a peaceful life while knitting and drinking tea as well as pursuing my relationship with Miss Aberline. Yes, it might sound a bit dull, but if you’ve had the misfortune I have in my life, then you would understand my love of the mundane.

How do you feel about your family, now that you’re an adult?

Unfortunately I didn’t really get to live with my family as long as I should have. My mother died when I was very young and I don’t remember her, but my father always told me she was a sweet and loving woman—whether or not that was actually true, I liked to believe it. And my father was killed when I was thirteen so I had to fend for myself on the streets after that. I did love my father, and even though he wasn’t able to provide everything for me I never thought any less of him. I could have had it a lot worse.

What do you want from life?

What do I want from life? Survival! Peace from my past and those who come with it and also eventually a life with the woman a love. I hope to quit the criminal business as soon as I get enough funds to live happily away from it all.

How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period?

I hate the idea of love at first sight. I really do. How could it be possible? And I really hate talking about it. And yet, I can’t deny that when I first met Justine Aberline, I knew I loved her. But it wasn’t just love at first sight fairy tale tripe either, it was just that we knew we belonged together. She read me and I couldn’t let her get away then, could I? But after our initial reaction, yes, our love has grown. It’s only a natural occurrence.

How do you decide if you can trust someone?

Well, first off, it’s a good thing if they don’t instantly try to kill me. Besides that, I am not much in the habit of trusting anyone unless I have known them for a long period of time and even then I can only count the number of people I trust on one hand. Being a thief and having to work with questionable characters has taught me how to read people and most of all not to trust anyone when it comes to money or power.

What really moves you, or touches you to the soul?

 I don’t like to say much about that. I’ve been so many years pushing my feelings aside, I hardly knows what moves me anymore, and I don’t like people to pry into it!

 What do you consider your special talent?

Well, if I do say so myself, I was a very good jewel thief and still am when I want to be. I never got caught, and only got on the wrong side of the Yard when I took on inexperienced partners who messed up an entire heist—thus forcing me to retire prematurely.

What do you wish your special talent was?

Hmm, that’s a tough one. I really would like to be better at fighting. I’m rubbish at it and I end up getting beaten a lot for my troubles. Now, don’t get me wrong, I try to avoid a fight if at all possible, but when there’s no way out, I would like to be able to hold my own.

What are you most proud of about your life?

Very little. Nothing in fact, apart from Justine. She’s truthfully the only good thing in my life.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? Why?

When I was young, my family could barely scrape up enough money for one square meal a week, so I got in with some bad people and did some illegal things for them (moving certain items) but messed up and ended up getting my father killed for it. I’ve lived with that every day since.

 (The first book of Michael’s series “A Company of Rogues” will be out September 2014)

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DSCN1821_3 About the Author 

Hazel West lives in Florida and took up writing mostly as an excuse to stay out of the heat. Apart from being an Indie author, she also enjoys reading, drawing, drinking coffee, and knitting and crochet. A lover of all this historical and a good deal of folklore and mythology and enjoys seeing how those things can be written into stories.

And here are Hazel’s answers to our tough, but fun, Gimme 10 ‘mini interview’ – each question has to be answered in ten words or less. Let’s see how it goes…

Where do you find your inspiration? Everywhere, anything has been known to inspire me

 

  • What is your favourite aspect of A Company of Rogues?

The characters are thieves and cons but yet good people.

 

  • Who is your favourite character from A Company of Rogues and why?

Reilly. He’s adorable, and if flawed, a good kid at heart

 

  • What are you working on now?

An urban fantasy about the descendants of legendary Irish warriors.

 

W

  • hat do you love about most about writing?

Crafting characters that can become real to the reader.

 

 

 Want to know more? Check out the links! 

Blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com

Tales From a Modern Bard (short stories/fiction): http://talesfromamodernbard.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/artfulscribbler

Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/artfulscribbler/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5289626.Hazel_B_West

You can find all my books here: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com/2013/03/purchase-links.html

It’s Here! Indie Author Month 2014

Guest Feature

It’s here!

Welcome to our third Indie Author Month! It’s come around quickly, hasn’t it? So, over the next few weeks we’ve got a whole load of new books, authors and characters to introduce you to – so sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy meeting our 2014 Indies! Mel x

Indie Author Month 2013 – Aaaaaaaand, we out!

Guest Feature

All done! 

So, it’s June 1st, which means Indie Month is done for our second year…

We hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about new books and authors, reading the guest posts about why people write, and possibly found some new stories to add to your own reading lists this summer. For us, it has been a pleasure hosting such a lovely, and enthusiastic, group of authors. They’ve tweeted and re-blogged the event all over the place, and come back to check out the other authors regularly – thank you for taking part so actively.

Our giveaway winner has now been selected – congratulations to Karen E 🙂 our email is on its way to you, as I type!

This year, we featured more authors than in 2012, and were able to offer each a different type of post, so we hope you liked seeing something different. The posts attracted just under 2000 views in the month, which was also more than last year, so overall – we’re happy.

Thanks again for taking part – hopefully see you next year!

Mel x

 

IAM Book of the Day…A Case of Poisons, Hazel West

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our featured author today is Hazel West – you may remember her from our February feature on her novel On a Foreign Field. Her latest book A Case of Poisons is due for release on 3rd June, today you can find out more about her in one of our special ‘This or That’ interviews.

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Hero or Villain? Sometimes, really awesome villains are harder to lose than really awesome heroes.

Pirates or Zombies? Pirates! And no, I don’t care for zombie pirates overmuch.

 Popcorn or Chocolate? Chocolate, extra dark.

London or New York? London!

 Classical or Pop? Classical; seriously most of my favorite music is way older than me.

 Elf or Dwarf? Well, if I narrow it down to Orlando Bloom or Richard Armatage, then I’m afraid I would have to choose Dwarves.

James Bond or Jason Bourne? Jason Bourne—love a guy who gets the job done without being constantly distracted by the local female life.

Early Bird or Night Owl? Night Owl, but does it still count on those nights I stay up till dawn working on something?

 

About the Author

I’m Hazel B. West, a self published author who currently has four published titles Freedom Come All Ye, Ballad of the Highwayman, On a Foreign Field, and By Blood or By Bond (along with it’s companion backstories) and the upcoming Anthony Maxwell steampunk mystery series. I love English, Scottish and Irish history, and use my research to write historical novels.

 Apart from being a writer, I love to read, sketch, listen to music as well as play my instruments, and drink coffee. I’m a history buff and bibliophile and would love to hike in the mountains if I didn’t live in Florida.

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A Case of PoisonsAnthony Maxwell is a private investigator, a consultant for the mostly incompetent inspectors at Scotland Yard, on occasion a writer, and always a lover of coffee. He has been working small cases for several years to pay the bills when he’s introduced to the first multiple murder case of his career early one morning, when a witness catches a man trying to unload a body to bury in a nearby graveyard. Soon the first body is joined by three more in the course of a single morning and Anthony knows this is no ordinary serial murder case. And why is the murderer targeting beggars and urchin children? If that wasn’t cause enough to worry, all the victims are covered with horrible wounds and show signs of exotic poisoning. Anthony, along with his partners Tobias—an ex-broadsman and well-know charmer—and Scamp—a street smart and talented young woman—work to find out who is murdering the helpless beggars and children in such horrifying ways. The first book in this new Victorian steampunk series takes the three companions to the limits of their abilities as they go up against canny murderers, bruisers who appear invincible, anarchist groups, and even ancient British royalty in the biggest case Anthony Maxwell has ever worked in his career.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/artfulscribbler

Pintrest: http://pinterest.com/artfulscribbler/

Anthony Maxwell’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anthony-Maxwell/978987912241341

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17557133-a-case-of-poisons

Purchase Links: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com/2013/03/purchase-links.html

IAM Interview…Richard Phillips aka Richie Earl

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our featured author today is Richard Phillips. This morning we featured a preview of his second book Return to Finndragon’s Den, which launches today – now you can find out more about him in one of our special ‘This or That’ interviews.

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Finndragon Banner

 

Half-Empty or Half-Full? Half-full every time. I’m an optimist and always look on the bright side.

Cats or Dogs? I just love dogs. I have a rescue dog named Benson who’s nearly 10 years old now. Many of the characters in the Tales of Finndragon series are based on people I know, and there’s a dog called Bones who’s based on Benson.

Heads or Tails? There’s a saying where I come from: ‘Tails never fails for Wales.’

Reading or Writing? There’s never enough time in the day to do both. At the moment writing is taking up so much of my free time, that I haven’t read a book for a about a month.

James Bond or Jason Bourne? I must be the only person who doesn’t like James Bond. I can remember watching Roger Moore use a load of crocodiles as stepping stones when I was kid. I thought it was so unrealistic. I like stories, however fantastical to be believable, with rules that can’t be broken.

Summer or Winter? I love the sun, but unfortunately winter seems to last twice as long as summer in Wales.

City or Country? I live in a town, but the countryside is literally on my doorstep. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve spent many happy days exploring the wonderful landscape. I drew inspiration for my novels from the ancient site of Morlais Castle, a 13th century castle within 2 miles of my home. There is very little trace left these days.

Early Bird or Night Owl? I’ve always been an insomniac, even more so since I started writing, often staying awake past 2am. The trouble is I have children to get to school and a day job which gets me out of bed by 7am.

 

About the Author

My name is Richard Phillips and I write Young Adult Fantasy novels, under the pen name Richie Earl. I self-published my first novel, The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse, as an ebook on Amazon in December 2011 and recently on Smashwords. It is the first book in a two part series entitled Tales of Finndragon. I had an offer of a publishing deal from a small Welsh publisher, with regards to book 1 over sixteen months ago, but I haven’t signed as yet. The publisher applied to the Welsh Book Council for a grant to help with the cost of publication, which was declined last summer.

 

Any reader who likes to lose themselves in a fantastical new world will fall in love with The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse. The protagonists are ordinary children without any special abilities, longing to find their missing father and resume their normal family life. The children discover an ancient scroll relating to a fifteen hundred year old Welsh legend and another clue of a photograph in their father’s belongings. So they set off to find him in the cursed Kingdom of Morgannwg. Their epic quest brings them into contact with medieval knights, wizards and magical creatures. It is a story of heroism underpinned by family values. Book 1 has a cliff-hanger ending, leaving readers thirsting for more. I am sure that fans of Harry Potter would be enthralled by these books.

 

I have to admit that I was very naive when I first self-published. Over the last twelve months I have started to build my platform, and I now have a growing presence on Twitter (@finndragons), Facebook (Tales of Finndragon)and Goodreads. As well as the two novels, I have two as yet unpublished children’s picture books written in verse and a collection of poetry.

 

The second book, Return to Finndragon’s Den., is out on 29th May. It will be released as both an ebook and paperback, with a paperback version of book 1 also to become available. I’m also preparing separate versions of both books for the US market.

 

I am 47 years old and have worked as a Registered Nurse since 1985, currently employed by the Welsh Blood Service. I am married with three young children and managed to write my novels despite my hectic work and family life. My children were the inspiration for these books, and I based the leading characters on them.

 

I enjoy running, having completed the past two Cardiff Half Marathons. I also enjoy cycling when I have the time and I recently been joined by my two youngest children on a regular 10 mile ride.

 

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

 

The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse on Amazon

 

Return to Finndragon’s Den link will be available from May 29th.

 

Twitter @finndragons

 

Facebook Tales of Finndragon

 

Goodreads

IAM Book of the Day…Tales of Finndragon

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our featured author is Richard Phillips, and he’s joining us today for the launch of his second book Return to Finndragon’s Den. Let’s find out more about him and his books!

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Finndragon Banner

The series starts with The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse

Three children racing against time, desperately searching for their missing father.

A medieval kingdom cursed by an evil wizard.

An ancient legend beneath our very feet.

The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse is the first book in a unique, two book fantasy adventure series and is a fast paced, engaging and thrilling page turner. The story races along with plenty of twists and turns as it heads for the prophesized confrontation between the children and the evil Finndragon himself.

Combining wizardry and magic with modern technology and containing magical animals and terrible demons, The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse is a rollercoaster of emotions that will make you laugh out loud and then fight to hold back the tears, as the children race against time to rescue their father. In doing so they have to kill Finndragon and put an end to the dreadful curse.

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The story continues today with the release of Return to Finndragon’s Den…

Finndragon book 2

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My name is Richard Phillips and I have written a YA fantasy series entitled Tales of Finndragon, under the pen name Richie Earl. Book 1, The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse, was launched December 2011 and has had some excellent reviews. Book 2, Return to Finndragon’s Den, is to be launched May 29th on Kindle and a week later in paperback.

I’ve lived all my life in Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales, which is quite a large town by Welsh standards. I’m a family man and have been married to Angela for sixteen years and have three children: Katie 13, Lucy 9 and Jonathan 7, who have inspired and encouraged me to write. The family is completed by Benson, a rescue dog who has been with us for nine years. I have based the main characters in the story upon my children.

Writing has been in my blood since an early age, when I particularly enjoyed writing poetry. A talent inspired by my late grandmother. At the time I wrote for my own pleasure and was reluctant to share my work with even close family and friends.

I did start a YA sci-fi novel many years ago, which I will come back to soon. Following the sudden death of a close friend, I wrote a collection of stories about our adventures which I’ll publish in the future. But for the time being I want to concentrate on writing what I love the most – YA fantasy where I can let my boundless imagination run wild. My next project is an apocalyptic, time-changing sci-fi/fantasy adventure for young adults.

I’ve also written two picture books, in rhyme, for younger children. I haven’t decided what to do with these as yet as I’m unsure whether to find an illustrator myself, or to seek an agent or publisher.

I have to juggle my writing schedule with a busy work and family life. I qualified as a nurse over twenty years ago and currently work for the Welsh Blood Service, which involves travelling to various towns across South Wales collecting blood donations.

When I’m not writing or promoting my book, I like to occasionally work-out in the gym, I run regularly and enjoy cycling, particularly with Lucy and Jonathan. I’ve completed the last two Cardiff Half Marathons and I’ve entered the event again this year.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

http://www.finndragon.com/ (Website)

@finndragons (Twitter)

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6523833.Richie_Earl (Goodreads Author)

IAM Interview…with Jack Croxall

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our featured author today is Jack Croxall. We recently spotted a review of Jack’s book Tethers on Goodreads and liked the look of it so much that it’s in our ‘To Read’ pile now. You can expect a review of Tethers in the near future on the blog, but in the meantime, why not find out more about Jack and his writing in today’s interview. Enjoy! 

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Jack Croxall - Author Photo Born in High Wycombe, Jack Croxall now lives in rural Nottinghamshire with his chocolate Labrador, Archie. He has a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Nottingham and currently toils away as a science writer in between working on his books.

 If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

That’s easy! I’d live in Lyra’s universe from His Dark Materials because everyone gets a daemon (a physical, animal representation of your soul). In the meantime, it’s great fun trying to work out what yours might be. I think mine would be a heron because I’m patient, persistent and I love water!

You’ve found a time machine on your driveway this morning – where are you going to go in it?

I think I’d probably go back to the time of the dinosaurs, if I managed to not get eaten, I could come back and tell everyone what colour they were!

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

I jumped around the room madly waving my arms! I wasn’t even alone at the time :S

What inspired you to want to become a writer?

In 2011 I was diagnosed with CFS and subsequently found myself housebound for a number of months. I had always felt I had a novel in me, but suddenly I had the time to produce it. My illness also influenced the mindset of my central characters, Karl and Esther; they are frustrated at being stranded in their small town with no way out to explore the wider world. This frustration was no doubt born from my own aggravations at being unable to get out and do anything.

What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

Definitely seeing people talk about my characters (in reviews or on social networks for example). They lived exclusively inside my head for so long but having other people meet, enjoy and talk about their company triggers a feeling like no other.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

Maybe …

How do you react to a bad review?

Sadly, bad reviews are perhaps inevitable but it doesn’t stop them hurting! Obviously not everyone is going to like your book, which is completely fine, you just have to find a way of hardening yourself to them!

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book?

I can’t really think of one particular song, but I have put together a playlist of songs I listened to whilst writing the book. You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/Zr6l9U

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Can I give two instead? Firstly, read as widely as you can – not exclusively stuff from the genre you write in. I’m not just talking about fiction either; blogs, newspaper articles, pamphlets, menus, billboards, DVD boxes, E-mails, all can be sources of great writing – you need to absorb as much of it as you can! Secondly, get involved with the larger writing community. With social networking it’s never been easier and most writers really are wonderfully supportive. I’ve found talking to fellow book/writing types incredibly helpful so, please, get involved; my twitter handle is @JackCroxall – if you’re interested, add me for a chat!

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

Because there is so much more at stake than the central characters realise!

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Tethers Cover
In the wake of a cold Victorian winter, two teenagers discover an anonymous journal filled with strange passages and bizarre scribblings.

The journal soon draws them into a covert and sinister conspiracy, a conspiracy centred around an otherworldly artefact with the power to change everything …

Karl and Esther have spent almost every day of their thirteen years in the quiet market town of Shraye. Stifled by their rural surroundings and frustrated by their unfulfilled ambitions, they find the allure of the journal’s mysterious pages impossible to ignore. The book seems to be beckoning them away from Shraye, away from their homes and towards the coast where an unsolved disappearance has set in motion a dark chain of events.

The voyage the teenagers soon find themselves undertaking is one of desperate importance and true peril; it will change the way they see the world, and each other, forever.

Reviewers’ Comments:

The story begins with a break away from home that is reminiscent of the exploration stories of Enid Blyton and Arthur Ransome, the kids find themselves on a metaphorical rollercoaster cart racing down the tracks. And the brakes are off. Sword fights, pistols, unfortunate deaths and curious objects, the plot thickens with every twist and turn. Suddenly Blyton meets H.G. Wells, and a brilliantly paced steampunk tale of machinery and science-based magic unfolds. (Charlotte Morris – MuggleNet)

Somewhere between Pullman’s Sally Lockhart mysteries and Moonfleet sits Tethers, a rip-roaring debut novel. Sharply written with well observed characters that you can root for, Tethers has you turning pages faster that Ronald MacDonald can throw out burgers. (Sharon Sant – author of the Sky Song trilogy).

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Add on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/13JaDq1

Buy the book

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/WRf4vI

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/12ozq7Q

Connect with the Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackCroxall
Website/Blog: http://jackcroxall.co.uk/
Goodreads profile: http://bit.ly/11UOYPf