IAM15 Interview…Tony Talbot

    Thanks to everyone for taking part in Indie Month 2015!

Hope to see you next year…

IAM 2015 - Topper

To round out Indie Month, we’re talking to AfW regular Tony Talbot



Tony Talbot started writing short stories in 2008, after a dream he had and couldn’t shake; Finally his wife told him to write it down or stop talking about it.

He wrote his first Young Adult novel, Over the Mountain, in 2008, and has completed several others and a growing raft of short stories since.

He lives in a village in Leicestershire, UK, with an American wife he met online and two cats. As well as writing, he enjoys reading, playing on the Wii-U and not getting enough exercise.



What is you favourite way to spend a rainy day?

Listening to it and watching it from somewhere dry. I love a good rainstorm.

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

Forward a week so I can sell it to myself on Ebay. 🙂

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?

A laptop, A Kindle with a solar charger and a good internet connection. And an endless supply of Jelly Beans.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

Oh, so many! To Kill a Mockingbird is just sublime, as good as it gets.

How do you react to a bad review?

Sulk for weeks. Tear my hair out. Then go and write something else. You’re never going to please everyone, so if most people like it, you’re on to something.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

Mostly it was shock! “They liked it! I’m getting paid for doing this, can you believe it?”

One food you would never eat?

Broccoli. It’s just not right, and I don’t trust it one bit. I always feel like it’s judging me.

What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

Having reviewers saying that something made them cry, or carried them away to another world for a while. That’s pretty amazing.

What was your favorite book when you were younger?

Bedknob and Broomstick by Mary Norton. I adored that book, and I still have a copy.

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

Never give up. And always put everything you have into everything you write.

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?

I’d love to be right at the place and time where we know, without a doubt, that aliens are communicating with us. To look into the sky that night, point at a white dot among the millions and say, “There they are.”

What is your favorite Quote?

Currently, not one from a book, but from a maintenance plate on an elevator / lift: Keep well oiled to ensure satisfaction.

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

A librarian for a while. An undertaker (I thought: it’s great job security!). It was always something always bookish and indoors-y.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?

Wil Wheaton. He’s about four days older than me, so the age is right for a start. He’s a great actor, very under used talent. I think he could pull off playing the Shining Light that is Me. 😉

Who are your favorite authors of all time?

Dean Koontz for seeing the tragedies of the world with humour; Stephen King for seeing the horror that lurks inside normal people; Charles Dickens for his characterisation.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

Oh, all of them are parts of me, the good bits and the bad. The lovers of rainstorms and the socially awkward teenagers.

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

There was a photo essay the other week in “The Atlantic” – they have a cool photo section – and it was people who dress as zombies and then go and parade through cities. I thought: What about if real zombies were in there as well and no one noticed – they all thought they were REALLY good at staying in character while they ate people’s brains…And how would the cops know who to take down or arrest?

Hidden talent?

Double jointed thumbs – both of them. It’s a little freaky.

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?

Star Wars Episode VII. It’s going to be BIG.

Cats or Dog?

I have two cats now, so I’m heading towards cats on this one…

Apples or Oranges?

Oranges if they don’t have pips. Apples if they aren’t too mushy.

Cause or Effect?

Oh, effects. They’re much more fun, aren’t they?

Heads or Tails?

Heads. Always heads.

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook. Twitter is a strange, truncated world…

Truth or Dare?

Truth. Or maybe dare. Is there a third option?

Text or Talk?

Talk. I can’t get the hang of text speak…

Favorite quote from a movie?

“Why is the rum gone?!” Captain Jack Sparrow.


Guest Post: Short Stories 101

I was emailing an Australian friend the other day (Anna Hub). She’s written four novels and just finished a fifth (The Ninth Hunter, well worth looking for when it comes out). But…she’s not sure where to start with short stories.

Most writers start with short stories and progress to novels, so it’s curious to see it the other way round…

“Bigger” (54 words)

“Mick? Did you hear that?” Elbows him awake.
“Something downstairs.”
“Bloody cat.”
“No. It sounded bigger.”
“Bloody dog then.”
“No! Bigger.”
“Bloody kids.”
“Yeah. Lots bigger.”
Mick purses lips. “Burglar?”
Eyes wide. “Yeah.”
“Big burglar?”
“Then he can take the bloody cat, bloody dog and bloody kids. Goodnight!”

 …the trick with short stories is to use your reader’s knowledge of the world to your advantage. I didn’t need to say these two are in bed and asleep when the story starts; I didn’t need to say it’s most likely the middle of the night (Most burglars don’t work afternoons, after all). “Elbows him awake” takes care of most of that in three words. Mick has a name, but his partner doesn’t. Trim the fat and leave what you need.

Short stories don’t need to be that short either. Technically, anything under 20,000 words is ‘a short story’, so you have a lot of room to move around in. Most of mine come to between 1500 and 3000 words, for example.

The real fun with short stories is to take what the readers assume and find a way to twist the end. So a short story about a man exploring an alien world turns out to be a robot exploring earth, for instance. Or drop in a humorous spin, like “Bigger”.

Here a great one from science fiction master of the twist and short, Frederic Brown:

“Earth was dead after the last atomic war. Nothing grew, nothing lived. The last man sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door…”

Everything you need is right there. We know who the story is about, we know the world he lives in, and there’s even a hook for suspense. Twenty seven words to create a world and tell a story.

Shorter than that? Here’s a (possibly apocryphal) story from Ernest Hemingway:

“For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”

Short stories are a great way of perfecting the art of keeping the bits you don’t need out of your novels as well. Sharpen your skills on them and it will always serve you well.

(Reblogged from Musings: The Blog of Tony Talbot)


Where can we find you?

Find me online at Amazon, @authortony, http://www.tony-talbot.co.uk – or drop by for a chat at Goodreads.

Thanks for taking part in Indie Month, Tony!

IAM 15 Guest post…Annabelle Franklin

 IAM 2015 - Topper

Today we’re talking to Annabelle Franklin about…


The Slapstyx

The Slapstyx features psychic twins Georgie and Gem whose stepfather works for dodgy businessman Zachary Zigstack. Greedy Zigstack has teamed up with disgusting Dr Quagley and his tribe of grubby goblins to make everyone buy his toxic cleaning product. This dreadful detergent is poisoning the world’s oceans, and the twins must use their magical skills to put an end to Zigstack’s dirty dealings before all the sea creatures are destroyed.



Annabelle Franklin is a children’s author living on Wales’s South Gower coast, in an area of outstanding natural beauty that could be a model for Fairyland. She has published two middle grade novels, Gateway to Magic and The Slapstyx, and her short story Mercy Dog appears in Unforgotten (Accent Press), an anthology themed around WW1. When not writing Annabelle helps rescue ex-racing sighthounds, two of which share her home.


Indie Interview

  • A genie grants you three writing-related wishes: what would you wish for and why?

A magic word to switch off my Inner Editor while I’m writing a first draft, another magic word to switch it on again when I’m ready to edit my work, and a fairy to take care of everything else in my life so I can concentrate on writing.

  • Describe your ideal writing space.

A luxury beach hut in the Maldives.

  • What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

Hearing that children are enjoying my stories. When I hear that a child has loved one of my books and laughed at the funny bits, I know I’ve done my job well.

  • Who is your favourite character from The Slapstyx, and why?

Zachary Zigstack. I have a grotesque sense of humour, and Zachary Zigstack is grotesque. I love it when my writing makes me laugh out loud.

  • What do you love about most about writing?

The opportunity to escape from reality and become a fictional character, especially if that character is a child. Much more fun than being grown up!


Where can we find you?

The Slapstyx can be found on Amazon at http://myBook.to/Slapstyx and Smashwords at http://bit.ly/1FQ3gnr .

Gateway to Magic can be found on Amazon at http://myBook.to/G2M

Amazon author page http://Author.to/AFranklin

Smashwords author page https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/StarFireMagic

Blog http://annabellefranklinauthor.wordpress.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Annabelle-Franklin-Author/1474449249481609

Twitter https://twitter.com/Anabel1Franklin

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6904737.Annabelle_Franklin

Thanks for taking part in Indie Month, Annabelle!

IAM15 Guest Post…Patrick Hodges

IAM 2015 - Topper

Today we’re talking to Patrick Hodges about…



Joshua’s Island

Joshua is small for his age. He has been bullied relentlessly for years, and all of his friends have drifted away from him. Eve is a pretty girl who has just been recruited into the popular clique. The two couldn’t be more different.
As they begin their final year of middle school, the unlikely pair find themselves partners in Science class. At first reluctant to work with him, Eve soon discovers hidden truths about not only Joshua but their school that turn her world upside-down.
The two form a relationship that will teach them both the true meaning of friendship, loyalty, and love… a relationship that will end up changing not only their lives, but the entire complexion of their school.



I currently live in Arizona with my wife, Vaneza. After years of writing for several different entertainment-related blogs, I am making my first forays into fiction.


  • A genie grants you three writing-related wishes: what would you wish for and why?

First, to never run out of ideas, so that I can write for the rest of my life. Second, to touch as many people’s lives as possible, because that’s the main reason I write in the first place. And third, to be remembered long after I’ve departed this Earth, because that’s really all I can leave behind.

  • What is the one book you think everyone should read?

This will sound egotistical, but I think everyone should read my book “Joshua’s Island.” It is about bullying, a subject about which I feel very strongly. Many times, the signs of bullying are missed, and this book can give both parents and teachers visual clues that lay below the surface. But more than that, it shows how basic things like friendship and unity are sometimes all it takes to defeat bullying once and for all, and what terrible things can happen when kids are too afraid to get involved.

But if I have to choose one book NOT written by me, I would say “Watership Down” by Richard Adams.

  • What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works?

I am very close to releasing my second book, “Ethan’s Secret,” which is a sequel to “Joshua’s Island.” It will take place three years later, and will incorporate some of the same characters. However, it is its own story, and will stand on its own quite well. It is a much broader story than “Joshua’s Island,” incorporating several subplots, involving more characters, and will have a lot more mystery and intrigue.

  • What inspired you to want to become a writer?

It kind of just happened. In early 2014, I was reminiscing about my middle-school years – which were not ALL bad, despite the bullying I received – and I started to fantasize about what changes I would have made if I’d been in complete control of my own destiny. How would I defeat the bullies and take back my life? Well, a year later, my book was on Amazon. It felt so good to tell the story, as it helped me deal with the feelings I’d kept inside for three decades. And now that I know that I can not only write, but entertain at the same time, I may never stop.

  • What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

I have made the acquaintance of dozens of authors just like myself, wonderful people who are just like me: creative, and with a story to tell that they want to share with the world. So many of them have been immensely helpful, and so many of them will go to the mat for you. And I will do the same for them. These are friendships that I hope last for years, even if I never meet them in person!

  • Who is your favourite character from Joshua’s Island and why?

My favorite character from “Joshua’s Island” is definitely ten-year-old Kelsey. She’s tough, fearless, fiercely loyal to her friends and willing to take whatever risks she has to in order to right a terrible wrong. Despite her tender age, she is a character that I hope many kids can identify with.  I love her so much, my second book, “Ethan’s Secret,” is centered on Kelsey, three years later. She deserved her own story, and now she has one.

  • What do you love about most about writing?

More than anything, I get to be ME. I get to tell stories that are uniquely mine, hopefully stories that people will enjoy for years to come. There’s no greater feeling than that.


Where can we find you?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Joshuas-Island-Revised-Patrick-Hodges-ebook/dp/B00R3KEKGU

Thanks for taking part in Indie Month, Patrick!

IAM15 Guest post…Lenita Sheridan

IAM 2015 - Topper

Today we’re talking to Lenita Sheridan about…



Guardian of the Gauntlet

When sisters, Princesses Camari and Mila, meet Prince Denir, they soon find he has a special gauntlet. This gauntlet only works if one has faith in a higher power. Using this gauntlet, Denir turns Camari invisible. When he is called off to war, Camari is left in the predicament of being invisible. She must learn not only how to turn herself visible again, but to outwit two wicked characters…



Lenita Sheridan was born in Seattle, Washington. She moved to Fairbanks, Alaska with her parents when she was three. The Alaskan woods were her playground while she was growing up. In her twenties, she moved back to Washington and, after Guardian of the Gauntlet was started, entered graduate school at the University of Washington where she received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.


Indie Interview

  • A genie grants you three writing-related wishes: what would you wish for and why?

I would wish first for more time in the week. Second, I would wish for a colleague or partner who could proofread my work. Third, I would wish for a secretary I could afford who could read my writing and type up my work on the computer.

  • Describe your ideal writing space.

The house would be totally clean. I would be curled up on the couch with my writing. My dog would be in “her” chair. It would be at night.

  • What is the one book you think everyone should read?

Yes, The Chronicles of Narnia. It has a lot of symbolism in it.

  • How do you react to a bad review?

I’d prefer a bad review to someone who takes my work and discusses it on the internet without mentioning my name. Bad reviews don’t bother me, but I often take them with a grain of salt. Most of the ones I’ve gotten were not learning experiences, but not that bad, either.

  • How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

(I didn’t)

  • What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works?

I am working on Book III in the Guardian of the Gauntlet trilogy.

  • What inspired you to want to become a writer?

My fifth grade teacher inspired me to write. She had us writing compositions. I wrote a science fiction book.

  • What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

Having people I don’t even know buy my book.

  • Who is your favourite character from Guardian of the Gauntlet and why?

I like Isryk. He’s in love with Camari for the first two books I’ve written so far. He’s rather a sweet guy.

  • What do you love about most about writing?

I like being able to make things up out of my imagination.


Where can we find you?




Thanks for taking part in Indie month, Lenita!

IAM15 Guest Post…Aimee McNeil

IAM 2015 - Topper

Today we’re talking to Aimee McNeil about…



Alluring Song

Raised in seclusion, Lorelei is suddenly taken forcibly from the only place she has ever known. Her captors, led by a man named Crewe, become enamored of the fair Lorelei, except the warrior Ajax. Suspicions lead him to act upon deep-rooted instinct. Lorelei can feel his distaste for her, while she struggles against the confusing feelings he stirs within her. Everything about Ajax appeals to her, while he seems intent on causing her harm. But when Lorelei is taken from Ajax’s grasp, and her life is threatened, he realizes he will stop at nothing to save her, even if it is at the risk of his own life…

Lorelei finds herself in the middle of a struggle for power. She must face the truth of her creation, confront the powers that seek her, and face the new world that has forever changed from the protective walls of her forest. The dangers that surround her have been in play long before Lorelei was born, but they have been awaiting her arrival. Lorelei will also discover something that gives her the strength to face all that confronts her, her heart holding the key.


aimee mcneil

Aimee McNeil was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, where she continues to live today with her husband and three children.

Alluring Song is her first novel, which she presented to the world after a lifetime of dreaming. Aimee writes fantasy because she does not like to be confined within the boundaries of reality. Other interests include reading, painting, and enjoying every moment with her family.


 Tell us about your writing journey (so far!)

For as long as I can remember I have always had a love for the written word, I have always been fascinated by how much power a mere handful of words can have over our emotions and our lives.

Writing has always been a strong part of who I am. I have always taken comfort in writing down ideas for plots, characters, and potential scenarios because it has always felt natural. Though, it was not until the beginning of the current year that I actively pursued publishing my work. It has always been a desire of mine to see my work brought to completion and have it available for readers to enjoy.

I became a mother at a young age and my priorities changed to accommodate the needs of my child. For the longest time my writing was only a past-time. When I had a moment to myself between school, work and my wonderful daughter, I would excitedly entertain the constant stream of creative thoughts that never faded.

Over the years my family has grown and I am now a mother of three. I began to realize that there was always going to be a million other things that called my attention away from writing. We all wear many hats in life and most of the time we are spread very thin. The key was finding balance, to ensure that I make the necessary steps to nurture the part of me that is so passionate about writing. Writing gives me a sense of utter fulfillment. I needed to look past that lingering doubt because I know I can never be successful if I don’t face failure.

Before beginning my journey to publishing I did not know anyone in the industry. I tried sending my submission to every publisher that accepted my genre. Painstakingly taking the time to put it in the exact format they requested, only to have absolutely no response from anyone. I caught on pretty quickly that it was not the best option for me. That is when I decided that self-publishing was a way for me to be in control of the future of my book and keep the process moving forward.

I began putting myself out there and found some amazing people in the industry that have offered invaluable guidance and support. I have made some wonderful connections that I hope only grow as I continue forward as an author. Though it has been a struggle trying to navigate through the unknowns of publishing a book, a task that I believe poses its challenges for every author, the knowledge and experience that I have gained along the way has been so rewarding.

I love to write fantasy because I love to create an escape from reality, conceive a world where magic is infused with life, and nothing is impossible.

My debut novel, Alluring Song, is a fantasy that crosses several genre lines. Containing strong elements of romance, high fantasy and horror blended into one. A book, I am very proud and excited to release to the world. I would rather face rejection and know that I have tried, than live with regret.


Indie Interview

  • A genie grants you three writing-related wishes: what would you wish for and why?

Time! The genie wouldn’t even be out of his lamp and I would be shouting it! My first wish would definitely be time. There are never enough hours in the day to do it all. Some days will pass me by and I haven’t had the opportunity sit down in front of my computer and make progress on my writing.

My second wish would be to meet the people in person that have helped me on my journey to becoming a published author. With the convenience of online communication, it is so easy to connect with people in different places all over the world. Though, I would love opportunity to thank them face to face for all their wonderful help!

The last wish I would want to hold onto for a later date. It’s always good to have a spare wish just to be safe!

  • Describe your ideal writing space.

My ideal writing space is anywhere that is quiet. The calmer my surroundings, the more active my imagination becomes. I am so focused on my work that it doesn’t really matter what my surroundings are. Though, sitting on a beach somewhere, under a big umbrella would be inspiring!

  • What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works? 

I have already begun my next book. The storyline started to formulate on its own despite the distractions of being in the throes of publishing my first book, Alluring Song. I’ve learned long ago just to roll with where my imagination takes me, and let the story come out!

  • What inspired you to want to become a writer?

I don’t recall anything specific that inspired me to become a writer. I have always been drawn to the arts, and appreciated the beauty of creativity. Writing is art with words. It is amazing what we can accomplish, the impact we can have, and the emotions we can inspire with only words. Writing is a natural love of mine.

  • Who is your favourite character from Alluring Song and why?

It would be extremely hard to pick a favorite! I honestly don’t know if I could. I spend so much time with my characters as I develop my story that I have a connection with each one of them, even the dark characters. They all are important components in the overall scheme of things.

  • What do you love about most about writing? 

Wow … What do I love the most … What don’t I like? I love creating a story that starts with a single thought or scene that will come to me out of nowhere. I love playing with words until it projects what thoughts I am trying to portray. I love the idea of someone reading my story to see how they perceive it. I love the idea of creating something that can impact and inspire others. I love it all, even the many challenges of marketing and creating a name for myself in this industry, because it all plays a part in finding success in the art of writing!


Where can we find you?








 Thanks for taking part in Indie Month, Aimee!

IAM15 Interview…Vanessa Morgan

IAM 2015 - TopperToday’s guest is author Vanessa Morgan. A lady of many talents, she is an author, screenwriter, and blogger. Two of her works, The Strangers Outside and A Good Man, have been turned into films. Her short film script Next to Her is currently in pre-production. When she’s not working on her latest book, you can find her reading, watching horror movies, digging through flea markets, or photographing felines for her blog Traveling Cats (http://travelling-cats.blogspot.com). Avalon (the cat) has appeared in several of her books and films.

We’re pleased to be interviewing Vanessa today for Indie Author Month – so let’s find out more about her and her work!


What is you favorite way to spend a rainy day? In bed, with a cup of hot tea, a cat, a blanket, and a scented candle.


What is something people would be surprised to know about you? Most people see me as someone confident who knows what she’s doing. They would be surprised to see that I’m actually insecure and shy.


You’ve found a time machine on your driveway this morning – where are you going to go in it? I’d go a few years back in time to be with Avalon my cat who passed away in July 2013.


If you could have any superpower, what would you choose? I’d like to cure sick animals and bring the deceased ones back to life.


Night owl or early bird? I’m an early bird. I need a fixed schedule to be able to work and write effectively, and the best times to concentrate are during the day.


One food you would never eat? Meat.


Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. Because cat lovers will laugh and cry, and they will love their cats even more after reading Avalon.


What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works? I’m currently editing a book on animal attack movies. It’s a project for which different movie aficionados from all over the world will write an essay about their favorite film in this sub-genre. The writers are a mix between film historians, bloggers, horror fiction writers, authors of movie reference guides, film festival organizers, film critics, actors, screenwriters, and directors. The book will be released later this year.


What inspired you to want to become a writer? Seeing As I Lay Dying on stage in London. I wouldn’t be an author without it.


Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book? Kenji Kawai’s theme song from the movie Avalon.


If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why? I asked my friends and everyone agreed on Naomi Watts.


Cats or Dogs? I can appreciate any type of animal, but I like the quiet attitude of cats.


Facebook or Twitter? Right now, I’m more into Twitter, because my posts reach a wider audience than on Facebook and it’s also easier to share books from fellow authors.


Truth or Dare? Truth.


avalonSome cats need nine lives to make a difference. Avalon only needed one.

From Amazon bestselling author Vanessa Morgan, Avalon is the heartwarming and once-in-a-lifetime love story of a girl and her neurotic Turkish Van cat.

With humor, the author details how Avalon made other creatures cringe in distress whenever he was around, how he threw her dates out by means of special techniques, and how he rendered it almost impossible for her to leave the house. Avalon was so incorrigible that even her landlord ordered her to get rid of him. But beneath Avalon’s demonic boisterousness, Vanessa recognized her own flaws and insecurities, and she understood that abandoning Avalon would be the worst she could do to him. Thanks to her unswerving loyalty, Avalon transformed into a tender feline, and even landed a major role in a horror movie. In turn, Avalon made it his mission to be there for his human companion.

By turns jubilant and deeply moving, Avalon is a memoir for anyone who has ever been obsessively in love with a pet.


Want to know more? Check out the links!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vanessa-Morgan/50159391888

Twitter: http://twitter.com/eeriestories

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/follow/eeriestories

Google+: https://plus.google.com/111498119214855356614/posts

Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/vanessa-morgan-4135473

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Vanessa-Morgan/

Blog: http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.com

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2890032.Vanessa_Morgan


Purchase links for ‘Avalon’

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1FTC8Ep

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1ImdPRo

Amazon.fr: http://amzn.to/1JTGIF2


IAM Interview with…DJ Swykert

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author for Indie Month today is author DJ Swykert, a former 911 operator…Check out the intriguing blurb for his latest book here and then find out more about the man himself in one of our quick-fire Gimme 10 interviews.


The Death Of Anyone

The Death of Anyone, Melange Books, March 2013, is a fictional story of Detroit Homicide Detective, Bonnie Benham, who convinces the District Attorney to allow a Familial DNA search as she investigates the murder of several young girls. The book reveals standard investigative homicide procedures and the frustration of the officers as all leads go nowhere and the body count continues to mount. A task force is put together and Bonnie and her partner, Neil Jensen, who understands Bonnie’s frustration, become inseparable as they track this killer of children.


Author, DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, Alpha Wolves, The Death of Anyone and The Pool Boy’s Beatitude. You can find him at: www.magicmasterminds.com/djswykert. He is a wolf expert.



DJ Skwyert

DJ’s Gimme 10 interview…answer each question in 10 words or less – that’s what makes it tough but fun!

  1. Where do you find your inspiration? Observations of the drama of everyday life around us.

What is your favourite aspect of The Death of AnyoneIt has multiple themes and conflicts to be resolved.

Who is your favourite character from The Death of Anyone and why? Jack Joseph, he resolves his conflict and finds real love.

What are you working on now? Romance between older soldier/cop and younger suicidal woman.

What do you love about most about writing? Unlike real life, I decide how it ends.


IAM Interview with…Dyane Forde

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Today we welcome Canadian author Dyane Forde to the blog, for an interview and to hear about her books.


 Wolf's Bane


Dyane FordeDyane Forde’s love of writing began with an early interest in reading and of words in general. She was always amazed at how linking words together in different ways had unexpected and pleasing results. People enjoyed what she created! This sparked a life-long desire to write all types of things, from short stories, novels, flash fiction, poetry…she enjoys trying genres and forms of writing which are different from what she’s used to; every story or book represents new joys and challenges. Dyane views writing as an amazing and intimate communication tool, meaning that it becomes a means through which she seeks to connect with others on a level deeper than intellect.

Dyane is a social worker by profession. Learning to see the world through other people’s eyes as well as sharing in their pain has influenced and enriched her as a person, as well as her writing. She is also a wife, and mother to two children, a cat named JackJack and a dog named Sparky.

She can be reached at her writing blog at www.droppedpebbles.wordpress.com, where her other writing projects, and information and samples of her upcoming books can be found. Please write! Dyane loves to hear from her readers.


1) What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I love anime and Asian movies. I enjoy their unique method of telling stories through solid (and often complex) character arcs and stupendous imagery; they take risks which mean you either get on board for the ride or miss out. I think I connect with anime in particular because I feel that they show stories the way I see them in my head, something I’ve never really seen anywhere else. So, I’m hooked.

2) How do you react to a bad review?

With fear and trembling and a dip in confidence. It sometimes takes a few days to get over, but eventually I do and then get back to writing with new focus or perspective

3) Which authors have influenced you most, and how?

I read Lord of the Rings when I was 12 and that book blew my mind. However, The Silmarillion is my all-time favorite. Though I don’t write that kind of fantasy, the sense of wonder, magic, and drama are elements I hope to capture in my stories, whether in fantasy or some other genre. Hemingway was another writer I loved for his minimalistic style. I emulated it for years, and though my style has changed over time, I still work hard to keep my work uncluttered and focused. The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness, told in first-person point of view in present tense, also had a big impact on me. The sense of immediacy and intimacy created by the combination of the POV and the tense helped me figure out how to add a layer of depth and feeling to my own writing so that my characters ‘feel’ like real people. Lastly, Margaret Atwood, my fellow Canadian, is my role model. She’s a fantastic writer and she can and does write anything. She’s gripping, funny, sarcastic and witty and she has a writing legacy that spans generations and countries. Her book Surfacing just gutted me, and The Edible Woman was a wonderful and humorous commentary on society and gender roles.

4) How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

lol Well, my parents bought the first books, but they were so proud and happy that, of course, I felt great. Any sale after that was just a blessing.

5) Night owl or early bird?

I love to sleep in, but not for long or too much of the day is gone. When you’re a mom and working and writing, you need to grasp at every second of the day you can.

6) One food you would never eat?

Lol Only one? Lima beans, liver, eggplant, oysters, really spicy food…

7) Your most unusual or random habit?

I like to twist my hair. It’s a habit I gave to Nyssa, the female protagonist in The Purple Morrow.

8) What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works?

I’m currently revising Wolf’s Bane, book two of the Rise of the Papilion series, and book 3, Berserker, is in mid-production. I have a slew of short stories and flash fiction on my blog portfolio and a few novels-in-progress on the back burner. Most of my books are in the fantasy genre but my short stories are a mix of various genres and styles.

9) What inspired you to want to become a writer?

I love crafting stories, and using words to create something memorable and unique while giving readers an unforgettable experience. It’s great to know that there are people out there looking forward to my next story or book excerpt.

10) What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

The feedback. It’s always amazing to hear that people who don’t usually read fantasy really enjoyed The Purple Morrow because the world-building and the characters engrossed them to the point they forgot about the genre and allowed themselves to experience the story as it unfolded.

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

The world of Middle Earth in the Silmarillion era–but only as an observer since everyone who lived in those stories was miserable or endured some pretty crummy circumstances!

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

There’s this song by Deadly Avenger called Outro, and every time I hear it I can envision the book (movie) trailer for Morrow in my head. It’s a fantastic song.

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

Two things, actually: 1) Don’t expect writing quality pieces to come easily– perseverance is the key. Achieving powerful writing takes time and lots of practice, so expect to rewrite over and over again. And again. 2) Learn to love to edit. Learning to find and correct your own mistakes only makes you a better writer, and a good edit is essential to making your final vision a success.


TPMCoverThe Rovers were sent to decimate the Southernlands. Instead, they awoke its savior.

Ten years have passed since the Rover army tore through the Southernlands, leaving behind a trail of devastation and death. Most believed the attacks were random acts of brutality. The wise, however, knew the truth: the Rovers sought to destroy the one thing powerful enough to thwart their conquest. They were searching for the Papilion.

A new commander, bent on completing the mission left unfinished by his predecessors, leads the Rovers back into the Southernlands. Fierce and determined, he comes armed with a precious artifact and a secret purpose.

While the Southernlands reel under the new terror, the Purple Morrow, a harbinger of hope, appears to Jeru, an unsuspecting and solitary clan hunter. Finding himself enmeshed in a series of incredible events beyond his control, Jeru is compelled to take the first steps towards discovering his ultimate destiny.


Want to know more? Check out the links!

Dyane Forde, author of The Purple Morrow

Blog: www.droppedpebbles.wordpress.com

Twitter @PurpleMorrow

Google G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DyaneForde/about

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DyaneWriter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340969.Dyane_Forde

Amazon Author Page:http://www.amazon.com/Dyane-Forde/e/B00J8R81A2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=286343198


 Buy Links:

Amazon: The Purple Morrow

IAM Interview with…Anna Hub

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author for Indie Month today is Anna Hub, Australian author of Beyond the Shadows. Check out the intriguing blurb for the book here and then find out more about the lady herself in our author interview. There’s a review of “Beyond the Shadows” coming tomorrow.


Beyond_the_Shadows_Cover “A violent shudder travelled up my spine, each vertebrae snapping together like a zip lock, all my muscles tensed but I couldn’t tear myself away from the image …”

If your shadow was trying to consume you, how would you run from it?

What if you were afraid of something you could never escape?

Selena Parker’s journey into the unknown begins in her dreams, but the consequences are carried back into her conscious life and she soon realises paranormal forces are at work. Her shadow has become more than just an image, it is a gateway to a sinister new world where mysterious creatures roam and she is confronted by danger that challenges her will to survive.She finds the man whose fate is linked inexplicably to her own but she knows nothing of him and doubts his true nature. Her only option is to place her life in his hands while they search for a way to stop the shadows claiming them forever.


Which authors have influences you most and how?

I have to say Isobelle Carmody. When I was a kid, I struggled to get into books, until my sister gave me Isobelle’s first book – Obernewtyn. I fell in love with it, and from that point on I realised the magic and wonder that could live inside the pages. Obernewtyn pulled me into a world filled with adventure and magic – I guess I never really came back.

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

I listened to a lot of Bat for Lashes, in particular the Two Suns album, while I was working on the Shadow Series. It’s gentle enough to work in the background, but it also has a mystical quality. It created the perfect mood.

What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

I was invited to a local highschool to give a presentation on writing. I’m definitely not a natural public speaker, and to begin with the thought of it horrified me, but it’s the things that challenge us the most which reward us the most. Standing in front of that class was pretty surreal, one of those moments where you have to ask yourself if this is really happening to you.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

Absolutely. I used to be embarrassed when people told me they could see me in my characters. Now I’ve realised it’s pretty much impossible to keep yourself out of them. You can only write what you know. My characters are a combination of who I am, what I see, and what I wish I could be.

How do you react to a bad review?

I was absolutely terrified of receiving my first bad review. I was afraid it would make me hate my writing too much to ever go back. To be honest it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t great, but surprisingly it actually inspired me to work harder. It made me realise where my weaknesses were and it gave me something to prove – that I can do better. Now I use bad reviews to motivate me.

What the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Once you release something you’ve created, it’s already in your past. It’s no longer a true representation of your skills or knowledge. Don’t get caught up in the imperfections, by the time someone criticises it, you’re already better at it.

What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works?

After releasing a four part series I wanted to work on a standalone project. I thought a short one to two year project might be nice!

My current WIP is set in a dark world where people are haunted by ghosts of themselves – ghosts of the living. The main character, Daniel, is a hunter trained to destroy these ghosts before they can take over their hosts and spread their curse.

It’s a little darker than the Shadow Series, there are definitely some creepy vibes in there, but I’d like to keep it accessible to people who don’t venture too deep into the realm of paranormal. I’m still on the first draft but if everything goes to plan, I’ll be releasing it later this year.

Your most unusual or random habit?

I’m not sure why, but I can’t eat everything on my plate. It’s ridiculous. If I have a bowl of ravioli, I have to leave at least one piece behind. It’s like that one little bit tips me into the dark abyss of psychological fullness. Weird right?

Hidden talent?

I can pick the perfect avocado, every time, without fail! It’s definitely a superpower.

Favourite quote from a movie?

Oh lord, how do I pick? I’m a quote lover. I’m going to go with, “We’re all mad here.” From Alice in Wonderland. It applies quite nicely to most of the writing community hehehe. There was a time when I hated my overactive mind, now it’s my favourite thing about myself! Embrace the madness!

Tell us about yourself. 

When I was a child I wanted to be an author, it seemed like a perfectly attainable dream to me then, but of course I grew up and realised that writing was not the best way to make a future for myself. So I discarded the idea and decided to do something normal.

When I studied nursing I thought I’d found a place for myself, but within six months of working in that field I knew I needed more. So in July 2007 I bought myself a lap top and started writing in my spare time. It took me two years to complete my first book and by the time it was finished I felt as though I’d learnt enough to pursue the dream.

My love for writing has grown rapidly since then and now I know that it’s something I can’t live without. It’s a place where there is no limit, no exact destination and my mind is free to exist in many worlds.

It’s a beautiful sanctuary.


Facebook: www.facebook.com/annahubbooks

Website: www.AnnaHubBooks.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/annahubbooks

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Anna-Hub/e/B00CKG56TM

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6913627.Anna_Hub  

Blog: www.annahub.wordpress.com

IAM Interview with…Mike Ronny

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author for Indie Month today is Mike Ronny, author of Stalkers Drink Free. Check out the intriguing blurb for the book here and then find out more about the man behind the words in our spotlight author interview.


092412 MR Stalkers CoverStalkers Drink Free

Like all aspiring stand-up comics, John Izor’s used to tough crowds and hecklers. But a deranged fan who wants to kill him? Open-mike nights just got a lot scarier.


How do you react to a bad review?

I haven’t gotten all that many reviews yet, good or bad, but I think the key to dealing with bad reviews is preparing yourself ahead of time. Accept that negative opinions from readers are a part of the process. And when you finish a story, spend a few minutes trying to imagine the worst things people could possibly say about it. Then, when a bad review does come, it might not seem as bad. Getting together with a group of writer friends to share experiences with bad reviews is another way to take the sting out of the experience.

Bad reviews are also less painful when you truly believe in your work. Now, believing in your work doesn’t mean you think your writing is perfect. It means feeling that your story is enjoyable and meaningful, and that it represents your best efforts at the time you wrote it.

Night owl or early bird?

I’m certainly an early bird. I enjoy being up late at night once in a while, but my brain is definitely the most active and the most creative early on. Sunrise is my favorite time of day, in fact – everything’s shining and nothing has gone wrong yet.

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

For many years, starting when I was little, I wanted to be a stand-up comedian. As a kid, watching comics like Bill Cosby and Steve Martin on TV, and renting their videotapes, I found it unbelievable that there were people who got paid just to make other people laugh. I actually performed in a few dozen comedy shows in the Boston area from 2003 to 2006. But I eventually came to peace with the fact that the profession wasn’t for me, partly because of my answer to the previous question.

How did you know you should become an author?

In late 2010 I read a newspaper article about the independent publishing craze, something I was pretty much unaware of prior to that. The whole concept seemed irresistible: by self-publishing short stories I could – hopefully – entertain people, make them laugh, provide them some escape on a bad day. And no rejection letters are involved!

Favorite quote from a movie?

My favorite movie quote comes from the end of Back to the Future Part III, when Marty McFly shows Doc Brown a piece of paper from the future that’s been erased – Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer is standing next to him – and Marty asks Doc what it means. The Doc says, “It means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one, both of you.” Doc Brown sounds so sincere when he says these lines that it always makes me believe for a moment that anything is possible.


Want to know more? Check out the links!

Goodreads profile: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6583803.Mike_Ronny

Twitter: @MattDemko1 (Matt Demko’s my real name.)