21 Oct 2014

Guest post “Why does an author write a certain book?” and “Conditions” by Christoph Fischer #asmsg

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Today I’m re-blogging my post on Dianne Harmann’s website  who asked me on her blog why I wrote Conditions timthumb


Christoph, why does an author write a certain book? Is it from personal experience, something that has always interested them, or something they’ve thought about?

That’s a very good question and particularly relevant to “Conditions” which is the first novel I wrote. As many first novels do – it reflects experiences and thoughts from my life. (Possibly too many, in fact, I cut a lot of paragraphs that had little to do with the story).Conditions Book by Christoph Fischer

In “Conditions” I wrote about a dispute over material issues at the time of a funeral. The significant personal experience leading to this topic was the death of my father 18 years ago. Friendly relatives advised us children to get an independent advisor on how to split the estate and create records of who got what etc. – as to prevent future arguments and resentment. The three of us declined the offer because we were too grief struck to care. However, I didn’t want to write a memoir or tell a story as it happened and so in my book I explore characters that do care and argue over material things at the time of a family bereavement. That scenario was much more interesting to explore exactly because it bears no resemblance to my own experience.

As much as I would like to be a writer with a specific brand, a successful repetitive formula and bestselling series, I need to be involved with the topics of my books in order to get to the end of a story and often switch genres, as the ‘muse’ takes me to different places:
I have written Historical novels that explored the life and times of my ancestors. I used what I knew about them and what I found out about the eras and places during my family research. Then I wrote a contemporary novel about Alzheimers’ Disease, which affects so many people these days. FunPhotoBox1142911044zyytrv

So, yes, all three apply to all of my books. Personal experiences inspire me but I need to have a strong interest in the subject that goes beyond anecdotal writing. Researching facts and working through the issues is important for me, too. Writing in that regard can be a learning curve for me and a mental process. A large portion of the editing process is dedicated to then make these heavy books more palatable.

Since my teens I’ve had friends or acquaintances who suffered with mental conditions, whether it be ‘regular depression’ or more obscure illnesses. Some were good friends, others I couldn’t relate to as well as I would have liked. However, those people kept popping up in my life and taught me a few things by sharing their thoughts and experiences with me. Observing them and witnessing some ‘naturals’ who knew intuitively just how to handle any type of ‘difficult’ people has always filled me with particular admiration and aspiration. Looking back now, I think it was always a given that my first novel would have mental health and being different as one of the main themes and that my characters would mostly be oddballs and ‘misfits’.

30 years ago many of these disorders were not diagnosed and people were branded as odd or as having ‘learning difficulties’. Nowadays we have labels, help systems and functioning treatment plans in place at least for some of them. I believe, however, that we all (myself included) still have a lot to learn about accepting and integrating ‘different’ into society, which is why I decided to publish “Conditions” instead of keeping it in a drawer. PhotoFunia-14075f83

I hope “Conditions” can help raise awareness and, as one kind reviewer phrased it, that it
“put a lovable face on a stigmatized group, and …[leaves reader]… feeling hopeful that with love, understanding, and proper medical care, mentally ill and autistic people can not only lead a full life, but enrich our world with their creative gifts.”

Thanks Christoph. Here’s some information about and links to his books:

The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)

In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 a romantic girl falls for a bookseller from Berlin. Greta Weissensteiner, daughter of a Jewish weaver, slowly settles in with the Winkelmeier clan just as the developments in Germany start to make waves in Europe and re-draws the visible and invisible borders. The political climate in the multifaceted cultural jigsaw puzzle of disintegrating Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and the families. The story follows them through the war with its predictable and also its unexpected turns and events and the equally hard times after.
But this is no ordinary romance; in fact it is not a romance at all, but a powerful, often sad, Holocaust story. What makes The Luck of the Weissensteiners so extraordinary is the chance to consider the many different people who were never in concentration camps, never in the military, yet who nonetheless had their own indelible Holocaust experiences. This is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck.

On Amazon:  http://smarturl.it/Weissensteiners THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS

On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/12Rnup8

On Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1bua395

Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/OtmyZh4Dmc/?autoplay=1

B&N  http://ow.ly/Btvas

Sebastian (Three Nations Trilogy Book 2)

Sebastian is the story of a young man who has his leg amputated before World War I. When his father is drafted to the war it falls on to him to run the family grocery store in Vienna, to grow into his responsibilities, bear loss and uncertainty and hopefully find love.
Sebastian Schreiber, his extended family, their friends and the store employees experience the ‘golden days’ of pre-war Vienna and the timed of the war and the end of the Monarchy while trying to make a living and to preserve what they hold dear.
Fischer convincingly describes life in Vienna during the war, how it affected the people in an otherwise safe and prosperous location, the beginning of the end for the Monarchy, the arrival of modern thoughts and trends, the Viennese class system and the end of an era.
As in the first part of the trilogy, “The Luck of The Weissensteiners” we are confronted again with themes of identity, Nationality and borders. The step back in time made from Book 1 and the change of location from Slovakia to Austria enables the reader to see the parallels and the differences deliberately out of the sequential order. This helps to see one not as the consequence of the other, but to experience them as the momentary reality as it must have felt for the people at the time.

On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TNTSeb
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pthHZ

On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pthNy 17834808

Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/95jvSpHf5a/

B&N http://ow.ly/Btvbw

The Black Eagle Inn (Three Nations Trilogy Book 3)

The Black Eagle Inn is an old established Restaurant and Farm business in the sleepy Bavarian countryside outside of Heimkirchen.  Childless Anna Hinterberger has fought hard to make it her own and keep it running through WWII. Religion and rivalry divide her family as one of her nephews, Markus has got her heart and another nephew, Lukas got her ear. Her husband Herbert is still missing and for the wider family life in post-war Germany also has some unexpected challenges in store.

Once again Fischer tells a family saga with war in the far background and weaves the political and religious into the personal. Being the third in the Three Nations Trilogy this book offers another perspective on war, its impact on people and the themes of nations and identity.

On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pAX3y

On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pAX8G

On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TBEI
Trailer: http://studio.stupeflix.com/v/mB2JZUuBaI/ 18468588

Time To Let Go:

Time to Let Go is a contemporary family drama set in Britain.
Following a traumatic incident at work Stewardess Hanna Korhonen decides to take time off work and leaves her home in London to spend quality time with her elderly parents in rural England. There she finds that neither can she run away from her problems, nor does her family provide the easy getaway place that she has hoped for. Her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and, while being confronted with the consequences of her issues at work, she and her entire family are forced to reassess their lives.
The book takes a close look at family dynamics and at human nature in a time of a crisis. Their challenges, individual and shared, take the Korhonens on a journey of self-discovery and redemption.

On Facebook: http://ow.ly/BtKtQ time-to-go-books2 big

On Goodreads:  http://ow.ly/BtKs7

On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TTLG


When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family.
The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside.
Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast.
Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.

On Facebook: http://ow.ly/C0ZqX

On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/CONDITIONSCFF

On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/C0Ziw

Short Biography: 023

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small hamlet, not far from Bath.  He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.

Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and The Black Eagle Inn in October 2013. In May 2014 he published his first contemporary novel “Time To Let Go” in May. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/

Blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer

Amazon: http://ow.ly/BtveY

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/christophffisch/

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106213860775307052243

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241333846

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl



– See more at: http://dianneharman.com/blog/happen-in-your-family/#comment-1011

17 Oct 2014

“Things aren’t always as they seem…” – a fantastic review of my new book “Conditions”

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I had the perfect start to my day when I found this ever so thoughtful and very kind review of “Conditions”. The endorsement comes from a talented writer and a woman with a background on social and behavioural sciences. Not that this should matter, since any praise and feedback is naturally welcome but read for yourself. 
Thank you Anna Burke and everyone for  your support and sharing the journey with me.
Here is the review:

Things aren’t always as they seem…We humans seem to love to name things, sort and tuck them neatly into categories. I get it. It’s a way for a busy, crowded brain to sift through and assimilate massive amounts of information in a reasonable amount of time. Can you imagine a world where every situation or event is taken on the face of it as a completely new and original one? It’s a kind of shorthand we use, an important and very basic capacity that lays the foundation for language and history and science and just getting through the day.

When it comes to people, we like to do the same thing. Despite that admonition not to judge a book by its cover, we often do just that. Peg people based on a superficial or incomplete understanding of who they are. For humans, labels, at best, convey something narrow and delimited about a particular aspect of an individual’s nature or status. That ‘shorthand’ strategy may not serve us quite so well.

All of this is a bit of a windup in order to place Christoph Fischer’s latest book, Conditions, in context. It’s an unassuming book that takes a thoughtful and intimate look at some very weighty subjects. One of those ‘slice of life’ stories, it captures interactions among a group of family and friends brought together by a key life event. In this case the death of the mother to Charles and Tony. The two brothers, struggling toward middle age, are central figures in the book. They couldn’t be more different, on the face of it. Tony is the successful responsible older brother, with a job, a mortgage, a wife and children. Charles, on the other hand, is a single man with a serious and persistent mental illness who, at times, is unable to even care for himself. Fischer’s book asks us to beware, however, of pigeon-holing these two brothers and tagging one as ‘normal’ and successful and the other as, well, less.

If labels are less than ideal when it comes to dealing with people, they’re even trickier when using them as a way to make sense out of the life and experience of persons with mental health conditions. Fischer doesn’t go there in his book. He sets aside the matter of naming Charles’ disorder, leaves it open-ended. I think that makes the man’s condition a far more interesting—less a mental patient and more a human being facing his own limitations and trying to understand those of others. Like his brother. One of the big hurdles someone with a severe mental illness faces is the social distance created by difference. By avoiding the use of labels, Fischer closes the social distance between the two brothers, especially when some of Tony’s life struggles are revealed. On some level he and his brother are the same—two men looking for ways to deal with the problems of living.

The book provides glimpses into the challenges placed upon a person with a mental illness—challenges that impinge on friends and family, too. The helpless feeling those around Charles experience, at times, is all too familiar to anyone with a friend or family member like Charles. The brief descriptions of Charles’ encounters with the mental health system speak for themselves. After thirty years in the social and behavioral sciences, it’s a disappointment to me that we know so little, and fail to use what we do know, to support individuals with mental illness. Charles, for all the challenges of his condition, is a lucky man. In most any big city, or big city jail, it’s not hard to find with those like Charles who are less fortunate.

Bravo to Christoph Fischer for writing this gently provocative book. This book is recommended for readers who enjoy family sagas and stories about humans trying to do their best to figure it all out.

Find the book

On Facebook: http://ow.ly/C0ZqX

On Amazon: http://smarturl.it/CONDITIONSCFF

On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/C0Ziw

Connect with Christoph 922159_10151345337037132_1303709604_o

Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/

Blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/


Amazon: http://ow.ly/BtveY

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/christophffisch/

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106213860775307052243

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241333846

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl

Conditions Book_marketing2-lrg

When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family. The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside. Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast. Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.

09 Jun 2014

Travis Luedke: Nightlife San Antonio – Review and Guest Post

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“The Nightlife San Antonio” by Travis Luedke is an excellent and gripping stand alone novel in his sensational and breath-taking Vampire series. SanAntonioMission (1)
On this occasion we step outside the regular cast and setting and focus close up and personal on two characters only (more or less): An amnesiac sexy female Vampire and her ambulance rescuer Adrian. She has been shot and almost dies but pulls through and he takes her into his home and gives her shelter there.
Adrian is a fantastic character with a military past and a dark psychological profile of his own. His house guest has a past yet to be discovered. While we are waiting to find out more about the attack on her and the connection to the Mexican Mafia, the two of them have plenty of hot and steamy sex. I am not normally a big fan of erotica but Luedke writes with a raw and honest style that is a breath of fresh air and makes the scenes realistic and powerful. The sexual tension is made even more gripping and intense by the constant ‘playing with fire’ that accompanies the sex with a vampire: the continuous temptation in her mind to bite him and kill him for all of his blood while he fights with his awareness of the danger combined with his inability or unwillingness to play it safe.
After “The Nightlife London” this is a perfectly timed interlude to the series formula. The book focusses on the bond forming between the two, especially once the memory comes back and the action takes off on a big scale.
Spiked with great one liners, fast paced writing, filth, sex and violence this is paranormal writing at its best. In an almost saturated market of Vampire novels the series stands out easily for its perfect blend of sex and violence.
Luedke’s characters are solid and manage to walk the thin line between serious and tongue-in-cheek, throw in some un-pc views (on sexual politics and sex) and tempt you to join them in their adrenaline fuelled and exciting lives.
This is every bit as good as “True Blood”‘s first season was to me. I sadly got bored with True Blood after two seasons, but there is no sign yet of me getting bored of The Nightlife.
A must read for fans of the genre.

The Book on your Amazon site

The Book on Goodreads

All Romance Books



Barnes and Noble


Guest post by author Travis Luedke:

In writing The Nightlife San Antonio, I was inspired by events in my life from 2005 through 2010, when I lived in Sonora Mexico, on the border of Arizona. At this time the border situation was red hot. By 2007, every week brought a new headline of the escalating drug war in the border towns that often spilled over onto U.S. soil.  Though our small town of Agua Prieta, Sonora didn’t see any major conflict, I noticed the camouflage-painted tanks cruising through the scrub brush in the countryside, patrolling the line. Yes, tanks, and camouflaged military soldiers with assault rifles. I had never seen this kind of thing in the U.S., actual military occupation. This was interesting, but the incident that really brought the border conflicts to my attention was the assassination of the Commandante of Agua Prieta, known as “Tacho.”
The Commandante, the chief of police, is like the sheriff of the municipality. I saw the Commandante’s Jeep after the shooting. The windows of Tacho’s vehicle had been reinforced with inch-thick bulletproof glass, and would have saved his life, if he could have closed the door. The bullet holes I saw were in the interior of the door.  He’d been standing in the open door of the Jeep when they attacked with automatic assault rifles. Tacho was killed in the parking lot of the police station, in broad daylight. Rumor was he’d been taking cartel payoffs for years, but, his cooperation wasn’t satisfactory anymore. The cartels had made a bold statement, an example, one of many cartel assassinations in those years.
Don’t fuck with the Mexican cartels, not if you value your life, or the lives of your family.
About a third of the Agua Prieta police force quit their jobs. New officers were brought in from all over Sonora. Most of the locals were too afraid to take the job. Police in border towns everywhere experienced tremendous pressure and constant threats.
The manhunt for Tacho’s killers went on for months, but the cartel assassins escaped and were never caught. This kind of violence against police and authorities hit both sides of the border, yet it was far worse in Texas and California. Arizona experienced only a fraction of the drug wars that Tijuana/San Diego and Ciudad Juarez/El Paso suffered.
The catalyst of this war was the new President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, who had made the cartels his number one target. Across Mexico and the U.S., joint task forces of DEA and Mexican federal military worked in concert to hunt down these powerful cartels. Their efforts may have slowed the flow of drugs, but certainly didn’t stop it. They created a vicious, bloody war that lead to hundreds of prosecutions and incarcerations. The U.S. federal prisons are now filled with Mexican cartel members.  These men are trapped for 10-20 years or more, but they’re still deeply entrenched in cartel connections, with powerful family ties in Mexico.
Now comes the Mexican Mafia, a gang born on American soil, recruited from the convicts inside the prisons. Cartel members doing a life sentence are out of action, but the other inmates with 1-2-3 years before release are ripe for training. These parolees hit the ground running, drugs, cash and guns handed to them as soon as they set foot on the streets. The cartels found new life and distribution channels through the prison-based Mexican Mafia gang.
In 2010, La Eme – “M” – short for Mexican Mafia, battled with other gangs over control of the streets of San Antonio. Law enforcement joined the battle and took out huge chunks of gang membership with massive conspiracy indictments and arrests. Still, La Eme thrives. As many people as are thrown in prison for gang-drug activity, there’s always a new crop being released, newly trained and ready to go into business.
U.S. prisons are the breeding ground for La Eme gang membership. Members wear distinctive tattoos of a black handprint with the letters E M E, or, something derivative of the Mexican flag, the Eagle and the Snake.
It was years later, 2012, when I moved to San Antonio. I had missed most of the excitement. But, my years spent in living in Mexico stayed with me to this day, vivid memories of things I may never comfortably admit to. As you read my macabre, perverse tales of mafia, corruption, cartel, and vampires, it’s obvious I have some intimate knowledge of these things. Did I learn from jovial conversations with men whose tongues were loosened by tequila and lime, or do I have a story of my own to tell?
I’m not quite prepared to answer that question today. Maybe someday when I’m old and grey, and it just doesn’t matter anymore. For now, enjoy my tales of chaos, mayhem and debauchery, and take it on faith that I know what I’m talking about.
The Nightlife San Antonio is now available for preorder at TWLUEDKE.COM or NIGHTLIFE SAN ANTONIO
The Nightlife Series novels are Adult Paranormal Romance ~ Urban Fantasy Thriller:

#4 BLOOD SLAVE (stand-alone novel in the series)
#7 THE NIGHTLIFE SAN ANTONIO (stand-alone novel in the series)

Young Adult novels by TW Luedke (Travis Luedke)

THE SHEPHERD (YA Paranormal)

21 Jan 2014

“The Succubus in a Red Dress” by Daniel Garcia

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“The Succubus in a Red Dress” by Daniel Garcia is a very entertaining short novel about a woman who turns into a succubus. While we follow Delilah and her personal transformation and her adjustment to the new lifestyle there is also some complicated romance and the evil succubus Queen and her ‘society’.
Written in a refreshing and often humorous style this is hugely enjoyable. Colourful characters, unexpected twists and a great pace made this a big pleasant surprise on my reading list.
Highly recommended, not just to the many fans of the supernatural and paranormal.

Interview with the author:

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.

My goals as a writer are to make others laugh and to surprise them. After reading my stories, I hope people say “I didn’t see that coming” or at least “that was different.” As for knowing something about me, I’m a fairly private person, so I love the idea of being enigmatic and cloaked in mystery. I probably need to get over that. One thing I will offer up is that I’m a bit of a clown in real life, too.

What made you become a writer?

Ideas kept popping into my head, and they wouldn’t go away until I jotted them down. I actually started off writing screenplays, but I didn’t feel in sync with the Hollywood process. Everyone wants to re-write you. It finally occurred to me that I should turn my stores into novels and go the independent publishing route, and I’m much happier with this process.

Have you always written?

No. Though I’ve always had an over-active imagination, I never thought of myself as a creative person, not until college, when I had an internship reading screenplays for a production company. After doing that for five years, I grew tired of critiquing others’ creativity, and couldn’t resist the idea of telling my own stories.

When did you decide to write paranormal humour?

When I started writing “The Succubus in a Red Dress.” I never plan things out, I just write what pops into my mind, whatever genre that may be.

Do you have a favourite genre? 945793_1388606571365439_573633095_a

I can see myself trying out different genres, but what I particularly enjoy about paranormal is that it allows one to take the world around us, and deal with it in a slightly heightened, fantastical fashion.

Tell us a little about the history of “Succubus”! How long did it take you to write and publish?

I had thought about “Succubus” for years, it was one of those ideas that lingered in the back of my mind. It all stemmed from the alley scene, after Delilah’s date with Ken, and also the vision of Chloe charging up in a red Ferrari to save her. I had a break over the holidays last year, and wrote the whole thing in 10 days. I spent another two months perfecting it, and published in a couple days.

What was the easiest about writing the book and what was the hardest?

“Succubus” leapt out of my mind almost fully formed, perhaps because I carried it around for so long. However, the hard part for me was that it’s a bit short. I kept wanted to expand the idea, but in my gut, I knew Delilah’s adventures would be more fully developed in the sequels. Yet, it was still a struggle for me to leave it the way it was.

Would you say there is a message in the book beyond the story?

For me, it’s all about empowerment. Though the succubus myth is an interesting one in certain ways, I wanted to subvert the idea of these women being evil or demons. I love the idea that maybe they could be heroes. I also enjoy that Delilah constantly rebels against what people assume she is or the labels they might try to slap on her. I love that she simply refuses to be what’s expected of her, and forces the people around her to re-examine what they believe.

Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

I don’t think any reviewers know “Succubus” exists. I am happy that readers on Amazon and Goodreads have left some positive feedback.

What do you like most about your characters?

I love it when they say something that makes me laugh or do something that surprises me, which happens quite often.

Which one is your favourite?

Chloe and Benito were my favourite characters for the longest time, but Delilah eventually took the top spot. I find something endearing about the fact that she has superpowers, yet is shy and awkward. I also like the idea that the world conspires to make her a hero, when it seems like the last thing she should be.

Who would play the characters in a film?

Selena Gomez for Delilah, Armie Hammer for Ken, Becca Tobin from “Glee” for Chloe, Julianna Margulies for Ken’s mom, or maybe Sigourney Weaver. I would love to see the Succubus Queen played by Salma Hayek or Monica Belluci … maybe even Jennifer Lopez.

What are your next projects? Tell us about your other books.

My next project is the sequel to “Succubus.” It’s called “The Succubus and the Crown.” Delilah finds herself having to navigate the world of paranormal politics over the course of one very long night. I also have another book out called “The Meridian Gamble.” It’s about a woman who falls for a vampire, who realizes that they have known each other over her various past lives.

What is your life like?

Sleep, eat, write, dream of being able to write full-time. Rinse and repeat.

What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?

Sleep is my favourite hobby. I play a bit of videogames, mostly ones that aren’t too challenging, like Animal Crossing, and sometimes World of Warcraft. I also watch some TV shows on the Internet or rent movies on ITunes, but mostly I write.

Who are your literary influences?

Though he’s not literary, I love Joss Whedon. I enjoy his snarky sense of humour, and the balance of comedy and drama he creates. He strikes a certain chord of silliness that still allows you to get caught up in the drama of his stories. If they did another season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” I would be ecstatic. Or maybe he could just turn “The Succubus in a Red Dress” into a series. Hmmm …

What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

Favourite book; “The Life and Loves of a She-Devil.” Favourite films; “Pitch Perfect” and “Enchanted.”

What are your views on independent publishing?

Indie-Publishing is a powerful medium. It’s amazing to be able to get your book in front of millions of people without having to hear “No” from agents, managers, publishing houses. I can’t even imagine wanting to sign a publishing deal if one came my way, because of the freedom self-publishing allows.

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

“Jack Who?” by Lisa Gilles, “The Casquette Girls” by Alys Arden and “Bad Company” by Wendy Nelson, “The Key to Erebus” by Emma Leech, “Diviner’s Prophecy” by Nicolette Andrews.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

My friend’s might say my best quality is my wry sense of humour. My oddest would be that I sometimes tell people things before they happen. I have a pretty strong intuition.

What are your favourite animal/colour/ outdoor activity?

I love cats, but I’m horribly allergic to them. Favourite colour is blue, outdoor activity – walking to wherever I have to go.

What would you take to a remote island?

A laptop with cellular connection.

Who would you like to invite for dinner and why?

Chelsea Handler, the talk show host. I think she’s hysterical, though I would be crushed if we didn’t wind up becoming BFFs.

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

I’m writing the sequel to “The Succubus in a Red Dress,” which I’m hoping to finish by January 1st. That will make my New Year very happy. The best way to find out about my projects is to buy a copy of Succubus and join my mailing list. I use it exclusively to announce a new book, so those on the list get to hear first.

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

That you can visit me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/dan.garcia.58958343

And on twitter at: https://twitter.com/ddgbooks.

And on Amazon: http://bookShow.me/B00CN3ZWNW

08 Dec 2013

“September Ends” by Hunter S. Jones

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Sept Ends NEW sml

“September Ends” by Hunter S. Jones is a wonderful bittersweet love story, told in various writing styles and narratives. Diary entries, emails, chat transcribes and poems tell the story of Liz / Elizabeth and her love life. This patchwork of impressions and plot segments worked surprisingly well for me, even the poetry which is a genre I don’t often enjoy.

The initial diary entry and opening of the novel records the death of Liz’s brother in a traffic accident and her subsequent depression. The scene was very emotional and moving and I found it hard to jump ten years ahead and let go of this powerful first strand of the plot.
What follows is the email exchange between Liz and some business executive, interspersed with poems from a poets blog. There are also some erotic chat room transcribes but they are important for the character development and fit well into the novel. It took me a while to settle into this dual telling but I am glad I persevered for it all comes together beautifully. A stroy of love, loss and survival.
The story ends another ten years later with a last diary entry and a last segment of spectator’s narrative.
September Ends is cleverly plotted and well written, it has a strong story, real emotions and excellent characters. The book is an emotional journey well worth your while.


Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.

Thank you for asking. My name is Hunter S. Jones writer and entertainment blogger from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I notice things people do and say that most people do not even notice. The oddest movement will catch my eye, or maybe simply a turn of phrase will capture my imagination. As a person, I am a good friend, loyal and sometimes even dependable.

What made you become a writer? Have you always written?

Writing has always been a part of my life in some manner, yes. Ms Jones Official 11-13

Tell us about September Ends. When did you decided to write this story?

The concept of September Ends presented itself earlier in 2013. After the poet collaborator and I discovered the three main characters, the synopsis was developed. I found it the other day. The original synopsis is so different than the finished book. It is interesting how you can have a plot so very planned and prepared, yet once The Muse calls, the story takes on its own life. 

How did you come up with the concept for the narratives?

That is such a fantastic question and I really don’t know. I wanted the story to be something different, beyond the poetry and prose aspect. The story wanted to be told in the way we communicate today. It’s written in the manner in which we process written information now.  

However, I have no idea how I came up with the POVs we used. I wrote each chapter separately, almost like a short story. That way, if my collaborator wanted to omit a chapter, we would not have to re-do an entire section. That may have a lot to do with how the story weaves in and out of each character’s life.  

What genre would you say it falls under and what is your target audience?

September Ends is a different kind of love story. It is a Romance, a contemporary romance however it is very much of today’s world. The target audience is Romance & Poetry readers, with enough erotic elements and supernatural glimpses to keep my fans intrigued yet appeal to a wider audience.

Tell us a little about the history of the book. How long did it take you to write and publish?

This one is easy! From idea to published form, September Ends took almost six months to complete.

What was the easiest about writing the book and what was the hardest?

The creative is always the easiest for me. Once The Story finds me, it’s as if all I have to do is write it down. Edits and re-writes are agonizing for me. Gruesome, seamlessly-never-ending-phases of detail.

Would you say there is a message in the book beyond the story? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

There is a message. The poet & I were very adamant that the message be a vital part of the story. Everything is so easy to obtain in today’s world. What seduces us to believe it is love is maybe not love at all. Maybe it is what you wish love to be. Then when you discover love, true love, you will know it. You will understand the difference when you love right.

Yes, some readers and reviewers pick up on the message. For the literature aficionados, there is a Verbal Imperative used in September Ends which speaks the message of the entire book. I will send a gift to the first person who spots it. 

What do you like most about your characters?

The three main characters in September Ends are so flawed. They are almost human in their frailty. Being Southern I know that the most flawed personalities have the greater chance of forgiveness and redemption. That gives the characters more depth. Hopefully.

Are you like any of them?

Yes and no.

Who would play the characters in a film?

Anyone who is as excited about the book would be fine with me! Secretly, I believe Russell Brand could play The Poet. Yes, I know he isn’t known for dramatic roles but I believe he has a depth of character which could capture the spirit of Jack O. Savage.

What are your next projects?

There are a number of projects underway yet nothing I can share with you yet. Watch this space, so you say in the UK.

What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?

My life is chaos right now. Luckily, I have a husband, friends and a writing group which keep me occupied with creative ventures. I am very thankful for all of them, their support and the love and laughter they bring.

Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

Everyone is an influence-some more than others.  I will commit to favor(u)ite album – Exile on Main Street by The Rolling Stones.

What are your views on independent publishing?

It’s great! We are in a golden age of publishing, a veritable Renaissance for writers, authors and poets. The Penny Dreadful of 200 years ago is the new 99 cent novel.  

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

I recommend Christoph Fischer’s books and all of my publications. J Actually, I recommend any and all indie books & authors.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

She’s such a nice girl from such a nice family. Where did she get such a crazy imagination?

What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

Animal? Cat / Colo(u)r? Red / Outdoor Activity? Walking to my car or to a restaurant or on the country lane my farm is on.

What would you take to a remote island?

Johnny Depp, champagne, wine, a guitar, books & a hat.

Who would you like to invited for dinner and why?

What if I answer this question in the next interview…

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

Watch this space…

Buy links:










There is a Pinterest board for September Ends


27 Nov 2013

Martha Emms : Portrait of Our Marriage

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Memoirs of Love, Family, the Internet, and Obsession

“Portrait of Our Marriage” by Martha Emma was an unexpectedly emotional and gripping reading experience. Like Nick, the narrator and many of her friends in the book I fell in love with the idea of that perfect and happy marriage, the man of her dreams: dead sexy, considerate and loving. 
Like her I led myself to believe that it was her overreacting and would have given her exactly the kind of advice all the friends in the novel gave her.

This fictional memoir is particularly apt in its portrayal of the subtle changes and nuances of ‘normal masturbation’ to actual porn addiction. Written with raw honesty and often explicit detail this novel takes no prisoners and calls a spade a spade, particularly when letting the women of Nick’s support group talk, scenes that do however work particularly well and let the readers sigh with relief in the same was as the women of said group. The book dares to look at sexuality and marital relations with an honesty that many don’t. It may be uncomfortable for some but I feel the direct approach is needed to discuss the problem with enough depth.

I feel rather mesmerized by the experience of this book. The journey takes us from happily ever after to first minor issues, bigger shame, drama and conflict to all out facing of the truth where denial is only possible for the addict.
If you wonder what it might be like to live in such a marriage that started so promising and needs so much work this book is for you. Insightful, thought provoking and powerful this is a must read.

Interview with the author:

What made you decide to write about porn addiction?

You might say it haunted me in my dreams, LOL. I had watched an episode of, The Oprah Show, years ago. It was an episode dealing with pornography addiction. Told from the mans point of view, it covered what they were going through and how it affected their lives. I looked at the men and thought that they looked normal, clean cut, not like they would be perverts in any way. That night I had a dream. It was as if I was watching a movie, and a woman was reviewing her life as she viewed pictures on a digital display device.  I kept having different dreams, which revealed different times in this woman’s life. After a while I began to think it must have some meaning. Then again, later on The Oprah Show, I watched as she interviewed Joel Osteen. He commented, in not so many words, that sometimes God sends us messages in strange ways and we should listen to those messages. That he wants us to succeed and not give up. I know it may seem strange and I’m not saying God told me to take this story on, but I felt like I must be having these dreams for a reason.

Do you find people are open or too prudish to discuss/ read about it?   198628_164770633661800_1840551591_n

I received comments and reactions from both, people who are open to read and discuss the story and from those who have called me horrible names and are actually hostile about it.

Tell us a little about the history of the book. How did you have the inspiration for your story and your characters?

After watching The Oprah Show and continuing to have dreams I began to research online about porn addiction. Back at that time, most everything I found on the internet was from, by, and for men. Very little was from, by, or for women.  I began writing it as a screenplay. At that time my youngest son was an actor and I had been reading scripts for years. So I thought I could write one. I found out it is not that easy. I could not write the story the way I wanted.  So I decided to join a writing group. But then I needed to know how to get personal information about how this addiction affects women. I wanted to capture all the emotions of a couple going through this. Well, one day while shopping I noticed that either on purpose or by accident, people had left their real estate, and carpet cleaning business cards on some of the shelves. Not having money for a research group, I decided to copy their idea but in a bit different manner. I typed up some notes asking if women had any experience with a loved one being addicted to pornography.  I asked if they would share their experience with me as I wanted to write a book from a woman’s point of view but needed real information. I left my address and phone number on the notes. I honestly didn’t think I would get any response. But I did. I received about sixteen letters. Out of all the input, eight were very in depth and when I read them I was drawn in and felt like I understood what they had gone through. At that point I felt I had what I needed. Between my dreams, research, and the personal information from 8 women, my story was born. As I wrote, the characters in my story seemed to have a life of their own and I felt like I knew them.

How much of the story was fixed before you started writing and how much changed during the process?

Even though I had dreams, it wasn’t a complete story. So no, nothing was fixed, not even the ending. The dreams were fragments and the information shared by the eight women was very personal.  I wanted to make this story as real as possible in honor of them.  Between the research on how men felt, what affect this addiction could have on women and a marriage, I tried to weave a story together that would take the reader through years of a marriage and the progression of this addiction.

How did you research for the book?

I researched for a couple of years online. I went to all kinds of pornography addiction sites. From the professionals who offer help, recovery programs, religious groups who offer counseling, to all kinds of different columns where men wrote into for help. I also watched any show on TV that had any kind of episode dealing with porn addiction. But I would say for the main character, the input from the eight women was the most important and naturally the woman in my dreams.

Which of your characters was most enjoyable to write?

I think Gina was. She is kind of a mouthy character who says what’s on her mind and thinks about it later.

Who would play them in a film?

I’ll leave that to the reader’s imagination!

Are you like any of the characters in the book?

In some ways, just a tincy bit. I think all writers put a pinch of themselves in the characters they write.

What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?

I used to be very active, love dancing, skiing, hiking, bike and horseback riding, but after a knee replacement and some health issues I have slowed down some.  I enjoy traveling, my family, my cats, pet rescues, reading, cooking, baking, gardening, and writing.

Who are your literary influences? What are your favorite books/ films/ albums?

The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk,is one of my favorite books, it was the first book I read that I couldn’t put down. I didn’t want it to end. His characters came alive on the pages. I also, really liked the Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. I have many favorite authors though – Ken Follett, Tom Clancy, Robyn Carr, Jill Shalvis, Debbie Macomber, Lawrence Sanders, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Jodi Thomas, Constance O’Banyon, and Bobbi Smith just to name a few. I enjoy all their books 🙂  I love all kinds of music except opera. One of my favorite movies is, Back to The Future, because we get to see the father realize his dream. What can be, what can happen when you don’t give into fear. I enjoy comedies, adventure films, crime drama, and yes, romance.

What are your views on independent publishing?

I think it is awesome. It gives creativity so much more of an opportunity to be shared.  Some say it opens the floodgates to too fast, unedited trash being published, and that may well be true, but people will weed through the trash. Ultimately, it offers all who wish to write a chance to get their story out there and my thoughts are, the more people write and read, the better.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

For the best,  I guess they might say I care, share, and always share what I know. Oddest? Well, it’s not a quality but I do have a lot of cats. I won’t mention how many because it adds new meaning to the phrase “crazy cat lady”! Many of them are cats no one wanted because of odd tics and strange personalities. But they still deserve to know love.

What are your favorite animal/ color/ outdoor activity?

I love cats, dogs, horses, and birds, especially pigeons. I like wolves, elephants, and almost all wild animals. I do not like snakes or spiders though.  I have different favorite colors each day, depending on my mood. I love the outdoors and nature. I used to have a large RV and traveled with the family. I enjoy traveling and researching all the historical sites and hiking in our national parks.

What would you take to a remote island?

Is there a limit? Am I on a remote island paradise with a beautiful home, pool, and bar or am I going to a remote island that I may end up stranded on? If I’m going to be visiting a luxury resort type place, I would pack clothes, books, my laptop, and personal items. But if I’m going to be roughing it, I would take: A knife, an ax, matches, a tent, sleeping bag, blanket, canteen, Australian Tea Tree Oil, iodine tincture, toilet paper, a toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, a hat, hair brush, change of clothes, first aid kit, batteries, radio, flashlight, vegetable seeds, a fishing pole with hooks, & protein powder.

Who would you like to invite for dinner and why?

I would love to have dinner with my Mother, because she passed away and I miss her. If there was any way to spend more time with her it would be a dream come true. She was an amazing woman. She was kind, patient, gentle, generous, and thoughtful. Everyone who knew her loved her.

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

I’m working on two stories right now, The sequel to Portrait of Our Marriage, and a story about pets. I will be self-publishing these and will promote via all the social networks when they are available.

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

My name is Barbie Herrera, but I write under the pen name Martha Emms, in honor of my mother and aunt. My mom had dreams of me someday becoming a writer. She wanted me to write from my heart. My aunt on the other hand, hoped that if I became a writer I would write to get people talking, stir the pot. I believe my first book accomplishes both.

I am a strong proponent of Just Label It, and am against genetically modified foods. I’m also a supporter of the No Kill Coalition. I believe the unnecessary, inhumane killing of countless animals in this day and age is horrific and shameful. I was raised an Air Force brat, and as such, I have a strong belief in supporting all our military men and women, and their families. We must never forget that the freedoms we enjoy are not free.

An avid reader I enjoy a variety of genres. I also enjoy nature, love the beach, music, animals, and my family.

I would love people to read my book, a dream all authors share. It really is a journey. There are parts that are fun, sexy, compelling, and shocking. I hope that readers will be drawn into Nicky’s life. I truly want them to feel the experience and for that reason I don’t describe her. Other than brown hair there are no definitive descriptions of her. Almost every book today dealing with women describes them as the perfect sexy woman. And I’m not saying that Nicky isn’t all that but, I want women to identify with her and not be distracted by her looks. I want them to see her as they want her to be. Every one of us, no matter what we look like or what we believe in, can feel pleasure, be hurt, know frustration, feel trapped, experience betrayal, and know pain. I want women to feel like they could be Nicky. That this could be their story. What would they do?

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21 Nov 2013

Author Bonnie Bernard

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Bonnie Bernard 1


Today I have the pleasure of introducing a very talented author. I have read so many of her books in fact that I found it hard to chose which one to feature here today, so I am going to lead with the interview and once you get to see what a lovely and funny woman Bonnie is, you can browse through a selection of my reviews.

Hi Bonnie, please tell us a little about yourself as a person and as author.

I’m a high desert rat who loves organic gardening, dark chocolate and cheese (eaten together), and hiking barefoot. I’m a two-time demolition derby champion, a foster dog mom, and a community social justice activist. I love my long-suffering husband, our fur-kids, and the little Rocky Mountain community that we call home. Bonnie Bernard is a pen name and my real life name writes (often unexciting) non-fiction stuff.

I like reading fiction (of course), planning adventures, and going crazy with pumpkin recipes every fall. I’m frequently featured on the local news, but not for anything bad (yet). Ha.

You have written quite a few books already. Tell us about your series.


The first series is the Midnight Hunter trilogy. Book one is about good vs. evil vampires, book two explores the demon realm, and the third book is all about pesky Underworld gods. Then, readers wanted more of a particularly cantankerous demon named Howie Evil, so I’m writing the novella – Breaking Rule One.

I also have a short story anthology (Nature Calls), four stand-alone shorts, and another full-length novel, Rest Inn Peace.

Which is easier to write? Full-length novels or short stories.  Bonnie Bernard 2

Short stories are easier for me write, probably because of my short attention span. 😉 Still, I love the challenge of pulling messy threads together in a fun-filled series featuring wacky characters.

How long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I discovered the joys of writing by accident at the age of six while visiting the new home of my (then) best friend, Julie. The rooms were empty, the walls bright white, and a rainbow-shaded package of permanent markers was in a nearby box…I was never allowed in Julie’s house again and I was called some rather unflattering names, but I realized that one way to make a mark on the world is to write stuff down.

How do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Something strikes me as hilarious or warped, a character comes to mind that would be affected by it, and then I sit back and let him/her tell me the story.

Why have you chosen to write in the paranormal genre? Would you ever consider writing something else?

Paranormal is fun because the rules are twisted. There ARE rules (the vampires I’ve written can’t go out in sunlight, for instance). I enjoy watching those rules frustrate my human and supernatural characters.

I’ve written non-fiction under my given name, and I might eventually publish a non-fiction piece or two under Bonnie’s name, just to make my Amazon page look fatter.

How did you create the plot and the titles for your books?

The characters make the plot and they usually tell me what title they want. Not always though. For instance, my husband came up with the title, “Rest Inn Peace” and I wrote the story around it.

Rest Inn Peace

Did you have it all planned out before you write your stories or do the characters and story surprise you?

I have perhaps one or two scenes planned. The characters take it from there.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

Absolutely has to be Howie Evil. Who wouldn’t love telling the story of a 5000 year old belligerent, chain-smoking, human-hating, gun-toting demon from Hell who likes to tickle babies and eat cheese from an aerosol can?

What would your character(s) say about you?

Depends on which character you ask. Donna would say I remind her of Mo. Mo would say my husband reminds her of Trent. Zoe would say I’m a hippie hickster. Howie would just blow smoke in my face and call me a stupid human.

Would you say your books have a message and could you hint at it – for the confused?

A common theme for me is the twisted ways of social justice.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?

I love everything about writing except promoting.

How do you balance writing with family life?

Balance? What’s that? We’re happily dysfunctional at our house.

Did you have any say in your cover art? Tell us about the process.

I have all the say I want, but I hand it over to my cover artist, Jerry Skinner. He’s got graphic instincts I can’t even fathom, so I just give him a summary/manuscript and let him have at it. He does well. I could not ask for better.

What is your writing environment like? Do you need silence or music to write?

I work wherever I am. During the cold months, I’m usually curled up on the living room couch, surrounded by spoiled rotten fur-kids. In the summer, I write in the garden. I also write on airplanes, cruise ships, in the mountains, and while camping. Right now, I’m in the passenger seat of our truck and we’re cruising down world-famous Route 66, heading toward our place in wild west Arizona. Queen’s “We Will Rock You” is blaring on the radio and my husband is singing along.

How many rewrites does it normally take you for each book?

Gazillions. J More specifically…short stories, about three. Longer works – five or six. I have a very scattered brain-style and it takes a LOT of re-writing to herd my thoughts into sensible structure.

How do you edit and quality control?


I just dig in and do it. Then I send my work to the beta readers.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?

 I like self-publishing and have not even looked for a traditional publisher. Best part – I’m a wholly-owned and operated sole proprietor. Worst part – Promotion. I would share half my earnings with anybody who would promote me so I don’t have to.

What is your advice to new writers?

 Sit your butt down and do it.

Who are your favourite authors?

I like the classics, so anything by authors like Henry James, DH Lawrence, a Bronte sister, or Jane Austen.

I know you are very supportive of other writers, but who are your favourite independent writers?

I like your work. I’m also a fan of Robert Warr, Willow Cross, and Oleg Medvedkov.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

I am currently reading Barker’s Dozen by Robert Warr. I’m reading it on my cellular phone because I just accidentally smashed my Kindle to death. It has been well over a year since I picked up a paperback or hardcover.

What three books have you read recently and would recommend?

Oleg Medvdkov’s Invisible Bricks is a hilarious and brilliant short story anthology. For a great Native American/magical treat, try Bridalveil Falls by Sheryl Seal. And of course…Sebastian. I’m not just saying that to be nice. I recommend your books to everybody I know.

Who would you say are the biggest influences?

All authors. Life. Weird people. Vince Gilligan (of Breaking Bad fame).

What books have you read more than once or want to read again?

Pretty much any of the classics.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

For the book I’m writing now, the best song is, “Highway Star” by Deep Purple. Old school.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

I either stick my fingers in my ears and go, “La la la la – I can’t heeeeeeear you”, or I shrug and simply accept that not everybody is going to like my books. Having a pen name keeps me from taking anything too personally. It’s my happy detachment place.

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

Weird – Our city is built on a volcano.

Nice – We have geysers. J

Fact – Yellowstone National Park is home to 618 grizzly bears. (That doesn’t count black bears – which are much tougher to tally because they’re sneaky.)

What are you working on now?

A novella, “Breaking Rule One” – just for Howie Evil fans. Stay tuned, Christoph. You might be surprised by something in it.

Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?

My characters like to tromp through readers’ heads and drive them half-mad. If you let them do that to yours, they will love you forever and Howie might let me live. Thank you!

This was fun. Thanks, Christoph. J


Find Bonnie on AMAZON 

and on Goodreads

and on Smashwords

and on Facebook 

and on Twitter https://twitter.com/BonnieBernard


Here are some reviews of her magnificent work:

 “Rest Inn Peace” by Bonnie Bernard is a hilarious cross between humour and horror, you just could not make it up unless you were Bonnie herself.
The book is full of magic creatures who come to stay at the Rest Inn Peace, which is an Inn , not a motel. Since the death of the former Innkeeper Selma the place is in danger of being shut down. Selma’s grandson, Corbin (or Cobra like he would prefer to be called and not snakeman as he is nicknamed at the Inn!) takes over together with his 12 year old daughter. Corbin has just been released from prison, has many issues and refuses to acknowledge anything remotely magic, although that proves difficult in Rest Inn Peace.
Bernard has created an amazing cast of creatures that populate the place: Billy the Fairyman, a family of Yeti’s, Vampires, werewolves, Zombies, trolls and a “flamboyant disco ghost” to name a few. As the book states: The creatures who reside in it are ‘badass bitches’.
The book is full of great on-liners, hilarious dialogue and witty observations. I hate to use the phrase in a review but I laughed out loud many times and hope I will remember the crazy metaphors and word creations.
With much love to detail and imagination the book is spiked with delights. The rooms and the creatures have some very odd and most original and entertaining names. There is some chemistry with the Inn Manager Regina or Reggie, but Cobra still wonders whether he should stay at all.
Then there are murders and Cobra learns that the magical realm is nothing to play with.
This is great fun to read although I must warn you – if you haven’t guessed it yet – there is some fair amount of swearing and strong language.
This is a solid and original idea that works really well. There are some serious moments, too. Cobra has had substance issues and so has his ex-wife and so it is just as well that he is so far from human civilization.
A big fan of Bonnie Bernard’s other books I found this even better and look forward to the next mad but genial creations she comes up with.
Hugely enjoyable!


“Midnight Hunter” by Bonnie Bernard is the first in a series of books that promises to be a welcome addition to the vampire and paranormal genre collection. The book has a string of great characters and is as much a fun-filled romance novel as it is about vampires and suspense.
The story starts with a short prologue and a mysterious warning for little Donna by her grandmother about two men Donna is going to meet later in life, one good and one bad.
The narrative then jumps to the time just weeks before Donna’s 21st birthday. Donna and her best friend Mo are two typical young women with share a laugh and go out to meet men. 
Donna starts to have odd dreams, there is a series of kidnapped girls and in that chaos she meets Hunter, a vampire who calls himself her eternal love.
Bernard does a great job at showing the difficulties Donna has with trust, given the warning her grandmother gave her and the obscure nature of what Hunter tells her to be true.
Successfully blending the girlie parts with the paranormal this is a fun book, reminiscent to me as a casual visitor to the genre of True Blood, but pleasantly not as overdone as the TV series was for me. The writing is perfect and flows very easily and shows a writer with much talent.If you love Vampire stories this is for you, if you’re not a fan yet, this might be a good place to start exploring


“Nature Calls” by Bonnie Bernard was recommended to me by a good friend and it did not disappoint me. The book is hugely enjoyable for its suspense, the mystery and the dark horror or fantasy tales, some of which are cleverly blended with wit, fun and humour. Some pieces are very short that pointedly explore one idea and then there are longer ones and even one series of stories in which Yeti meets a space alien, a demon, the bigfoot hunters and even the holy man. The Yeti tales are probably my favourite, I laughed out loud when Yeti discusses the inconvenient parking space of the flying saucer. The stories are rarely predictable and with most of them I was surprised and fascinated by the outcome.
The selection covers a broad spectrum of themes and emotions, goblins, fairies, demons, witches, kings and gods. The stories are all well written and skilfully told and as a collection they work very well together. While many such collections are put on the market as soon as the author has gathered a book’s worth of material these seem to have been hand picked to form a great flow and a continuity that I did not expect from such a varied bunch of stories. The quality of both the ideas and the execution of them makes this a great achievement and the author one to watch.

10 Nov 2013

Calling Writers – Short Story Contest

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Calling Writers – Short Story Contest

November 15th through November 30th, 2013

Grand Prize – a Kindle Fire HD
Other prizes include Gift Cards, ebook bundles and winner banners


You can join our Facebook Event to stay up-to-date.


Contemporary Fantasy – Maer Wilson

Horror – Danielle DeVor

Historical – Christoph Fischer

Paranormal Romance – Tina Moss

Romance – Constance Phillips

Young Adult – Lindsey Loucks

Mystery – LynDee Walker



1.  Submission dates – Opening date is 11/15/2013 at 12:00 AM. Closing date is 11/30/13 at 11:59 PM. All times are Pacific Standard Time.

2.  Each submission must be 3000-5000 words.

3.  Each story must be submitted as an attachment via email to goldenshortscontest@gmail.com

4.  The email should include:

Author’s name,
Story title
Author’s email address.

5.  Formatting – Submissions must be formatted in a standard .doc file as an attachment and submitted as follows :

Times Roman 12 pt
1 inch margins
Double spaced
Include only story title and page numbers. (NO AUTHOR NAMES in the story attachment)

6.  Submissions must be of original, unpublished work and all rights owned by the entrant. Copyright remains property of the author.

7.  Stories must be in one of the following genres:

Contemporary Fantasy
Paranormal Romance
Young Adult

8.  Stories will be forwarded to the judge for that genre.

9.  All entrants must be at least 18 years of age.

10. The name of the winner and their winning story in each genre will be posted on 12/7/2013 on the judging author’s website. See below for the links to each genre.

11. The poll to vote for the Grand Winner will open on 12/7/13. A link to the poll will be available at each sponsoring author’s website.

12. Voting will close at 12:00 AM PST on 12/20.

13. The Grand Winner will be announced on all sponsoring websites on or after 12/20/13.


Good luck contestants!

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09 Nov 2013

“The Missing Half” by Brooke Powley

1 Comment Book Reviews


“The Missing Half” by Brooke Powley

is a powerful literary gem that deals with the tragic issue of child abduction.
At age 2 one of two twins is abducted in Cornwall and for ten years her mother campaigns and fights for publicity and police action to find her missing daughter, never giving up.
The book is written in several narratives, adding multiple dimensions to the search and the story. It would be difficult to give away too much without spoiling the experience of the book.

At the beginning of the book it is mainly the mother, Alice, who writes to her missing daughter and tells her exactly how the tragedy occurs and what happens immediately afterwards.
The account is moving, honest and includes a lot of statistical and basic information on child abduction. We learn about the ordeal and the many psychological aspects of the unique situation.

Later on different narratives bring in more perspectives and add extra dimensions to the story and the book reads like a psychological thriller, although I would say for the majority it reads like great literary fiction.

This book is an excellent but somewhat emotional experience, often very sad and melancholic, so keep the tissues handy, but definitely worth the time. It is thought provoking and an amazing literary debut.


Interview with the author:

2005 1


Hi Brooke

Please tell us a little about yourself as a writer and as a person? How did you come to writing? IS this your first book / published work/ written work?

I grew up in the Lake District as the oldest of three children. Reading has always been my passion and as a little girl you would usually find me buried in a book, or spending my pocket money in the local bookshop. I went to university in Nottingham and after graduating in 2008,  returned to the Lake District and took some time out of my career to focus on being a full time mum to my then very tiny baby.  Some years went by; I returned to work part-time, my daughter started full-time school.  Last Christmas, my partner bought me a kindle. One day, I said to him that writing a book to publish on kindle surely couldn’t be that difficult. He raised his eyebrows, and replied ‘I bet you can’t’.   ‘The Missing Half’ is the result!


Why did you decide to write about child abduction? How did the idea for the novel come to you?

Missing children is always something you follow, subconsciously, as you grow up.  Madeline McCann went missing a couple of months before I spent a summer living in Beijing. At the time I was a young woman of twenty-two with no children of my own. As the BBC is banned in China, thoughts of the missing toddler weren’t more  than ‘isn’t it horrible’. After having my daughter child abduction, however rare, became a real possibility. I took Ava on a month long tour of the USA on my own when she was twenty months old and I was all too aware that particularly the blonde haired, blue eyed girls, were a real risk. 

I wanted my story to be something that people can relate to. Losing a child is every mother’s worst nightmare. I asked myself, as the UK news have shown more and more children going missing over the years, what you would really do, if that were your child? Alice was the first character that came clearly to my mind. The rest took a lot more planning!

You set your book in a range of places though the main location is Cornwall, can you tell us why?

We actually took our family holidays to Perranporth every summer when I was a child – my parents, younger brother and I. Those who know me will say that I have a razor sharp memory for all things useless!  I haven’t been back to Perranporth for fifteen years, but I can remember it so vividly in my mind. It seemed the perfect place to set the novel – a quiet sleepy little village. To make it easier on myself I set the abduction in one of the years I’d been there myself. It’s such a wonderful part of the country. Looking at the images reminded me that I really do need to head back there sometime soon, but unfortunately my razor sharp memory still recollects those awful drives from the Lake District!

Did you need to do much research for the book?

I did a lot of research on government legislation relating to missing children and how it had changed over the years, which took a lot of time and energy.  I also focused a lot on the statistics for missing children in the UK and the USA.  Some of the facts were chilling, and it was quite heavy going particularly when you realised how lax legislation has been in the past and how easy it would have been to change.

Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?

If anything, I’d say I’m probably most like Richard.  Richard is a family man, and family comes first for him before anything else. He is also resilient, hard working, has a good humour and most importantly, isn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes is right. 

Did you have any say in the cover art and who was that process?

The cover is something I had the idea of right from the start. I wanted it to entice the reader. The cover depicts Grace, on one of the last days she has with her real family looking out to sea in a pale pink cotton dress.  The picture is actually one of my own, taken by me of my daughter Ava in California when we were on our grand USA tour.  I decided that the rhetorical question on the front would add depth to the title. I had my editor format the picture so it was suitable for kindle and print editions. I have to say, I think the picture makes a great cover, though I’m probably a bit bias!

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?

The highs:  Becoming lost in your world of characters and stories, receiving positive feedback, celebratory cake, the sense of achievement when it’s all over, seeing the book for sale on Amazon and people stopping me in the street to offer congratulations!

The lows: Late nights, the editing process and finding the time to fit it all in around a busy life!

How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?

At the moment, I’m focusing on marketing ‘The Missing Half’ alongside my normal job and everyday life.  I haven’t started writing book two, but it’s in the forefront of my mind and I hope to start it in Autumn and have it ready for release in Spring 2014 – so watch this space!

What do you do when you don’t write?

I must admit I have a busy life. Between school runs and a taxi service to various after school clubs, normal ‘work’ three days a week, getting out and about on my mountain bike, keeping my flock of backyard hens in check, running a toddler group, reading and running my website –  I’m not entirely sure how I manage to fit in writing!

Which are your favourite books and authors?

J.K. Rowling – The Harry Potter books are my all time favourite. The Time Travellers Wife is another of my top books.   I read a lot of Diane Chamberlain, Dorothy Koomson, Jodi Picoult and I mostly read general mainstream fiction.  However, I’ve read a fair few Indie authors recently – D.J. Kirkby and Charlotte Castle and also a few debut novels and the standard is very high.  

What would you take to an isolated island?

Books – lots of books!  Can I take my hens?! We currently have five – all different breeds .  Hen’s are great foragers so they’d live happily on an island. If I had fresh eggs and books then life would be good! Of course, it goes without saying I’d take my family, and any other close friends I consider to be handy enough to build us a Swiss Family Robinson kind of tree-house!

What is your next project?

Book Two! It’s as yet unnamed with no concrete plot (really selling it here, I know).  But as soon as school is back in full swing, a normal routine is up and running and those cold, dark nights creep it then I’ll be on it!


my website is: www.brookepowley.com
author profile on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brookepowleyauthor
author profile on goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7151546
twitter link: @powleybrooke















31 Oct 2013

Paul Cude: “Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Threat from the Past”

1 Comment Book Reviews


“Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Past” by Paul Cude is using a highly original idea and makes it the centre of a very entertaining adventure story for young adults and those young at hearts. In times of “Eragon” and “The Hobbit” many of us older adults love a good dragon story just as well as the younger ones and I am sure most people who pick up this book will appreciate Cude’s excellent effort in that regard.

Most of the story however is surprisingly set in present day and not in the distant past. The dragons are not enemies of us humans but are actually here to protect us, a tradition that goes a long way back into their past. Using this inventive set up Cude tells us with much love for detail about the world and communities of dragons, their habitat, tunnels under the sea and much more which I found very enjoyable. 
Myths and legends in the dragon world their good and bad members, their habits, their sports and their views on the human world add flesh to the action part of the story. 

Cude has taken the simple idea and given it a lot of thought and imaginative detail, it is obvious what a labour of love writing this book must have been and it certainly has paid off.
Highly recommended, a great and fun-filled read.


Interview with the author:

How did the idea for the novel come to you?

In the story that I’d dreamt, the main character, when in his dragon form, had a marking on his scales that looked just like a bent whistle. This is where he derived his name from, and I think I was desperate to include this somewhere in the title. As for the ‘threat from the past’……it just seemed so obvious, given how it starts and ends. Those were two parts of the story I knew in my head in graphic detail, long before I’d completed the book. Originally I’d intended just to write the story for my kids……for when they were a little older. But the more I wrote, the more seemed to spring forth from inside me, far exceeding the length I thought the book would be. About halfway through writing that one, I started dreaming about what would happen in the next book and beyond. The whole thing seems almost to have a life and will of its own.

How did you come to writing in the first place?

Oddly it just happened. Sounds a bit crazy really, but one night, when my elder daughter was just a baby (she’s not far off 11 now), I had the single most realistic dream I’ve ever had. I didn’t remember it until the following day, but when I did, I swear it was just like watching a movie in my head…..so graphic, so intense, so…..mesmerising. Anyhow, I told my wife, who was gobsmacked to say the least. And so was what she said to me, “You have to write it, you just have to.” Initially I just laughed off her idea, bearing in mind that at the time I could only type with two fingers. But over a period of I suppose months, I kept getting more dreams, flashbacks into the story…….sometimes little details, sometimes insights into the characters, sometimes twists and turns to do with the plot. In the end I suppose it was inevitable that I would write it. First I taught myself to type properly…..3 months, and then, well………..I began. At first I needed complete silence to be able to write, something there wasn’t a lot of bearing in mind I was taking care of one young child, with another on the way. But over time I’ve learned to filter it all out and can now write with the kids playing around me if I need to, but I still think I do work more efficiently in total silence. It has taken a long time, and I was surprised how hard and crucial the editing  process was. But in the end it was most definitely worth it.

Who is your favourite character and why?

Difficult question to answer as I love them all for different reasons. The main character, Peter Bentwhistle, is loosely based around me so I suppose I should really say him. But whenever I’m working on the next book, or one of my children asks me a question about any of the characters, each stirs a different memory and emotion in me. Some are based around people I know, and my thoughts turn to them. The lacrosse playing dragon called Richie Rump is based on one of my best friends who was captain of the England lacrosse team and is also a fantastic hockey player. The dragon shopkeeper who sells the best mantras in the world shares the same name with one of my best friends. An important human businessman who is duped, is also named for one of my best friends. Other more minor references feature other friends and acquaintances. When looking for some of the character names I used references from everything around me at the time, while sitting working at my desk. There’s a dragon called Axus….his name was gained from my Canon camera at the time, with just a tiny amendment. Also one of the bad characters is a combination of one of my favourite author’s first names and surnames combined. I now have a long list of dragon names tucked away in my computer somewhere, that I can use whenever I need. I think as it’s my first book, everything, and in particular every character, will always mean a lot to me. So sorry, it’s a bit of a cop out, but they’re all my favourite characters.

Were the plot and sub-plots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?

The plot was most definitely planned from the start. I had it all worked out in my head, and the second from last chapter ‘Fawking Hell!!!’ with a huge amount of action in it, I’d known before I’d typed the very first word of the book.

As for the sub-plots, I found my imagination would go off at a tangent while writing. There are a few ‘rants’…..well, that’s what I call them anyway, from the main character, Peter Bentwhistle, who is based loosely on me, which I suppose just flowed out of me while I was caught up in the writing process. I kept them in the story because I thought if they were my opinions, then they should be his as well. They are mainly views on life and morality, hopefully wrapped with a little humour.

Could this become part of a series?

Well, I’ve just finished writing my follow up book….’Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Chilling Revelation’, and before any editing it’s just over 215, 000 words long, considerably longer than the previous one. It picks up pretty much from where the first book left off. Only in this one, things get much……..chillier. Quite literally. There’s another tale from the nursery ring (where dragons grow up), related to something that happens much further on in the book. Old and new characters alike feature in what I think is an adventure even more action packed throughout. We come across the mysterious nagas, for good or bad, and we learn a little bit more about the background and living conditions of the king, as well as discovering that he’s far from past his sell by date. There’s much more dragon and human team sport. Tank, one of Peter’s friends, even gets to play a whole detailed game of rugby, in a much similar vein to Peter’s hockey match in the first book. Plus more death defying laminium ball matches, this time in the league, rather than the global cup, with the Indigo Warriors perhaps biting off a little bit more than they can chew. Some of the action here is truly EXPLOSIVE! (A clue, methinks…) The characters, new and old alike, reveal a little bit more about themselves, with something for everyone. The new places visited include Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Egypt, USA, and of course the underground world of the dragon domain. My warped sense of humour still features in places of course. Watch out especially for two of the King’s Guards in the early part of the book, that are particularly good value on that front. Other than that, there’s not much more I can tell you without giving away some of the plot, which of course I’m reluctant to do.

What do you do when you don’t write?

When I’m not writing I like to either spend time with my wife and children, or play hockey. A day at the beach down in Swanage or Hengistbury Head followed by a meal out on the way back sounds perfect. If not that, a family bike ride somewhere or a walk in the New Forest. I do love a game of hockey with my friends at Salisbury hockey club, but as I get older it’s much harder to do on a regular basis. I help coach my kids and other children every Sunday morning though, and still try to get to men’s training weekly. Playing squash weekly with an old friend helps me get through the week. (He’s mentioned in the book.)

Which are your favourite books and authors?

When in my late teens, I mistakenly ordered a Tom Clancy book…..Debt of Honour. I was too lazy to return it, so it sat on my bedside table for weeks. Until one evening, when I picked it up and started to read it. Many hours later I put it down, only because I needed a few hours sleep before I went to work. I was hooked. After finishing that, I went out and bought all the other Tom Clancy books I could find. It was also about that time that the Star Wars expanded universe books started to appear. I caught sight of the first one while working in a book shop in my role of service engineer. I can remember it clearly: Star Wars Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. It had a striking blue cover with some of the Star Wars characters on it, and I had to buy it there and then, in the middle of doing my job, much to the amusement of the owner of the bookshop. My love of the expanded universe has continued ever since, and as soon as the next book comes out…………..I have to have it.

It seems my love of books goes in phases. If I have nothing to read, I wander around a bookshop until I find something I like the look of and then read it. If I get hooked, I go back and find other books by that author. Examples of this for me are Terry Goodkind and Christopher Paolini…………I love all of their books. The detail, the plot……the characters….are just all amazing. I can only dream of writing as well as they do. Other authors I’ve found and loved this way include Robin Hobb, J.V. Jones, David Gemmell and Trudi Canavan, to name but a few. I love the way they use their imaginations and the worlds that they create on the pages of the book. They’re all very easy to visualize.

My favorite author of all though, is the wonderful Terry Pratchett. If you haven’t read one of his books you really should. While I love pretty much all the books he’s written, the ones about the guards of Ankh-Morpork, Captain Carrot, Sam Vimes, Corporal Nobbs, Angua and of course the Lord Vetinari, are easily my favourites. The characters themselves are described in magnificent detail, all with their own funny little ways. The plots twist and turn like a raging river, and the humour……….well, let’s just say that is exactly on my wavelength. I’ve cried with laughter on many occasions reading some of Terry Pratchett’s books, and I can’t recall doing that for any other author I’ve read. If you’re a reading fan, you really must try one of his books.

What would you take to an isolated island?

My wife and children, a hockey stick for the kids and I, and of course a hockey ball. If permitted, just as many books as possible. My whole family love reading, so with a huge supply of books we’d never be bored.

What else would you like us to know about yourself and your books?

Currently my book can be found for free at Smashwords, in all formats, or can be purchased in either paperback or kindle version from Amazon

The Goodreads page for my book can be found here

My facebook page can be found here

I can be found on twitter @paul_cude

I have my own website to support the book www.bentwhistlethedragon.co.uk as wells as a blog www.thesoberhockeyplayer.co.uk that provides an insight into me and also offers author interviews.




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