Monday, July 31, 2017

New interview with fantasy author Leslie D. Soule

Fantasy author Leslie D. Soule is back in the hot seat. This time she’s chatting with me about Betrayer – book 3 of the Fallenwood Chronicles.

During her virtual book tour, Leslie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Welcome back, Leslie. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a fantasy/sci-fi author from Sacramento, CA. I have an M.A. in English and am currently working on the final book of my fantasy series, The Fallenwood Chronicles.

Please tell us about your newest release.
My newest release is a novel called Betrayer. It’s the third book of my Fallenwood series, which is a fantasy series about a girl named Ash Kensington, who travels to the fantasy world of Fallenwood. There, she finds friends, and danger, and in this book, she finds an intriguing dragon slayer named Draeon.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was in a whirlwind romance – I thought I’d found the man of my dreams and everything was finally working out. That is, until I realized what I was up against, like Ash, in my novel. This guy who appeared to be everything I wanted, ended up being a psychopath and putting me through hell. It’s hard to explain, and I think it’s really hard to understand unless you’ve been through this sort of thing. So I wrote Betrayer as a kind of explanation of how it happens, to show those who haven’t been there. Also, writing is a kind of therapy for me, and I think the beautiful thing about writers is that they’re able to take all this darkness and pain and channel it into something good – something with an important message.

Excerpt from Betrayer:
“What can I do for ya?”

She looked at the bartender and said sorrowfully, “Give me a spell to make me forget.” I’ve wasted so much time, she thought to herself, and now I don’t know if I can get back on track. Malegaunt is out there, and none of the crystals have been destroyed. It drove her mad.

He shook his head and pushed a pint of dark beer across the bar. “This is the best magic I know. That’s why I’m a bartender.” He pointed down the bar a ways to a man who looked to be in his forties, if not older. He was clothed in a black coat, and his stubbled face was hunched over a glass of what looked like whiskey on the rocks. “Now, that guy over there, on the other hand, he might be able to help ya. People call him the Oracle of the Oasis,” he informed her.

What’s the next writing project?
Currently, I’m working on the final book of the series – it’s called Retribution. It’s where Ash finally meets up with Malgaunt and the epic battle of good versus evil, happens. Ash has been through a lot in this series, and she’s gained and lost allies, and been strung along by this evil entity known as Malegaunt. It’s exciting for me to write the final book of the series. Also, though, I’m working on this voodoo killer story with my friend Tom, who’s hilarious! He keeps me in stitches and is a literary gold mine. We started talking about the story as more of a joke, but it’s developing quickly into an actual story. So we’ll see where that goes.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
My biggest challenge is that since it’s a series, you want to get the details right. And if you’ve written a few books in the series, sometimes you have to go back and get the details from your other books, since if you’re like me, there’s a lot that doesn’t get memorized. Like, I had to go back and figure out just how many gold pieces Ash took in book 2, so I’d know how many she had to work with in book 3. That kind of stuff.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
So usually, I’ll write a rough draft, and make a note of the things I’ve got to read up on. Such as, I didn’t know a whole lot about the keeping of horses, but Will’s got one in Fallenwood, so I figured I’d better read up. I took a break from writing and read all of this book called A Horse of Your Own by M.A. Stoneridge. It’s huge, but very informative, and I’d suggest it for anyone else who’s writing horses into their novel. On my rough draft, I’ll usually make a note where research is needed, and then randomly go back and do the research, and then do the writing after the research is done.  

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I find that I have to actually write things down, to get the flow going. So I can’t actually sit down at a computer and just start writing. For me, it doesn’t work that way. And at home, I find that I have a lot of distractions. I prefer to get out into the world and find a quiet café’ in the area, get a coffee, and sit down and write. Lately I’ve found this Mountain Mike’s near my house, and it’s quiet enough that I can go there and not feel rushed or pressured or have a lot of people around, wondering just what I’m doing with those Sixth-Sense cards.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I’ve just gotten into reading Terry Pratchett novels. He’s got this dry humor that takes a bit of getting used to, but it quickly becomes endearing. Also, I got my first audio book! It’s Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Fates Worse Than Death. I listened to it on the way up to Ashland to see a Shakespeare play, and back down to Sac. It was fantastic.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
Yes! Well, I think the important thing I’ve taken from writing Betrayer is that you can take the pain and suffering that you’ve been through in life, and transform it into something that no longer hurts you, and has the power to help others. A lot of people shy away from writing painful subjects, but I feel like it can be very cathartic, to do so.


Buy book 1 – Fallenwood: Melange Books | Amazon

Buy book 2 – Forgetting Fallenwood: Melange Books | Amazon

Buy book 3 – Betrayer: Melange Books | Amazon 

Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Interview with mystery author Glen Craney

Mystery author Glen Craney joins me today and we’re talking about his new dual-period historical thriller, The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Christopher Columbus Mystery-Thriller.

Glen Craney is a novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He holds graduate degrees from Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University School of Journalism. He practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to cover national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. He is a Chaucer Awards First-Place Winner, a three-time indieBRAG Medallion Honoree, and a three-time Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year Award Finalist. His debut historical novel, The Fire and the Light, was honored as Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, to the Scotland of Robert Bruce, to Portugal during the Age of Discovery, to the trenches of France during World War I, and to the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression.

Welcome, Glen. Please tell us about your current release.
While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane stumbles upon the infamous Templar Word Square, an ancient Latin puzzle that has eluded scholars for centuries. To her horror, she soon discovers the palindrome has been embedded with a cryptographic time bomb. Separated by half a millennium, two global conspiracies dovetail in this historical mystery-thriller to expose the world's most explosive secret: The real identity and mission of Christopher Columbus.

Awards: indieBRAG Medallion and Books&Benches Sceal Award Finalist

What inspired you to write this book?
I often get my book ideas from dreams. One night, I kept hearing the word “SATOR” spoken in my ear. I had never heard of that word, so I was obviously baffled. When I researched it, I came across an ancient Latin palindrome called the SATOR, or Templar, Square. That launched me on a detective quest that resulted in the novel.

Excerpt from The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Christopher Columbus Mystery-Thriller:
Sopped in sweat, the ten-year-old Ethiopian boy prayed to St. Georgis the
Dragonslayer for protection as he wormed his way toward the tomb of
the first man on Earth.
  The tunnel’s gritty sandstone, stained red from the blood of Satan’s serpents,
punished his hands and knees. To preserve the precious air, he slowed his breaths
as he crawled. The settling night had cooled the mountain village above him,
but here, sixty meters below the surface, the trapped midday heat could roast
a chicken. Faint from hunger, he stopped and pulled a crust of bread from his
pocket. He chewed the morsel slowly, taking care to muzzle its aroma with his
tunic’s sleeve to avoid being swarmed by the bees that hived in the crevices.
  His dizziness eased, and he resumed his quest, groping blindly on all fours
along the narrowing walls. At last, he came to the Armory of the Shining Ones,
the long notch in the floor where the angels had once stored their lances.
  Mäqäraräb,” he whispered. Not far now.
  He knew every bend and cranny in this secret passage by memory, having
accompanied the priests on their daily inspections of the subterranean churches.
That was the only godsend from his miserable duties. His father, the High Priest
of Lalibela, had marked him at birth for religious service by tattooing a blue
cross on his right temple. As a result, he was forbidden to play football or chase
tourists for candy, and he would have to slave six more years carrying sandals
just to become a deacon. Everyone said he should be grateful for the honor,
but he had no desire to waste away his life mumbling incantations. Tomorrow
he planned to stow away in the cargo bin of the bus to Addis Ababa, where he
would find prosperous construction work and a beautiful girlfriend.
  Before leaving home, however, he craved an even more exciting escape,
one that promised a glimpse of Paradise. In a few hours, at dawn, his fellow villagers
would celebrate Timkat, the holiest of their many religious festivals.
The elders of the monastery had retired early to their cloisters to fast and prepare
themselves with chants. This night, the tenth of Terr, was the only time of the
year that Bet Golgota––the underground church of the Crucifixion––was left
unguarded. It would also be his last chance to pierce the veil that shrouded
Heaven’s wisdom and delights.
  He came hovering over the yawning trench that protected the entrance to
the nave, and ran a finger across an inscription on a stone carved in Ge’ez.
  The opening verse of Genesis.
  He kissed the ground that covered the bones of the biblical Adam. Then,
he reached up and inserted the stolen key into the lock just beyond the grave.
After several turns of the rusty tumbler, the pitted door squealed open.
  He slithered inside the trapezoidal cavern. Overhead, lit by ambient moonlight
from the fissures in the ceiling, faded frescoes of the martyred saints stared
down at him. Turning away from their accusing glares, he climbed to his feet
and approached the Selassie Chapel. The sanctuary was so sacred that for ages
only the head priest had been allowed to enter it. With a shaking hand, he drew
aside a ratty curtain that covered the burial vault of King Lalibela, the monarch
who had ruled Ethiopia during the time of the White Knights.
  Yes, it was here, in this very vault, where he had spied his father hide the
precious Leaves of Eden. How long he had dreamed of the ecstasy now so near
his grasp. He heard a whisper of warning from his soul: He who gazes upon the
hidden treasures of Lalibela will be struck blind and mute for eternity.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m in the midst of a historical novel set during the last days of the American Civil War.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always written for the jobs I’ve held, but I’ve taken a roundabout route to fiction. I went to law school and wrote legal opinions for appellate and federal district judges. Then, I worked as a reporter covering national politics for a magazine in Washington, D.C. After that, I wrote movie scripts for Hollywood, which led me to books and novels.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do write full-time. When not researching or traveling for my projects, I prefer to write in the mornings and edit in the afternoons.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to write in restaurants and cafes. To the amazement of the waiters, I’m able to concentrate better with the ambient noise and movement around me.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve loved history and its mysteries since childhood, so I always knew I wanted to do something involving those subjects.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I always chase stories instead of historical eras. I blame my journalism experience.


Thanks for being here today, Glen!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Interview with short story writer (and novelist) Bobby Nash

Today’s interview is with short story writer Bobby Nash. We’re chatting about his crime fiction within the anthology MAMA TRIED: Crime Fiction Inspired by Outlaw Country Music.

Bobby Nash is an award-winning author of novels, comic books, short stories, novellas, graphic novels, and the occasional screenplay for a number of publishers and production companies. He is a member in good standing of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers and International Thriller Writers.

An award-winning author, Bobby Nash writes novels, comic books, short stories, novellas, graphic novels, and the occasional screenplay for a number of publishers and production companies. He is also a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers and International Thriller Writers.

Bobby was named Best Author in the 2013 Pulp Ark Awards. Rick Ruby, a character co-created by Bobby and author Sean Taylor also snagged a Pulp Ark Award for Best New Pulp Character of 2013. Bobby has also been nominated for the 2014 New Pulp Awards and Pulp Factory Awards for his work. In 2015, Bobby's novel, Alexandra Holzer's Ghost Gal: The Wild Hunt won a Paranormal Literary Award in the 2015 Paranormal Awards.

For more information on Bobby Nash please visit him at

Welcome, Bobby. What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
Short stories are great fun. They are a good way to dip your creative toe into a genre that you might not normally write, which is how I wrote a western and a boxing story. Short stories are also useful when I feel experimental. I can try new things in short form and see how they work. It is also a chance to work with some characters I find interesting. Because of short stories I got to write The Green Hornet. That was cool.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
Writing “Domino Lady” was a big deal for me, although I did not realize it when I did the first one. Back then, I was just telling one story about this pulp character from the 1930’s. Little did I know that I would become so associated with the character as time went on, she’s a character I still write to this day and hope to continue writing into the future.

“Lance Star: Sky Ranger” was where my short story writing career really began. The publisher invited me to write this aviation pulp character and had so much fun with the format that I wrote more short stories. Before Lance Star, I focused on novels and comic books. I still write those, but love doing shorts as well.

What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
I love crime fiction in general, but there are many sub-genres of crime fiction that allow a lot of freedom to play. Superheroes, action, thriller, mystery, suspense, cozy, paranormal, and even sci fi and westerns can all have a crime fiction element to them. The sky is the limit.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently writing a novel for Moonstone Books featuring the classic pulp character, The Avenger. I’m nearing the finish line on that story. The Avenger is a crime fighter who forms Justice, Inc. after his wife and daughter vanish and are killed. The shock causes muscle paralysis, bleaching his skin stark white in the process, and giving him the ability to change his appearance at will, making him perfect for undercover work. After that, I have a Lance Star: Sky Ranger novel to put the finishing touches on and then I’m adapting a comic book series called The Wraith into novel form. Then, it’s on to Alexandra Holzer’s Ghost Gal book 2.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was in high school when the storytelling bug really hit hard. I’d dabbled a bit before that though. I wanted to be a comic book artist so I started writing comic book stories so I would have something to draw. Turns out that I was better at the writing side of things than I was at the art so on the advice of a friend, I focused on the writing and here I am.

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
Check out the publisher’s website, look at what types of books they’ve published to see if your book is what they are looking for, contact some of the authors that they’ve published (easy enough if they are on social media) and ask questions (politely, of course), and check them out on Preditors & Editors. That’s usually a good way to start vetting potential publishers. Also, and this is very important, read their submission guidelines and follow them. That is your first impression with a publisher and/or editor. If you can’t follow instructions there, that can hurt your chances by starting off with a bad impression.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Not sure I have any quirks. Oh, I’m sure I probably have them, but haven’t noticed them for what they really are yet. I try to sit down and write.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was young, it changed from week to week. One week I wanted to be a cop, the next a scientist, an explorer, an astronaut, an artist, an actor, a writer. Sometimes now I don’t know precisely what I want to be when I grow up.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I love what I do. Writing is fun. I love creating worlds and characters that I enjoy spending time with and then putting them through hell. Good, clean fun.

Thank you for being here today, Bobby. All the best with your writing!