Interview with Angelica Kotliar

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Angelica, the model of all five covers of my Urban Ghoul series! I’ve never spoken to a book cover model before, and must admit never given it much thought. All I knew is that my cover designer, Erin, produces amazing covers.I thought you too might be interested in the […]


Bloodwalker – Mystery/Thriller by LX Cain

Here's a great new release – one of the best books I've read this year. See my review below and then an interview with the author LX Cain. Don't miss the giveaway at the end! Bloodwalker isn't fantasy or sci-fi but I totally recommend it as a tremendous read.


Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…

Zorka Circus’s big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, children vanish.

Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. He must find the culprit before anyone else disappears and his home is destroyed by the murders.

Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravedigging ghouls. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict code, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.

When more bodies turn up, the killer's trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable…

Buy Now: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Dancing Lemur Press
Add on Goodreads


I highly recommend this book. Very different to the usual Urban Fantasy or murder-mystery. I can tell the author did phenomenal research on Romania and the circus life, because the setting is incredibly vivid and rich – it sucked me right in so that I was among the circusfolk, along with their family and talent squabbles, walking through the thick mud between tents and trailers.

The mystery is a strong and chilling current flowing through the core of this book. It forced me to keep turning pages. Who was the villain? No shortage of suspects. Every time I thought I had it – another twist.

And then there is the plotline of a fascinating, almost sinister tribe of women to which the title refers. Their matriarchy is steeped in history, lore and ancient knowledge. Riveting. I became so invested in all of the characters, but rooted especially for the little Bloodwalker.

The climax is dramatic, intense and outright spooky in one of the most incredible settings I've ever read about. Once there I could not stop until I turned the last page.

One of the best books I've read this year. You'll love it, whatever genre you usually enjoy.


Give us a short teaser about Bloodwalker. What should we expect? What genre is it?

Children are disappearing. The strange part is it seems to happen every time the Zorka Circus leaves one of the Eastern European towns on its tour. Rurik, the circus’s Security Chief, thinks someone in the circus is behind it. But who?

Readers can expect a riveting mystery with lots of action and a streak of horror. It’s a genre mash-up of mystery, thriller, horror and fantasy—something for everyone!

What inspired you to write Bloodwalker?

I was fascinated with the idea of a sheltered society that’s superstitious and oppressive. Very often people in closed-off societies are so used to the rigid rules they live under, they don’t see them as wrong or believe in questioning them. If it was good enough for their grandparents, it’s good enough for them. It would take a lot for a young woman from such a group to begin to question and finally rebel against unfair rules, so I gave Sylvie plenty of problems to push her over the edge.

Making our characters miserable—it’s what authors do best!

The locations in your book are so rich and authentic. Have you been to or lived in Eastern Europe?

I’ve never been to Eastern Europe, but I did a lot of research. I became really good at using Mapquest maps and satellite pictures to scour countries for cities where I could put my circus. Once I had the locations, I read news articles about the places, browsed tourist review sites for details, researched flora and fauna, and looked at every picture I could find. Originally, I wanted the climax of the novel to be in Russia, but I stumbled on a polluted town in Romania with two abandoned factories. It became the town that’s featured in the finale (with a name change and some fictitious additions to make it super scary!).

How did you come to learn so much about the circus life? You really bring it to life in the book!

Research. Research. Research. I read everything I could find about circuses and performers. I watched lots of videos, including several of the big top being put together and raised. Fascinating stuff!

What’s your favorite part of the book? No spoilers!

Sylvie is a “bloodwalker” for her village, which means she prepares dead bodies for burial the way they did a hundred years ago, before mortuaries or funeral homes. My favorite parts were the anecdotes about times she was doing her job and things went wrong. The stories are a bit macabre and filled with black humor. I could write a whole novel on the weird ideas I came up with about mishaps when dealing with corpses!

How long did it take you from idea to formatted book?

Almost two years. The research, writing, getting feedback and revising took about a year. Then finding a publisher took 4 months (the first one I subbed to went out of business while I was waiting to hear from them!), and then cover design, final edits, getting ARC (Advanced Reader Copies) to reviewers, and final proofing took another 6 months.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I read a lot when I was a kid. I loved the sense of being taken away to other worlds full of adventure and scary things. I especially loved Sci-Fi, Thrillers, and Horror. The Horror novels of the 70s (like The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, and The Fog by James Herbert) inspired me as a young teen, and I wished I could become a Horror writer. I eventually did, after a thirty-year detour called real life and work.

What is an interesting or bizarre writing habit or quirk you have?

If I’m stuck on a plot point or can’t decide on something, I do the dishes or clean. The mindless activity helps my mind wander and find the answer. Or maybe it’s just the pretty soap bubbles…

Tease us about your next book? Will it be along similar lines to Bloodwalker?

I’m writing a novel now called Coldest Night. It’s about a wanted man who must come out of hiding when the tiny Alaskan town his wife and daughter live in suffers a toxic gas attack. It’s a Thriller but not very much like Bloodwalker.

However, I’m researching my next book, which will be more like Bloodwalker. It’s tentatively called Paris Underworld and is about a secretive society living in the Paris Catacombs who are being hunted by a serial killer. Since they’re illegals, they can’t go to the police. They know there’s only one man who has a chance to catch the killer. But that man was banned from their group for being a murderer himself.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I spend time on the internet and watching TV. But surfing the net and good TV shows inspire me with plot ideas, so even when I’m not actually writing, I’m usually thinking about writing!

What was the hardest part of writing Bloodwalker?

Everything. Coming up with the premise. Doing all the research. Outlining and then changing the plot ten times as I went along. Writing and re-writing. Getting feedback. Revising again and again. And again.


Win a free copy of Bloodwalker!

Click here if you can't see the entry form:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads


I’m interviewed for Blondie & The Brit


Featuring the fantastic author/writing podcast: Blondie & The Brit, who interviewed me last week. It was a lot of fun and we cover a variety of topics.

Play the interview

You can also right click on the destination page if you want to download it.




Etsy CTO On Its Conservatively Crafty Tech Philosophy

Etsy CTO Kellan Elliott-McRea chatting at a table. The online artisans’ marketplace sells some unique products and has some unusual needs when it comes to IT. The company sets itself apart in a number of ways. Instead of using cloud services like many young organizations, it mostly shuns them preferring to bring as much as possible in-house. Etsy, which recently had a hugely successful IPO, is remarkably conservative in some ways, yet… Read More


Becky Doughty – audiobook narrator (and author)

Hello. You’ve probably been living under a rock if you haven’t heard me talk at length about the new audiobook version of Ocean of Dust. I can’t help it, it’s such fun to listen to.

My narrator was the wonderfully talented Becky Doughty. Though an author in her own right, she recently started BraveHeart Audiobooks, a production company. Check out the numerous and varied titles she has produced this year alone. Between her busy schedule, she agreed to answer some of my questions about the audiobook biz:

1. Why did you decide to get into the audiobook production business?

My passion is books. I’m author, and therefore, an avid reader. And when I say “avid” I don’t just mean that I like to read books. I’m one of those people who will not see a movie made from a book until I’ve read the book…NOT so I can slam the movie, but so I can create my own book-movie first, unfiltered by Hollywood. (I do, in fact, love movies made from books, regardless of how much they diverge from the original!) In other words, books have always “come to life” in my own head, so transitioning into audiobooks seemed like something rather providential to me.

More logistically speaking, however, this was a way that I could diversify, yet still stay in my industry of choice – books, books, and books – and Amazon’s ACX opened the last of the doors necessary for me to get the ball rolling.


2. Where and how did you learn your narration skills?

Remember that whole “avid reader” thing? I read out loud to anyone who would listen. Always have. My kids learned early on that I was not normal when it came to bedtime stories – I all but acted them out, often working everyone into a frenzy rather than putting them to sleep – but the books came to life for them. Now as adults, they, too, read out loud in the same way, and I couldn’t be more proud. And I digress….

My husband and I both come from musical backgrounds, so we’re accustomed to hours spent in front of microphones, of tuning the ears for the sweet spot, and all that goes into tweaking a voice for listening pleasure.

3. What do you think it takes to be a talented, versatile narrator?

Oh goodness. My first knee-jerk response is that a narrator MUST connect with the story and the characters. But that’s rather vague, so let me try to expound.

As an audiobook LISTENER, I will tell you some of my pet peeves: mouth noises, hollow room recordings, heavy breathing, mic proximity, and especially a narrator who doesn’t understand the nuances of story. Those are obvious, right? But the thing is, eliminating that stuff is HARD. I strive toward not having these elements every time I’m behind the mic, but I’ll be the first to acknowledge that after reading a section 3 times, listening to it 3 more times, and still having trouble nailing it, it’s tough to keep it sounding fresh.

But to answer your question more directly, these are the things I’m working on to make ME a better and more versatile narrator:

  • KNOWING my voice – as in, what time of day it’s at its best quality, how long I can hold that quality, and when to put the mic down and rest.
  • Being demonstrative and emotional when I’m all by myself. Figure out the characters’ emotions and really cram them into my voice. All the listener gets is my voice, but I want them to picture a 14 year old girl on a wild adventure, or a 50 year old man trying to make sense of his life, or a 30 year old mother who’s just discovered her child is missing.
  • Ability to “do” different voices and accents. Nothing makes a story come to life in audio than when every character has something unique about his or her voice. I feel it’s imperative for a good narrator to become ALL the characters, and still keep the narration voice neutral.
  • Diction. Diction is not about getting closer to the microphone so you can hear me better. It’s about saying the words clearly so you can understand even my whispers. Without mouth noise.
  • Consistency. This is probably my biggest challenge. Consistency requires long hours of reading, then being able to match voice and tone qualities a day, two days, a week later. It means maintaining distinct personalities of upwards of 20 characters at a time for hours and hours and hours of recording, editing, and mastering. Rhythm and flow – the narrator is as much a character as any other. Consistency also means sleeping right, eating right, drinking right, and avoiding anything that might affect my voice quality.

One more thing…a good narrator should actually enjoy spending hours and hours alone…with a bunch of imaginary friends.

4. How do you decide which projects you want to work on?

I made the mistake early on of taking on projects before I’d read the full manuscript. NEVER AGAIN. That being said, here are some things I look for:

  • I’m a “clean reads” narrator. This does not mean I won’t read about sex or narrate a curse word now and then, nor does it mean that all the books I narrate must be from a Christian worldview. However, I am a Christian, and I feel very strongly that I can’t put my voice to a book that clearly contradicts my beliefs. Interestingly, I’ve turned down “Christian” books that contradicted my beliefs, and I’m pretty liberal, when all is said and done.
  • I must actually enjoy the story and believe in the characters enough to be able to “become” them and live out their stories with them. This is another reason I must read a full manuscript before contracting to produce it.
  • My schedule. This is something else I learned the hard way. I try not to book myself out more than 4 months (approximately 6-8 books) at a time. I need the breathing room, and it’s not really fair to make an author wait when I know there are many wonderful narrators out there from whom to choose!

5. Please share the technical details of your studio. Do you have a photo? What software and audio equipment do you use?

My Studio is really a converted a closet in my home office, complete with built-in desk for my screen, keyboard, and mouse, my good quality drafting chair (this allows for sitting and standing without having to adjust my microphone stand and other equipment), carpeted walls, and a low-noise fan because the room is not air-conditioned (this prevents disruption when the air kicks on or off). I usually read off my Kindle, and keep a notepad handy for taking notes as I record.

My equipment.

  • Microphone – I use a Rode NT1-A multi-directional microphone, a pop-screen, and a shock mount on a boom stand so the mic hangs down from above me. This keeps my desk clear and seems to capture my voice well.
  • Interface – I use an AVID 3rd generation Mini interface (rather than a USB mic) for better sound quality and performance.
  • Software – Right now I’m using the free (and fantastic!) Audacity software for recording, editing, mastering and formatting my audio files, and I love it. Very simple, straight-forward, flexible. Can’t say enough about it and I highly recommend it. But I’m slowly working into using Pro-Tools – another fantastic recording software that simply offers more versatility for future projects for us.
  • Computer – I have a dedicated inexpensive HP tower and it’s situated on a desk outside the booth so my mic doesn’t pick up the fan hum.
  • Headphones – I use a pair of Samson SR850 headphones that I love – they don’t crimp my ears and they’re very sound-sensitive. They do flatten my hair – I’m watching for headphone-pattern-baldness.

6. How do you keep consistent voices, volume and energy throughout an entire book?

Hmmmm. I think this goes back to the notion that I have to like the book (or at least the author!) enough to invest in the story. Once I’m invested, I WANT to make the characters and their stories come to life, you know? This really is one of my biggest challenges – keeping things consistent. Sometimes, where there are lots of characters, I’ll even record a sample track of each character speaking so I can refer back to it if need be. And I strongly believe that a narrator must understand the flow of story in order to read well. I’ve heard some very “robotic” narration that was done with perfect diction and skill, but no feeling.

7. Take us through the typical steps of narrating a chapter: Do you rehearse? Do you do multiple takes? Do you have to do a lot of editing? How long does it take?

I always read the whole manuscript before I start. I have a form I’ve created that I send out to authors to fill out about pronunciation, character personalities, accents, etc., and try to adhere to that more than anything. I don’t rehearse, not really, but I do warm up every day, so usually the first section I read each day has already been read at least once through, giving me time to sink into the story.

  • Record: When I record (mono input, never stereo!), I read through as much as I can in one sitting, dividing tracks by chapters (this is how they load for retail, so it makes sense to do this when I record), without editing. I read straight through each chapter, so when I complete that first take, it’s complete with all my mistakes. I save it as is, and move on to the next chapter. I can usually record for 4-6 hours straight (with water and coffee and a break here and there) and then I begin my editing.
  • Edit: I go back to the first chapter I’ve recorded that day, and while following along with the manuscript, I snip and splice, remove breaths, mouth noises, repeated lines, coughs and sniffs, etc. Often times, I have to re-record a line or word, so this all takes place in my booth.
  • Master: Then I send it through my mastering steps – normalize, compress, equalize, normalize, hard limit – then listen to it again, following along with the manuscript, this time checking for any missed noises at the mastered level. I try to interact with the author often during the recording to make sure we’re on the same page – they listen as I post new chapters.
  • Format: I convert all my wav files into mp3s, (Mono, 44100 Hz,192 kpbs bit rate mode), then load each chapter into a shared Dropbox with the author, or directly up on for the author to check.

8. What should authors do to make it easier for you as a narrator? Do you have any Do’s and Don’ts?

So many of these things I learned by trial and error. I now send out a letter just prior to the start of recording. In it I include my tentative schedule for the project, my expectations from the author, and any questions about the afore-mentioned form they filled out. One thing I always include in my email is this:

I ask that you listen as both a reader AND an author. I know you hear the story in your head already, and my take on it may be slightly different than yours. Rather than looking at my version as being wrong, consider that my narration is that of a reader, and even if it is different, it may be the way readers are perceiving your story, and may be just as effective.

That being said, if you feel that a character is just not right, please don’t hesitate to tell me so we can get that straightened out from the beginning. This is YOUR book, YOUR story, YOUR world, and I’m honored to bring it to audio life, so let’s communicate, communicate, communicate, and do so early on!

An important key to timely editing is the author feedback. I always ask an author to listen with the manuscript and a pen (computer, tablet, etc.). As they come across edits, I ask for three things: Chapter, track time, and what I said vs. what needs to be fixed.

Chapter 3
You read, “He drove over his neighbors.” Script says “He drove over TO his neighbors.

9. Do you have advice for anyone considering becoming an audiobook narrator?

If you love to read out loud, AND you have a voice that people enjoy listening to, and you have the space to set up a sound booth (or a sound booth available to rent), then go for it! However, DO NOT sell yourself short by using amateur equipment in an amateur setting that creates low sound quality. You may get a few contracts, but believe me, listeners are starting to sit up and listen…and review the narrators with a whole new set of criteria. This is a suddenly-booming aspect of this industry, and everyone is jumping into the fray. Take the time to do it right so you can rise to the top with QUALITY.

10. What was the hardest thing about narrating Ocean of Dust? What did you have the most fun with?

Oh, this is an EASY question!
Hardest thing – LOTS of male characters. Staying consistent with lots of male character voices was tough, I readily admit!

Most fun – This is not a genre I typically read, so I was really excited to branch out and BE something a little otherworldly. Lissa was a great character to inhabit, and I figured if SHE could take on all those men and come out standing tall, so could I! I really had a great time living vicariously through Lissa…although the hair scene really got to me (no spoilers here!)

Thanks for having me here, Graeme, and for the honor of lending my voice to your story.

Thank you, Becky for the fantastic insight into your world. Great answers! It was fun.

Here’s an interview Becky did with me on her site.

About Becky


I am married to my champion of 25-plus years, Kevin. We have three children, two of whom are grown and starting families of their own. We all live within a few miles of each other in Southern California. We share our lives with too many animals, a large vegetable garden, and a strange underground concrete room we’re determined was built for dark and sinister purposes….

I am represented by Ruth Samsel of The William K Jensen Literary Agency.

I am also a narrator and audiobook producer through BraveHearts Audiobooks, a recording company my husband and I own and operate. You can also find samples of my work on my Producer Profile HERE.

Email: becky(at)beckydoughty(dot)com, or use the handy-dandy Contact Becky form.
Twitter: @BeckySDoughty
Google Plus: +BeckyDoughty


God’s Daughter by Heather Day Gilbert

GodsDaughterCoverMany of you know that I’m descended from the Vikings and I love a good Norse story.

Today I feature a great one: God’s Daughter by Heather Day Gilbert. I was lucky enough to read an ARC a couple of months ago. Here’s the review I wrote:

Review (5-stars)

I’ve read several works of fiction about the Viking period, most cliched tales of raids and pillaging. This book goes beyond the stereotypes and deep into the relationships and demands of day-to-day life exploring the new lands of North America. Gudrid, a strong and resourceful Viking woman, faces the challenges of raising a child on the frontier while managing her troubled relationship with her husband, Thorfinn. One of his most trusted warriors has fallen for her, and she is confused about the feelings she has in return.

As the title suggests, Gudrid has embraced Christianity and this is a fascinating angle on Viking life as we witness their shift from the pagan gods to Christ. While a deep theme of the book, the author does a great job of not turning this book into a religious text. In this way, it should appeal to anyone, regardless of their beliefs.

Every character is richly brought to life, and the Viking culture is wonderfully captured and historically accurate. I could picture every scene in the forest, or mealtime in the longhouse as if it were a movie. Gorgeously written.

A very compelling read and a unique take on viking history seen through the eyes of a woman.

I’m not normally a reader of historical fiction (I leave that up to Tamara) but I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and isn’t that cover gorgeous? Heather was kind enough to answer some of my questions:


Graeme: Did you specifically set out to tell the real story of Gudrid, or did you just want to write about a Viking woman, and came across her in the sagas?

Heather: Ooh, good question. A little of both. I found Gudrid in the sagas and loved her story, as well as all the characters in the Saga of the Greenlanders and Eirik the Red’s Saga. I actually started a story based around a fictional character (Stena, a reindeer herder who does show up in God’s Daughter), and it just wasn’t working on some level. My husband asked me why I didn’t write about Gudrid, if I loved her story so much. I took a stab at it, and it just flowed. I write first-person, so I have to be able to get into my main character’s head.

Graeme: Why do you think few people realize that the Vikings “discovered” North America hundreds of years before Columbus?

Heather: I’m not really sure–maybe it’s not taught in schools as much? Even though Leif Erikson Day was established nationwide in 1964, I feel it hasn’t gained traction until lately. Mostly because people are now disgruntled with Columbus’ “settling” techniques. Although I’m sure the Vikings would’ve settled this New World the same way, if they’d had the numbers they needed to take over.

Graeme: God’s Daughter works superbly on so many levels. What’s your favourite aspect: Her devotion to Christianity, her troubled relationship with Finn, the life of a Viking woman, Vikings encountering native Americans, or something else?

Heather: Oh my goodness, thank you! I definitely wanted those various layers in the book. I suppose, for me, the driving conflict with Gudrid was internal, even though she had all this external chaos in her life. So the conflicted relationship with her husband was definitely utmost in my mind, because it’s something I see so often in marriages today.

Graeme: How much liberty did you take with the real life story of Gudrid?

Heather: I tried to incorporate nearly all the events of her life mentioned in the sagas, then I basically built her character around that. I knew she was a Christian, beautiful and wise, well-respected, won friends easily, communicated with natives…basically, I knew a lot from the sagas. But the sagas are quite blunt and a bit sterile. I wanted to fill in those gaps, so I imagined Gudrid as a person…and her motivations and hang-ups seemed to spring to life. So I’d say I took the most liberty with her thought life, since we are in her head throughout the novel.

Graeme: How do you think Vikings changed after adopting Christianity?

Heather: Historically, we can see they changed in many ways, abandoning old practices such as leaving infants out to die (exposure) and eating horseflesh. It was a slow change–they didn’t have the Bible–but according to history, many miracles took place during that time. Sort of like a throw-down between their holy women (volva) and the monks who came to town. Most people emphasize that King Olaf forced Christianity on Norway/Iceland/Greenland, but I feel many people accepted it voluntarily, like Leif Eiriksson and his mother, Thjodhild. Also Gudrid.

Graeme: What did you learn about your own faith after writing God’s Daughter?

Heather: I guess part of what resonated with me was that Gudrid often felt alone in her Christianity–which is odd, because I have many Christian friends. And yet, sometimes we feel alienated from everyone else, because we’re going through something we can’t even put into words. Gudrid tended to shut up about her trials and repress things, but you can see her crying out to God during those hard times. Doesn’t mean everything turns out hunky-dory. But it means we have Someone to talk to who knows us better than we know ourselves.

Graeme: What was your favourite scene to write? Your hardest?

Heather: I’m grinning, just knowing my favorite will involve the irrepressible Freydis, who is Eirik the Red’s daughter/Gudrid’s sis-in-law.  [Graeme: I loved Freydis, such an awesome character!]  She just says and does whatever she wants and lets the chips fall where they may. I liked the scene where she sat in the corner of the longhouse, fingering her curved knife and glaring at the men. You feel the power in that girl–uncontrolled and raging. I’m looking forward to writing my second book, Forest Child, in which she’s the main point-of-view character. I also enjoyed writing a pivotal scene with Gudrid’s husband, Finn. But I had two hard scenes that involved deaths. I teared up every time I had to work on them.

Graeme: If I gave you a one-way time travel ticket right now, would you go to live in Viking times?

Heather: Oh dear! That’s tough! But I’d stay here with my husband and kiddos. Still, if I could finagle a way to get back to this time, I’d definitely go back and meet Eirik the Red’s clan. I just need a TARDIS…

Graeme: What’s your next book project and are you going to treat us to more Viking tales?

Heather: Yes–the follow-up to God’s Daughter is in the works. However, I’m not sure what my next project will have to be. I do have a mystery out on submission with publishers, and if they want it, edits will definitely be in my future. But I plan to start working in earnest on Forest Child as soon as God’s Daughter is released into the big wide reading world.

Thanks so much for having me today, Graeme! And thank you immensely for being one of my early readers. Your input helped me jazz up some important scenes and hopefully make them more exciting for readers. All the best to you!


HDGHeather enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Sixteen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as ten years spent homeschooling her three children. Heather is the ACFW West Virginia Area Coordinator.

Buy the Kindle version. Other formats and paperback are coming soon, I believe.

You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert–Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads.


Untethered Realms: Cherie Reich

UR A continuing series about each author in Untethered Realms, a neat spec-fic publishing group. Check us out:  Facebook | Twitter | Website


Cherie Reich

A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her books include the horror series Nightmare, a space fantasy trilogy titled Gravity, and a fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms. Her debut YA Epic Fantasy novel Reborn, book one in The Fate Challenges, will be released on May 23, 2014.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Tell us about your latest book?
My most recent release was a fantasy short story collection called Men of Foxwick. This 27,000-word collection features five men from the Kingdom of Foxwick. A blind teen seeks a place in the kingdom. A dragon seer journeys to Wintermill to spy on the queen. A sword master’s worst fear comes true when he fails to protect the royal family. A king falls in love with an herb witch, but will she feel the same way? A hunter will rise to the challenge to hunt down a man-eating monster.

What genre(s) do you write/want to write in?
As a speculative fiction writer, I tend to write fantasy, horror, and the occasional science fiction story, but I sometimes write mystery/thriller and contemporary with romantic elements.

What do you like most about being an author?
Being an author is awesome. The coolest thing is being able to take the stories I daydream about and present them to others through my writing. Writing also gives me a chance to express myself, so I don’t have to be all awkward when I talk to people.

What do you hate about being an author?
The worst parts about being an author are bad reviews—they’re just not fun and can be quite the confidence blow—and marketing when you’re an introvert.

What does Untethered Realms mean to you and why should folks follow UR?
Untethered Realms has brought me together with nine other great speculative fiction authors. We can share tips of the trade and our successes as well as lament our failures together. Other folks should follow UR because we strive to produce quality and entertaining speculative fiction. We’re also a pretty fun group of people too.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I read a lot, and I love watching TV, particularly crime shows.

What’s the most fun you’ve had writing a scene or character and why?
Oh, this is a hard question because there are so many great scenes I’ve enjoyed writing, but I’ll pick one from Men of Foxwick. I enjoyed writing the scene from “Monster Hunter” with Orin, his brother Quaylin, and Quaylin’s wife Bridgee. Each character has a great rapport with the other. And it was particularly fun to write Bridgee, who controls the roost.

If you could live as one of your characters, whom would you choose and why?
That’s a good question. I think I would pick Ariala from The Fate Challenges. She’s this popular, intelligent, and personable Royal. She’s also a friend to the main character Yssa, but Ariala doesn’t have to worry about all the troubles I put Yssa through. I wish I could have Ariala’s confidence.

Tell us a secret, something few people know about you!
Despite being an introvert, I used to want to be an actress and opera singer and performed in musicals and even an opera in high school/college.

What’s your next book about? Go on, tease us!
My next publication will be Neighbors of Foxwick, seven fantasy short stories featuring the places surrounding the Kingdom of Foxwick. Life and death, love and hatred, abound in these stories. Here’s the first line from the first story “Common Love”: Bryan Firelark daydreamed of a princess trapped in an ice castle.

Other Untethered Realms authors: Angela Brown | Christine Rains | Julie Flanders


Untethered Realms: Julie Flanders

UR A continuing series about each author in Untethered Realms, a neat spec-fic publishing group. Check us out:  Facebook | Twitter | Website


Julie Flanders

Julie Flanders is a novelist and a freelance writer who has written for both online and print publications. She is an animal lover and shares her home in Cincinnati, Ohio with her dog and cat. Her debut novel Polar Night, a paranormal suspense thriller, is now available from Ink Smith Publishing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Julie Flanders
Tell us about your latest book?
Polar Night is my latest (and actually first) book. It’s a paranormal thriller and my take on a traditional detective story. The story takes place in Alaska and the title refers to the winter phenomenon of 24-hour darkness in the Arctic regions.

Polar Night

What genre(s) do you write/want to write in?
I love to write anything with a paranormal or supernatural twist.

What do you like most about being an author?
I love that I get to share the characters that exist in my head. And I love that writing gives me an opportunity to step out of everyday life and go somewhere else through my imagination.

What do you hate about being an author?
I can honestly say I don’t hate anything. Writing has totally changed my life and has been a gift to me in more ways than I ever could have imagined. But if I had to pick one negative, I would say it has been learning to deal with bad reviews. I am still working on developing a thick skin.

What does Untethered Realms mean to you and why should folks follow UR?
One of my favorite things about writing has been connecting with other authors. I’ve never been a “joiner” and in fact have always been pretty much of a loner, but writing has changed that. I was very excited when I was asked to join UR and I’m proud to be part of such a talented group. I encourage readers to follow UR because I think there is something for everyone under the UR umbrella. Anyone who enjoys speculative fiction will find something to love among our books.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I love to read and I’m a total tv junkie. I also love walking and taking my dog on various adventures.

What’s the most fun you’ve had writing a scene or character and why?
I loved writing the character of Aleksei, who is the antagonist in Polar Night. He’s drop-dead gorgeous, so it was fun to imagine him in my mind!

If you could live as one of your characters, whom would you choose and why?
I don’t think I’d want to be any of them. I love to write dark stories and I don’t have any problem putting my characters through all kinds of pain and turmoil. George R.R. Martin is my writing idol so if you’re familiar at all with Game of Thrones or A Song of Ice and Fire you know that’s enough said.

Tell us a secret, something few people know about you!
I used to work in a psychiatric hospital and I was the on-call emergency clinician responsible for assessing suicide and homicide risks. I only did this for about 6 months but it’s safe to say it was quite an experience!

What’s your next book about? Go on, tease us!
My next book is called The Ghosts of Aquinnah and it is set on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts in both the 1880s and the present day. It’s hard to pick a genre for the book but I’d say it is a combination of ghost story, love story, historical fiction, and mystery.

Other Untethered Realms authors: Angela Brown | Christine Rains


Untethered Realms: Christine Rains

UR A continuing series about each author in Untethered Realms, a neat spec-fic publishing group. Check us out:  Facebook | Twitter | Website

I’ve read all but the latest 13th Floor books and they are some of my favourite books of 2013. Though The Ghost is coming out soon, I recommend you read them from the beginning. They’re fast reads.


Christine Rains

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She’s married to her best friend and fellow geek living in south-central Indiana. They have one son who is too smart for his parents’ own good and loves to dance to Gangnam Style. Christine has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s going on adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She’s a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. (South Central Indiana Fiction Interface). She has several short stories and seven novellas published.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Christine Rains
Tell us about your latest book?
This is the final book in the 13th Floor series, THE GHOST. Chiharo Black lives with six supernatural tenants in a haunted building’s mysterious thirteenth floor. Of course, no one knows she’s there except the cats. Being a ghost can be a bit frustrating and lonely until another ghost intrudes on her territory. It’s an explosive ending to the series that ties everything together. It’ll be released on July 13th.


What genre(s) do you write/want to write in?
My novels and novellas are paranormal romance. Though I’d like to do more science-fiction. My short stories cover many dark fiction genres.

What do you like most about being an author?
I love creating. Bringing characters to life, birthing worlds, weaving mysteries.

What do you hate about being an author?
Marketing. I never know if what I’m doing is right and if I’m doing enough. I feel like I’m walking around blindly and hoping someone notices me.

What does Untethered Realms mean to you and why should folks follow UR?
UR is a fantastic group of writers. Not just to help one another market their work, but we’re sharing ideas, helping brainstorm, and commiserating with other writers. Other people should follow UR for amazing stories and great personalities. We’re friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand to writers just starting out wanting to know how to go about doing things.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I spend the majority of my time with my son. We go on all sorts of adventures. We like to hike and hopefully this summer, we’ll get to go camping. I love to travel too, but that will have to wait until I have the time and money for it.

What’s the most fun you’ve had writing a scene or character and why?
I’ve had so much fun with all my characters. It’s difficult to pick one. One character that has been with me for several years is Magena Silver, a beautiful witch and manipulator extraordinaire. I’ve written a trilogy for her, but I just can’t seem to get it right. She challenges me as a writer, but that only keeps me coming back for more.

If you could live as one of your characters, whom would you choose and why?
I put my characters through the wringer. Why would I want to live as any of them?! Yet if I could avoid death looming over me, I’d like to be Stefanie from THE ALPHA. She’s an alpha werewolf at peace with who she is. A strong, sensual, and confident woman. Plus she can turn into a wolf and revel in her primal side.

Tell us a secret, something few people know about you!
I have an extra large head. Not even large men’s hats fit it. I like to think it’s because I have a very large brain.

What’s your next book about? Go on, tease us!
I’m not sure which project I’ll be working on next. I want to revise one of my manuscripts and query it. It might be the one about a witch whose an expert with love potions but resists falling in love herself, or it could be the new one I have brewing in my mind. It’s an urban fantasy about the underdogs in the supernatural world.

Other Untethered Realms authors: Angela Brown | Julie Flanders


Untethered Realms: Angela Brown

UR This is the first in a feature series about each author in Untethered Realms, a neat spec-fic publishing group. Check us out:  Facebook | Twitter | Website


Angela Brown

Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Angela now calls Central Texas home. She’s a lover of Wild Cherry Pepsi and chocolate/chocolate covered delicious-ness. Steampunk, fantasy and paranormal to contemporary – mostly young adult – fill her growing library of books. Mother to a rambunctious darling girl aptly nicknamed Chipmunk, life stays busy. Her favorite quote keeps her moving: “You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Tell us about your latest book?
Atone is my latest ebook. It is the second novella in my NEO Chronicles: Characters Revealed series. The main character is Caine Fordham, an assassin with a special gift for “taking care” of his assignments, particularly the ladies. He promised his assistant that when he reached a certain goal, he’d retire, but he decides to take on one last case that changes everything.


What genre(s) do you write/want to write in?
I write in YA/NA and am working on an MG series as well. I prefer paranormal, fantasy/urban fantasy, you know, shifters, vampires, dragons and more :-)

What do you like most about being an author?
I love using my imagination. I have voices that speak to me in my head and I get to be an author instead of committed to an institution. How cool is that?

What do you hate about being an author?
Knowing that as much as I want every single person in the world to love my stories, it’s not going to happen. As a matter of fact, there will be those who will outright hate what I write. I just have to be ready for that.

What does Untethered Realms mean to you and why should folks follow UR?
Untethered Realms is such a cool diverse group of authors writing about things from outer space to scary thrillers. UR is worth the follow for the fun, the great books and getting to know great authors with more wonderful writing to come.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Reading and spending baking time with my daughter.

What’s the most fun you’ve had writing a scene or character and why?
Uh, well, I sort of had fun writing a transport scene for my MG story. The main character didn’t exactly walk through a portal or hop from one realm to another. She had a more OZ experience.

If you could live as one of your characters, whom would you choose and why?
I’m not sure I’d want to be one of my characters. I put them in some tough situations lol!!

Tell us a secret, something few people know about you!
A secret? hehe! Well Not sure if it’s a secret, but I used to have the biggest crush on Dante Basco back in his Rufio days (Anybody else remember Hook?) Well, that crush never really went away. He’s still so cool!

What’s your next book about? Go on, tease us!
You can find out if Abby and Basil discover new levels to their love when I release THEY ALL FALL DOWN, the sequel to Neverlove. Here’s the beginning paragraph:

Basil crawled from the bed, loathed to leave the tangled blankets and warmth of Abby’s arms. Awake, she was beauty incarnate as far as he was concerned. Asleep, she was an angel. Day or night, her presence soothed him with thoughts of tropical paradise, her essence saturated in the intoxicating fragrance of pineapples, oranges and berries. Many nights he drifted into slumber in that happy place. But more times than not, it just wasn’t enough.

Other Untethered Realms authors: Christine Rains | Julie Flanders

Powered by WordPress | Theme: Aeros 2.0 by