How NOT to Get Reviewed #1

We have Query Shark critiquing author’s letters to agents, but in this day and age of indie publishing, emailing a proper review request to a book blogger is just as important.

Following on my previous post, How to Submit to a Book Reviewer, I’m sharing a couple examples of what to do — and what to avoid. Read on at your own risk.

From: –
To: 27 email addresses
Subject line: A Novella For You To Review If You Feel Like Reviewing

Yahoo looks unprofessional. Use gmail or your own domain if possible. And never send such obvious mass mailers; if you’re going to email multiple book bloggers at the same time (which I don’t recommend) at least BCC them. Lastly, keep your subject line simple. “Request for Book Review: BOOK TITLE” is more than sufficient. Adding ‘if you feel like it’ sounds insecure.

Hello… just wanted to drop a short note here to you to ask a few of you who blog & review books if you might be interested in reviewing a novella that I just upped to Amazon…? (The apparent formatting nightmare within the novella is intentional, by the way.)

“Upped to Amazon” isn’t a commonly used expression, which then raises doubts on the quality of the book’s writing. Couple that with the comment about formatting being a nightmare — however intentional — and I’ve already got misgivings.

It’s my first try at self-publishing; I’m very new to this.

Never say this, even if it’s true. No one wants to deal with someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

The title that I upped at Amazon (“[Title]”) was actually rejected by a publisher with a note that said it was a “post modern tour de force,” although I have no idea what that actually means.

If you don’t know what it means, how am I supposed to know what it means? This tells me nothing about your book. Also: be proud to be indie. You’ve chosen this route. Don’t make it look like it’s a last resort because you were rejected by the big guys, even if it’s true.

I personally think it’s pretty good, although it is short at 13,000 words.

Good idea to include the word count, but I don’t need to know what you think about your book. I need to know what your book’s about. What’s the story? What genre is it? Why should I want to read it?

I’ll attach it here as an .epub — Thanks for your time!

I would recommend NOT attaching the book until a reviewer gets back to you expressing interest. That way you can provide it in whatever format suits them best.

— [Name]

You’ve missed out on a chance to promote yourself. Where is your signature with your byline and website link?

All I know is the title of the book, that it’s 13,000 words, and that it may have crap formatting. This review request lacks confidence, and doesn’t give me enough information about the book to make me want to read it. Rejected!

Posted in How NOT to Get Reviewed | 3 Comments

5 Minute Monday: Ronald J Craft

Ronald J CraftRonald J Craft grew up surrounded by books, and his surroundings haven’t changed in the slightest. He’s read countless fantasy novels… and always hungers for more.

A little about you, first. Do you have any hidden talents?

RJC: I have been writing for a long time now, ever since high school, and have only just recently finally published my first novel. It was quite a trip, and one that is only going to continue as I work on the next one!

I spent six years of my life in the US Air Force and worked on jet engines. I’ve now settled into a role as a system administrator for a web hosting company full-time, and spend my nights writing.

Tell us about your book, Bound by Fire — what themes does it tackle?

RJC: My novel, Bound by Fire, is a fantasy novel (the first of a trilogy) that focuses on the darker themes in fantasy. Treachery, greed, hopelessness. I really wanted to give my readers a more realistic fantasy story where nobody is a hero and yet they are tasked with this great burden that they must complete. The story focuses on seven characters who, while all different, are each related in one way or another and over the course of the story come together either as friends or foes.

Is there anything you want readers to take away from your writing?

RJC: I’d love if my readers sat back after reading my novel and felt a bit a more wise. Perhaps they would think to themselves, “Humans really have a tendency to make poor decisions despite all the wisdom before them.”

Which other indie authors do you recommend or admire?

RJC: Honestly, I admire any indie author that steps into this world. The direct translation to Indie should be “The Wild West”, as it’s still a very crazy place to be. I plunged head first into the Indie world and don’t regret it one bit, but it definitely takes courage, especially if you have previously been seeking the traditional publishing route.

You see, you chase after the allure of being with a big name publisher. The carrot on the string is right there in front of you, yet for one reason or another it’s either out of reach, or you lose interest in said carrot because it’s just taking far too long to get to it.

So, Indie authors, I salute you.

Lastly, what question should I have asked you, and why?

RJC: This is a tough one – as there’s so many questions! I guess if you were going to ask another question, you could have asked me about why I went Indie.

Well, simply put, I grew tired of waiting for the carrot as I previously mentioned. I write epic fantasy and most agents/editors just aren’t interested in this side of things these days unless you’re writing urban fantasy, or have a strong love story. I had some potentials, and made it to several full manuscript requests… after which I was welcomed by brief email updates, but mostly a whole lot of silence.

So, after a year of this I decided enough was enough and moved forward with the Indie route. My goal is for people to read and enjoy my writing, not get rich and famous (which I wouldn’t expect even with traditional publishing) so this seemed like a viable way to get my work out there.

For more information and to buy his work, check out Ronald’s amazon author page.

Posted in Author Interviews | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Arcane Solutions by Gayla Drummond – Paranormal Romance

Many thanks to the author for the review copy.

Arcane Solutions by Gayla Drummond
(Discord Jones #1)

Arcane Solutions is a quick and fun paranormal detective story recommended for fans of HP Mallory, Kait Nolan, and Charlaine Harris.

The story follows Discordia Angel Jones, a psychic private investigator with a penchant for life threatening situations. Her boss, determined to protect his best PI, hires handsome wolf shifter Nick Maxwell to be her bodyguard. It’s lust at first sight between the two… but first they’ve got to find a missing girl, fend off vampire attacks, and stop a demonic cult from ending the world. Just another day on the job for Discord Jones….

This is a quick, escapist read which I raced through in a few hours. As befitting of the genre, the prose is stripped back and casual, and the plot fairly easy to follow. It has the requisite hunks, a kickass heroine, and offers a fresh take on the paranormal world – if this sounds like your cup of tea, don’t hesitate to read it.

Discordia falls into the tough, independent and headstrong heroine category — although thankfully intelligent enough not to make stupid, obvious mistakes. Born a human, she gained psychic abilities when the paranormal and human worlds melded, but unlike any other psychic, she has multiple powers as opposed to the standard one or two.

Love interest Nick is the strong, jealous type. His jealousy doesn’t win points with me, although kudos to Discordia for challenging his attitude rather than putting up with it.

Points to Drummond as well for the captivating world building. The melding of the paranormal and human worlds is still fresh in everyone’s minds, leading to prejudice and fear between some of the characters. It’s refreshing to read a story where everyone doesn’t just calmly accept the paranormal, and the tense relationship Discord has with her step-mother adds some depth to the story.

Overall, however, Arcane Solutions is at most a guilty pleasure. I didn’t find the resolution satisfying (the explanation of the vampire attacks was an anti climax) and the ending felt rushed after the pages and pages of conspiracies and whodunnits.

That said, I am intrigued to read more. Drummond has left much unexplained: how the melding of the paranormal and human worlds happened, why Discordia has more power than any other psychic, and what secrets the shifters are hiding. Plus I’d love to know more about Leglin — you’ll have to give it a read to find out why!

In sum, if you like urban fantasy settings with a dollop of romance, then this might be one for you.

Grab it today from Smashwords!

You may also like:
To Kill A Warlock by HP Mallory || Devil’s Eye by Kait Nolan
No Rest for the Wicca by Toni LoTempio || Other GL Drummond reviews

Posted in Fantasy, Mystery, Reviews, Romance | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

5 Minute Monday: Patrick Suraci

I generally don’t post interviews by authors of non-fiction, but this particular submission fascinated me due to the age of the author and the subject matter at hand.

Born in May 1936, Patrick Suraci is a doctor of Clinical Psychology… and in his book he tells his story of Sybil, a well-known patient with multiple personality disorder.

A little about you, first. Do you have any hidden talents?

PS: Acting is really hidden now, since I haven’t done any movies since Spaghetti Westerns in Rome and off-Broadway shows where there were more actors on stage than people in the audience, giving credit to studying with Uta Hagen, great actress.

Now I am a psychologist/therapist treating disturbed actors. The difference between acting and therapy is that the scenes between patient and therapist are real and sometimes therapists get killed. Training as a staff psychologist for the New York Police Department has helped keep me alive.

Tell us about your book, Sybil In Her Own Words — what themes does it tackle?

PS: My book answers WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SYBIL? No one knows what happened to this woman who had 16 personalities, after she was integrated and cured in the original book SYBIL and TV movie with Sally Field.

Since Sybil/Shirley Mason was my friend, she gave me permission to tell about the second half of her life as a successful artist and teacher. In her later years the roles reversed. Shirley, the former patient, became the caretaker for her former therapist, Dr Cornelia Wilbur, after her stroke. Shirley maintained her anonymity until she died in order to live a normal life. She made me promise not to call for help when she was dying because she wanted to leave this world in her own home surrounded by her beautiful paintings, music and plants. Her wish was granted.

Is there anything you want readers to take away from your writing?

PS: My patients have been inspirited by Shirley’s story. They are surrounded by her paintings in my office reminding them that there is hope. I want people to know that there is always a solution to their problems, maybe not the best one they had desired, but there is one. Hope in therapy is important because it gives you a constructive path to follow. Shirley was hopeful until the end when cancer took her life.

Another lesson is to let go of the past. Easy to say but hard to do. When that is attained you can live life to its fullest every day. Therapy can help, but there are also other factors as Shirley illustrates religion, family, friends. and whatever you believe in that gives you a positive approach to life.

Which other indie authors do you recommend or admire?

PS: I have been working on this book for 10 year and haven’t had time for anything else. I hope to catch up on reading now. Any suggestions?

Lastly, what question should I have asked you, and why?

PS: Why did I spend do much of my life on this book?

In 1973 I met Flora Schreiber, author of SYBIL, and we became friends. I was working on my Doctorate in Psychology and puzzled why people were so fascinated by multiple personality disorder since it is so rare.

Then I realized that we all have different facets to our personality and behave differently with various people and in various occasions. Fortunately, we are aware of these changes. But what’s it like when you are only aware that you have “lost time”. What is the reason for a person developing this coping mechanism for survival?

Since Flora kept me apprised of Sybil’s artistic accomplishments while maintaining her anonymity, I had to find out if she had a lasting cure. So long as Dr. Wilbur was alive I knew that Shirley would be safe since they had formed a relationship when therapy ended. After Dr. Wlbur died, I had to find Shirley. My book tells how I discovered her identity.

Grab your copy today from Amazon Kindle.

Posted in Author Interviews | Tagged | 3 Comments

Love YA Urban Fantasy? Get The Mind Readers Free!

Do you remember my excitable review of The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton?

If you don’t, let me summarise: it’s a kick-ass YA read with mind powers, teenage drama, love stories, and more intrigue than you can shake a stick at.

And guess what? You can get it FREE on the Kindle until Saturday!

The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton

The Mind Readers follows the adventures of Cameron Winters, a small-town teenager in Maine who struggles to fit in with her peers at school. It doesn’t help that Cameron has a secret she must protect at all costs: she can read minds. Then Lewis Douglas arrives and shows Cameron exactly who she could be if she embraces her hidden talents. Tempted by the possibility of freedom, Cameron follows Lewis to meet others of her kind… only to find herself caught in a deadly power play.

Part murder mystery, part paranormal adventure, The Mind Readers blends romance and intrigue into an escapist novella that will leave you hungry for more.

It’s very rare that I find an indie author whose books I’m willing to promote almost unconditionally, and Lori Brighton is one of these select few.

So don’t hesitate. Get it FREE now from Kindle US or Kindle UK.

Posted in Spotlights | Tagged | 5 Comments

Apologies and New Beginnings

Last year, overambition was my downfall.

I made plans. Lots of great ones. Like reading a ton of books, and running an indie fiction challenge, getting author interviews for every Monday, and… yeah, stuff.

This on top of my own writing, being editor-in-chief for 1889 Labs, co-producing and hosting Webfiction World, running Indie Book Reviewer, updating qazyfiction, and — sometimes — having a life.

I still owe a bunch of authors a review, and have no idea when/if I’ll get round to it. I still want to get back into webfiction reviewing, but that’s not looking likely at the moment…

I’ve got to prioritise, and quite frankly quillsandzebras is not high up on the list.

So, the plan:

  1. I’m going to work through the backlog of author interviews, and at least get those up and running again every other Monday (and then go down to every Monday, if I can). Hopefully if I build up a buffer, it won’t kill me.

  2. I’m only going to take on books for review on a very select/limited basis. That way I can be sure I’ll get the review done in a reasonable amount of time.

  3. All other posts will come on an ad hoc basis. I have a couple funny ideas, and am thinking of moving this blog more towards something conversational rather than only interviews/reviews. We’ll see!

What about you? What was your downfall last year? Any plans for the new year?

Posted in Ze Miscellaneous | 12 Comments

5 Minute Monday: Pavarti K Tyler

Pavarti K Tyler is a mother of two, a devoted wife, an artist, a dreamer, a number cruncher. She’s currently writing and planting seeds in her garden — there’s nothing like a little dirt under your nails to keep things in perspective.

A little about you, first. Do you have any hidden talents?

PKT: I’m a trained opera singer. I was married for seven years before my husband ever heard me sing. I’m really loud so I tend not to do it except in a performance.

Tell us about your book, Two Moons of Sera — what themes does it tackle?

PKT: Two Moons of Sera is a Fantasy/Romance and will be released in a serial format. It tackles themes of prejudice, isolation and the state of being “other.”

Is there anything you want readers to take away from your writing? What?

PKT: That even in the darkest moments, a sense of whimsy is possible. The world is an amazing place and the people in it are generally loving when you get to know them as individuals. Never give up on the individual’s capacity for love.

Which other indie authors do you recommend or admire?

PKT: Ohhh that’s a fun one. Emlyn Chand, Jane George, Judith Gaines, David Beem… I could go on.

Lastly, what question should I have asked you, and why?

PKT: Where is the farthest from home you’ve ever been?

Morocco, the distance, the culture, the language, everything was different. It was exhilarating and terrifying to be there.

Grab your copy of Two Moons of Sera from Smashwords or Amazon!

Posted in Author Interviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

5 Minute Monday: Sabine A Reed

Sabine A Reed is the author of The Black Orb, a fantasy ebook available from Uncial Press. She also writes articles on Suite101 about writing and publishing.

A little about you, first. Do you have any hidden talents?

SAB: Well, the only hidden talent I’ve discovered so far is my ability to create wonderful stories of wizards, witches, magical weapons, daring quests and reluctant but brave heroines.

Tell us about your book, The Black Orb – what themes does it tackle?

SAB: The main theme is the triumph of good versus evil and greed, but the story is about a sister’s love for her brother and her commitment to save him despite all the odds against her. She doesn’t have any magical abilities but still she fights a battle against a queen armed with a potent talisman.

Is there anything you want readers to take away from your writing? What?

SAB: I want the readers to immerse themselves in the beautiful settings I create; the pristine world untouched by human greed, the old world charm and beauty. Also, I want them to enjoy the journey along with the heroine, to feel her pain, experience her triumphs and despair over the obstacles that bar her way.

Which other indie authors do you recommend or admire?

SAB: Amanda Hocking, J A Konrath, Michelle L. Levigne

Lastly, what question should I have asked you, and why?

SAB: You should have asked me what advice I would give to new writers who are trying their best to get published.

Why? Well, because I’ve struggled to learn the craft of writing. It had been a wonderful journey and I want to share my knowledge to help others. This is why I have my own blog Writing and Publishing Resource to give tips and suggestions to new writers. You can check it at

Intrigued? Grab your copy of The Black Orb today from Uncial Press.

Posted in Author Interviews | Tagged | 2 Comments

5 Minute Monday: Matthew Thompson

Matthew Thompson was born in England in 1983 and is the creator of Domino Galaxy. He has previously worked in the video games indusrty as a game and level designer. He joins us today to tell us about his debut novel, Twin Spirit.

A little about you, first. Do you have any hidden talents?

MT: I enjoy digital painting. I was first introduced to Photoshop while at college where I studied Graphic Design. Since then I’ve been able to create concept art for many of my ideas.

Tell us about your book, Twin Spirit – what themes does it tackle?

MT: My first novel is about freedom, and what you’re will to do to get it. One of the characters has been trapped for nine years. She is a spirit, and in order to enter the afterlife she needs her sister to die, or a least that’s what she thinks.

It’s also about family and friendship. And how easy it can be to lose someone.

Is there anything you want readers to take away from your writing? What is it?

MT: I’ve tried to push my imagination. I love original stories because they will always leave a stronger impression on me. I hope my readers will enjoy the fun and wonder of the world I’ve created.

Which other indie authors do you recommend or admire?

MT: I’ve yet to discover another indie. I’ve been too busy writing my own book and reading traditionally published authors. I will choose a book soon though.

Lastly, what question should I have asked you, and why?

MT: Why fantasy?

I write in this genre because I adore to wonder. I enjoy to explore the possibilities out there. I’m new to writing so it’s difficult to know how good or bad my first novel is. Readers will be the judge. I’m just enjoying the freedom to write.

Grab your copy of Twin Spirit from Smashwords or Amazon today!

Posted in Author Interviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

5 Minute Monday: Prue Batten

Fantasy and historical fiction writer Prue Batten has been writing since she was a child, fiddling with paper and pens. She lives in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, and thinks the security, beauty and freedom of living removed from the rest of the world is a perfect environment in which to write. She is most at home on the coast, and when time and seasons permit, she loads the Jack Russell terriers in the car and heads to a little ‘House’ on the coast to write, swim, walk and kayak.

A little about you, first: give us three fun facts about yourself.

PB: I live in Tasmania, co-wrote a novel on Twitter and have a laughable one star review on

Give us a two-line elevator pitch for your book.

PB: The fantasy novel, A Thousand Glass Flowers, is about an immortal man and a mortal woman who discover the infinite price that must be paid to get what they want as they seek for ancient and deadly charms concealed inside the flowers within glass paperweights.

Is there anything you want readers to take away from your writing? What is it?

PB: Definitely. That in the words of author SJA Turney, my work ‘is pure grace between cardboard covers.’ To which I might add ‘and also on the screen of a Kindle.’

Which other indie authors do you recommend or admire?

PB: Ann Swinfenn, Mark Williams and Saffina Desforgesn, Barbara Silkstone, Anne R Allen, India Drummond, Lucinda Brant, Shea Macleod, Louise Wise… to name just a few!

Lastly, what question should I have asked you, and why?

PB: Why indie?

Glass Flowers went into editorial assessment and came out with accolades. But the GFC had hit, publishing and agencies were in turmoil and no one was prepared to take on an unknown. This little light beckoned from a place called Indie, a world that seemed as enticing and dramatic as CS Lewis’s ‘Ward Robe’.

I love the indie system. I get to negotiate with a cover designer, I get to publish when ready, talk with bloggers and reviewers at my pace. I am in control. Best of all I am directly in contact, almost personally, with readers. That matters.

Find out more by visiting Prue’s website,; her blog,; or by browsing her books on Amazon.

Posted in Author Interviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

5 Minute Monday: Hunter Goss

Hailing from just north of Pittsburgh, Hunter Goss has spent an inordinate amount of time working in what is probably the most obscure and unglamorous corner of the fashion world: making finished leather and selling it to shoe and accessories manufacturers. Hunter has also worked with graphic novels, written articles about wine, and is the author of vampire thriller Night Market.

A little about you, first: give us three fun facts about yourself.

HG: I know exactly how shoes are made. I don’t mind rejection too much, because the biggest sale I made while in the leather tanning business was to a man who threw me out of his office four days earlier. I have incredible recall when it comes to the lyrics for Frank Zappa songs.

Give us a two-line elevator pitch for your book, Night Market.

HG: In Night Market, love, sex, money, stock market crashes and bank failures punctuate the story of how and why the Undead helped John Pierpont Morgan rescue America’s largest banks during the Panic of 1907.

Oh, that’s only one line. Sorry.

Is there anything you want readers to take away from your writing? What is it?

HG: First, I want readers to be entertained. And vampire stories can be quite entertaining because they’re such great allegories for things we wouldn’t otherwise discuss. Vampires can be put into situations where they have to deal with issues that humans can’t or won’t deal with. And so they have an internal dialogue a human might never have, or they discuss things in ways humans might not. They’re always on the outside looking in. What’s just beneath the surface for humans can be front and center in the mind of a vampire.

Beyond that, I want for the historic parts of the story to draw readers in and get them interested in something that might be new to them. My biggest dream is that people will read the book, think it was interesting and then two weeks later, when they hear something on the news or read an article, they go HOLY C**P! That’s what he meant in the book!

Which other indie authors do you recommend or admire?

HG: One is Suzanne Tyrpak; we share the same cover artist (Jeroen Ten Berge). Read her book ‘Vestal Virgin’. Her descriptions are phenomenal and put you right there for all the action and all the emotions of the characters. And that makes it easy to get into the story. I wish my descriptions were as good. Oh, and she recently gave up a toe for her books, too. You can read about it on her blog.

I also like Joe D’Agnese, who just published ‘Jersey Heat’. When Joe gets a character into trouble, you think you can see it coming, and you’re just waiting to watch it unfold. But then he throws something into the works that sends it spinning of into a place you didn’t quite expect. A good way to spend your book reading time.

Lastly, what question should I have asked you, and why?

HG: You could have asked how I can take such a seemingly dry subject like financial markets and make a story out of it that people will want to read.

Here would be my answer: It’s because money is a thing that stimulates all the human motivations and emotions. It makes us behave in both the worst of ways and the best of ways. And the history of money, when you get beyond the market indexes and charts, is certainly littered with stories of lust, greed, power, politics, backstabbing and betrayal, but also love, passion and the determination to succeed against tremendous odds. Those are all elements of high drama that can make exciting reading.

Grab your copy of Night Market from Amazon or Smashwords.

Posted in Author Interviews | Tagged | 1 Comment

5 Minute Monday: B Jane Lawson

B Jane Lawson is the author of the Morganna Cork Series and a self-professed Starbucks addict. She loves her bicycle, hates to repeat outfits, and will read anything… especially if accompanied by a glass of Pinot Noir.

A little about you, first: give us three fun facts about yourself.

BJL: 1. I am obsessed with riding my bicycle everywhere; likely because I am a danger to those around me behind the wheel.

2. I have four sisters, we are all B. Lawson

3. Female heroines – real life and fictional – obsess me.

Give us a two-line elevator pitch for the first book in the Morganna Cork Series, To The Cliffside.

BJL: Morganna Cork has been a loner for time immemorial because of her awkward magical powers. This all changes when she’s exiled to the Cliffside Inn where she is embroiled in a dangerous war between Magicks and her own frustrating attraction to Callupo Stone.

Is there anything you want readers to take away from your writing? What is it?

BJL: I want my readers to realize that we are all the heroine of our own life’s story, but we aren’t alone in the journey.

Which other indie authors do you recommend or admire?

BJL: H.P. Mallory and Amanda Hocking for bushwhacking for the rest of us. Laurin Wittig and J. R. Rain, as well.

Oh yeah, I’ve actually chatted about HP Mallory before. But let’s wrap it up: what question should I have asked you, and why?

BJL: What would your advice be to aspiring authors, because it has been an arduous journey. Reading about other authors inspired me and motivated me. My advice would be to focus on the craft of writing first and the art of promotion second.

Grab your copy of To The Cliffside from Barnes & Nobles or Smashwords.

Posted in Author Interviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

Spotlight: Lost The Plot? by Adam Maxwell

Lost The Plot?
500 Writing Prompts and How To Use Them

Almost every writer has a pathological predisposition to procrastination and often believe there is a magical answer to the question ‘where do you get your ideas?’.

Well now, whether you write Twitfic, Microfiction, Flash Fiction, Short Short Stories, Short Stories, Novelettes, Novellas, Novels or Scripts you can tell everyone that you get your ideas here.

This is a prompts book. Oh yes. But it’s a prompts book with a BIG difference. The prompts in this book aren’t the usual, run-of-the-mill, mind numbingly boring prompts you usually get.

Oh, no. Not here.

And this is not the sort of book that’s just going to give you a prompt and expect you to know what to do with it. No matter what form your writing takes, this book will show you an easy way to get the ideas out of your brain and transformed into stories.

How? Well that’s the easy part – firstly there’s Mr Maxwell’s Spectacular Story Suggester.

A simple method of taking whichever prompt you choose and getting it straight into the easiest possible form so you can get to the important part – writing the story.

There is, of course, more. The author has taken a prompt and written a Flash Fiction story from it and then explained exactly how he did it.

Then Adrian Graham, a prolific microfiction author whose ebooks have been downloaded over 120 thousand times has written some exquisite stories and explained how to create micro-magic from the prompts

Next Rosalind Wyllie, a tremendous playwright whose plays have been performed up and down the country by fine companies of players (including the RSC) has penned a short script and taken time from her busy schedule to describe how she weaved her magic.

And last but by no means least the fantastic Y.A. author Mr C.G. Allan has written a children’s short story and then explained just how it went from prompt to print.

By the time you’ve inhaled this book you mind will be an overflowing well of wonderful ideas and even better – you’ll know what to do with them.

Lost The Plot is available from Smashwords.

Posted in Spotlights | Tagged | Leave a comment

5 Minute Monday: Andrez Bergen

Entrenched in Tokyo for the past 10 years, expat Aussie Andrez Bergen says that he quite likes to steal furtive glances in a pseudo-metaphysical rear-vision mirror, greedily brushing up on the ‘found art’ chapter of the Dadaists’ handbook—along the way hacking together electronic/techno tunes whilst working as a journalist.

A little about you, first: give us three fun facts about yourself.

AB: I’m is an expat Aussie who’s lived in Tokyo, Japan, for 10 years now. I’m also a hack writer, journalist, DJ, musician, photographer and ad hoc beer and sake connoisseur who thinks Marcel Duchamp’s toilet urinal was the best ever piece of art.

Give us a two-line elevator pitch for your book, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat.

AB: “A post-apocalyptic sci-fi/noir yarn about love, cinema and intrigue – served up with a martini and a paper cocktail brolly.”

Is there anything you want readers to take away from your writing? What is it?

AB: This is a tough question, but I guess two things come to mind: satisfaction and curiosity. If the reader winds up the novel and feels happy with the way it finished, along with the bumpy ride itself, then that’s brilliant. If the reader also then gets inspired enough to check out the classic noir influences like Raymond Chandler, Graham Greene and Dashiell Hammett, and the film versions of their books, then I’d be chuffed there as well.

Which other indie authors do you recommend or admire?

AB: There are a whole wealth of indie writers out there, but I’ve had more exposure to some of the other members of the crew at Another Sky Press. Justin Nicholes, who wrote Ash Dogs, is currently writing a novel based in and/or around China; I really dig his style. I’m also a huge fan of Kristopher Young, and not just because he edited Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat, but for his own novel Click.

Lastly, what question should I have asked you, and why?

AB: “How do you like your mushrooms cooked?”

Why? It’s an offbeat question I often throw at interviewees myself just to lighten up proceedings – and I love mushrooms so therefore really am interested in other recipes. It’s also now ironic. Mushrooms are one of the foodstuffs officially listed as ‘irradiated’ here in Japan so I can’t actually get any at the moment.

Despite hating mushrooms myself, Andrez seems like a nice chap. So head on over and check out his website at

Posted in Author Interviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

5 Minute Monday: Judi Coltman

Raised in an affluent suburb of Detroit, Judi Coltman grew up in a female heavy household with an urban sense of “normal”. She has written for local, regional and national publications, and writes a weekly blog called My Life in a Nutshell, the inspiration for her first book. She joins us today to discuss her second release.

A little about you, first: give us three fun facts about yourself.

JC: 1. I live in a small town with a 1 block business district. In that block there are 7 bars, 1 hardware store, 1 dime store, 1 CPA, 1 chiropractor and 1 law firm. Priorities, you know.

2. I attended three colleges, graduating on the 10 year plan.

3. Once attended a Saturday Night Live cast party (1981) and drank with Robert DeNiro.

Give us a two-line elevator pitch for your book, In The Name Of The Father.

JC: Time won’t quell a killer’s instinct and there is no place to find solace, not even in His house.

Is there anything you want readers to take away from your writing? What is it?

JC: Well, I am a genre jumper. My first book was a humor piece based on my column and blog. It was easy for me to do and sells very well. This second book, In The Name Of The Father is what I really get off on doing. So, I would hope readers would take away the sense that I can entertain whether it’s comedy or suspense.

Which other indie authors do you recommend or admire?

JC: I enjoy LC Evans, Larry Enright , David Conifer, Shelley Stout, oh dear, is this a test? I didn’t study. I think the well is endless with indie authors. The talent is vast and plentiful.

Lastly, what question should I have asked you, and why?

JC: “Of both of your books, which one do you think is better?”

Why, I’m so glad you asked. I know my fiction work, In The Name Of The Father is, by far, a better book and I hope people will read it and say, “Wow, she really can write!”

Grab your copy of In The Name Of The Father for Kindle (US) or Nook for $4.99. Or head over to to learn more.

Posted in Author Interviews | Tagged | Leave a comment