currently reading: check in

a picture of an open book with glasses on it; text says 'currently reading'

I read and reviewed a lot of kid’s books recently (see my review roundup!) and now I’m working my way through three wonderful books: Fear and Fury by Jamie Jackson, The 13th Zodiac by L. Krauch and The Hidden King by E.G. Radcliff. I’m really enjoying all three and I definitely recommend you check them out!

Synopses and links below 🙂

The Hidden King (The Coming of Áed #1) by E.G. RadcliffHidden truths. Hidden power. Hidden destiny.

On the shores of a rusty sea, in the streets of a starving city, a young man named Áed scraps to build a life for himself and the makeshift family he loves. Scarred by a trauma he cannot remember, and haunted by the brutal damage it left behind, he has no idea of the courage his future will demand.

When tragedy strikes, a desperate Áed risks a treacherous, life-changing journey in his last chance to save the only family he has left – but an ancient legacy smoldering within him is about to turn deadly. Neither he – nor a kingdom – will ever be the same.

The 13th Zodiac: Book One (The 13th Zodiac #1) by L. KrauchRunning from his past finally catches up to Jase Raion, an ex-member of the Ashen Guard and the Crown Prince of Chall. After settling on the island of Aria, he receives an unexpected contract: The lost princess of Aria was discovered living in the port town of Brighton, on the outskirts of the island Kingdom.

A trip to the markets in Brighton ends abruptly as Liya Fairaway stumbles into Jase. She vanishes in the busy marketplace when Jase realizes who she is, the lost princess of Aria and the bearer of the 13th Zodiac: Eternity. And his target.

Something ancient pulls them together, a bond that neither can deny. Reluctantly at first, Jase joins Liya and the other Zodiac to end the threat of Soren Raion, the King of Chall.

Time is not on their side, and Fate has other plans.

Fear and Fury (Adventures of a Villain-Leaning Humanoid #1) by Jamie JacksonMeet Megaera, Meg for short. She’s like Deadpool, except for funner.

For a girl with the power of fear the recruitment attempts from both sides are never-ending. A self-described not-a-hero, villain-leaning humanoid, Meg just wants to live her life, work her dead-end job and have everyone else (especially the heroes) leave her alone. But when a bigger fish who can turn superpowers back on their users enters the picture and threatens the person Meg loves the most (herself), she must turn to the last group of people she would admit she needs help from.

Forced to team up with the heroes she despises (but won’t murder, because let’s face it, orange is not the new black), Meg will have to face the choices from her past that she won’t get therapy for. Self-centered, snarky, sarcastic and a little bit dramatic, she’s going to have to save the world, even if that wasn’t her intention. And try not to get shot in the process. Because that shit hurts. 

Author Interview: L.A. Wasielewski

a woman reading a book beside text that says, 'author interview: indie book spotlight'

Be sure to check out The Alchemist on Amazon!

Interview:

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

Up until recently, I preferred only paperback.  There’s something so wonderful about holding it in your hands, sniffing that unique paperback smell (especially old ones!).  I couldn’t read on a kindle for a very long time because it hurt my eyes, but with the new one we purchased a couple of years ago, it doesn’t seem to bother me as much anymore.  Now I really like the ease of e-book, but I still will never pass up a paperback!

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Fantasy, for sure.  I grew up reading it, and naturally just fell into writing it!  Playing fantasy-based video games like Elder Scrolls and old-school RPG’s also had a lot to do with my love of fantasy as well!

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

The Curse of the Blue Figurine by John Bellairs. I checked it out so many times from our elementary school library!

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

I don’t know if it shaped me in any way, but I would spend hours reading my Shel Silverstein poem books.  I just remember them always making me feel safe, calm, and happy.  Very comforting, even though I had read through them all a bazillion times.

5.      When did you first start writing?

Back in the 90’s, in high school.  I was bored in a 7am economics class (Sorry, Ms. B!) and started writing a story about a video game I loved, Phantasy Star IV.  This was before I even knew fanfic was a thing!  It was terrible, but I was proud of it!  (It is socked away in my house and will NEVER see the light of day ever again.) When I got into college and realized there was a whole community that wrote stories like mine, I was hooked and pretty much never stopped writing (except for the years I had a newborn/toddler.  Those years are a blur … lol).

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

In the beginning, with fanfic, it was to tell stories that were either never covered by the games/movies, or give the existing characters new adventures.  When I transitioned into original fiction, it was kind of the same feeling—except now the characters are mine and I’m creating EVERYTHING for them!  And it definitely still holds true, because I love building worlds, creating characters, crafting stories.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I have a book releasing Spring 2022 that’s a backstory novel for a character in my Alchemist Trilogy.  It’s by far my favorite thing I’ve ever written, and I can’t wait to share it with the world!

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

My first actual book?  Definitely to share with the world.  There are a lot of fanfic ideas that I’ve tinkered with over the years, however, that were only shown to a select few people, or that I just kept for myself.  

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

I have a completed adult epic dark fantasy trilogy, The Alchemist Trilogy, and another book ready to go for a Spring 2022 release. (It just needs a cover!)

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Right now it’s epic fantasy, but I have a “dink around with” project that I hit on from time-to-time that’s sci-fi.  I think it’ll make a cool series someday, but that’s a long way off.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

Since I write fantasy, you’d think I don’t have to research a lot since it’s all fantasy-type stuff and I can just make everything up, but I surprised myself!  I’ve researched everything from poisons to lockpicking to swords/armor to warfare to, ummm, grisly ways to die and torture.  The list goes on and on!

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I MUST have an outline.  I plan chapter-by-chapter, sometimes scene-by-scene.  A lot of the time, dialogue comes to me first, and then I craft a scene/chapter around it.  But that doesn’t mean I’m stuck to the outline.  There are plenty of times where I’ve changed or deviated from what was originally planned, and I always leave room for changes and new ideas.  (The biggest instance like that was a character that was added *during* the writing of the 1st draft for Dark Horizon [after I had a completed outline], who ended up being a fan favorite, filled a plot hole I didn’t realize was there in the beginning, and became integral to the entire storyline.  He’s … the one getting a backstory novel in 2022!)  

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I originally queried my first book out to almost a hundred agents, but soon after I sent the first batch, I realized I wanted to self-publish.  So, the remainder of my query journey was half-hearted and I wasn’t really into it.  I knew that if I self-published, I’d have complete control over everything, and that was very important to me.  That’s not to say self-publishing hasn’t been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (and I had a kid who didn’t sleep through the night until well into his sixth year!), but the reward of knowing that I did this all by myself (and with a trusted group of test readers, my wonderful husband/editor, and a fantastic cover artist), is all I could ever hope for and more.  It has been very empowering knowing that I did this on my terms.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

I’d love to live on Krynn, from the DragonLance novels.  Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman fostered my love of fantasy, and it was their books that ultimately had a hand in inspiring me to write my own fantasy books.  Krynn seems like a cool place, mean-ass dragons notwithstanding. 😉 

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

I have a few!  Writing has taken a back seat this school year, as I’m homeschooling our child, but I try to find time when I can.  I have two Alchemist Side Projects in various stages of completion (look for them in 2023), as well as a new fantasy project starring a group of bad-assed ladies in their late-thirties/early-forties.  I’ve written six chapters of that project so far, and I’m LOVING these gals.

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

Ooof, that’s hard!  I’d have to say my main character in my Alchemist Trilogy, Ryris Bren.  He’s a lot like me in some ways: he suffers from anxiety that can be very detrimental to his life from time-to-time, and I found through writing him, I was also finding ways to deal with my own anxiety.  If Ryris was having a “bad day” on page, I knew I could help him through it because I’ve been there many times, and if I was having a bad anxiety day in real life, sometimes writing Ryris helped me work through my problem by allowing him to have some fun/be relaxed.  He’s grown so much over the course of my series, and he’s my cinnamon roll for sure.

And I’m picking a runner-up because I want to, haha!  Mercer Nox, who appears in Dark Horizon (Book 2), has wormed his way into my heart.  He’s a sassy, snarky, asshole and very much a combination of me and one of my dearest friends.  I pretty much wrote this guy just to entertain us, and it’s been so wonderful hearing how many readers just LOVE him.  

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

Wow, that’s a tough one.  I think I’m actually going to choose the largest fanfic piece I ever wrote.  Weighing in at over 250K, it’s a Final Fantasy VIII story named Phoenix.  It took me almost four years to complete and I’m so very proud of it.  The reviews and praise I received for it still make my heart happy to this day.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Yes, but it’s classified for spoilery reasons.  😉 

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

I used to need silence.  But when I was struggling with the third book in my Alchemist Trilogy, my husband suggested a few Pandora channels with moody music and it actually did the trick!  Now I usually write to E.S. Posthumus and other music of that type.  It’s especially good for fantasy battle scenes.  

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

I do!  My dear friend Kristin (https://twitter.com/KMKWrites) did some incredible drawings!  She messaged me one day and told me she was inspired to do some fan art and I was BLOWN AWAY. She captured Ryris perfectly.  

Link to image one and description. | Link to image two and description. | Link to image three and description.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

You don’t have to write every day.  Sometimes we all need a break, sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes we really just don’t feel like writing.  Forcing yourself to write every day because you feel you “just have to” isn’t the answer.  I’ve taken days off, weeks, off, HELL, MONTHS off.  I haven’t written anything more than a paragraph or two in months because of family commitments and no time, but I know when I finally do get the time to sit down and really work again, I won’t see any negative effects from not writing every day.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

Several years ago I entered a regional fanfiction contest.  The pieces couldn’t be more than 600 words long, which for me was TORTURE because I’m very long-winded. It was an ultimate challenge for me.  I entered two pieces: A Star Trek AOS story, and a Final Fantasy VIII story.  My Star Trek story made the top 20 out of 500 or so entries, so I was very proud of myself! I didn’t get any type of prize for my placement number, but the pride I felt was prize enough.

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Trad pub: Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.  Their fantasy novels/worlds are what drew me into the genre in the first place, and have had me consistently reading their books for 34 years now!

Self/indie pub: Mason Thomas, Dan Fitzgerald, Deck Matthews, Lilith Hope Milam, Kristin Kuffner, Rob Nugent, and Sean R. Frazier.  

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorBebedora

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18538281.L_A_Wasielewski

Book Link: http://author.to/LAWasielewski

Author Interviews Roundup

I have had the pleasure of interviewing some truly insightful, lovely and talented authors recently. If you haven’t had a chance to read these interviews, I encourage you to do so and be sure to check out their books! Some hidden gems in here for sure ❤

Author Interview: Pedro Gabriel
Author Interview: L.L. Stephens
Author Interview: A. K. Ritchie
Author Interview: Amy Maltman
Author Interview: Luther Kross
Author Interview: Sinnamon Carnelian
Author Interview: Ciarán West
Author Interview: Mansur Hasib
Author Interview: Val Neil
Author Interview: Alan Denham
Author Interview: Barbara Avon
Author Interview: Rita A. Rubin
Author Interview: Maxime Jaz
Author Interview: Chris Clancy
Author Interview: Elford Alley
Author Interview: Dan McKeon
Author Interview: Elena Nix
Author Interview: Charlotte Sullivan Wild
Author Interview: M. W. McLeod
Author Interview: L. Krauch
Author Interview: Sarah Bell
Author Interview: D.N. Schmidt
Author Interview: Casie Aufenthie
Author Interview: Courtney Maguire
Author Interview: Diana L. Smith
Author Interview: Jamie Jackson

Author Interview: Pedro Gabriel

three trees on a plain background; text says 'author interview: indie book spotlight'

Be sure to check out Ironcraft (Chronicles of Dumah) on Amazon!

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

Paperback and Ebook. Hopefully, soon it will also be Hardback.

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Fantasy, hands down. The more epic and “mythical”, the better.

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

The first book I remember reading out of my own volition was The Illiad.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

Again, it was The Illiad. It was the start of my fascination with mythology, which inspires my fiction books to this day.

5.      When did you first start writing?

I created my first universe at 4 years old or so, but would not give it physical form until much later. Some children have imaginary friends, I had an imaginary universe of my own creation where I would escape whenever I could. Fortunately, a teacher of mine was sensible enough to understand what was going on and told me to put that universe on paper. So, I was writing short stories at 6 years old. I tried writing a full book some times, but only succeeded in finishing a novel at 15 years old.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

I want to write the same way I want to eat or breathe. It’s like a part of my DNA. So yes, it still holds true, and it always will.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

Actually, the book I just published (“Ironcraft“) is the one I’m most proud of creating, because it’s the first step towards fulfilling a lifelong dream of mine: to create my own mythology, from Creation to Apocalypse, like Tolkien did with Middle Earth (namely with The Silmarillion). Also, it’s the first book I have written in English, which is not my native language.

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

My first book (the one I finished at 15 years old) won a literary competition, but I did not publish it. This is because I knew my first book would not have the same quality as later books, because of my lack of experience. I took this into consideration when deciding on what book to write first. I chose my least compelling idea, so that it could serve as a kind of “training” for subsequent books, which had more potential.

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

I have written many books already, but published 2 fiction books until now. The last one is the first installment of a series.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Fantasy. Only fantasy. Epic fantasy. Legendary fantasy. Maybe even a bit of dark fantasy. But always fantasy.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

I love researching as much as I love writing. My book incorporates things I’ve learned from several mythologies and legends. I also love researching for worldbuilding.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I’m a plotter all the way. When I start a book, I already wrote it several times over and over in my head.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Self-publishing. I’m sticking with it, no matter how hard it may be to promote my books because of this. This project is very close to my heart and I want to enjoy full creative freedom to pursue whatever direction I find best.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Knowing myself, I would rather not live in another universe, for I would surely die very quickly. Haha. But maybe Narnia. Though I prefer to read about Middle Earth, I would prefer to live in Narnia. It would probably be more fun.

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

Yes, I wish to continue my “Chronicles of Dumah” series and I already have plotted my next installment.

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

All characters play their part in the overall plot and are, therefore, very dear to me. I really cannot choose.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

At this moment, my magnum opus is an unpublished book called “Constança”, which is an original retelling of a historical episode of my country’s (Portugal) heritage. It’s unpublished and in Portuguese, so it’s probably going to sit inside my drawer for a while. However, I have no doubt that, when it’s finished, my series “Chronicles of Dumah” is going to be my magnum opus.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Even though “Ironcraft” has a romantic relationship, I really like the dynamic of the friendship between two giants: Skillotz and Kolinzio. One cannot look up to it for an example of a healthy relationship, but their friendship will flesh out many important contrasts in my plot, and therefore, shed light on problems in the real world.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Sometimes. Most of the time, I use music to inspire myself, not to write, though sometimes I do write while listening to music. Instead of recommending a favourite song, I will recommend two favourite song writers: Yuki Kajiura (composer of anime soundtracks) and BrunuhVille (Youtube composer). These two are a treasure trove of musical inspiration.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

I have some character art, from an artist with the pen name Devdiaart. Check her portfolio.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Just start writing. Easy as that. Your first drafts and your first works are not going to be very good. Don’t get discouraged. It’s just natural. Push forward and you’ll see how experience will lead you to create increasingly better books. You can always come back to your earlier works later on. Just start and then keep going, never stopping.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I entered a few writer contests when I was younger, and had some good results. I won a literary contest at my school, and got 6th place and the 1st honorary mention in two contests at the national level. I guess I have to restart doing that. Haha.

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Shakespeare, Tolkien, Milton, Homer, Chesterton, Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, and the anonymous writer(s) of Genesis and of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

Link to Amazon.
Link to Goodreads.
Link to the Chronicles of Dumah website.

Author Interview: L.L. Stephens

a book with flowers; a man sleeping on a stack of books; a flipped open book; a man reading a book; text says 'author interview'

Be sure to check out Sordaneon on Amazon!

Interview:

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

I’m a visual person, so prefer reading books to listening to them. I want to see the words, delve into them, follow them and revel in their shapes. I also like to go back to previously read passages to see how they fit with something I just read, so for that reason alone I prefer paper books to digital. I buy more paperbacks because they’re generally less expensive!

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Fantasy is my first love!

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

The King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry. There was the most beautiful horse on the cover. The story was about horses. Just … horses.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley. Am I revealing a theme? Horses. But The Black Stallion had more than that. Adventure. Danger and rescue and heroics. A quest to enter and win a race. Rivalry and bonding between mismatched characters … and a horse. It was a character story all the way.

5.      When did you first start writing?

I wrote original work as early as the third grade, but as far as taking writing seriously and working on a story beyond just telling it … when I became a teen. I’ve written steadily since I was thirteen.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

The pure joy of creation. I loved inventing characters, and a world for them to live in, and giving them interesting or exciting things to do. I did a lot of oral storytelling as a teen (my sister and I shared a bedroom and I would tell her stories at night), and my earliest writing was putting those stories down on the page. I still love writing for the joy of creation — it’s just that I create more elaborate and dangerous and wonderful worlds and characters.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

My current release, Sordaneon. It was a challenging book to write: intense, populated by characters about whom I had already written four other books. Their end stories were told! Going back and writing an origin story demanded my best writing: vivid characters, crisp exposition, and high (HIGH) stakes. It’s a great story!

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

My first book, written over many years and long ago, is now the third book in the Triempery series, so it hasn’t been published yet. Lots of people have seen it, though! My publisher, to be sure, and beta readers.

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

I’ve published 10 books. One was a science fiction novel published in my baby writer years, before life became complicated. When I resumed writing for publication, I published several erotic romance novels under a different pen name. Sordaneon is my first novel published under this pen name. I’m not a debut author.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

I’ve written science fiction, fantasy, and erotic romance. Fantasy is still my first love, though! Forever.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

Well, it all starts in my head. But then I research the hell out of things. I aim for a high level of realism in my writing. Fantastical, but something with teeth.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I know what a book is about when I start it (though it often becomes about something more), but I don’t really plan it. It’s more of a general idea of how things will go. Then I unleash the characters and they start to talk and plan and do things and they’re ever so alive … so off we go. I do sketch out scenes I know will be needed. Some scenes are foundational and needed for the plot.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Sordaneon is indie, published by Forest Path Books. Forest Path will publish the next book in the series, The Kheld King, in November 2022. If the books sell well enough to continue publishing, I will stay with them. My first novel, science fiction, was published traditionally and I am enjoying indie publishing more. I guess I’m an author who thrives on working with people who believe in me and love my work!

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Too many other worlds are fantastical or dangerous (often both) places for which I would be ill-suited. If I had to pick one, it would be Middle Earth, but only if I could live in the Shire. It sounds like my kind of place.

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

My WIP is an already written book I am editing and revising. My Triempery series is fully written. As the books are being released, I keep moving on to editing and polishing up the next one. At this point that involves writing some new scenes, so it’s super exciting! (I LOVE EDITING.)

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

This is a tough one. I want to say Dorilian… but I am going to go with Marc Frederick. He is the heart of not just Sordaneon, but the entire Triempery series. He’s the character I feel for most profoundly.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

Well, it would have to be Sordaneon. It’s the only book published so far in what will be the six book Triempery series. When the whole series is published, I will call the Triempery Revelations my magnum opus. (I consider it so already.)

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

My favorite romance comes later in the series, so … for right now, I would say Dorilian and Marc Frederick as the favorite character relationship. Their interactions evolve and clash and create emotion.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

I write in silence. I have playlists that run parallel to what I’m writing, or for certain characters. Mood sets. But when I write … I don’t have anything playing. If I would listen to anything, it would be the Final Fantasy 6 soundtrack.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

No. Only the book cover. I would love, love, love fan art and I do intend to commission some character art.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Don’t quit your day job. Some authors eventually manage this, though, so my other advice is to never quit writing. Keep doing it. Keep getting better. Find your readers and continue to write.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I’m such a conflict avoider I have never entered a writer contest.

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Some of mine are probably more old-school than most: Tanith Lee, Thomas Burnett Swann, C.J. Cherryh, Katherine Kurtz, Jane Smiley, Matthew Ward, Joe Abercrombie. I could name several more, but I haven’t had my morning coffee yet.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

I’m shy and a bit of a recluse, but I hang out on Twitter: @triempery.

Here is the Amazon link to my book.

Review Roundup

a cartoon woman in a dress with a briefcase beside the words 'review roundup'

CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEWS
The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear
My Triceratops Won’t Wash by Elwyn Tate
Love Is by Diane Adams
An Egg Is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston
A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel
Mermaids on Mars by Nancy Guettier

You Might Feel This by William Thomas Brumley | poetry review
The words to say cannot be found
They have been locked away

I was so excited to get my hands on this collection of poetry that I devoured it in one sitting! Hard to pick a favourite poem honestly!

For those who like poetry, or share a love of Emily Dickinson, definitely give this one a go!

Punderworld by Linda Šejić | ✬comic review✬
‘She has … flowers in her hair.’

Hades and Persephone are so differently done in this than I’ve ever seen them done before, but oh my gosh this is just such a wholesome, lovely, feel-good comic and it constantly left me smiling like a foolish idiot. ♥︎_♥︎

More of this please!

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS
Author Interview: A. K. Ritchie
Author Interview: Amy Maltman
Author Interview: Luther Kross

ICYMI: 2021 in Review: Indie Books, Author Interviews & More!

Author Interview: A. K. Ritchie

a book, a mug, a camera and a light on a bed; text below says 'author interview'

Be sure to check out After the Party by A. K. Ritchie on Amazon!

Interview:

1.  Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

A little bit of everything, including ebooks! Hardcovers are my favourite to buy, but when reading, it doesn’t matter to me.

2.  Pick a genre, any genre!

Contemporary Romance

3.  What is the first book you remember reading?

The Upside Down Boy, I think that’s what it’s called. I can’t find anything about it online, but it was a book my dad’s parents read to him and then me!

4.  What book shaped your childhood most?

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. My friend and I took turns reading it to each other often because we were so attached to it. It’s the book that made me decide that one day I wanted to publish.

5.  When did you first start writing?

In kindergarten, we dictated stories to our teacher, who printed them, and bound them. After that, I knew storytelling was for me. I was barely 5, but I was hooked!

6.  What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

I always had stories to share, so many. I always felt like I needed to get them down and I found they helped me make sense of the world. This definitely still holds true. 

7.  What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I just published After the Party. It was the first novel I wrote that I thought was decent enough for others to read. Haha. 

8.  Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

I didn’t publish my 1st or my 40th book. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, but only now in my 30s, I finally published!

9.  How many books/collections have you published so far?

Just the one!

10.  What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Contemporary Romance and Women’s Fiction for those in their 20s. 

11.  Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

A little of both. Depends on the novel. I mostly research details to make my novels as realistic as possible. 

12.  To plan, or not to plan your plot?

Planning! I get off track easily. A plot outline can keep me from straying too far. 

13.  What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Self publishing. The idea of traditional publishing held me back from getting my book out there. It seemed daunting. When I learned about self publishing, I dove right in.

14.  If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Any of the Hallmark Christmas towns. Haha. They’re always so cozy and cute. 

15.  Do you currently have a WIP?

I do! I’m working on a small town romance right now and also a domestic fiction novel about family. 

16.  Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

I ended up being super attached to a supporting character of mine. Her name is Kay. She’s motherly, but edgy. She’s supportive, but not overbearing. She’s just so cool!

17.  What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

After the Party is probably it. So much work went into what it is today and I’m proud of that. 

18.  Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Peyton and Chase! Their relationship is healthy and totally goals. 

19.  Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Oh, I do. I make soundtracks for every novel I write. I named After the Party after the song of the same name by The Menzingers. It was on rotation during the entire project. 

20.  Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

Nope, but I wish I did!

21.  If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Your story might not be written to market, but there will still be people out there who want to read it and who need to read it.

22.  Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I haven’t. I’m hoping 2022 is the year. 

23.  Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

This changes regularly. The ones I’m reading the most are K.A. Tucker, Alice Oseman, Richard Wagamese, Emily Henry, Cherie Dimine, etc

24.  Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

What reviewers are saying:

Amazon (Canada): https://cutt.ly/gEHP52D

Amazon (US): https://cutt.ly/1EHAirP

Barnes and Noble: https://cutt.ly/eEHPFq2

Indigo: https://cutt.ly/YRAgLNS

Goodreads: https://cutt.ly/2EHPbt2

Author Interview: Amy Maltman

a woman on the ground beside a horse, reading a book; text says 'author interview'

Be sure to check out Amy Maltman’s books on Amazon!

Interview:

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

I prefer paperbacks, but I’m forced to read e-books because my hands cramp and spasm if I try to hold a book. My Kindle and Kobo cases have built-in stands. I’ve always found hardbacks too cumbersome. (*ducks head and hides*)

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Just one? That’s mean! I guess it’s a tie between epic fantasy and murder thrillers. Is that cheating?

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

It was one of Dr. Seuss’s. Possibly The Foot Book? I remember being at my nana’s house lying on the bed with her before a nap and reading it out loud to her.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

This one is easy. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. It sparked my lifelong love of horses and started me on my journey to competitive riding. I was the quintessential horse-crazy girl that seems to exist in every classroom in the world. I had the uncanny ability to bring horses into every conversation…kind of like I’m doing now.

5.      When did you first start writing?

In the sixth grade, roughly 35 years ago. Yikes. That math was painful. I have a picture of myself at an electric typewriter, wearing one of my many horse T-shirts, huge glasses, bad hair, and a farmer’s tan.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

Growing up, my family referred to me as the What-if Kid. Most of my what-ifs were anxiety-based imaginings of catastrophes such as something spooking my horse and me falling off and getting injured and everybody laughing at me. Or, what if the teacher calls on me in class and I give the wrong answer and/or people laugh at me? What if my crush catches me looking at them, or what if I say something to them and make a fool of myself? However, other what-ifs were flights of fancy that I finally decided to write down because I couldn’t stop thinking about them, building on them and fleshing them out in my mind. What if a young man with a tragic childhood tried to work his way onto the Canadian Equestrian Team? What if a plane crashed in the mountains and a survivor took refuge in a cave, only to accidentally pass through a portal into another world?

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I’d have to say Ride Every Stride because it was truly a labour of love. It went from the incredibly rough and laughably bad first draft of a teenager to reaching #1 on Amazon charts in Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia. When I had to give up riding because of my health, it also became a way for me to experience it vicariously, through my characters.

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

After a couple decades of working on it, yes, I did. I began Ride Every Stride in 1993 during my final year of high school. The class was called Writers’ Craft and it was taught by Mr. Chiappetta. I didn’t want to do any of the suggested topics for the class’s main project (called an Independent Study) so I asked if I could start writing a book instead. He later told me that he expected me to hand in about 15 pages. Instead, I handed in over 70. I finished the first draft in 1998, between university degrees, and it sat until a couple years after I was forced onto long-term disability. I finally published it in 2015 after many, many revisions.

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

Three, and I’m working on number four. My first, Ride Every Stride, is a standalone equestrian novel. A Journey Unveiled and An Enemy Defined are the first two books in my fantasy trilogy, Daughter of Venus.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

I’d like to try my hand at a mystery since I enjoy reading them so much. I have an idea germinating in the back of my mind that could take that route. Maybe. Possibly.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

Ride Every Stride required research because it takes place in the real world. In fact, I found the research about drugs and their effects so interesting that I became a pharmacist. A Journey Unveiled and An Enemy Defined, being fantasy, didn’t require as much research, although I did base some of my fantasy races on paleontological fossils, and the Transit of Venus (a rare astronomical event) plays a major role in the plot.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I completely pantsed Ride Every Stride. I had the basic premise and the main character and that’s about it. With A Journey Unveiled and An Enemy Defined, I had a faint outline in my head. I knew the starting and end points of the trilogy and a basic idea of what had to happen in between, but I made up much of it as I went along. For some reason, plotting always seemed too daunting a task, perhaps partly because I’m indecisive. A Destiny Confronted is my first foray into the world of planning and I wish I’d been doing it from the beginning! It makes things so much easier. I know there will still be ideas I come up with as I’m writing, but I have the major plot points planned according to the traditional three act structure. Highly recommended. Five stars.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I chose to self-publish and will continue to do so, the main reason being time. My parents are getting older and I wanted them to be around to see my books published. Of course, I hoped they’d witness me being far more successful than I have been, but that’s another story. Also, with my health issues, I didn’t want to spend years querying, etc. I myself wanted to be around to see them published! And I can’t work within a deadline because my health is so unpredictable. When my symptoms flare, it’s not unheard of for me to be unable to open my laptop for weeks at a time, and even when I’m well enough to write, it’s in short bursts with many breaks.  

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Narnia, one hundred percent. Talking animals. I mean, enough said. Animals are already my best friends, and to be able to communicate with them? Hmm, although on second thought, what if I don’t like what they have to say? (See? There’s that ‘what if’ again!)

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

I do! A Destiny Confronted is the third book in my fantasy trilogy, Daughter of Venus. I hope to publish it by the end of 2022.

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

I’d have to say Jed Carver, the main character of Ride Every Stride. I spent 22 years with him, after all. I put him through some terrible things, yet he persevered and rose above them and never lost his humanity or his kind heart. Plus, he’s a cute horse guy.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

That would imply that I consider something I write to be (or have the potential to be) a masterpiece, and I’m far too insecure to have that much confidence.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

I do, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

It depends on my mood and on how well I’m able to focus. Sometimes it’s classical music and movie soundtracks, but I most often listen to a playlist of slow songs that features a lot of Louden Swain, Elton John (and Taron Egerton as Elton John), Garth Brooks, U2, Our Lady Peace, and Lady Gaga. In fact, U2’s “Love Rescue Me” was a big source of inspiration for one character’s arc in Daughter of Venus.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

Having fans care enough about my characters and stories to create character art is a dream of mine, as is fan fiction. Until then, I’ve created character portraits using Artbreeder, which I can’t recommend highly enough. It is amazing. Just beware! You can lose yourself in it, especially if you’re a perfectionist.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

I’d give two pieces of advice. Manage your expectations and develop a thick skin. I’ve yet to accomplish either.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I’ve entered five, including one that I deeply regret because the judges’ comments made me want to unpublish my books and quit writing. Have I mentioned that I’m an insecure perfectionist? However, I won a short story contest hosted by the Firecracker Department this summer. I almost didn’t enter because I didn’t think I stood a chance against professional writers and screenwriters. The night before the deadline, I decided to take a chance, and boy am I glad I did! With a maximum of 500 words, the task was to write a story about heroes that included a potato or a license plate. ‘The Boy in the Box’ was based on the real life heroics of Irena Sendler and you can find it on my blog (AccioTofu.blogspot.com).

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Karin Slaughter, Harlan Coben, Leigh Bardugo, Angela Marsons, Linwood Barclay, Kristin Hannah, Patricia Cornwell, and Kate Quinn.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

I’m on Twitter (@AMaltmanWrites) and Instagram (@AmyMaltmanWrites), and I have an underused blog (AccioTofu.blogspot.com). I’m also on Goodreads, and I have a Facebook page that I rarely use because, well, it’s Facebook.

My links can be found at linktr.ee/AmyMaltman, including my author pages in every Amazon marketplace and all my reviews across all platforms for A Journey Unveiled and An Enemy Defined.

Author Interview: Luther Kross

a man's hand turning a book page; text says 'author interview'

Be sure to check out Fever Dreams: Volume I! My review is here.

Interview:

1.  Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

To be perfectly honest, I read most books in ebook format these days. It allows me to carry multiple books at once, ready anywhere I like, and make notes in the text. It’s the perfect solution for a person that’s always on the go. That said, I do have a small collection of paperbacks at home, that I am slowly adding to.

2.  Pick a genre, any genre!

Anyone who’s talked to me for more than five seconds probably already knows the answer to this question; horror.

I’ve been a horror fan for as long as I can remember. As I’ve gotten older, that love has only solidified.

Horror is the perfect genre for a deep exploration of the human condition and the world in which we live. It also gives us a chance to reframe our own lives. To think, “Yeah, things are bad, but at least I’m not living through that.

3.  What is the first book you remember reading?

That would have to be The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

I’m sure I read other books prior to that, but it was the first one that really stood out to me.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that there are other worlds than these.

4.  What book shaped your childhood most?

That honor goes to The Dark Tower 3: The Wastelands. An older cousin of mine was reading the book and had left it open on the page with the illustration of the creatures that Roland and his ka-tet saw while riding through the wastes in a sentient bullet train.

It wasn’t long after that until I found the first book in that series and started reading it. If it wasn’t for The Dark Tower, my own series, The Toad Road Chronicles wouldn’t exist.

5.  When did you first start writing?

That’s hard to pin down. When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, my dad had shared a notebook of his own poetry with me. I remember thinking, “My dad wrote this? No way.”

After that, I started dabbling in poetry myself. Maybe a year later, I tried my hand at my first couple of short stories.

From there, I floundered in and out of writing, until about five years ago when I truly took the plunge and started pursuing it more seriously.

6.  What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

Ultimately, it was the desire to share a story as epic and meaningful as King’s Dark Tower. That series helped me push through some of the darkest moments in my life. To this day, that remains my focus. To tell stories that people can turn to when things get rough. To provide an escape hatch for when reality is just too much to bear.

7.  What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

So far, that would definitely be book one in The Toad Road Chronicles. It took me five years to finish that book. Between struggling with Impostor Syndrome, beating alcoholism, and fixing my marriage, I somehow managed to finally finish a full-length manuscript. I honestly never thought I’d get there, but I did.

8.  Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

I decided to publish it. After putting so much blood, sweat, and tears into that manuscript, I couldn’t being myself to hide it away.

Besides all of that, the plans for a sequel (or multiple sequels) were already rattling around in my mind by the time I finished book one.

I firmly believe that The Toad Road Chronicles will be my magnum opus. My readers are, of course, free to agree or disagree. Only time will tell.

9.  How many books/collections have you published so far?

As of right now, I have six short story compilations published and one full-length novel.

The short story compilations are fairly small, with just three stories per volume, but that was a stylistic choice on my part. They are an homage to my favorite short story compilations of yesteryear. Things like Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, and others of that ilk.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

My go-to genre is horror. Probably always will be. That said, I do have some ideas on the back burner for other genres. I have the plans for an entire urban fantasy, super-hero series, a couple fantasy ideas, and another that is purely human drama.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

I do tons and tons of research. Some stories require little to none, especially if they’re set in entirely fictional worlds. Others require knowledge of real world locations, events, people, etc. For those, I hit the books…and Google. Definitely Google.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

When I’m in short story mode, I fly entirely by the seat of my pants. Short stories are my playground. It’s where I go to simply have fun and create something new and weird.

For my longer works, I do lay out a general plot line, always keeping in mind that it could change.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I chose the self-publishing route through Amazon’s KDP and Kindle Unlimited.

First and foremost, I don’t believe that the literary world needs the gatekeepers of traditional publishing. We, as readers, can determine for ourselves what we do and don’t want to read. Moreover, there is a plethora of downright amazing Indie books out there. Books that, most likely, never would have managed publication via traditional means. That’s a crime as far as I’m concerned.

Secondly, Amazon has the largest share of the Indie market. I think choosing another route would have been a bit foolish, but that is my own personal opinion on the matter.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Definitely King’s Midworld! I want to stand in the field of Can-Ka No Rey and see The Dark Tower firsthand. Can you imagine standing at the very nexus of all of existence? Touching it with your bare hands?

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

Well, that is decidedly a loaded question. At the moment, I am working on Book Two of The Toad Road Chronicles and I am astonished at where the story has chosen to go. I’m also working on a new volume for The Interwoven Underverse. It’s called Edges of the Abyss. And, of course, I am still jotting down ideas for new volumes of Fever Dreams. That will probably remain true until I draw my last breath.

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

Once upon a time – read, about seven years ago – I had an idea pop into my head to write a detective noir novel. I wanted to do something completely outside of my normal genre and surprise readers with it one day. The main character – a private eye named Tommy Knox – was your typical, grizzled, antisocial private eye, complete with a missing fiancée and a HUGE chip on his shoulder.

Unfortunately, that manuscript simply never came to fruition, but old Tommy Knox never stopped kicking around in my head. I tried resurrecting him in a number of ways, but none of them felt right.

Finally, when I sat down to write Book Two of The Toad Road Chronicles, I’d found a place for him. I won’t give away much because I wouldn’t want to spoil the story, but I think this is the place for him.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

At the moment, that would be Book One of The Toad Road Chronicles. It is the book that almost never was.

It took me about five years to finish that manuscript. Between the Impostor Syndrome, my obligations, and some other things, this book became difficult to write.

Now, I’m not only writing a sequel, but I’m planning even more for this story’s future. It’s crazy how that worked out, but I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

My favorite relationship thus far has been the family dynamic between the main characters of Toad Road.

You start with Donnie and his older brother Will. Will’s been raising Donnie since childhood. Then, you add Sean – Donnie’s best friend – who’s more like an extra little brother to Will. Now, you add Gabby – Will’s long-time girlfriend – and voilà! You’ve got a tight-knit little family that would go to the ends of the Earth for each other. Family might start with blood, but it doesn’t end there.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no. When I do, it’s usually some kind of metal. Lately, I’ve really been digging Ice Nine Kills. Their album Welcome to Horrorwood is freaking killer!

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

Sadly, I do not. I, myself, am not much good with drawing or painting things. I haven’t commissioned any character art thus far, either, though I may do so in the future. I do have a gnarly character sketch in mind, and I may know an artist willing to do it.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

I’ll give you the same answer to this question as I gave to another interviewer recently, because I believe in it that strongly.

To quote Margaret Atwood, “A word after a word after a word is power.” Never forget that. You don’t need a publisher or an agent to validate you as a writer. A writer writes. Simply by putting those words on the page, you are accomplishing something that a large number of people will simply never achieve. Don’t let the naysayers deter you, including your own inner critic.

If you’ve been bitten by the writing bug, embrace it!

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

Never participated in any writing contests, per se, but I did submit a couple of stories to Creepypasta.com many years ago.

I’ll never forget how stoked I was to get that first story approved for a post on the main page. Felt like a small-time celebrity for a moment.

It didn’t take long until people started picking it apart and leaving negative commentary. Some of it was downright hilarious, but it all served to fuel the fire.

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

All right. Here goes nothing!

1. Stephen King – Hard to start this list with anyone else. If it wasn’t for Stephen King, I wouldn’t be writing today.

2. Clive Barker – Let’s face it, the man’s a genius. There’s no way around it.

3. H.P. Lovecraft – No matter what, you can’t deny the impact that cosmic horror has had in the literary world. This man created an entire genre, then stuffed it full with massive universe.

4. Jeff Strand – One of the best writers working in the genre. Nobody can weave a horror-comedy quite like Jeff Strand does. His body of work serves as a reminder that horror doesn’t have to be serious one hundred percent of the time.

5. Iain Rob Wright – If you haven’t read his Hell on Earth series, you are seriously missing out. If there ever were a story to perfectly capture the unyielding human spirit, Hell on Earth is it.

6. Erik Henry Vick – Erik has a wide range as an author, and it shows when you look at his bibliography on Amazon. Whether you’re into fantasy, horror, detective noir, or a blend of all three, Erik’s got you covered.

7. Benjamin Wallace – Benjamin is the author of one of my all-time favorite post-apocalyptic series called Duck and Cover. If you’ve never read it, I can’t recommend it highly enough. The Librarian is a force to be reckoned with.

8. Bryan Smith – Bryan is another author whose range is impressive. He covers every subgenre of horror you can think of, and probably a few that you haven’t. If you’re on the hunt for a scary story to keep you up at night, Bryan has definitely got you covered.

That’s my list, as it stands now. I’m sure there will be many names added to future iterations.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

I hang around Twitter quite a bit (@lutherkrossauth). Also, here’s a link to all of my socials and other whatnots. https://hy.page/lutherkross.

2021 in Review: Indie Books, Author Interviews & More!

a man holding a sparkler, text reads '2021 in review, indie book spotlight'

I started Indie Book Spotlight about a year ago in an effort to find other authors and connect with them, and the result has been wonderful! I’m stunned by the reception of the page, and so utterly grateful to everyone who’s helped boost the reviews and writer’s lifts and pinned reposts, etc. There is such lovely community spirit in the #WritingCommunity on Twitter, so for anyone hesitating joining, I definitely recommend it.

It’s fabulous to be able to boost indie voices in a way that’s actually getting noticed and I’ve met so many amazing authors and read some seriously fabulous books. From short stories to poetry to kid’s books to fantastical novels with epic world-building, the indie world has such a plethora of wonder on offer! Really, a great group to be part of!

For my part, I didn’t write as much this year as I’d hoped/planned, but I did publish These Violent Nights earlier in the summer, my dark fantasy novel that I’m so, so proud of. I started TVN back when I lived in Canada, so it’s been a long time in the making. I’m delighted it’s finally published and getting readers! There’s also character art (!!!) for the book from two very talented artists, see: Character Art for These Violent Nights [Thorn/Kol + Lucien/Nik] and Character Art for These Violent Nights [Thorn/Kol]. I’ve never had character art before and it’s so brilliant being able to visualise my main characters. A huge thank you to the artists!

I also republished my *very short* story The Man and the Crow. I’m so happy to have my story back out there as Enlil and Aris, the central witches, are characters I absolutely adored writing. I’ve had a few requests to write a follow-up story, but we shall see. 😉

Additionally, I had two short stories published in the Indie Bites AnthologiesVampires & Voyages and Mermaids & Mythologies collections. Both stories are LGBT+ fantasy. You can read them for free on the Indie Bites website or buy the paperbacks on Amazon.

As well, I entered A Game of Wings and Marks, my urban fantasy romance, in the BBNYA competition. It made it into the second round, but didn’t go further. Still, I’m proud that it’s found a few more readers this year! I also entered A Touch of Death into SPSFC, the new sci-fi competition for self-published books. I didn’t have a book ready for SPFBO, the yearly fantasy competition, but I’m hoping to enter These Violent Nights next year.

I am also part of a group of indie authors/editors that formed the Indie Book Trove this year! We vote on an indie book to read and then post our reviews online together in an effort to shine a light on one book each month. It’s so much fun getting to have a group focus on an indie book and I definitely encourage other book clubs to pick indie books! There’s some rocking talent out there! We’ve had so much fun with ours and hopefully we’ll have some more books to showcase next year!

Now, on to the reviews!

a woman reading inside a book holding a torch, text says 'reviews'

Note: One difference in my reviews from this year as opposed to previous years is that I’ve stopped rating books. I had someone ask me why I rated their book a certain way which left a bad taste in my mouth and frankly discouraged me from doing it again, thus as I don’t want more people asking why their book is this rating or that, and as I read a lot of ARCs outside of my general mood-read genres, leaving ratings aside for now is easier. I might change that in future, but for now, I’m reviewing without ratings.

INDIE BOOK REVIEWS
Book Review: The Ghost Beside Me (2019) // [short story, fantasy]
Book Review: A Walrus & A Gentleman (2021) // [lgbt+, fantasy]
Book Review: Wonder Rush (2021) // [spy thriller, YA]
Book Review: Emma and the Minotaur (2013) // [action/adventure, fantasy]
Book Review: Fever Dreams (2021) // [short stories, horror]
Book Review: The Summoner’s Cry (2021) // [novella, fantasy]
Book Review: Tamsen’s Ridge (2020) // [novella, romance]
Book Review: A Haunting at Hartwell Hall (2021) // [novella, romance, lgbt+]
Book Review: Landfill Mountains (2021) // [post-apocalyptic, action/adventure]
Book Review: Dark (2019) // [urban fantasy, romance]
Book Review: Partners in Crime (2021) // [novella, romance, lgbt+]
Book Review: I Love You S’more (2021) // [novella, romance]
Book Review: Trail Markers (2021) // [western, historical fiction]
Book Review: Along for the Ride (2021) // [novella, romance]
Book Review: Hoglets’ Christmas Magic (2021) // [children’s, holiday]
Book Review: Gathering of the Four (2021) // [dystopian, fantasy, action/adventure]
Book Review: The Stars Will Guide Us Back (2021) // [short stories, audiobook, lgbt+]
Book Review: The Wolf and the Water (2020) // [fantasy, romance]
Book Review: Paint Me Yours (2021) // [novella, romance]
Book Review: Untouched (2021) // [action/adventure, suspense, lgbt+]
Book Review: The Cracked Reflection (2021) // [short story, fantasy]
Book Review: Tales of Solomon Pace (2014) // [audiobook, fantasy]
Book Review: May Day (2020) // [urban fantasy, mystery, romance]
Book Review: The Girl in White (2017) // [fantasy, mystery]
Book Review: Into the Dark (2021) // [action/adventure, superhero]
Book Review: The Murder Next Door (2021) // [historical fiction, romance, murder, lgbt+]
Book Review: Of Blood and Deceit (2019) // [fantasy, romance]
Book Review: Paper Castles (2021) // [contemporary fiction]
Book Review: 7 Days in Hell (2020) // [horror]
Book Review: Jinnik (2020) // [non-fiction]
Book Review: The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon (2019) // [action/adventure, fantasy]
Book Review: Each Little Universe (2020) // [fantasy]
Short Story Reviews: Battered Heart (2021) & On the Edge of Salt (2020) // [short stories]

REVIEW ROUNDUPS
Note: These are usually mini/smaller reviews of books, comics, short stories or poetry, etc. The genres and formats differ wildly.

Book Review Roundup – September 2021.
Book Review Roundup – August 2021.
Children’s Book Review Roundup – August 2021.
Poetry Review Roundup – June 2021.
Mini Review Roundup – April 2021.
Review Roundup – April 2021.
Review Roundup – January 2021.
January Reading Roundup – January 2021.
Review Round Up – January 2021.

POETRY REVIEWS
Note: I read so much more poetry this year than I usually do and I loved it! Poetry is like soul sugar and I adored so many of these poems. Keep ’em coming!

Poetry Review: You Might Feel This (2021)
Poetry Review: Scarlet Shadows (2019)
Poetry Review: Golden Threads (2021)
Poetry Review: Black Movie (2015)
Poetry Review: The Smallest of Bones (2021)
Poetry Review: Fairytales (2020)
Poetry and Photography Review: Rhythm Flourishing (2020) and Seizing the Bygone Light (2021)
Poetry Review: Emotionally Raw by Carlos Cabrera & Lovable Losers and Romantic Monsters by B.P. Learner

TRAD BOOKS, SHORT STORIES AND AUDIOBOOKS REVIEWS

Epic Fantasy I Want to Read
Book Review: An Honest Man (2019)
Book Review: Mortal Engines (2001)
Book Review: The Colour of Magic (1983)
Book Reviews: The Host (2008), Roommate (2021), Skyward (2018)
Book Review: The Deep Blue (2021)
Book Review: To Be Taught, If Fortunate (2019)
Audiobook Review: Midnight Sun (2020)
Book Review: Prince of Thorns (2011)
[Audiobook Rec] Caught Inside (2016)
Book Review: Caught Inside (2016)
Short Story Review: customer service (2019)
Short Story Review: The Lady or the Tiger? (1882)
Short Story Review: Keys (2020)

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Children’s Book Review Roundup
Book Review: Usha and the Big Digger (2021)
Book Review: Dancing in Thatha’s Footsteps (2021)
Children’s Book Review: Three Lines in a Circle (2021)
Children’s Book Review Roundup
Children’s Book Review: Ruth and the Green Book (2010)
Four great books for kids!
Six fabulous children’s books!

COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS

Graphic Novel Review: Forget Me Not (2021)
Graphic Novel Review: Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms (2021)
Graphic Novel Review: White All Around (2021)
Comic Book Review: Always Raining Here (2012)
Buffy, Willow and Comics Galore!

TELEVISION SHOWS

Shows For Hopeless Romantics (multilingual recs)
Top Horror TV Shows
Show Review: Panic (2021)
Show Review: Falsa identidad (2018)
Show Review: Falsa identidad (2018) [pt. 2]
Show Review: Las chicas del cable (2017)
Show Review: Superstore (2015)
Show Review: Castlevania (2017)
Show Review: The Resident (2018)
Show Review: ¿Quién mató a Sara? (2021)
Show Review: Barbaren (2020)
Show Review: New Worlds (2014)
Show Review: 도시남녀의 사랑법 (Lovestruck in the City) [2021]
Show Review: 그 남자의 기억법 (Find Me in Your Memory) [2020]
Show Review: A Discovery of Witches (season two, 2021), Deadwind (2018), Little Fires Everywhere (2020)
Show Review: Outer Banks (2020) & Somewhere Between (2017)
Show Review: The Mandalorian (2019)
Show Review: Alias (2001)
Show Review: Santa Clarita Diet (2017)

FILMS

Underrated Movies You Should Watch
Film Review: Bad Samaritan (2018)
Film Review: Predators (2010)
Film Review: Stardust (2007)
Film Review: Breaking and Entering (2006)
Film Review: Possession (2009)
Film Reviews: Battle (2018) & Fierce (2020)
Film Review: Break (2018)
Film Review: Stoker (2013)
Short Film Review: Query (2020)
Film Reviews: The Darjeeling Limited (2007) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Last year’s end of the year(s): Honourable Mentions of 2020, 2020: End of Year Favs, Audiobook Recommendations.

a drawn man holding a coffee behind a draw woman with sunglasses; text says 'author interviews, indie book spotlight'

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS
Author Interview: Sinnamon Carnelian
Author Interview: Ciarán West
Author Interview: Mansur Hasib
Author Interview: Val Neil
Author Interview: Alan Denham
Author Interview: Barbara Avon
Author Interview: Rita A. Rubin
Author Interview: Maxime Jaz
Author Interview: Chris Clancy
Author Interview: Elford Alley
Author Interview: Dan McKeon
Author Interview: Elena Nix
Author Interview: Charlotte Sullivan Wild
Author Interview: M. W. McLeod
Author Interview: L. Krauch
Author Interview: Sarah Bell
Author Interview: D.N. Schmidt
Author Interview: Casie Aufenthie
Author Interview: Courtney Maguire
Author Interview: Diana L. Smith
Author Interview: Jamie Jackson
Author Interview: Luther Kross

*I have about 50+ more interviews to come, so if I post any more before the end of the year, I’ll update this page to include them!

I believe that wraps up the year of reviews, interviews and more! If there are any bad links or if I mis-labelled a book’s genre, do let me know. 🙂