BookFunnel Giveaway!

Paranormal_Reads_Giveaway.png

Searching for a thrilling selection of new reads? Why not pick one of the Amazing twenty-four FREE novels from this Paranormal Reads Giveaway (including Living Like A Vampire!)?

Click here to take your pick!

This giveaway ends August 3.

Living Like A Vampire
Living Like A Vampire; Book 1 in the paranormal Suckers Trilogy full of romance and suspense, by Jacky Dahlhaus

Blog Tour: Mark L. Fowler – Blue Murder

Mark L. Fowler with his new book Blue Murder

Mark L. Fowler with his new book Blue Murder

Today is the day that the Blog Tour of Mark Fowler starts, promoting his new book Blue Murder, second in the DCI Tyler and DS Mills series (but can be read as a standalone)! Check it out, follow Mark on Twitter (@MFowlerAuthor), and drop in if you can on the 30th of July 😀 .

Blue Murder Blog Tour.jpg

BookFunnel Giveaway!

Woman_of_Urban_Fantasy.png

Searching for a kick-ass heroine to love? Why not pick one of the Amazing FREE Paranormal Romance Prequels, Novellas, or Novels from this Women of Urban Fantasy Giveaway (including Living Like A Vampire!)?

Click here to take your pick!

This giveaway ends July 31.

Living Like A Vampire
Living Like A Vampire; Book 1 in the paranormal Suckers Trilogy full of romance and suspense, by Jacky Dahlhaus

Meet the Author… Ian Campbell

I met Ian under the name of Devin Salesman on Twitter. His book, And the Salesman Came to Town, intrigued me. As my love for Terry Pratchett explains, I love it when stories contain a fair share of humor. Ian let me wait weeks for the image (blame was put on the Zon), but it was worth it! So, without further ado, let me introduce me to Ian Campbell, so you can also have a laugh.

Ian Campbell

Ian_Campbell_W700.jpg

Biography

I am a 53-year-old man, who is married with two adult sons – both of whom still live with me!  Professionally, I am a high school English teacher. And now that I have put this on paper, I’ve realized just how boring I am. I was born in Toronto, Canada, but when I was still a baby my family moved to Winnipeg, where I learned the meaning of a what cold winter is!  When I was young, I was diagnosed with learning disabilities in primary school, and needless to say – I was not what could be considered a model student.  Let’s just say I was heavy on the hyper activity! Unfortunately, when I was 12 my mother passed away after a battle with cancer, and when I was 13 my father sent me to a military school in southern Ontario, near Niagara Falls. I spent the next 5 years at the school – consider it a reward for being a perfect child! My father during my time at school moved back to Toronto, so that I wasn’t too far away from family, and after I finished my education, I too stayed in Toronto. I worked for several years then went to York University, where I studied English Literature, and later I received my teaching qualifications from D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY.  During this time, I started my novel And the Salesman Came to Town, by Ian Campbell, and available on Amazon! (subtle plug, right?) I also got married, and my lovely wife and I had our aforementioned sons.  As my life got busier I got away from writing, sending most of my free time with my sons.  We went swimming, biked, watched moves and went to amusement parks and so much more. We were thick as thieves. My sons are still very active, they just don’t take me along anymore! I never thought I would be the 3rd wheel! Honestly they would bring me along too, but now that I’m getting older I’ve developed a bad back and cannot do all the things I used to do.  Summers had become boring, and I had an idea – start my book from scratch!  The rest is history – exciting NO! No, no – it really isn’t, but I have started my second untitled novel! 

If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be/if you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Be yourself and get over yourself! The first draft of my book And the Salesman Came to Town, by Ian Campbell, and again the – it’s available on Amazon thing, (yes, it’s plug number 2) was written about 20 years ago. I was trying to be all dark and sardonic, somewhere between Kurt Vonnegut and Evelyn Waugh, two of my favorite authors. Then, while I was editing the first half of the novel, a thought came to me. ‘What kind of self deluded idiot would write this kind of preachy and pretentious bull sh**!’ Let’s just say I knew it needed some revisions. The first draft was in truth complete crap, but I still thought it was overall a good idea, and never really gave up on it. And now you know why it took 20 years! Here is my advice, be yourself and get over yourself – to be an author, and you need to find you own voice!  Being self critical, and being able to take criticism from others, will also help enhance your prose.

Who is/are your favorite author(s)? How much is your work influenced by his or her works?

Obviously, Kurt Vonnegut, Evelyn Waugh, then J. R.R. Tolkien, Hemingway, Mark Twain, Johnathan Swift, of course Shakespeare, Harper Lee, Frank Herbert, Shirley Jackson, Eric Walters, Arthur Conan Doyle and J. K. Rowling. I know the last one is an author of kid’s books, but tell me – who doesn’t love Harry! Really, it’s a longer list than this, but in my defence, I’m an old guy so I’ve read a lot of books.

Ian_Campbell_And_the_Salesman_Came_to_TownWho is the most famous author you have ever met?

Austin Clark.  I don’t think he is that famous, but he has won some major literary awards. I don’t get out much!

What made you want to become a writer?

I love stories: books, movies, TV, plays – and of almost any genre. Although I like satire and fantasy/science fiction the best. At heart, I’m still a child!  And, according to my wife, every other part of my anatomy as well.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

Everything!  I wrote And the Salesman Came to Town, by Ian Campbell, I guess you’ve gotten the whole Amazon thing by now (plug number 3 – nice huh?) without having any idea of what I was doing.  Here’s the thing though, I’m pretty sure that I still have no idea of what I’m doing.

What do you love most about the writing process?

Everything, from the outline to the rough draft, and the revisions and editing. I have to admit that I’m not very good at editing myself as I see what should be there, and in many instances, not what is there.  Apparently, neither did the professional editor I hired, he left spelling and grammar mistakes for god…!  Anyway, after some complaints from readers, I have put And the Salesman Came to Town, by… (Well, you know the rest by now – plug number 4!) through an online editor – but I digress.  Even if I had no way of sharing my writing with others, I would still write.  I love every part of it!

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

For me, a gift – absolutely a gift! I can create my own little world, and get a short reprieve from the somewhat messed up real world we live in. I’m a humour/fantasy writer, and all I can hope for is that my audience is having half as much fun reading my writing, as I have had writing it. If that is the case, in my opinion, I’ve done my job as an author!

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Ian_Campbell_Spirit_AnimalThis cat right here.  We share the same world view.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Energize! As I already said I love writing, especially humour. Like my novel And the Salesman Came to Town – Ian Campbell – Amazon (Didn’t think I’d get one more in did you?  Last one, promise!)

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

Oh, very part time. As they say “Don’t give up your day job!” I would be thrilled to be able to write full-time, but at this point, being a somewhat newly self publish author – who has no idea what he is doing as far as publishing goes, I think I’ll have to keep the day job for a while.  And the Salesman Came to Town – Ian Campbell – Amazon (Okay, I lied!).

Thanks so much for sharing your enthusiasm for writing, Ian. I’m glad to hear you’ve used an editor for your book. Yes, folks, the edited version is online now! I’ve started reading it and am enjoying it very much (although I’m terribly time deprived working on my own books, but I promise I’ll write a review when I’ve finished!).

If you wish you can follow Ian Campbell, aka Devin Salesman, on Twitter.

Just in case you didn’t get it, you can get And the Salesman came to Town on Amazon! Here’s the teaser:

The devil has come to town – but this time he is the CEO of a multinational corporation. This multinational advertises a soul back guarantee for all potential customers – for their purchase of their very own dream life. A semi-alcoholic priest is anointed as – The Chosen – the one who is destined to fight off the evil, and to stop this latest incarnation of the devil. He is sent unwillingly into the battle between good and evil, and what can only be considered to be an excellently executed marketing campaign. John Murdock, a self described crappy priest and aforementioned semi-alcoholic, wakes one morning to a radio commercial outlining the benefits of buying one’s own dream life for the low – low price of their soul. He sincerely hopes that the commercial is a bad joke made by the radio station, or at least a hangover induced hallucination. But finds out to his dismay that it is all real, and that it is his job to fight the devil incarnate, or more accurately stated – the devil incorporated.

BookFunnel Giveaway!

Dragon_Deals_Giveaway.pngIn the mood for some paranormal romance? Why not pick one of the Amazing FREE Paranormal Romance Novels and Novellas from this Dragon Deals Giveaway (including Living Like A Vampire!)?

Click here to take your pick!

This giveaway ends July 21, so hurry!

Living Like A Vampire
Living Like A Vampire; Book 1 in the paranormal Suckers Trilogy full of romance and suspense, by Jacky Dahlhaus

BookFunnel Giveaway!

AmazingFantasyGiveaway.pngDon’t know what to read? Why not pick one of the Amazing FREE Fantasy Novels from this Amazing Fantasy GiveAway (including Living Like A Vampire!)?

Click here to take your pick!

This giveaway ends July 20, so hurry!

Living Like A Vampire
Living Like A Vampire; Book 1 in the paranormal Suckers Trilogy full of romance and suspense, by Jacky Dahlhaus

What To Watch? Immortals

Last Thursday, we were deciding what to watch on Netflix. We read the blurb for Immortals, but the rest of my family wasn’t too convinced. As I held the TV remote (a rare occasion), I pressed play and, to my surprise, everybody was pleased I did afterward.

Immortals

Immortals_W700.jpg

Cast

The movie has a spectacular cast and, for the life of me, I don’t know why I had never heard of this movie before. As the main characters, it has Henry Cavill as Theseus and Mickey Rourke as King Hyperion. The role of Zeus is shared by Luke Evans, in the role of the god, and John Hurt, in the role of the old man-form of Zeus.

And then, for the vampire-lovers amongst us, there’s Kellan Lutz (aka Emmett Cullen in Twilight) as Poseidon, Joseph Morgan (aka Niklaus “Klaus” Mikaelson in The Vampire Diaries and The Originals) as Lysander, Stephen Dorff (aka Deacon Frost in Blade) as Stavros, and Daniel Sharman (aka Kaleb in The Originals) as Ares.

The two women in the movie are Isabel Lucas as Athena, goddess of wisdom and daughter of Zeus, and Freida Pinto as Phaedra, an Oracle priestess who joins Theseus on his quest (and being the love interest).

Plot

King Hyperion, who wants to free the Titans (to revenge the death of his family) and hopes to slay the gods this way, is hell-bound to find the Epirus bow, the only weapon that can free the Titans. He uses the visions of Phaedra, the Oracle priestess, to locate it.

Immortals2In the meantime, Theseus, his mother, and many others try to flee from Hyperion and his approaching Heraklion army. Unfortunately, Theseus’s mother gets killed by Hyperion and Theseus is imprisoned. At a chance meeting, the Oracle Priestess sees Theseus being part of the future and organizes to set him free. Zeus tells the other gods not to interfere with the troubles of men, but, of course, they do.

What I liked about Immortals

The first and foremost thing that struck me watching the movie was the beautiful aesthetics. The director, Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall, Mirror Mirror, Self/less), is known for his unique visual style, and Immortals is a wonderful example. The colors and texture jump off the screen when the story is good and beautiful, yet are bleak and colorless (except for the color red) when dark and gloomy. You could say it is the enhanced version of 300 (I actually only found out it was from the same producers as 300 after I watched the YouTube trailer 😀 ).

With such a cast, you can’t expect otherwise than the performances to be excellent. They draw you into the story from beginning to end.

As this is a movie based on Greek mythology, there are quite a few fight scenes. All done impeccably, easy to follow, and believable, with lots of blood gushing out of inflicted wounds (I can see why they did a 3D-version of the movie).

What I didn’t like about Immortals

Immortals3As the common critique was when the film came out in 2011, it could do with a bit more character development and (hence) better script. I actually quite liked the overall story.

I must admit I didn’t like Luke Evans in the role of Zeus. They should have taken someone to match, if not surpass, the physical appearance of Micky Rourke.

Summary

This is a beautiful movie to watch if only for pleasing the eye. Beautiful colors, beautiful people, beautiful scenery. The story isn’t real (at least, it’s not a ‘real mythological’ story), but I thought it believable (as far as Hollywood movies go). It does have quite some gruesome moments (crushing of testicles, cooking of humans, and the necessary blood-shed) in it, so I’d recommend it for older teenagers and up.

My Irish Writers’ Podcast Interview

When I was in Ireland last month, attending the Dublin Writers’ Conference, I happened to meet Máire Brophe (I think it’s pronounced Moira, but do correct me if I’m wrong, Máire!). We got chatting about orcs and other fantasy creatures, as you do. She mentioned that she did podcasts and asked if I’d agree to an interview. Of course, I said yes!

It was a bit scary at first, the thought of being recorded. I hate my own voice, for one, and I kept thinking ‘what if I get stuck with words?’ I’ve had it before, many times, that all of a sudden I get insecure and both the English and Dutch language try to get out at the same time. Or I can’t find the English word I want to say. Yet, it was surprisingly easy to talk to Máire. The interview is actually twice as long as I remember 😄.

Listen to the podcast here.

The first seven-and-a-half minutes are an interview with Ann Richardson, who wrote a non-fiction book on Celebrating Grandmothers, and then it’s my turn. You’ll also get a ‘sneek peek’ about the next novel I’m writing!

Thanks again, Máire, for the opportunity, and I wish you all the best with your own novella, After the World, and the Irish Writers Podcast. I do hope you get to write that full novel one day!


PS: If you buy the Suckers Trilogy books from my book store, you get a 15% discount!

Meet the Author… Jodi Ann Fahey

I met Jodi on Twitter. Her Casey Blane vampire book covers are beautiful and her book content enticing. Hence, I wanted you, my dear fantasy lover, to meet her too.

Jodi Ann Fahey

Jodi Ann Fahey.jpg

Biography

Jodi Fahey studied journalism from the time she was in high school. When she attended Fashion Institute of Technology, she was able to branch out into the world of advertising. It was in that field that Jodi learned Graphic Design as well as film production and photography, both as a model and a photographer. Jodi’s articles on local businesses and events were published in local papers.

Jodi is a freelance web designer and ad developer. Her work has been published in European Homes and Gardens as well as BiBi Magazine. Also, she has done freelance work on Poetry Bay Online Poetry Magazine and Long Island Quarterly.

Utilizing all of her learned skills, Jodi has started her newest venture, the Casey Blane series. Jodi not only writes her stories, but she also designs her own covers, creates her own trailers, and designs all her ads. She also created her own website.

What made you want to become a writer?

I’d always loved to write and have been able to do a large range of projects. My first was a poem A Desolate Beach when I was fourteen. It was created for a submission in the Reflections contest in school and won. That was my first and only attempt at poetry, but it did spark an interest in writing for me.

After that, I was able to study journalism in high school. When I moved onto college, I took photography, and learned graphics, even modelled, too. All paved the way to what I do today.

Since High school, I’ve done ads, interviews, self-help, and instructional how-to articles. It wasn’t until I had my children that I even though of taking on a project as grand as the Casey Blane Series.

My son was really the one that awoke the writing bug in me. He was in kindergarten and was given a project of writing a short story. His teacher explained it as needing a beginning, middle, and an end. Well, my son being the intelligent child he was, and still is, challenged that theory. So, his story was:

There once was a horse named Kyle. He went to the top of the hill. Nothing happened. By Kyle Fahey

Needless to say, I received a call from his teacher that same day.

So that night, I told him about the use of his crayons by bringing out our hefty, six inch thick, Webster Dictionary, and explained to him that his story was a great start, but we have so many more words available to us, and they all want to be used. I opened that dictionary and told them that each of the words in the book are a writer’s crayon that a writer uses to make the story more colorful.  And a writer can write about anything.

Kyle, being Kyle, challenged me by saying, “Well, you can’t write about shoes!”

I laughed and right on the spot, I told him a story about a boy and his wet shoes. That story is currently being illustrated as we speak and my son has named it My Wet Shoes.

Jodi Ann Fahey_Letorian DescendantsAt that time, Kyle was not at all pleased by that and decided he wanted to stump me with a spatula, from which, The Killer Spatula was born. It’s a short tale, and one we use during camping, but that spatula comes out at Boy Scout events, even today.

A few years after that, my daughter had a very traumatic event happen to her and a friend of hers. Sadly, it was what cost her friend her life. Bullying is a horribly dangerous thing and the scars from it we carry throughout our lives. I wanted to help her and always said to her that you can’t change them, only yourself and how you view them. If you believe in yourself, their words hold no meaning. Power is within us. That was the inspiration to the Casey Blane Series.

What do you love most about the writing process?

That is a very good question, Jacky. I would have to say being able to create a world, a vision, in my reader’s mind. I think that’s an art in itself.  The process to achieve that, though not a simple one, I do find the most enjoyable. My characters are given a life way before the first word of the book was put to paper. I have characters that go back four hundred years and some that only came on in this lifetime. What that did, was it gave each and every one of them a voice and I feel that you can actually read it and hear them as they speak because of that detail.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

I believe both. Being able to write is definitely a gift and one that I fully enjoy. However, since I did start the series, I can’t tell you how many times I have woken up in the middle of the night with an idea or a thought and just stayed up the entire night writing. So, the lack of sleep from a midnight thought is one thing a writer will tell you is definitely a curse of the art.

What does your typical writing day look like? How many hours a day do you write?

As a very intelligent man once told me, Beem Weeks is his name, I am a writer with a day job.  I do work full time and put in almost sixty hours a week, just there alone. I am a mother of two, in addition, so my days are specifically planned out to accommodate all things. So, after my day, children are fed, house cleaned, and Facebook takeovers are done, and I am off to writing, I give myself at least fifteen minutes a day to write. Though, I can tell you, I think that has happened only once. Most of the time I write well into the night and fall asleep on my work.

Pen or typewriter or computer?

My first draft is done in pen. I can’t tell you how many of my pages have pen blobs from falling asleep with my pen in my hand.

I do have a funny story to share about that, too. I organize my chapters, so that each notebook is one single chapter. It worked out wonderfully for the first book. However, for the second, Lucian Sword, I ran into a small issue. On just one chapter, Chapter 22 to be exact, I had lost the notebook for. So, I rewrote it, went back to editing on the first book, picked up the second again to transfer it into my computer, only to find that chapter went missing once again. That happened four times.

Well, as it turned out, it was a good thing. I took it as a sign that the chapter needed to go in a different direction and, boy, did it ever. It happens to be one of my favorite scenes in the series thus far.

Do you write alone or in public?

Jodi Ann Fahey_Lucian SwordI do enjoy writing alone. My favorite spot to write is sitting on the arbor overlooking the Long Island Sound in a small local park by me. I love to hear the call of the Red Tailed Hawk that has nested there for years, and the sound of the waves below me. That’s on a nice day. Otherwise, I’m in my office corner, a corner of my bedroom that I made my own spot.

Music or silence?

Oh, definitely music. My favorite groups that I find inspiring are Thirty Seconds to Mars, Florence and the Machine, Muse, Evanescence, Imagine Dragons, Within Temptation, Linkin Park, and Mute Math, to name a few.

Do you outline or just write?

Outline. Definitely. I need to know the flow of the books prior to starting them. Don’t get me wrong, it does change as it goes, but at least I have a direction. I also have a timeline, a family tree, and a bible of facts for this series. As you read it, you will see why these were necessary.

What genre do you consider your book(s)? Have you considered writing in another genre?

The Casey Blane series is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance mixed with Action Adventure. I like to write movement and feeling, so my style does carry that element. I want the reader to feel the tension as they read it.

I have actually written other genres. I have just joined the Double DD group of writers (https://thedoubledd.com) created by Fredd Caroll and was given many wonderful opportunities there. I was given the opportunity to work with J Morgan Woodall with Lost Love Letters where I was able to expand to romance. Also, through them I was given the opportunity to do a Romantic Comedy through Genre Swap. In addition, I’ve been asked to do Live Writes and do have many wonderful opportunities to test out different genres there and work with great authors, like Steven Evans and Zorha Edwards, as well. I’m seeing a possible horror novel in the near future.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Another great question, Jacky. I did have to do research for this series. As I stated before, each character in the Casey Blane series has a story behind them. I did it that way, not only so that each character had depth to them, but because I wanted to have the possibility to go back into the story, as well. So the story doesn’t have to just be one angle, but many.

The second book, Lucian Sword required far more time to develop because it takes place in Northern Ireland and carries many tales of the land with it as the story moves forward. I wanted to make sure I had it perfect. So, that one did take seven years.

Thanks so much, Jodi, for sharing this with us. I love how your son made you become a writer. And I’m impressed with your research for your second novel taking seven years!

To let you know a bit more about Jodi Ann Fahey’s books here’s some more info:

Her first book, Letorian Descendants, was released December of 2016. In the fall of 2017, it was given the distinct honor and recognition by being named and awarded a finalist for the Book Excellence Award. In December of 2017, it was also awarded ‘one of the Most Memorable Reads of 2017’ by Stratford Living.

Jodi’s second book, Lucian Sword, was released November of 2017, and was immediately made ‘Book of the Month’ by Rave Review Book Club for the month of January.

Her third book, Dragon Lines, is set to release December of 2018, and Jodi is also part of two anthologies scheduled to release in 2019, so stay tuned!

Ways to connect with Jodi Ann Fahey:

Facebook Author page

Facebook group 

Twitter

YouTube

MeWe

Goodreads

Tumblr

Website

Instagram

All Authors

Amazon

What to Watch? Shooter

Excuses for my lateness of posting my weekly What to Watch? I was still travelling from Holland to Scotland yesterday (driving from Newcastle to Aberdeen), and I can tell you that typing on a laptop in a driving car isn’t easy 😀 . So, why Shooter (the TV series and not the film)? Because my son recommended it to me.

Shooter

Shooter.jpg

Cast

The Netflix TV series is based on the film Shooter, with Mark Wahlberg as the main character, which is based on the book Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter which again is loosely based on the US sniper Carlos Hathcock (but none of the story in the TV series has anything to do with Hathcock).

The retired US sniper veteran, Bob Lee Swagger, is played by Ryan Phillipe. He’s not a new kid on the block as he’s been in front of the camera since 1992. His wife Julie is played by Shantel VanSanten, and Cynthia Addai-Robinson plays Nadine Memphis, the investigating FBI agent. Omar Epps, also know from his doctor role in House, plays the Secret Service agent and ex-commander of Swagger, Isaac Johnson. I need to mention Eddie McClintock, who plays Jack Payne, and David Marciano as Memphis’s boss, Howard Utey.

Plot

Bob Lee Swagger is a retired US sniper, now spending time with his wife and daughter. His ex-commander, Isaac Johnson, seeks him out and asks for his help. There are rumors that a sniper is going to take out the US President during a visit to Seattle. Swagger reluctantly agrees and tries to figure out where the sniper could shoot from. All angles seem to be covered, until Swagger figures out something is wrong and tries to prevent the shooting. Unfortunately, Swagger is too late, and the visiting Ukrainian President is killed. As Swagger is on the spot of the crime, he’s arrested for suspicion of being the murderer. Swagger must prove he’s set up for a crime he didn’t commit.

What I liked about Shooter

As you may know, I’m not a fan of senseless violence. So, why did I like Shooter? Because the first few episodes were very suspenseful and were (somewhat) believable.

Someone, in a review on Rotten Tomatoes, mentioned there was no humor in the series at all. They are wrong. I loved the character of Jack Payne. He was so funny. Intentionally or not, he made me laugh out loud and care for him more than for Swagger. Same goes for Howard Utey. His character was less believable, but still gave it a less dramatic twist for me.

What I didn’t like about Shooter

As I said, I don’t like senseless violence. This series is supposed to be realistic, but people are being killed left, right, and center without any remorse. I don’t mind if this happens in fantasy movies with non-existant creatures but not in a series about humans and by someone who’s supposedly the good guy. Besides this, Ryan Phillipe reminds me of a pouting school boy, not a seasoned veteran. Maybe it’s just my age…

The further you get into the series, the more unbelievable it becomes. We finished the first season, but I doubt we’re going to watch the following two.

Summary

Shooter is a good show to get away from it all and have you on the edge of your seat for a couple of evenings but don’t expect it to be too realistic or see fantastic performances.

I haven’t seen the movie with Mark Wahlberg as the sniper, but I’m dying to see it now.

Follow me on a journey of words

%d bloggers like this: