Category Archives: What to Read

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

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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

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Twitter

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Website

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What To Read? Cursed: Ruadh’s Story

I have a little gem for your today. I’m particularly proud of this one as I’ve helped the author, Troy A. Hill, a little bit with it. It is published today!

Cursed

Ruadh’s Story

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You may remember the Dark Fantasy Spring Giveaway Event not long ago. I won this book in Troy’s competition after guessing the correct shifter form of Ruadh (and no, I didn’t see the bear in the moon on the image that he showed us 😀 ). That’s the first thing that attracted me to this book; the cover. The artist did an excellent job detailing the atmosphere described in the story (not that I knew that when I saw the cover for the first time, of course).

It’s a short read, with only one hundred pages. This doesn’t diminish the reading entertainment, though. Mr. Hill has a particular way of writing, one that suits the character of Ruadh very well. He gets you to experience exactly what Ruadh is going through as he shapeshifts and on his flight from evil but without getting overly descriptive. His words are straight to the point yet transporting you into the scene. You get drawn into this ancient world with shapeshifters, banshees, and godesses creating havoc. There even is a comic relief in there, although this may not have been intended 🙂 . There truly is not a dull moment in this story. It is a good set up for the main novel to come, and I hope to read the other books soon.

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All of Troy A. Hill’s books are available on Amazon and Cursed is on sale at the moment, so grab it while it’s hot!

Meet The Author… Vanessa Ravel

Vanessa Ravel is an author I met on the Dark Fantasy Books website. She is a far cry from the standard girl next door and I expect her book, Four o’Clock Alice, isn’t any different.

Vanessa Ravel

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You are an epidemiologist by trade. Do you still work as a scientist or are you now a full-time writer? Does your work feature in some way in your book?

I still do consulting and medical writing on a freelance basis, which allows me to devote time to my real passion of writing fiction. Funny enough, after all my schooling, epidemiology doesn’t at all figure into Four O’Clock Alice, but I do have some ideas stewing on the back burner where I might be able to use my public health background. 

Why do you write dark fantasy?

Horror is my favorite genre, but I’m not really a fan of gore or graphic violence. I like writing about ugly things in the most beautiful way possible, so I think dark fantasy allows for that outlet over horror. To me, writing delicate prose about vile things is more shocking than any gorefest because, strangely enough, there is beauty in vile things. There is beauty in everything. You just need to find the right words.

Four o’Clock Alice is your debut novel. Did you intentionally write a novel or does its creation have a different story?

I did set out to write Four O’Clock Alice, although the original idea doesn’t at all resemble the finished product! The impetus for writing was a series of personal tragedies which afforded me the perspective to ‘write what I know,’ not in a sense of ever having been in any of the characters’ situations per se, but nonetheless being newly able to empathize with those situations.

How old is Alice and what is the target audience for your novel?

Although the book starts with a ten-year-old Alice and follows her until she is 17, I would not say this is necessarily a book for that age range. I believe the target audience for my novel is adult, although the older ‘young adult’ market (say, 14+) would sympathize with Alice’s coming-of-age situation.

 

Four_OClock_AliceCan you give us a quirky detail about Alice that doesn’t feature explicitly in your book?

Her second toe is longer than all the others. But don’t tell anyone; she gets enough hassle for having the touch of death.

What can people expect when they read your book?

You’re in for a surreal trip down the rabbit hole! Four O’Clock Alice examines the human condition from a unique perspective, and the book takes a surprising twist. There are certainly aspects of horror as the antagonists run the gamut from Lovecraftian creatures to evil overlords to flesh and blood humans (in my opinion, the scariest type of monster).

You have a lot of dogs. Please tell us more about them. Do they feature in your book?

I currently have four small dogs: Anaïs the dachshund (11, she may be short, but you’re still beneath her); Zoë the mutt (9, says she’s Chihuahua-beagle-dachshund, but she won’t show us her papers), Dolce the Chihuahua (7, she’s only comfortable if she’s sitting on another dog’s head); and Penny the schnauzer (6, if there’s a worm on the ground, she’ll roll on it). While my dogs don’t personally appear in my book, their humanity—particularly that of my beloved Dudley who passed in 2014—is largely what inspired me to write about what makes us human.

Are you working on another book? If yes, what’s it about, and could you give us a little ‘preview’?

My upcoming release will be a short story collection called Demon Dance: 10 dark stories to rattle your psyche. This book will be a big divergence from Four o’Clock Alice in genre and in tone, and can be classified as more horror/speculative fiction than dark fantasy. The 10 standalone stories examine the boundaries between personal demons and the ones that come from Hell. Here’s a preview from The Wild Hunt:

The rumbling intensified. Thunder? No—hooves. Dozens of them. Moving fast. Shaking the room. Then an additional sound rode in on the heels of that stampede. Howls and yips punctuated by agitated pants echoed through the night. As the racket came to a crescendo of howls, whinnies, and neighs, the glass French doors to the terrace exploded, and Marcus dove behind the couch. The late December air blew a rare handful of snow flurries onto the brand new pine floors. A dark form eclipsed the streetlight pouring in through the broken French doors. Horses chuffed. A hideous stench mushroomed into the lounge, provoking Marcus’s gag reflex. He peeked over the couch at Vesta. “What is that?”

Thank you so much, Vanessa, for letting us know a bit more about Four o’Clock Alice and your dogs. Please give a cuddle to all four of them from me 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading your book one day.

Vanessa_Ravel_Books

Four o’Clock Alice is available on Amazon.

What to Read? Sister Witch

Sister Witch, The Life of Moll Dyer (Legends of the Dyer Family, Book 1)

by David W. Thompson

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Set Up

Sister Witch is, as the title explains, a story about the life of Moll Dyer. Moll is a young, Irish lass whose family take her to England to find a better future. There, she gets raped and, to save her family name, she is shipped to Amerca with her uncle. The trip overseas is crucial for what happens to Moll in the New World.

What I liked about Sister Witch

I found the story very well written, drawing you in from the beginning, with hints of the paranormal and witchcraft. These hints are dispersed through the whole of the book, coming to a climax at the very end. It disperses with trivia and makes the most of issues that matter.

Most of all, the book describes what it was like to live in the seventeenth century, particularly as a woman. It is extremely well researched, and the knowledge is woven into the story with ease. Topics as rape and slavery come up in the book and are wonderfully challenged by the strong women in it.

What I didn’t like about Sister Witch

Although, strictly speaking, this is urban paranormal fiction, I would classify this more as a historical novel with paranormal hints.

It is not an action-packed story, apart from a few passages. My personal preference goes out to a bit more edge-of-your-seat suspense/action.

Recommendation

I would recommend this book to anybody interested in seventeenth-century colonial life, witchcraft, and stories about strong women.

Sister Witch is available on Amazon.