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Meet the Author… Mark Fowler

Meet the author

I know Mark Fowler from the One Stop Fiction Authors’ Resource Facebook site. We’ve been acquainted for two years now. Mark has been so lucky as to have his books published by Bloodhound Books and is doing pretty well, promoting his fourth book, Red Is The Colour, at the moment. I had the pleasure to chat with him yesterday evening through an author chat organized by Caroline Maston.

Mark L. Fowler


What made you become a writer?

Possibly because I wasn’t any good at most other things in life! I love telling stories, making things up, indulging my imagination but in a way that communicates a truth to my readers. When I feel I have something to say, I write fiction, and I try to get to the heart of things the best way I can. 

Tell us a little about your work.

So far, I have published four novels: Coffin Maker (which took nearly twenty years to write!), The Man Upstairs, Silver, and Red Is The Colour. My books are all very different, and Coffin Maker, for example, does not clearly fit into any single genre, though it contains strong elements of gothic fiction and very dark humour. Red Is The Colour, on the other hand, is clearly a detective mystery thriller. The Man Upstairs is also a detective mystery, but with a twist of the very strange. While Silver can be read as a psychological thriller or as a gothic thriller. It is also very satirical regarding the publishing trade. 

Why do you write crime?

Crime is only part of it for me. There is crime at the heart of my books, though I would like to think that I’m also trying to explore what makes people tick, why people behave in certain ways in certain situations. I love the psychology of human behaviour. And the darkest crimes-murder for example-raise so many questions. We want to know what forms the heart of a monster or why an ordinary man or woman could carry out the most seemingly depraved acts on another human being. I also enjoy reading crime, of course, and many of my favourite authors write in the crime genres. 

What sparked your interest in the supernatural/gothic horror?

I’ve loved horror since the seventies when I used to stay up late Fridays to watch Hammer House of Horror. having said that, there are very few horror novels/films that I really love, whereas there are countless crime and mystery books and films. For me, many of the finest horror writers go beyond genre and are not constrained by it, for example, Ray Bradbury.

What do you find the easiest and hardest parts of writing a book?

For me, it’s starting a book that is the hardest part. Going off in the right direction, beginning at the right place. Once I get the opening right and the momentum starts to develop, I’m okay. I’m learning to plot a little before I set off as I always fear I may run up a dead end. Easier on the nerves having a basic plan, though to over plot from the beginning would kill the book off for me before it got started.

How much research goes into your novels?

I confess to not really being much of a researcher. Coffin Maker and The Man Upstairs were perfect for me, as I could make absolutely everything up. With Red Is The Colour, I gave myself a break by using a local setting, an area that I know extremely well and could write about confidently. However, there was the matter of police procedure, of course. I don’t particularly enjoy reading dense procedurals, and so I steered clear of getting too bogged down, but I did ask a police officer I know to help me with some of the details and to ensure that I wasn’t making any glaring errors. She was very helpful. 

What do you do in between writing books?

Read books! And listen to music and watch films, mainly.

What have you got lined up for us?

I have a follow up to Red Is The Colour written and two psychological thrillers also completed, not to mention three YA books that I would dearly love to find a suitable publisher for. I can’t stop writing them! I’m taking some time though to consider my options before moving forward with my next publication and will keep you posted.

I wish Mark success in the promotion of Red Is The Colour. Mark’s book Silver is on sale for £0.99 at the moment, so why not grab that one as well while it’s hot!


Mark L. Fowler’s books can be found on Amazon and Bloodhound Books.


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Ask Me Anything Author Session

It’s now Monday, 12 March 2018, and I’m live to answer your questions. You can ask me anything!

Go to my AMA session site to type your question 🙂

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I’m an ‘Ask Me Anything’ Author Session Host!

Today, I received an email from the AMA (Ask Me Anything) team, asking me if I would like to host a session as an author on their site. I am so thrilled! I had never heard of them, but they are on Twitter. Any opportunity to get more exposure is good, of course, especially with my new release on sale this weekend!

Part of the process is that I have to authenticate that I am me, so I took this selfie. What do you think? Is this me?

AMA Photo of Proof2_W600.jpg

Why not ask me a question? You can find the session here, ask your questions now, and will answer them on Monday, 12 March, at 11:30am EST. All questions/answered are typed, so no video live feed, but I promise to behave anyway 🙂

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Meet the Author… Jacky Dahlhaus

Meet the author

Tomorrow, the 8th of March, is International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. As I have just finished writing the Suckers Trilogy and am bloody proud of it, I’d like to dedicate this week’s interview to myself 🙂 Let me bare my soul to you.

Jacky Dahlhaus


Why did I start writing?

It may sound cliché, but I had a dream. I dreamed about a girl bumping into a vampire and instantly falling in love. You can’t think of anything tackier, but I liked it. At the time, I was listening to popular music and one of the songs was ‘When the beat drops out‘ by Marlon Roudette. I guess the lyrics of that song got stuck in my head. I told my children about my dream, and they told me to write it down. I sat behind my computer that morning, and for the next fortnight, I only left it for the basic human needs even forsaking television (which is kind of a big deal for me). I wrote 55K words and completed my first novel draft ever. It gave me an enormous high to write. Never ever had I experienced something like this. I never took any drugs, so I can’t compare, but it is possible to get high without them, apparently 🙂 .

What is my literary education?

I don’t have a literary education as science was my first love. When I was four, I suffered a heavy concussion and skull fracture, and I spent four weeks on my back in the hospital. The nurses in the hospital were nice, so I aspired to become one. From the age of six (for the life of me, I can’t remember why that particular age), my aspirations were set a bar higher, and I set my sights on becoming a veterinarian. Animals can’t talk and tell people what’s wrong with them, so I wanted to help them. Helping others is part of what I am. Fortunately, I’m an eager learner and did well at school. I had a huge setback when I contracted a severe bout of glandular fever, or infectious mononucleosis, in my late teens. Unfortunately, it affected me far longer than the few months they say it lasts on the internet. For decades, I was affected with a bone-felt tiredness, but I moved heaven on earth to become a veterinarian and finally became one in my early thirties. By that time, I was ready to have children and found animals no longer a priority in my life. After I gave birth to our twins and stayed home for one-and-a-half years, I re-schooled and became a high school science teacher. This proved too tiring and too depressing for me (I was trying to keep the students in their seats more than I was teaching). I gladly took the opportunity when an office job presented itself.

Byzantine necklace with four large blue jade beads
Byzantine necklace with four large blue jade beads

When I had brain surgery in 2009, I decided that life was too short to be unhappy. I quit my job, a joint decision with my husband, and pursued many hobbies. I tried painting, drawing, scrapbooking, chainmail-, metal-, and pearl-jewelry making, taxidermy, and photography. Never did it occur to me that I could write a novel. I had a diary in my teens, but after I let my then boyfriend read it which made him cry, I never put a pen to paper to entertain people, thinking I could only hurt people with my writing. During my university years, I wrote in a student magazine, but that was purely information transfer. I was an office manager and secretary for a residents’ association for years, but again, that writing was also pure information transfer. My past-time I spent reading, though. I loved Terry Pratchett’s books and Anne McAffrey’s stories. I read Tolkien, the Eragon books, and many others. I loved being sucked into another world, forgetting my own troubles. That’s what I’m aiming to achieve when I write.

Since writing Books 1 & 2 of the Suckers Trilogy in 2015, I’ve spent most of my time reading up on and learning how to write. I’m still learning but getting better all the time.

Is there a bit of me in my books?

Hell, yes! Many people who know me have mentioned this. They see me as Kate. I have the red hair, make rash decisions, and am a vertically challenged person (for a Dutchie). Not everything Kate does is me, though (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). The two sisters of Kate, Maxine and Julie, also share the same first letters of my own two sisters, Marianne and Judy, but that’s where the similarities end. All characters are purely fictional and do not represent a particular person I know. That said, I based Caleb on the image of Ioan Gruffud and Charlie on the image of Peter Dinklage. They are two actors that I admire and love watching on the screen. I actually sent Peter Dinklage the first draft of my book but never heard anything back from him. I guess it’s not going to be filmed, then 🙂

IoanGruffudd_ PeterDinklage.jpg

Why do I write paranormal novels?

I love dressing up! At home, we used to have a large crate in the attic with dress-up clothing. Whenever we could, my sisters and I would dress up and play. My twin sister, Judy, and I used to make up plenty of fantasy stories on weekends when our parents would sleep in. With our dolls and fluffy animal puppets, we created whole new worlds, spanning our entire bedroom, where anything was possible. Our imagination ran rampant.

To be honest, I never had something special with vampires. Anything out of the ordinary would work for me, still does. I was engrossed in the Twilight series, though. The idea of being beautiful, being better at everything, and living forever attracts me. As a teenager, I suffered the usual teenager-amount of pimples. My sisters didn’t, and I felt like the ugly duckling. The only thing I had was being good at everything I did–what am I saying; I was excelling–until I contracted glandular fever. The disease made my grades plummet, and I had to sit my final high school year twice because of it. It caused an abyss in my self-confidence with a fear of failing which made me a terrible procrastinator up until today. As mentioned, I suffered a life-threatening head trauma twice, which makes one contemplate life a bit more than usual. Immortality is hence a very attractive alternative to this unpredictable and painfully short lifespan.

Jacky Dahlhaus at the Winter Wonderland Book Signing November 2016
Jacky Dahlhaus at the Winter Wonderland Book Signing November 2016

But your books all are based on romance, so why not write romance novels?

True, all my novels (this means not the novelette) have their feet firmly planted in romance. It is the core of the stories as without them they wouldn’t make sense. But there are so many stories about normal romances already. Don’t we all want to be special, experience something unusual, be part of something extraordinary? Enter the paranormal aspect.

There was a time I watched a lot of crime series on TV. Suddenly, I was fed up with all this pain and suffering as it became too real. I don’t watch any news or read any newspapers. It’s too depressing. What I want to achieve with my writing is for people to get away from this world and love on a deeper level. Hence, I also don’t take the (minimal) intimate details in my writing for granted. They have only been added to express the love, the romance, the needs of Kate, hoping it will flow over to the reader. I know my vocabulary needs to improve, but I’m working on this.

What’s next on the agenda?

First of all, I need to launch Killing A Vampire, Book 3 of the Suckers Trilogy. I screwed up the other books’ launches and want to do this one right. Procrastination is hard to overcome, but I’m trying my hardest. At the moment, only Book 1 exists in print format, and I want all three to be available in print. Before I can make this happen, I need to go through Books 1 & 2 and re-edit them (for the so-maniest time, I know), but I’ve learned so much since I wrote them, and they can do with another ‘upgrade.’ Audio format is the next step.



In the meantime, I am ready to start writing something new. Not writing for a few days made me depressed already. I’ve suffered from depression for a long time. My GP told me I was tired because I was depressed. I am convinced I was depressed because I was always tired. Who was right, I will never know. One thing I do know, and that is that writing is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family to bits and honestly couldn’t wish for a better life, but writing fires up my soul.

I’ve got so many ideas in my head. Number one and two are another paranormal/sci-fi novel (I never seem to be able to stick to one genre 🙂 ) and a whole new fantasy series in the style of Terry Pratchett. I love putting humor and sarcasm in my writing, and this seems like a good option to get away with this. I will send out a newsletter to my readers soon and ask them what they prefer I should write first.

Well, that’s me in a nutshell. I’m proud to be a woman, proud of what I’ve achieved, and proud of all the women in my life. You girls rock!




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Meet the Author… Sunanda Chatterjee

Meet the author

I’ve had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Sunanda Chatterjee through One Stop Fiction. I began reading her book Fighting for Tara and was immediately swept away with her writing style. Her words take you away to another place. So beautiful, so romantic! So, I didn’t have to think at all which writer to pick for you to meet on Valentine’s Day 🙂

Sunanda J. Chatterjee

Sunanda J. Chatterjee

Why do you write romance?

Thank you for the chance to share my work with your readers. I write both romance and women’s fiction. All my stories feature strong women. Despite what women go through in real life, we have many strengths that are often masked by society and family situations, and which shine through only when the situation is dire. My stories touch upon social issues but have underpinnings of love in all its forms.

Writing romantic stories fulfills me. Indeed, movies or songs about sensitive, romantic love bring me to tears. In addition to romantic love between two consenting adults, what fascinates me is social and family drama. Every family has secrets, relatives who make bad choices, and friends involved in scandals. I enjoy the dynamics that threaten to ruin the unstable equilibrium because these issues make for a great backdrop for family dramas.

In my current romance series called The Wellington Estates, all the stories are based on characters with connections to an exclusive community in the foothills of San Gabriel mountains in Southern California. They are privileged and wealthy, and of course, they fall in love with people who are deemed unacceptable in their social circles, for money, race, or profession. Each family has secrets, vices, scandals, and pasts that prevent the members from leading fulfilling lives.

These stories have a strong romantic element which drives the story. But other characters also get the spotlight and parts of the stories are told from the parents’ or friends’ point of view, a feature not usual in contemporary romance.

I like to call this genre as a romantic saga, bridging romance and women’s fiction.

Romance—including contemporary, romantic suspense, romantic thriller, and other subcategories— is the most popular and highest selling and highest earning genre, especially in the indie world. Some authors churn out a book a month, and readers devour a book a day. There’s a huge demand for romance authors. So if one can find a niche, one can find a following.

How much of your personal life is in your books?

In all my books, there is an anecdote or two featuring something that happened to me, to someone in my family, or to someone I know. I think it brings authenticity to the story. In Shadowed Promise, a young woman adopts her dying cousin’s baby and has to deal with the consequences in her marriage many years later. This happened to one of my friends. In The Blue House in Bishop, a cow dies in the front yard in a traditional Indian community, making the family targets for death threats. That happened to my family. In Jimmy’s Shadow, a short story I published in an anthology, the house, the swimming pool, and the backyard are exact representations of my own house.

What, in your opinion, makes a story a romance?

Romance features amorous love between two consenting adults. The essential elements are as follows: Boy and girl meet. Sparks fly. They deny their attraction for each other for some reason, OR They cannot be together for some reason. A crisis makes them realize that love can triumph. They get together. Happily ever after.

The hero can be an alpha male or a flawed, conflicted, tortured soul. All my heroes have past issues that prevent them from leading fulfilling lives, that is, until they meet the perfect woman. The heroine can be a damsel in distress or a spunky, I-can-do-it-all type. My heroines tend to be self-sufficient, feisty and bold, but with a tender, nurturing instinct, or a haunting past that threatens their future. The hero and heroine both help each other find fulfillment.

Do you write sex scenes and if so, where is your cut-off point?

I do write sex scenes with some descriptions. I write more for the emotional element. Sex is a very intimate and personal experience, and when two people are making love for the first time, the spectrum of emotions that goes through their minds can be beautiful to explore. I don’t mention body parts besides breasts *blush* but I do write the scene euphemistically to tell the reader it happened and how it was for both parties.

Would you write/have you written in another genre?

I write women’s fiction and romantic suspense as well, although lately most of my stories are romance. My book Fighting for Tara is about a child bride in India, whose husband dies and her new husband wants her to drown her baby girl. She runs away from home to save her baby, and a long journey brings her to America, where after a few years, she must fight for her baby’s life once again. There are strong emotional elements in this book, but she does find romantic love.

Which of your books is your favorite and why?

Fighting for Tara is my favorite book because it deals with love in all its forms: mother-daughter, husband-wife, friends, as well as romantic love.

Thank you, Sunanda, for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you want to read an amazing and romantic story this Valentine’s Day, pick one of Ms. Chatterjee’s books!





You can find all of Sunanda J. Chatterjee’s books on Amazon.


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Meet the Author… Sandra Bass Joines

Meet the author

Sandra Bass Joines is a sweet lady I met through One Stop Fiction. Sandra has written a book on spine surgery recovery and a romantic suspense novel called Tears of Sand. Most recently, i.e. last weekend, she has published her second romantic suspense novel called Shoe in the Road. It’s a story about a woman finding a shoe in the road. Oh, and about finding true love after leaving a cheating husband and a suspenseful road trip. Let’s talk to Sandra to find out more about this strangely titled novel!

Sandra Bass Joines


Hi Sandra 🙂

Thank you so much for affording me the opportunity to share a little about my latest novel SHOE IN THE ROAD and how it came about.

It’s a strange title. Can you tell us how you got it?

Titles come to my mind before stories do. The title for this last novel, for instance, popped into my mind one day when I saw a shoe in the middle of the road. I thought that would be an interesting name for a book – shoe in the road. I had no idea what it would be about or anything regarding characters. I sat at my computer one day and typed Shoe in the Road on the first page. I then closed my eyes and listened (I try to listen, not think). At this point, the idea presented itself to have a shoe influence the lives of the heroine and hero.

So, after you had the title, how did you come up with the story?

The story pretty much wrote itself. Well, I have to give some credit to the heroine’s conversations with her deceased grandmother’s ashes (don’t worry, they were in an urn) and an ornery cat who invited himself into the story. I’m a southern girl who can spin quite a yarn. Therefore, it seemed logical that a girl running from a controlling, cheating husband would certainly be more interesting escaping in a 1960 Coupe de Ville convertible named Gussie than in a traditional vehicle.

Why did you use this setting for your novel?

A showdown between Boston Calbreth, the heroine, and her husband made sense to happen in a place I have heard scary stories about all my life. Tales of people going into Tate’s Hell Swamp and never coming out have been passed down from one generation to the next.

How long did you take to write the story?

It took six weeks to write the novel and a year for revising and editing. I have more stories in my head than I have time to write. I plan to put as many as possible on paper.

How did you experience the launch of your book?

I am in the middle of a launch using a four-day free promotion and a four-day ninety-nine cent promotion before raising the book to full price. So far, everything has been running smoothly. Each time I make a scheduled change, I am afraid of doing it incorrectly or concerned that Amazon or one of the promotion companies will not come through. I am enjoying the ride, and am grateful to all the wonderful people who are supporting me.

Sorry everybody, but the four-day free promotion has passed. The book is still in the £0.99 promotion (US$1.38) period for a few days, though. I have read the book and it is a lovely story. I liked the way Sandra writes, as if talking to a friend (which Boston’s Grams is, of course). Don’t miss this opportunity to grab it while it’s on sale!


You can buy Sandra Bass Joines’s books on Amazon.



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Meet The Author… – Terry Marchion

Meet the author

Today, I’m introducing to you… Terry Marchion. I met Terry online through One Stop Fiction. He is a lovely man who doesn’t mind going out of his way to help a fellow writer (he’s one of my beta-readers and my writing would be terrible without him). He has written three sci-fi novels about Christopher and his uncle Tremain, who live on a space colony called New Earth. Terry gives us a peek into his WIP, The Misplaced Mentor. It’s the fourth book in the Adventures of Tremain & Christopher series, so be sure to read all the way till the end :). But first, let’s get to know Mr. Marchion a bit better.

Terry Marchion


Interview with Terry Marchion

Are you a full-time writer?

Ok — I’m not a full-time writer — I do hold a day job, which sucks away a lot of my time – eventually, I’d love to write full-time, but I’m not there yet. I’ve always written – in one way or another, but I’ve never had the confidence to pursue it. When I was around 18 or so, I did submit a short story but was promptly rejected. That colored my dreams for quite a few years until 2016, when I submitted a pitch on a twitter event. I received a few replies of interest but was rejected then too – go figure. But, thinking that others could read AND like my work inspired me to go the indie route and do it all myself.

What do you like about writing?

I like the freedom writing gives me — it’s sometimes frustrating, but also very liberating. I’m satisfying my need to be creative and hopefully being entertaining at the same time.

What don’t you like about writing?

I don’t care for the politics around writing — I’ve come to like the process of writing and formatting and having others beta read — the rest is work. LOL — but I’m learning to embrace the work too.

Who should read your writing?

People should totally read my stuff if they like fun adventures with a sci-fi bent to them. Think the old serials of the 40’s — Buck Rogers, for instance, or the episodic tv shows we all watched like Lost in Space, Star Trek, Doctor Who — that’s the spirit this adventures series is written in.

What is the best thing you’ve learned about writing?

The best lesson I’ve learned is to be persistent and never to give up.

What is the worst thing you’ve learned about writing?

The hardest lesson I’ve learned is to be persistent and to never give up. I want it all NOW dammit!! LOL

Where do you write?

Where do I write? Everywhere! I don’t have a dedicated writing spot — I tend to feel constrained if I can only create in one place — I use a laptop or a tablet/keyboard combo or just a pen and paper to get my thoughts down. I eventually go solo on the laptop to put it all together. But at least I’m writing.

What is the most memorable sentence you’ve written?

I’ve yet to come up with a consistent writing schedule, but I’m working on that.I don’t have a memorable line yet, but I’m working on it. Hopefully, one of my characters will spout something I just can’t predict.

Thank you so much, Terry, for sharing this with us. I’m sure we all can do with that boost to never give up! They say great writers are the ones that don’t quit, so I clink my glass to you and will keep on writing!

Without further ado, here’s that special snipped I promised you from Terry’s fourth book, The Misplaced Mentor, which is to be released soon.

Preview of The Misplaced Mentor

Marjorie’s apartment sat in the middle of the city, just off from the bazaar. Tremain and Markus walked the short distance from the lab complex, past the flapping tents and awnings of the bazaar, down to the residential area, overlooking the coast. The austere building was built around a park, complete with park benches and walking paths. The pair walked up the stairs to Marjorie’s apartment in silence, the smell of stale air, cooked food and paint heavy in the corridor. Once outside the door, Tremain consulted his tablet.

“Well, you are right, it shows she’s inside. Well, at least her tablet is.”

“What if she’s injured . . . or worse?” Markus whispered.

Tremain turned to his friend.

“Have you regressed to a teenager again?” he scoffed, “you’re jumping to conclusions,” Tremain gestured to the door. “after you.”

Markus knocked on the door. There was no answer. He gripped the door handle. It buzzed in answer. Naturally, it was locked.

“Oh, it’s a biometric lock. Only Marjorie can unlock it.”

Tremain nudged Markus aside.

“Or someone with a key,” he said as he pulled a device from his lab coat. He fit it around the handle and pushed a few buttons. In seconds, the lock clicked open, pinging in acceptance. “There, we’re in.”

“Tell me we didn’t just break the law,” Markus asked.

“Of course not, who do you think helped Marjorie design that lock? Naturally, I had a back door for emergencies.”

Markus sighed in relief.

“Good. I didn’t want the authorities called down on us.”

Tremain shook his head.

“Need I remind you that YOU are one of the authorities?”

Markus chuckled.

“I suppose you’re right. Come on, let’s go in.” He pushed the door open, ready to enter, but Tremain held him back.

“Hold on, let me look first.” He said as he pushed past his friend.

“Why? What do you think you’ll see?”

Tremain stood just inside the doorway, scanning the areas he could see. No bodies visible, so that was a positive.

“I’m just seeing if there is anything out of place.”

“You’ve been here recently?”

“No, I’ve never been here, but there’s a lot you can deduce from what you see initially,” Tremain stepped into the apartment, beckoning Markus to follow, “for instance, she’s not much into decorating, is she?” He gestured to the walls, which were bare, save for a few small pictures. The furniture was functional, but not cozy. The apartment’s front door opened into the living area of the apartment. Directly in front of them was a short hallway which led to the bedrooms and bathroom and off to the right was the kitchen.

Tremain and Markus stood in the center of the living room. The coffee table was littered with some papers and pamphlets. Markus walked through the kitchen to the bedrooms while Tremain leafed through the papers. He picked one at random and frowned when he looked at it. A photo of a plot of land appeared at the top, with a description of the property below it. At the very bottom was the agent’s details. The next few papers were the same, a piece of property, some large, some small, but all were offered by the same agent. He checked the dates.

All were printed at least six or more months ago. He scratched his head as he pulled up one of the pamphlets. A brochure about a construction company. Another was regarding refrigeration processes and equipment. Tremain’s frown deepened. Markus came from the bedrooms, shaking his head.

“She’s not here. I did find her tablet, on her bed. She didn’t want to be tracked down.”

Tremain showed him the real estate listings.

“She was looking at land all over the place. And,” he pointed at the various brochures, “she was building something,” He scratched his head again, “something secret. She didn’t want anyone knowing about it or we’d have heard.”

“So what does this all mean?” Markus grumbled, “Where is she?”

Tremain crossed his arms as he thought.

“She’s definitely not on one of her sabbaticals, that’s for certain,” He paced the room, “she’s consulted with an agent for land, so I think that’s where we go next.” He stopped pacing and slapped Markus on the arm. “A perfect job for a Senator. You find out where she bought land, and I’ll investigate these disturbances.”

Markus nodded and left on his mission.

Tremain lingered just a bit, glancing around the apartment. To be honest, it reminded him of his own. He spent more time in the lab than at home, so it made sense to keep it sparce. Even in her retirement, Marjorie hadn’t made her apartment more cozy, which implied she spent more time elsewhere. Something caught his eye. In the corner of the doorway was a scattering of dirt. He knew he and Markus hadn’t tracked anything in, so where did this come from? He knelt down and felt the dirt. It had a fine grain feel to it, almost like sand. He gave it a sniff, but couldn’t detect anything. The beach wasn’t that far, definitely in walking distance. She must have brought some sand in with her when she went for a walk. Filing that away for later, he locked up the apartment and headed back to the lab.

Terry Marchion’s Books

You can find all of Terry Marchion’s book on Amazon.

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Meet the Author… – Gordon Bickerstaff

Meet the author

This week’s author being featured is Gordon Bickerstaff. We met on Twitter. He tweets about me, and I retweet his tweets. It’s an uncomplicated relationship. We haven’t actually met although he also lives in Scotland (on the wet ‘n windy Westside, I rest my case). I’m sure we will one day, though, somewhere 🙂 .

Unfortunately, I’m still working like mad to finish the last installment of my trilogy, so I didn’t have the time to contact Gordon for a personal interview. I did find, however, a great interview with Gordon by Nonnie Jules from Rave Reviews Book Club (see link below) from two years ago. Gorden is currently the author of not three but five crime thrillers. The following text, written by Gordon on Gordon, can be found on Amazon.

Meet Gordon Bickerstaff

Gordon Bickerstaff

I was born and raised in Glasgow but spent my student years in Edinburgh. On summer vacations, I learned plumbing, garden maintenance, and I cut the grass in the Meadows. I learned some biochemistry and taught it for a while before I retired to write fiction. I do some aspects of DIY moderately well and other aspects not so well. I live with my wife in Scotland where corrupt academics, mystery, murder, and intrigue exists mostly in my mind. I have written the Gavin Shawlens series of thrillers: Deadly Secrets, Everything To Lose, The Black Fox, Toxic Minds and Tabula Rasa. More will come in due course. I enjoy walking in the hills, 60s & 70s music, reading and travel.

That’s Gordon in a nutshell. For those of you who’d like to know more about Mr. Bickerstaff, you can read all about him in the interview by Nonnie Jules from Rave Reviews Book Club.

Gordon Bickerstaff Books

Gordon’s books are all available on Amazon.

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Meet The Author… – Yenpri Laypil

Meet the author

I met Yenpri online last year, during a take over organized by the lovely Pletcha PJ Webb. Yenpri was a fun guy, actively participating in the quizzes and games, and afterward, we chatted a bit. I found out he lives in South-Africa and I once visited his hometown. If only I had known him then, I would have certainly popped in for a cuppa 🙂 . Please welcome Yenpri.

Meet Yenpri Laypil


Author, photographer, and dreamer. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about my writing, and a little something about me.

Ok, before we begin, I have a couple of confessions to make. The first is that I used to watch Star Wars every single holiday during high school and college (yep, every single episode!). The second is, the first time I played Pokemon, I stayed up until 3 am trying to level up my Charmander! (I’m a big fan of the Fire-type!). The third is that I love writing and entertaining my readers with fascinating and intriguing stories.

A little bit about how it all started. Our journey begins with the writing the Outcast of the Dark Knight series in the year 2000. I can share an incredible story with you about Outcast. I had just published the first edition of the book: it was in July 2014 and I was very happy and excited and you know how it is, you keep on Googling yourself just to see what comes up for your book. Then, one day I googled the book’s name and low and behold, a Youtube link pops up for BookmanBookwoman (Larry and Saralee Woods) and my book was on their list. I WAS GOING NUTS! My folks were going nuts! I couldn’t believe that my book was picked up by these incredible fold, reviewed and appeared on their TV show. It was incredible! Then, it just got better because another book called ‘The Silkworm’ written by Robert Galbraith (more affectionately known as the great JK Rowling) was also on the list. That was a great honor for me to be alongside one of the greatest authors of our time.

I knew I loved writing from a very early age and I had this story bubbling within and I just had to get it out there. Today, with the fourth book in the Outcast of the Dark Knight series out, I’m proud to say that the journey has just begun!


I also write within the mystery/thriller genres and that’s where ‘Rhino Was Rhino Is’ comes into the picture.


And of course, we all need some romance in our lives, so don’t forget to get your fix with ‘An Interview with Mr. Fountain.’ I loved writing this and honestly couldn’t stop laughing at times.

For me, the greatest honor I can receive is my fans enjoying reading my books. That makes me happy and it makes it all worth it!

Best wishes,

Yenpri Laypil


You can find all Yenpri’s book on Amazon.



Header Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash

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Author Interview: Joy Mutter

I ‘met’ Joy Mutter on an author Facebook site (#One Stop Fiction) last year. We started chatting and got along really well. She helped me edit my first novel and picked up a few errors nobody else had found for which I am tremendously grateful. I read her book ‘The Hostile,’ which was weird and wonderful. I wanted to know more about the person who wrote this strange story, so she agreed I interviewed her. Read on to find out more about this lovely lady.

joy-mutterYou weren’t a writer all your life, but have been in the book industry for a long time. What did you do and how did you roll into writing?

For decades, I had no spare time to write professionally, although I have written since childhood for my own amusement. I was too busy looking after my husband and daughter on a smallholding in Kent while also running a graphic design business. I gave up graphic design in 2002, following my divorce. After a few crazy years reinventing myself, I knuckled down to write seriously in 2007. I’ve never stopped since and have no intention of doing so. In my fifties, I worked in a call centre in Tunbridge Wells for five years, writing in my spare time. None of my books had been published. In 2011, my back gave out. I was medically discharged from work after being told my permanent slipped disc was incurable. Never having claimed any benefits, I wasn’t about to start. I opted to try to turn a negative into a positive. My daughter was working in Stockport, so I boldly decided to sell my small house in Kent and move north to Oldham and buy a cheaper one to fund my writing, despite never having visited the area.

A change of job took my daughter back south a year later, so I’m alone. Living alone in an unfamiliar place can be viewed as an advantage, because writing is an insular occupation. In 2013, I met Diane at a local writing group. She gave me the encouragement and confidence to self-publish the books I’d written. I enjoyed the CreateSpace and KDP process so much that I’ve self-published nine books on Amazon. Book ten, the third paranormal thriller in ‘The Hostile’ series, is progressing well.

At the moment, you are a full-time writer. What does your average day look like?

My working day usually starts at 10 each morning until 6, seven days a week. It’s a mix of writing, editing, designing and marketing my books, but I try to write 2,000 words a day, occasionally over 5,000 a day when I’m on a roll. I could continue writing in the evening, but I believe doing something different is important; it keeps the writing fresh. My eyes are usually stinging by then anyway. Saying that, I often carry on marketing my books until bedtime. Writing is a full-time occupation; everything I do each day is related to it in some way. Every stranger I meet is a potential new reader. Taxi drivers, hairdressers, and Tesco deliverymen fear me. Yes, I can be a book bore, as it’s my passion.

Of the nine books you have out now, you mentioned your paranormal crime thriller ‘Random Bullets’ is doing the best so far (I’m expecting many more to come 🙂 ). Why do you think that is?


More than any other, ‘Random Bullets’ was written from the heart, because it deals with a subject I’ve suffered from personally; disinheritance. I was disinherited by my crazy father for no reason I’m aware of, just as Edward, the protagonist of ‘Random Bullets,’  was disinherited by his mother, although Edward and I dealt with the trauma differently. It’s set partly in Jersey, where I was born. I was interviewed in February 2016 by two BBC Radio 4 producers as part of their Analysis programme on inheritance. They’d heard that ‘Random Bullets’ deals with the divisive subject of disinheritance and its aftermath.

Is ‘Random Bullets’ also your personal favourite or is there another one?

‘Random Bullets’ will probably always be my favourite. It has gained the most 5-star reviews, although my latest book, ‘Holiday for The Hostile,’ comes a close second. It’s unusual and readers have been extremely complimentary about it. Each book is special to me in its own way. With not wanting to limit myself to writing just one genre, I’ve published a book of short stories called ‘Her demonic Angel,’ a character-led novel called ‘Potholes and Magic Carpets,’ a non-fiction book about postcards, three autobiographies making up the ‘Mug’ trilogy, and three paranormal crime thrillers. My latest book, ‘Holiday for The Hostile,’ also has elements of horror in it.

You recently landed a job as an editor. What is your greatest peeve when reviewing books for indie authors?

I’m an accidental editor. I fell into it in 2016 while reading a book when I was part of a book launch team on Facebook. I’ve been part of several Facebook launch teams and have my own team for my latest book, ‘Holiday for The Hostile.’ The book that gained me my first editing job had already been edited, but had not yet been published. After discovering hundreds of errors in his book, I was concerned and messaged the author, sending him a long list of typos. He asked me to edit his book. The money he’d paid the first editor was returned to him, so he could pay me. Although I was busy working on my own books, I agreed to edit his. It’s now been published and is gaining great reviews. I dread to think what would have happened if he’d published it as it was. He mistakenly thought he could trust the editor to do a professional job because money had exchanged  hands. In this case, not so.

I’ve developed a habit of marking typos on my Kindle as I read. I don’t consciously look for errors, they jump out at me. I must have that kind of brain. If I know the author on social media, I offer to send a Word document with all the errors I’ve stumbled upon while reading their book. I’d hope they’d do the same for me if they find any in mine. I edit my own books, especially as my trust in many editors has been shattered after finding scores, sometimes hundreds, of errors in books editors have been paid hundreds of pounds to work on. Editors, please don’t indignantly jump down my throat. I know there are probably many brilliant editors out there; it’s finding them that’s the problem.

In January 2017, I agreed to proofread three books a month for a crime thriller publishing company. This came about after I sent a list of typos to another author after reading their ‘professionally’ edited book. The author is also the owner of a publishing company and asked me if I’d check their edited books for errors before publication. As I read crime thrillers anyway as my genre of choice, proofreading three thrillers a month is perfect. I’ve enjoyed reading the first books I was sent, and eliminated many typos. I’m looking forward to next month’s thrillers. I still have plenty of time to work on my own books. Long may it continue.

You make your own audio books. How long does it take you to make one and what equipment do you use?


I’ve produced audiobook editions for ‘Her demonic Angel,’ my collection of short stories in various genres, and also for ‘The Hostile.’ I intend making audiobooks for several of my other books. I tend to earn more from my audiobooks than from my Kindles and paperbacks, possibly because there’s less competition. I narrate and sound edit them myself, although I have an actor friend who’s narrating the audiobook version of ‘Random Bullets.’ He loved reading the book and kindly offered to narrate it for me.

It usually takes me a month of constant, demanding work to record and sound edit one of my audiobooks. I own a professional microphone, headphones, pop filter, etc. and record onto my laptop in my small spare bedroom. I use Audacity software to record and edit, and ACX to publish my audiobooks on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. If I was wealthy, I’d pay someone to make my audiobooks because it’s so time consuming. As an Indie author, I’ve paid nothing to produce all aspects of my books in Kindle format, paperback, and audiobook. I do every part of the work myself, including designing the covers, book interiors, and promotional material. Having been a professional graphic designer for over twenty years has been extremely useful, so it’s a delight to design my own books after having to do it for other authors over the years. hostile-1-2

Your books, ‘The Hostile’ and ‘Holiday for The Hostile,’ are about a bathroom tile with powers. Where did you come up with that idea?

I’m now writing book three of ‘The Hostile’ series. It’s funny to think these three books came about solely from spotting a strange face on a small tile on my shower room floor. I started to ask myself, ‘What if…?’ I’ve had a powerful imagination all my life, so the rest is history. I love it when readers tell me books in ‘The Hostile’ series are the most unusual they’ve ever read.

Do you have a list of stories for books in the pipeline, having started one (or more) before finishing the other, or do you go with the flow, writing one after the other is finished?

My life has been a series of go-with-the-flow moments. I don’t meticulously plot my fiction books. The only book I plotted was my non-fiction book ‘Living with Postcards.’ My autobiographical ‘Mug’ trilogy was fact, not fiction, so no plot needed to be worked out. My fiction books tend to evolve, with ideas sparking off while I write. Writer’s block has never been a problem for me, so far. I’m often as excited as the reader to discover what’ll happen in a story. Many of the most successful elements in my books come about by chance, through allowing the characters to speak to me. It starts with a general, central idea, but of the characters dictate the direction the story will take, as new ideas develop during the writing. At times, it feels as though the characters are writing the book, not me. I’m merely their portal and mouthpiece. I tend to write one book at a time, to do each one justice and to concentrate my thinking, although I usually have an idea what the next book will be by the time a book is at the editing stage. I have ideas bubbling away for another book of short stories. Some might develop into an entire book.

What is the best part of writing that you like?

There are so many wonderfully satisfying elements involved in being a writer, so it’s hard to single out the one I like best. Every part of the writing and self-publishing process is enjoyable to me, from the initial idea through to writing, editing, designing, publishing, interacting with other authors and readers. I’m one of those weird authors who enjoys editing. I make at least four drafts of each of my books and made eight drafts for one of them. My only regret is not starting writing full-time decades ago, as there aren’t enough hours in a day to perform each element that goes into the process of publishing a book. One of the best parts of writing is when a flash of inspiration sparks in my brain and I head off on an uncharted voyage of discovery. Meet-the-author events and book signings are fun too. I’m giving another talk next week about my life as an author, and particularly about my non-fiction book, ‘Living with Postcards.’ I’m even being paid for giving this talk. Another huge high every author enjoys is receiving a glowing five-star review from a satisfied reader.

You can find all of Joy Mutter’s books here.

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Author Interview with Colin Garrow

A few weeks ago I met Colin Garrow at the foot of Bennachie (the iconic ‘hill’ of Aberdeenshire). Temperatures were freezing, but we had a pleasant walk and a hot coffee afterwards. We thought it would be a fun idea to interview each other and that’s what we did. You can find my answers to Colin’s questions on his web page. Here are Collin’s answers to my questions.


You’ve mentioned in interviews that you wrote stories when you were young. Can you remember the very first story that you wrote? If yes, what was it about?

The first one I can remember writing was intended to be a novel. It was inspired by ‘2112’ (an album by Canadian rock band, Rush), and was a sort of sci-fi/caveman-type epic. By the time I got to the fourth page, I’d run out of ideas.

Instead of studying literature, like most people think writers do, you went to drama school. What part of drama school influenced your writing the most?

The course I did was more about community drama than acting, so we learned lots of things about running workshops, working with community groups and creative arts, as well as putting on a few plays. Working with other actors helped me to see what worked on stage and what didn’t, and the different styles of theatre (Brechtian, naturalistic, physical etc) all influenced what I went on to write, though it’s more difficult to say how that happened. Basically, my writing suddenly improved, so I can only attribute it to what I learned on the course.

You have written a number of books for children. Did you tell your child/children your own bedtime stories or did you stick to the published ones at the time?

I wouldn’t want to pressurise my son to read my work, though he has read a few chapters from a couple of my books. So, no, when we went through the story-at-bedtime bit, I stuck to books we liked, progressing from the likes of, ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’, to ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks.’


In the Christie McKinnon stories, your protagonist is female. Why did you choose to write these stories from a female point of view?

The first two children’s novels I wrote had boys as the hero (though both had female sidekicks), so when I started on ‘The Hounds of Hellerby Hall’ I deliberately chose a girl (with a boy for a sidekick). It was also interesting to think about how she would react to the situations she found herself in and how she was influenced by her surroundings – changing attitudes to women etc. Nevertheless, she turned into more of a tomboy than I wanted her to be.

A lot of your stories are set in the past. This requires a lot more research (i.e. time) for writers. What exactly attracts you to write about ‘the olden days’?

Well, research is a matter of opinion – of course it’s possible to do masses of research, but I didn’t want my books to be packed with historical facts, throwing in historically-accurate descriptions just for the hell of it. I wanted just enough detail to give a sense of authenticity. With the ‘Maps of Time’ series, I read a couple of books, the best of which was, ‘Restoration London: Everyday Life in the 1660s’ by Lisa Pickard, as it has loads of info about food, money, jobs and housing. However, I think it’s easy to get bogged down in facts and I didn’t want to bore my readers, so unless I need specific information, I tend to just make it up!


As to why I write historical fiction – I think it’s that I’ve always had a fascination with the past and how amazing it would be to go back and see what it was like. So I created worlds I hoped would come over as realistic.

Most of your stories are ‘whodunnits.’ Did you ever solve a mystery yourself?

Sadly no. Actually, I’m not at all perceptive and things that’d be really obvious to anyone else tend to go over my head. The only time I can solve mysteries is if when I invent them. (Although, to be fair, since I never know how they’re going to end, I still have to solve them – does that count?)

Besides a number of novels, you have also written a number of short stories and flash fiction. Do you prefer one above another and why?

Short stories are a great way of exploring an idea, so they’re useful exercises if I want to try different writing styles, or genres. I also like them because they force the writer to be concise, throwing away longer passages that might work well if it were a novel, but interrupt the flow in a short story.

I think generally I prefer novels, since they give me something substantial to work on, whereas if a short story isn’t working, I put it aside. At the moment, I’ve got about a dozen stories I’ve started but haven’t yet found interesting enough to finish.

Where/when/how do you get your inspiration for your stories?

In the past, I’ve tried writing exercises as a way of ‘discovering’ something to write about, but now I have a very specific way of working – I come up with a title and use that as inspiration. The first Christie McKinnon book was inspired by Joan Aiken’s ‘The Wolves of Willoughby Chase’, though it was specifically the title that inspired me, because I liked the alliteration and wanted a title of my own that sounded similar, hence ‘The Hounds of Hellerby Hall’. Once I had the title, I wrote the book to discover what had happened at the Hall and why there were hounds involved.


With ‘Death on a Dirty Afternoon’ it was slightly different, because I also had a first line. In my book on writing, I’d come up with examples of first lines to show how they might be developed. One of them became the first line of the novel, so I had the title and the first line to inspire me. Other than that, it’s just a matter of writing until I get to the end.

 Is there a particular issue you prefer not to write about and, if so, why?

Not sure. I probably wouldn’t write, say, a political thriller, because I don’t know enough about politics to write intelligently on the subject. However, I think it’s important for writers to grow, so I wouldn’t rule anything out.

 If one of your books was chosen to put into a movie, which one would you choose and why?

It would have to be ‘The Architect’s Apprentice’, just because it would be brilliant to see the streets and houses recreated.

What is the ‘most unknown book’ you’ve read that influenced you as a person (not necessarily as a writer)?

I couldn’t tell you the title, since it’s long since vanished into the rubbish tip of my mind, but it was a book I read dozens of times as a kid. It was about a little boy whose dad is missing in Africa, so the boy builds an aeroplane out of bits of junk and flies to Africa to rescue him. It was a lovely book and I still think about it today.

What was the best advice regarding writing you ever received?

It has to be Stephen King’s words of wisdom on the two things you have to do to be a writer:

  1. Read a lot.
  2. Write a lot.

You can find all of Colin’s books here.