Tag Archives: fantasy

Meet the Author… Mistress Joanna Noor

‘But… didn’t you interview Joanna already?’ I hear you think. Yes, you are absolutely correct; I did! And last week I promised you that I would interview Dark Side of Fiction authors. Writers are very, very busy people, though, and don’t always check their emails. If they’re like me, they get too many a day to check them all out. Not to worry, I’m going to get to them, one way or another :).

In the meantime, let’s find out a bit more about the creative process of this funny, mysterious, and mischievous Mistress…

Mistress Joanna Noor

Joanna_Noor

Biography

Hi, I’m Joanna Noor, and when I’m not penning naughty epic fantasy stories, I am also an illustrator, cartoonist, graphic designer, and editor. Unfortunately I can’t divulge my real identity, because I have a successful alternate career as a YA author and children’s picture book artist. However, everything you need to know about me personally can be summed up in one description: I am a cat. Sweet, friendly, mischievous, sometimes scratchy and fierce, a little bit lazy, but very patient and determined when I need to be! I also enjoy having my back scratched.

How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?

Joanna_Noor_StormingtheBarbariansGates

We moved around a lot as a child, so I changed schools often and learned to be very self-sufficient emotionally. I created my own portable worlds, stocked with countless imaginary friends who comforted, amused, and incensed me. My mother is a professional artist and writer, so she was totally cool with that.

If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?

Joanna, please focus more on story and characters than style. Style will come as you develop and gain confidence, but no one will want to read your work if you can’t spin a good yarn.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Spiritual and mental. It’s how I organize my thoughts, it’s how I connect with strangers on an intimate level, and it’s how I make sense of the beautiful mystery and cosmic joke that is life. It’s also how I get to be naughty and subversive.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was old enough to pick up a crayon. Literally.

Pen or typewriter or computer?

Pen for jotting down ideas and sketches, computer for outlining, drafting, and writing my manuscripts.

Do you write alone or in public?

Both. I like to mix it up, working from my office at home, at a library, or sometimes at my favorite coffee shop with a latte close by.

Music or silence?

Joanna_Noor_DildorRampage

Music when I’m brainstorming, silence when I’m writing. When I’m writing, I’m actually just dictating a narrating voice in my head (and it usually sounds like Christopher Lee or Ian McKellan). If I can’t hear the voice clearly, I can’t write.

Goals of certain # of words a week or when inspiration strikes?

I try to write 2000-5000 words a day, five days per week, when I’m completing a novel. If I do less, it makes me grumpy.

Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

I must have coffee.

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

I am a full-time author/artist, and doing it full-time for most of my adult life has allowed me to develop into the enthusiastic writer I am.

What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, could you please share an example?

Joanna_Noor_TheWizardsMagicalWood

As an artist, I have a very visual way of looking at things, and this informs my writing. Readers often remark that my fantasy worlds are very vivid and well-drawn, and that makes me happy. They are very vivid and well-drawn in my imagination, so conveying that is a triumph.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me like nothing else, leaving me buzzing for hours after a successful session. It’s almost post-coital in the way it leaves me feeling warm and happy.

Is your ‘being an author’ a goal achieved or an accident?

Definitely achieved. I work very hard at what I do, from the writing to the packaging, to the presentation and the promotion. It is my passion.

What is your writing style?

I always hated reading first-person narration, but I have completely embraced it with my new books and it works very well. My style is muscular, poetic, playful, and polished.

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

Joanna_Noor_TheBigBlackKock

I’m a history buff and, as mentioned, I have a magpie mind which is very good at hoarding useless facts. I draw upon my extensive wealth of arcane knowledge, and supplement it with Wikipedia articles when required.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Anywhere from two months to two years. Mostly about two to three months now.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Remaining in my chair and not getting up to play with my cats.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

Sometimes they hijack it, but then I hijack them in the editing phase. My guns are bigger.

How do you select the names of your characters? Are your characters based on real people?

Joanna_Noor_KockRiderofKhymeera

If it makes me laugh or smile, then I know it’s a winner and it goes in. I have a bawdy, totally absurd, and ridiculous sense of humor. Aspects of my characters’ personalities may be based on real people, but their names certainly are not.

When you develop characters, do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?

Definitely a mix of both!

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Yes. If you can decipher the clues in my texts, it will lead you to a church in France where you will discover that Christ had a child and . . . oh wait, that’s already been done! Let me think of something else.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Many, many more Khymeera novels/stories, and many stories in my new, top secret series.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I have streamlined all my systems and the whole book creation experience is now a well-oiled machine.

What do your fans mean to you?

Joanna_Noor_SuccubusofKhymeera

Everything. Without readers, there would be no completion of the artistic circle, no home for the characters in my stories. I, the author, plant the seed of a tale. You, the reader, give it life and nourish it into a garden. Thank you 🙂

Thank you, Joanna, for letting us know about your writing process. I think many of us are a slave to ‘the coffee’ when writing. And I think your explanation of what fans are to a reader is beautiful!

Next time (yes, there will be a next time!), we will concentrate a bit more on the contents of Mistress Joanna’s books.

Don’t forget her second novel, Sukkubus of Khameera, the sequel to Kock Rider of Khameera, is now available!

You can contact Mistress Joanna Noor via the following Social Media:

Email: mistressjoannanoor@gmail.com

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon Author page


Meet the Author… Martin Tracey

I met Martin at The Darker Side of Fiction book signing in Peterborough. He had his stand next to ours and it was fun chatting with him during those few quiet moments. He’s a lovely man from the beautiful city of Birmingham who writes thrilling novels!

Martin Tracey

Martin_Tracey.png

Biography

Martin Tracey is an author who likes to push the boundaries of reality. Even when injecting elements of the supernatural, the terror that grips you is very real. The events that feature in his work could – just could- really happen! He has a passion for The Beatles & Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. Both music and football/soccer often find their way into his stories. Martin lives in Birmingham, UK and is married with 2 daughters.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

Martin_Tracey_OldGoldAnthems

I used to play piano and play in a few bands. One highlight was when a duo I played in supported Roland Gift and The Fine Young Cannibals. It became a natural progression for me to augment my creative writing by scribing novels. I still love music, especially The Beatles, but don’t play so much these days. I’m an avid supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers and one of my songs Raging Bull appears on an official Wolves CD: Old Gold Anthems – the Songs of Wolves. The CD is still available on Amazon (click here to check it out).

Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

Well it’s certainly not the genres I write in and it may surprise a few people. It was Noddy Goes To Toyland by Enid Blyton, and pretty soon I was reading the entire series of Noddy books. I loved Enid Blyton’s stories as a kid. Even now I can remember how I was able to get lost into a magical world as I read in bed. Her writing certainly fed my imagination. Even at that early age I was able to sense the special friendship that Noddy and Big Ears shared. One of my better traits is that I like to help people and the way Big Ears helped Noddy settle into Toyland most likely sowed a subconscious seed of some kind. I know it sounds a bit daft but I believe a lot of what we project as adults stems from childhood experiences.

Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

Martin_Tracey_MindGuerrilla

Reading Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons made me realise for the first time how fact can be weaved into a piece of fiction with dramatic effect. People who read my books will spot the influence.

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

Being a Wolves supporter a wolf of course! Two of my tattoos are wolf depictions and I have a wolf as my author logo.

If you could travel through time to visit a special time period or famous person, what or who would it be and why?

I’d love to have met John Lennon. His music was pioneering and the raw intelligence of the man fascinates me – just listen to some of his interviews on You Tube. So many of his off the cuff remarks have transpired to become evergreen inspirational quotes. I think the fact that he was willing to put his credibility on the line in the name of peace also has to be admired. Like all great leaders he saw the cause being bigger than himself. Sadly, the manner in which he left us is too tragic beyond words.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Martin_Tracey_Club27

My most recent book is Club 27. It’s the second in the Judd Stone series and it explores the theories (some conspiracy, some not) behind the club’s famous members who all remarkably died at the tender age of 27: Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and many more. The protagonist, Judd Stone, finds himself catapulted into trying to prevent the club from claiming its next victim. Why read it? There are twists and turns within a unique page turning story.

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

That’s like choosing your favourite child! I love them all equally, but I certainly have fun and a lot more writing mileage to go with Judd Stone.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

In Club 27 there are a couple of characters but to prevent the ‘spoilers’ it would have to be Kaleb who is the parasitic boyfriend of Rock and Pop sensation Phoenix. He is a nasty piece of work and Judd has countless problems with him.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Martin_Tracey_ThingsTheyllNeverSee

I already have two books lined up for Judd – I just need to write them! Lunar will be based around the legacy of the Lunar Society – a gathering of prominent figures who met in Birmingham between 1765 and 1813. The society included the most innovative and visionary industrialists, philosophers and intellectuals of the day…but Judd discovers an age-old murder which casts a shadow of their brilliance. The other book has no title yet but it will have a comedy theme involving tribute artists.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

Mind Guerrilla was meant to be a substantial standalone novel in the vein of Stephen King’s The Stand(size not content –Mind Guerrilla is a hefty tome) but Judd Stone proved such a popular character in reviews and other feedback I’ve received that a series was destined to be born!

Where can we find you online?

Email: martinpaperbackwriter@yahoo.co.uk

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Things They’ll Never See Book trailer

Club 27 Book trailer

Amazon Author page UK

Amazon Author page US

Thanks so much for telling us about your musical prowess and your compelling mystery novels. I’m so glad we met at the signing! And kudos to Ares Jun, your cover artists. The covers look amazing!



 

What to Watch? Grabbers

We had watched this movie before, but it’s such a funny, little gem that we watched it again. This movie is on Amazon, not Netflix this time.

Grabbers

Grabbers.jpg

Cast

There are actually a few characters that play a major role in this movie, but the two it is all about are Garda Ciarán O’Shea, played by Richard Coyle, and Garda Lisa Nolan, played by Ruth Bradley. Garda means something as constable. Ruth does an excellent job of playing drunk.

The other persons that all play their part in this hilarious movie are: Russell Tovey (from Being Human) as Dr Smith, Lalor Roddy as Paddy, David Pearse as Brian Maher (the bar tender), Bronagh Gallagher as Una Maher (the bartender’s wife), Pascal Scott as Dr Jim Gleeson, Ned Dennehy as Declan Cooney, Clelia Murphy as Irene Murphy, Louis Dempsey as Tadhg Murphy, Stuart Graham as Skipper, and Micheál Ó Gruagáin as Father Potts.

Plot

The movie starts with something like a comet falling out of the sky into the ocean and skippers going missing. Then people on the remote Irish island start to go missing. All this happens when uptight Garda Lisa Nolan joins the force to replace Garda Ciarán O’Shea’s boss while he’s away. O’Shea’s an alcoholic and Nolan’s a teetotaler. The two need to form an alliance to figure out this mystery.

What I liked about Grabbers

This is a low-budget movie with an incredible cast and excellent CGI! Next to this, it has very humorous situations that never feel tacky.

What I didn’t like about Grabbers

Let me think…. Nope, can’t think of something.

Summary

Like they quoted in the trailer: “Funny, gory, and with some feckin’ good CGI!” It is not a movie for the little ones as some scenes may be too gory/scary and/or inappropriate (and I’m mainly talking about the boozing regarding the latter). All in all a very funny movie that shouldn’t be missed if you love a good laugh/sci-fi/fantasy/small town living.

PS: don’t watch the You Tube trailer as it gives away too much! It’s still funny when you know what’s going to happen, but I just hate trailers that show you nearly all of the movie 🙂

Grabbers_2

Meet the Author… M.N. Seeley

As you may know, I follow Leonard Tillerman’s website as he reviews a lot of books. He reviewed my book as well, and after some nail-biting days, I was very happy he gave Living Like A Vampire five stars! You can read his review of it here. He doesn’t always give five stars, so you know when he does, the books are good 🙂 . So, one of the books that received five stars from Leonard was A Flicker of Shadows, by Neil Seeley. I contacted Neil and here’s the interview.

M. N. Seeley

Neil_Seeley

Biography

M.N. Seeley is a former Illustrator now working as a professional Art Director, Copywriter, Commercial Artist and Marketing Brand Consultant all rolled into one. But, what does this have to do with writing? Everything, if you ask him, because he believes storytelling is at the core of every successful creative endeavour. To him, the creative process never changes; only the medium does. He lives in Meaford, Ontario, Canada, where his children have spent years trying to teach him how to throw a football with a decent spiral. To date, they remain unsuccessful and undeterred.

Do you outline or just write?

I won’t begin writing anything until I have the entire story outlined, detailed and paced. My first novel was outlined using Post-it Notes stuck to a wall. The outline for my second novel is a 30 plus page document. I leave plenty of room for changes and sudden inspirations, though.

What gives you inspiration for your book? How did you come up with the idea for A Flicker Of Shadows? Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas

Neil_Seeley_AFlickerofShadowsA Flicker of Shadows began life as a series of children’s illustrations. However, since illustrating is a painful and labourious process for me, I found it more fun to write the accompanying story paragraphs for the paintings. That’s when I decided to forget the illustrations entirely and just focus on the writing. But, I had no interest in writing a children’s novel, or even one for young adults. The concept of transitioning into adulthood was a massive inspiration. It occurred to me that I could tell a different story based on the illustrations; a story that has one foot in the children’s world and one foot in the adult’s world. Where these two worlds rub together is where my novel lives. At least to me, I thought I had a hold of something unique.

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

I was surprised by how exhausting, hive-inducing and ulcer-burning self-promotion is. I’d rather perform drug-free DIY dental work on a gorilla.

Give us an interesting fun fact about your book

In A Flicker Of Shadows, I never allowed Morton, the bat, to use contracted words in his journal. I thought this rule would make him appear uptight and repressed. 

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

It’s a curse well managed, I’d say. There have been many, many times when I wished to trade all of my creativity in just so I could play 8-ball better. At the very least, I’d like to be able to make a simple cross bank with some regularity. To date, the Devil has yet to present himself with a contract detailing the trade conditions.

What is your favorite part of the book?

The very last paragraph of A Flicker Of Shadows, particularly the last sentence, makes me happy. I enjoy the tempo of the words as well as what they imply. For the most part, it was effortless to compose. That didn’t happen to me often.

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I prefer stand alone stories because of their finite structure. When the book is over, it’s over. Done. Myself, the reader, the person who glances at my novel laying crumpled and dirty in the bottom of a garbage bin, can all move on with their lives. Having said that, I do plan on reusing one character from A Flicker Of Shadows. A variation of him will show up in every future novel I write. Readers of A Flicker Of Shadows will likely be surprised to know which character I’m referencing.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Treasure_W700.jpgSure. I love symbolism and other hidden gems. They’re mostly there for my amusement. I like to amuse myself. A Flicker Of Shadows has plenty of meat to be picked off the bones, should one feel so inclined.

What writing/publishing wisdom would you bestow upon new writers?

You’re looking in the wrong place if you’re looking for wisdom here. I wrote a novel that I wanted to read. That alone was hard enough without adding other people’s expectations to the mix. This may not be universally true, but I think authors need to pick a lane: either write for themselves or write for an audience. Both options have merit. Both options have big concessions. For me, combining the two is madness and leads to mediocrity.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

One reader of A Flicker Of Shadows thought my book had more in common with cult classics than popular best-selling books. That was very cool to hear. I would gladly take more of that sort of praise. I know my book won’t appeal to everyone. That’s how I prefer it.
Thank you so much for your time and your words of wisdom, Neil. I know you think they aren’t, but I think your comment on picking a lane is a very wise one. I’m still at the crossroads myself but leaning very much to the ‘write for yourself’ direction. I think that gives the most pleasure to the writer and hence the reader. You can’t please them all, so you better please the ones that do like your writing! And I can relate to your thoughts on promoting!

Neil Seeley’s book is available in eBook and paperback form on Amazon. You can follow him on the following social media:

 


My Interview with Angelina Kalahari is live!

If my day couldn’t get any better, I just got word from Angelina that her interview with me is live on her website and YouTube!

Have a listen to the interview with her. She’s a wonderful lady, and I so hope to be able to meet her at the London Fair next year!

Thanks for having me on your podcast, Angelina! xx

 

What To Watch? Extinction

This seemed like an interesting movie for a Saturday night. It was weird, but even though I had been up since 5am that day, I stayed awake the whole movie to find out what was happening next.

Extinction

Extinction.jpg

Cast

There’s not a lot of actors playing in this movie. The main role, Peter, head of the family, is played by Michael Peña. I know him from Crash, Shooter, Fury, The Martian, and, the most recent movie, Ant-Man. It was good to see he got a lead role for a change. His wife, Alice, is played by Lizzy Caplan. I had to look her up and found out she played in True Blood (a series I yet have to watch, believe it or not!), The Hot Tub Time Machine, and Now You See Me 2. Their daughters are played by Amelia Crouch as Hanna and Erica Tremblay as Lucy.

Plot

Michael Peña
Michael Peña

Peter is not a good father. He has nightmares and this affects his work and his family life. When he has a blackout at work and misses family night, he finally decides to go see a doctor. Once in the waiting room, another man waiting for treatment says he’s having the same dreams. This makes Peter realize there’s something strange going on, and he goes home again without seeing the doctor. Soon, his nightmares come true.

What I liked about Extinction

Although plenty of reviews on the internet mention that this story line has been done to death, it came as a surprise to me. Obviously, I don’t watch enough sci-fi movies. There was something off with the family life, and I mentioned this to my husband at the time, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I found it strange as Peña is a good actor. When the truth was told, it all made sense!

What I didn’t like about Extinction

Lizzy Caplan
Lizzy Caplan

The fact that there was something off made me think this was a B-rated movie at first. I nearly turned it off, but the way the movie was going, I wanted to know what happened next. You sort of know what happens next, but you’re hoping for something else. Some scenes were totally unexpected, others were extremely predictable. The thing with watching movies is that you want to see the main characters in a seemingly hopeless situation and root for them to get out alive. But the rooting wasn’t really happening. This had a reason though…

Summary

Extinction is a good movie to watch when you have nothing else to do, want to see some sci-fi action, and be entertained. It’s not a movie I’d care to watch again, but I guess the plot will always stay with me.

 

 

Meet the Author… Craig Wainwright

I met Craig Wainwright on Twitter (where I meet most of the authors I interview). He was talking about a big reveal and ramped the suspension up enough to peak my interest. I was dying to find out what he was talking about! His first book, The Lost Titan, launched yesterday, and Craig’s going to reveal his big secret in this interview, so quickly continue reading…

Craig Wainwright

Craig_Wainwright_W700.jpg

Biography

I’m normally a reserved, middle of the road, kind of  guy, whose always been geeky about Sci-Fi. When I got married, I warned Diane, my long suffering wife, that there would be three people in our relationship: me, her and the Doctor (big Doctor Who fan you see). Nowadays, the Doctor and Diane often pop out and leave me busily tapping away on the keyboard, only to return before I miss them – it’s a time travelling thing, I’ve been told…

Who is the most famous author you have ever met?

Terrance Dicks, Dr Who editor (from 1968 to 1974)
Terrance Dicks, Dr Who editor (from 1968 to 1974)

Terrance Dicks, by a long way. To date he is still the longest serving Doctor Who script editor there’s been (1969 – 1974), wrote some cracking stories for the TV series and then topped that by writing the lion’s share of the Doctor Who range of Target books. What a guy.

Of course, being a cheeky Doctor Who fan when I was younger, I thought it would be fun to invite him round to my house when meeting him at a signing. To my amazement he agreed. At the time I was a member of the local Doctor Who group and so I quickly organised a sponsored “Stay Awake” event for the visit. Terrance got the proceedings going, with an auction and stayed for a couple of hours afterwards to chat with us.

Then I asked the typical fan question: ‘What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a book?’ His answer was the obvious one, but it stuck in my mind because he’s such a lovely bloke. ‘Just write it,’ he said. Succinct, concise and to the point. The answer hit home.

We raised £600 for Cancer Research that day, and am proud of the fact.

What made you want to become a writer?

An urge to tell stories about characters which have lived with me since I was 10. I’ve needed to do this for a number of years and have had various failed attempts since 1989 to get the job done. The thought of dying before I’d managed to let everyone know about these wonderful characters and the situations they find themselves in, mortified me. Morbid I know, but it’s true, and since I’m not getting any younger, I knew I had to do it sooner rather than later to have any chance of getting book 5 written.

What do you love most about the writing process?

via GIPHY

That moment when a character says something and you think that they have suddenly just come alive during that moment. It’s a magical time. Then, as the book takes its course, these people go on their journey. You see them grow and, by the end of the book, after all the twists and turns in the plot, they come out different people – as anyone would. With my style of writing, with the plot driving things forward and not the characters, this development does add an extra dynamic which can enhance the story.

On the flip side, I hate writing the first draft. I find the whole process painful and really hard work. But after that hurt, building on the original draft, the process suddenly becomes enjoyable because it then becomes a time of discovery. This happened with Book 1, were several things happened in the first five chapters and by the tenth I thought, ‘There have to be some consequences here’, and so the court scene was born. One of my beta readers loved that scene, as I do, because the hero shows he’s not just a physically powerful individual, but also a clever one as well. A fact which will become more important as the series progresses.

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

The Last Titan, by Craig Wainwright
The Last Titan, by Craig Wainwright

That’s an interesting question because this series is multi genre: Book 1, The Last Titan, is Sci-Fi with a strong super hero facet to it, bringing in the fantastical element. Because I plan to the nth degree, I know Book 2, The Last Titan: Titan’s Quest, will leave Sci-Fi behind and become purely Fantasy, with large dollops of horror towards the end. Book 3 leans more towards Horror with Fantasy elements embedded within it. I see this as being a very dark book and only hope I can pull it off as Horror isn’t my genre of choice. Strangely, and having just said that, these books cry out for the darker writing to add to the growing menace. Book 4 will return to straight Fantasy again. That’s just series 1. Series 2 will be different again in structure and feel, but that’s a long way off…

Does your book have a lesson? Moral?

These books are about ten races of people who need one another to survive, for them racial tension never existed until one man brought with him intolerance and hate. With his coming terrible acts of violence followed. When such a scenario enters a society which seems utopian, we would often find a very fertile breeding ground for the evil to grow.

The motto, I suppose. is that we need to spot this type of person when they get into power and deal with them quickly. We don’t want another Hitler and we definitely don’t want another world war.

What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?

That’s easy. This was for Book 2, which I’m writing now, and it’s the melting point of Quartz. It starts melting at around 600c, if you’re interested.

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

The overall process of research for the book has been mainly passive, since I’m quite well read when it comes to the history and literature of Ancient Greece. I spent a few nights researching the Chernobyl accident and got an understanding of how it happened and how the reactor was designed. It turned out in the end most of that research wasn’t used in the book. I also did quite a bit of research on Mauy Thai, since the hero is a an expert in the martial art. I checked out a few websites and bought a couple of VHS (yes VHS) tapes and sat down and watched them, taking a few notes.

Regarding much lighter research I spent a bit of time finding the right stars which might have Hellas orbiting them. They ended up being in Ursa Major and they’re a true binary system called Gliese 412. These stars are red dwarfs and one is much smaller than the other. However, every now and again this smaller star becomes much brighter than its neighbour, which fits beatifully with one of the background Mythos I’ve already written. I won’t say any more because I plan to bring the Mythos out as anthologies eventually. Maybe even bringing the first one out before The Last Titan 2.

What did you edit out of this book?

via GIPHY

Loads of stuff. The bulk of it centred around a narrator and two children who would ask him questions about the action in the preceding chapters. These guys discussed pertinent points which I felt needed further explanation but couldn’t fitted in the story any other way. This allowed me to bring in several background stories (one of which tied in with the end of the book beautifully). When I later looked at these sections, I had to admit they had become somewhat redundant as I grasped the mechanics of writing a novel and the need to save space added further reasons to chop these sections anyway.

Interestingly, there was also an alternative chapter 8 which introduced the character of Jimmy (a tramp) and it described Omicron (the female villain) conducting horrific experiments on his two friends. This was made redundant when Jimmy informs a character later on what he saw, and rather than taking fifteen pages to get this across it took three paragraphs to explain it instead. The chapter also had a very different version of Jimmy; he was a more crotchety character. I prefer the character he’s evolved into because he’s a much more approachable, comical character – to the betterment of the whole series I think. 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I like to leave little markers which might hint at what’s be coming: a little comment here, somebody saying something there. That sort of thing.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I think some writers maybe tend to accept their lot and don’t try to push for the best they deserve. My advice is to be ambitious and adventurous in your plans, be cheeky and ask the questions to get what you want when it comes to publishing and publicity. You don’t get unless you ask in this world, unfortunately.

From the above you can tell that I’m very ambitious, maybe more than my talent deserves, but I’ve known what I want from the start and I’ve pushed to get it. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, then other times it does and I’ve ended up doing business with some wonderful people who wanted me to succeed because they saw my drive and determination. Chris Grant (the voice over artist for the ad) put in an email to me: “So, go get’em Giant Killer.” A comment which sums up what I’m trying to achieve with this first book – break through and get established quickly. I dearly want these characters to be remembered and loved even. If I fail, well, at least I tried. If I succeed, then book 8 would most definitely be on the cards

The only other thing I can say is love your subject matter and let it draw you in. Some writers are mechanical in their execution of prose. Get involved with it. I’ve had a love affair with my characters since I was a kid and they’re so clear in my head now, they’ve become like old friends. If you are detached from the work, it’ll reflect in it and your characters will end up being distant at best and uninteresting at worst. Get into their heads, understand them, and the characters will write themselves.

So… what’s your big reveal?

As mentioned earlier, I have a book trailer/ad. Apart from promoting the book via an interview and review in Starburst (a British Science Fiction Magazine), followed by the ad in SFX (a British Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine) and Starburst for three months and a small ad on Doctor Who Online, it is also going to be… on TV! The book trailer will be shown on Sky1 and Syfy from August the 23rd for two weeks!

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Wow! That is so awesome! I bet every writer is incredibly jealous now. I certainly am. You do dream big, and I applaud you for it! I wish you all the best with your launch, Craig, and hope your book sales sky-rocket!

Craig Wainwright’s book is available NOW on Amazon, and you can watch the trailer on his website. You can contact Craig through Twitter.


Meet the Author… P.M. Carron

I met P.M. (I know his first name, but it’s a secret between the two of us) on Twitter. I was intrigued by his ZZ Top-looking outfit (they’re one of my favorite bands) and entertained by his regular tweets. I had to find out more about him. Read on about this mysterious yet outgoing person.

P.M. Carron

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Biography

A native Vermonter born in 1965, I was raised in Burlington, Vermont along the shores of Lake Champlain and surrounded by the Adirondack and Green Mountains. Some twenty years ago, I moved with my wife and daughter to Concord, New Hampshire, where I still reside. Over the last three decades, I owned and ran a hobby shop with my wife and partner, was an accountant, and eventually became an attorney. With four stories published on Amazon, my career as an indie author is well underway. I hope the readers of my flights of fantasy enjoy my stories as much as I basked in the delight of writing them.

Have you ever read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

Yes. My mother gave me the 1967 version of the Thorndike Barnhardt Comprehensive Dictionary when I was five or six. I read that tome from cover to cover at least thrice after she gave it to me, and although it shows its age, I still have it in my collection of reference materials. I thought it more interesting reading than Dr. Seuss or other children’s authors I thought too childish. I liked adult things with adult themes like Gunsmoke and monster movies like Frankenstein. With the exception of Loony Tunes, I had no interest in cartoons and shows like Sesame Street. By giving me that dictionary, my mother gave me a golden ticket to the adult world. With that tome, I could figure the meaning of any word, which meant I could read any book and come away with a semblance of understanding.

PM_Carron_DateWithDestiny.pngWhen I was growing up in the seventies, mail-order book clubs were the thing. My mother was a member of one of them book clubs. She had what seemed like a ton of books all neatly stacked on homemade bookshelves that decorated the walls of our apartment. I got to reading some of those books when I was seven or eight. That was my first brush with fiction that was not childish and meant for children. I entered into the fictional worlds of Agatha Christie, Katherine Anne Porter, and Charles Dickens. Those authors became my point of entry into adult fiction, and I was enamored with their fictional worlds.

When I was eight or nine, I noticed a new book on my mother’s wonderful shelves. It was a Reader’s Digest condensed version of excerpts from the works of a bunch of famous philosophers. I didn’t know what to make of it, but pulled it from the shelf and trundled back to my bed. I opened the book and Plato’s Allegory of The Cave caught my attention. It just blew my little mind. Over the next few days, I read that excerpt ten or twelve times. Each time, I understood a little more, and had to look fewer words up in my dictionary. Plato changed how I viewed fact and fiction. It caused my imagination to fire in multiple directions. I’ve been reading philosophy ever since. Take any idea from any philosopher and add a fantasy gloss to it and oh boy, what you have is something from across The Cosmos!

What do you love most about the writing process?

That first thrill of getting a series of ideas from my head onto the page and watching it grow with each word. I love the act of putting pen to paper and not knowing where it will take me. I guess the real answer is:  PURE CREATIVITY. No other profession has this quality, which is why writing was what I was meant to do. It just took me fifty years to figure that out.  

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

PM_Carron_RudeAwakening.pngI wake up an hour or two before dusk. Dusk to dawn is my preferred span of time to be awake. Sunlight saps my energy and makes me less creative. Most days, my preference for the shadows is obtainable, but there are those days when life’s obligations get in the way of the way it oughta be. In any event, once awake, I do whatever task I need to accomplish for my day job, greet my wife when she gets home from work (she is unlucky enough to have to go to the proverbial salt mines, and I love her for doing that so I can have the flexibility needed for my writing career), have supper, hang with my wife, and when she goes to bed somewhere around 10 P.M., I get to my main purpose for living, down to the business of writing.

I sit on my porch, click on one of my music mixes that are saved on my cellphone, open a bottle of soda, light a cigar, take a few puffs, and then I’m in the zone and ready to write until dawn. I try to write three or four hours every day. If I’m lucky, I clock in seven or eight hours. The first light of day, brings me back to reality. Most nights, as I’m heading to bed, my wife is going off to work. 

What are your books about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must read?

I write dark, fantasy stories that intertwine around one another. My plan is to write one hundred-fifty stories, centered on ten trilogies. This project is more epic than any attempted before by any author. Each story is written from the first person point of view and have elements of high fantasy, science fiction, and horror. At root, my tales are adventures.   

Literally, thousands of thoughts and concepts thunder across my mind every minute of every day, whether I’m awake or fast asleep. I call them my Thought Trains, and they take me for rides to fascinating and fantastical places. My stories are my attempt to bring those ideas to anyone who wants to experience fantasy from a fresh perspective without the traditional definitions and limitations of genres put into place before any of us were born or reading, creating and writing. I pay homage to the great writers without becoming a slave to their process. For me, art is about being fresh and novel, and I do view my work as an art form.

My most recent book is The Shade’s Tale, Parts I – III. It is the first book of the first of ten trilogies, and will be published sometime between the end of August and the middle of September. The book is in the final stages of formatting and will be sold on Amazon as an E-Book like my other four stories.

The Shade’s Tale is written from the point of view of a shade named Count Darkly Vandercoot. The story tracks Darkly’s rise in power as a mortal born of shadow. The reader has an intimate, front row seat to Darkly taking his place as the leader of The Cause, the rebellion against the tyranny of The Gods. The story begins with Darkly telling his tale from a prison cell. Nothing about this tale is ordinary or predictable, but it is the beginning of something really epic. My first four stories lit the fuse. Now, The Shade’s Tale is the explosion that no reader of fantasy will want to miss.    

What gives you inspiration for your books? How did you come up with the idea for Lady Luck Has Left The Building?

PM_Carron_LadyLuck.pngFifty-three years of living life to the fullest gives me the inspiration I need to write my books. Wherever I go, I pay attention to the smallest of details as those bits reveal themselves to me and unfold around me. I wake up every single day and expect it to be the best day of my life. I don’t just wish for happiness, I expect and demand it. Most days are far from perfect, but more often than not, something happens that makes the day special. Those remarkable occurrences are the seeds from which my stories grow.

Lady Luck Has Left The Building began with a conversation I had with my sister about fear. She told me her greatest fear was to be locked in the trunk of a car. I thought long and hard about my sister’s strange idea of terror and Lady Luck sprang to life. Beginning a story with a gambler zip-tied in the trunk of a hovercraft on his way to a shallow grave seemed like an interesting way to begin a science fiction story that transforms into a tale of horror.

How long does it on average take you to write a book?

It depends would be the obvious and honest answer. On average, I’d say six to nine weeks. My first story, A Rude Awakening, was finished in a week. It just came together. I breathed life into my fourth tale, Lady Luck Has Left The Building, in six writing sessions over two and a half weeks. Another quickie. My newest book, The Shade’s Tale, Parts I – III, took over a year to come to fruition. Since The Shade’s Tale is a trilogy, I had to write all three of the books as a unit. Yea, six to nine weeks seems like a good, overall average. 

How many unpublished and unfinished books do you have? Have you written any other books that are not published?

Well, let me think about that for a minute. I have four published works, four stories are finished but as of yet unpublished, and six tales are in various states of completion. 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I’m always adjusting my process to make it easier for myself and my team of three editors. My first story, A Rude Awakening, made me aware of the annoyance of formatting for publication. After thinking about how to mitigate that hassle, I changed the format I use for my first drafts to make the backend more efficient.

What do you find to be the best way to market your books?

PM_Carron_ThirdTour.pngI’m always looking for the better mousetrap that is more fun for me, my fans, and ultimately, for my readers. With that in mind, I use Twitter as a platform to feed or direct my fans and readers to my website, my Amazon Author Page, and my Patreon Creator Page. Through the years, I’ve found focusing works best and is more fun.

The internet is a big place and authors need to decide where their people are and focus their energy there. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, and artists must conserve and direct their energy and enthusiasm for the long haul. Patience and persistence are two qualities I feel are integral to the creation process as a whole, and particularly useful when it comes to marketing. Unlike some of my fellow authors, I look for the fun in marketing my art, rather than the drudgery of it. A positive attitude gets you further than a negative anything.

What motivated you to become an indie/published author?

At heart, I am an entrepreneur. That means I make for a terrible employee, and am not good at taking direction, following, and carrying out someone else’s vision. Since the age of twelve, I have been starting and running businesses. My writing business, Cosmik Winds Publishing, is just another in a long line of my startups. I have worked for myself for more years of my life than those spent working for somebody else.

I have my own vision and know where I want to take it. As an artist, I encourage and look forward to criticism of my work. That’s the only way to improve. As an entrepreneur, selling my works of art, I know my vision is breaking new ground. That’s the exhilarating part!

I just don’t have the patience for business naysayers who look in rearview mirrors when they should be gazing into the darkness of the future to see the possibilities. I have no interest in being the last buggy whip maker. I want to make something nobody has brought into this world. For all of those reasons, indie publishing made sense to me. I write because I must, and I am an indie author for the same reason.    

Here’s where you can find me online.

Website

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

Patreon Creator Page

Email: pmcarron4242@gmail.com

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today, P.M.! I am even more curious and want to find out more about your writing, and for the price of $0.99 for each of the first three short stories, there is no excuse. Grab yourselves a copy of each, folks!

What To Watch? I Am Dragon

If you didn’t get your romantic fix during your summer holiday, don’t worry. You can get it when watching this fantastic (literally 😀 ), Russian movie I found on Amazon!

I Am Dragon

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Cast

The first thing that strikes you is how well the two main characters have been chosen.

Maria Poezzhaeva plays Miroslava (Mira), the girl who gets taken by the dragon. Although she was twenty-six years old when the movie was made (in 2015), she looked about fourteen which I think would be a believable age to be married in a fantasy medieval Russian setting.

My favorite of the movie is, however, Matvey Lykov as Arman. I had to look him up, to see if he plays in other movies. I was not surprised to find out he’s actually a model. He is in two other movies, Peterburg: A Selfie, a Russian movie, and Woodkid: Iron which is a French movie but English spoken. I hope to see him in more movies to come. This man’s body is fantastic. He is so skinny and sinewy. A perfect match to the dragon!

The two of them together is magic on screen. At first I thought Maria’s performance was a bit ‘wooden,’ but soon you get swept away by the chemistry between the two.

Next to these two, there are Stanislav Lyubshin as Prince (Miroslava’s father), Ieva Andrejevaite as Yaroslava (Miroslava’s sister), and Pyotr Romanov as Igor (the groom).

Matvey Lykov as Arman
Matvey Lykov as Arman

Plot

In the past, girls to be wed were offered to the dragon. The people would sing a song to accompany the ritual during which the dragon would come and take one girl away.

Two generations ago, the betrothed of the girl taken didn’t take no for an answer, went after the dragon, and killed it (although his bride-to-be had already perished).

Now, Mira is betrothed to Igor, the grandson of the dragonslayer. For years, the dragon song hasn’t been sung, but Igor insists the song is sung again to honor his heritage. To everybody’s surprise another dragon shows up and takes Mira.

Will Igor get Mira back?

What I liked about I Am Dragon

The best thing about this movie is that it takes you away into this other world and you feel the yearning of two loved ones who cannot be together. Credit to Indar Dzhendubaev, on his directing debut.

Even though the movie was 85% CG, the setting was incredibly real, and I never felt some of it was fake. Okay, sensibility tells you it can’t be real (like the waterfall at the top of the ‘mountain’), but it looked and felt real! Especially the dragon looked as real as it can get. What more does one want?

Mira and the dragon
Mira and the dragon

What I didn’t like about I Am Dragon

As mentioned earlier, Maria’s performance felt a bit fake at the start of the movie, but she soon gets into her role.

Summary

This is a movie for the whole family although probably not too young kids as some scenes may be scary/threatening. Even though there are ‘naked’ shots (without genitalia shown), at no point was there any embarrassment necessary for it.

The film is about tradition, arrogance, true love, and standing up for yourself. DON’T watch the trailer as it gives away way too much! Instead, let yourself be swept away by the dragon…

I am Dragon
I am Dragon

PS: I cried in the end, so keep the tissues ready!

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