Dora Machado on The Curse Giver & Inspiration @DoraMachado #Fantasy

Image of Dora Machado

Can you please share with us a little about yourself?

My name is Dora Machado and I’m one of the few Latinas writing epic romance fantasy and dark fantasy these days. I was born in Michigan but I grew up in the Dominican Republic, an island that has a special place in my heart. I’m a graduate of Georgetown University, where I majored in history and got my first taste of the medieval history that inspires many of my worlds. I live in Florida with my wonderful husband and three cats, one of which spends most of the writing day—and night—with me. I have two incredible kids who are out braving and exploring the world. I’m the author of the award-winning Stonewiser series and my newest release, The Curse Giver, my first standalone novel.

How long have you been writing?

In my mind, I’ve been writing all my life, but I really didn’t settle down to write in the full sense of the word until about seven years ago, when, for the first time, I had the time and opportunity to write my stories

When did you decide you wanted to become an author?

Even in my earliest memories, I was fascinated by books. As a child, I made up stories in my mind all the time. My teachers called it daydreaming, but I remember it as character development and plotting. No wonder I had such trouble with sixth grade math!

It took me a long time to realize that those stories in my head were actually novels that needed to be written. By the time I figured it out, I was a wife and a mom and, with a full-time job, I didn’t have the time to write. But as my children grew older and more independent, I realized that my time to write was coming at last. And when it did, I seized it and now I plan to keep at it for the duration.

Do you read much, and if so, who are your favorite authors?

I love to read and I wish I had time to read even more. As a young woman growing up in the Dominican Republic, I was exposed to many different influences.  Books such as A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosas, and the House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende left lasting impressions. In fantasy, I’m always dazzled by J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen Donaldson, Frank Herbert, Robert Jordan, and George R.R. Martin. I also like Diana Gabaldon, Colleen McCullough, Bernard Cornwell and Anne Rice.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

I’m most proud of my kids, my family and my books, in that order.

Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

Well, I suppose I’m kind of a rare bird, a Latina who writes epic fantasy, an American who grew up in the Dominican Republic. I think my diverse life experiences bring a different perspective to the genre. I’m also an avid traveler and I get a lot of inspiration for my books from my travels. Perhaps because I’m a student of the world at large, I like to inject fantasy with a healthy dose of gritty realism. I’m also a mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend, and I believe that romance, family and complex relationships enrich a fantasy novel and make it real.

What was your inspiration for The Curse Giver?

I was doing research for Stonewiser: The Lament of the Stone, the third book of the Stonewiser trilogy, when I came across a picture of an ancient curse, written on a stone tablet. It was a protective curse, a warning, and it struck me as a very effective way of stopping someone from doing something, an attempt at law enforcement, justice and mind control, all in one.

I started to research curses and became fascinated by how pervasive curses are to the human story. I came across many different types of curses from all kinds of belief systems and from all over the world. Even though they were all different, they were also very similar.

Then one night I dreamed—yes, I know, it’s cliché, but it’s the truth—I dreamed about this bitter lord, the last Lord of Laonia, who was caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that had doomed his line. Based on this powerful image, I came up with my premise and my heroine. In order to save his people from destruction, the Lord of Laonia has to hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in a very foul, very wicked way—but you’ll have to read the book to find out what that’s all about.

My heroine, Lusielle, bears the mark that the Lord of Laonia hunts. She’s a powerful healer, on the run, accused of a crime she didn’t commit. She’s about to be burned for her crimes, when the Lord of Laonia saves her from the pyre. But he is not her savior. On the contrary, he’s deadly to her. So this is how the story begins, with Lusielle wondering if she should heal the bitter lord who is pledged to kill her and the Lord of Laonia set to kill the only woman who could heal not just his body but also his soul.

What sort of personality does your hero have?

I like to say that Bren is a type-A personality gone desperate. At the beginning of the story, he comes across as arrogant, brash and bitter. In reality, his dire circumstances have forced him to become a person he doesn’t like. As Lusielle soon discovers, beneath all the anger and hostility he is brave, honorable and determined. He will not quit, not even when facing dismal odds and overwhelming force. He is also smart, decisive and loyal. He has a brilliant strategic mind and he is not afraid to challenge injustice and defy tyranny. Above all, he is a good man, fighting extraordinary evil while trying to do right by his people.

What sort of personality does your heroine have?

Lusielle is smart, kind, trustworthy, warm and caring, a true healer in all ways, a healer of bodies, minds and souls. She is incredibly competent at her craft, an excellent remedy mixer who studies her ingredients, understands how they work, and is always trying to create new and more effective cures. She is also resilient, open-minded, and uses her good instincts to see beyond appearances, blind beliefs and assumptions. Perhaps most importantly, Lusielle learns from her mistakes and has the courage to take risks, even when those risks involve the dangers of a forbidden relationship with a cursed outlaw who must kill her in order to survive.

Can you share with us your current work in progress?

I’m currently working on several different projects, including a contemporary dark fantasy with a Latin twist and another standalone fantasy romance that takes place in the world of The Curse Giver. It’s not a sequel, not exactly, but rather a related novel. It’s currently called The Soul Chaser.  Also, the Stonewiser series is coming out in audiobook. The first book of the trilogy, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, is already available at Take a listen. It’s good, old-fashioned storytelling at its very best.

Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

Give a new writer a try today. Try something different that you hadn’t considered reading before. Try fantasy, for example, and open your senses to the idea of new and different worlds. Reading is the fastest, most convenient way of traveling, and our minds really need to travel.

Curse Giver

Lusielle’s bleak but orderly life as a remedy mixer is shattered when she is sentenced to die for a crime she didn’t commit. She’s on the pyre, about to be burned, when a stranger breaks through the crowd and rescues her from the flames. Brennus, Lord of Laonia is the last of his line. He is caught in the grip of a mysterious curse that has murdered his kin, doomed his people and embittered his life. To defeat the curse, he must hunt a birthmark and kill the woman who bears it in the foulest of ways. Lusielle bears such a mark. Stalked by intrigue and confounded by the forbidden passion flaring between them, predator and prey must come together to defeat not only the vile curse, but also the curse giver who has already conjured their demise.

Award-Winning Finalist in the fantasy category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News

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Genre – Fantasy/Dark Fantasy

Rating – PG-18

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Connect with Dora Machado on Facebook & Twitter




Boundless by Brad Cotton @BradCott0n

Chapter 3

DEPARTING FROM RICO’S house in the BMW, Duncan and Ray went over the specifics of the job. It sounded easy enough. They had a name, an address, and the exact amount of money that needed to be collected. The hardest part, it seemed, would be crossing the country and making it to Boston without distraction.

They drove back onto the highway.

Ray switched on the radio.

It felt good to listen to music for a change – to care about something other than football, baseball, basketball, or hockey scores. The recently found freedom from concern did not go unnoticed. And, though they both still considered themselves fans of sport, the break from obligatory attention came as a welcome respite.

The first leg of the trip plunged the continental travelers into the early hours of the morning. The sprightly enthusiasm that carried them back onto Interstate 15 had conclusively waned by the time they reached the Utah border. The goal was to rest when they reached Colorado in the morning, but achy legs and heavy heads curtailed their ambitious plan. Duncan and Ray instead pulled into a motel not far from Fishlake National Forrest, just outside of Richfield, Utah.

The pair oozed from the car into the arms of the night air.

Duncan entered the motel office and paid cash for a room. He thanked the amiable, elderly woman behind the desk and returned to the car.

Duncan and Ray went up to the top floor of the two-story complex, turned the key and entered room 216. Each threw their bag onto one of the beds in the malodorous lodgings. Duncan slipped into the bathroom to wash his hands and to stash the black money bag atop the moveable ceiling slats above the shower.

Though tired from driving, Ray and Duncan yielded swiftly to the idea of having a cold beer and something to eat before calling it a night. They knew that a watering hole would not be hard to find, even in the small roadside town. After a very brief rest, they got back into the BMW and made for the poorly lit narrow streets.

They came upon a bar not five minutes from the motel along a street with no signs or noticeable markings. Outside the bar rested a narrow, linear fortification of black and silver motorcycles in perfect angular symmetry. Duncan pulled the car into the gravel parking lot.

The inside of the bar was enough to make both of the city-dwelling, opulent-car-driving patrons smirk from ear to cheek. Wooden floors creaking under foot, license plates gilding walls, and loud rock n’ roll music assaulting their ears. It smelled of stale beer and smoke.

As they walked through the establishment, the pair could feel eyes following them from every direction. Neither Duncan nor Ray looked the type that had just rolled in on iron horses, and they certainly didn’t look like they were from the neighborhood.

They approached the bartender.

Duncan stood with his back to the bar and surveyed his surroundings while Ray waited patiently to place an order. Duncan could feel the palpable tension. Whether reasonable or not, Duncan felt for a moment as though he and Ray were gazelles dropped into a lion’s den as some sort of strange sociological experiment.

Duncan endeavored to avoid confrontation at every turn. He wasn’t the type that possessed the urge to confirm his manhood by engaging in clashes of primeval fury. But what the leather and denim-clad lions in that particular bar didn’t know about Duncan would have served them well to not find out. Duncan was not one to be considered prey. In fact, he was very far from it indeed.

Ray turned around and handed Duncan a bottle of beer. He looked around the bar and took in the environment much in the way Duncan had been doing.

“Those guys are huge,” Ray said, referring to the bearded horde surrounding a nearby pool table.

“I think they like you,” Duncan said.

“I’m sure they do.”

According to urban legend, prison rules stated that if you wanted to prove yourself tough or worthy of respect, on the first day of incarceration you had to find the biggest and meanest inmate and challenge him to a fight. It was most likely a commonly held idea among those never to have been dropped behind tall bricked walls and barbed wired fences.

Duncan reached into his pocket and pulled out a warm wad of change. He looked down into his palm and appraised it. He shook his hand up and down allowing the coins to jingle and spread about in his palm. Duncan then clenched his fist around the pile making a strong fist and began to walk assuredly towards the pool table. Ray followed without hesitation.

The pride that stood guard at the green felt table saw them coming, they clenched their chalky spears and stood upright. One of the biggest took a step forward and positioned himself in the path of Duncan and Ray. Ray leisurely pulled a chair and took a seat at a small table beside the towering man as Duncan came face-to-face with the tattooed goliath. Duncan was close enough to smell the whisky and cigarettes on his breath, but far enough not to insinuate that he was challenging for territory. Duncan said nothing. The bar seemed to come to a hush, though the music still blared and people still spoke in their usual tone. Duncan was eclipsed by the stature of his would-be opponent and stood in the man’s shadow.

Duncan looked down to his fist, then back to the face of the man in front of him. He then raised his hand, plucked four quarters from the stack, and placed them on the rail of the table. He then took a twenty-dollar bill from his pocket and placed it beside the quarters.

“Next game,” Duncan said.

The extra-large man permitted himself to crack a small smile. The man then nodded once.

Duncan returned the gesture before taking a seat at the table with Ray. The sound of the bar seemed to rise once more. Duncan took a swig from his beer and smiled at Ray.

Duncan lost his twenty dollars to Sam, the bulky man with whose beard he had recently become acquainted.

Ray played Sam in the next game and won the money back.

It wasn’t long before both Duncan and Ray had assimilated into the faction that would to others seem frightening. But in truth, there was nothing frightening about them. They proved to be welcoming and jovial and overtly generous. Sam used the twenty he won from Duncan to buy each of them a beer. Ray returned the gesture with his subsequent victory.

Sam’s compatriots consisted of a throng of young to middle-aged bikers together on their way from Colorado to Las Vegas. They had names like Burner, Slim, Varr, and Mick. One was a mechanic, one worked construction, and one owned a company that shredded paper documents. Sam never did say what his occupation was, or if he had one at all, but when he held his pool cue against the table it was obvious by his hard, calloused hands that he was not an accountant.

Last call came.

Duncan was embroiled in a conversation with Sam and Varr about the practice of wooing women, while Ray was putting similar theories to practice at a table with two buxom brunettes. Ray had great luck with the softer sex. He was good looking, young, and had plenty of charm to spare. He once had a girl back in Phoenix to whom Duncan thought Ray would one day be married. She was the daughter of a prominent city politician. The pressure from her family to find someone more suiting their elite traditions weighed heavy on the relationship. They eventually broke up, much to Ray’s dismay.

Ashley Dupree and Ray still had trouble staying away from one another and there was little doubt for Duncan that they were still in love. Ashley was, and always would be, Ray’s first love. He looked for her in every woman he spoke to, kissed, or with whom he made love. Ashley left Arizona a few years prior to continue her education at an Ivy League college. She and Ray continued to exchange emails, text messages, and the occasional phone call, but Ray hadn’t heard from Ashley in nearly six months. Duncan was certain that Ray was still looking for a small piece of Ashley in that bar just outside of Richfield, Utah that night.

The sound of a large cowbell rung out from behind the wooden bar signaling the end of last call. The bar had all but cleared out by that time, though Duncan, Ray, and their new comrades remained.

Duncan and a few of the lingering bikers from Colorado made their way out the doors. Sam lit a smoke.

Ray emerged a few minutes later, arms devoid of hangers-on.

“Ask for Carlos at Luxor,” Duncan said to Varr, a wild haired, yet seemingly taciturn fellow. “Tell him I said to take care of you. He’ll know what that means.”

“Thanks, Dunner,” Varr said. He raised his arm as if he were preparing to arm wrestle the air. Duncan slapped his hand and held on for a shake. The group that remained took turns bidding similar farewells. The six bikers then mounted their vehicles and roared off, leaving Duncan and Ray in a swirling cloud of dust and smoke.

The two females that Ray had befriended exited the bar in a giggly and slightly unsteady way. Duncan and Ray exchanged a look. Duncan shook his head with a grimace. Ray nodded in agreement. The pair then got into the BMW and slowly pulled out of the lot.

Returning to their room, Duncan’s first order of business was to lift the ceiling slat above the shower just to be certain that nothing had changed.

All seemed well. The bag was intact.

Ray flopped onto the bed closest to the humming air conditioner and turned on the TV. Making a concerted effort to stay away from Sports Center, he flipped the channels restlessly.

“Just turn it off,” Duncan said, falling onto his bed.

Ray did.

As soon as TV blinked off, what sounded like a commotion not far from the front of their door became audible. “You hear that?” Ray asked.

Duncan got up from his bed and walked over to the window. He pushed back the wall-length curtain and peered in each direction. He saw nothing. The commotion began again and Duncan’s curiosity piqued. “What’s with all the noise?” he said. He opened the front door and stepped outside.

Duncan’s first inclination was to look over the railing. As he did so, a loud bang filled the open-air terrace. “What was that?” Ray asked.

Shoeless, Duncan began to walk toward the loud sound. Ray leapt from his bed and followed his friend.

Duncan was first to turn the corner at the end of the aisle. There he saw a woman slumped on the ground, huddling up to a vending machine. A man stood over the woman, his fists were clenched and his eyes enraged.

“What’s going on here?” Duncan asked.

He only needed to look down onto the face of the woman before it became patently clear what had been going on.

Neither girl nor assailant said anything.

“Why don’t you back up?” Duncan said to the man.

Ray rounded the corner.

“Hey,” the man said. “This is none of your business. Go back to your room.”

The man unclenched his fists and feigned calm.

“Don’t,” the girl pleaded.

She was wearing jean-shorts and a thin white tank top. Ray instinctively leaned over to help her up.

“Hey!” the man yelled, his hands transforming into fists once again. He made a move toward Ray.

That’s when Duncan interceded. With stealth and speed, he grabbed the man from the side, swept his legs out from under him and had rendered him immobile on the ground before the man knew what had happened. With a knee in one ear and the cold concrete under the other, the skinny man quickly realized he would be no match for the one on top of him. “What the fuck?” he gasped.

Duncan had the man’s arm twisted around and held it up in the air over his body. The man couldn’t move in a thousand different ways. “What’re you, a cop?” the man asked.

“Why?” Duncan answered, “You doing something illegal?”

“Fuck no. There’s no problem here. I got no problems with you.”

Ray helped the blonde-haired girl up from the floor. Her young face was red and beginning to swell. “Do you know this guy?” he asked her.

She nodded.

“Boyfriend? Husband?”

“Neither,” the girl answered. “He’s just an asshole.”

“You do have a problem with me,” Duncan said to the man under his knee. “I paid $39.99 to the woman at the front desk for a room. So that means tonight, this is my house. You’re making noise in my house.”

Duncan gave the man’s arm an extra little twist. The man grunted in pain.

“I paid too, man. It’s my house too.”

Duncan gave the twisted arm a pull.

“Okay!” The man howled. “Okay!”

“It’s time for you to leave,” Duncan said. “I’m going to let you up and then you’re gonna get your shit and go.”

“I don’t have any shit,” he said.

“That should make it easier.”

As he finished his words, Duncan yanked the man up from the ground almost as violently as he had sent him down.

Ray took a step forward to shield the girl now standing by his side.

Duncan unleashed the man from his control and stood in front of him. The man looked over Duncan’s shoulder and peered at the girl.

“You’re a real cunt, you know that?” he said, pointing in her face. He might have said something more but thought better of it when he once again met Duncan’s glare. The man turned and clomped heavily down the open stairs to the first floor.

All three that stood on the landing above could see the man’s grey and red pickup truck peel out of the lot and onto the street.

“What’s your name?” Ray asked the girl once the truck was well out of sight.

“Amanda,” she answered.

“You live around here?”

She shook her head no.

“What were you doing with that guy?”

“He’s just…some guy,” she said, tapping her fingertips to her cheek to survey the damage.

“How old are you?”


“Yeah, twenty-three,” Ray said in disbelief.

“I am,” she insisted. “Why, how old are you?”

Ray didn’t answer. “You have somewhere to go?” he asked.

The girl shook her head again.

“What the hell are we supposed to do now?” Ray asked Duncan.

Duncan leaned over and swiped up the girl’s bag from the ground beside the vending machine and handed it back to her.

Both Ray and Duncan knew they couldn’t just let the girl go off on her own, not after what had transpired. By the way she looked at Ray, it seemed as though she didn’t want that either.

“Fuck it, let’s go,” Ray said.

“Where?” the girl asked.

“Where do you think?”


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Genre – Contemporary Fiction/Literary Fiction

Rating – R

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Author Interview – Michael J. Webb @mjwebbbooks

Why did you choose to write this particular book?

I regularly drive long distances and have a great deal of time to think.  One morning, as I was headed to an appointment, the opening lines from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities scrolled through my mind unexpectedly:  “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

As I meditated on those powerful words in terms of the present condition of our fallen world, a fascinating thought popped into my head.  What would happen if my wife and I were on a commercial airliner that crashed within a few minutes of takeoff killing everyone on board—except us!  We awaken exactly 24 hours later, at home, in our bed, dressed in the same clothes we’d worn to the airport.  How would we explain what happened to us?

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

Finding a way to successfully integrate multiple points of view from my various key characters.  I started out with only two primary characters, Ethan Freeman and Sam Weaver.  The other characters were supposed to be supporting actors and actress.  Well, a funny thing happened along the way to the final cut.  My supporting characters took on fascinating lives of their own.  They also began to take over my story!

I found myself inundated with demands from them to give each of them more screen time.  Not to mention, I fell in love with every one of them. It was very hard to say no.  I knew I was treading on thin ice, not to mention breaking a number of key writing “rules,” but they were relentless.  I struggled to keep them in their place until I decided that the best way was to try and mimic stylistically what Tolkien did with his characters.

Not surprisingly, it was a daunting task. The jury is still out on whether or not I even

came close to achieving my goal.  In my own mind, I know I have a long way to go as a writer before I can even think about being mentioned in the same breath as Tolkien, but it’s not a bad goal to set.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Most of us, sadly, see the world three-dimensionally.  But, as Rod Serling, the creator of The Twilight Zone was fond of saying: There is another dimension–a fourth dimension. A dimension not of sight or sound, or taste or touch, or hearing, but one that overlays the one we accept as the “real” world. A parallel universe layered over the terrestrial realm like a gossamer veil. In order to “see” into this realm and interact with it we must use gifts given to us by God that transcend our fleshly bodies—and our souls.

The realm of Spirit.

I’m inspired by God to write about this realm and explore the consequences of ignoring, denigrating, or misrepresenting its power to impact our lives for all eternity.  There is a quote from one of the minor prophets in the Old Testament, Hosea, in which God says: My people perish for lack of knowledge.  People perish every day because they are ignorant of the things of the spirit and live only in the dimension of what their five senses tell them is real.  We were created to achieve far more than most of us realize.  We seek answers to our questions from an intellectual perspective, believing the disciplines of science, psychology, sociology, law, etc. can provide them.  While they can, in measure, we should not neglect to ask the One who created those disciplines, and everything else. He has ALL the answers and gives them freely to us of we simply knock at His door and keep on knocking until He responds.

Infernal Gates

Ethan Freeman, ex-Special Forces Ranger, wakes up to discover he is the sole survivor of a fiery commercial airline crash that killed his entire family. His nightmare is only beginning when he becomes the FBI’s prime suspect. Only Ethan knows he’s not a cold-hearted murderer, but he has no idea what happened to him–and why he alone survived.

He finds an unlikely ally in Sam Weaver, the NTSB Chief Investigator. An ex-military pilot, Sam senses Ethan is innocent. She tries to remain dispassionate in her investigation of the crash even as she finds herself attracted to the man who may be America=s worst homegrown mass-murderer.

Neither Ethan nor Sam realize that shadowy spiritual forces are at work which will alter their lives forever.

A monstrous evil, imprisoned since the time of the Pharaohs, has been released by The Nine, a sinister group of powerful men and women who believe they are the direct descendants of the Anunnaki, ancient Sumerian gods. The demon they have unleashed intends to free The Destroyer from The Abyss, the angelic prison referred to in the Book of Revelation, and unleash a worldwide reign of terror and annihilation.

Facing impossible odds, time is running out for Ethan and all of humanity as he is drawn into an ever-deeper conspiracy–millennia in the making–and learns that he is the key to stopping The Nine. Will he overcome his deepest fears and find reserves of strength he never knew he had as he confronts pure evil in order to save himself and an unsuspecting world?

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Genre – Christian Thriller, Fantasy, Adventure

Rating – PG-13

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The author is giving away the following prizes — mailed directly to the winner’s email address from


5 Kindle copies of Infernal Gates

5 Kindle copies of The Oldest Enemy

5 Kindle copies of The Master’s Quilt

Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Author Interview – Colin Falconer @colin_falconer

Image of Colin Falconer

What movie do you love to watch?

I watch what I like to write – the big historical epics – Gladiator, The Last Samurai, Dances with Wolves, Gone with the Wind.

How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they a good thing?

I think they’re great to establish and develop connections with your readers. I love that I can talk to my readers now, it was so much harder than the old days when letters to my publishers would take weeks sometimes months to get to me. It’s also great to make connections with other writers. But I think there’s a real danger of spending all your time on social media instead of spending your time writing books. It can be a great time waster. Most writers procrastinated enough before social media came along!

How do you think people perceive writers?

People either think I spend all day drinking coffee, having deep conversations about Hemingway with John Grisham and driving supermodels around in a Ferrari or they look at me with genuine pity, assuming I survive on benefits. There’s rarely any middle ground.

What’s the reason for your life? Have you figured out your reason for being here yet?

That’s what writing is for.  Picasso said something about creating art to explain life to ourselves. I agree with that.

How do you feel about self-publishing?

I love self publishing. I have all my backlist re-edited and online now and it wasn’t available before, especially in the US. I can also publish ISABELLA instead of waiting for over a year for it to come out, I have control over marketing – though I don’t have the same marketing muscle, but hell, if the publisher only uses the muscle for a handful of authors, what difference does it make?  – and I can control the cover. I don’t get the editing but my current trad published book required very little so I’m confident I can go on my own these days.


She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.

12 year old Isabella, a French princess marries the King of England – only to discover he has a terrible secret. Ten long years later she is in utter despair – does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death – or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?

Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight – but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage – and England apart.

Who is Piers Gaveston – and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?

The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny – but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life – and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.

This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England – and win.

In the tradition of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick, ISABELLA is thoroughly researched and fast paced, the little known story of the one invasion the English never talk about.

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG-13

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Author Interview – Ava Zavora @avazavora

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I proudly call the San Francisco Bay Area my home. This region is so beautiful that it has become the primary setting for my first two published novels. Like Stephen King, who sets his novels in his home state of Maine, I feel most comfortable writing about a place I not only love but with which I am familiar.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

People in my life, strangers, the news, perhaps an overheard conversation in a cafe all have the potential to inspire me. I am a rapacious people-watcher and perk up when I hear or see something “novelesque.” Also, I get many of my ideas from reading nonfiction, such as memoirs and science books. Truth is stranger and more entertaining than fiction.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

There is an early scene in the musical Moulin Rouge where Ewan McGregor’s character is pounding away on his typewriter in a Parisian garret while a troupe of bohemian performers dance in the room above him. Sad to say, that wildly idealized picture has always been my fantasy of a writer’s life.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?

I would kill to have been invited a real, one-of-a-kind gathering. Lake Geneva, June 1816. Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and John Polidori were in a candlelit room together while a thunderstorm raged outside. They challenged each other to write a ghost story. Byron started reciting “Christabel” by Coleridge, which so frightened Shelley that he ran out of the room. Polidori was inspired to write the first English language vampire story called The Vampyre. And Shelley’s girlfriend, Mary? That night she came up with the beginning of a little something called Frankenstein.

Have you met any people in the industry who have really helped you?

My current editor, Orry Benavides, and I met in Facebook and were part of the same authors group. Although we have very different styles of writing, we clicked on an artistic level. So when it came time to choose an editor for Dear Adam, I trusted no one but Orry. He did a phenomenal job.


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Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Ava Zavora on Facebook & Twitter

Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sarah Krisch #Romance #AmReading

  1. I am a mother of three boys.  They keep me very busy with their myriad of activities!
  2. My full-time job is a manager in a large corporation, where I am constantly challenged to be a better leader.  I am very fortunate to work with such a great team of people.
  3. My husband is a full-time writer, Glen Krisch.  He writes horror and supernatural thrillers, which is quite a departure from my light-hearted romance.
  4. We have a major case of role-reversal in my home.  My husband works from home full-time, while I work outside of the home.  I am very lucky to have his support in pursuit of my business career, as well as my fledgling writing career.
  5. I am a vegetarian, and have been for more than 20 years.  It’s definitely not for everyone.  One of our kids claims to be a vegetarian, aside from the occasional corn dog.  Another would chase a cow across a field with a knife and fork.
  6. My dream vacation always includes a quiet beach.
  7. I love to craft.  I enjoy sewing, knitting, and painting.  Our middle son tells me he is going to be an artist when he grows up, so now that I have a partner in crime, I can shamelessly spend money on fabric, paint and whatever else strikes our fancy.
  8. My favorite way to relax is with a cup of tea and my Kindle.
  9. My favorite memories always include my siblings.  We have such fun together.  In a few weeks, some of us are going on a research trip to a ghost town for Glen’s next horror novel.
  10. I enjoy the outdoors.  I love to hike in the local canyons, view the waterfalls, and spot the wildlife.


A failed actress, twenty-something Julia McCarthy begins writing a fictionalized blog as a form of self-therapy. Based on her carefree summers at her grandparents’ farm, she never expects her little experiment to garner a viral following, but it does. Boy, does it ever.

Now, with thousands of loyal blog followers, and a syndication deal with the Chicago Herald, Julia is approached by GreenTV to adapt her blog into a TV show. The producers see her as a “Rachel Ray on the Prairie-type”. She sees herself as a fraud.

In Julia’s fictional world, she’s successful. She can pay her bills on time. Heck, she even has a fictional gorgeous husband and charming little boy. Ready to realize her dreams, Julia returns to her grandparents’ farm to shoot the TV pilot.

Brad Taylor is definitely not her type: he’s rugged, sensible, and oh-so smug about learning that Julia’s blog is a farce. As the manager of her grandparent’s farm, Brad doesn’t have time to deal with whimsical women who don’t even know how to cook.

Julia can’t allow her attraction to Brad to distract her, not when her dreams are about to come true. But are these truly her dreams, her good life?

A fun, fast (150 pages) contemporary romance

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Sarah Krisch on Facebook

Getting to Know #Author Rayne Hall @RayneHall #Horror #WriteTip

Image of Rayne Hall

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I grew up in rural southern Germany, near Lake Constance, the Black Forest, the Hegau Mountains and the Swiss border. I’ve travelled a lot and lived and worked in many countries – including China, Nepal and Mongolia  – and the experience of these landscapes and cultures has definitely influenced my writing. The story Turkish Night, for example, is inspired by bellydancing in Bodrum, while Black Karma is set in Nepal.

Now I live on the south coast of England, in a dilapidated town of former Victorian grandeur, near roaring waves clashing against chalk cliffs, cemeteries clustering around ancient churches, and medieval castle ruins washed by rain. All these places feed my imagination, and you will recognise some of them in Thirty Scary Tales.

 Where do you get your inspiration from?

Most of my horror story ideas come from my own fears – things that frighten me, places that creep me out, nightmares that keep me awake at night. Thousands of ideas flutter around in my head at the same time. Sometimes, two or three of those ideas click together like jigsaw pieces, and that’s when a story starts to form. The location is almost always one of the first pieces to click. I like to set my stories in unusual, atmospheric places.

The stories in Thirty Scary Tales are definitely inspired by places where I’ve lived and travelled – the streets of Nepal, the cliffs on the English coast, the stone circles of Cornwall…

Do you plan to publish more books?

I’ve had about fifty books published (under several pen names, in several genres, by several publishers, in several languages) and I’m definitely not going to stop now!

I’m already at work on several new titles: Writing Dark Stories for my bestselling series of writing craft books, an anthology of dragon fantasy stories, a collection of steampunk stories, another collection of horror stories, a sequel to my bestselling dark epic fantasy novel Storm Dancer, and more.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

While I’ve been writing professionally for over thirty years, I’ve also always done other jobs at the same time: teaching adult education, journalism, magazine editing, consulting… even weird things like belly dancing and tarot reading. I was  a museum guide,  development aid worker, a trade fair hostess, a bilingual secretary and an apple picker.

Sometimes the writing has been my main job, sometimes a sideline, but I’ve always written, and I’ve always done something else. I need the variety.

The great thing about these jobs is that they feed my fiction.  In the Thirty Scary Tales collection, the story Turkish Night is about belly dancing, and The Painted Staircase is about a guided museum tour, and they ooze authenticity.

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?

Hmm – if there’s a programme combining archaeology, ancient history, mythology and literature?

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

I find switching between different ways of writing stimulates my creativity. Sometimes I use a laptop, sometimes I type with an Alphasmart, sometimes I write by hand. For longhanding, I like ruled hardback A5-sized notebooks and coloured gel pens.

I write at a desk at home, in quiet coffeeshops and (weather permitting) in parks or on the beach.

Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

Thirty Scary Tales is a collection of creepy, atmospheric, unsettling stories. They’re the suspenseful, psychological, disturbing kind of horror, not the violent gory kind. However, I wouldn’t recommend the book for young readers without parental guidance.

It’s a compilation of volumes 1-5 of the Six Scary Tales series. For this book, I wrote a paragraph  for each story about where the inspiration came from. Fans tell me they love these insights into the author’s mind.

The collection includes some of my most popular stories, including The Bridge Chamber (which some readers say still scares them years after reading it) and the award-winning Burning.

What’s your next project?

I’m always working on several projects at once. Right now, I’m revising a steampunk story about a werewolf  in a funicular railway car and a fantasy story about an introvert dragon. I’ve started another book for my bestselling series of writing craft books for authors, a practical guide titled Writing Dark Stories. I’m also writing a sequel to my bestselling dark epic fantasy novel Storm Dancer. And of course I’m writing more horror stories! I like having several projects on the boil at once, so I can switch between them and never get bored.

When and why did you begin writing?

When I was six, I told the teacher that the stories in the school book were stupid and I could write better ones. She challenged me to write a story about a letter’s adventures from writing to delivery. When I handed it in, she was startled that a six year-old could write so well. Of course, she didn’t know I’d had the help of my older sister. From then on, when the other kids had to read the dull pieces for their homework, she often assigned me to write stories, and I soon learnt to do it without my sister’s help.

When did you first know you could be a writer?

As soon as I discovered that there were people who wrote books I wanted to become one of them.

Who designed the cover?

I commissioned an artist, Xteve Abanto, to paint an image for Thirty Scary Tales. I didn’t want the usual blood-dripping axe and gory grinning head so often seen on horror covers, because my stories aren’t violent and gory. Creepy, atmospheric, spooky, attractive, eerie, scary… that’s what I asked Xteve to convey visually. He came up with this head of which he says “It scared the shit outta me.”

Which of the stories in Thirty Scary Tales is the scariest?

For me personally, it’s The Bridge Chamber. It scared me so much while I was writing it, I had to stop for several days before I found the courage to continue.

Do you get nightmares?

To a horror writer, nightmares are a gift. What frightens us in our sleep is surely going to scare our readers when they’re awake.  I use the dreams as raw materials for stories, changing the plot to make it plausible. However real dreams feel when we have them, in the cold light of day the events aren’t always believable, so I change them. However, I try to stay faithful to the core idea of the dream, and to capture that scary feeling.

Several stories in Thirty Scary Tales are inspired by nightmarish dreams, including The Painted Staircase where I dreamt that I was getting pulled into a shipwreck painting.

Where do you write?

I live in a seaside town in the south of England. My writing desk faces the window, so on sunny days I see the sun dancing like diamond sparkles on the sea surface. In the autumn, I watch the storm whip the water into a dark frenzy beneath angry clouds. Often, the view is mist-veiled or streaked with the rain’s silver drizzles.  I love the sounds of the wind lashing against the wall, raindrops drumming on the glass, and seagulls screeching in the wake of the dawn fishing fleet.

I also write outdoors when I can, taking pens and a notebook with me to parks, gardens or the beach. Coffeeshops are also inspiring places to write – I confess that I often eavesdrop on other people’s conversations and use them as inspiration for the stories I write.

What’s your favourite social media network?

Twitter. I’m very active there, sharing #writetip tweets and interacting with my fans. Unlike many people, I’m genuine. I don’t use any kind of auto-tweet, auto-thanks, auto-retweet, auto-response and such, and I don’t post constant buy-my-book tweets.  I respect my followers, and they appreciate it. I have over 40,000 followers, and I value every one of them. If you tweet that you’ve read this interview, I’ll follow you back: @raynehall.

Thirty Scary Tales

Thirty creepy, atmospheric stories by Rayne Hall.

The horror in these stories is spooky, creepy, unsettling and sometimes disturbing. It is not very violent or gory; however, the stories may not be suitable for young readers without parental guidance. PG 13.

This book is a compilation of volumes 1-5 of the Six Scary Tales books. It includes the acclaimed stories Burning and The Bridge Chamber.

All stories have been previously published in magazines, ezines, collections and anthologies. British English.

Stories in collection include:
The Devil You Know, Greywalker, Prophetess, Each Stone A Life, By Your Own Free Will, The Bridge Chamber, Only A Fool, Four Bony Hands, The Black Boar, Double Rainbows, Druid Stones, Burning, Scruples, Seagulls, Night Train, Through the Tunnel, Black Karma, Take Me To St. Roch’s, Turkish Night, Never Leave Me, The Colour of Dishonour, Beltane, The Painted Staircase, I Dived The Pandora, Terre Vert and Payne’s Grey, They Say, Tuppence Special, Disturbed Sleep, Normal Considering the Weather, Arete.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Horror

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Rayne Hall on Twitter

Getting to Know #Author J.L. Myers @BloodBoundJLM #PNR #YA

Tell us about your family?

My family consists of my husband and my son. I still have both my parents (divorced back when I was 4) and a step mother…not the evil kind, she’s actually am amazing woman. I have a number of half and step siblings, 2.5 sets of grandparents still alive, and so many aunties and uncles that I couldn’t count or even name them all. Though to my defence, some live in the Europe and I’ve only met them back when I was one.

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

I write everywhere and on whatever is available for me to write on. If I plan to write I’ll usually use my laptop and get comfy on the couch. On the flip side, if I’m writing new ideas about new stories or characters, I’ll grab my notebook and pen down the details. I have also gotten used to carrying pens and blank sheets of paper or tiny notebooks with me at all times when I’m out. For some reason, and usually when I’m driving, amazing and awesome things occur to me and I just have to pull over to write them down. These things range from scenes I’m currently working on to completely new ideas for a character or plot.

Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?

I am slowly meeting new people in the industry from other authors to editors etc. In the future I hope to have a great network of friends who I can offer support to and them to me. Right now though my main support comes from my family, my biggest cheerleaders being my husband and 4-year-old son.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

Years ago I used to need 9+ hours, and even that were never enough. Fortunately these days 6-7 hours is plenty and instead of waking groggy and wanting to keep dozing, I’m instantly into my day.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

I’ve said it a million times, and will probably say it a million more. Thank you to my loving and supportive husband and 4yo son. The birth of my son and suffering postpartum depression was the catalyst that ignited my need to write, to have an outlet to work through pain and darkness. Even at 4 his support through excitement means the world to me. And my husband is my rock and the confidence I need when mines lacking. Without them I wouldn’t be where I now am today.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

I think success in writing is putting yourself out there and being able to touch the lives of random strangers with your writing. You don’t have to be J.K. Rowling or a New York Times Bestseller. For me, just knowing I’ve reached an audience and have people who love what I do is true success.

It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?

I combine a concoction of social media, free eBook promotions, and am now launching this book tour. Other things I do is keep my website up to date, post author blogs and book news from my website, connect with readers and other authors, and get my book on as many online sites as possible, like Goodreads, which is also a great place to let readers know about your work. Marketing is a continual process, and I am still learning and discovering new ways to find people who’ll love reading my books.

Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

What Lies Inside is about Amelia’s development from believing she’s human to accepting that she is and always has been a vampire. The novel delves into Amelia’s self-alienation in believing she’s not worthy as a person, and the progress of finding total and accepting love with a guy who was raised to hate and kill her. Elements of betrayal play along with Amelia’s self-discovery and a surprise twist turns her journey into a battle of life and death…

Why did I write What Lies inside? Following the birth of my son, via emergency C-section and with the onset of postpartum depression after many resulting issues, I got heavily back into reading. It was my escape from reality. The only problem was that the stories I was reading didn’t speak to the pain I was feeling. So I had an idea, a last stitch effort to reach out for something to hold on to.

This was my light bulb moment.

I would write my own story, the story I wanted and needed to read, and a story where the turmoil of my current and previous struggles were the driving force.

That day the first words to What Lies Inside were written, and something amazing was started. More than an escape, the determination to write this story gave me a purpose. It became a channel to take everything I was feeling—the anger, the regret, the despair, the betrayal, the disappointment and the loneliness—and turn it into an outlet that helped me through one of the darkest periods of my life.

For the full blog article visit:

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?

I love to read, paranormal romance currently, but also urban fantasy and any kind of supernatural themed books, especially series. I’m much more likely to give a new book a go if it’s a series over a stand-alone. I also get into shows like TVD, Supernatural and The Gates, though with always feeling the itch to keep on writing, I don’t take too much time out to watch these shows. Writing always comes first.

Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?

Find a book, TV show or movie that you love, take a load off and let your mind recharge. Spend time with family and away from your writing. Even though for me this doesn’t stop me thinking about whatever writing I’m currently working on, it usually gives me perspective and new insight by giving my mind time to discover little writing gems rather than trying to force them. Also I find that if I’m tired and getting stuck, I can sit and go around in circles for ages and get nowhere. Making time to walk away and relax always gives your muse the space and creative power to find the answer you’re looking for.

How often do you write? And when do you write?

I write just about every day, though I’ll usually have Sundays off. I tend to start writing in the mornings straight after breakfast, when yesterday’s ideas have had time to stew and my hand is itching to kit a keyboard or pick up pen. Each day I set goals, either word count, number of scenes or chapters, depending on whether I’m writing draft or doing revision and rewrites. I try to take a break around every two hours, and on days when my son’s at kindergarten I can keep going until mid afternoon, which is usually when my brain is feeling pretty fried and fatigued.

Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule?

From taking the revision course How To Revise Your Novel, I have developed processes that have vastly improved my writing, especially from first draft. In the beginning I split a story idea into scenes and write a single sentence that encompasses what’s important in that scene. When I have all my scenes down to sentences I’m ready to start writing with a clear idea of the whole story that I’m trying to tell. There are many other aspects and steps I go through from draft to final book, and I strongly recommend Holly Lisle’s above course if you’re a writer who’s finished a book and needs help with revision. She also has other writing courses and they are all worth a look at.

Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it – What keeps you going?

My love for writing and having set a goal to complete the Blood Bound Series is one major thing that keeps me going. The other is the readers. Every time I get an email, review or new website subscribers, I am reminded that there are people out there that love what I’ve created and can’t wait for the next instalment.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?

I hope that apart from loving the story I have created along with my characters, that people will find a deeper connect with their own lives. I hope people will see that even when everything is falling apart that there is still hope, that being different (no matter how much) doesn’t make you less of a person, and doesn’t mean you don’t deserve love and acceptance. I hope people come away feeling like they do have someone in their life that has and always will be there for them, and that no matter what, they will never be alone. But in the end I hope people find their own meaning in what I’ve created, a positive that can change, influence or help an area of their lives that they’re struggling with.

What Lies Inside

Amelia Lamont never asked to unleash her inner vampire

Amelia’s normal teen world is shattered when a terrifying nightmare awakens the monster inside her. A newfound, insatiable thirst for blood that leads her to drain the school quarterback is only the beginning; she’s horrified to discover that her family and best friend Kendrick have been harboring the secret all along. And is the strangely alluring boy who seems hell-bent on curbing her murderous, blood-filled desires a friend, or foe?

To escape detection Amelia and her twin brother Dorian are forced to move to a new town, and the challenge of a new, exclusive high school where nearly every classmate smells like prey. Including the irresistible Ty, who seems hauntingly familiar, yet darkly menacing …

Amelia’s disturbing dreams and entanglement in a web of forbidden romance render her increasingly powerless against the chilling lies and secrets of vampire power struggles. And, as she soon discovers, vampire politics mixed with outlawed love can be a lethal cocktail.

Falling in love may just cost Amelia everything: her friends, her family…even her life

Move over Twilight, True Blood and Underworld! J.L. Myers’ first book in the Blood Bound series will have you swooning for more!

Warning – This book contains some language and sexual situations.

YA/ Vampire/ Paranormal Fiction

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – YA Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG-13+

More details about the author

Connect with  Jessica Myers on Facebook & Twitter


Getting to Know #Author James Shipman @jshipman_author #Historical

Image of James Shipman

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

In my mind, success is rising to the level you can control.  I make analogy to a music band.  A serious group of musicians who work very hard in a consistent manner over time will ultimately reach a level locally or regionally where they have some recognition.  They are selling some albums, they are booking some venues, they are making some money (perhaps turning a profit, perhaps not).  That is a level I know I can achieve and I am in the process of achieving.  Anything beyond that is icing on the cake.

It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?

I have a number of followers on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.  I communicate with them regularly and with my author friends.  I do some light advertising and I do local presentations and book signings.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?

Ghandi, Julius and Augustus Caesar, Louis XIV, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Suleiman the Great, Constantine XI, George Washington, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln . . . yeah history people.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?

I love to read, go out on my boat, walk, go to the theater, dining, travel, watching shoddy tv.

How often do you write? And when do you write?

I typically write three or four days a week.  I write after work for an hour or so and then usually for longer periods on the weekend.  When I’m writing a novel, I try to write 7,000 words a week, I hit that mark 80% of the time.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About James D. Shipman

  1. The day job.  James D. Shipman is a full time family law attorney in Everett, Washington.  He started his practice in 1998.  He also serves as a mediator assisting other attorneys and their clients in resolving their family law cases through settlement rather than trial.
  2. Fantasy novel.  Although James Shipman writes historical novels, he did write a fantasy comedy novel in 1998 titled “Willie-Washer’s Local No. 38.”  WWL follows the adventures of Solomon Khash as he parties with gelatinous cubes, chases the beautiful Princess Jenny, and saves the Irth from the evil Ug Slugs.
  3. Kids.  James Shipman has three kids aged 15, 13, and 10.  They attend school north of Seattle and are involved in soccer, baseball, and generally getting in mild trouble.
  4. Red Cross.  James has been involved for many years volunteering for Red Cross.  In 2006 he was the Chair of the National Committee on Resolutions, one of two national committees for the American Red Cross.
  5. Fish.  James has a saltwater reef tank in his office.  He speaks German randomly to his fish, although they don’t typically respond.
  6. Comicon.  James has appeared at the Rose City Comicon and Emerald City Comicon at an author table for the past two years.
  7. Next book.  James’s next title is “Going Home,” a civil war historical novel based on a true story.  “Going Home” will be released in July, 2014.
  8. Istanbul.  James was able to visit Istanbul this past year as part of the final research for Constantinopolis.  Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities in the world to view from the water, and has a rich Greek and Turkish history.
  9. History.  James has a history degree from the University of Washington.
  10. Gonzaga.  James completed his law degree in 1998 from Gonzaga University.

In 1453 Constantinople is the impregnable jewel of the East. It has stood as the greatest Christian city for a millennium as hordes have crashed fruitlessly against its walls.

But Mehmet II, the youthful Sultan of the Ottoman Turks, has besieged the city. His opponent is Constantine XI, the wise and capable ruler of the crumbling Eastern Roman Empire. Mehmet, distrusted by his people and hated by his Grand Vizer, must accomplish what all those before him have failed to do: capture Constantinople. To prove that he deserves the throne that his father once took from him, Mehmet, against all advice, storms the city. If he fails, he will not only have failed himself and his people, but he will surely lose his life.

On the other side of the city walls, the emperor Constantine must find a way to stop the greatest army in the medieval world. To finance his defenses, he becomes a beggar to the Pope, the Italian city-states, and the Hungarians. But the price for aid is high: The Pope demands the Greeks reunite the Eastern and Western churches and accept the Latin faith. If Constantine wants aid for his people he must choose between their lives and their souls.

Two leaders, two peoples, two faiths battle for their future before the mighty walls of Constantinople.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  James Shipman on Facebook & Twitter


The Photo Traveler (The Photo Traveler Series) by Arthur J. Gonzalez @arthurjgonzalez


By now I’m so groggy that the police sirens flooding the air sound like a roaring in my ears. Then I hear banging on the front door and men shouting. For all I know, they could be angels who’ve come to rescue me. As Jet raises his fist to pummelme again, Dina rushes out from the kitchen and sprints to the door like a mouse scurrying to snatch her cheese. As the police break through, she screams, “Help! Please! He’s going to kill him!”

The officers wrestle Jet to the floor. One of them knocks out his front tooth. I collapse at the foot of the stairs. Searing pain is radiating through my body. Mel finally comes running from her room sobbing as the police handcuff Jet and drag him out to one of the patrol cars. They tell us that he’ll be booked and held until he’s arraigned and can make bail.

I see Dina’s shoulders sag in relief, as if a burden’s been suddenly lifted from her. It’s a feeling I can relate well to. If Jet’s out of the house, that’ll give us at least a few days of peace, without the constant reminder of how miserable our lives are. And I’ll have some time to figure out what I’m going to do.

Meanwhile, the paramedics, who charged in right behind the police and rushed to check me out, tell me I should be monitored for a possible concussion.

“No, I’m fine,” I keep insisting. “Just let me go to my room.”

They leave shaking their heads, but I’m stuck downstairs for almost an hour while the police take statements from all three of us. Their report includes a lot of history about the violence in our “home”.

After the police finally leave, Dina comes over and puts her hand on my shoulder. She’s been crying pretty much nonstop, and her eyes are red and swollen. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I should have done this a long time ago… Are you doing okay?”

Every rib on my left side is pulsing with fire, but I tell her, “I’m fine. Thank you.”

I hug her as best I can, but I can’t help grunting from the pain. I look over at Mel, who’s huddled on the couch, and I can read everything she wants to tell me from the expression on her face. I see that she’s really sorry. She gives me a quick glance, then immediately drops her gaze to the floor as if she’s embarrassed. But I have no real idea why she should feel embarrassed when it was Jet who attacked me. Maybe it’s finally dawned on her that her lies fueled the entire thing. Again.

I start to make my way up the stairs to my room, but I have to hold on to the railing instead of bouncing up two steps at a time the way I usually do. When I reach the top, I stop and turn back to look down at Dina.

“You should be proud,” I say, followed by a grunt of pain. “You’ve set yourself free.”

* * *

Photo Traveler

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Genre – Young Adult Science Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Arthur J. Gonzalez on Facebook & Twitter


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