Tuesday, April 10, 2018

G.L. Cromarty Interview


First off, tell us a little bit about you~
I grew up in the UK and move to Perth, Western Australia eleven years ago, where I now live with my husband and my two oddball cats. I love exploring historical sites from all cultures, but I’m English so I definitely have a soft spot for old ruinous castles.

Tell us about your books/What genre do you consider your books? 
My books are sci-fi with a touch of fantasy. I love reading both so it’s not surprising that my books crosses over between the two.

When did you start writing? 
I never wrote as a child, but I read lots…it was pretty much all I wanted to do. Once I finished university and I had free time I started writing. I don’t think I have gone more than a few weeks without jotting down something since. I only dabbled in it for many years, mostly playing about with ideas and scenes that I never finished. Five years ago I moved into my current home, and on New Years Eve I set myself a goal to finish a story and publish a book.
It took my four years to get the book out there! But there is a world of ‘stuff’ going on between a draft and a finished book that I knew nothing about when I started.

Why do you write? 
Like most writers, I love it, pure and simple. I think I started reading as an escape from reality, and writing is a continuation of that. That doesn’t mean I dislike my life, I love it! Just that there is power in controlling a world you create yourself. In a book you get to play god with your imaginary characters. It’s an amazing feeling when you’re writing, and all the little threads come together and somehow out of nothing a whole story unfolds. We all desire to create something, for me, I like creating imaginary worlds.

What would be your choice for a superpower? 
To not need to sleep.

Who is your favorite author?
I would have to pick Tolkein, simply because I first fell in love with fantasy books after reading the Hobbit when I was about 13 years old. That book guided a good decade of reading habits.

What are you reading now?
I’ve just finished Feral by PJ Post, and I’m moving on to book two. Post-apocalyptic and not for the faint hearted! Loved book one and can’t wait for book two.

Who is your favorite character to write?
I feel bad parent saying I have a favorite…but well...It would have to be John Tanis from my Divided World trilogy. There’s a lot of fun to be had in writing an antihero. They just do things their own way. He has been exiled from his home world and ends up fighting for their enemy. He’s fiercely protective of his new people and will stop an nothing to keep them safe. And torn, because there are people he still loves in his former home. He has a code, but it’s not what you would consider normal. And violent…definitely violent.
A close second would be Nate, who is a bio-engineered man with cybernetic implants that allow him to infiltrate system. He comes with a few quirks and adds a little humor. 


Do you have a writing process?
I’ve become more disciplined over time. My first book turned into a trilogy, so I need to put a container around the idea or it never has an end!
· I start out with an idea.
· Brainstorm some key points, including the rough beginning and end.
· I usually get the beginning and end done fairly soon and then slot everything in between. It’s not a linear process and I jump around as new ideas emerge. Even though I plan a beginning and end I’m not worried if they change. I just need something to contain it before I start otherwise it just goes on…
· I have a comprehensive self-editing routine.
· And a wonderful bunch of beta readers (several are authors). I love people who poke holes in the story and challenge it.
· It takes me a long time from start to end, and there are many, many iterations before I even start thinking about fun stuff like covers!

What advice would you give to an aspiring author? 
Be prepared for the long haul.
You’re never going to be rich, don’t expect it.
Get a blog, twitter account and Facebook page set up early, but don’t be a slave to it…little and often.
Enjoy every stage.
Get feedback early, preferably from someone who does not know you personally and is prepared to give you good constructive feedback.
I am not a person awash with writerly confidence, and if you are anything like me, sharing your inner world is hard. I could have so easily spent the rest of my life writing bits and pieces and never shared with a soul. I am forever glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone. Someone telling you they loved your story is the most amazing feeling. Yes, not everyone will love your book, some people might even hate it, but that’s okay. Those who love it will make it all worthwhile, don’t deny yourself a chance to experience that.
JUST DO IT.

What inspired you to pursue writing? 
Toughie. I think I just have an active imagination, and writing my stories down naturally followed on. At the heart of it, a desire to share.

What are your favorite TV shows/Movies to watch in between writing? 
I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I do I tend to binge watch a whole show. Probably more TV than movies although I tend to go and see any big Sci-fi movies that come out.
Altered Carbon is my current favourite! But I also love GoT, 12 Monkeys, Daredevil, Westworld, and the Expanse series.

What are your current projects? 
I just finished the trilogy with the final book released on the 10th April.
And drafted book one of a new six book series set in the same universe. All new characters so it has been a lot of fun getting to know that. The premise is a war torn universe. One side is about to lose, and they know it. They send a series of colony ships to a distant planet identified as habitable. But when they arrive they find their barren planet has already been terraformed with a city under construction….the mysterious creators are not home.

Quick Fire: 
Cats or dogs? Cats
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Favorite food? cherries
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream? Vanilla
What are 3 things you never leave home without? Sunglasses, my phone, kindle
Laptop or desktop? laptop
Who are 3 famous people you would to hang out with? Can I stay at home with a good book?
TV or Movies? TV 




Visit me on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE to borrow any of my books for FREE!

Best-selling author of Wake the Dead! On Amazon Kindle here!

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney & Carlos Cara

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2014 unless otherwise noted.


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Hope For The Walking Dead?


As anyone who visits here periodically knows, I am a huge Walking Dead fan. Wake the Dead was inspired by it, and that book poured out of me in 3 months, I have honestly never been more inspired by any source material in the past before except for the R.A. Salvatore Drizz't series. Long story short, I do love the series despite the latest happenings that has left many fans less than satisfied...

***SPOILERS AHEAD, DUH!***


I don't mind when the TV show strays from the comic book source material that much, and kind of applaud Scott Gimple for at least having the fortitude to attempt doing so, no doubt wanting to leave his own mark on the TV series. Clearly the show has lost viewers, and it can be narrowed down to season 7 and beyond. But, is the ratings dive solely resting on Gimple's shoulders...or are we simply just numb to the show in and of itself? I feel strongly that it is the latter.

I am of the belief that the Negan War is partially the reason that the ratings for The Walking Dead are so abysmal. I know for a fact that after fan favorites died in episode 7.1 was not received well, or the fact that Negan, a sociopath in the eyes of 'Joe Public', was 'winning'. I tried seeing this personally, putting myself in the perspective of 'what if i had been watching Negan from day 1' camp, and kind of equated a lot of the same things that Rick's group did (perhaps not so joyfully). It is more than interesting to me to flip that switch, and as someone who writes, put myself in that perspective--quite an exercise in unbiased viewpoint. Is Negan a narcissist? Clearly. A Sadist? Indeed. A charismatic figure? hell, yes. But, i digress as I feel the Negan story-line has absolutely nothing to do with the decline in quality story-telling and feel that the show can come back from where it is now

I cant help but liken it to the Game of Thrones series in that it is very dark in nature, heroes die, evil seems to gain the upper hand more often that not, but the biggest contrast is perhaps that the horrors in Game of Thrones have a clear resolution coming, whereas the Walking Dead does not have an end point defined.

The looming death of Carl Grimes has had a tremendously negative effect on the audience, some going so far as to create online petitions  to get Gimple to resign. Other seemingly needless deaths and happening s have been unpopular with the TV fan base, such as the Negan kill scene between season 6 and 7, as well as the 'Glenn under the dumpster thing', etc., and i feel that the fact that the show makes the misery linger over season or mid-season finales mistaking this cliffhanger for 'buzz', but what it really does instead, is it prolongs the suffering perhaps too much. The 'Red Wedding', Ned's death and Bran being pushed out a window in of Game of Thrones, all set so early on in the series seemed to have a shock factor so great that fans didn't have much time to stew about them, followed source material almost explicit, AND there is a conclusion that is coming that seems will satisfy its fan base. Conversely, the Walking Dead deaths seem trivial and less impactful, (Glenn, Tyreese, Sasha, to name a few) as they only exist so as to spur changes in another character's decision making process in order to drive the story in an alternate direction, or more realistically, resolve contract negotiations with AMC.

All that said, The Walking Dead is still one of the best shows to ever hit the airwaves, will remain so, and I am hopeful that it will right the ship sooner rather than later.

What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments below.




Visit me on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE to borrow any of my books for FREE!

Best-selling author of Wake the Dead! On Amazon Kindle here!

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney & Carlos Cara

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2014 unless otherwise noted.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Misha Gerrick Interview

First off, tell us a little bit about you....
Thanks for having me over! 
I’m a South African born and raised, and I live on a farm in the beautiful Western Cape with my family and a small menagerie of pets. I love writing most of all, but when I’m not doing that, I’m usually doing some craft or the other while watching TV, or reading.

Tell us about your books/What genre do you consider your books?
I’m an eclectic writer, so my works in progress run the gamut from romance to time travel to epic fantasy… My currently published works are all fantasy of some sort. The War of Six Crowns is a YA Epic Fantasy/Portal Fantasy series, of which the first two book is published. 
Then I have the first book in an Urban Fantasy trilogy out as well, called Endless.

When did you start writing?
Depends on how you define “writing.” 
I was reciting stories and poetry to my grandmother before I went to school and dabbling with writing off and on throughout primary school.
But overall, I see myself as a writer starting the year 2001, because that’s the year I decided to be serious about writing and finishing my first novel. (It’s a romance novel. And I’m still working on it because it’s cursed, I tell you.) Sadly, I can’t be more specific than that, because I never marked the day I started, and sadly the first drafts of the book are all lost. Cursed.

Why do you write?
Writing and the arts are in my blood, so my life just feels incomplete if I don’t do it.

What would be your choice for a superpower?
I think I would like that time travel gift like in the movie About Time. I would probably use it to create more time for myself to read and write.

Who is your favorite author?
I don’t have one. I’ve honestly read so many good books in my life that it’s hard for me to pick out even a top 100.

What are you reading now?
Jane Eyre. It’s one of my bucket list books, and so far, I’m liking it a lot.

Who is your favorite character to write?
All of them. In a lot of ways, they’re alive to me, and often, even the ones I don’t like at all (looking at you, James) are still amazing to write because those are the ones that seem to come alive most, with my most vivid writing.

Do you have a writing process?
Yes. I rough draft by hand without planning anything. Then I take what I like from the draft and build a plan around it. After that, I rewrite to my computer, correcting the flaws and weaknesses I’d discovered during the rewrite. After that, I go through a slew of edits and revisions.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Try all the writing techniques at least once, but figure out what works for you. And don’t let anyone tell you that you’re doing it wrong. (The right way to write is the way you use to actually finish what you started.)
Bonus tip: Back. Up. Your. Work. Right now. NOW. Why are you still reading this? Go. Shoo.

What inspired you to pursue writing?
Nothing. It’s always been something I did because I enjoyed it. Although I suppose I wanted to try it back when I was five because my gran is a writer/poet and I was still in that “me too” phase. You know the one. “I want to do that too, Gran.” And she, in her infinite wisdom/cruelty, enabled me in this folly.

What are your favorite TV shows/Movies to watch in between writing?
I like basically anything and everything except for horror and erotica-type stuff, so I’m usually going through my Netflix, looking for something that strikes my fancy and suits my mood.

What are your current projects?
Depends on how you look at it. Current as in works in progress would be about ten open drafts.
Things I’m actively prioritizing at the moment: Book 3 in The War of Six Crowns, which I’m currently revising, and that cursed romance novel I mentioned, which I’m rewriting. A-freaking-gain.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?
If you do pick up my books, I just hope you enjoy them. And if you do, that you’ll get in touch to let me know.

Quick Fire:
Cats or dogs? Both. Also…horses.
Coffee or tea? Depends on the coffee…or tea.
Favorite food? Fillet steak with a cream-based mushroom sauce.
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream? Vanilla
What are 3 things you never leave home without? Notebook, cell phone, something to read/do (e.g. crocheting/needlepoint projects.)
Laptop or desktop? Laptop
Who are 3 famous people you would to hang out with? Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens (and if one of them couldn’t make it, Mark Twain.)
TV or Movies? Both.

You can find me and my books : Blog: http://sylmion.blogspot.com
Tumblr: http://mishagerrick.tumblr.com
Twitter: @MGerrick1
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFRZK0eX_vgzbF7jM91N8DA
Facebook: http://facebook.com/MishaGerrick
Intragram: http://instagram.com/MishaGerrick
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/98437.Stories_by_Misha_Gerrick





Visit me on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE to borrow any of my books for FREE!

Best-selling author of Wake the Dead! On Amazon Kindle here!

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney & Carlos Cara

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2014 unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Leah Reise Interview

First off, tell us a little bit about you

I’m a bit of a dreamer, and I consider myself mostly introverted. I enjoy spending most of my time alone. I love traveling the world alone. And I guess you could call me an observer of people. I’m a student of the human condition. Since I was a young girl, I enjoyed learning what makes people tick. Everything I learn about people, I apply in my writing of course. When it comes to education, I have my BA in Spanish, and then completed undergraduate credits for a Master’s of Science in Anthropology. Unfortunately, I never made the cut, but continued taking classes in the human condition and writing on the side. As for my career path, I’ve always worked in public health, mostly as a bilingual public health aide. The last 14 years, I’ve worked at a hospital as a Spanish English interpreter, and also as an insurance verifier, and registration clerk in Emergency Room and Admitting. This year, I also began scheduling in radiology and surgery. On my free time I write novels and write as a journalist for City To Country Magazine.

Tell us about your books/What genre do you consider your books?
My debut novel, which I self-published in July of 2016, is called The Beauty in Darkness: A Vampire Story. I am currently working on writing the sequel. It’s a fantasy trilogy set in San Francisco today. It’s a different kind a vampire story than people are used to, and carries a philosophical and scientific theme. The story is about love and loss and self discovery, which I hope inspires people to find happiness and joy amidst a dark chaotic world. I’ve also started writing a sci-fi novel called The Man Who Changed The Universe. It’s about a Blackfoot Indian man in Montana who finds when he sleeps he travels to parallel universes and wakes up in one of his many doppelgänger selves. That novel is on hold for the moment while I write the sequel to my Debut.

When did you start writing? 
I remember writing was something I loved as a child. Anything that took me somewhere else. Fantasy stories. Poems. Especially journaling through my hardships. For long time, I think writing was the only thing I excelled in. But it wasn’t until August of 2000 that I wrote my first article. It was about social justice, something I was passionate about. I brought it to the Sonoma County Peace Press, on a whim. The editor read the article right in front of me, and it brought tears to her eyes. That’s when I realized my writing could affect people. It was something I could use for a good cause, to bring awareness to the world.

Why do you write?
I write about anything I’m passionate about. Fiction and nonfiction. For City To Country Magazine, I write about positive and uplifting subjects to give people a little break from all the negativity in the world.

What would be your choice for a superpower?
Perhaps it would be flying and the ability to breathe in space and under water.

Who is your favorite author?
J.k. Rolling 

What are you reading now?
I have a weakness for vampire stories. At the moment, I’m reading Awake at Dawn by C. C. Hunter, and The Vampire Girl trilogy by Karpov Kindrade, a husband and wife author team who happen to be locals in my county. I’m also reading a few others on and off, like A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss. I love science and also anything relating to the human condition.

Who is your favorite character to write?
My favorite character in my debut is Pierre, the protagonist’s vampire maker. He is my favorite character to write because he’s the rawest character. He’s a man who lives with real terrors and because of them he hasn’t been the most honest with his immortal progeny. Like many people today, he has trouble facing his own inner darkness, and with that a tragedy from the past that forever haunts him in immorality. Because of this, even though he’s over 300 years old, he still has a long way to go when it comes to self discovery.

Do you have a writing process?
My writing process is probably the most unconventional. I don’t write out a full outline like most authors find most helpful. When I begin writing a novel most of the story is spinning around in my head from beginning to end. I do write down notes whenever an idea comes to mind, but my notes are usually scattered and unorganized. Most authors have to go back and re-structure their novels after they’re done with their “final draft” anyway. I always felt the best way to write is to just write whatever you can and whenever you’re in the most passionate mindset that’s best conductive for writing. I’m not always in this writing mode, so sometimes I just have to start writing. That often gets my thoughts flowing. .

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Just write. Don’t fear rejection or it will inhibit your work. Write for you. Tell the story of your dreams. Tell a story for the world. No matter what you write, there will always be both people who love and hate it. But completing a book is a great accomplishment on its own. Be proud of that, even if only a few people like it. As long as your write from the heart and have a story to tell, there will always be people interested.

What inspired you to pursue writing?
What inspired me to pursue writing was helping people find joy and happiness and sometimes dark and chaotic world. I love that creative writing has the power to bring hope to people. It has the power to give people a break from the negativities in the world and bring them into a place of dreams and fantasies. I found you can also do this with nonfiction while writing inspiring true stories.

What are your favorite TV shows/Movies to watch in between writing?
I have to say I love Harry Potter. I also love vampire movies, and fantasy movies and shows. Charmed and Buffy The Vampire Slayer are my two favorite TV shows. I also love science documentaries as science plays a big part in my writing.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?
If you love vampire stories and also have a passion for science and philosophy, check out my debut, The Beauty in Darkness: A Vampire Story. It’s definitely a different kind a vampire story. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter under Leah Reise, and my book page under The Beauty in Darkness: A Vampire Story.

Quick Fire:Cats or dogs? Cats
Coffee or tea? Both
Favorite food? Thai, Vietnamese, and Sushi!
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream? Chocolate
What are 3 things you never leave home without? Phone, wallet, and beef jerky lol
Laptop or desktop? Laptop
Who are 3 famous people you would to hang out with?
Stephen Hawking, The Dali Lama, and Carl Sagan
TV or Movies? Harry Potter!




Visit me on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE to borrow any of my books for FREE!

Best-selling author of Wake the Dead! On Amazon Kindle here!

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney & Carlos Cara

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2014 unless otherwise noted.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Karen Rhodes Interview


First off, tell us a little bit about you....
I trained as an accountant and sat on several Company Boards as Finance Director before becoming Managing Director of a UK engineering company in 2013, where I remained for four years but earlier this year decided it was ‘now or never’ and I was finally going to step away from this career and concentrate on my writing.
Since leaving my job, I’ve become a total gym nutter and boxercise fanatic and train at least four times a week – I find it helps me to concentrate better now I’m working from home.
I live in a sleepy little village in South East England which I love and find lots of inspiration for my characters on a daily basis but probably best to keep that one a secret!

Tell us about your books/what genre do you consider your books?
So, I started work on my first novel in March this year having had several ideas floating around for quite some time. I have always wanted to write for young adults and being a mega fan of fantasy and sci-fi and having what my mother calls ‘a big imagination’ although I think she means I’m prone to exaggeration, I was never going to dabble in anything else. The book centers on a young human girl taken against her will by a demon to become his Queen in the Underworld and the massive turmoil and conflict his irrational move causes for everyone, both on the surface and in the Underworld.

When did you start writing? 
I wrote my first mini book at the age of five, in my first year at school. The then head teacher was so impressed, that she had the book bound and for many years it sat in the display cabinet in the school’s front entrance. But seriously, I have written all my life, from poetry to short stories. I always wanted to write for a living rather than just for pleasure and decided earlier this year that I need to write up all the stories floating around in my head before I’m too old and decrepit to remember them!

Why do you write?
I write because I have this huge imagination that leads me into constantly day-dreaming about changing ordinary situations into something more interesting or magical, even when I should be doing something else. Then I find I have to get these ideas down on paper before I lose them. It’s a compulsion – singers sing, whether they are famous or not they feel a need to do it, writers write!

What would be your choice for a superpower?
Mind reading without a doubt! Imagine all the things you would find out and all the embarrassing situations you could avoid!

Who is your favorite author?
This is a difficult one because the world is full of wonderful books written by wonderful authors, but if I have to pick one it would have to be Robert Jordan. I could read The Wheel of Time series over and over, in fact, I have!

What are you reading now?
I have such eclectic taste in books but in the main I tend to switch between historical fiction and fantasy/sci-fi. At the moment I’m reading The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin. Absolutely loving it!

Who is your favorite character to write?
Although my novel is based on Elice, Queen of the Dark Realms, my favourite character to write is definitely her 10 year old younger sister, Mercla. I have loosely based Mercla’s character on my young niece and I picture what she would be saying in certain circumstances or situations and it often makes me laugh out loud.

Do you have a writing process?
I plotted the story in my head, made copious notes then dived straight in. With this story, I knew exactly what I wanted the outcome to be and thankfully it just seemed to flow.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Being so new at this myself, any tips gratefully received.

What inspired you to pursue writing?
I think ‘who’ inspired me would probably be more appropriate here and along with JRR Tolkien (of course) it has to be my mother, who always said I had an over the top imagination that really should be put to better use!

What are your favorite TV shows/Movies to watch in between writing?
Well it has to be Game of Thrones without hesitation!

What are your current projects?
I am concentrating purely on QUEEN at the moment, with a view to making it the first of three books on Elice and the Underworld.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?
Don’t be afraid to try someone new, you never know they might just become your favourite author (and yes, tongue in cheek, I’m pushing myself here!!)

Quick Fire:Cats or dogs? Cats
Coffee or tea? Tea
Favorite food? Pasta
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream? Vanilla
What are 3 things you never leave home without? Phone, House Keys, Hairbrush
Laptop or desktop? Laptop
Who are 3 famous people you would to hang out with? Alison Weir – my all-time historical writing heroine; Peter Jackson – I’d love to persuade him to make QUEEN into a movie; Charles Dance – Big fan and I have the perfect part for him to play
TV or Movies? Both



Visit me on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE to borrow any of my books for FREE!

Best-selling author of Wake the Dead! On Amazon Kindle here!

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney & Carlos Cara

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2014 unless otherwise noted.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dawn Napier Interview

Do you ever get blocked in the middle of a story? How do you get around it?I usually take a break and write something unrelated, like a short story or a poem. Going back to it with fresh eyes usually helps me figure out where it’s going.

Do you listen to music while you're working? What are some of your favorite bands?


I don’t usually listen to music while I’m composing the first draft, but listening to mindless pop music helps me focus while I’m editing or rewriting.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?I am an animal hoarder in training, so when I’m not writing I’m usually walking a dog or cleaning out a litterbox or guinea pig cage.

If you weren't a writer, what would you be now?Miserable.

If a ten year old child approached you and said, "I want to be a writer when I grow up," what would you say to him or her?I’d high five them and say, “So do I!”

Tell us about your latest work. Wow us with it.My latest published work is entitled Star Pack, and it’s about werewolves in space. A planet of shape shifters learned how to travel between the stars as a way to escape the tyranny of the moon, and they wind up on Earth going, “Wait, have we been here before? These people seem to know about us.”

What were you most afraid of as a child? Has that changed?Deep water scared me half to death, and it was everywhere in upstate New York where I lived. The first time I visited a commercial beach I was blown away by how not-scary it was to go swimming.
I still don’t like it. When you can’t see the bottom, anything could be down there.

If you threw a dinner party for your literary heroes or inspirations, who would you invite and what would you serve?I would invite Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver, and Joyce Carol Oates. And maybe it’s mean of me, but I’d be tempted to invite EL James in the spirit of Dinner For Schmucks.
I don’t know what I would serve. I’d probably hire a caterer, bc I would already be freaking out over just having those people in my home.

What are some of the themes and questions of your stories? Are there any themes that recur throughout your work?
My themes tend to be about surviving the past and questioning the status quo. Star Pack takes an innocent-eye perspective towards social mores like organized religion, pop culture, and environmental protection as a way for me to think about them from an outsider’s point of view. Its main characters all have their own past troubles that they’re trying to escape by traveling through space, but they figure out pretty quickly that wherever you go, you take yourself along.

How old were you when you wrote your first story?Maybe six? Then I started submitting and collecting rejection slips when I was 16, and I published my first story at 35. It’s not a profession for people in a hurry.




Visit me on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE to borrow any of my books for FREE!

Best-selling author of Wake the Dead! On Amazon Kindle here!

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney & Carlos Cara

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2014 unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

J Kyle McNeal Interview

First off, tell us a little bit about you....

Hidden within a hemlock ‘fort’ on the side of a small mountain in North Carolina, I imagined vast new worlds and incredible adventures. I was a child then, but I’ve never stopped imagining. Now, I write about and share these worlds and adventures.
I’m a reformed engineer, a closet geek, a sports fanatic, and a very proud father.
Tell us about your books/What genre do you consider your books?
Fantasy—specifically epic fantasy—is my first passion. I’ve let the story arc for my Revisions to the Truth series (Birthrights, Broken Oaths, and two more to come) simmer in my head for a couple decades while I flavored it with life experiences and travels to over 40 countries. That said, I enjoy telling tales and write in a mix of genres and perspectives to keep my mind fresh.

When did you start writing?
I’ve dabbled in writing for most of my life, but with only the vague idea that I’d like to make it a career “some day” in the future. However, three years ago, after spending a decade establishing and running a factory in China, I decided to pursue my dream of writing full-time. During this period, I finished Birthrights (which I started in university), wrote Broken Oaths (the second book in the 4-book series), and penned a shorter Supernatural Suspense novel (while waiting for beta readers to review the Broken Oaths manuscript).

Why do you write?
We are all allowed a couple senseless choices in our lives, right? I mean, who wouldn’t walk away from a solid professional career to hole up alone a room and pound on a keyboard for long hours every day?

What would be your choice for a superpower?
I’d be grateful for any superpower—and be guaranteed to get myself in trouble using it. Forced to choose one, I suppose I’d select the ability to read minds—to understand the complex emotions that reside behind people’s words, expressions, and actions. Then, for once, I might win an argument with my wife. Or maybe not.

Who is your favorite author?
I owe debts to a great number of authors who’ve influenced both my perspective and my writing. When I consider an all-time favorite, though, George RR Martin takes a slight edge over Neil Gaiman. Though I’m not much a fan of his Conan books, Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) has surpassed Lord of the Rings as my favorite series—assuming he finishes the story in the next decade (and the HBO show doesn’t count).

What are you reading now?
I divide my reading into three categories — “audio”, “before sleep”, and “time to savor”. I listen to audio books while doing yard work and driving, and am currently nearing the end of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Before sleep, I’ve started reading short stories and am halfway through Lawless Lands: Tales from the Weird Frontier. My favorite reading, though, is when I have the chance to sit down and enjoy some uninterrupted time with a novel. At the moment, I’m enjoying The Six-Gun Tarot during these periods.

Who is your favorite character to write?
Kakati, the heroine in Broken Oaths, is hands down my favorite. She’s the type of free-thinking, boundary-pushing, ass-kicking young woman I hope my daughter will one day identify with (though not necessarily emulate in every regard).

Do you have a writing process?
I’m most efficient when I outline each chapter and write from start to finish. I’m most creative when I bounce between chapters based on inspiration, ignoring the outline when the characters insist. I try to find a balance between the two, but it’s a constant give and take.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Be ever hungry for constructive feedback and avoid mistaking criticism of your work for criticism of you. Cultivating a group of fellow authors who will push you to address the weaknesses in your writing style and stories is invaluable.

What inspired you to pursue writing?
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to write. The chance to create stories that give to others the enjoyment and inspiration I’ve received from reading books is a constant draw. And … being an author is more accessible than some of my other dreams—astronaut, superhero, pro athlete.

What are your favorite TV shows/Movies to watch in between writing?
The Last Kingdom and Game of Thrones are my two favorite series, but between writing I use sitcoms like palette cleansers. Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, and Life In Pieces are my top choices.

What are your current projects?
I’m finishing the final edits for Broken Oaths, Book 2 in the Revisions to the Truth series and, at the same time, finalizing Jugdes by Jij (YA Paranormal Suspense) to send to beta readers.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?
Should my writing interest you, I’d love for you to subscribe to my newsletter (available on www.jkylemcneal.com) so I can keep you updated on my projects as well as giveaways and sales.

Quick Fire:Cats or dogs? Dogs! My eyes swell shut around cats.
Coffee or tea? Tea — bubble tea if possible.
Favorite food? Thai food — hot and spicy
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream? Plain vanilla, that’s me … ha!
What is something you never leave home without? Clothes (at least not recently)
Laptop or desktop? Laptop for sure … like to change up positions.
Who are 3 famous people you would to hang out with?
1) JK Rowling
2) Neil Gaiman
3) Scarlett Johansson (shh, don’t tell Viki)
TV or Movies? Movies, though DVR’s have helped narrow the gap.




Visit me on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE to borrow any of my books for FREE!

Best-selling author of Wake the Dead! On Amazon Kindle here!

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney & Carlos Cara

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2014 unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Diana Anderson-Tyler Interview


First off, tell us a little bit about you....


Well, I’m a Texas girl, born and raised. I grew up on a farm and barrel raced (a mighty horseback sport down here in the south!) for fourteen years and played lots of sports. When I wasn’t outside, I was inside playing make-believe or scribbling down stories. I don’t play make-believe or barrel race anymore, but I’ve never stopped writing!

My husband and I live in San Antonio. We own a CrossFit gym called CrossFit 925 and love helping people reach their fitness goals. When I’m not writing, I can be found there lifting weights like a mad woman! Working out is like therapy for me, as well as a wonderful way for me to clear my head so new story ideas can take root.

Tell us about your books/What genre do you consider your books?

It’s common advice these days that writers should pick a genre or niche and stick to it for the sake of brand identity. I have nothing against that advice, it’s just not been easy for me to follow (not that I’ve really tried).
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been “genre hopping.” I have bins full of early stories, poems and plays, some about damsels and dragons, some about an ordinary Texas girl’s first love (semiautobiographical, of course…), and still others written in homage to whatever my favorite book or TV series was at the time (Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles, Boy Meets World, Gilmore Girls, to name a few.) To put it simply, I write what I want to write, regardless of whether it’s well suited to a particular market or serves to build my “brand” or not. To me, writing is and always will be something I view and treat primarily as a passion, and secondarily as a career. 

It is that philosophy that’s led me to write straight from my heart, for better or worse. I began my publishing career with a series of nonfiction faith-based fiction books for women (how’s that for “niche”?), as well as an inspirational memoir chronicling my battle with an eating disorder, the sudden death of my father, falling in love, and finding my purpose. At the end of 2013, I decided it was time to get back to my storytelling roots (I majored in screenwriting at the University of Texas) and try my hand at penning a full-length novel. It was by far the most challenging writing endeavor I’d ever taken on, and also the most rewarding. Three years later, writing fiction is now a full-time career – though it is no less challenging than when I started!

Whether it’s writing motivational fitness books, Greek mythology-inspired novels, or women’s fiction hearkening back to my own heartbreaks, fears, and triumphs, my aim is to write words that ring true and resonate, on one level or another, with my readers. I believe we were all put on this earth to shine our unique, inimitable light with the world, and writing honestly and deeply about topics that move and have changed me is one of the ways I’m able to do that. 

When did you start writing? 
I honestly can’t remember a time when writing wasn’t my foremost passion. Sure, I claimed, as many children do, to want to be a thousand different things when I grew up, including archaeologist, marine biologist, and barrel racer (a horseback sport here in the south!), but I always maintained that I would “write on the side.”

I wish I knew what made me want to be a writer, but I’m convinced it was a proclivity I was born with. My grandpa was an actor, drama teacher, and playwright, so maybe it’s in the genes. I also wish there was a romantic story I could share, something about how I listened to a TED Talk that changed my life by encouraging me to pursue my dreams, or how I ran into Stephen King near his home in Maine and showed him a short story that he thought was fantastic and I’ve written ever since. But my story’s pretty boring, unfortunately. I’ve always loved writing more than anything else and, despite countless doubts, fears, and frustrations, I’ve kept at it.

Why do you write? 

Truthfully, I can’t help but write. It’s as essential to me as breathing, as cliché and dramatic as that may sound.

What would be your choice for a superpower?

It’s a three-way tie between flight, invisibility, and telekinesis.

Who is your favorite author? 

Gosh, how does anyone pick a favorite? I might just have to go with the two whom I remember really making an impact on me in high school: Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Crichton. Kingsolver’s lyrical, poetic style blows me away, as does Crichton’s mastery of tension, pacing, and big, satisfying pay-offs.

What are you reading now? 

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty. I always read in whatever genre I’m currently writing in, and right now I’m working on a Contemporary Women’s novel that’s a bit Chick Lit as well. I’m also catching up on my issues of Writer’s Digest.

Who is your favorite character to write? 

So far, I’ve most loved writing Hermes in my series The Petros Chronicles. He’s mischievous, charming, self-possessed, but extremely wounded as well. It was a blast to reveal his backstory little by little and also follow his arc from villainy to redemption.

Do you have a writing process? 

I majored in screenwriting, so thoroughly outlining is something that was hammered into me. When it came to writing screenplays, treatments, beat outlines, and such were necessities, but novel writing is a whole other animal, at least for me – I never have been able to stick to the game plan!

It’s much more fun for me to “discovery write,” as they say. I have a general story arc in mind, as well as major plot and pivot points, but I leave the specifics unknown. The characters take on a life of their own, thereby taking the story in surprising directions I never could have planned.

After I have a first draft, I will reverse outline by going through my manuscript and making sure all the turning points are in place and that each of the scenes has a valence shift.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author? 

I love this piece of advice I from Joanna Penn: Find a balance between creativity and consumption.

Don’t feel like you have to choose writing mode over read/research/learn mode or vice versa. I strongly believe that writers should be in the practice of writing as close to daily as possible, so letting other activities – even advantageous ones – get in the way of creating is detrimental. 



Even if you have a lot to learn about the publishing process, don’t wait to write until you’ve figured out your game plan. Even if you have to research The Revolutionary War for your next novel, don’t wait to start outlining until you’ve read your mountain of library books. Even if you want to write three novels in the next three months, don’t neglect your fiction-reading time, as reading fine work makes us finer artists.

I’ve found that balancing creating time with consuming time keeps me productive and allows me to learn and digest new info and material at a manageable rate.

What inspired you to pursue writing?

This sort of goes along with your question, “Why do you write?” Writing is what I’m most passionate about. Nothing else comes close. Sure, there are other occupations that are more lucrative and less discouraging, but none would be as spiritually, mentally, and emotionally rewarding to me as an artist who expresses herself best through the written word. 

What are your favorite TV shows/Movies to watch in between writing?

My husband and I are huge comic book nerds. We love watching Arrow and The Flash, as well as all the D.C. and Marvel films. We also love fantasy movies (The Lord of the Rings, The Princess Bride, etc.) and historical epics like Gladiator and Braveheart.

What are your current projects?

I’m editing book 2 of The Petros Chronicles and outlining book 4 of The Orchid Series.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?

If you’re a fan of Greek mythology, I’d love to have you join my newsletter as I’m always eager to hear your feedback and receive suggestions on what to write about next! You can sign up here: http://www.dianaandersontyler.com/signup/. I run fun giveaways every month! I typically share exclusive short stories, too.

Quick Fire:Cats or dogs? Dogs
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Favorite food? Burgers
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream? Vanilla
What are 3 things you never leave home without? Purse, cell phone, book (unless what I’m reading is on the Kindle app on my phone!)
Laptop or desktop? Laptop
Who are 3 famous people you would to hang out with? Steve Martin, Steven Pressfield, Margaret George
TV or Movies? Movies





Visit me on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE to borrow any of my books for FREE!

Best-selling author of Wake the Dead! On Amazon Kindle here!

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney & Carlos Cara

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2014 unless otherwise noted.

Friday, June 16, 2017

JM Sullivan Interview



First off, tell us a little bit about you
Ok! Well, hi! My name is JM Sullivan and I am a Science Teacher by day and an author by night. I love reading, singing, all things sparkly and am entirely too dependent on coffee. When I’m not working or writing, you can find me at home dancing around with my kids or watching scary movies with my husband (if the cats give us their blessing).

Tell us about your books/What genre do you consider your books?I guess the easiest way to classify my books are as YA retellings. Otherwise, I seem to mix it up a bit within the genre. For example, my debut novel, Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles is a Dark Fantasy twist of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and my second novel, The Neverland Transmissions is a SciFi spin on Peter Pan. So even though I like to switch it up a bit, I would definitely say I’ve found my happy place in fairy tales and retellings.

When did you start writing?Oh gosh, I’ve written forever. I’ve always loved reading and telling stories, but I didn’t really get serious about my writing until the beginning of 2016 when I committed to completing my first manuscript.

Why do you write?  
Writing is my escape. My life can get pretty hectic between work, family, pets, and and and….writing is the way that I am able to go relax and find a way to organize and declutter the billion and a half thoughts that threaten to drown me every single day. I find that being able to focus my energy and creativity into making something provides an outlet for the chaos and really, just makes me happy.

What would be your choice for a superpower?Any superpower? I would definitely go the Aquaman route! I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean and secretly wanted to be a mermaid, so I would totally be down to hang with the fishes.

Who is your favorite author? Oh gosh, this is really tricky, and I don’t even know that I could gie you an honest answer because I love so many authors, but I will say that Marissa Meyer is the RETELLING QUEEN and an absolutely incredible storyteller. To be even have my work considered alongside hers would be the most amazing honor.

What are you reading now?   
Right now I’m reading a couple of different stories. I just finished the cutest YA Contemporary, Chasing Zenn by Wendy Bryant, and I’m in the middle of a YA Sci-Fi, Matched, along with a YA Fantasy, Counting Wolves. I’m enjoying both. June has definitely been a good reading month.

Who is your favorite character to write? There are good points to all of my characters, but I adore Chess. His snark and witty banter always bring a smile to my face, but on the flip side, getting in the head of the Red Queen, my villain can also be entertaining… especially if I’m feeling particularly cantankerous that day ;)

Do you have a writing process? Um…. Does forcing myself to write count? My process really isn’t very organized. Normally I start off with a basic outline for where I want the story to go, but from there I let the story take over. I don’t like being too detailed in my outlines because more often than not I’ll end up changing and veering off on different tangents so providing a starting and ending point with a few key events in the middle to keep me anchored is about as structured as I get.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?Be nice to yourself! Writers (and most creatives I find), are hard on ourselves far too often. An inner critic can help keep you on your ‘A-game’, but only if you don't give it so much free reign that it derails your work. Remember, someone needs your words. No one can tell your stories. To get them out there you have to write them!

What inspired you to pursue writing?I think it was my love of literature and stories that ultimately inspired me. It has always been a dream of mine to become an author and I think it’s because of all the authors and stories that I’ve loved so much over the course of my lifetime. I know what an impact the words of people like JK Rowling and Gail Carson Levine have had on me, I thought it would be so amazing to have my words provide the same things for others.

What are your favorite TV shows/Movies to watch in between writing?To be honest, since I’ve started writing more, my TV time has gone down dramatically, so more often than not if I’m watching something it’s either a movie that the kids are playing while I work, or my husband has hidden my computer and forced me to sit down and relax. When that happens our go-to genre is almost always Horror but sometimes we like to mix it up with some Sci-Fi or Fantasy films.

What are your current projects?Right now I’ve got a couple things on my plate. I recently finished drafting and revising my second novel, a Peter Pan retelling tentatively titled The Neverland Transmissions, and I have begun the querying process towards representation and publication. While I wait on that, I’m currently writing the sequel to Alice, Through the Broken Glass (again, working title, lol). So those are definitely my focus right now, and I’m having a lot of fun with them.   

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?Thank you! From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for taking the time to read my work. Whether it’s this article, or work on my blog, or my stories, thank you. Your support means the world to me and I am so grateful to you. Without you, my words would have no-one to play with! Thanks so much for keeping them company! I love you guys! :D


Quick Fire:Cats or dogs?  Both.
Coffee or tea?  COFFEEEEEEE
Favorite food?  Pizza
Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?  Chocolate
What are 3 things you never leave home without?  My purse, my sunglasses, my laptop
Laptop or desktop? Laptop
Who are 3 famous people you would to hang out with?  Gordon Ramsey, Jennifer Lawrence, JK Rowling
TV or Movies?  Movies



Visit me on my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE to borrow any of my books for FREE!

Best-selling author of Wake the Dead! On Amazon Kindle here!

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney & Carlos Cara

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2014 unless otherwise noted.