Wednesday, November 27, 2013

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Catherine Spangler


I am happy to bring you all an exclusive interview with bestselling RITA-nominated author Catherine Spangler, who penned the Shielder & Sentinel series, the former a sci-fi romance and the latter paranormal romance.
Enjoy this look inside her mind!

1. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and why?

I've always made up stories, even when I was in elementary school. In high school, a creative writing teacher singled me out and gave me special writing assignments because he thought I was way ahead of the class. That's when I really thought about writing. But it wasn't until I was thirty-something with two children, that the desire to write took off. It was triggered by a college catalog coming in the mail. There was a one-day writing course listed inside, and I knew immediately I wanted to take that course. After that, I was fully engaged in writing. I think it was the universe giving me a nudge.

2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What authors do you enjoy today?

When I was younger, I devoured Nancy Drew, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Then I moved on to Kathleen Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey, then Linda Howard, and so many others. Some of my favorite authors today are Nalini Singh, J.D. Robb, Kay Hooper, J.R. Ward, Jim Butcher. There are many more, but I can't name them all here.

3. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?

I don't know about the career, because this is such a tough business. I do hope I'll never stop writing, so I'd like to think I'll have more books written in ten years.

4. In Touched by Darkness, instead of making the situation be about only the leading male & female characters, you turned it into a family thing, with Kara's son. Why did you decide to incorporate that extra level?

I don't normally give children large roles in my books, because my stores are romances and focused on the hero and heroine. In this case, Alex needed to be part of the story. I have to write a story as it speaks to me, and as my inner voice tells me it needs to be. In this case, Alex was pivotal to the story. There aren't any children in the other Sentinel books.

5. Why Atlantis? You not only did a lot of research to write this, but you also had to fabricate quite a bit. What was it about Atlantis as opposed to other mythological places and inhabitants?

I have been fascinated with Atlantis all my life. No one really knows if it existed or what it might have really been like. But I've ready many books on Atlantis, and have even written an article, based on the Edgar Cayce readings. The Sentinel books are also based on the Cayce readings.

6. Were any of your wildly unique and different characters based on real people?

Not directly, except for Touched by Light, where Tami Lang is a very real person, and I portrayed her pretty accurately. I do think some of every author's real life experiences flavor their characters and their stories.

7. If there were to be a movie made featuring your stories, who would you pick to play your creations?

I am terrible at stuff like this, because I don't even know who the current hot young actors are. If anyone reading this has some ideas, please be sure to contact me and let me know.

8. So far, you've written three Sentinel novels. Do you foresee more in your future?

I do. I have two on the "drawing board", Barrie's story (she's introduced in Touched by Fire), and Matt's story (the missing Sentinel in Touched by Light).

9. After you wrote Touched by Darkness, did you originally plan on writing more novels or were you sort of surprised into it?

I'm always surprised into it! I actually sold Touched by Darkness to Berkley as a two-book deal, but had no idea what the second book would be about. I'm an organic writer, a "pantster" and I discover my characters and the story as I write.

10. Your previous Shielder series earned you a RITA nomination. Can you tell the readers more about that series?

These are science fiction romances set in another world, with the main focus on the Shielders, a race of people facing annihilation. It sounds grim, but all the books have happy endings. Shadow Fires was the book that received the RITA nomination, and while the heroine was a human Shielder, the hero was part reptilian. It was an intriguing but difficult book to write. The Shielder books will be reissued online in the next few months.

11. What made you change from that to the Sentinel series and what is the biggest difference between the two, in your opinion?

It was time to do something different, and the Sentinel stories were starting to speak to me. The biggest difference between the two series is that the first was set in another galaxy, and outside of the main characters, was populated with odd, non-human creatures. The Sentinels are in human bodies, on current day Earth (although they do have super powers).

12. Do you have any other books in the works? If yes, can you/are you willing to share anything with us?

I have more books planned. Possibly a sixth Shielder book, and I'm also working on a dark fallen angel series.

13. Your bio says you like to have football games as background noise while you nap. Are you a football fan and, if yes, will you never incorporate than fandom into your writing one day?

I'm not a huge football fan, and the Dallas Cowboys haven't been playing very well! I think the background noise of a game is perfect for napping!

14. Kara has dealt with a lot of loss, heartache and single motherhood. Is there anything from her story that you would like readers to take; any message or lesson?

It's a message that runs through all of my books: the human spirit is strong and resilient. We can endure tremendous suffering and trauma, yet we can also heal, rise above it, and find happiness and joy.

15. Thank you for participating in the interview! Can you please leave the reader with three things that may surprise them about you?

Thank you so much for interviewing me.
Wow. I've got to say I'm really not a surprising person. Okay, here goes:
1) I do accounting in my day job. 2) I'm an avid poker player (all in!). 3) I've studied many metaphysical topics, am knowledgeable in astrology, and used to read Tarot cards.

Find Ms. Spanglervia the following:

Official Site




Monday, November 25, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: "Touched By Darkness" by Catherine Spangler



The Lost City of Atlantis has always been a thing of intriguing mystery to all who have an interest in mythology. In Catherine Spangler's romance novel, Touched By Darkness, we learn that, while Atlantis might be lost, its residents are still among us.

Kara Cantrell is a doctor in the small Texas town of Zorro, mother to her six-year-old son, Alex and she is also one of the few humans who can "conduct" for Sentinels, the heroes of Atlantis.

Her husband, Richard, had been a Sentinel, dedicated to protecting Earth until a Belian, a servant of the evil being Belial, killed him before his son had even been born.Kara doesn't want anything more to do with Sentinels after the insurmountable pain and grief she'd gone through, but with Alex starting to exhibit...unusual behavior and evil energy surrounding a murder in town, she is dragged back into the Atlantian world by the sexy Sentinel Damien Morgan.

Together, they must identify whom the Belian is possessing and destroy it before any more innocents can be killed. But becoming a conductor again is much easier for Kara than dealing with the emotions Damien is rousing within her.

Can she deal with breaking her heart again?

I absolutely adored this story, which was fast-paced and not overly emotional as some supernatural romances can be. It was filled with interesting information about Atlantis, fantastical fictional addendums by Ms. Spangler and had just enough action to make it enjoyable, as opposed to being overdone or underdone.

Kara was a character with quite a lot of depth. I think many women, especially mothers, will identify with her. Alex was quite adorable and, of course, damien is truly delectable.

After all, who doesn't love a tall, dark, handsome stranger who also has a hero complex and prefers to sleep in the nude? Haha!

Overall, I am so glad I began to network with Ms. Spangler on Twitter! This was a unique twist to the typical paranormal romance; it takes the reader inside the mind of the Belian and keeps up a steady stream of mystery, romance, sex and danger.

5/5--wonderfully unique!

Purchase Touched By Darkness at:


Amazon (ebook & print)


Google Books

Barnes And Noble

Tuesday, November 19, 2013



1. When did you decide to start writing professionally and why?

This lifelong bookworm and writer wrote her first complete book,Yella’s Prayers, at the age of seventeen, and while I did intend to get it published at some point, I didn’t see myself as a “real author” who qualified for publishing yet. Professional writing came in the picture in 2009, after I self-published (with a team of helpers!) my first book of poetry, The Song of Nadine. I was having all kinds of trouble getting a job, but I knew I was a good writer and a good editor to boot, so I founded my communication company, Prismatic Prospects, to offer editing services to other authors, and I got Yella’s Prayers published some months later. A cycle took off from there, where I’d spend months applying for jobs and come up empty-handed, so I’d write and publish a book; then more months of no-go’s on jobs, so I’d write and publish a book… Today, I’m writing and publishing because I’ve accepted the fact that I’m simply a writer, through and through, and since other authors have helped me so much through their literature, I in turn want to use my literature to help people.

2. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?

Not living, probably. I write to live and live to write. Even if I wasn’t publishing, I’d still be writing. It’s just in me to do it.

3. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What authors inspire you today?

From my childhood into my young adult years, I was most inspired by Beverly Cleary, with her Ramona books and more, and by L.M. Montgomery and her Emily books. I could see so much of myself in Ramona and Emily, and what better experience for readers than for them to see themselves in the literature they read? Today, I’m still inspired by Montgomery’s timelessness, as well as Henry James and Davis Bunn for their command of language, Janette Oke for the simple ways she can get at a reader’s heart, and J.E. Keels for how he can take you on a philosophical trip in such an entertaining way that you don’t feel like the trip was hundreds and hundreds of pages long.

4. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?

Still writing, still publishing, and with a whole lot more readers whose lives I’m helping, if it is to be. I also plan to have a screenplay or two under my belt, since some of my literature would do well to be put on the screen. I’m about as big a film lover as I am a bibliophile.

5. What was the inspiration for The Movement Of Crowns?

I started drafting scenes for The Movement of Crowns while I was a senior in high school, at the same time I was tinkering with my initial versions of Yella’s Prayers. I was inspired by the thought that although my generation was young, we weren’t precluded from aiming toward greatness. It’s taken some years of growth, as a writer and a human being, for me to be able to convey the Crowns story as I see it.

6. Why did you decide to write a sequel [The Movement Of Rings]?

I decided to write The Movement of Rings one spring afternoon this year when the idea and the basic plot just hit me all at once, something that doesn’t happen to me with most of my stories. I’m usually pretty open to the thought of sequels, in case I want to revisit a world or characters I’ve created, and one day I was intrigued with the notion of telling the “other side” of the Crowns story, where Munda is concerned. Hence, out came the Rings.

7. I loved the strong characters in Crowns. Were they based on real poeple or wholly imaginary?

I have a way of putting myself and other people I know into my characters, whether intentionally or by accident, but as far as The Movement of Crowns goes, I didn’t intentionally base the characters on anyone in particular. I undertook the task of imagining how people living in an “epic” time and setting might think, speak, and feel, and they began to just seem like people, to me. Human beings with human thoughts, emotions, aspirations, and hopes I wanted to write about. Besides one short story I wrote , from my book Love & Eminence: A Suite of Stories), writing Crowns would be my first time serving as an interpreter for a group of characters, since Diachonians and those in kingdoms neighboring them don’t speak English. It was something of a challenge to reconcile the “epic” way that educated people from another time might express themselves with the relaxed language they were bound to use sometimes, as human beings tend to do, but making the attempt was fun for me.

8. Constance is a very tough, mature girl. Did she start out as being so determined or was she a different sort of character?

I pretty much always saw Constance the way she is as a character, though she started off with a different name in the first scenes I drafted as a teenager. The name “Constance” turned out to fit her better, being a solid match for her personality as well as being a suitable choice for the sentiment her parents would have put into naming her, a sentiment the reader should have a good idea of by the end of the book.

9. In Crowns, the council is reluctant to accept Constance because she is a very young female, but she perseveres. Did you want to make a statement about women's rights and the equality of the sexes?

Yes, I wanted to make a statement about equality as well as ability and genius. People spend so much of their lives hearing about how they’re not male enough or not female enough, they’re too rich or too poor, too short or too tall, too black or too white, too smart or too stupid, too fat or too thin, too young or too old, and the list goes on. Yet, when you have genius for something, you have it, and there must be some way you can and should put that genius to work, no matter what race, body type, era, or whatever else you've been born into. Beyond standing as the “radiant symbol of all that is still hopeful and pure” about Diachona, Constance has a genius to lead, and she’s determined to put that genius to work for the benefit of the world she lives in.

10. Constance gets two suitable men (the prince from Reêh and Chieftain Greenly), but only wants Commander Staid Alexander. Was their relationship always obvious or did it surprise you, as the author, as it developed?

I knew about Constance and Staid from the get-go. Their first scene together, in Topaz’s marketplace, was the first scene I drafted of the story, when I was seventeen.

11. Queen Grace suffers from a form of mental strain, known now as depression or, as a deeper form, social dissociation, but improves as the story goes on. What made you want to write in a character like that?

My own past experiences with depression played a part in creating Queen Grace, and I also wanted to use her as a type of symbolic foil for Constance: how even when the circumstances surrounding it may be difficult or painful, grace gives you the space to become yourself.

12. After Rings, will you write more about these characters in the future?

I’m working on the third and final book of the Crowns series now, planning to have it finished this coming winter. There’s just a little more this overarching storyline needs to say.

13. You've written numerous other books. Could you pick a favorite or are they like children: you love them all equally?

In a way, it seems like my “favorite” book tends to be whatever I published last, but simultaneously, all of my books retain a favorite status. For instance, Yella’s Prayers is my favorite for being the first book I ever wrote. The Song of Nadine is my favorite for being the first book I ever published. The Order of Things is my favorite for being the first book I ever wrote, designed, and found a way to publish without a personal team telling and showing me how to go about it. The Crowns books are my favorites for being my first series of epic fiction as well as my first series period. I could go on, but all of my books are my “favorites” for different reasons.

14. Are there any other books/stories in the works? Can you give us a little insight if yes?

As I mentioned, I’m writing the third Crowns book, and in it I’m working on something I’ve never had in any of my novels or novellas before: a male protagonist. I love writing male characters as much as female ones, but besides the leading man in a short story of mine ("Come to Yourself", Mr. Jones, also found in Love & Eminence), women have always had the leading roles in my fiction. Yet, after writing about King Matthias, King Aud, Commander Alexander, and some of the other men in the Crowns series, I felt it’d be great to put a man in the lead role of the closing story. And so far, I dig the new dude I’m writing. (*Giggle*—not in a “book boyfriend” way or anything, as I, being my characters’ maker, wind up digging all of them for one reason or another, but, hey, you get it.)

15. Thank you for participating in this interview! Can you please leave the reader with three things that may surprise them about you?

Well, firstly, even with all of my love for, say, Jane Austen and sweetness and romance and Janette Oke-like prairie women stories, I’m a zealous and competitive football fan. (#GoHawks #12thMan #LegionofBoom.) I seriously considered going out for the football team when I was in high school, and if it hadn’t come down to knowing that those guys out there would crush my girly little stick of a body into unrecognizable pieces, I would have done it. Secondly, I love tomatoes—raw tomatoes, cooked tomatoes, tomato-based sauces in pasta and on pizza—but I’m disgusted by the sight and smell of ketchup. Thirdly, I was out walking one day a few years ago when a lady’s big, mean dog got away from her and came chasing after me in the street, barking. The dog ran up behind me, taking a snap at the back of my leg. He missed my actual flesh but got close enough for me to feel the heat of his breath flash across my leg, and his snapping teeth got my jeans wet. I kept on walking, laughing the whole time. I didn’t consider until later that my happy-go-lucky-ish response to almost getting my leg bitten off by a big, hostile beast was probably a strange response indeed.

Find Nadine Keels online via the following:





Monday, November 18, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: "The Movement of Crowns" by Nadine Keels


Novellas are a strange territory to me. I reviewed the short story collection, The Struggle, a few weeks ago, but otherwise I've only reviewed novels. But The Movement of Crowns sounded interesting in Nadine Keels' proposal, and I decided to read it.
Very glad that I did!

Princess Constance has finally reached adulthood in her kingdom of Diachona, and has numerous trials ahead of her: chiefly being the fact that, since she is the king's only child, will she be accepted into the Council?

Moreover, now that she has come of age, many eligible suitors are calling on her: the prince of ally Reeh, the Cheiftain Greenly and...Commander Staid Alexander, her childhood friend and the man she truly loves.

But he is called to give military aid to Reêh and Diachona must decide, with Constance's help, if they should go to war with Munda, a volatile neighboring country.Through it all, Constance worries that she might wind up mentally "adrift", as her very own mother, the queen, is.

With many plot twists (especially for a 115 page novella), deeply expressed emotions of love, fear and grief and a wonderfully crafted lead heroine, this ebook is one many will want to pick up.Personally, I loved that this was based on emotions rather than physical relations, I quite enjoyed that a large portion of the story focused on Constance proving that she was worthy of her Council place despite her age and gender.This book can be read by anyone, but young women especially should pick this up, and its sequel, The Movement of Rings.

Great characters, stunning plot and a thought-provoking message make this a story worth reading.


Purchase The Movement of Crowns via:



Barnes & Noble


Friday, November 15, 2013


I am very excited to present to you my first interview with a comic book writer, Jeffrey Kaufman.
As a lifelong fan of comics, I was excited & pleased to have been asked by Malena Public Relations to review his work & interview him.
If you're a comic fan or not, you'll enjoy this interview, reader, and I hope that it gets you interested in the comic book industry of you're new to it!


1. What made you decide to get into the comic book industry?

"FFL", Fanboy For Life. I've been a comic book reader and a storyteller all my life, and always dreamed of putting the two together. I got my start in the industry representing artists and writers. A couple years later I decided I wanted to do more and went after it.

2. What were your favorite comics growing up? Whose work do you enjoy today?

I remember one of my first books was DC's Adventure Comics with a character called The Spectre.  The cover was awesome, but I'm a big Spider-Man fan with the dream of one day controlling Peter Parker for a couple pages. I guess if I had to choose a current writer it would be Ed Brubaker. His work on a book called Winter Soldier was fantastic.

3. What made you decide to start Big City Comics, as opposed to inking a contract with one of the existing companies?

Well, the first thing is that most new writers don't have the skills and/or the opportunity to write for an existing company. A writer really has to fail a lot before they find their true voice.

4. Can you please tell the readers a little more about how BCC and Zenescope work together to produce your comics, as many of them are new to this world?

I'm really fortunate in that I have developed a good relationship with the guys over at Zenescope. I send them over the completed book and they publish it. I would rather wake up with a baseball sized kidney stone and a mutating STD than have to be a publisher again.

5. Though you talk about it in the introductions to both books, can you please tell us what inspires Whore and Angel Falling, respectively?

One of the reasons I haven't done a sequel to any of my graphic novels is that each story I write is a struggle. Not in that they are hard to write, but they all come from ideas jockeying for position in my head fighting to come out.  I just feel each book I write has to be better than the last.
Whore was fun to write. Dealing with a guy who does anything for money, was simply too easy and lead into some ridiculous situations. Angel Falling, being the book that followed Whore had to be completely different in feeling and form since I couldn't beat Whore in the same genre. In Angel Falling, writing about a character with autism, I felt I needed to remove all the sex and swearing which was difficult for me, but I felt it was necessary.

6. Autism is a personal topic to you, since your son has the disorder. Did you ever vacillate with your decision to include it as subject matter in Angel Falling?

I didn't vacillate. I was terrified. I created the main character because of the issues he suffers with, but I wanted the character to be someone you respected and didn't pity. There was no way I could have lived with myself if I thought I hurt or offended some one in the Autism community. Also, anything that could have come back and hurt my son was so unthinkable that this book did cause me a lot of emotional issues.

7. Murder is a recurring topic in your graphic novels. What is it about trained killers that appeals, not just to you, but to your readers?

Murder deals with the finality of a life which makes it the most serious topic out there. When we see or read about death, subconsciously, we are reminded of our own mortality, and that makes the issue so interesting.

8. How did you come to work with the various artists, colorists, etc. who appear in your work?

For the last nine years, I have worked hard building relationships in the industry. While I made more than my share of mistakes, making sure I was financially responsible with the people I worked with was always a priority.

9. In Whore, you feature many people whom you personally know. What made you decide to do that?

I actually posted the opportunity on our Facebook page and those who followed up with a picture and signed the release got in. I only missed one of our fans, and still owe that person an appearance which I'll make up for in the next book. I think it was a cool opportunity for our readers and most of them were really surprised to see themselves in the book. Believe it or not, some of them thought I was screwing with them.

10. Two extremely high-profile people are used as character material in Angel Falling. Were you ever concerned about getting into either legal trouble, or having people criticize your decision?

"Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell" protects a person when they parody public figures in their stories. If Larry Flynt can get away with making fun of the idea of Reverend Jerry Falwell's first sexual experience being with his mother, drunk in an outhouse then I think I'm good.

11. You're also a powerful lawyer and have made appearances on numerous legal television programs. How do you balance your careers and home life?

I don't know about "powerful". Let's go with a quote from A League of their Own, and say, "I've seen enough to know I've seen too much".
As far as balance goes, I think it's less about balance and more about fitting things in. On this planet, we have twenty four hour in a day, no more, no less. Our daily physical requirements are air, sleep and food and water. Outside that, my number one priority is my family and how I provide for them. That probably sounds like a stupid answer, but when put into context it works.
Using myself as an example, I take 24 hours then I subtract 8 hours for sleep, then 8 hours for work, then 2 hours for eating, and then 3 hours for family which leaves me 3 hours for whatever I want to do, whether that's writing, watching television, exercising, or screwing around on the Internet. I am a true believer that any problem can be solved using fifth grade math.

12. Does your legal occupation influence your writing at all?

Everything influences my writing. Did representing thousands of criminal and civil clients effect the way I write? Absolutely!  While practicing law, I have seen love, hate, good, evil, kindness, selfishness, life, death, sickness, happiness, sadness, justice, injustice, and about every possible emotion, relationship and situation our world has to offer. Writing about something you have seen or experienced usually comes off more honest with the reader.

13. Are you working on any new projects at this time? If yes, is there anything you can tell KSR about it?

I finished a book called The Finders (22 page) for Conspiracy Comics that should be out by March 2014.
Chip and Gorro our Children's Book should be in the can by the end of December and out by March 2014. Our graphic novels New Jack and 9/11 (GN) should be finished by July for preview at the San Diego Comic-Con. I'm also currently working on a Peter Pan theatre script. Like I said, "you got to fit it in".

14. Where do you see yourself and your writing career in the next ten years?

I think if things keep moving forward some of my properties will go to the next level. I'd also like to be writing for Marvel and DC while also writing and producing for television and film.

15. Thank you for participating in this interview! Can you please leave the reader with three things that may surprise them about you?

1. I spent 3 years as a paratrooper in the Army in 82nd Airborne as a line medic in an infantry unit.
2. I worked for eight years at Disney World doing character work...
3. ...Which in a weird way got me on Court TV's 20 Most Outrageous Moments.

Find Jeffrey Kaufman & Big City Comics via the following:

Official Site



Find Malena Public Relations via the following:

Official Site



Thursday, November 14, 2013

GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: "Angel Falling" by Jeffrey Kaufman


If you read my blog way back in June, you'll recall my review for the comic book The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys. I did not write that because I love [writer] Gerard Way's music (though I am a My Chemical Romance fan), but because since I could read, I have been obsessed with comics.

I grew up with Archie, Sonic the Hedgehog and then went on to read nearly everything DC Comics released in the past 10+ years.

So, when Malena Public Relations asked if I could review two graphic novels, I jumped at the chance!

While about 98% of the comics I read are superhero-based, I do enjoy the efforts of those who write truly original work. It takes a lot of talent, vision, drive, determination and balls. Jeffrey Kaufman, creator/writer of Angel Falling (also of Whore and Terminal Alice TA) has all that and more!With a team of talented artists (Kevin West; Justice League of America), colorists (Tom Chu; X-Men), and inkers (Mark McKenna; X-Men, Batman), Mr. Kaufman created a genius, moving, action-packed and surprising graphic novel, one that gives me hope that the comic industry (original comics in particular) isn't going down the toilet completely.

A woman wakes up on top of a dumpster, half naked and with amnesia. The reader learns along with her that she is no ordinary human, as she easily dispatches the rowdy men who try to rape her. Since she doesn't know who or what she is, she has to trust the young man with autism to help her survive being hunted by people she can't remember ever knowing?

But is it wise to run from who she is, especially since she herself doesn't know? And is Connor really her best option?

Jeffrey kaufman of Big City Comics is a talent I highly suggest all readers check out now, because, if I were a betting gal, I'd bet his popularity will only continue to grow with this graphic novel full of intrigue and plenty of surprises!

If you were concerned that maybe you won't enjoy a comic book, fear not, and give Angel Falling a try.


Purchase Angel Falling:



GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: "Whore" by Jeffrey Kaufman


I know, I know, you're all probably thinking, "What the Hell is she reviewing?" My answer, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the most controversial-sounding graphic novels ever to be released.

Jeffrey Kaufman (also the writer of Terminal Alice TA & Angel Falling; all three books tie in to each other in one way or another) had an idea about a graphic novel about a promiscuous male CIA agent down-sized to the private sector, but the title, it seemed, had been an issue. So he created Terminal Alice TA, but couldn't get Whore out of his mind.
So, he created it, along with Marco Turini (formerly an artist with Marvel Comics) and colorist James Brown (Transformers/IDW Publishing) and input from Dave Stewart (Dark Horse Comics, including Hellboy and The Umbrella Academy).

As I said, it is about a CIA agent who is "down-sized" to work in the "private sector". He is also, to put it in layman's terms, a man-whore.He has to survive by taking any job be can, from the (seemingly) mundane as being a prize-winning dog's handler, to protecting a teen heartthrob who's being stalked and in the closet, and he even tells a VERY high-powered politician to "grow a pair" and send our troops home (guess who!).

With a murder on nearly every page and a naked woman on the rest, I can't say I recommend this to everyone, but if you can handle that (honestly, it is nothing very graphic, but some sensitive souls may not be able to handle even this much) then please hurry and purchase Whore (published by Zinescope and produced by Big City Comics).

Like Angel Falling (that review is being posted next), this one has a few shocks and a very hard to predict ending.5/5--masterful!

Purchase Whore:

Amazon (US)

Official Site


Tuesday, November 12, 2013



1. When and why did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve been a newspaper journalist for over 15 years and an editor of professional books before that, so writing has always played a significant role in my life. When my children were very young, I was at home and read a lot. One day I was reading a fantasy novel and, by the end, was really disappointed, almost angry. Although I liked the world that the author created, I couldn’t empathise with any of the characters: in fact, I didn’t like them at all. It was then I decided I would write my own fantasy and fill it with characters I could relate to. I’ve always been passionately interested in fantasy and all those escapist stories that explore brave new worlds away from the realities of everyday life: it’s all about experiencing the best of many worlds as well as my own.

2. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?

I am also a photographer and graphic designer, so I would probably be creating visual stories.

3. What books/authors inspired you when you were younger? What do you like to read today?

I grew up with the classics: from the early works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dunne and Milton, to the 18th and 19th century English novelists like Fielding and Hardy. The 19th century romantic poets, in particular, really inspire me, even though I don’t particularly associate myself with romanticism. My favourite is John Keats who had a very magical way with words.
My interest in fantasy began, as it did with most people, with The Hobbit and then The Lord of the Rings trilogy which I expected to be a sequel to the children’s story. It’s occasional darkness shocked me but kept the pages turning.These days I have very little time to read, unfortunately, but can say that I love Anne Rice for her beautiful descriptive prose and Joe Hill for his amazing ability to terrorise his readers from the first few opening paragraphs.
As well as a good story, it is quality in writing that particularly inspires me. I think I’ve been a sub-editor for too long. I can’t read badly written or poorly edited books, even if the story is strong. I can usually tell from the first few lines whether I’m going to read the book or not.
I am currently reading Attrition: The First Act of Penance by a young author called SG Night, who I met on Goodreads. I’ve only just started it but the author shows all the signs of being a very good writer.

4. What was the inspiration behind The Sleeping Warrior?

As I have said, I’m a fantasy author and mainly write in the epic fantasy genre. I did send my first novel out to a few publishers but, although they all (that is, those who bothered to respond) agreed that the book was well-written, with good characterisation and storyline, it didn’t quite fit into the regular genre classifications of fantasy fiction that libraries and bookshops use – not enough faerie beings or magic systems - so they didn’t know how they could sell it.
In a fit of rebellion, I decided to write a book that would cross as many genres as possible, populate it with as many anti-heroes of modern fiction I could squeeze in and place the story against a contemporary setting of places I know.
I took one of the characters out of my big fantasy and shoved him in the midst of all this to see what he would do. The result was very pleasantly surprising.
Half way through writing it, I lost my confidence and wondered what on Earth I was doing. For some reason, however, it all came together as if it was always meant to be. That’s how my writing tends to lead me.

5. Aside from the main plot, you have little sub-plots like Libby's affair with her boss. Why did you decide to make there be so many elements to the story?

Humans, by their very nature, are multi-dimensional and highly complex beings. Sentiment and the way in which we cope within our personal environment has a knock-on effect on the lives of others.
Libby, being the main protagonist, had to be the most well-developed. The focal impact of the story is the effect of the events on her from a personal perspective, so her character had to contain more than a one or two-dimensional element for readers to empathise with her or dislike her, as the case may be.
When I begin a book, I start with a name and let that person develop through setting a scene and adding other people. I have little inclination as to what will happen or who that person is until they begin to interact with their environment. It’s a bit like watching a film.
Oddly enough, despite a full cast of seemingly bad characters, Carl is my least favourite. I did try and kill him off early in the plot, but he worked too well and only served to enhance it.
In life, everyone’s story is based on a multitude of components that make it a whole. Without those elements, human beings would be pretty dull.

6. Why did you decide to name a character after Stephen King's screenplay Rose Red?

This may sound a little implausible, but, although I had read some of Stephen King’s novels and seen a few of the films, I had never heard of the name before I wrote it. Of course, there may be some subliminal explanation but it wasn’t until a few months later when I was looking up the Russian equivalent to the words that I noticed Rose Red was the name of a King novel that has been widely televised. I didn’t change it because I felt Rose befitted her association with a horror story.

7. You could've gone in so many directions with this novel. Did you never envision it going differently before, ultimately, deciding with the route you took?

My writing technique is a bit unusual. I tend to begin with a blank canvas and go where the characters take me. It is they who decide the outcome of my novels, not me.
I know this sounds very far-fetched but that’s the way I write. I don’t make notes or lists; I don’t plan out plots or even have a definitive ending or beginning in mind. I start with a character and a place and allow the story to evolve organically.
I have tried to change the direction of characters to fit my plots but that often doesn’t work: it’s as if they won’t let me.
I’ve heard other writers say this too, so I don’t believe I’ve lost the plot (pardon the pun).

8. Will you ever write a novel featuring some of the characters from The Sleeping Warrior?

I will write a sequel eventually. I like the paranormal aspect to the story and may expand on that in subsequent titles. I’m concentrating on my big fantasy at the moment, so any spin-off from The Sleeping Warrior will have to be placed on the back burner for now.

9. In your bio on Amazon it says you're working on a fantasy novel. Can you give the readers any insight on the book, please?

This is a book I have been writing for a good few years. When I wrote the first book, I was very green, over-enthusiastic and believed I would find a publisher immediately. I sent a few samples off to a small selection of publishers and Harper Collins asked me for the rest of the manuscript. I sent it and got a really nice rejection. When I look back, I realise why. My writing was terrible, the story rambled on to nowhere and I hadn’t even finished it! I’m happy to say that I have matured a lot since then, found a voice and am a lot more professional about my work.I love heroes and The Scrolls of Deyesto features a group of extraordinary warriors tasked with saving their world from evil. It’s the usual tale of traditional epic, set inside a dark, medieval-style panorama, but written in a very different way. I like to be different.
As with The Sleeping Warrior, The Scrolls is also very multi-dimensional and a complex tale of human nature. Everyone is capable of extremes of good and evil and, I believe, it’s the balance between the two that underlies life.

10. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?

I would like to see myself as a publisher of quality fiction. I have set up my own publishing company called Ivy Moon Press and hope, not only to publish my works, but also to publish those of others. I’m not too bothered about genre, so long as the books have a fantasy element (no matter how small) in the theme.
Of course, I would also like to see myself as a very successful, highly respected fantasy author.

11. Were any of the characters in The Sleeping Warrior based on real life or were they all creatures of your imagination?

Although the scenes are set in places I know – like London and Scotland – none of the characters are based on anyone I know, but produced from a very vivid imagination and an understanding of human nature.

12. Did being from Scotland influence the book more (because of location, etc.) than if you'd lived elsewhere, do you think?

Living in Scotland has definitely influenced the setting of the book. The life in rural Scotland is a world apart from the rush of London and it is the contrast that I wanted to convey in the story. Life’s a lot slower here, the scenery beautiful, and there’s plenty of time to relax and reflect. You don’t get that kind of opportunity in London unless you get out of it at the weekends.

13. What, if anything, would you like for fans to take from the book?

At a superficial level, I just would like them to enjoy the read. Secretly, though, I hope that readers will understand the underlying symbolism and concepts of the book: for example, identity and the importance of a name. The title is also an allegory. The Sleeping Warrior is a famous view of the mountains of Arran from the Ayrshire coast; the male hero of the story; and the dominant warrior spirit within us all.

14. Do you have any influences outside of the literary world?

Many. The whole of life influences me. The place where I live, friends, family, travel, work. Fantasy artwork and music can have a powerful influence on a theme or inspire an idea.

15. Thank you for participating in this interview! Can you please give the readers three things that may surprise them about you?

I am an English barrister.
I understand computers and they understand me.
I have four children who are all at university.

Find Sara Bain via the following:

Official Site


Publisher Blog


Amazon UK

Monday, November 11, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: "The Sleeping Warrior" by Sara Bain


Libby Butler was attacked by the serial killer the police are calling "the Vampire Killer" and it leaves the tough lawyer with shot nerves. After that, it all seems to go downhill for her: her boss and lover was seen with another, younger, employee and her new client just might get her killed.

Gabriel Radley is enigmatic, accused to be the killer Scotland yard is looking for, but all be wants is to find this stone be has lost which, be claims, has unimaginable value.

A cult is now after him and Libby and her boyfriend get caught in the middle, even going so far as to accuse her boyfriend of being the serial killer!

To top it off, Libby's client is a gangster with numerous murders under his belt and he's working with a trained assassin who calls herself Rose Red.

Can Libby clear the innocent and incarcerate the guilty or will she lose her life in the process of simply trying to help?

Sara Bain's novel is an intriguing piece of work, with more layers than a Grands biscuit! It is a psychological crime novel with undertones of sex and horror; trust and fear.

For a while, the reader will be confused, wondering who is benevolent and who will prove to be malevolent. Is Gabriel human? Will Libby surviveor will she be brutally murdered...just like women she knows?

Great characters and a storyline that will keep readers guessing and second-guessing. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes very involved, layered stories with enigmatic characters and danger lurking on the next page.

4/5--great work!

Purchase The Sleeping Warrior via the following:




Amazon UK

Ivy Moon Press


Friday, November 8, 2013

BOOK TEASER: "Reconnected" by Lisa Calell (Teaser #2)

If you read my review for Disconnected by Lisa Calell & the following interview, you knew that she is a talented writer with a great story.
She was kind enough to give me three teasers for her upcoming novel, and sequel to Disconnected, titled Reconnected.
If you missed my first teaser, have no fear. I'll have the link posted below.

“Has the trial date come through yet?” interrupting my thoughts. I lifted my head and looked at Dr Jamieson, my heart had leaped inside my chest and I felt like someone was squeezing it harder and harder. I had been pushing thoughts of the trial away. I was going to have to deal with it and she was going to make sure of it.Hiding my fear, or so I thought, I replied with a steady tone “No, nothing yet.”

“You can’t keep putting this off Katie, we have made so much progress with regards to Casey.”
The sound of his name caught my breath and I felt like I was being strangled. She was right I had come to terms with the rape and abuse. I would always be damaged and broken but when I focused I could gain strength from it all.

The trial was different though. I was going to have to relive this for everyone else. I was going to be judged, he was going to be judged. Every little positive thought that counselling had helped with was going to be shattered into tiny pieces by the time I left the stand.

It scared me that it was going to send me right back to the start.

Read my review for Disconnected!

Read my exclusive interview with Lisa Calell!

Read my first exclusive teaser for Reconnected!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Jade Valour & Sharlie Pryce


1. Though you do state on the novel's website, can you please explain what inspired the novel Salomé?

Jade: My fascination with Richard Strauss' darkly evocative opera was the key to the inspiration for Salomé - actually, to the screenplay Salomé; the novel came later.
From my early childhood I've loved the world of the mythical in all its many forms.  When I encountered the opera Salomé, I became enamored of its larger-than-life, mythical, even mystical quality:  the exotic, other-worldly atmosphere created by the music and text, the inner tension that makes you feel it is about to explode in an ecstasy of destruction - which indeed it does.
It took me literally decades to realize that what I saw in Salomé was something totally cinematic.

2. What was it that attracted you the most about it?

Jade: Salomé’s innocence and unselfconscious sensuality resonated very deeply with me.
She is a kind of ‘wild child’, totally honest and totally herself, always.It is her tragedy to be surrounded by corruption and those who would project their own desires, fantasies and moral standards onto her. It destroys her in the end, and I saw this as such a monstrous injustice that I felt compelled to do something about it.

3. On the site, you have music based on the book. What made you decide to have original music accompany the story?

Sharlie:  I spent a wonderful afternoon over coffee with my close friend Paul Glaser who is a singer/songwriter, explaining the story and my own personal thoughts on the relationship between the Lovers; especially what I thought Salomé meant to Elijah.
He was so inspired that he subsequently wrote a song and had asked one of my best friends - Therese Pitt – lay down the vocal track. Jade and I were thrilled to bits and it’s been our theme song ever since.

Jade:  "Shadow of a White Rose" is based on a quote from the Oscar Wilde drama Salomé, and I wrote it for a music project called "Jade ov Arcc" that became a complete album of my original songs - as well as most people's favorite on the CD.

4. Ms. Valour, do you sing professionally or would you like to?

Jade: Yes. I sang professionally in Germany for many years - opera, musical jazz, chanson. And I still enjoy performing (as both singer and actress) when the opportunity arises, as does Sharlie who was in the original Hamburg cast of Cats.

5. You traveled quite a bit, which also had a part in the story. What, if anything, do you think would be different had you not been so well-traveled?

Jade:  I think Salomé would never have had the mythical, world-encompassing and trans-cultural quality that the story has if I hadn't traveled and lived in foreign countries for most of my life.
It has exposed me to diverse cultures/customs and broadened my perspective in so many ways - people, politics, the arts.Witnessing the fall of the Iron Curtain in Germany and the rise in Neo-nazi activity it brought; the splitting of Yugoslavia with the resulting atrocities and 'ethnic cleansing': such events have had a profound impact on my awareness, without which Salomé would not have had the scope or depth that she has. Or she might not have been written at all.

Sharlie: I wouldn’t have been able to bring depth and emotional input into our story had I not been fortunate to grow up on various continents – traveling all my life.My experiences of many cultures and insights into how people of all classes live, some of the injustices I have seen firsthand, the heart rending stories I’ve been told, and what I see happening in the world today have been fictionalized in our novel.

6. Why did you decide to set Salomé in a modern era as opposed to the past?

Jade: The story of Salomé has most often been seen in its biblical setting and, wanting to tell a very different story from this familiar one, I didn’t want to repeat this.
Originally, we had thought to set our story during the Vietnam war with Salomé as a kind of flower-child and our John the Baptist figure as a love-and-peace guru.But it soon became apparent that we would lose the mythical quality we wanted, and that the story would easily become dated and commonplace. That was when we decided to set it in a dystopian future, projecting what we saw as the possible consequences of globalization onto our fantasy world.

7. Can you tell the readers why you decided to have an artist make beautiful pieces based on the story (which you also have on the site, listed below)?

Jade: We of course needed illustrations for our book and wanted to have both a front and back cover, depicting Salomé and Elijah.  But Salomé is also a feature length screenplay – in fact, we originally saw Salomé as a film and wrote the script before we ever began the novel! We were advised that, if we wanted to get a producer interested in the screenplay, we needed to have visuals – a promo-trailer to show along with our pitch – to make it as appealing and compelling as possible. Hence, the additional five illustrations, which we are using in addition to the covers, for both the promo-trailer and for a book trailer. Matt Donnici did a truly superb job capturing the essence and atmosphere of our story and characters.

8. You said you'd like to see Salomé made into a movie. What actors do you picture playing the individual characters?

Jade: [Smile] It’s almost impossible not to picture certain actors in the roles one writes, and so we did! But as we began writing our story back in 2001, those actors have naturally changed. Our original inspiration for the figure of Elijah was – Elijah Wood!  And we owe much of what our Prophet became to that inspiration. But if we would have our choice today, then our first thought would be Jared Leto (who has just won a Hollywood Film Award for his role in Dallas Buyers Club).
Robert Sheehan and Ben Barnes would also be possibilities.
Our villain, Salomé’s uncle Archlord Dorath, was originally John Malkovich (whom I, in fact, met!).  But now…wellll…we certainly could picture Benedict Cumberbach in the role! Salomé herself is more difficult.  At this point I could see Amandla Stenberg (Rue in The Hunger Games) when she’s a bit older. She has a lovely quality of innocence that our Salomé needs.

9. Do you have any plans to write future stories featuring any of the Salome characters?

Jade: I’ve begun sketches for a second novel and also have an idea for a third one – a ‘trilogy’, if you like.They will certainly involve some of the characters from the original book – Salomé and Elijah in the first instance.

10. Do you have any other novels in the works and, if yes, can you reveal anything about them at all?

Jade:  As above, the concepts for another two novels are there.  But first on my list is a redraft of the screenplay.

Sharlie: I’ve started writing a fantasy saga that I’ve been formulating since I as 17 but didn’t have the courage to write. Now with Salomé completed I feel more confident to make it a reality.
At this point I’m not ready to reveal anything.

11. Did you never want to be a writer before, or did your passion spring itself onto you?

Jade: Although I did write a few short stories in my earlier years, I was always a performer. I never thought of actually being a writer until I became virtually obsessed with the desire to tell a different Salomé story. Sharlie is the one who has always wanted to write.

12. If you weren't doing what you do now, what would be your dream job?

Jade: I’d be working on the sets of Hollywood films – with James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Tarantino or Darren Aronofsky.Production assistant, director’s assistant, whatever I could get.  
I’ve always been fascinated by Hollywood, with all its glitter and shadow.

13. What authors did you read when you were younger? What authors do you enjoy today?

Jade: When I was younger:  Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Ray Bradbury was my favorite sci-fi author. Old Testament stories; Norse mythology; the Greek tragedies.
The plays of Edward Albee and Tennessee Williams, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde.And my great literary love over the decades:  J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth works. Sharlie and I share this passion. Moving to Germany I delved into German literature and poetry:  Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann, Goethe, Heine, Rilke.
My love of mythology led me to the works of C.G. Jung and Joseph Campbell.
Clive Barker's Weaveworld and Stephen King's The Stand are fantasy favorites, and I found Harry Potter great fun.
Riane Eisler’s books on the Feminine in society today and Margaret Starbird’s The Woman With the Alabaster Jar resonated deeply with the work on Salomé.

14. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?

Jade: This is very much tied to Salomé.The importance of Salomé to me lies in the desire to communicate to young women that they are the hope of our present and future world.
We see this in young women like Malala Yousafzai, the 16 year-old Pakistani who defied the Taliban for the sake of education for girls; or Angelina Jolie, who uses her position to speak out for the victims of rape in war zones.Salomé is the Peaceable One – a young woman who uses her ‘powers’ to protect, not destroy, and for the sake of those who cannot speak for themselves.She’s totally pro-active; she goes out there and gets her hands dirty and pits herself against the Ruling Order; but she neither takes up a weapon nor does she propagate violence.
In the next ten years I’d like to speak to young women, through and with Salomé, about how they are the ones who can truly make a difference in the world, if they are bold enough, courageous enough to take it on.
I’m not really interested in ‘making a career’ at this point in my life. If I can motivate and inspire, that’s what’s important. This is why I’d love to see Salomé become a film – because she has the potential to reach, and inspire, so many.

15. Thank you for participating in the interview! Can you please leave the reader with three things that they would be surprised to know about you?

Jade: 1)  I play the didgeridoo (Australian Aboriginal instrument)
2)  I recorded a CD of my original songs (Jade ov Arcc) including:  hip-hop, trip-hop, trance and house songs, annnnd….
3)  I was in Wellington, New Zealand for the World Premiere of The Return of the King and met Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Director of Weta Workshop Richard Taylor, producer Barrie Osborne and a whole bunch of the actors and production people from the Lord of the Rings production!  It was awesome!

Salomé Site

Find Jade Valour via the following:





Find Sharlie Pryce via the following:



Find Malena PR via the following:






Monday, November 4, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: "Salome" by J. Valor & S. Pryce


I was excited to have been contacted by Malena PR to read and review J. Valor & S. Pryce's epic novel Salome, a book I might have never come across otherwise, which would have been a shame

The House of Saba has waited mellinia for the coming of the Daughter who will save them in their time of need. It had been prophesied by the Seeress of Solomon's wife, and each time a woman gave birth, everyone in the House waited in ectsasy and fear to see if this would be the One for whom they were waiting.

When Ayanna, tge wife of Archlord Cyrus of Doreh, gives birth to her daughter, they know she is the One.
They name her Salome, meaning "Peaceable One".

When she comes of age, she will save Doreh and everywhere else in this futuristic, fictional Middle East. But, to keep her safe, her doting father will have to die and divert his enemies' attentions. But, with his dark brother, the Prince, and the unrest of the nation, will it be enough, as the prophet Elijah says it will? And what is this bond Salome seems to have forged with Jack, the son of a photographer who had been statiegically placed within the House of Saba by Elijah?

Most of all, will Salome do what is intended of her, or will she die trying?

As a whole, Salome is truly a masterpiece. Every scene is described with scrupulous detail, each character is given his or her own personality and the anticipation the reader feels as they turn every page is intense.

I enjoy the slightly twisted version of the Middle East, and its differences from the real world make Salome even more enjoyable than if it were traditional.

I also liked that it was set in a modern time as opposed to all of it being set in the past, as many novels of this style are. It shows a great level of creativity from the authors.

It can seem like a long read because it requires concentration, it actually took me a little more than three days to read, but it is worth every second.

I recommend this read to anyone and everyone who wants a fun, yet intense story with a strong plot, interesting subplots and colorful characters.

And, if you need yet another reason to pick up this modern-day epic, it is endorsed by the creators of Lord of the Rings!

5/5-masterfully created!

Purchase Salome via the following:

Official Site





Stay tuned tomorrow for my exclusive interview with the creators of Salome!