New Year #Honesty

First, apologies for not updating my blog for a while. When you’re a writer who has a full-time job and family obligations, you need to prioritise where your precious free-time goes, and I decided it was best to write novels rather than blog posts.

The New Year always brings us hope and questions. Hope that you will finally reach your goals, but questions of why you haven’t achieved those things already. My goal has been the same since I was a little girl – sign a life-changing publishing contract.

In the past three years I’ve completed a distance-learning creative writing degree, written two full-length novels and two novellas, compiled a massive collection of short stories, traversed several genres, and read hundreds of books. I’ve run a local writers’ group with over 20 members and conducted writing workshops for teenagers. I might just be one of the hardest working writers you’ve never heard of!

I was first published 8 years ago, and back then I was naïve enough to think it meant I had finally made it as a writer – wrong. For every published piece I’ve had to work my behind off, bend over backwards, and sacrifice other aspects of my life. And I still feel no closer to working as a full-time writer. A good friend once told me it takes years to become an overnight success, and this has never rung so true.

For the past year I’ve been changing genres. I love YA, writing and reading it, but it has yet to be lucky for me. As I write this now, I have one thriller in submission, one heading towards a final a draft and a third making my fingers itch. I write fast. By talking to successful authors, I’ve discovered that the best marketing for your book is your next book. Build up your portfolio as quick as you can; that’s my goal for 2020. I still want to write YA, and have some great ideas, but it’s low on my priority list right now.

Reader, one request I’ll leave you with is this: please leave Amazon reviews. These make a massive difference to the author and their book. Amazon’s algorithms work on the number of reviews received – so please take a minute to write a short review for a book you enjoyed. A good story has the power to transport you from the mundane, to cheer you up, engage your emotions, and make you laugh out loud. You will never know the true amount of blood, sweat, tears, which went into writing that book, so thank the author with stars and a few words for taking you on that trip.

Keep your fingers, toes and eyes crossed for me, and hopefully the next time I update this blog will be with some good news…

5 sayings that help me as a writer

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with my older brother about wanting to be fifteen years younger but still retain the knowledge and experience I have today. He, quite wisely pointed out that this was a concept always in flux, and that I’ll probably think the same thing in fifteen years time. I hate it when my big brother is right!

That said, I’ve come across 5 sayings that have really helped me as a writer and a person, and given me wisdom and motivation when I’ve needed it. So, no matter what your age now, I pass them onto you to help and guard you against life in all it’s crap and glory.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
This is an essential lesson to all writers. It’s little steps towards the whole. There is so much more involved in creating a book than just writing. There’s plot, structure, research, editing, drafting, character arcs and so much more, and if you try to think about all these things when you write, you’ll go mad. The journey will seem too long, and you’ll give up. But, if you take one aspect at a time, and make small steps, you can get to your destination. It won’t be easy, but nothing good in life ever is!

You shouldn’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm
I’m a closet people-pleaser. I really want to make the people around me happy, and I’ve been a sweet, funny girl for most of my life who has put others above herself, most of the time to the detriment of my own sense of self. Then I stopped. Not cold turkey, I still help other writers, I run a free writers’ group for adults and workshops for teen writers, but I’ve stopped being a push-over. I no longer write stories for publishers for free, and I ensure that I don’t lose personal time that could be allocated to my manuscripts. It’s hard at times, it goes against my nature, but sacrificing your own dreams for others may be noble but is incredibly stupid. There’s no medal in it for you and, I’ve learnt the hard way that there are some people out there that will gladly take all you have to give without giving back.

If you’re not first, you’re last
Okay, so this is from the Will Ferrell film, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and on the face of it looks crazy, but when you boil it down, it really is excellent advice. In a world where kids get participation trophies, and everyone is praised for trying, we’ve lost sight of the win. That’s right. I said it. The win. Writers still have to compete for publishing contracts, prizes and opportunities. The feeling you get when you have a publisher say ‘yes’ to you is fantastic, and it is because you worked your ass off for it. You put the time in, you paid your dues, and you deserve the win! Writers who stumble into big publishing deals are few and far between, the majority have a book with their name on because they pushed themselves and crossed the finish line.

This too shall pass
I’m not religious, but this saying from The Bible has stood the test of time. As a writer, you get a lot of rejection, and as much as you try to take it on the chin, at some point it will get you down, it has to, you’re only human. But just remember that the dark sticky feeling that is clinging to your soul right now, won’t be there forever, in fact, it might be gone by lunchtime (if you’re lucky) There’s a story about people who survived their suicide attempt of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Once airborne they quickly realised that all those problems in their lives were actually pretty easy to fix or get past, apart from one… that they jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. Creative people suffer a lot, we feel too much and think too hard, and this is a dismal combination in terms of happiness. I’m not saying you need to ball up your emotions and push them away, in fact, you should feel them, accept them and know…this too shall pass.

A year from now, you’ll wish you started today
This is the saying that had me write a 90K novel in thirty days (the first draft, I’m in the process of editing) It’s far too easy to put your writing off, to daydream about how great it would be to be an author. To have a book top the charts and make enough money so you can write full time. But if all you do is that, you’ll never even get close to your dreams. You need to think about future-you and the life you want to live. Writing takes the time, energy and a passion that few possess, but do you know what? I think you have what it takes, so what do you say? Want to start writing today?

Did you enjoy this blog? Then you’ll probably enjoy my books too. My two YA series, Battle of the Undead and The Twisted and the Brave are available on Amazon.

The five Ts of being a writer

Being a writer is a claim that many make, but few put the time and effort into. I know this is very skeptical of me, and even a little sad, but it’s true. I’ve met a lot of people in my time who have said they are writers and they want to write a book, but I’ve known very few who have done it.

In my time as a writer, and a leader of a writers’ group, I’ve discovered there are five distinct traits that successful writers (those that evolve into published authors) tend to have. So, in no particular order, here they are…

Yes, you need the talent to write. Not so much for the technical side, that can learnt, and we will discuss that in a moment, but you really need to have the imagination and mind of a real writer. You can have the best grammar and writing skills in the world, but if your story is lacklustre, your theme is non-existent, and the concept of the story is cliche and stale, well, no one is going to want to read it. There are ways of igniting that creativity in you. However, I genuinely believe you need at least a seed of it to begin with. This is a skill that can not be taught, but can be nurtured with the right mind-set.

Technical skills
Grammar, spelling and the basics of writing a decent sentence is a must for anyone looking to publish their work and have it read by others. But, my advice is, don’t get too hung up on it until you start drafting. I’m a firm believer in learning while you do and if you try to write your first draft while learning the basics of English language, you’ll find it jerky and frustrating – it’s the quickest way to destroy creativity and turn a budding author off the career altogether. Yes, technical skills are incredibly necessary, need I remind you of ‘Let’s eat Grandma‘ but make sure you bring them in at the right time of the process, to me that’s in the drafting and editing stages.

I also want to point out here, you have to know the rules before you break the rules. Many new writers think that their work will stand out if they consider themselves above the rules of the English language, they are not, and yes their work will stand out, but for all the wrong reasons.

You have to keep writing and submitting. It can be devastating to have your hard work denied time and again by publishers, but if it were easy, then everyone would do it. You can’t give it. The only difference between a writer and a published author is that the author didn’t give up. Yes, there are those once in a blue moon stories of the lucky who get a massive publishing deal straight off the bat, but these are rare and often don’t do the writer justice as it can foster complacency with their success. Earn your stripes, keep writing, keep submitting, work hard and never lose faith that you can get where you want to be if you put the time and effort into it.

I am published. I have two YA book series with a publisher and also have had over 40 short stories published in anthologies all over the world, but I’m still rejected by publishers and still can’t earn enough to live as a full-time author – this is most authors’ stories, but that can change with just one book and the right publisher; but, if you stop writing you’ll never get that deal, and that’s why I won’t stop writing and submitting my work. I want to write full time which brings me on to…

True Love
You have to love writing. It has to be your ambition and mistress. It takes an inordinate amount of time to write a book, then to edit, draft and then to submit. So you need to go into it with your eyes open. You will need to sacrifice things in your life to accommodate this. We all get 24 hours a day; you need to look at what you do, who you spend time with and decide what you need to give up to make enough time for your writing. I’m not saying that you need to become some crazy hermit in a log cabin with a laptop and broadband, but you do need hermit style sessions to get the job done. Take a long hard look at your life and trim away the things and people who are not supporting you and your dreams. This sounds harsh, but it’s the only way to ensure you not still writing that first novel twenty years after you started it.

Makinbg sure you hit deadlines is crucial when you’re a writer. I’ve spent my whole career in sales and marketing so hitting deadlines and targets are ingrained in me, but most people don’t have this discipline. My advice? Take baby steps and be realistic about what you can do. Having lofty goals is great, but if you set the bar too high you’ll never reach it, and so you’ll be more likely to quit. Decide what you are writing and roughly how long you want it to be, then set word counts each day. Smaller ones to begin with, and then build up. Make your time count and make sure you get your work into publishers by their deadline.

Being a writer/ author is one of the few dreams that does not ask you to be a certain age, race or gender. It doesn’t care if you have a disability and what your sexual orientation is. Anyone can set themselves on this path; just remember the 5 Ts and you’ll soon be on your way.

Happy New Year!

file7841341533535Happy New Year!

So, 2017 is here and let’s hope it’s going to be a good one. Although, it’s not all out of your hands. If you feel like you could have had a better 2016, achieved more, done more, been more, then, instead of feeling annoyed at yourself, turn that feeling around to making 2017 better.
I know, it’s easier said than done, right? Even I have felt like I’ve worked hard to achieve very little in 2016. It can be soul destroying and make you wonder why you bother at all, but you just need to remember that your life can turn around in just one event, one meeting or even one decision. You just need to keep trying till you get to that key moment.
As a writer, I know this more than anyone. It took me years to get published, and even now I still don’t feel like I’ve reached that goal to be a professional author yet. But I haven’t stopped trying, and I won’t. I’ll also continue to help other writers who want that same goal as me, guide them on their journeys (something I’ve done for over 6 years now) and give them the support that I wished I had had.

So, the question that never really get answered in all those self-help books: How? How do you keep going even if you’re tired, depressed, feeling unappreciated or feeling like life is ignoring even your most basic needs? Unfortunately, I think that the answer is different for everyone. For me, I just need to push on regardless, do the whole British ‘stiff upper lip’ trick and hope that all my work will, someday, pay off. The one piece of advice that I can give you, right now, is just to get something done, to take that first step on whatever journey you need to take to get you to the destination if where you want to be. Write a ‘to do’ list and then start ticking those bad boys off. And just remember, a year from now, you’ll wish you had started that journey today.

Happy 2017 everyone – Remember to stop by here on my blog when you can and let me know how the year is treating you and how your journey is going. Nicx

Interview with Angela Dennis

head shot 1Tell us about your publishing journey…

I wrote the first book in the Shadow Born Series, Shadows of Fate, to keep my mind busy during a very stressful time in my life. I had no intention of submitting it to a publisher, until my close friend/critique partner read it and convinced me to go that route. I’m so glad I did.  I’d been writing contemporary romantic suspense up unto that point, which I still love, but paranormal romance/urban fantasy is definitely more suited to my voice.

 What do you love about being an author?

 There are so many things. J I love being able to create new worlds, tell stories, weave mysteries.  There’s nothing better.

 If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

 Honestly, I have no idea. It would be fun to meet Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake. We’d definitely go out for coffee.

 If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

  Jessica Chastain and Gerard Butler.

 Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

 Both.  I want it all!  The more the merrier.

 If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

 I’m a huge history buff, particularly ancient history.  I’ve always been fascinated by Pompeii, so I’d probably go see it BEFORE it was destroyed.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?FadingLight300

 I really wish someone could have taught me not to take everything so serious. I’m still working on that J

 If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

 Anything, as long as I could time travel, that would be awesome.

 Where do you write best? 

 At home, where I’m relaxed, have a giant cup of coffee, and good music.

 What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

 I just finished Kim Harrison’s last book in the Hollows series.  It was awesome, but also bittersweet. I’m so sad the series is over.

 If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I love my genres (paranormal romance and urban fantasy), but I also love epic fantasy as well. One day I would love to write one. Primarily because I love world building, and with epic fantasy the sky is the limit J

Where can fans find you online?

Buy Links for Fading Light

Samhain Publishing:


Barnes and Noble:,%201



Interview with William Meikle

WilliamMeikleheadshotTell us about your publishing journey…

I write to escape.

I grew up on a West of Scotland council estate in a town where you were either unemployed or working in the steelworks, and sometimes both. Many of the townspeople led hard, miserable lifes of quiet, and sometimes not so quiet desperation. I was relatively lucky in that both my parents worked, but I spent a lot of time alone or at my grandparent’s house.

My Granddad was housebound, and a voracious reader. I got the habit from him, and through him I discovered the Pan Books of Horror and Lovecraft, but I also discovered westerns, science fiction, war novels and the likes of Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain, Alistair MacLean, Dennis Wheatley, Nigel Tranter, Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov. When you mix all that together with DC Comics, Tarzan, Gerry Anderson and Dr Who then, later on, Hammer and Universal movies on the BBC, you can see how the pulp became embedded in my psyche.

When I was at school these books and my guitar were all that kept me sane in a town that was going downhill fast. The steelworks shut and employment got worse. I -could- have started writing about that, but why bother? All I had to do was walk outside and I’d get it slapped in my face. That horror was all too real.

So I took up my pen and wrote. At first it was song lyrics, designed (mostly unsuccessfully) to get me closer to girls.

I tried my hand at a few short stories but had no confidence in them and hid them away. And that was that for many years.

I didn’t get the urge again until I was past thirty and trapped in a very boring job. My home town had continued to stagnate and, unless I wanted to spend my whole life drinking (something I was actively considering at the time), returning there wasn’t an option.

My brain needed something, and writing gave it what was required. That point, back nearly twenty years ago, was like switching on an engine, one that has been running steadily ever since.

It’s been a slow and steady progression, from UK small press pay in copies markets for much of the nineties, to getting a novel published in the USA in 2001, then starting to hit the pro short story market, and finding a home for novels with the higher end small presses in the States. I’ve now got 20 novels, 4 collections and over 300 short stories in print.

As I said before, I write to escape.

I haven’t managed it yet, but I’m working on it.

What do you love about being an author?

I didn’t chose writing, it chose me. The urge to write is more of a need, a similar addiction to the one I used to have for cigarettes and still have for beer.

For me it’s mainly inspiration. I wouldn’t write at all if the ideas didn’t present themselves in my head. I find I get a lot of ideas clamouring for attention all at once. I write them down in a notebook that never leaves my side, and sometimes one of them gathers a bit more depth, and I get a clearer image. At this stage I find myself thinking about it almost constantly, until a plot, or an ending, clarifies itself.

Once I’ve written down where the story should be going it quietens down a bit. Then, if I find myself still thinking about it a couple of days later, I’ll probably start writing the actual story. At any given time I have about 20 ideas waiting for clarity, two or three of which might end up as finished works.

That’s the inspiration part. And that continues when I start putting the words on paper.
There is also a certain amount of perspiration, especially in writing a novel. But I find if it feels too much like work, I’m heading in the wrong direction and it usually ends up in the recycle bin.

And, yes, there’s a certain degree of desperation in that I want to get better, to make the big sale, to see my name in lights, all that happy stuff. But I try not to think about that too much. :) meiklesigil

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki.resonated with me immediately on my first reading many years ago. Several of the stories have a Lovecraftian viewpoint, with cosmic entities that have no regard for the doings of mankind. The background Hodgson proposes fits with some of my own viewpoint on the ways the Universe might function, and the slightly formal Edwardian language seems to be a “voice” I fall into naturally.

Carnacki likes a drink and a smoke, and a hearty meal with his friends gathered round. This dovetails perfectly with my own idea of a good time. And although I no longer smoke, witing about characters who do allows me a small vicarious reminder of my own younger days. I wish I had Carnacki’s library, his toys, but most of all, I envy him his regular visits from his tight group of friends.

So that’s where I’d be, in Chelsea with Carnacki, more than willing to listen to his tales of adventure into the weird places of the world while drinking his Scotch, eating his roast beef and vicariously smoking his cigars.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

I’ve got BERSERKER coming later this spring, and I’d love to see the movie of that.. Vikings vs Yeti in an Arctic mountain landscape on the side of a Russian sea loch… what’s not to like? A dream pairing would be Alexander Skarsgård as Tor, our hero, with his dad Stellan Skarsgård as the ship’s captain.

As a horror writer, what scares you?

Sickness in the family. Supernatural beasties are all very well, but real horror comes when you come face to face with pain and misery that are piled on to such an extent that death seems a welcome alternative. I’ve seen too many friends and family riddled with disease, cancer, madness or addiction. They’re all far scarier than any ghost could ever be.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

I have a deep love of old places, in particular menhirs and stone circles, and I’ve spent quite a lot of time travelling the UK and Europe just to visit archaeological remains. I also love what is widely known as ‘weird shit’. I’ve spent far too much time surfing and reading Fortean, paranormal and cryptozoological websites. The cryptozoological stuff especially fascinates me, and provides a direct stimulus for a lot of my fiction.

But there’s just something about the misty landscapes and old places that speaks straight to my soul. Bloody Celts… we get all sentimental at the least wee thing.

So I’d go to Orkney, during the mound-building, menhir raising years. I’d love to see Maes Howe and the Ring of Brodgar going up and discover why they were built as they were.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

Start early. I was too timid, too unsure of myself, and generally too drunk to get going before I was 33. I now feel like I’m 10 to 15 years behind the curve, and might not have enough time left in me as a writer to get everything done that I want to get done. If you’ve always wanted to do something, get to doing it now. You might never get the chance again.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

meiklesamuraiIt would have to be something to do with the sea, as that’s where my heart has always been. The Creature From the Black Lagoon maybe, or maybe a silkie or a merman. Or Great Cthulhu, dreaming in Ryleh. It might be cool to wake up and terrorize the puny humans for a while.

Where do you write best?

These days everything is done on a sofa in a study overlooking a Newfoundland seashore, with a laptop on my lap. Prior to 2007, I did most of my writing on a Palm Pilot on ScotRail trains while commuting across Scotland.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

The Concrete Grove by Gary McMahon. Gary impresses me greatly. He’s got the ability to put what he imagines on the page while still leaving a great deal to the reader’s own imagination. He’s also not afraid to let his feelings bleed out onto the page. Despite that, he has a smooth, readable style, and is growing in stature as a writer with every passing year. I believe he’s going to go on to be huge, and good luck to him.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

It’s all about the struggle of the dark against the light. The time and place, and the way it plays out is in some ways secondary to that. And when you’re dealing with archetypes, there’s only so many to go around, and it’s not surprising that the same concepts of death and betrayal, love and loss, turn up wherever, and whenever, the story is placed. Genre is secondary to that, which is why my work already encompasses science fiction, fantasy, several varieties and horror, weird westerns and crime.

But if I was to write anything else, I think it would be a straight western. I was brought up with Gunsmoke, the Virginian and John Wayne movies. Westerns are deep in my soul.

Where can fans find you online?

My news is always broadcast on my website and associated newsletter at, and I hang out mainly on Facebook at
Come and say Hi.

Interview with Sherilee Gray

7762587Tell us about your publishing journey…

It all started with my sister getting me hooked on romance novels after the birth of my first child. My first writing attempts were not great, and after entering a writing competition with my not so shiny new novel, I discovered I had a lot to learn about the craft of writing. Also, I’d always struggled at school. I’m a hands-on kind of girl. I learn from doing, and I need a lot of examples before something sinks in. So first I had to go back to basics, and I mean basics. It’s been a long road, from that first ms to getting Lone Wolf’s Captive accepted was close to five years. But in all that time I never gave up, I never stopped working towards my goal. When I received an email from Kate Cuthbert at Escape Publishing to say she wanted my story, I burst into tears. Nothing will ever beat that feeling.

What do you love about being an author?

That I can work from home doing what I love. I also love that I’m home for my kids. Writing is hard, the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it still doesn’t feel like a real job. I mean, my job is to let my crazy imagination run wild. How cool is that?

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat? 

Acheron from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. I looove him! He doesn’t really like to eat, but maybe I could get him drunk on Sprite and see if he’d shrink me (like he did his wife Tory) and take me on a tour of a miniaturized replica of Atlantis!

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

If I could combine Aiden Turner from the BBC version of Being Human and Jason Momoa from Game of Thrones, weird combo I know. I think you’d have my big, tortured alpha wolf, Fletcher Stone.

For Delaney? That’s a little harder. Maybe Zoe Deschanel, but with dark eyes!

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

Sexy leads every time.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

As long as I could come back and forth, yanno, for dental care and chocolate. I like the idea of medieval Scotland. Who wouldn’t want a massive, claymore wielding, Scottish warrior to carry you off to his castle?

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

Ignore the negative Nancy’s and naysayers. I’m sure I was given this advice as a kid, but it takes age and wisdom before you realize that what other people think of you isn’t your problem. They’re gonna think what they want regardless. Spend your time and energy on those people that love and support you!

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

Today? I’d have to say a shifter! They live longer, they’re stronger than humans, and they can change forms…oh! And they’re all hot! In my mind they are anyway!

Where do you write best?

At the desk in the corner of my bedroom, or on the couch in the living room.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it? download

Reapers Property by Joanna Wylde. I love an emotional ride, and I love me an alpha male. This series is chock full of them. These guys are alpha to the extreme. I know not everyone likes that, but books like this are my current drug of choice.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

Contemporary. I have a few ideas and a few half-finished stories that I will get back to one day. There’s a lot to love about the genre, and it’s what I mainly read when I’m not reading Paranormal.

Where can fans find you online?

Interview with Keith Deininger

Keith Leather SmilingTell us about your publishing journey…

The first story I remember writing was in 3rd grade, about a kid who wakes up to discover everyone is missing and he is totally alone.

Man, what does that say about the kind of kid I was?

When I was a senior in high school, I entered a story in a science fiction writing contest, won first place, and received my first $100 as a writer along with a vigorous handshake from Ray Bradbury himself. After that, my ego bloated, I entered college wanting to be a writer.

But, I soon became one of those “writers” who talks about writing at parties more than actually writing anything. It wasn’t until years later, after graduating college, working several shitty jobs, going through some struggles, and growing up a little, that I finally realized that if I were going to ever reach my goals, I’d have to start taking them seriously and write. Now I write every day and I’ve published short stories, novellas, even a couple of novels: THE NEW FLESH and GHOSTS OF EDEN (Nov. 2014).

What do you love about being an author?

Writing is a way to tangibly express a personal vision from the imagination. There’s nothing like it. To me, that’s amazing, and being an author means that other people actually read and hopefully enjoy my visions and come away inspired and affected. Writing is a way to provoke questions and profound thinking.

It’s great to have readers and I’m thankful to each and every one!

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?marrows_pit

I’d like to have dinner with Eddie from King’s Dark Tower books. He’s sarcastic, has a wicked sense of humor, and I think we’d get along. We’d eat something weird, something neither of us has tried before.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

Honestly, I’ve never considered what any of my books would be like as movies… I like the idea of someone like Roman Polanski, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, or even Lars von Trier writing the script and directing, making a movie super creepy and filled with dark imagery, but I don’t know about actors.

As a horror writer, what scares you?

A lot of things, but it’s strange. I’ve never been scared of the traditional stuff: spiders, stalking monsters, things like that. I’m more concerned with the creepy and the uncanny. I’m still scared of the dark, or, at least, not knowing what’s in the dark. I’m scared of my life being controlled by others, either by force or through psychological manipulation. And I’m terrified that I will one day wake up and the people I love and care about will be different somehow, that they won’t be the same people, and then reality will start to bend and fray around me until I’m not certain what is real and what is not. That shit’s scary! That’s probably why I write what I write, to attempt to gain an understanding of and reconcile the inexplicable. Too bad it’ll never happen, and I’m forced to always live in fear. ;)

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

This may sound lame to some people, but I would go back to the American 60s and party and have a lot of sex. I wouldn’t want to go further back in time than that, because then I’d probably get sick and die shitting my brains out in the mud somewhere. Yeah, dropping LSD with Aldous Huxley would be pretty cool.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

I wish someone had told me not to take failure and rejection personally. One of the largest epiphanies of my life was the realization that success is a matter of persistence and hard work and not some mystical, innate talent. Rejection is not an attack on one’s character, but just another step, hopefully in the direction you’d like to go. In my youth, it seemed so simple…

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

I think I’d have a lot of fun being some sort of Mephistopheles-like demon, playing little tricks on humans, setting up games to win their souls. I’d get to travel and I’d smile a lot. Either that, or a dragon. Dragons are cool.

Where do you write best?

I call myself an extroverted-introvert because I like to have people around, but I don’t like it when they bother me. Because of that, I write best at coffee shops where there is activity and human energy all around me. I can maintain my focus for only so long in a silent and confined office. Just don’t talk to me while I’m writing and we’re good.

656040What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

Okay, this is good timing because I just finished reading China Mieville’s “Perdido Street Station” for the first time. I love the world-building, and the creativity, and the imagination in it; Mieville’s language is solid too. But as a writer who struggles with pacing and literary bloat in his own work, I can’t help but to look at “Perdido’s” length critically. The actual story arc in the novel doesn’t start until somewhere 200 to 300 pages in. There are several scenes in it that are interesting, but do not draw the story forward and could have been chopped out. Just saying.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

Well, most of my work so far is classified as horror, but I’m really a fantasy writer. It’s just that my imagination tends to be dark, disturbing and disgusting, and that has led me to write some really fucked-up fiction. I definitely write horror, but I have a vast reservoir of fantasy ideas building up—that sometimes trickle into my horror—that will eventually overflow the dam and I’ll be forced to tackle my fantasy epic.

Where can fans find you online?

I also maintain a tumblr blog, am on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.

And I encourage anyone who’s interested in my work to sign up for my New Release Mailing List. I use it only to announce new releases, so don’t worry about spam. I also give away a free story to new subscribers for your Kindle (Hint: it’s fucked up). ;)

Also, my latest work, MARROW’S PIT, comes out March 11th, but you can pre-order from Amazon now.

Interview with Sabrina York

Sabrina_head_logoTell us about your publishing journey…

First of all, Nicky, thank you for having me! I appreciate the opportunity to share the word about my work!

I am fairly new on the scene. My first book, Adam’s Obsession was published in April of 2012. It was one of three finalists in a contest, the final editor for which was with Ellora’s Cave. They bought all three. Since then, I have released over 20 titles, contemporary & regency romance, and fantasy, ranging from short stories to novels. They are all steamy romance with one exception. Rising Green is pure erotic horror.

Most of my titles are with publishers like Ellora’s Cave and Decadent Publishing, but I also have a self published series about a group of friends getting into all kinds of sexy situations on (the fictional) Tryst Island in the Pacific Northwest, where I live.

Self publishing is a lot of fun but definitely more work. But the benefits to myself and readers have been worth it. I have been able to give away books, control prices and covers and explore story lines with absolute impunity!

My favorite part of being a writer is connecting with readers and I LOVE finding new readers. If you’d like to check out my work, you can download my free teaser book which will give you a taste of my books in blurbs, excerpts and comments from readers.

What do you love about being an author?

Creation. I was a rabid reader as a kid and quickly discovered how fun it could be to create my own worlds!

One thing I definitely love about writing erotic romance is that I can explore all sub genres. Most of my books are contemporary or historical erotic romance…but I have two books that veer from the mold. Lust Eternal is a Fantasy Romance and Rising Green is an erotic horror—not a romance at all. But I can write these outliers and still maintain my brand, because of the erotic element in them. This is exciting to me, because I enjoy exploring all genres.

If you could have dinner with any author, who would it be and what would you eat? lusteternal_msr

I would probably want to dine with Mark Twain, because from what I’ve read, he’s clever and funny and I’m sure the conversation would be pithy There would definitely be bacon. Because bacon is a passion of mine. ;)

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

How funny. When you ask that question my mind goes immediately to ther heroes. I guess the heroines would be me. I don’t have particular actors in mind, but I suppose any of these guys would do: or any of these guys:

I’m not too picky.


Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

I’ve never written a vampire story, but I imagine if I did, they would be a combination of the two. Honestly, a sexy hungry man? Would could resist that?

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

Another tough question. I’m a history buff so all historical periods are interesting to me. I’d probably do a sample of eras, everything from Ancient Rome to Regency England. The wild West is intriguing as well as some futurescape. Of course, I’d have to write a story about each place I visited, you know, so I could write it off on my taxes.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

Just do it.

Oh, I’ve heard it all along. (I watch commercials, after all). But I do wish I had just done it sooner. It’s silly to be afraid of leaping in. The waters may be deep in publishing, but it’s a damn fine swim.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

NOT a vampire, for sure, because from everything I’ve read, they don’t eat bacon. Maybe a werewolf? There’s a special place in my heart for canines.

risinggreen_msr (1)Where do you write best?

Believe it or not, at the dining room table. I don’t have an office (which makes for quite a mess, what with all the tiaras lying around) but I find having a broad open workspace and views to gaze at when I’m contemplating a passage, is wonderful. I like quiet—I know a lot of authors listen to music when they write, but that just distracts me, especially if the music has words. And there should probably be a plate of bacon nearby…

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

As an author, we are sometimes called upon to judge contests. So I recently read 8 books by other authors. Some were very good. So good, I found myself contemplating how I could do better as an author, which I found stimulating. We can always be better at our craft. Some books were not so good and from these I took reminders of why it is so important to invent emotion in every passage, to plot effectively and edit painfully. As a reader, nothing disappoints me more than an author who hasn’t done her job as fully as she a=ought to. I try very hard to make sure my work is the best it can be.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

Oh. My. All of them. Well, most of them. And I actually do write in other genres, but haven’t published my Women’s Fiction, mainstream romance, YA or epic fantasies…simply because I am still learning the business and, frankly, my erotic romances are doing so well, I really need to focus on them. I have a touch of ADD and get bored easily, so I use these other books as palate cleansers, if you will.

Where can fans find you online?

I am everywhere! Here is a list of places you can find me:

Interview with Toby Tate

Author photoTell us about your publishing journey…

I’ve always loved to read. At the dinner table, mom would make me put my books away and I would end up reading all the labels on the condiment jars and ketchup bottles. By the time I was twelve, my cousin and I were publishing our own magazine, a knock-off of Famous Monsters of Filmland.

I really loved Ray Bradbury and this new guy named Stephen King, so I started writing short stories, none of which ever got published. As a musician, I was also writing my own song lyrics and doing a lot of recording. In fact, I still do that now!

I kept writing and refining my stories through high school, then stopped for a while when I joined the Navy. I picked it up a few years later and started writing articles for magazines and eventually internet websites. I got an article published in Famous Monsters of Filmland, which was a childhood dream of mine.

After I got married, I decided to go back to college. While I was there, I started writing a novel. It took about five years to finish it and get it polished to the point where I thought it was ready for submission. After getting rejected by about 85 agents and a dozen publishers, I finally received offers from two small presses. I eventually went with Nightbird Publishing, and DIABLERO was released in Oct. 2010.

For my next book, I wanted to go with a publisher that had a wider audience, and I eventually signed with DarkFuse for two books – LILITH and THE BLACK CHURCH. In between those two books, Crossroad Press published GOD PARTICLE, a young adult sci-fi thriller.

Recently, I was offered a three-book deal with Permuted Press, publishers of the book JOHN DIES AT THE END. They will be publishing the next two books in the LILITH trilogy, as well as a reissue of my first book, DIABLERO.

What do you love about being an author?

My favorite part is meeting fans, both on the internet and in person. I’ve met some fantastic people along the way. But I love the entire process, from the idea stage to the writing stage, to the publishing and marketing stages. It’s all great fun to me. I’ve never enjoyed a job so much in my life. I have my wonderful wife, who has encouraged my writing endeavors, to thank for much of my success to this point. It’s kind of funny, but even after five published books, I’m still considered a “newbie.”

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

I don’t know, Bilbo Baggins maybe? He certainly knows how to eat well. We’d probably have some homemade bread, cheese and really excellent wine.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

The lead character in my book LILITH is a man named Hunter Singleton, and he has a mixed-race heritage of Native American and Caucasian. I don’t necessarily think the actor would have to be exactly like that, but it would be nice. I haven’t been able to imagine anyone for that role yet. But for my first book, DIABLERO, I always imagined Vin Diesel as a reanimated Blackbeard the Pirate. He’d be perfect for that part. They would just have to say Blackbeard shaved his hair off at some point, kind of like Vin did in CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK.

As a horror writer you are looking to scare readers – what scares you?

I’ll tell you what really scares me – ghost stories. Stephen King’s THE SHINING gave me nightmares for weeks. But one of the scariest lines of any book, to me, are the beginning and ending paragraphs of Shirley Jackson’s THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, where it says, “Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more…and whatever walked there, walked alone.” To this day, I haven’t been able to finish that book.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?LILITH desktop

I always thought it would be cool to live in the late 1600s, early 1700s, about the time Blackbeard the Pirate was around. People were hardier and more self-reliant back then, mainly out of necessity. The average life span was only about 40, but it was a full life. Nowadays, people live twice as long, but we spend most of it in front of some kind of electronic gizmo.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

“Be patient – everything doesn’t have to happen today!” Believe it or not, I didn’t really hear a lot of that growing up. I probably would do a lot of things differently, but I don’t think things could have turned out any better than they have, because I love my life!

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

Ever since I saw AN AMERICN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, I always thought it would be cool to be a werewolf, even though it’s considered a curse. I wouldn’t consider it that. I think it would be fun to run around in the woods and kill my food with my bare hands, then take a walk through the city streets and scare the bejeezus out of everyone.

Where do you write best?

As a full-time newspaper reporter, I wrote in a cubicle in the middle of a noisy newsroom, so I’ve learned I can write just about anywhere. But my two favorite places are probably at home in my man-cave, or at my local coffee house.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

The last book I finished was actually a DarkFuse book called WHOM THE GODS WOULD DESTROY by Brian Hodge. It was a kind of nerdy-science meets the Twilight Zone type thing, very creepy and H.P. Lovecraft-ish. He’s one of those writers that make me think, “Man, I need to step up my game.” He makes eloquence look effortless.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I would probably write military thrillers, kind of like Brad Thor. I love that stuff. In fact, my book LILITH is very much like that, but with a nasty monster added to the mix. Edgar Rice Burroughs was great at doing that action/adventure science fiction stuff, and he was a big influence. But my books tend to lean toward the supernatural, so that’s where the Stephen King influence comes in. That’s why I call myself an author of high-octane sci-fi, fantasy and horror.

Where can fans find you online?

 You can find me on my website at, which has links to my Facebook and Twitter pages. Feel free to sign up for my newsletter while you’re there.

Thanks for the awesome interview, Nicky – I love your blog!