Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Drabble Wednesday: Midnight

From the forgetfulness of my mind and the call of my midnight muse, I bring you today’s Drabble Wednesday, scribbled in the wee hours of last night…

Witching Hour

The night bird sings in the treetop, keeping time with the warble of the wind. Above them, the moon glows, pale blue and full, lighting the way of the coming traveller. She treads softly, her footsteps a bare whisper across dirt and leaves as she wends her way through the forest. She smiles at the moon and joins the night bird’s song with a faint humming. She has come to sing to ghosts and spirits, to weave her spells and laugh with the joy of magic. She belongs to this place, this time, the midnight of the pale blue moon.

Midnight in Paris

Watch the clouds drift in the indigo sky, playing hide and seek with stars, and the coquette, silver moon. They beckon, those celestial beauties, flashing their siren gaze earthward. They glint and twinkle starlight and moonbeams to the city streets, and reflect their radiance off the steel beacon of the Eiffel Tower.
This is Paris at night, in darkened splendour, alive with the quiet, and the gentle sounds of evening. Hear the Seine ripple, against soft laughter and the click of heels. Amidst it all we linger, strolling hand in hand, midnight lovers waiting for the morning sun to rise.

Midnight Man

The crow caws once, then twice more. The air shivers, and the grass bends at the edge of the woods. A cold, grey fog rolls in, thick as wool, carrying a silhouette. A figure.
Can you see him now? The Midnight Man.
Tall and gangly, all angles and crisp bits, dressed in black. He wears a long coat and a top hat. The crows gather round him in flight, and one perches on his spindly arm.
Stay quiet. Don’t let him see you.
You mustn’t look into his eyes… they say his eyes are hollow. Inky voids sinking into death.

© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Interview With Author Dani Hoots

Today, I have a great interview with the prolific, multi-genre writer, Dani Hoots. Enjoy...

Interview with Author Dani Hoots

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Well, I am an author that resides outside Seattle, Washington with my husband and two cats. I have a B.S. in Anthropology and a Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning from Arizona State University, where I am also enrolled in an online program for Novel Writing through the Piper Center at ASU. My hobbies include learning German and Swedish, playing the violin, volunteering for conservation organizations, and watching anime and reading manga. I also love working at conventions, such as Comic-con, where I get to meet my readers and other artists like me.

You have an impressive array of novellas and series. Could you tell us a bit about your books?

Yes. I have five series currently that are either finished or I’m in the middle of them, along with some free short stories that are available for download. They all range from science fiction, fantasy, to horror and romance.
A Falling Starr Trilogy follows Angela Starr as she can’t remember who she is, and is taken to a new world and finds out that it is her home. She must figure out who exactly she was in this world and why there are so many people after her.
A World of Vampires Series follows different myths and legends throughout the world about vampires, and each novella has to do with a different character in a different place and time in history as they discover these creatures. My stories range from 1930’s Boston, following the Native American version of a vampire called a Hooh-Strah-Dooh, to 1700s Scotland with the Baobhan Sith, and the newest one to be released is set in 16th century Chile with the Peuchen legend.
The Sanshlian Series, which includes my first indie published novel The Quest, follows Arcadia Rieturf who was taken from her family and trained to be the Emperor’s Shadow. She becomes emotionless and ruthless, believing in everything her master, the emperor, does—that is, until she runs into her long lost brother who wants to find the legendary planet of Sanshli, which can be used to destroy the Pandronan Empire and bring back the New Republic that once ruled. Now Arcadia must choose between her loyalty and her family.
My Broken Heart Series is a collection of different romance stories of people who have had their heart broken. For this, I decided to do all types of “doomed to fail” relationships including a girl falling in love with her father’s intern, a graduate school teacher-student romance, boss-employee relationship, and so on. This series also includes two LGBT novellas that have not yet been released.
Lastly, I have a series called Damon Salvatore: Life After Lost that I published through Kindle Worlds. This is through The Vampire Diaries and follows Damon just after he runs off from Mystic Falls after he is turned into a vampire.

You are also working on a comic called Hel's Labyrinth. What’s the premise, and how does working on a comic differ from writing a book?

Hel’s Labyrinth follows a girl named Phoebe who unwillingly gets trapped into Niflhel, the Scandinavian underworld, with seven other circus attendees. There, they have to face Norse mythical beings that are trying to kill them and survive to the end of the labyrinth to face Hel herself, as she is the one behind it all and is trying to bring Ragnarok to end the world. To learn more about it and stay informed, please check out our Facebook page:

Working on a comic is a lot of fun, especially when it is with a friend. Being a writer can be lonely a lot of time, so working on joint projects is definitely exciting. I found that the difference is when it comes to actually writing the story, as you don’t need to worry about describing things since that is what the art does. Mainly, all your focus is on dialogue and you have to make sure all the information is given only through dialogue. It is quite interesting, actually, to have to change your focus on how most information is given. As for marketing and all the pre- and post-production work, it is a lot like writing a novel.

You’ve also written a book (based on the Vampire Diaries) for Kindle Worlds. How was that experience?

It was a lot of fun since I got to be able to write about a character I absolutely love. There is definitely a lot we don’t know about Damon in The Vampire Diaries and it was fun to put together some of the pieces, even though it’s not canon. It was also helpful in developing a fan base and beginning my career as a writer.

You write in several genres. Do you have a favourite? And if so, why?

I am not sure what would be my favorite, but if I had to pick, it would probably be urban and historic fantasy. I love doing research on different times in history, or different places throughout the world, and learn a lot by writing A World of Vampires Series, and a novel I am working on called The Chained. Science Fiction is a close second though, as I have great interest in space exploration and grew up reading Isaac Asimov and Star Wars books. 

Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

I try to write every day, even if it is just a little. I make myself a pot of herbal tea, get my cat to lie down next to me, blast some music that inspires me (ranging from folk to German metal), and go to work in my study. That is pretty much my every day. My ideas originate from many things, such as dreams, history books, or just interactions with people on the streets. I find inspiration in everything around me.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

I would have to say that a lot of the time being a writer can be very lonely. Sure there is a lot of people online to talk to, but actual physical interaction is a lot different. That is why I like working at conventions, meeting people, and joining clubs like German club, soccer, and volunteering places.

Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?

My favorite authors include Isaac Asimov, Kevin J. Anderson, Timothy Zahn, and I get inspired by many animes and mangas, such as Sailor Moon, Fairy Tail, and Trigun. Isaac Asimov was a very scientific writer and it is very motivating how he was able to incorporate it in his writing. When I was young, I read a lot of Timothy Zahn and Kevin J. Anderson and those stories were what made get serious about writing, along with watching/reading Sailor Moon, Trigun, and many other Japanese anime and manga.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

My next project is going to be a young adult paranormal mystery. It is still in the works, but I know it will follow a young girl who is starting her freshman year at a boarding school outside of Leavenworth, Washington. She starts hearing a voice talking to her and strange things begin happening at the school where she has to solve the mystery of what happens. I’m very excited to start working on it soon and I hope to release the first one this fall. 

You can find out more about the author and her books at her websites:

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Book Spotlight: Sevara: Dawn of Hope

Today I have a book spotlight for the YA fantasy novel, Sevara: Dawn of Hope by Damian Wampler. Enjoy!

Sevara: Dawn of Hope by Damian Wampler

Sevara’s orphanage teaches wife etiquette instead of arithmetic, domestic duties instead of grammar, and stick fighting instead of phys ed. There’s a swimming pool (but no water) and a doctor (who sells the unwanted girls to slave traders). All girls must become servant-wives, or be kicked out onto the streets with nothing. Sevara refuses to marry, and doesn’t last long on the outside.

Luckily, someone has been watching her.

Given incredible powers, Sevara must choose between protecting the city, and saving the only man she’s ever loved. Dawn of Hope is a one hundred thousand word young adult novel that will appeal to readers of all ages, and is suitable for children over the age of thirteen.

Sevara: Dawn of Hope is available at:

Author Bio:

Damian is a lifelong documentary photographer who originally hails from Newark, Delaware. Damian earned a bachelor's degree in English and Anthropology from Boston University and boarded a place bound for Kyrgyzstan shortly after, where he taught English for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer. Later, he earned a Master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Russian, Eastern Europe and Central Asian Studies, and returned to the Kyrgyz republic as a Fulbright researcher. He returned to the United States to study digital photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He also wrote and produced a full-length play which premiered June, 2009. Damian is also the writer and creator of the Sevara graphic novel.

Author Website: 

Friday, 17 July 2015

Interview With Tabitha Darling

Today I have an interview with author Tabitha Darling who stops by to chat about her new book, Chiron's Honorand writing. Enjoy.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I am originally from Alaska. Having spent nearly 20 years up there, I learned to hunt for food, trap and fish etc. I have seen fifty below zero temperatures, five foot snow, moose, bear and the northern lights. After finding Mr. Right I am now a happy Texan author, editor and artist. I own three horses, four chickens, and three geese. I am also wife to a robot building husband and mom to a one year old.

Can you tell us about your newest release, Chiron's Honor?

Chiron's Honor brings a genetically engineered centaur species back to Earth after a separation of nearly 3,000 years. The centaur cannot reproduce, their longevity is severely shortened and they are looking for answers to have a chance at living again. This book is meant to bring realism to classical mythology.

Your new book is a fantasy. What interests you about the genre as a writer? Are you a fan of the genre, and if so why?

I am a picky reader as I have read all the great classics such as Tolkien, Asimov, and James Herriot etc. I can't stand formulaic books, shallow plots, or the shallow use of writing and language. What I like about the fantasy genre is just pushing the limits of what we assume, tweaking the standards, messing with the status quo. Experimenting, and testing. I like a good unicorn book, or a novel with rich character in dragons, and in the human characters. No more wizards, spells, apprenticeships, or doomsday, but give me a really well thought out book and sharp author. I am definitely a fan of fiction and fantasy! In this crazy world we need it!

You’ve also included aspects of mythology in your book. As a writer what do you find most intriguing about myths?

Ironically I got interested in mythology from Stargate SG1, an old sci-fi T.V. series. It is fascinating to learn about the old languages used, how the common person lived, the ruling structure of a society, how they viewed nature and animals, how religions and concept of magic were perceived. I prefer to read the old stories, which were once considered fact and just ask in my writing what if they had been true and we never found out? That is the underlying question in this current series I'm working on.

Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate

My ideas pop into my head usually without forethought. Literally while I'm typing! Chiron's Honor actually wrote itself, there was no plan whatsoever except the vague idea of what I wanted to get across. Even the structure formed itself partway through, I liked it and kept it. The structure itself I have never used before. I think the book surprised me!

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Editing, I hate editing! Second, is advertising. Lastly, researching old dead civilizations!

Where do you get your inspirations or ideas?

Pretty much in one of two ways. I get lucky have great ideas that pp into my head for which I quickly jot down notes. And lastly, literally n the fly while I'm typing. Beyond that, just the desire to mess with assumptions and see where they take me.

Do you have a favourite author?

Not just one favorite author but many. If I was forced at threat to my life, I'd have to say Tolkien.

What’s the next project? Any new books in the works?

This has got to be a trick question! I have two books in one series to work on, two books each in their own series to finish, and two more each in THEIR own series to write. I am working on five separate series at the same time, and just hop from one book to the next as I feel the need or finish a book to move on.

You can find out more on the author and her books at her website and blog.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Drabble Wednesday: Comeuppance And A Little Sunshine

Today on Drabble Wednesday it’s payback time, with three stories of less than savoury characters getting theirs. Also the last story, The Real Estate Game, features the main character concept by one of the winners in my Sunshine Book Show Rafflecopter Contest, Linda Bonney Olin. Congratulations, Linda, and I hope you enjoy your character’s demise.

No Rhyme, Nor Reason

“One bone, two. Is the sky still blue?”
She skipped a few steps, stirring up dust.
“Two bones, three. What will become of me?”
She twirled about, dancing, coming to a stop beside a figure slumped in the corner. “My name’s Lucy, what’s yours?” No answer, and suddenly—
“Time for grub, maggots!" The prison guard ambled down the corridor between cells, followed by men pushing three trolleys. As he neared, the guard halted abruptly, staring into Lucy’s cell.
“What the— Lucy! What did I tell ya! Stop killing your cellmates!”
“Why?” She giggled. “Three bones, four. I want some more.”

High Stakes Hnefa-Tafl

The chieftain hesitated, his hand wavering over a game piece. He glanced at his opponent. The inscrutable stranger smiled.
One of his nearby servants coughed. “Quiet!” The chieftain roared, and struck the man in the face. “I need quiet!” Then he inhaled, and shifted a piece.
“Unfortunate.” His opponent made his play. “I have captured your king. You have yielded the game.”
“NO!” The chieftain slammed his fists on the board flinging it into the air.
“Yes! I will collect our wager.” The stranger waved his hand. “Your soul!”
The tyrannical chieftain gasped and died, while his oppressed subjects cheered.

This next story is the result of my Sunshine Book Show Giveaway. My prize winner, Linda Bonney Olin, got to create and name a character to be used in Drabble Wednesday. Here is her character, iffy real estate agent Emma Faye Kerr, and her poor unfortunate (but well-deserved) fate:

The Real Estate Game

Emma Faye Kerr stared at the black spot on the wall. She couldn’t unload this rattling monstrosity of house on unsuspecting clients if they could see the problems.
“Stupid painters. They promised they’d hide those mold stains. I’ve got a couple ripe for the plucking coming in an hour.”
She leaned in, taking a closer look. Her hand brushed against the spot.
“What the—”
She screamed. Black slime slid from the wall onto her hand. It grew, engulfed her, consuming flesh and bone. Within minutes nothing was left of Emma Faye Kerr but a black stain on the floor.

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