Saturday, 11 August 2018

Book Spotlight: The Rose Queen: Book 1 of the Rose Trilogy

Today I have another book spotlight for you. This time it is the fairy tale fantasy, The Rose Queen, Book 1 in the Rose Trilogy, by Alison McBain. In addition to a peek at the book, there's a short excerpt. Enjoy!


The Rose Queen: Book 1 of the Rose Trilogy by Alison McBain



The Beast doesn't always wait for Beauty. Sometimes Beauty IS the Beast.

Princess Mirabella is betrothed to a repulsive old man a year after her mother's death. She refuses the marriage, only to find out her betrothed is a sorcerer as well. He takes his revenge by transforming her into a savage and frightening beast, giving her an ultimatum: she has three years to solve the mystery of her curse—or die.

Exiled to her mother's estate to hide the scandal, Mirabella learns that the sorcerer was not alone in keeping secrets. Her grandfather was murdered before Mirabella was born, and her mother's death is looking less and less as if it came from natural causes. The only point in common to all their ruined lives: her father, the king.

Faced with a conflict between saving her family and saving her own life, the choices Mirabella makes will change the future of the kingdom—and magic—forever.




The Rose Queen: Book 1 of the Rose Trilogy is available on Amazon




EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 1:


When she was sixteen, Mirabella attended the last ball her mother, the queen, would organize. Although Mira’s beauty was maturing, she was not yet done with the plumpness of youth. Between now and her eighteenth year, she would grow five more inches. At eighteen, she would be the tallest of all the women and taller than a number of the men of court. She would come eye-to-eye with the king, although his stature was greater simply due to the height of his crown.

But at sixteen, something about her was not yet complete.

It was attractive, that unfinished quality in her. At her mother’s ball, one could tell where the princess stood merely by the number of suitors hovering around one spot. Overwhelmed by the crowd, she had learned by that time to smile coyly and say little. She donned indifference like armor, and without intending it, her distant and cool demeanor became her trademark. What would they all say if they knew she felt shriveled up inside under the constant attention?

Because she didn’t say much, Mira listened. Since childhood, she’d had the knack of paying attention to multiple conversations at the same time. She could be at a crowded gathering like this ballroom, and still distinguish each voice around her. Even as she smiled at her companions, she was mostly paying attention to the conversation now taking place behind her.

Him? What would the king want with him?”

“Called him from there, you know. The queen said—”

“Country buffoon. Did you know that when he made his bow, he neglected to—”

“Not surprising. What do you expect, letting in riffraff? And look at those clothes—”

She couldn’t help but turn to look for the subject of the conversation.

The person they spoke of seemed alone despite the hordes of people who swirled around him, like a pebble untouched in a stream. His clothes were a touch less elegant, less polished, as if he had spent money frugally and been cheated of the finest materials. It aped the latest style, but was not quite the thing. There was something about him, though, that spoke to her.

His features were forgettable, but his eyes—they were dark and miserable in the crowd.

She managed an introduction and, a touch belatedly it seemed, he asked to escort her around the ballroom. She glanced to each side, at the bodies of suitors piled up around her, and raised one perfect eyebrow at him in conspiracy. “Thank you, sir,” she replied and was granted his smile.

She heard a ripple of whispers after them, but it was unlikely she would ever see this country lord again, and so she didn’t worry about what impression she might be making. For a moment, she breathed more easily in the man’s ostracized presence. He said almost nothing, and it was a definite improvement over the ceaseless prattle of the admirers left behind.

And for a moment, she felt… not alone. Or if alone, it was a shared aloneness. She could be a solitary creature and take comfort with another’s pain in the midst of the crowd.

When the man made his final bow, she felt she had done a good service to rescue him and keep him company. Maybe someone might do the same for her someday.



About the Author



Alison McBain is an award-winning author with more than seventy short stories/poems published in magazines and anthologies, including Flash Fiction Online, Abyss & Apex and On Spec. Once in a while, she puts on her Book Reviews Editor hat for the magazine Bewildering Stories or interviews authors and other creatives on her website, www.alisonmcbain.com.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Interview With Author Daccari Buchelli

Today I have a terrific interview with author Daccari Buchelli, who stops by to chat writing and talk about books. Enjoy!



Interview With Daccari Buchelli




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

Gladly. My name is Daccari. I’m a 24 year old author from Britain and have been passionate about books for as long as I can recall. 
When I was younger, I read to escape reality, but as I grew older, I found that reading actually helped me to understand and navigate my own reality. I found I could relate to the problems faced by my favourite characters (both internal and external) and as a result, I discovered new solutions to any obstacles I faced.
Aside from writing, I enjoy art and photography, having drawn since I first began to read. I also find great pleasure in learning about social psychology and astrology.


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Certainly. My latest book (currently a work in progress) is entitled Foresight and is a thriller aimed at young adults. Having put this title aside for some years, I took up my progress with it at the end of last year and am beyond excited to have it nearing completion.
The story follows Evylia Wilde, a troubled teen with a terrible secret. For as long as she can remember, she’s been able to see things, strange visions that defy reality.
As Evy learns the truth of her parent’s disappearance when she was a toddler, she begins to connect the pieces of a much larger puzzle, and will learn that her powers are more complicated and deadly than she ever imagined.


How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published to date?

Oh Gosh. Well, the first thing I remember writing in my free time was a short story about my sister and I as royal mermaids. I think I was around eight at the time. I found that when I wrote, all the passion in my soul simply poured into my words. I encouraged myself to write more, read more, and to give all my passion to this craft.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any copies of that first story that triggered the depth of my passion as the computer my sister and I shared quite literally blew up and ceased to function thereafter. When I think back, I begin to tear up, for those first few pages that sparked my gift for writing were and still are the most dearest possessions I could ever hope to own.
Since then, I continued to write, self-publishing (though only privately so I could order my own copies) half a dozen novellas, which only I hold a copy of. It is my intention to redraft these titles at some point and to release them as a box set of chilling fables.
To date, I have publicly self-published two books, both parts of an enchanting epic fantasy series, ideal for young adults. Phoenix and Symbiote are like children to me: both took several years to complete and each taught me something of value by the time I’d finished writing them.
Foresight will be the first thriller novel I’ve written so I’ll be eager to see what feedback I receive once it’s finished.


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

I used to mainly focus on the fantasy genre, but as I mentioned above, I’m not trying my hand at the thriller genre, which I have to say would be my favourite to write in. Why? Well, ever since I was a child, I’ve had a rather morbid personality. I would go through phases where all I would think about was the darker side of human nature, the hows and whys of the disturbed and depraved. 
That’s not to say I was obsessed with such practices. I merely enjoyed concocting stories about bloodsucking monsters and brave detectives, of brave heroines and forces of greater evil.
Writing in the thriller genre gives me a way to pen down my darkest fears and thoughts, a way to live vicariously through my characters so that I may express such dark musings in a healthy way.
Although the fantasy genre will always hold a special place in my heart, it is the thriller genre that I believe I will continue to write in until my dying days.


Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?

My inspiration for Foresight actually came (as do a lot of my ideas) from an aspect of my own life. Ever since I was of primary school age, I used to have these blank moments in my memory, which at the times were rather confusing for me.
I’ve since come to realise (with the help of psychologists and neurologists) that what I was experiencing is known as dissociation, when the brain is so overwhelmed by what it’s feeling/experiencing that it shuts off the conscious mind and leaves you feeling like you’re watching life go by around you. You feel numb, like you’re not really present in your own body.
The two forms of dissociation that I suffered (and still struggle with almost daily) are called depersonalisation and derealization, which means dissociating from your body and your identity, as well as from your general surroundings. As such, I used to begin thinking I could see or hear things that probably weren’t there, but this was usually if I was incredibly tired. 
As I grew up, I also began experiencing what felt like visions, in the sense that I would have the most unremarkable, odd daydreams that wouldn’t really make sense. A week or so later, I’d find that what I’d seen in the daydream would actually happen in real life. And I suppose that’s where the spark of an idea for Foresight really came to fruition.


When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?  

Almost as soon as I could read/write, I knew that I was destined to be a writer. It wasn’t simply a want. It was a dire need, a need to be heard, to be recognised. It was a solemn need to seek validation of my thoughts and feelings, to show the world as many aspects of our reality as is humanly possible. Whether it be the good, the bad, or the ugly, I want all of it to be shown to the public. I don’t see any use in hiding aspects of the human condition from those that experience them every day. We, as people, need a way to find solutions to our problems and I think- what better way to do that than to really delve down into some of the topics that not everyone is willing to discuss.


What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Hmm, this feels a bit like a toss up between not fully understanding the people around me, and experiencing things in a very different way to others.
It quickly became apparent to my mother that I wasn’t like other kids. She worked as a childminder until I was about fourteen and she was adamant that there was something profoundly different about me. I wasn’t like any of my four elder siblings, I was a very strict and isolated child. I knew what I liked and disliked, and I liked things that way. I used to line up all my toys in colour or height order, I would ‘walk funny’ and had weird obsessions.
Although my mother wanted me tested at age 7, with my primary school refusing, I was actually assessed and diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at the age of 22 (so just shy of three years ago now.) As part of the Autism Spectrum, my mother finally felt that she had sussed me out, so to speak. She finally felt that all of my differences growing up made sense.
What is most challenging about being on the Autistic Spectrum with regards to writing is how you perceive the world is such a unique way that trying to explain things in a way that most other people will understand can be near impossible. I have to force myself to try and imagine what it would be like to not be Autistic, to have a non-Autistic brain and non-Autistic experiences of the world. 
There is an intense difference between how you would see the world (as an Autistic or non-Autistic person) and relating experiences, emotions and events to the majority of the population in a way that they’ll understand is definitely my greatest challenge. It likely always will be.


What advice would you give beginning writers?

I think the best advice anyone can give you is to be yourself. Write what you know. When I used to hear that phrase, I thought it meant to write about the genre you know best or to write about things you’d studied, but I think it all comes down to personal experience. If you have experienced intense heartbreak, use that experience to fuel a romance or romantic component. If you feel like you’ve been cheated in life, use that experience and emotion to influence a character’s decisions.
I think the best thing you can do as a writer is to draw inspiration from the world around you. Use what you see and experience as a means to create and to bring new life to characters. Express your innermost fears and desires through your write. Experiment and develop your own style and don’t put too much face in most of the writing advice you see plastered around.
All you really need to know is what the concept and premise of your book will be, and then I think you’re more or less good to go.


What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?

When I’m not writing, I love to sketch, giving physical form to the thoughts and ideas circling round my brain. I’m passionate about photography, social-psychology, the paranormal (spirits, demons, legend and folklore.) 
I’m only 24 but there is so much that I want to explore in life and so much that (given the free time) I would love to study. I have a great passion for so many areas of life and until the day I die, I intend to live each and every one delving head-first into those passions.
I think that’s how life should be. We need to focus on what makes us truly want to live.



About the Author:

I’m an eccentric, British born writer with a great love of art and nature. Writing has always been my main outlet for expressing emotions and experiences that I find hard to share with others. This is due to my being on the Autistic spectrum. I like to leave traces of myself behind, like breadcrumbs, in the hope that readers will share in my journeys. I rule my pen and page with passion and can’t imagine my life without the magic of stories.



 You can find Daccari Buchelli at 

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Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Book Spotlight: The Witches' Bane

I have another treat today, with a book spotlight for the paranormal thriller, The Witches' Bane by Edward Ahern. Also, the author is offering a free Kindle copy of the book to the first three commenters. Enjoy.

The Witches' Bane by Edward Ahern




Gordon Lormor is a defrocked priest and con man. And something more.

He treads a path between light and dark magic, a risky journey he avoids unless he's required to take it.

But his ex-girlfriend makes a fear-laced telephone call to him, pleading that he come to Vermont and free her from a witches' coven. Gordon leaves his business, Profane Possibilities, in the care of his assistant and drives north.

Death arrives before he does, and Gordon tasks himself with solving the murder and eradicating the coven. As his situation worsens, he asks for help from both his decidedly unfeminine assistant AJ and a Catholic cardinal.

Death revisits often as Gordon, joined by AJ, picks open the protective scab the witches have clotted over their activities. He teeters further and further over the edges of physical and spiritual death as he struggles to prevent infant sacrifice and solve the murder of the woman he had loved.



Available on Amazon

Voted Editors’ Choice in the 2018 Second Quarterly Review and a Mariner Award recipient in 2018 at Bewildering Stories Magazine.


About the Author




Edward Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. During that time he lived in Germany, Japan and England, and visited seventy-six countries. He has his original wife, but advises that after fifty years they are both out of warranty. Edward has had over two hundred short stories and poems published thus far.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Interview With Author Craig DiLouie

Today I have a treat, presenting a terrific interview with speculative fiction author Craig DiLouie. He stops by to chat about his books, characters and the genre of speculative fiction.


Interview With Craig DiLouie



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

Thanks for having me on your blog! I’m an American-Canadian writer of speculative fiction, what’s called a “hybrid” author these days as my work is published by both big traditional publishers and also self-published.


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

One of Us is a Southern Gothic dark fantasy about a disease that produces a generation of monsters now coming of age and wanting their place in society—something they may have to fight for. It’s a gritty misunderstood monster novel that also carries themes of prejudice and what makes a monster a monster. It’s been described as X-Men by way of William Faulkner, but it’s far darker than either. Author Claire North described it as The Girl with All the Gifts meets To Kill a Mockingbird, which is I think nails it.
The novel was published in hardcover mid-July 2018 and is available in the sci-fi section of your local bookstore, as well as online in hardcover, all eBook formats, and audiobook.


Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration?

I was fascinated with the idea of writing a Southern Gothic misunderstood monster novel. Southern Gothic is typically dark, gritty, and includes elements like the grotesque, taboo, prejudice, and a society in decay. The idea was to have monsters live among us, but they came from humanity biologically, and now the rest of humanity rejects them. We clearly sympathize with the monsters, but when they finally push back with extreme violence, our sympathies become pulled between them and the people living in the town. The result is a misunderstood monster novel that reveals itself as a larger examination of prejudice. One of Us doesn’t preach or pose any answers but instead simply asks the reader to experience the novel’s themes through empathy with the characters, and then reflect on them if they want to do so.


What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

I loved working with the characters in this book and building the world they live in, then revealing it with a style that combines a dark, modern thriller with a traditional Southern Gothic tone. The result really sang for me as the writer.



What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

I wanted to show the full spectrum of human ugliness revealed through some of the supposedly “normal” characters, which required violence but also a scene with sexual assault. This is a very sensitive subject to include in a novel these days, and it had to be handled carefully without being gratuitous.


Do you have a favourite character?

One of Us is a character-driven work and has an ensemble cast of both “monsters” and “normals” living in or near a small town in Georgia in 1984. I didn’t have a favorite but loved writing all of them equally.
On the monster side, you have Brain, his oversized head containing a supergenius intelligence he hides from the “normals”; Dog, who believes if he works hard and plays by the rules, he’ll get a fair shake; Goof, a funny kid with an upside-down face and an extraordinary capability that attracts the interest of the government; and Amy, a plague girl who is beautiful on the outside, allowing her to hide in plain sight. Readers seem to love Dog for his earnestness and hope.
On the “normal” side, the characters are more based on Southern Gothic small-town tropes, and while our story’s monsters are very human, many of these humans are very monstrous. You have Gaines, a small town loser in love with a girl half his age; Sheriff Burton, who sympathizes with the plague kids but oppresses them to preserve what he sees as the natural order; Jake, the preacher’s son who is also the small town rebel, and more.
The lives of all of these people intersect in multiple ways, sometimes with sympathy and understanding, other times with fear and violence, leading to an explosive conclusion.


Of all the books you've written, do you have a favourite?

I’d have to say One of Us, followed by Suffer the Children, a horror novel I wrote for Simon & Schuster (Gallery) back in 2014. That novel is about a plague that turns the world’s children into vampires who become dead unless given human blood, which turns him into the children they once were for a short time. The children are vampires, but the parents, willing to do anything to get blood and keep their children going, become the monsters, and they do it out of the purest love in the world. The question behind the novel is, “How far would you go for someone you love?”


What do you enjoy most about writing in the speculative fiction genre?

I love writing sci-fi, fantasy, and horror because you can take the familiar and put it in an unfamiliar situation, resulting in contrast that titillates and possibly reveals truth. I particularly love the possibility of writing original works that push boundaries and make readers reflect on a fundamental human trait.
That being said, my self-published work mostly consists of military fiction series. These books are just plain fun for me to write, and they’re quite popular on Amazon.


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

Currently, I’m revising another novel for Orbit. This book is about a brother and sister forced to fight as child soldiers on opposite sides of a second American civil war. As with One of Us, I think it will be provocative and I hope inspire people to reflect. Readers can keep up with this and other projects at www.CraigDiLouie.com.



One of Us by Craig DiLouie



They call it the plague
A generation of children born with extreme genetic mutations.

They call it a home
But it's a place of neglect and forced labour.

They call him a Freak
But Dog is just a boy who wants to be treated as normal.

They call them dangerous
They might be right.

“This is not a kind book, or a gentle book, or a book that pulls its punches. But it’s a powerful book, and it will change you.” – Seanan McGuire, author of Every Heart a Doorway


Available at:





About the Author:

Craig DiLouie is an American-Canadian writer of speculative fiction. His works have been nominated for major literary awards, translated into multiple languages, and optioned for screen adaptation. He is a member of the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, and Horror Writers Association. Learn more at www.CraigDiLouie.com.





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