Friday, 4 September 2020

Interview with Author John C Adams

Today I have an interview with horror author John C Adams who stops by to discuss writing and his book, Blackacre Rising. Enjoy.

Interview with John C Adams

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

I am a nonbinary author and critic of horror and fantasy fiction. I review for the Horror Tree, the British Fantasy Society and Schlock! Webzine.

I started writing way back in 2006. It was an escape for me at a time when I faced very heavy domestic responsibilities raising a young family and looking after a severely disabled relative. It gave me a little space just for me. I had my first short story published in 2010.

Since then, I've taken my time in learning how to craft fiction because I just don't think it is something that can be hurried. This has included studying for a Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Writing, but perhaps my most important lessons have been learnt practically via submissions reading for the Aeon Award, having my short fiction published in various small magazines and anthologies and of course reviewing.

Being a writer is something I really love doing. Before that I was a lawyer, which I don't think suited me at all. In hindsight, it was far too serious a career for someone so recklessly irresponsible as me.


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

It's called ''Blackacre Rising' and it is the sequel to my dystopian novel 'Souls for the Master'. This novel, however, has more of a straight-up horror feel mixed with just a little bit of dark fantasy. I hope to make it a trilogy, but it is very important to me that each story is completely stand-alone. I get asked to review many books that are midway into a series. Sadly, comparatively few are intelligible to the new reader.


What do you enjoy most about writing in the horror genre?

My horror writing is inspired by the people and places of rural Northumbria. That's where our family has been lucky enough to make our home since 2003. It is such a beautiful county and something of a hidden gem. My favourite thing about it is that nothing is too odd or sinister to be at home round here, and I just love including this in my short stories and longer fiction within the fictional Blackacre universe. It's deliciously bizarre in this area, and even after almost two decades here I am constantly struck by many of the things I see and hear going on.

I'm really lucky to have so much inspiration on my doorstep and that so little alteration of reality is required to turn it into liminal horror. I love this subgenre because it can be so strange and unexpected that it often borders on the humorous, and I do enjoy writing comedy occasionally.

Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book?

I've been amazed by how easily the existing characters from my short fiction fitted in alongside characters I'd invented specifically for 'Souls for the Master'.

Ivy, Gerald and Don formed the backbone of the plot in 'Souls for the Master' and they all feature centrally in 'Blackacre Rising' as their stories continue. However, I decided to make the northern farmhouse Blackacre a new location for this novel. The Flints of Blackacre have featured in many of my horror short stories in the past five years including in my starter anthology 'The Red Dawn and Other Stories' which is available on Smashwords.

I was apprehensive about how to blend the existing characters from full-length fiction with those from my short stories, but courtesy of a cross-over character Gerald Flint it turned out to be much more natural than I had expected. That was probably what I enjoyed most about writing 'Blackacre Rising'.


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

The main technique I use as part of my writing process is lucid dreaming. Basically, I let the images and thoughts of characters, plot, and even dialogue just roll around my mind without trying to write any of it down. I have developed all my novels this way, and it has never let me down. I have never experienced writer's block, and I absolutely credit lucid dreaming with being the reason why.

It's not for everyone, and many authors would run screaming for the hills at this style of approach, but it really works for me, you know?

My horror novels are grounded in the lives I observe here, and my fantasy novels are based within the LGBT community, which I belong to because I am nonbinary.

I have to fit writing in around family life and caring responsibilities, but both activities are quite routine-oriented, so I usually have quite a structured day in terms of when I'll write and what I hope to achieve in the time available to me. Lots of authors fit in writing around working, so I'm not alone in wanting to make the best of the hours left when everything else is taken care of.


What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Fitting it all in. I love my reviewing work and writing articles for blogs such as Horror Addicts. But there's no greater pleasure than writing fiction. Also, I work in both fantasy and horror genres so the background reading for each (fantasy especially) is considerable.

Luckily, I have more and more time free to do all of this, and I count myself very fortunate to be in that position. I'm still caring full time for a severely disabled relative within our home environment, and that is very hard work, but my daughter is in Sixth Form and will be applying for university next year. My son's got kids of his own. So, suddenly, after years of running around feeling frazzled, I actually do have some time for myself and that means lots and lots of time for writing. Feels good.


What advice would you give beginning writers?

I'm often asked this, not because I have any great wisdom to share on this or on any other topic, but simply because as I head towards 50 at breakneck speed people seem to think I might have something sensible to say. I think the grey hairs are to blame for that.

In fact, the best advice I can give is to read widely and to do so as actively and critically as possible. With that in mind, I'm going to go ahead and suggesting posting reviews as a great way to learn the craft of writing fiction. It's never been easier to share reviews on platforms such as Goodreads or Smashwords. There are so many blogs open to recruiting book reviewers that you might soon find a home for your thoughts and find that it also helps promote your writing. That's been my experience, and it has been incredibly empowering.


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

Not really sure this counts as a hobby, but most of my free time is taken up conducting the ultimate long-distance relationship with my boyfriend in Pennsylvania. He's about to come for a six-month visit to live with me here in the UK while he works on the rewrite of his current fictional work in progress, and I'm honestly going to say I won't be missing that five-hour time difference in the slightest...


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

I'm currently just over halfway through the first draft of my next fantasy novel, which is about a lost princess in a universe inspired by Medieval Russia. It really picks up on the whole folk-tale feel, and I'm just loving being immersed in them as I form characters, plot and location.

It is a multi-stranded novel, as both of my earlier fantasy works 'Aspatria' and 'Dagmar of the Northlands' have been, and it features some old favourites like Gortah van Murkar and his wife Dextra of Aspatria, as well as including lots of new characters.

It's been a very personal experience for me because I'm nonbinary and this work in progress is the first time I've included a transgender character. Gortah is bisexual and Dagmar is same-sex orientated, so it's far from the first time that I've written about characters from the LGBT community, however this character feels just a little bit closer to home and that has been surprising moving.


You can find Blackacre Rising on Amazon

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Fireside Chat With Johnson Nottidge from Belle Vue

Today we have part two of our C S Alleyne interview weekend and a Fireside Chat with Johnson Nottidge from her novel, Belle Vue.

Fireside Chat with Johnson Nottidge

“Welcome everyone, to another Fireside Chat. I’m Richard Dale, your host. Today, our guest is the Honorable Doctor Johnson Nottidge, of the Belle Vue Asylum.” Richard Dale holds out a hand in greeting.

Nottidge gazed at the outstretched hand with a slight moue of distaste. He brushed a non-existent speck from the lapel of his frock coat and, after carefully adjusting his straight legged trousers, seated himself.

Richard Dale takes his own seat, a slight scowl on his face. “Why don’t we begin with a bit of your life story, shall we?”

“Let’s not. I am here at the behest of a chum, who is Chairman of the Metropolitan Asylums’ Board solely to provide information about my role in capturing that murderess Mary Grady who dared to bring Belle Vue into disrepute. Her poor sister, an inmate at the asylum, who died in unspeakable pain. I knew immediately it was that shameful trollop and was more than happy to play a key part in revealing the culprit and her guilt and see justice done.”

“I see. Perhaps we’ll get to that later. For now,” Richard leans forward slightly, “describe your relationship with your father.”

“Distant. Which suits me. His lordship has a sense of noblesse oblige whereas I have none at all. Every man for himself. It used to worry him, he even threatened to disinherit me but my exposing the murderess has seemingly made him feel I can be in his words ‘saved’. The title and estates will be mine on his demise and I shall carry on as normal doing exactly what I want.” Nottidge gives a broad smile but his eyes remain cold.

“Interesting. What is your involvement with the Mephisto Club?”

“What is that?” Nottidge leaned forward his piercing gaze raking Richard’s face as though seeking any malicious intent. “I am of course a member of the best clubs in London but don’t recall one with that name. If it exists, perhaps it is some sort of secret society who doesn’t want all and sundry,” Nottidge’s mouth tipped upwards for a bare second, “poking their noses and causing undesirable consequences for themselves.”

The sound of clinking cups interrupts the tense conversation, as a distinguished gentleman enters the room carrying a tea tray.

Richard eyes his guest and says, “Ah, here’s Jenkins with refreshments” Richard turns to the butler. “What’s on the menu today, Jenkins?”

“I have a lovely Darjeeling tea today. And some scones fresh from the oven, as well as strawberry jam.” Jenkins sets the tray down and asks Nottidge, Would you care for a cup, sir?”

“No thank you.”

Richard adds. “My usual cup, please. And one scone.”

Jenkins pours one cup and serves Richard Dale, before retreating.

Nottidge takes out an impressive gold watch from his fob and opens it. He raises his eyebrow then puts it away. “Are we done yet?” Nottidge asks with not a smidgeon of enthusiasm.

Richard Dale takes a sip of his tea and asks, “Almost. We’ll continue with a more mundane question. Tell us about a fond childhood memory?”

“You’re assuming I had any. Or would speak about them to you. Your questions are very impertinent. The past is over and nothing can change it. The present and future are what interest me and how I can profit from and enjoy whatever it is I choose to do. That will create the memories I want to retain. Mary Grady’s hanging next week will be one for instance.

“A sad affair that. Of course, you got involved in that sordid mess through your work. How do you find your career at Belle Vue? Fulfilling?”

“Not fulfilling, rather the means to an end. The dregs of society are off-loaded in ever increasing numbers to the Belle Vue Lunatic Asylum. I study them. Study—and experiment—on them. On occasion that part of the work is fulfilling but mostly dealing with the imbeciles, cretins, drunks and worse from the rookeries and workhouses—and my responsibility is for the female inmates—can be extremely tiresome. They want so much attention and I am an extremely busy man who has far more important matters to deal with. But they have their uses…” Nottidge stopped there and this time the smile did reach his eyes.

Richard Dale’s eyes and lips narrow and his fingers tighten over the arm of his chair. “Let’s get a bit philosophical. What would you consider your perfect life?”

“I have it now. I do what I want, I have everything – and everyone - I want.  Little bothers me. I love the gambling tables as the element of risk is what excites me.  My only concern is that life becomes boring. So it’s about continually raising the stakes. Winner takes all.”

Richard Dale nods. “In your own opinion, what are your best features, and your worst habits?”

“My best is that I always win. Anything less is not acceptable. It may take a little while – as Mary Grady has found out to her cost – but I will not rest until I am the victor in whatever battle I choose. I think your definition of worst habits and mine would greatly differ. And I am not going to share them with you as doing such a thing creates vulnerability. That is a failing I despise. It is something I will never suffer from.”

“One last question. What does morality mean to you?” Richard Dale finishes his tea as he waits for an answer.

“Nothing I need worry about. That is for the lower orders. Like religion, it keeps them in their place.”

“Thank you, Doctor Nottidge, for joining us today.” Richard Dale doesn’t offer his hand to his guest, nor does he rise as the man sees himself out.


Check out Belle Vue on Amazon

You can read an excerpt of Belle Vue here: 

Prologue and first two chapters

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Interview with Author C S Alleyne

Today we have the first of a two part interview with author C S Alleyne and her character Johnson Nottidge. Today's interview is with the author as she joins us to discuss her paranormal horror novel, Belle Vue, and her writing. And tune in tomorrow when Richard Dale puts her antagonist Johnson Nottidge on the hot seat. Enjoy!

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

My name is Cheryl Alleyne. I grew up in Australia and originally trained as a hotel manager in the UK. After several postings in the Caribbean, I changed tack and completed my MBA followed several years later by a PhD in Information Systems. When not writing, I am a management consultant and also lecture in several universities.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My debut novel, Belle Vue, is a paranormal horror which is told in two strands – past and present – around a Victorian lunatic asylum and the people who live there. It is very dark and focuses on an unspeakable crime, the hunger for justice and how when revenge is paramount, innocence doesn’t count. It will be published on 25th August 2020 by Crystal Lake Publishing.

Do you have a favourite character? If so, why?

I always have a preference for ‘baddies’ and there are numerous in Belle Vue but my favourite (and goodness knows what this says about me lol!) is the aristocrat, Johnson Nottidge. He is completely amoral, a cunning schemer and cares not a jot for anyone or anything but his own pleasure.

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

Although I was always jotting down ideas for stories, I never got round to completing anything but then that unexpectedly changed. I used to go past a derelict asylum on my way to the gym. It was then converted into luxury flats and some time later, I found a book in the library about murders in Hertfordshire (the county in which I live). In it, there was a case about a girl in that asylum who was murdered. That story, and my connection to the location, captured my attention in a way nothing had done before. So from having years of half-finished stories and yellowing notes, I wrote every spare minute I could get and didn’t stop until Belle Vue was complete.

What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

To create characters. For me, that is a fascinating process as you can choose every aspect of their lives and appearance and with but a few words change their fate. What I didn’t expect was that – for me - the characters became so strong that it was as though they were directing their actions and speech on the page, not my imagination!

Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book? 

Yes - that I could write so much! When I first started and had the idea about a murder in the asylum in Victorian times and it being converted to luxury flats in the present day, I didn’t really think I’d be able to write much and wondered if it might be a short story as it was unlikely I could find enough to write for a novel. I sure got that wrong! The soon-to-be-published book is half the size of my first complete draft.

I joined a writers’ circle and many there who had had books published said they had written lots of novels before getting published (now in bottom drawers) so each was a form of practice and developing their writing skills. I did it the other way round and used the same book to do this!  I pruned it and rewrote it numerous times instead (using advice from a lot of rejection letters!). Then my wonderful agent, Italia Gandolfo saw its potential (or I caught her at a weak moment lol) and we did more pruning and editing before it was accepted by Crystal Lake Publishing.

How do you research your books?

I love all the research and given I didn’t know much about the history of asylums, murder and punishment in Victorian times and satanic societies, I had much to get my teeth into. The present day required a different type of research and as I was local I was able to visit old asylum grounds – not just the Leavesden one but also others in the area such as Colney Hatch and others that had also been converted into luxury accommodation. I also posed as a potential buyer to view the inside of the main building and one of the luxury Leavesden apartments but the buyer who knew my husband (at the time), recognized me and wanted to know all about our moving plans! Oops.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

If you love to write or have a story you want to tell, then - as long as you are enjoying yourself - keep at it. Hone your craft – be open to ideas and feedback and whether you want to be published or not – take pride in your creation. If you can translate that pride and excitement about your work to the page – you’re halfway there! If you do want to be published, you may get (lots of) rejections but believe in yourself, keep honing and never give up.

Are you working on another book?

Yes, Belle Vue is now planned to be the first of a trilogy. I am in the middle of writing the sequel – Secret Nemesis is the working title - and in it, the main characters from both the Victorian and present day move to the United States and face a cross-fire of evil and danger.

About the Author

C S Alleyne grew up in Australia and originally trained as a hotel manager in the UK. After several postings in the Caribbean, she changed tack and completed her MBA followed several years later by a PhD in Information Systems. She is a management consultant and also lectures in several universities.

Her dark horror novelette, POWEЯ, was published in December 2019. 

Author links

Website | Blog | Goodreads Profile | Twitter | Facebook

US Amazon Author Page | UK Amazon Author Page

Belle Vue by C S Alleyne

Jealousy, betrayal, murder and a hunger for vengeance that spans the centuries…

History student Alex Palmer is thrilled when his girlfriend, Claire Ryan, buys an apartment in Belle Vue Manor, formerly a Victorian lunatic asylum.

But as Alex begins to discover the dark truth about the asylum’s past, he, Claire, and their friend Marianne find themselves on a nightmarish journey. Each will face the deadly consequences of the evil that began with the construction of the first Belle Vue Manor by an aristocratic French émigré in 1789, as well as the cruelty and satanic practices that continued when it became an asylum for the insane.

As the two strands—past and present—unfold, Alex uncovers a supernatural mystery where revenge is paramount and innocence irrelevant—without being aware of the price he, and those around him, will pay.

You can check out Belle Vue on Amazon:

Or on Goodreads

You can read an excerpt of Belle Vue here: Prologue and first two chapters

And click the link to check out C S Alleyne's other book POWEЯ:


Thursday, 9 July 2020

Book Spotlight: Atom & Go: Genesis

Today I have some sci-fi for you with a spotlight (plus an excerpt) on the new release, Atom & Go: Genesis by Zach Winderl. Enjoy.

 Atom & Go: Genesis by Zach Winderl

Fleeing the destruction of his clan, Atom Ulvan must protect his two-year-old daughter on a space-western romp across the galaxy. Aboard his ship the One Way Ticket, the pair must find a way to survive their pursuers while carving out their new place on the frontiers of the Empire.

 Atom & Go: Genesis is available from the publisher's website

And Amazon


Atom stepped from the cargo ramp into a gust of oven dusty air. Squinting against the blown grit, he raised a shielding hand and took stock of his surroundings. The polarized atmosphere shaded everything a reddish-grey, haunting the eyes with ghostly images of absent colors. In the back of his mind, Atom tried to adjust to the lack of blues and greens.
“Why don’t you inform the others of your side business?” Kozue asked as Atom retreated up to the hatch door at the top of the ramp.
“I don’t want them involved,” Atom replied as he punched through the hatch.
“But they could help.”
Atom glanced at Margo. Looking up from the pram, she beamed a smile.
“Dada dirty.” She clapped her hands and shook with a gleeful giggle.
With care, he wrapped a mesh hood around her head and fixed a filter over her mouth. She reached up to pull the hood off, but Atom took her hands and set them in her lap.
“Leave it,” he commanded, and Margo complied. “We’re going outside, Go. It’s dusty so let the hood be.”
Margo nodded. She turned her attention to looking through the polarized lenses covering her eyes. With a furtive glance to Atom, she reached up and adjusted the hood. Atom raised an eyebrow, but he saw the smile lift her cheeks beneath the light material.
Satisfied with Margo’s elemental protection, Atom punched the hatch open again and pushed the pram out into the gusting wind. As he tromped down the ramp, he wrapped a light scarf around his mouth and nose.
“They could help, but they could also prove a liability.” He continued the conversation as he slipped into the crowded street at an easy stroll. “Plus, I work better alone.”
“You take Margo.”
“Truth, but she’s blood. She’s a part of me.”
“She’s a child, Atom.”
“And I trust her more than either of the other two in a fight. I know what she’s capable of.”
“There’s something frightening in that statement.” Concern laced Kozue’s words. “Especially since one of your crew is a known gunfighter with a rap as long as my hair.”
“You don’t have hair.”
“I did, and you remember.”
Atom fell silent. His feet pressed forward through the dust laden throngs. He had lined up a buyer on the slow orbital descent, but he preferred meeting face to face, a habit from his days as an admiral.
Following Kozue’s directions, he wound his way through the thriving spaceport to a well built residence, nestled between the slums and the affluent.
At his first knock, a young servant woman opened the door with a genuine smile
“Make yourself welcome,” she said as she slammed the door against the wind. “I will let Staroste Moncrief know you have arrived. He was pleased and surprised by your request to meet in person.”
“I aim to surprise.” Atom smiled as he pulled his scarf down. “In a good way of course.”
The servant bobbed her head and disappeared through a door at the rear of the tall entryway. As the door closed on the servant’s heels, Atom unwrapped Margo and surveyed their surroundings. From the outside, the building appeared squat and plain, but the interior told a different story. The entrance hall showed modest opulence. Built of solid sandstone bricks, artisans had carved delicate floral scenes of off-world Edens into every surface. Soaring twenty feet overhead, a broad, tinted skylight allowed a comforting warm glow to enter and offset the cool, misted interior of the building. Underfoot, a thick carpet of intricate weave covered the broad sandstone blocks of the floor in an inviting manner.
“Welcome, Mr. Ulvan.” The servant opened the doors to the interior and motioned for him to follow. Atom picked up Margo and strolled after the serving girl.

About the Author

Author photo
Zach is a stay at home dad who has graduated from writing during naptime to using school hours as creation central. He lives in Western NY with his wife, a mermaid, a cheetah, and a stormtrooper.

When not playing board games with his children or game group, Zach Winderl can most often be found expanding the tales of Atom & Go or people watching for literary inspiration. He draws inspiration for his character Margo from a mash-up of his three children and while he can’t claim to be a gun-slinger, many of Margo’s experiences have actually happened.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Book Spotlight: The Seven Experiments

Today I have a book spotlight for you, on the psychic thriller/horror novel, The Seven Experiments by Stephen Kanicki. Enjoy.

The Seven Experiments by Stephen Kanicki

Doctor Gary Miller learns to manifest his heart’s desires through seven, easy experiments; his world will soon come crashing down. 

Doctor Gary Miller is introduced to the world of self-help in the form of seven experiments. Each experiment is designed to focus Dr. Miller's mind, so he can realize his dreams through the power of thought alone: conceive it, believe it, and achieve it. He's dubious at first, but frustrations at work and a loveless marriage lead him down the rabbit hole. Much to his surprise, the experiments work. In fact, they work unbelievably well, and he soon discovers they can lead beyond the acquisition of material wealth. They can make him immortal, and God-like. However, Dr. Miller will learn getting what you want isn't always a good thing. In fact, it can be quite maddening. Just be careful what you ask for.

The Seven Experiments is available on Amazon

About the Author

Stephen Kanicki enjoys thought-provoking, reality-based science fiction. His novel, The Seven Experiments, explores religious, spiritual and metaphysical themes woven into an imaginative and frightening narrative. Kanicki is a father, a teacher, and an award-winning photographer. When he's not writing, he likes to run and if his aging body can stand it, he would love to complete his third marathon. 

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Interview with Author F. P. Spirit

Today I have another interview, this time with fantasy author F. P. Spirit. He stops by to talk about writing fantasy and about his books. Enjoy.

Interview with F. P. Spirit

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

 I’m a sci-fi/fantasy fan from back before it was cool to be a geek. I grew up on Star Trek, Tolkien, Asimov, and Piers Anthony. These days I’m a software developer by day and a writer whenever I can fit in the time (which is not as much as I’d like.) I have a very understanding wife and two sons of whom I’m extremely proud. We also have a dog who is the center of attention in our household. On top of that, I try to game with friends as often as possible and keep in shape as best I can (which is not an easy task at all these days.)


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest book is titled “City of Tears.” It is the first novel in my next series, “Rise of the Thrall Lord.” The book follows the further exploits of the characters from the “Heroes of Ravenford,” though things take a far more serious turn.

In this installment, demons have once again crawled up from the Abyss, undead are roaming the earth, and someone has appeared who can exert control over dragons. All these signs point to the possible return of the dread Thrall Masters, a group of mega-powerful mages who nearly decimated the world over a century ago.

City deals with the first of these major encounters: a tower harboring enormous power, shrouded in mist, surrounded by an ancient city that has fallen under a terrible curse. All who once lived there walk the earth as undead, ruled by the former empress of the once great Naradon empire.


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

My favorite would probably be City. Writing is a craft that can always be improved upon. I’ve learned a lot over the last ten years, and thankfully my writing has improved along with it. My first few novels were full of action, adventure, and humor. I did put quite a bit of effort into character backgrounds and development. However, I could have used more character introspection. This new book delves not just into the character’s minds, but truly captures their emotions and underlying motivations.


Do you have a favorite character? If so, why? 

It's a toss-up between Lloyd and Seth. Lloyd is the most genuine character you will ever meet. In some ways, he is the archetypical hero - athletic, good looking, always doing what's right. However, he is also quite modest and shy. Seth, on the contrary, is an extremely sarcastic character. His shady past makes him distrustful of everyone. He is also inclined to say whatever he is thinking without holding back. He's that voice in everyone's head that never gets expressed in real life.


 Why did you decide to write in the fantasy genre? 

I’ve always loved fantasy and a few years back we started role playing with family and friends. A number of amazing and amusing characters resulted from those sessions and I wanted to share their adventures with as many folks as I could. Little did I realize the long road I had ahead of me. After many iterations of world building, character development, and weaving together of plot lines, the Ruins on Stone Hill was finally born.


What is the hardest part of writing fantasy fiction? 

There are a couple of things, but the foremost is making up an entire world. Fantasy fiction often takes place in a completely different world from ours. Building that world requires a lot of work if it is going to be believable for the reader. There has to be rules, especially where magic is concerned, places, travel, races, creatures, and the like that need clear cut definitions. That world also should have a history. Defining that history can take months of painstaking work to map out. 


Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book? 

The way that characters “talk” to you. Well-developed characters tend to have a mind of their own and tend to disrupt your plans as your writing. I've often hit a road block where a character will tell me "no way am I doing that!" It's just not in their nature. I have to then learn to write around it or change the plot point to fit the character.


 Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

David Eddings is probably my favorite author. I love the way he combines a large cast of characters and how they interact with each other. Tolkien is of course the father of fantasy and one of my favorites. I also love Piers Anthony. His Apprentice Adept series is one of my all-time favorites. On the Sci-Fi side, I've always loved Asimov. I cut my teeth, so to speak, on the original Foundation series. Heinlein and Niven are also two favorites. 


What advice would you give beginning writers?

Write, write, and write again. Never stop. Never give up. There's always room to grow as a writer. The key, though, is to write about things you love. The passion you feel as you write will translate into your stories and to your readers.


Ruins on Stone Hill (Book One: Heroes of Ravenford)


What do you get when you mix an elf, a gnome, a halfling, and a warrior? Magic, mayhem, and loads of sarcasm. 

Glolindir thought he knew all about magic until he came face to face with his very first monster. He only survived thanks to: 

Lloyd, the gallant spiritblade as talented as he is reckless.
Seth, the mysterious halfling whose knives are nearly as sharp as his tongue.
Aksel, the quiet gnome whose very touch can heal.

Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of their troubles. The little town of Ravenford is in desperate need of heroes. Before Glo and his friends know it, they are up to their necks in monsters and worse.

It all comes to a disastrous head when they confront a dark force in the ruins outside of town. Outclassed and overpowered, the only thing that can save them now is their wits and a bit of luck.


Ruins on Stone Hill is available at Amazon


F.P. Spirit writes high fantasy fiction inspired by the likes of Tolkien, Eddings, Brooks, and Piers Anthony. An avid science fiction fan, he became hooked on fantasy the moment he cracked open his first copy of Lord of the Rings in high school. When he is not writing, F.P. is either spending time with his family, gaming, doing yoga, or walking the dog.

A long-time lover of fantasy and the surreal, he hopes you enjoy his fun contributions to the world of fantasy and magic.

For more on F. P. Spirit and his books check out these sites:


Author’s Website


Facebook Page









Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Interview with Author Chad Lehrmann

Today I have an interview with urban fantasy author, Chad Lehrmann, who is here to chat about his writing and books. Enjoy.

Interview with Chad Lehrmann


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

My name is Chad Lehrmann, and I am an independent author from Texas.  I began writing at an early age, but found it difficult to, well, finish writing. In my adult life, I wrote mostly for my career- I was a minister for eleven years, so I wrote curriculum and sermons.  Currently, I am a high school psychology, sociology, and social studies teacher, so I write lessons and curriculum.  I began to blog on education issues in my first year of teaching and started by creating educational parables.  While I enjoyed the discussion of real-life education issues, it was the development of creative stories that most excited me.  After completing my first education book- mostly out of a sense of obligation to finish what I started (see- I matured some!)- I wanted to exclusively devote my writing to fiction.  It was here that I found a release I had long searched for.  The beauty of crafting a character and a world for them to live in was captivating and empowering.  Not to mention a bit therapeutic!  For the first time in a long time, I found an intellectual pursuit that brought me as much happiness as it did challenge.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book? 

Sawyer Shepherd Chronicles: Rites of Passage introduces us to a world like our own, but when you peel back the edge of the curtain just a bit and you are able to find a supernatural (and demonic) threat just out of sight.  Sawyer Shepherd -just coming into adulthood after a tragic loss- stumbles into a small Colorado town looking for an identity, and quickly gets caught up in an epic battle against an ancient demon.  He has support from local “drunk” Eli Romer (who may know more than he lets on) and Mandy Jane, a college intern with the National Parks that quickly catches Sawyer’s eye.  The story deals with themes and ideas that I had struggled with in my late teens and early twenties, but also digs into the power greed has on us- as seen in supporting characters Lucius Furr, Lennox Dupree, and Elena Cordova.  They are big city developers looking for a big payout.  I went with the tagline of “Face Your Demons” in the promotion of the book, and it was a double-edged truth:  Sawyer faces literal demons, but also the demons of his past, and his own internal doubts and fears; demons in their own right.


Who is your intended readership? 

I think the book works for anyone over the age of 13, but I see comparisons with other works of fiction, too.  Fans of Rick Riordan’s Olympus books will find similar characters and humor, but there is also a definite connection to the Supernatural television series.  Fans of these, or of “light horror” will find much to enjoy.  The pace is fast in Rites of Passage, so fans of action and quick reads might also take a look.


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

My family vacations in a small town in Colorado, Lake City.  Outside of town is a memorial to some miners who died in the 1800’s.  What makes this unique is the lone survivor, Alferd Packer (yep, that is spelled right) was accused and convicted of cannibalism.  That story always stuck with me as a story seed- what if a miner or pioneer was accused of killing people, but the real killer was a demon?  From that grew the story of a demon released on a small town trapped in a snowstorm.  Pretty quickly, I knew this would be the story to launce the series surrounding Sawyer Shepherd as he faces even more evils of the supernatural world.


Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book? 

I have seen writers talk about a character taking on a life of their own.  I always thought that was a load of crap until I saw it happen.  Characters that were just one-offs became key-players, and characters I had long-term plans for faded because they made dumb choices.  I find the organic nature of character growth sometimes makes me put characters into situations I do not like- that even makes me uncomfortable.  It is in the growth of the story and character, though. 


When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? 

 I have been writing all my life, but it hit me one day when my students asked me the usual question:  “If you were not a teacher, what would you do?”  I got tired of saying I would write but never doing anything to see it through.  So, I sat down and started writing this story that had existed in my head in some form for over twenty years.  And it just kept flowing.


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

I write when I can.  As a teacher, that means stolen moments early in the day or late at night.  When an inspired idea strikes, I make a note in my phone’s Notepad app, and go put it down when I can.  As far as where ideas come from, it is random.  Seeing a unique historical marker set off Rites of Passage.  Book two of the series had some key stuff come from a visit to the City Museum in St. Louis.  I mean, how can you see a school bus on top of a multi-story building and not write an action scene in it?  There were nightmares and dreams from my childhood that inspire some things.  I wrote a short story set in the Sawyer universe that was inspired by my desire to write a chase scene set to Carol of the Bells.


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

Teaching is my career, but I also love to read.  I collect comic books and action figures.  But I also love to do woodworking.  I do some wood art, but since March, I have built five Adirondack chairs, a raised bed garden, four 8 foot flower towers, and two more flower planters.  The stay at home orders gave me lots of time. 


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

Book two of the series-Red Hand Rising- is out August 4th on Amazon.  It takes Sawyer & Co. to St. Louis on the trail of a demonic serial killer- who might just have ties to the big bad of the series.  I am currently writing book three, and its title is all I want to share right now:  Origins of Man and Myth.

Author Website

 You can find Sawyer Shepherd Chronicles: Rites of Passage on Amazon

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