Friday, 26 February 2016

Book Spotlight: Hell Holes: What Lurks Below

Today I have a book spotlight on the paranormal fantasy novel, Hell Holes: What Lurks Below by author Donald Firesmith. This book is the first in the Hell Holes series. Enjoy!

Hell Holes: What Lurks Below (Book 1 in the Hell Holes Series) by Donald Firesmith

A geologist, his climatologist wife, two graduate students, a local newspaper reporter, an oil company representative, and a field biologist travel to one of dozens of huge holes that have mysteriously appeared in the tundra of the North Slope of Alaska. Their mission is to research these strange craters that threaten financial and environmental catastrophe should they open up under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline or any of the many oil wells and smaller pipe lines that feed it. Unfortunately, a far worse danger lurks below, one that threatens to destroy all of humanity when it finally emerges. Some will live and some will die on Hell Day and the day after as the survivors flee south towards Fairbanks.

Hell Holes: What Lurks Below is available at the following retailers:

Author Bio:

A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He's also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat by his fear that the term "distinguished" makes him sound like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still slightly more red than gray.
By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes fantasy novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, and his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.

Find out more about the author at these sites:

To check out his handcrafted magic wands see these sites:

Thursday, 25 February 2016

#‎B2BCYCON Guest Post from Author Massimo Marino

Today I have another Brain to Books Cyber Convention author feature. Remember, this great event for authors and readers alike is coming to Goodreads this April, on the 8th, 9th and 10th.

Be sure to check out all the details and pertinent links for the event here:

Now on with the main event, our Brain to Books author feature.

Today I have a wonderful guest post from science fiction author Massimo Marino

Dystopian, Utopian, and Cacotopian

utopiaThe word dystopian comes from the ancient greek with δυσ-, "bad", and τόπος, "place." Alternatively it can also be called cacotopia, or anti-utopia. The word dystopia represents a counterpart of utopia. Many dystopias described in fictional works present a utopian society, where good-life seems to have been achieved, but suffering by at least one fatal issue. Whereas utopian societies are founded on aspiring to the general well-being, a dystopian society’s dreams of improvement are overshadowed by a repression of any sort and origin, at times even one benevolent repression. These kind of society appear particularly in stories staged on a speculative and visionary future. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian rules, ecological and environmental disasters—post-apocalypse scenery, like in my work “The Daimones Trilogy”—or other events associated with a cataclysmic decline in the society fabric.

 A famous dystopian novel is Fahrenheit 451, in which the Authority burns all books out of fear of what they may incite in the individuals, and the more recent The Hunger Games, where a government holds control of its people by maintaining a constant state of fear through annual fight to the death competitions, the Hunger Games, where two young members of the various districts the world is divided in—after a global war that brought the planet on the bring of annihilation—are selected as ‘tribute’.

Dystopias have taken the form of a multitude kind of speculations and create very compelling stories that touch on issues of our own society: corruption, poverty, violence, pollution, political repressions. They offer their writers lots of freedom and inventive. Even if placed in the future, technology may, or may not be more advanced than in the present. In some cases, humanity has been brought to face a total collapse of the world as we know it and the fights for survival set in. Some dystopian fictions emphasize the pressure to conform to a flattened society, as a requirement not to excel. In these fictions, the society is ruthlessly egalitarian, in which ability and accomplishment, or even competence, are suppressed or stigmatized as forms of inequality. Again, in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the dystopia represses the intellectuals with a particular brutality and subverts pillars of our society like the concept of family, a clear case of dehumanization dystopian organizations. Both the principles of utopian and dystopian societies can be idealistic, with the goal of attaining positive stability for its members, but on dystopian fictions the foundations have such defects that ultimately result in oppressive consequences for the inhabitants of the planet. The oppression and repression can be subtle and the perception of a utopian society lingers instead, at least for a certain duration of the story, until a Hero becomes aware of the flaws and decides, against all odds, to intervene. Some fine examples come from such films and stories as Fritz Lang's Metropolis and Brazil.


In dystopia, characters are at the mercy of the controlled society even if, at epidermic level, they might have the impression to live the good life; people enjoy much higher material living-standards in exchange for the loss of other qualities in their lives, such as independent thought and emotional depth. Humanity lives in a glorious state of comfort, but has given up what gives life its meaning. The fictional society construction often has a backstory of a disaster, a war, a critical global climatic change, or an encounter of the third type, introduced early in the narrative and that create the stage for the story evolution. The historic events triggered the shift from previous systems of society organization and social norms to a changed society and new, often disturbing, social norms. Unlike other fictions where an improbable, outcast main character evolves through the typical Arc of the Hero, often dystopias feature a prominent personality of the new society as the protagonist who senses, sometimes intuitively, that something terribly wrong is going on, despite the ‘utopian’ outlook. The hero's point of view clashes with the others' perception, and reveals to the readers that concepts of utopia and dystopia are tied to each other and the only difference between them lies on a matter of opinion. The hero attempts to either change the system or bring it down. The story is often—but not always—unresolved even if the hero manages to escape or destroy the dystopia. That is the individual who are unsatisfied, and rebel, ultimately fail to change anything. Dystopian works may convey a sense of hopelessness in contrasts with much fiction of the future, in which a hero succeeds in resolving conflicts or otherwise changes things for the better.

All we said about dystopian, and its duality with utopian fictions and visioned societies, can also be told about my work in progress, “The Daimones Trilogy”. Book one, “Daimones (Daimones Trilogy)”, is released in both ebook and paperback, and the volume 2, “Once Humans (Daimones Trilogy)” has hit the virtual and real shelves in July 2013. The Trilogy ends with The Rise of the Phoenix, where a new order, and a new power rises and controls the galaxy.The trilogy describes a post-apocalypse world whose dystopian roots are million years old. Ancient aliens, a galactic struggle, the control of unique resources, meld to dictate the fate of the humankind. “Daimones (Daimones Trilogy)” places a few survivors in a world having experienced a planetary culling of humankind, one with no immediate or apparent cause. The Apocalypse has arrived yet the 'why' and 'how' remain unknown in a frustrating and fearful reality for Dan Amenta and his family.Dan and his family awake one day in a world where everyone is dead but no evidence points to a cause. Initial searches for survivors yield nothing and, in panic, the family turns their house into a stronghold. Eventually, they find Laura, a survivor who manages to win their hearts...and leads Dan to temptation. Laura reveals her panicking encounter with strange entities which Dan recognizes in his childhood hallucinations. He forces himself to find and confront them: An older power controls the fate of men.

The story, on purpose, starts with the confusing life--and manifest lack of information--of characters that, as with the vast majority of us, live their life focusing on a very little world around themselves. Then something happens, and the "heros" arch starts :) The novel describes what our world is: we focus on money, we are not looking at what happens around us, we already live in a spiritual apocalypse. The trilogy will explore the apocalypse from the physical death of humankind, the rebirth of the society, dystopian or utopian, and a larger conflict tensions with the second and third volumes. Our real life world though tells us we have a spiritual death apocalypse already in place.

AuthorMMMassimo Marino is a scientist envisioning science fiction. He spent years at CERN and The Lawrence Berkeley Lab followed by lead positions with Apple, Inc. and the World Economic Forum. He is also co-founder of "Squares on Blue", a Big Data Analytics service company, and of BookGarage, a publishing service brokerage company.
Massimo currently lives in France and crosses the border with Switzerland multiple times daily, although he is no smuggler. As a scientist writing science fiction, he went from smashing particles at accelerators at SLAC and CERN to smashing words on a computer screen. Is is now an author with Booktrope Publishing, LCC, and Active Member of SFWA - Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. He's the author of multi-awarded Daimones Trilogy. His novels have received the Seal of Excellency from both and

Daimones Postcard Front

• 2012 PRG Reviewer's Choice Award Winner in Science Fiction • 2013 Hall of Fame - Best in Science Fiction, Quality Reads UK Book Club
• 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner in Science Fiction Series
• 2014 Finalist - Science Fiction - Indie Excellence Awards L.A.
• 2014 Award Winner - Science Fiction Honorable Mention - Readers' Favorite Annual Awards
His novels are available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble (Nook), iTunes Apple Store, and many other retailers around the world.
Join his mailing list for new releases, or follow him on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

I'd like to thank Massimo Marino for stopping by today with his post, and be sure to check out his virtual booth at the convention this April.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Drabble Wednesday: Monsters

Today on Drabble Wednesday, I pull back the veil to show the horrors. Today we walk with monsters…

Oh, The Web We Weave

Such things you can hide behind a smile.
Contempt, distaste, arrogance, hatred.
A flash of teeth is all it takes, perhaps a warm handshake, a chuckle.
And no one knows.
People want to believe. They want to trust.
A cheery smile is the best mask. The best way to hide.
A great smile can keep everyone at bay, keep them calm.
But you keep your secrets, those dark things behind the smile, with lies.
Carefully crafted, intricate, but an effortless deception.
So no one suspects. So no one questions you.
So no one sees the hunger.
Until they are dead.


No Mirrors

I watch them from the shadows.
The people that come to the wellspring’s pool. They laugh and chatter, collecting the water in clay jugs, idling staring at their reflection in the water.
I hate them. I envy them.
I don’t look at my reflection anymore.
I am lonely.
They don’t know I am here. I wonder if they even know of my cave. Most don’t.
But some have come. Some have stayed.
That is my consolation. My stone warriors. My beautiful collection of death.
Those fools that came to kill me.
That dared to looked upon the face of Medusa.


Sea Shanty

I sing, my voice calling from the sea.
I sing, of the dark water, and its cold, cold depths. Of the waves on the rocks, and the sweet salt breeze. Of the freedom tossed, upon the brine, and the safe harbour lost, a life less entwined.
Come sailor, I’m calling. Come sailor, I await.
Sail the strong wind, sail the swift wave. Come listen, come listen to me.
I sing the mermaid’s tune.
I sing the oldest song.
It is my lasting lullaby, my sweet gift to you.
As you die in my arms, and I feast on your bones.

© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved

Saturday, 20 February 2016

#‎B2BCYCON Interview With Author Devorah Fox

Today I have another Brain to Books Cyber Convention author feature. Remember, this great event for authors and readers alike is coming to Goodreads this April, on the 8th, 9th and 10th.

Be sure to check out all the details and pertinent links for the event here:

Now on with the main event, our Brain to Books author feature.

Today I have a great interview with fantasy author Devorah Fox.

Interview with Devorah Fox

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

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I must write in my sleep. That would explain how I can stumble upon nine chapters of a novel-in-progress that I don’t remember writing. Novels, manuals, smartphone apps, blog posts, newspaper and magazine columns—whatever I’m writing, I strive to entertain, to inform, and to inspire. Born in Brooklyn, New York, I now live on the Texas Gulf Coast. On the rare occasions that I’m not writing, I herd cats (I have two rescued tabbies) and try to keep my dragon, Inky, from setting things on fire.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

“The Redoubt” is Book Four in The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam epic fantasy series. Having bested beast, man, and even his own failings, King Bewilliam has regained his throne, reunited with his sons, and restored his embattled kingdom, yet something is lacking. When a crippling famine threatens the Chalklands’ very survival, his vassals propose a risky plan to seek aid from a distant ruler. King Bewilliam strikes off on a perilous journey to the island empire of Sea Gate accompanied by a cadre of loyal knights and nobles who are unaware that the plan will reunite the king with a spurned lover.

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

“The Redoubt” is Book Four in The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam epic fantasy series. By the time I finished Book Three, “The King’s Redress,” several of the secondary characters were clamoring for their own book. The series is told from the single character viewpoint of King Bewilliam so it was difficult for the other characters’ voices to be heard. Yet I didn’t want to change viewpoints in the middle of the series. I came up with a device in “The Redoubt” that gives the supporting characters a chance to speak.

What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

The research. It’s fascinating, but it’s time consuming. When I began The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam epic fantasy series I intended to do no research at all. I was just going to make things up. It’s a fantasy, right? But I got curious about what life actually was like in the Middle Ages. Before I knew it, I couldn’t write a sentence without first researching it. Did they eat that? Did they wear that? Did they say that ...?

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

I’ve been writing my entire professional life, which translates to decades. My first published book was a 500-page textbook on operating 18-wheelers; it’s still in print. I began writing novels in the mid-1990s. I now have 12 published titles to my name—6 non-fiction, 6 fiction—and 7 smartphone apps.

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

I have a lot of affection for “Naked Came the Sharks,” a contemporary Texas Coastal Bend thriller that I co-authored with three friends. We had so much fun writing it. Two of the authors have since passed away so I cherish the experience of working with them on a creative project all the more.

What is the hardest part of writing fantasy fiction?

My readers might be surprised that I find it a challenge to be as imaginative as the genre allows. I really am quite literal and linear. I’ve taken up watching superhero movies and action films which inspire me to stretch, go larger-than life, go over the top.

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

Mystery/Thriller is my favorite because that’s what I enjoy reading and have since I was a child. My mother was a fan of detective stories and I would read the books that she brought home from the library.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

I never seem to have enough time to write. Running a business, managing a home, and volunteering often leave me drained. It’s become my practice to participate in writing marathons like November’s National Novel Writing Month. To meet the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, I make writing the Number One priority for the day. Then, with about 60% of a first draft written, completing the novel in the ensuing months is doable.

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

I do like doing crafts. I’ve crocheted, I’ve etched and painted glass, I’ve worked mosaics. Lately I’ve participated in our local arts center’s “Whine, Wine, and Design.” Fueled by snacks and vino, for three hours on a Sunday night we work to complete an acrylic painting under the direction of one of the Center’s artists. Considering we’re all painting the same image and using the same colors, I’m always amazed at how unique the finished works are.

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

I hope to release two books in 2016, both contemporary detective stories. “The Zen Detective” was my National Novel Writing Month 2015 project and I began “Deadline” during National Novel Writing Month 2014. The seeds for both were planted in the mid-1990s but I still like the stories and want to see them finished.

"What if?" Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of The Lost King, The King’s Ransom, The King’s Redress and The Redoubt in The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam epic fantasy series she also co-authored the contemporary thriller, Naked Came the Sharks, with Jed Donellie and the Masters of Time: a SciFi/Fantasy Time Travel Anthology. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives in The Barefoot Palace in Port Aransas on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats ... and a dragon named Inky. Visit the “Dee-Scoveries” blog at

You can also find Devorah at these sites:

Twitter: @devorah_fox

I'd like to thank Devorah Fox for stopping by today, and be sure to check out her virtual booth at the convention this April.

Friday, 19 February 2016

#‎B2BCYCON Interview With Author Adan Ramie

Yes, I have another Brain to Books Cyber Convention author feature (and haven't they been wonderful so far). Remember, this great event for authors and readers alike is coming to Goodreads this April, on the 8th, 9th and 10th. 

Be sure to check out all the details and pertinent links for the event here:

Now on with the main event, our Brain to Books author feature.

Today I have a terrific interview with suspense and horror author Adan Ramie. 

Interview With Adan Ramie

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

Anyone who knows me well can tell you this simple truth about me: I have a big mouth. I got started reading and writing early in life, and both have served as escapes – and funnels for my need to constantly communicate - for as long as I can remember.

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

The first stories that caught my attention were horror stories, and I still write a lot of those now, but I’ve also branched out into a dozen other genres, including more speculative fiction types, dark comedy, and even romance. People have asked if I will ever narrow my focus, and I always say the same thing: I write what churns inside my head. If that ever narrows, my writing will follow suit. (But I doubt it.)

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

Horror gives me a place to exorcise all my demons. If there is anything I’m worried about or afraid of, you can guarantee it will end up in a creepy tale in one way or another. Likewise, if I’m angry with someone or something, they’re likely to appear as an unlikable character who ends up maimed – or worse.

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

My writing process changes all the time. I wish I could say I had one perfect, tried-and-true method for getting a story out every time I put my fingers on the keys, but I’ve had no such luck. Sometimes I start from a prompt, as in the case of a lot of the short fiction I post on my website, and I kind of work my way through it with blinders on. Other times, as in the case of the book I’ll be releasing in March, I expand an idea into an outline that I use as the skeleton of the story. 
I do have a writing routine, though, that I use 4 to 5 days a week. I start with my journal, then get straight to work on whatever my current project is from there. I won’t do anything else until I’ve worked on that for at least an hour. It helps keep the long projects from getting too stagnant, and also guarantees new words every week.

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

I love reading, and I am usually reading at least one (and up to three) books at any given time. When I’m not doing that, I’m usually binge-watching true crime, classic movies, and television shows that have been off the air for a while. I also love food, so I spend a lot of time searching out new recipes and springing them on my unsuspecting family.

Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?

The three authors who inspired me the most as a young child and teen were R.L. Stine, Stephen King, and Jane Austen. I know, that’s a kind of a weird combination, but I guess I was a pretty unusual kid. I read so fast, and so much, that I was finished with my school library long before I got out of fourth grade; to supplement my reading, I spent some time in the adult section reading everything I could get my hands on. 
My mother’s romance novels left a bad taste in my mouth, so the true romance of Jane Austen was a welcome relief. And, once I was done with everything R.L. Stine had released (Goosebumps was my favorite series), it was an easy skip ahead to Stephen King. IT scarred me for life – and turned me into a bona fide horror fanatic.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My first novel, Maladaptation, is the first in my Deviant Behaviors series. It’s a thriller that’s been called “gritty” and “dark” by reviewers, and it focuses on the lives of three women as they are drawn together by the twisted forces around and inside them. They have all three felt the sting of abuse in ways that forged the very unique paths of their lives, but created a bond that will lead them all down the same road pursued by – or in pursuit of – a sadistic killer.

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

It’s funny, but it’s hard to say what really inspired Maladaptation. It started with a poster of the folk-pop band Tegan and Sara that got me thinking about abuse, and the different ways that it can affect a person and change their life for better or for worse. From there, it progressed into a storyline that I ultimately had to turn on its head. That first draft (and its six follow-up drafts) only gave about 25% to the story that was published; the remaining 75% was based on feedback from beta readers who saw through the mess and helped me bring out the story that really needed to be told.

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

Right now, I’m finishing up the sequel to Maladaptation, Cluster B. It follows two characters from Maladaptation after the final showdown as they try to rebuild their lives and move on from the traumas they endured. One fun thing that I’m doing as I gear up for the release of Cluster B is offering a short story that forms the link between Maladaptation and Cluster B. It’s one of the prizes I’ll be giving away to ten of my newsletter subscribers before Cluster B is released in March.

Adan Ramie is the genre-stomping author of hundreds of published stories and even more that have yet to be released. She lives with her amazing, supportive, crazy family in a small town in Texas that is not unlike Andy Griffith's Mayberry. You can find her online at, where she posts fiction, book reviews, and anything else that strikes her fancy.

Her book, Maladaptation, can be found on Amazon

I'd like to thank Adan Ramie for stopping by today, and be sure to check out her virtual booth at the convention this April.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Drabble Wednesday: Fairy Tales

Today on Drabble Wednesday I bring you twisted tales of childhood, grim and dark…


The Big Bad Wolf

Who’s afraid?
We are all afraid. It is not safe to roam these woods. Blood soaks into the trails and earth. They have killed our children, our elders. Left behind mutilated corpses.
Many of our tribe migrated from the forest. Of those that stayed, many hide, too frightened to forage for food. We send our strongest to hunt for our meat, but even they don’t always come back.
Sometimes I stare at the great moon in the sky, and wonder. What did we do to them?
Why does this Red Riding Hood and her huntsmen kill wolves for our pelts?


Hansel and Gretel

Gretel looked up from her scrubbing, afraid, as her father opened the door. Hansel scurried into a corner. But their father did not greet them with blows or shouts.
“Come children. We’re leaving.”
Ever obedient, the brother and sister rose and followed. He led them deep into the forest, where an old lady awaited. She tossed him a leather purse.
“Here’s your gold.”
He laughed, and pushed the children forward. The old woman reached out and grabbed their hands. Their father turned and departed.
The old lady smiled at them. “Don’t worry, children. Granny will take good care of you.”


Sleeping Beauty

One hundred years she slept, behind walls of stone, walls of thorn, imprisoned within a fairy’s curse. Over the years, the blood of valiant heroes fed the thorns, and their bleached bones stood as warning to others.
Save one brave soul. He who won the path to her side.
Her prince.
He stared, enchanted by her timeless beauty, compelled to kiss her soft, ruby red lips. Her eyelids fluttered, and she awoke. The prince helped her to sit, held her in his arms, and she smiled.
With a mouth full of razor sharp fangs.
Moments later she ate her prince.

© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

#‎B2BCYCON Book Spotlight on The Dead Game

Today I have another Brain to Books Cyber Convention author feature. Remember, this great event for authors and readers alike is coming to Goodreads this April, on the 8th, 9th and 10th.

Be sure to check out all the details and pertinent links for the event here:

Now on with the main event, our Brain to Books author feature.

Today I have a great book spotlight for The Dead Game by paranormal suspense author Susanne Leist.

The Dead Game by Susanne Leist

In a remote town called Oasis, beneath its blue, green waters and peaceful setting, lies an evil waiting for its next victim. Bodies turn up on the white-sanded beaches. Tourists disappear, never to be heard from again. The young residents are invited to a party at the deserted End House. And that's when the fun & games begin. They must embark on a long and arduous journey to uncover the one controlling the game and everyone in town. It is a fun roller-coaster ride for the lovers of all genres.

The Dead Game is available on:

Excerpt from The Dead Game

Louise became distracted by a cold wetness. The dampness was coming from her feet: her feet were wet. She looked down. She was horrified to find herself standing in a basement filled with water—water that reached above her ankles and covered most of her leg. She couldn’t understand it; the water had definitely not been there a second ago. A pool of water couldn’t appear on a whim from out of nowhere.
Not waiting for the others, Edward charged ahead into the water. He stopped in the middle where the water reached up to his knees and looked up in horror, his whole body tensing.
Louise also gazed upward but couldn’t see anything. In the darkness above, she couldn’t even see a ceiling in the open, endless space. Then she heard a shrill clanging noise originating from somewhere above them, echoing throughout the basement. She couldn’t figure out what or who was making the awful noise; it sounded like a large machine was about to fall on them.
Instead, frighteningly huge metal cages—suspended by thick metal chains—came crashing down from above. Sharp metal spokes extended from their bottom corners, to better catch any unsuspecting intruders with their ultra-sharp claws. The cages seemed to be targeting Edward, swaying dangerously close to him. He had to dodge their sharp rods, which were trying to trap him and crush him to death. He dove into the water, eluding them—one after another.
Then all was quiet. The empty cages that had missed Edward were lying harmlessly in the pool of black water. Everyone stood stunned and motionless. Edward stood panting on the far side of the water with his legs still submerged.
The bleak silence was broken by Tom’s hysterical cry, “Watch out, Edward!” He jumped into the black water. Loud swooshing noises screeched from above...slowly building in tempo. Circular saws were descending to sweep the water between the submerged cages, searching for heads to slice off. Their sharp edges glinted in the dim light of the basement.
In his desperation to reach his beloved Edward, Tom tripped and fell face first into the water. A saw was rotating toward his slumped over body. Louise stood frozen in place. There was no way she could help him in time. She was even too far away to see if he was still breathing. The saws were methodically sweeping the basement floor, lined up in rows with only about a foot of space between them. 

Author Bio:

Susanne Leist graduated with an M.B.A. in Finance. Wherever life has led her, through the hectic commodities' markets or the number-crunching field of budgeting, she's continued to read,write and daydream. Unbeknownst to her, she had been pursuing her dream all along, her dream of putting her words down on paper for everyone to enjoy. She lives on Long Island with her husband, two daughters, and Maltese.

I'd like to thank Susanne Leist for sharing her book with us, and be sure to check out her virtual booth at the convention this April.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

#‎B2BCYCON Fireside Chat With Shapeshifter Richard Parsons

Today I have the second half of the Brain to Books Cyber Convention author feature for Timothy Bateson. Remember, this great event for authors and readers alike is coming to Goodreads this April, on the 8th, 9th and 10th. 

Be sure to check out all the details and pertinent links for the event here:

Now on with the main event, our Brain to Books author feature.

Today I have one of our delightful Fireside Chats.

Please welcome, Timothy Bateson's character, the lupine shapeshifer, Richard Parsons.

A Fireside Chat With Richard Parsons

“Welcome everyone, to another Fireside Chat. I’m Richard Dale, your host. Today, our guest is Richard Parsons, Seattle resident and lupine shapeshifter. Welcome Mr. Parsons.” He holds his hand out to the man sitting opposite to him.

A brief smile crosses his lips as Richard leans forward, taking the offered hand for a light, brief handshake. “Glad to be here.”

Richard Dale smiles. “Why don’t we begin with you telling our audience a bit about yourself.”

Richard settles back into the seat a little, glancing down for a moment as if trying to decide how much to say. “Well, there’s not really that much to say about me personally. I’m an average guy, who happens to be one of the few shapeshifters that’s somehow managed to make it into the public eye. Most of us try to maintain a low profile, but that’s been difficult for me, even going through childhood.”

“I see. Speaking of your childhood, it was less than idyllic, with your father abandoning you, and you losing your mother when you were a young teenager. How do you think those losses have influenced your adult life?”

There is a brief flash of sadness, before Richard reigns in the emotional response to the reminder of his losses. Wringing his hands, he backs a little further into the chair. “It’s definitely been hard, I can’t deny that. There’ve been no parental figures in my life since I was twelve.” He stops, and licks his lips, “No. That’s not fair. There has been one person, and he knows who he is.”
Richard reaches for the water glass sitting on a table beside him, and takes a slow sip as he thinks. “I guess in some respects a lot of what I’ve done over the years has been in an attempt to impress, or earn the approval of those I’ve allowed close enough to call friends. It’s just unfortunate that my actions haven’t always resulted in the best outcomes.”

Mr. Dale nods in sympathy. “The best laid plans, as they say.” He exhales slightly, and continues.  “What is your best memory? And your worst memory?”

Richard leans forward a little, that pain returning to his eyes, but there is hint of a smile as well. “I’d have to say the two are very closely linked. I’m a lupine, a wolf-shifter, if you will, so hunting is something that comes naturally to me.”
There is a pause for a moment, as he looks down, and then back up, and there is a renewed intensity in his eyes. “My fondest memory, is the first time my mother took me hunting in the wild, and we chased down a brace of hares. Of course, I was too young to understand how special life is, or the responsibilities that come with taking a life. But being a city-born lupine that didn’t know that feeling of freedom, or the rush of fresh air through the senses… It was like a whole new world had opened up.”
Then he seems to choke up for a moment, and has to take anther sip of water before composing himself enough to continue. “Unfortunately, I felt many of those same things on the day I lost my mother. A rogue lupine had been hunting the trails, and we’d been told to stay clear while the pack handled the matter. Unfortunately, my mother hadn’t really been herself since my father abandoned us, and had taken to drinking.”
Wiping a tear away, Richard continues slowly, “We went out hunting, and I don’t know if it was coincidence that we ran into that group of hunters, or if my mother knew they were out there… But she gave her life to save me, and I couldn’t even bring her body home. I was twelve, and I lost everything that still mattered to me.”
Another tear falls, and Richard turns from the camera for a moment to brush them away. When he turns back to the camera, he seems somehow smaller, less sure of himself.

Mr Dale pauses, letting the silence hang and his guest finish composing himself. Then he asks, “What one act in your past are you most ashamed of? What one act are you most proud of?”

There is an anger in Richard’s voice as he answers the first question “You want to know the one thing I’m most ashamed of? After the hunters who killed my mother were caught for illegal hunting, the police gave her body to a museum. They had her stuffed and mounted for display. You see, when one of us dies, our bodies remain in whatever form we were in when we died. My mother was in wolf form on her death, and apparently there’s so little difference between a lupine’s wolf form, and that of a natural wolf, that no-one assumed she was anything different”
“The exhibition traveled for a while, with my mother’s corpse on display for all to see. Her display showing the perils of humanity encroaching on the territory of wild animals. I had an opportunity to recover my mother’s body when the display came back to town, and I let someone talk me out of it…”
“I remained angry for a long time, following my mother’s death, and I fell in with a lot people who weren’t good for me. But somehow I managed to make friends who encouraged me to finish my education. So if you want, let’s consider actually finishing my schooling as the one thing I’m proudest of, until now”

Mr Dale shifts forward slightly, making direct eye contact. “You led a rather wild and slightly criminal youth. How do you feel about now being on the other side of the law working with the Seattle Police Department’s Supernatural Taskforce?”

“Honestly? I guess it’s okay. It pays the bills, and keeps me from getting into more trouble with the law than I was already in. It’s like a lot of jobs working in law enforcement. You’ve got your usual mix of people you like, and hate. And jerks who’ll never accept you as part of the team, for whatever reasons they might have. At the moment, I’m just a consultant for the taskforce, but when they need my skills, they bring me in to help hunt down particular suspects. Thankfully I’ve not had to go up against any pack members yet. We lupines still prefer to deal with our own kind between ourselves. If I were to join the taskforce as a full team member, I’d have no choice in the assignments, and I’d be the only supernatural actually on their side. As a consultant, I get a certain amount of deniability, and I’m one of several supernaturals working with the STF.”

“Well—Oh, wait. I’m afraid I must hold that thought. I believe it’s time for some refreshment.” They are interrupted by the arrival of a gentleman carrying a tray with shot glasses and a decanter. “I see Jenkins has decided on whiskey for us.” Richard Dale smiles as Jenkins sets the tray down and waits. “Care for a nip? It’s an excellent Irish whiskey. Jameson I believe.”

Richard’s eyes light up as he spots the decanter, and glasses. His grip on the glass of water tightens noticeably, as his eyes follow the whiskey, before he forces himself to look away. The glass in his hand comes up and he takes a long gulp from the glass, before setting it down on his knee.
“I’d better not. I’ve got a meeting after this one, and it wouldn’t look good If I arrived smelling of even such a fine whiskey”. His tone might be even and measured, but there is a very strong hint that it’s a practiced response, and he seems very much on edge with the drinks sitting there.

Ah well, a shame. I’ll have a glass, Jenkins.” The butler nods and pours a whiskey before retreating, leaving the decanter behind. Mr. Dale leans back in his chair, sips his drink, and asks, “As a paranormal being, do you consider yourself an outsider, or are you a part of a community?”

“Um...” His eyes are watching the glass in the interviewer’s hand, and keep darting back to the tray. He blinks before looking up, dragging his eyes away from the amber liquid, and his gaze is off to one side as he answers. “I guess we all feel a little distanced from the mortals, though we try to form friendships and such with them. I mean, the number of supernaturals in the city I small compared to the number of mortals, but yeah, we kind of have our own communities too. Lupines tend to form packs, because of the wolf in us. Vampires are either loners, or part of small groups that build mutual havens for themselves. But we all try and keep a low profile among the mortals. The witch hunts are just one example of what can happen when too many mortals become aware of us.”
“So yeah, I guess I’d have to say I’m an outsider, even though I have mortal friends, and work with mortals every day. There are far too few make the attempt to really understand the supernatural world, and how different we are. But then there are even fewer who can accept our similarities too, and keep the secrets that prevent news of our existence getting out, and leading to another Salem.”

“Excellent insight, Mr. Parsons.” Mr. Dale smiles. “Is there anything you would change about yourself?”

“Sure, isn’t there something you’d change about yourself, given the chance?” His eyes glance back over to the decanter on the table, and he sips at his water, hands noticeably shaking as he sets it down on the tray.
“Take this for example.” His hand is inches from the decanter at this point, and seems to drift closer as he talks “More than anything, right now, I want to reach out and pour myself a double shot. But if I did, I wouldn’t stop there.” Whatever else is on his mind remains unvoiced, as he pulls himself back under control “Let’s move on, shall we?”

Of course. What would you consider to be the best quality of human nature?”

“Wow. We’re getting to the tough ones. If by human nature, you mean that which is in all of us, supernaturals and mortals alike, then I’d have to say perseverance. It’s what keeps us getting up every morning, even if we already know the day ahead is going to suck. It’s what pushes us onward, despite whatever boundaries are ahead. But it’s also the one thing that keeps us making the same mistakes over and over again. We keep doing the same things, and insanely expect different outcomes. But it’s also the one thing that actually DOES result in those changes, once we find a way to break the cycle of repetitious behaviors. Perseverance is what keeps the visionaries from giving up on their dreams, no matter the odds against them.”

“One last question. What do you find relaxing? Are you fond of reading, listening to music, or some other leisure activity?”

Richard seems to finally settle back into a more natural tone, and leans forward just a little to answer “Honestly? Despite the wolf in me, I have to say that I love exploring the city. I mean, I grew up here, and the streets were pretty much my home for a long time. But, everything’s always changing, and I find that exciting. I love taking my morning runs through the streets, finding new routes that push my limits; exploring ways that I can shave a little time off my distance runs; seeing the city waking up, and preparing for a new day.  When I can beat my best times, or find something new… It’s like the rush you get when the prey is ahead of you, and you can all but taste the kill. Just be glad I’m not allowed to bite the prey I have to chase though the streets.” There’s a flash in his eyes, and Richard settles back into the chair, smiling as if imagining what would happen if he were allowed to bite.

Mr. Dale shivers a touch, before giving him another smile. “Well thank you Mr. Parsons, for agreeing to this interview. It was an enlightening treat.”

For more on Timothy Bateson and his character Richard Parsons check out his website:

And be sure to check out his virtual booth at the convention this April.

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