Friday 23 November 2018

Interview With Author JD Estrada

Today I have an extra special treat for you with the ever delightful and multi-talented author JD Estrada. He chats about, books, writing, and inspirations, plus his upcoming release, the middle-grade fantasy novel, Given to Fly. Enjoy!

Interview With JD Estrada

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

Hi there, lovely readers of our dear Madam Stewart. My name is JD Estrada and I’m an indie author from Puerto Rico although I currently reside in Atlanta, Georgia. I say reside because home shall always be in the Caribbean and with how fun it’s been to enjoy 30-degree weather, TRUST me I’m reminded how much of an Island boy I am.
Apart from that, I’m a multi-genre author who enjoys a good challenge in life and in writing. For me, writing is liberating for several reasons, but to be able to get to know myself better by tapping into different creative wells is something I recommend to everyone. Besides, if you see my music collection and you see my music history on Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube, it’s clear to see that I’m a fan of variety. But more than that, I’m also a fan of creativity and would like to consider myself on the way to being a type of ambassador to that because I certainly think being creative is immensely healthy since it lets you use the good and bad from life to perform emotional alchemy and create something new.
As for writing, I go from Gaiman style urban fantasies to Bukowski poetry and also Alice in Wonderland like short stories, which is part of the reason why I was invited here.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Given to Fly is my first full-length middle-grade fantasy and a book where I worked tirelessly to bring forth a world of wonder and adventure without the use of violence. We follow the adventures of John Rivers, a kind 11-year-old boy who finds himself now living in the Pacific Northwest. A curious kid, he looks all around his house in search of something adventurous and comes up empty… but after playing on a hill next to his house, he discovers a cove below with a huge tree and on that tree, nestled gingerly on its side sits a magical house called Od Manor. John sees a shadow and thinks someone in trouble so he climbs down the cliff face and into the house only to realize that things are not as they seem, especially when he bumps into talking furniture in the living room and the owner of Od Manor, Fäet Odstein, a wonka-esque character with a flair for the random and the commitment to help John with his dream of flying. Room after room, John and Fäet touch base with all his house guests to see if anyone can help John to fly, which is half the fun. As per usual, JD Estrada includes a chock-full of Easter eggs along with wordplay, dust bunnies, Library pillaging bookworms, and even an angel, because why not?

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

I’ve been writing for well over 20 years but began my author career 5 years ago when I published my first novel Only Human (Book 1 of the Human Cycle). It’s been a wild ride and all in all, I’ve published 12 books…. And now it’ll be a lovely baker’s dozen thanks to Given to Fly.

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

From all of my books, there are too many to choose from but I think it’s close between Mrs. Fawn, Captain Jane, Bill, and Daniel from the Human Cycle. After I officially publish Given to Fly (December 1st), it’s VERY likely I’ll add some names to this list. It’s been a joy to write.

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

I think the variety of genres responds to my personality and I get a LOT of satisfaction from that freedom and that variety. I love the immediacy of poetry but love weaving a long tale that leaves people wanting more.

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

I got an amazing gift inspired by my favorite song by my favorite band and I needed to write something without violence. In short, this is a love letter to Hayao Miyazaki, to Pearl Jam, to Tori Amos, to my wife, my mom, my friends, to the band Elbow, to my favorite restaurants from back in Puerto Rico, and so many other things. I wanted to write something that would break someone’s writing slump, that would cheer them up when they’re blue, that would have a chance at being the first book someone loves and countless other things.

What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

It was immensely liberating to write without violence to the point that I’ll be doing a series of books and labeling them as Odventure Novels. I think we’re at a point in time where we could use some kindness and smiles and I want to do my best to invest in that.

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

Each and every writing project is its own beast. Ideas come from everywhere and I have a wide variety of capture tools. From idea dump documents and notebooks to loose napkins with notes. My writing routine is to find the time when I can and make it count. Sometimes you have hours, other times you have minutes. Don’t complain is my mantra, just get the story on the paper. Writing by longhand definitely helps me in this because all I need is some paper and ink (Note to up and coming writers who want to try this, ALWAYS carry at least 3 pens :D).

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Time and energy are my biggest challenges. Working in advertising, I have to find motivation even when there isn’t any, energy even when I’m exhausted, and time even if I have to take a notebook to a bathroom and lock the door. I don’t lack determination and the hoops are testing me to see how much I want to pursue that dream and this time around it’s 13 times I’ve beat the odds and challenges and offered a slice of my soul for others to hopefully read and review.

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

There’s ALWAYS something in the pipeline where I’m concerned and next up for me is the conclusion to the Human Cycle and am also working on a collaboration with Cate Evans, a fellow author from the UK and a wonderful friend I’ve received on my writer journey.

You can find JD Estrada and his wonderful books at these sites:

Saturday 10 November 2018

Book Spotlight: In Pursuit of the Pale Prince

Today I have a book spotlight for you with the YA fantasy novel, In Pursuit of the Pale Prince by Mark Wallace Maguire. Plus, there's a brief excerpt from the book. Enjoy.

 In Pursuit of the Pale Prince by Mark Wallace Maguire

The Southwen are going to war against the northern kingdoms held together in a fragile alliance by The Pale Prince. Scattered and outnumbered, there is one symbol that can unite them.
It is the lost crown of Ellesund.
Only I know where it is, and only I can deliver it.
My name is Arestus and this is my story.

Told through the eyes of 12-year-old Arestus of The Wood this is a great new addition to the YA fantasy canon. 

In Pursuit of the Pale Prince is available on Amazon

Excerpt from In Pursuit of the Pale Prince

We ate in silence. Dusk dropped and the moon rose. Waxing full.
“A full moon, Cirin. Is that good luck?” I asked.

“What do you think?”
“My father said it was always a good night for healing. A good night to walk in its rays and ward off bitterness. He said it was a good night for a child to be born.” My stone-faced friend was silent. “What do you think?”
“I’ve heard many of us say many different things. An old lady from The Burned Lands told me it was a good omen. A good night to begin a journey or a marriage. I’ve had a young man from Southwen tell me it was evil. It was the eye of the gods judging us and we needed to purge ourselves on such a night.”
“What do you think?”
He looked at me and gave a thin smile.
“I think it is a good night to see, but not to be seen. And I think 
it is time for you to rest with your questions. I will take the first watch.” 

About the Author

Mark Wallace Maguire is an award-winning author, journalist and columnist who lives south of Atlanta. He is the author of six books, including the highly-praised Alexandria Rising Chronicles for which he was named a Finalist for Independent Author of the Year and a Georgia Author of The Year nominee.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Blog Tour: Clay and Blood by Rebekah Jonesy

Today the blog is part of the tour for Clay and Blood, Book 2 in the Mab’s Doll series, by the talented Rebekah Jonesy. I have a spotlight on the fantasy novel, plus a great guest post by the author on Dryads.  Enjoy.

Clay and Blood by Rebekah Jonesy

Gillian Gilchrist has no time to rest after completing her first missions for Queen Mab and the goddess Danu. There is still the cleanup to do, and that’s how she finds herself following the trail of devastation left by a rogue fae.

Somehow this one moves through the trees without leaving any trace of its passing, except for the tattered and bloody clothing of its victims.

In the dark woods Gillian can’t tell if the culprit she is tracking is insane, sick, or simply acting out its true nature, but she knows that the only way to find out is to track it, capture it, and question it.

Unfortunately, that means following the scent of the victim’s blood soaked into the soil.

Available from

Dryads won’t leaf me alone!

Dryads are a type of nature spirit or elemental that lives in trees. Often dryads are classified by the type of tree they are paired with. Originally the word was used to describe a tree nymph that lived in an oak tree or forest but the mean grew to encompass all trees.

Originally depicted as shy they would run and hide from humans, and most others. But in later stories, after they were described as being tied to their tree’s life, they would work to protect themselves. Whether that meant leading woodcutters away or crying to the gods for help. Dryads were seen as protectors and caretakers. There are several myths about them even raising children for the gods. Rarely was a dryad depicted as violent. After all, how could a tree be violent?

In my story Clay and Blood, I turned that line of thinking on its ear. My dryad is still protective, and cares for children, however she takes a more proactive approach to it. She kills the people that harm her trees, and uses their bodies to enrich the soil. Ensuring a strong network of her trees and the future of her progeny. Blood is rich in nutrients and she no longer has the patience to wait for the humans to die on their own time schedule.

Gillian Gilchrist has no time to rest after completing her first mission. There is still the cleanup which leads her to a trail of devastation left by a rogue fae.
Somehow this one moves through the trees without leaving any trace, except for the tattered and bloody clothing of its victims.

Pitch and Gillian can’t tell if the culprit is insane, sick, or simply acting out its true nature.

If you would like to read more about this and the others characters and legends I have written about please check out my book Clay and Blood
And please join me on the rest of the stops on my book release blog tour for Clay and Blood. I did a lot of fun interviews, different flavor for each one. I also wrote character spotlights and articles that I thought were a lot of fun. So check out for those links or my blog for the list, that’s also where I post glowing reviews on all of JD’s works so far. I will also be posting the links on my reader group on Facebook where I let my geek flag fly proudly and talk about my books and writing.

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