Peeling Back the Layers of a Scene

Need some help building your scenes? Check out this infographic by My Book Therapy for some inspiration:

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42 Essential 3rd Act Twists

Need some inspiration for a twist in your plot? Check out this infographic for some ideas:


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The Good & Bad of Self-Publishing

I have a dream! No, don’t worry, I am not going to plagiarize Martin Luther King, his dream was ground breaking, and important for all mankind. Mine isn’t quite that big, and a lot more selfish. Mine is to become a published author, maybe even see my books on the big screen. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have my head in the clouds, mostly I’m a realist, but I actually thought it would happen. Why wouldn’t it, my book was good, all of my friends and family loved it.
I got a hard dose of reality after trying to find an agent. A long with many of my fellow authors, I have not had the best of luck finding one. With my first few books, I sent query letters to tons of them, and at the time, I was sure I’d get published. But after the fiftieth “We’re sorry, but your book is not what we are looking for”, I started to take the rejections a little personally. And with each negative response, my ego took a beating. By the third book, I only sent out one query, my battered ego couldn’t take anymore rejections.
So then, the question was what to do with all of these books that I had thought were so good? I considered giving up many times; I couldn’t get an agent, so that meant it was the end of the road. I had no choice, right?
Wrong! There was a choice—Self-publishing.
I had written five books, locked away in my room, and didn’t know anything that was going on with ebooks. And then one day I bought a book and read about the author. She used to be self published on amazon and had sold millions of books. Alleluia! That was my answer! Finally a way to get my books out to the reader, it was what I had been looking for.
Little did I know that thousands of other authors also had the same idea. With this new plan in mind, I set out on the internet to self-publish. Only, I still didn’t know what that was. It took me a few days of internet searching to figure it out, and then a few months to get covers, and editing, before all of the books I had written were ready to be sold.
Once they were all out, I sat back and waited for the books to sell. I was sure it would happen, my books were great, or so I’d been told.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go that smoothly, and I soon figured out why. As many of you already know, there are thousands of us self-published authors waiting for our chance. Therefore there are millions of books for readers to sort through, to find the good ones, and that isn’t always easy. So, along with writing the books, paying for the editing, and covers, we also have to market the book to get them noticed. And if your shy like me, that isn’t always easy.
Despite that, Self-publishing has allowed me to do something I had wanted when I started writing my books. And that was to have people read my stories. I just wanted others to feel as I do when I put down a great book. It makes me happy and I wanted to do that for them. When I finished my first book, I didn’t care if I ever made money. I did it for people to read, no other reason. Of course, since I had to use money of my own to get the books out there, I won’t turn any away, but it isn’t why I do it. And the fact that I have had readers contact me, telling me how much they loved my book, makes all the hard stuff worthwhile. Maybe my book isn’t getting noticed the way I had hoped when I started, but when I get a great review or I get asked if I’ll be writing more in the series, it makes my day.
I remember a time back when I had entered Fated Dreams into a contest, and a reader emailed me, asking if I would write a sequel, my heart had soared. It was my dream come to. She had said that she loved the book, and she pictured herself living in the setting that I had created. Nothing could have made me happier than I was that day. But now, a year or so later, I feel that joy each time a reader contacts me, expressing how much they love my work. And that never would have happened if I had left my manuscripts unopened in my computer waiting for an agent or publisher to contact me.
Riley's Secret
Buy Now @ Amazon @Smashwords

By Christina Smith. "I grew up in Kingston Ontario, Canada, and after getting married, moved to a small rural town in the country. I live here with my husband Brad, two kids Josh and Megan and our dog Bailey. Even though our house is peaceful, surrounded by nature and the occasional deer, I'm still a city girl at heart. I miss civilization, and visits with my mother and two sisters.
I spend a lot of my free time writing, and have numerous ideas for future novels, for both Young Adult, and Adult fiction.

And my facebook page Christina Smith- Author

Follow me on twitter @CSmithbooks"

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Parallel Structure

Ever wonder what parallel structure is? It gives you balance in your text. When polishing your manuscript or article check the parallel structure of your piece.

As points out "Words, phrases and clauses should all be parallel when linked together in a series or connected with coordinating conjunctions. Combinations and patterns of words should all agree with the subject."

Parallel Structure
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.


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Interview with Cathy Jo

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
Thinking about that question, I don’t think any one person inspired me to become a writer; though my mother saw that yearning in me and fostered it by giving me my very first diary at the age of 11. When I was in high school, I got a job as a page at Cleveland Public library. While I was working there, I also worked in the school library. So it seemed that libraries and books were destined (for lack of a better word) to be a permanent feature in my life. That was perfect for someone like me, who loved reading and writing. Although I enjoyed writing, I never thought of myself as having any sort of writing ability, until one day I showed my sister a poem I’d written. She loved it! I was flattered. She showed it to some of her co-workers and they loved it. Then the same thing happened all over again, when I showed her a short story I’d written.

I was exposed to so many books, working at the library; it’s a veritable playground for a bibliophile with a voracious appetite for reading. I discovered writers such as Eric Jerome Dickey, Omar Tyree, E. Lynn Harris, Terry Macmillan, Carl Weber, Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines, J. California Cooper, Diane McKinney-Whetstone, BeBe Moore Campbell. I could go on and on. I would devour book after book. I had never read books like this before, certainly not at school. Some of these authors were pioneers in their genre. For example, Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines; they are the true fathers of Street/Gangsta lit. Then you had authors like Dickey, Tyree, Macmillan, and Weber bust onto the scene with Urban lit. In my opinion, no one can make words sing like Diane Mckinney-Whetstone does, writing Literary fiction. BeBe Moore Campbell, J. California Cooper, and E. Lynn Harris, with their Contemporary fiction, floored me when I first read them. I especially loved J. California Cooper’s colloquial style of writing. She makes you feel like it’s just you and she in the room, while she spins a yarn that so easily entangles you. Even if you could get free, you wouldn’t want to; that’s just how caught up you can get in her writing.

So, all of that is part of what inspired me to become a writer. Well, that and the narcissistic desire to see my name in the byline! J

What genre do you write and why?
If I had to pigeonhole myself into a genre, I’d say that I write Contemporary fiction. Some have classified my writing as Chick lit, Women’s fiction, Inspirational fiction, Christian fiction, and Urban fiction. I’m comfortable with all those classifications, except Urban. By today’s definition, my writing in no way, shape, or form fits into that genre. Most people, when they hear the label Urban fiction, think drugs, street life, gangsters, pimps, prostitutes, and so on; which, in my opinion, is a total misapplication of the genre.

What's the best thing about being a writer?
For me, the best thing about being a writer is that I get to be the boss! Well, that’s not totally true. I know this may sound weird to someone who’s not a writer, but sometimes we writers are just the vehicle that our characters use to bring their stories out into the world. There are times that I have a scene all worked out in my head, from beginning to end, then lo and behold, my character will fight me tooth and nail until I concede to his or her wishes.

True story. I was writing a scene in my latest book, No More Expectations, where the main character, Brianya, was supposed to choose a certain character as her love interest. But no matter what I did, she just would not cooperate! So, I let her choose; and last I heard, they’re quite happy. There was another instance, when I was writing the short story, Caught (it’s a story in my first book, titled Transitions: short stories for a rainy day), and the female protagonist was supposed to realize the error of her ways and concede to Lonnie’s wishes, but she wasn’t having it. I won’t say who won that struggle, but according to the readers, I made the right choice.

Who is you favorite character in your book and why?
In the short story book, Transitions: short stories for a rainy day, I’d have to say my favorite character is Rita Collier. Rita is a so-called Born again Christian. Having been raised in the church, as an adult she chose a not-so-holy lifestyle. After years of living a debauched life, Rita’s mom talks her into going to church with her. Listening to the sermon, she decides it’s time to straighten up her life and walk the straight and narrow. She remakes herself, even changing the way she speaks. However, instead of becoming tolerant of people who are like she once was, she becomes judgmental and critical. Yet, she believes that God’s will for her is to help save lost souls. When she gets this hot, steamy misdirected email, she’s faced with the monumental decision: answer it or ignore it. I like Rita, because she represents that subset of Christians who have a desire to help people but they just don’t get it.

I actually have two favorite characters from my novel, No More Expectations. One is Endo Jamison. Endo is the older man who pursues Brianya. He seems nerdy; however, he turns out to be anything but . . . as Brianya soon finds out. The other favorite is Brianya’s best friend, Dreama. Dreama is one of those no-nonsense straight shooters. She tells you what you need to hear, not what’ll make you feel better. Brianya has a tendency to coddle herself so she and Dreama are the perfect duo. Dreama goes through a bit of a rough patch and we get to see the softer side of her, which will touch the reader’s heart.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
I think readers will enjoy No More Expectations because Brianya really represents every woman. She’s just lost over 200 pounds; and she’s struggling to keep the weight off, which, by the way, is the hardest part of weight loss. She learned that she’s an emotional eater (upwards of 90 percent of the population eat in response to an emotional trigger). She’s confronted with one issue after another and she’s fighting to keep from responding in her usual manner. She’s also a little bit naïve, when it comes to men.

Readers will enjoy Transitions: short stories for a rainy day, because the book is designed for people who don’t want to invest a lot of time in reading, but they still want the satisfaction of knowing that when they close the book, they’ve completed a story. Also, the stories are about real life situations that people find themselves in and their resolve in handling those situations. The stories run the gamut of emotions; you’ll cry, you’ll laugh; you’ll become angry; and you may even become a little confused. But one thing you won’t become is disappointed. You meet Arlise, who’s locked away because she’s Three Cards Short of a Deck. Lonnie unexpectedly stayed too long with one woman and got Caught. Cashmere, just may have to Think Again, after her fiancé reveals a startling secret just two weeks before their wedding. Little four-year-old Shelby is watching television with her mom, when a news reporter utters a promo that prompts Shelby to ask: “Mommy, what’s rape?” By the way, Brianya’s story begins in the story Expectations and it picks up three years later in the novel.

How do you research your books?
I use many avenues. Mostly, I do a lot of research on the Internet, making sure the sites I use are reputable. For example, when writing the short story, Three Cards Short of a Deck, I used the web sites NIMH (National Institutes of Mental Health), NIH (National Institutes of Health) Mayo Clinic, and MedLine Plus, just to name a few. When writing No More Expectations, I used the web site and personally interviewed several Human Resources professionals. I also got input from law enforcement professionals, lawyers, and a county civil court judge.

I have a tendency to go overboard researching. Even the things I know firsthand, I research, just to make sure I have it right. J

How long did it take you to write your book?
I began writing the book of short stories back in 1998, around the same time that I began writing the novel. The novel I finished in 1999, but I didn’t complete the short stories until 2010. Over the years, I would write short stories whenever I’d hear, see, or experience something interesting. There are a few that I didn’t include in the collection.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
Currently, I’m working on book that’s untitled. It’s the story of Cashmere Masters and Lonnie Parker. Both of these characters are from Transitions, and you catch up again with them in No More Expectations.

Cashmere is dealing with a severe health crisis. And although she yearns for a relationship, her illness prevents her from becoming seriously involved with anyone. Until Lonnie. He’s reeling from a tragic event that’s left him more distrustful of women than ever. Until Cashmere. Will they allow mistakes of the past to prevent them from finding what they each need to reap the rewards of the present, so that they can discover if they have a future?

Look for the book to be available Winter 2014.

Where can a reader purchase your book?
Readers may purchase my books from my web site:, where you’ll also learn more about me. They are also available on any online bookstore. Smashwords has the book in all eformats, including Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and more. If you’re in the Cleveland area, you may find them at Loganberry books, Appletree books, and Fashions by Fowler, and a few local libraries. If they don’t have them, request that they order the books. Also, if you’re in the Columbus area, you may find my books at the Booksuite bookstore.

What advice do you have for other writers?
The best advice I can give is this: 1) Decide if you want to self-publish or go the traditional route 2) Research ALL of your options 3) Write what you’re passionate about 4) Research, research, research all aspects of your story, even what you think you know and, 5) Invest in a couple of great editors. But most of all have fun!

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Finding the Time

As a working attorney with two kids and two published novels, the most frequent question I get asked is, “where do you find the time to write books?”  My stock answer is that I don’t play golf, which frees up a lot of time.  The real answer, though, is that I find time wherever I can, and it’s usually difficult.  Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about time management for the moonlighting author, which I’m happy to share with you today.

Always be prepared to write.  I prefer writing on my laptop, but I don’t always have it with me.  Even when I do, it’s not always convenient to open it up, power it on, and start tapping away on my next chapter.   So whenever I think I might have a few quiet minutes to concentrate on writing (for instance at the beach, on an airplane, or sitting at a bar on a business trip), I put a few sheets of folded paper in my pocket along with a pen.  That way, when inspiration hits, I can jot down my thoughts wherever I happen to be.  I fold each paper in eighths and treat each section like a “page” (I write very small).  It’s amazing how much you can fit on a few sheets of paper using this technique.  I number each sheet sequentially and keep them until I find a chance to transcribe them into my manuscript.  Whatever method you use (ipad, pen-and-paper, tape recorder, etc.), the key is always be prepared to write.
Write first, edit later.  This does not come naturally to me, but I’ve learned to force myself to write quickly without thinking too much about grammar, punctuation, syntax, and the absolute best choice of words for each sentence.  All of that can be taken care of later during the multiple rounds of editing that will follow.  The first task, at least for me, is to get words on the page that will provide the bones of a great story.  The polishing comes later.
Never delete anything.  During the course of writing a novel, you will inevitably write much more than what actually makes it into the finished product.  On many occasions, I have removed entire chapters—even groups of chapters—from my manuscript, either during original drafting or during the editing process.  But I never truly delete these blocks of prose.  Instead, I save them in a “reserve” file for later use, because you never know when that great description of an alleyway fight in Chinatown or Istanbul at dawn will come in handy.
Just do it.  I’ve found that writing is a lot like running.  At first, you may not feel like doing it.  But if you force yourself to start, either out of habit or because you have a deadline looming, you can usually find a groove and accomplish your goal for the day.  For me, the first few sentences each day are often awkward (and destined for the “reserve” file), but the words eventually begin flowing, and before I know it I’ve put paragraphs, pages, and entire chapters behind me.  The key is, “just do it.”
Don’t forget to think.  Although the physical act of writing is obviously important, don’t overlook the value of just thinking about your plot.  This can be done anywhere and at any time—in the shower, during your commute to work, on the treadmill, or just lying in bed.  Turn off the TV and the radio, and simply walk through the plot in your mind from start to finish.  Put yourself in the shoes of one of your characters and imagine what they are experiencing and thinking during each particular scene.  I have found this helps create intimacy with my characters and also helps me solve plot problems, such as “how is this character going to get out of this situation alive?”
I hope this helps.  Good luck, and happy writing!
Purchase Links: 
James Barney is the critically acclaimed author of THE GENESIS KEY (a Thriller Award nominee) and THE JOSHUA STONE.  A Booklist starred review says: “Imagine a mix of Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, and Dean Koontz, with a sprinkle of Brad Thor—and maybe a touch of Stephen King’s 11/22/63. The Joshua Stone is completely original and totally terrific. Readers will quickly be looking for Barney’s previous novel, The Genesis Key (2011), and will likely become a fan of his writing for life.”

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The Most-Annoying Writing Mistakes

We all have our own pet peeves when it comes to writing mistakes, and, if we're honest, we're probably guilty of making a few too. This infographic takes a look at some of the common mistakes that people find most annoying.

The Most-Annoying Writing Mistakes
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

What writing mistakes do you find most annoying?


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Writing Rules to Live by (and Sometimes Break)

What core habits should writers live by? This infographic gives a nice summary of some of the recommended rules writers should live by. As with a lot of rules though, some are flexible and others can be broken. If you want to be a writer, the only rule you really need to follow is to write. Still, if you're serious about your writing career you might find these suggestions useful.

Writers Rule Book

Do you have rules for yourself as a writer? 

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How to Make Your Characters Believable

Making three dimensional characters is challenging. But the more real you can make them, the more you’ll be able to pull a reader into your story. I thought I’d invite two of my characters to this post to make things a little more interesting. Damon, the protagonist from Unison, is a psychological engineer. He believes he knows what makes people tick. Markos, the protagonist from Jessie’s Song, is a jazz guitarist, and he’s still trying to figure out what makes him tick. He spends most of the interview with his guitar in his hands, playing little melodies. It gets quite annoying. I’m starting to see why his ex-wife was bothered by it.
Hi guys,” I said. “What makes you feel so real to me when I write you?”
“I should answer this first,” Damon said, “as this is my area of expertise.”
Markos said nothing, and I cleared my throat to catch his attention.
“Whatever,” Markos said as he continued playing his guitar. “I only agreed to this because you promised me a sequel.”
“But I still haven’t figured out all of the plot yet,” I said. “It would help if you give me a little input.” I waited for a response but none came.
Damon pointed his finger at Markos. “Habits are also a way of understanding characters. For instance, Markos’s indifference to what you’re saying demonstrates a level of self-centeredness and—”
Markos stopped playing and pointed his pick at Damon. “I’m focused. Big difference.”
“I was going to make that comparison had you bothered to let me finish my explanation. I, too, tend to focus on my work to the point where I don’t notice what’s happening around me. Once when I was practicing my violin, the school fire alarm went off, and I didn’t even hear it.”
“Strange,” I said. “You both are similar, but you’re nothing alike.”
“We’re the product of a different era,” Damon said. “And that’s reflected in the way we think, speak and react.”
“However, both of your goals are a matter of life and death.”
“But I only have twenty-four hours to figure out who kidnapped my daughter before I have to kill myself,” Markos said. “Damon has lifetimes to deal with his issues.”
“Very true, but the stakes in my story are potentially more devastating.” Damon laughed. “Wish it were only my own death I had to worry about. That would’ve been so much easier to deal with.”
“I didn’t have time to take a few years off and live in a cabin in the woods,” Markos said. “If only my life was that relaxing.” He shook his head from side to side and returned to playing his guitar.
I recall you taking time to write some poetry in the middle of your ordeal,” I said.
“Writing calms me.”
“I can relate to that. Between getting shot at and attacked, I took long walks in the woods with my dog, Shisa,” Damon said. “And whenever I was in New Athenia, I would go to the park to feed the ducks in the pond.” He smiled. “My favorite one was Gadfly. He never followed the flock. That duck taught me a lot about independence.”
Markos stopped playing. “Shot at? You’re not as dull as you sound.”
I snapped my fingers. “More aspects of personality. How you react to pressure!”
“I also play the violin in an orchestra,” Damon said. “They tell me I’m the reincarnation of Mozart.”
“You’re one spacey dude,” Markos said. “What planet did you just arrive from?”
“I’m from here, but in the far future. I lived in a dome for most of my life and only recently found out about all the Ancient Earth cultures, which made me feel ignorant. I don’t know what to believe anymore.”
“I know that feeling well. Whenever I’m around my ex I feel like a complete imbecile. She’s a professor at N.Y.U., and half the time I don’t get what she’s talking about.” Markos stopped playing his guitar and grinned. “But man, you should see her. She looks like Billie Holiday.”
“Who’s Billie Holiday?” Damon asked. “Never heard of him.”
Markos looked at me and rolled his eyes. “Are we done yet? I got a gig tonight.”
“I have my violin with me,” Damon said. “Mind if I sit in for a set?”
“As long as you don’t play any Mozart.”
“I can play jazz, and I can also play the electric guitar. Have you ever heard of the rock group Tearing Nations?”
“Must be after my time.” Markos returned to playing.
I hope you enjoyed my little exercise at writing about characterization. Some things to consider when developing your characters:
- Give them a backstory
- Give them a clear goal that readers will sense right away
- Reveal their insecurities and fears
- Give them habits that reveal subtext

Some other areas I explore for my characters:
- Subtext
- Paradox in their personality
- Secrets
- Flaws
- Strengths
- Personal philosophy
- Religious beliefs, if any
- Inner conflict
Also consider one of the sixteen Myers-Briggs personality types, which I sometimes use for my characters when I’m first developing them.

Award winning author, Eleni Papanou, wrote her first poem when she was an outcast at school. Honored with the name "Greek Freak," she believed life was plagued with misery, torment and endless suffering. A spontaneous kundalini awakening thrust Eleni on a spiritual path that constantly tested her to the breaking point by challenging her world-view and everything else she held sacred. Through visions and personal insights, Eleni eventually discovered the Universe has a sense of humor. She started laughing more--mostly at herself--whenever she caught herself taking things too seriously. After many years on the path of self-rediscovery--along with the addition of a husband, two daughters and a bout with cancer, Eleni had a lot to say. Having already written several screenplays, she decided to describe her experiences in novel form.

In addition to writing, Eleni likes to spend her free time with her husband and two daughters that she home schools. Her hobbies include audio recording, photography, collage art, singing, songwriting, photography, graphic arts, bodybuilding and hiking. For more information and updates, visit her website to find out more about her debut novel, Unison, an epic that will take four books to tell, as well as two other books scheduled for release before the year's end.

 Connect with Eleni Papanou on Facebook & Twitter & LinkedIn
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Interview with Maz Marik

What genre do you write and why?

Horror and Fantasy. As a child growing up, I would always try to find movies which were way above my age range. I remember on my 8th birthday I watched 'Psycho', and 'The Exorcist' with the babysitter, and after that, very quickly got into authors such as Laymon and Koontz. I wanted to join in the fun, so tried writing for myself. Usually I would write sequels to movies I had seen, like Alien 8, or Jaws 7, completely random stories, but full of death and gore. This lead to me writing my own material.

Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book, released a few weeks ago is called 'Earthed'. It follows a young family stalked by darkness, where their only hope is an old man who knows what they are up against. As the events unfold, the terror begins to reveal itself, and staying in the light becomes the only way they are going to survive the night.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
The usual. Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and lots of book forums. The best tool is word of mouth. A lot of people enjoyed my first book, 'End Storm', and so they have spread the news as well, which is a big help.
What formats is the book available in?
It is available on all ebook readers. Paperback copies I am looking at doing, and hopefully will have something to update you on before Christmas.
Who are your favourite authors?
I love Laymon, Koontz and Tolkien. All for different reasons, but all have their own ability to move the story along at a perfect pace. And the detail in the story Tolkien creates is unbelievable.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Not to give in. Not to be obsessed over sales and profit. And to expect a good few slaps around the face.
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
'If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: Read a lot and write a lot.' - King.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
Being able to create a universe and every character in it. And then letting people in to your universe.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I have a website,, and a Facebook page,
Who is you favorite character in your book and why?

In 'Earthed', I like 'Ian Sayers'. He is old, and eccentric, and has a witty sense of humour. On top of all that, he is also very courageous. The opposite of me really!

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?

It goes along at breakneck speed, and the characters are likeable. If you like Horror, you will like this.

How long did it take you to write your book?

It is different for each book. Sometimes I can complete the first draft in a couple of months, but sometimes, the best part of a year.

Who designed the cover?

My good friend, and editor, Ish Ferris.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?

Every time. My editor is as harsh as can be! I would like to think my writing standard is always improving, and you learn more from your mistakes than you do with praise.

Where can a reader purchase your book?

Any key word 'Maz Marik', on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, Apple etc will bring me up. Although all links are on the website.
What are you doing to market the book? 

I try not to spend any money on marketing. I like the idea of word of mouth, even if it sometimes seems to be a slow method. I also had a trailer done, which went on the website and YouTube channel. I try to get it reviewed by different forum groups, and then use Facebook and Goodreads to market it further.

Who inspires you?

I think two people. Christopher Reeve for battling on with his paralysis. After years of being known as Superman, his legacy will be being a beacon of hope for thousands of other people who suffer similar injuries. His strength and mentaility was just amazing.

The other is Arnold Schwarzenegger. The drive and motivation that guy has is insane! He wants to be a bodybuilder, ends up as Mr Universe, then he wants to try acting, and ends up the most famous actor of all time, and then decides he wants to try politics, and goes as high up in the US political system as is allowed for a non American. Determination, determination, determination!

How do you research your books?

I read a lot of mythology and supernatural creatures. Local legends and mysterious events usually get me interested, and then from there, it is about plotting a story that is both true, and loyal to the myth I was influenced by.

I try to go to the location I am setting it in beforehand, so I get a feel for the environment and the local people.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.

There are two. One is 'The Absent', which is the story of three teenagers who look after a man with dementia, but find themselves entering his world as the night progresses.
There will be more on 'The Absent' on my website as it progresses in the coming months.
The other book is called 'Hamelin', and is a take on the tale of the Pied Piper. It follows a man with his two boys who seek shelter for the night, only to find when they get there that all the children have gone. They help the local people search for the missing children, which leads to a terrifying and gruesome outcome.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?

Well, I am Self Published. I think it gives everyone a chance, but also has allowed the market to get flooded with bog standard trash. Traditional Publishing is often more difficult to get involved in, but usually has greater rewards. I think both are useful. It is all about knowing, or getting to know the 'right people'.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

Reading books and watching movies and thinking 'I can do better than that'. So often the ending, or a character in a movie or book makes me groan with frustration. I try to make all my stories as frustration-free as I can.

And then there is Stephen King, who I am not super fan of, although cannot deny his brilliance, but he threw his first book in the bin, and then was convinced to keep trying to get it published. He agreed, and now earns $40m a year.....

Does your family support you in your writing career? How?

Yes, they do. A few have read the book, but mostly they leave me alone. I prefer it that way!

What are you currently reading?

Nothing! I have just finished 'Unnatural Selection', by Thomas Pryce, which was excellent.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

Tolkien and his Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. And then David Gemmell who also wrote Fanstasy. The worlds they created were just amazing. To jump into their minds for just a minute would be the most incredible thing ever!

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I like to walk, climb trees and anything outdoor really. Just sitting at the beach throwing stones into the waves. That kind of stuff.
Movies and the cinema is always appealing. Seeing friends and family.
Hobbies are scuba diving and football, although I barely get to play any sport anymore.
Also love poetry. Reading it, writing it, listening to it. Can spend all day doing that!


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