Interview with Pat McDonald

Interview with Pat McDonald

What genre do you write and why?
So far my first three books (a trilogy) was pure crime fiction and are set in a typical Major Crime Unit in a British police force. My fourth novel, although about a character who drops out of the plot in my first crime novel gave me the opportunity to experiment with a multi-genre book that I wrote because I wanted to know what happened to the character and also so that my granddaughters could read it.
Tell us about your latest book.
I have just released my fourth novel Breaking Free which is a Y.A paranormal thriller about stalking based in the North of Wales, UK. It has a hint of historical W.W 1 drama that is surprisingly haunting! I enjoyed experimenting with several genres and yes it is also a romance thrown in. The story is about Livia Morrison who escaped from her captor to United Arab Emirates (Getting Even: Revenge is best served cold) but finds it impossible to live there as a single female so she comes back to the UK settling in a small community in Wales. Far from hiding in plain sight she finds herself plagued by old memories that won’t stay quiet, stalked by someone but she doesn’t know who and haunted by a life that the Old Forge cottage she buys wants her to remember. Luckily she meets Nathan Edwards who seems to want to help her.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
I have for some time been building an audience and bookish community on Twitter (@issyblack) and linking this to my author page where I find it easier to blog and run small advertisements for my books.

What formats is the book available in?
My books are all available in soft cover and e books, kindle etc. which are sold through my Amazon author page and my publisher website

Who are your favourite authors?
I have an eclectic taste in authors but favour crime, thrillers and humorous authors; I am excited by new authors such as Angie Smith (CXVI trilogy), Joe Leslie, and Barrie Kibble; the humour of Aaron David and Ian Hutson, and J L Emslie (The Mentalpause) – these people keep me laughing. I read new authors and review their books because I often find inspiration that way, and try to encourage new authors who write to me.

What advice do you have for other writers?
I am asked this often and encourage all new writers just to write; to get down their ideas as they think them and try not to get too hung up with what they hear are the rules on writing. Often writers are so tied up with ‘learning’ the art that they become stifled and put off. The rules on writing are someone’s idea of what they should be, but who is to say they are correct? Write first, then you have something to edit, rewrite, and apply what you think is correct – go with your own instincts I say, but at all times try to preserve originality and your own style – Stephen King would say ‘be true to yourself and your story’ and so would I.

What’s your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
I have only ever read one book On Writing – by Stephen King of course. It is entertaining in his usual style and I think gently applies his own thoughts, not dictating what should and should not be; after all he had a long and hard road to travel like we all do. The comment that sticks in my mind is “kill your babies” which he advises us to do if something adds nothing to the story but is just there because – well you liked it. Took me some time, but I got there in the end, so I cut a few passages now and again. He is correct though, the story is the important thing – don’t lost sight of that.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?
If you have the ‘ache’, the need to write then the writing is the thing you have to do – I need to write, but I also need to tell a story and when I can get it so I can say “Yes!”, then I have done what I set out to do. My particular pleasure is getting the end right, it is important because I have read too many books that fizzle out at the end. I want to hear “aah!” and have someone message me, like I have recently and tell me my book is the first one that has ever made her cry! All we authors can hope for is to make an impression with our writing and if we can evoke an emotion, then we have succeeded.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I have a website and an amazon site, but my on my author page I reveal aspects of my writing that can’t be found elsewhere: For example I just revealed the spooky thing that happened to me at midnight on 31st December 2015/16 and which inspired me to begin a new novel: Echoes of Doubt.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
My latest published book that has just been release – Breaking Free – is primarily about Livia Morrison who has just returned to North Wales, UK to try and break free of a past that haunts her – hiding in plain sight is traumatic but she meets Nathan Edwards and is instantly drawn to him. He is different to anyone else she has ever known (which is why I like him as a character) but is he as lovely as he seems to be? I like to get inside my characters to try to bring them alive.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
I think and am told it is a balance between several genres. I have always been interested in how easy or hard it would be to disappear and for me it explores some of that, and the effects that stalking can have on a person. I personally hope that people will enjoy how Livia’s past life comes back to haunt her at the point in her life when she is trying to break free of it. Hopefully people will be thrilled by the many twists and turns it takes – feedback is good so far.

How long did it take you to write your book?
I wrote this book whilst finishing off (editing and proofing) my second and third in the Blue Woods Trilogy. My endings of various elements came to me on a research visit to Wales at the end of December 2014 and I completed the book in February 2015 after about six months writing it. I discovered I had a brain tumour at this time and decided to leave final edit for my convalescence after April when I had my operation to remove it. It was a trying time as I had a lot of physical problems to overcome, not least of which was to teach myself once again to write and type, the publishing process was probably a little longer than would normally have been the case (October 2015).

Who designed the cover?
My print manager Kay Jay designed the cover to my specification (and incidentally also did Boxed Off); she is a fine artist and has her own company Kalpart Caricatures as well as working for SBPRA as print manager.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
It being my fourth book and a new venture I was surprised to learn how much I enjoyed editing and proofing; whether this was because I was used to the process I don’t know. But I loved writing this book and of all my books so far it is my favourite. Perhaps it was experimenting with different genre. I like to have the next book begun at this stage and because I went on to try humour I found the contrast rather welcoming. My discovery that a one off book is easier to write than my crime trilogy with all its continuity problems may lead me to settling for standalone in the future. My humorous book ‘A Penny for Them’ is nearly complete and having just begun ‘Echoes of doubt’ I can see both of these as series, oh dear!

Where can a reader purchase your book?
Amazon author page:
SBPRA author website:

Who inspires you? How do you research your books?
Truth is I believe life is inspiring and everything counts as research and I have a lot of years behind me! I use, like everyone else, the internet; but nothing is as good as ‘real’ research. For example in Breaking Free I took a trip to Caernarfon castle, to the Royal Welch Fusilier’s museum there and the ending came to me as I stood in front of the 1914-18 show case and the fully killed out model of the soldier, the sound effects of gun fire and war playing in the background – I visualised the scene as if it were happening – what do you think? I also visited all the places I wrote in Getting Even out in United Arab Emirates and introduced it in Breaking Free because Livia Morrison returned from there.
A lot of my characters are people I meet, or things said to me, or that I observe and develop and of course I read a lot and am inspired by the books I read.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
My work in progress is to finish off my humorous ‘A Penny for Them’, which is about my hapless hero Benjamin Matthews who up until his thirty first year a failures at most jobs until he meets Rebecah the daughter of one of the biggest villains in his town. But even turning to criminal endeavours he manages to fail and by chance succeed as a businessman! It is a tongue in cheek look at crime from the inside and my first attempt at humour – here’s hoping.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
I am continually informed by indie authors that my books are too expensive and if I could give them away free or at 99pence or $0.99 then I would sell more! There is a false picture created. I didn’t start writing to make money and the years where I was given a contract and an advance are long gone (my academic work). It seems to me we are all swimming in the same pond and whilst some people think having a publisher means you have made it, it is well over stated. Val McDermid the crime writer says she wouldn’t make it in today’s climate, her publisher allowed her four years before one of her books got into the best sellers lists – now you can do that by giving it away at £1.99 or totally free. Good luck to everyone I say. The new climate means that for most people unless a book is free they aren’t interested.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I always wanted to write, I think I have the gene!

What are you currently reading?
Just finished The Burden of Truth by Peter Best (really enjoyed this book) and am reading The Little Nurse by Marjorie Penn (she was the mother of an author I met on Twitter and having just been hospitalised the contrast to this view of the early years in nursing is so interesting).

What books or authors have most influenced your life?
Stephen King - because his imagination has no boundaries and I marvel at that. Thomas Hardy influenced me because of his view of the reality of life and its consequences. Charles Dickens was amazing at characterisation and liking for strange people. Alice Walker – The Colour Purple and especially the quotation: “No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow”. I am a book collector - there are too many books and not enough time!

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
It is now a huge part of my life, so I am not very far from pen and paper. I love to read and lose myself in books. More recently I have been more housebound, but usually I love to grow vegetables and live as healthy a life as possible. I used to drive to my favourite coffee shop and sit and write, meet people and get inspired to create my characters. I am hoping to do these things once again.

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The Role of “Time” in Writing

The Role of “Time” in Writing, guest post by Karen Robinson

Time is very important in every activity. Obviously, all our day to day activities are depended on time and therefore, the role of time in our life is so imperative. Keep in mind that if you are engaging in writing, time is an essential factor to write a good paper. Hence, the role of time in writing is huge as well as very important. Time can indeed affect your writing positively and negatively. Time affect yours writing negatively when you devote less time to write your paper. It can affect your writing positively when you give yourself ample time to write your paper. Thus, let’s have a close look at the different roles that times plays in your writing:

Gives Proper Preparation
Writing is a very common thing in academic sphere and in our personal life. In an academic sphere, writing involves dealing with various assignments including essays, thesis, research paper, dissertation, review writing and so on. In our personal life, writing includes writing letter, poems, novels, stories, short stories and so on. One of the most important things that can have an influence in our writing is time. It is the time that decides when to start writing and when to complete writing. Therefore, it can be said that the main role of time in writing is that it gives proper preparation to the writer to write something.

Arrange Writing
Another role of time in writing is arrangement. As far as the writer is concerned, it is very imperative for him to arrange his writing in order to come up with a commanding piece of writing. Lack of arrangement can guide the write to produce a poorly written paper. It is the time that allows the write to make proper arrangement to make a good writing on something. Time allows people to research, find out dependable sources, information and details to write their paper. Your writing will be excellent once you have reliable sources, information and details. As a result, it can be easily said that time arranges writing.

Good Impact
Time gives a good as well as bad impact on our writing. A lot of scholars used to tell that you have to give ample time to write your paper. The main reason is that the more time we give to write a paper, the better you can excel as a writer. When you have less time to write something, you cannot write in your usual flow. When you give you more time to write something, you will have sufficient time to look at the various sides of your arguments and main points. But when you have less time while writing, you will be in a hurry to complete the paper on time. Therefore, you will fail to look at different sides of your arguments in an effective manner.

It is the time that gives you a deadline in writing. Time decided from where you can write and whether to complete writing with limited days or hours. Remember that it’s the time that control you when and how much you work. It’s persistently tough to find an adequate amount of time for all the things we would like to do and in some way, it’s extra complicated to find writing time. It will be tough for a lot of people to write in the morning, noon can be tough time for others, and evening or night will be difficult for others. Hence, with no trouble, it can be believed that time puts deadline to writing.

Reminds to Act
The role of time in writing is to remind you to act and to act wisely. When you sit down to write something, you will definitely understand that time is precious and it has to be used up effectively. Time management in writing is very essential and if you are capable of managing time well, you will be successful as a writer. The wisest writer takes advantage of the time fruitfully and in particular by planning how to make his writing successful.  Loss of time will guide you to mourn because it will never come back for you. The basic nature of time in writing is to remind you to use the time effectively and engage in writing without wasting time.

My name is Karen Robinson and I'm centered on composing articles, proficient paper composing and different sorts of works. Writing is my calling as well as my most fascinating field from where I pick up information consistently. My involvements with different custom essay writing service have permitted me to focus on both scholarly and non-scholastic papers.

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Book Showcase: Mortal Thoughts by TJ Park

Book Showcase: Mortal Thoughts by TJ Park

Title: Mortal Thoughts

Author: TJ Park


The heist is cursed from the start. Doug Mulcahy and his gang hijack a mining plane and a fortune in black opals - gemstones with a rep for being unlucky. Following a brutal shootout on a remote airfield, the hijackers flee in the crippled plane only to crash-land soon after. Shaken and battered, they stagger through the outback until they stumble upon a strange little house and an ethereal woman. Taking the woman hostage, the thieves wait for her husband to return with his truck. But it all goes to hell when a rogue gang member forces himself onto the woman. The house is drenched with blood, the husband returns, and the men realise nothing in this place is as it seems. And the horrors are only just beginning...


The one-room office was a tight fit, shaped into narrow corridors by desks, radio equipment, kitchenette, filing cabinets and an antique photocopier. A wall-mounted fan oscillated back and forth, achieving little more than shifting the hot air around. Occasionally, for no discernible reason, it emitted a loud, ripping fart.

There was a small, lifeless waiting room glimpsed through a partition door, crammed high with sagging cardboard boxes. Neck explained that a delivery was overdue to be collected. Normally the boxes would be left undercover outside, he told Doug, but thieving had worsened lately. Doug readily sympathised.

There was one other notable feature of the office, and since entering Cutter had barely taken his eyes from her: a young, pretty woman sitting at the corner desk laden with paperwork. She wasn’t introduced, and after initially looking over the visitors, went back to working on her computer and fussing over a stray twist of hair, picking at her clothes, brushing her bared skin self-consciously. Whenever she glanced back up at Cutter, he answered her increasingly shy looks with an unwavering smile.

Duckbill scanned Doug’s clipboard while Neck directed the young woman to scroll through old emails, looking for any sign of the order.

The sound of the whirring, farting fan rose sharply for a moment before its pivot began to slow, the dusty blades becoming visible in their cage, slowing to a halt.

“Great,” said Neck. “Open the windows will you, Sonya?”

“They are open.”

“Open them wider.”

It was through the windows they heard it first – the distant droning of an approaching plane.

Duckbill bumped into Doug and Cutter in his rush to get outside.

“No-one’s due this morning,” Neck muttered for everyone’s benefit. “Sonya, get them on the radio. Ask them who they are and their flight plan.”

Doug spied Sonya rolling her eyes as she went to the radio.

The droning dropped to an abridged roar as a low-flying plane buzzed the building. Its shadow flitted past the windows.

“No, let me,” Neck insisted, elbowing Sonya aside.

Duckbill came back, stopping in the doorway. “It’s circling.”

Neck turned from fussing with the radio, his cheeks and Adam’s apple a heated pink. “Get that truck out of the way!”

“Sure,” Doug said congenially, “right after you sign the invoice.”

Neck clicked the radio repeatedly. “It’s not working!” He ducked under the desk. “For god’s sake … don’t tell me it’s not plugged in!”

“Maybe it’s blown a fuse,” Duckbill suggested.

Neck stood again, rubbing his ear furiously having clipped it on the edge of the desk. “Does it look like it’s in trouble?” he asked Duckbill as he reached for a mobile phone lying nearby.

“From what I could see, it’s flying fine,” Duckbill said.

Doug was closer to the mobile. Reaching to pick it up for Neck he bunted it away instead. It slipped down between the wall and desk.

“Whoops. Sorry.”

Neck pushed past Doug and Cutter, heading outside, glancing down at Doug’s nametag. “Just get out of the bloody way… Russell.”

The plane’s engine noise began swelling again. Duckbill skipped aside as Neck passed through the door. Doug looked over at Sonya, shrugged and gestured, “Ladies first,” yet she declined to exit until he and Cutter went ahead. Doug wasn’t offended. It wasn’t about him. It was Cutter. He made anybody nervous.

Author Bio:

TJ Park is an Australian novelist and screenwriter. He was raised on a steady diet of Stephen King novels, British science-fiction television, and the cinema of John Carpenter and Sergio Leone. Not much else is known about him. That's just the way he likes it.

Purchasing links:

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Book Review: Polygraph by Cy Wyss

Book Review: Polygraph by Cy Wyss

Title: Polygraph

Author: Cy Wyss

Purchasing link:

Today I'm reviewing Polygraph by Cy Wyss. I grabbed a copy when it was free in a Kindle promotion on Amazon.

I'm giving this a 3 star rating.

About the book:

"Like most bad ideas, it started with alcohol." 

When a vicious serial rapist terrorizes the Bay Area, lowly beat officer Lukas Richter knows he can help. It’s said he can see through your skin and is more effective than a polygraph at detecting lies, which might seem like it would be a killer talent in law enforcement. But when a drunken boast has Richter seeing something he shouldn’t, he will be sorely tested: Does he have what it takes to make it in the SFPD --- or will his career dissolve before it even starts? 
If this short story were a movie it would be rated R for hard language and intense violence.
Watch the video for the full review: 

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The Genre Ailment

The Genre Ailment, guest post by Jessica Marie Baumgartner

I am a notorious genre hopper. It’s like an addiction, a disease. And in publishing it can mean sudden death for your stories. But there is more room to dabble in different types of tales now than ever before.

My first book was children’s fiction. My second, a paranormal erotic romance. They’re like polar opposites. And my most recent work is a science fiction novella series properly named The Embracing Entropy Series. I do draw from writers like Neil Gaiman who seem to give a big middle finger to the constraints that seem to be pressing on writers today. And instead of falling prey to the belief that you can only be good at one thing, I embrace the wide range of ideas that constantly attack my brain.

So how does one survive like this without losing their mind, and somehow continue to get published?

The Genre Ailment, guest post by Jessica Marie Baumgartner
I can’t say for sure. I never set out to be a writer. It just kind of happened. I’ve always been one to let the wind blow me in the right direction and THAT I think is key.

If you’re struggling with a story, don’t force it. Never force an art form. (Writing, good writing, is still very much an art form. No matter how flooded the market is) Yes, make time for it. That can be difficult nowadays. But if the inspiration isn’t there, move onto another project, you can come back.

This is how I end up with a variety of works. Instead of being too broad, I find that I have more options than most of the writers I know. But a great deal of that seems to be that I can switch focus. I’m not saying write a book that can be 5 different genres. I’m saying write different books, each with their own genre.

I have a pretty good handle on paranormal romance, and science fiction & fantasy have always been favorites of mine. When I have a horror story idea I feel that I’m at my best because horror is my first love, but it never manifests beyond short stories for me. Writing for children is a whole other world.

You should always read books from whatever genre you’re writing to really know it and feel it out properly. I’m such a bookworm, I love reading everything, so of course that reflects in my writing. And once you’ve been at it for a while, you begin to know yourself better. This is where I’m at. I know I have insane amounts of originality. It’s been noted in my acceptances and rejections constantly. But I still need to work on my details.

Playing with multiple genres has helped me to discover these strengths and weaknesses. Exploring the options of other types of writing seems to have many benefits. One of my author buddies writes fiction, romance, and poetry and he’s met with success at a pretty young age. The days of genre hopping being taboo are over. I encourage everyone to test new ideas and see where they lead.

The Genre Ailment, guest post by Jessica Marie Baumgartner
Jessica is the author of: The Embracing Entropy Series, Siren’s Snare, Tale of Two Bookends, and My Family Is Different. Her stories have been featured in numerous publications such as Everyday Fiction, The Lorelei Signal, Fiction on the Web, The Horror Zine and many others. She is a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild and is always weaving new worlds in the webs of her tales. You can check her out at

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