Interview with Angela Esme Fish

Interview with Angela Esme Fish

What genre do you write and why?

I have been writing primarily for children as my ‘Spidergate’ series was the first that was accepted for publication (apart from individual poems), but I love to explore all aspects of writing. I have experimented with picture books, early readers, YA/Sci-fantasy but currently I’m working on an adult novelThe Snow Globe’, which is considerably different from my previous work!

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad or good ones?

 Yes, I read them. If there are any negative comments (and thankfully there have been very few so far!) then I try to understand what the reviewer is saying, and if it’s a style issue, then I would bear that in mind for future work. There has been one instance, however, when the comments were so bizarre that I wondered if the person had actually read the book!

The feedback from children is by far the best as they are so refreshingly honest and, thankfully, have all been complimentary. I also worked with several groups of children during the writing/editing phases of all the books which meant that I was able to change anything that they didn’t like, or that they didn’t understand, before I submitted for publication. Well worth the effort!

Interview with Angela Esme Fish
What's the best thing about being a writer?

I love the freedom of the imagination in creating magical characters (for the children’s work), settings or plot lines.  That moment, when a niggling thought becomes a semi-formed idea, which then morphs into a plot, is fabulous. I also enjoy the research aspect as I like to use mythology or folk tales from around the world to inform or underpin my children’s work.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?

In ‘The Captain’s Favourite Treasure’, I would have to choose the Jigs and the Saws. They appear to be such lively characters and the island where they live is so colourful. From my other books, I would pick Amara, the wise woman in ‘Ben and the Spider Lake’. She lives in an unusual cave in the high mountains next to the lake. She can communicate with the birds and other animals and knows how to create spells and use magic wisely. I think I’d enjoy having her show me the ancient Rowan tree next to her cave, and I’d also like to see the peacocks and meet Hiboo, the white owl.

Who designed the cover?

For ‘The Captain’s Favourite Treasure’ the illustrator was Sharon Davey (Creative Fox). She did all the illustrations, including the covers. Feedback has been really positive so far.

For the ‘Spidergate’ books, I was so fortunate that the publishers introduced me to Michael Avery who did the covers and illustrations for all three books. He totally understood my concept of the characters, the settings (in both the real and the magical worlds) and added a whole new dimension to the books that the children I’ve spoken to have totally embraced.

When and where do you write?

I write at my desk most of the time. It’s in a small bedroom that I’ve converted into an office. I have lots of books around me and some large owl stickers on the wall in front of me! When I’m in the early planning stages I’ll write anywhere, using a notebook and pencil.

I find it impossible to have a set time for writing each day. I know that this works for lots of writers, but I guess I’m just not disciplined enough! However, when I do create that time to write, I can often achieve anything up to seven thousand words in a day (that’s an eight to ten-hour writing day). Of course, like any writer, I might discard/edit a fair proportion of this, but it works for me. I don’t want to feel that I have to write, but that I want to write. If it ever became a chore, then I’d stop and simply read.  However, even though I don’t write every day, I do try to engage with the story/ characters/plot line. For example, I often talk to my characters, or even role-play, so that I can develop them a little more – get into their skin, if you like. It also helps with dialogue.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I don’t make specific plans but I generally have the story outline, and sometimes quite a bit of detail, in my head before I even put pencil to paper. As I said earlier I like to talk to my characters.  I do plan things like time sequences, for example, as I have to make sure that I don’t make mistakes or create something that isn’t believable. I also had to bear in mind with the ‘Spidergate’ series that two of the main characters are seven years old so there are many places they wouldn’t be able to go, or things they couldn’t do, at that age. Although there’s a magical element to the stories, they do have a basic everyday setting, so I had to ensure that it was realistic. For Tom, in ‘The Captain’s Favourite Treasure’, I gave him more freedom to roam, as this is more of a fantasy tale.

Interview with Angela Esme Fish
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.

I have another book for children, Molly and the Magic Mirror’ (8-11 age group) mapped out and part one (of three) is written, with parts two and three in progress.  I’ve written three of a collection of short stories about ‘The Adventures of Brian, the Happy Banana’.  I also have two adult novels partially written and I’ve been concentrating on one of them, ‘The Snow Globe’ which explores the nature/nurture question. I had to write a very short pitch for it recently, and came up with this: Three generations, three decades, and six lives that crisscross or run parallel, but all connected and affected by the welfare system, addiction, deceit, coercion, loss, betrayal, friendship or hope. They try to move on or seek answers, but no-one knows the whole truth. The snow globe is the only link that can unravel their stories. I hope to have a working draft completed within the next few months which means that the other work will take a back seat.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

My mother read to me a lot when I was little and I was reading simple text myself by the time I was four. I’ve never lost my love of reading and can be quite greedy with it! I remember writing short poems and stories, and even plays, from the age of seven, and I loved making up stories to tell my friends and my younger brother. Later on, most of my creative energy went into English essays but it wasn’t until I started an Humanities degree that I had any formal creative writing experience.

As an adult, initially I focused on poetry and my dissertation was a collection of poems with commentary. After that I did an M.Phil. (Literature) but that was a research project, rather than my own writing. I went on some residential writing courses, mostly for poetry, and published some in journals. I was also placed second in a magazine short story competition, but then I started lecturing at my local university and work, and academic writing, took over. It wasn’t until I took early retirement and joined a writing group that I started creative writing again with any real purpose. Since then I’ve had a highly commended and a second place in Writer’s Forum magazine poetry competitions, written six books for children (four published, one submitted for publication and one being edited), begun a new book for older girls, and have two adult novels partly written! It’s been quite a productive time but I don’t think that I would have done half (if any) of it without the support and encouragement of my family, the writing group, and then the writing circle that I’ve been involved with.

Inspiration for the children’s books came from my love of nature and the environment, plus my continued interest in mythology and magic. The starting point for the ‘Ben’ books was story cubes. I also find them useful if I’m stuck midway with a piece of writing as they can suggest which direction to take. As for other work – inspiration can strike anytime or anywhere! Overheard conversations; fellow passengers; quirky advertising or unusual sayings or phrases.

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

Reading, gardening, meeting family and friends, family history research, playing with the cat, doing crosswords.

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A Writer Can Change Her Mind, Can't She?

A Writer Can Change Her Mind, Can't She?, Guest post by Caroline Taylor

A Writer Can Change Her Mind, Can't She?

Of course, she can. Especially if she’s not getting any traction with the novel she’s been trying to sell. After several years and rejections too numerous to count, plus a tour through an expensive book doctor, who thought the story was a good one, it occurred to me that my novel about a typist in a small town in the Midwest who is jealous of the newcomer, a more cosmopolitan young woman whom she feels duty-bound to welcome, was, to put it mildly, boring.

A Writer Can Change Her Mind, Can't She?, Guest post by Caroline Taylor
I liked it; the book doctor liked it. But the people who count—agents and publishers—didn’t seem to find it interesting enough to bother with. I could keep trying—I am a firm believer in persistence—but there came a point when it was obvious I was beating my head against the wall. I had two choices: Give up, or try something different. By then, I had invested so much time and effort in crafting the novel, I was loath to abandon it. I liked the characters too much to let them go. I liked the basic concept—that people are a product of their upbringing and often have to change if they are to grow. I wanted to describe what it was like to sit at a manual typewriter all day long, typing deadly insurance policy forms that were so expensive, no erasures were permitted. But I knew the story needed a healthy dose of action, suspense, whatever. So I changed it.

Throwing out the boring stuff and keeping the interesting stuff wasn’t easy. It boiled down to asking myself the same question about each element of the story: keep or change?

Get me Rewrite!

Plot: In the original story, the two women become good friends, although the main character, Judah, suffers when her old high school flame returns to town and immediately hooks up with the young woman, Nancy. Then valuable things start to disappear, and the people in the office accuse the stranger in their midst. Judah doesn’t want to believe this until she discovers all the stolen items hidden beneath Nancy’s bed. Yawning yet? Apparently the agents and publishers were. So the revised version became a story about a na├»ve young Midwesterner who gets blackmailed into spying on her boss.

Setting: There is a Cold War element here that simply wouldn’t be credible in a small Illinois town, and that’s why I moved the setting to Washington, D.C.

Characters: Having invested a great deal of effort developing my characters and their personalities, I kept them all, including their names and their relationships (more or less), but I changed their roles to match the new story. Judah still has an overly strict religious upbringing that makes her never question strange happenings in the office. But now she also has a secret past as a child thief. Nancy remains the world traveler with a back story pretty much the same as in the original novel and an affection for Jack, whom Judah had dated only a couple of times. Ralph, the shoe salesman who lives across from Judah, remains the same, except that I kill him off midway through the rewritten novel. Tom Lawrence, the boss, also remains the same love interest, although in the rewritten version, Judah is forced to betray him. Jack, who was the real thief in the original plot now is the real villain in the new version.

Time: Both the old and new versions occur in 1966, at a time of transition from the old manual typewriters to electric and then correcting electric typewriters. Both versions also occur in April, although the rewritten story takes readers up to Christmas of 1966 when Judah winds up killing the man running the spy operation.

It took several months, possibly more than a year, to blend the old and new versions of The Typist into a story that caught a publisher’s interest. It’s not so much that a writer can change her mind; it’s that sometimes she should change it.

A Writer Can Change Her Mind, Can't She?, Guest post by Caroline Taylor
Caroline Taylor is the author of three mysteries, “What Are Friends For,” “Jewelry from a Grave” and “Loose Ends”; the award-winning nonfiction book, “Publishing the Nonprofit Annual Report: Tips, Traps, and Tricks of the Trade.” She is releasing a thriller, “The Typist,” in June 2018. A lifelong writer and editor, Caroline has received numerous awards for editorial and design excellence for publications she produced for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the NIH Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, BoardSource, and the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation. She is a member of the North Carolina Writers' Network, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America.

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Book Showcase: The Treasure of Cedar Creek by Brenda Stanley

Book Showcase: The Treasure of Cedar Creek by Brenda Stanley

Title: The Treasure of Cedar Creek
Author: Brenda Stanley

Genre: Historical Thriller

Book Showcase: The Treasure of Cedar Creek by Brenda Stanley
About the book:

In 1896, the isolated and vast state of Idaho is a haven for the polygamous splinter group called The Kingdom of Glory, which is hiding more than their outlawed practice of plural marriage.

At the compound called Cedar Creek, the prophet is hoping to increase his congregation, even if that means marrying off girls to men decades older. When Peri, who escaped the compound years earlier, returns to help rescue Grace, a girl betrothed to the prophet himself, she ends up also saving her own sister Emma. As the three women make a frantic and deadly escape from the compound, they take with them both the newborn heir to the church, and their dead mother’s cryptic journal to the prophet’s hidden treasure. Along their journey, the women realize to truly be free they must face what holds them captive, even if those answers are more horrifying than they ever imagined.

Video Trailer:

Book Showcase: The Treasure of Cedar Creek by Brenda Stanley
About the Author
Brenda Stanley is a former television news anchor and investigative reporter for the NBC affiliate in Eastern Idaho. She has been recognized for her writing by the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Hearst Journalism Awards, The Idaho Press Club and the Society for Professional Journalists. She is a graduate of Dixie College in St. George, Utah and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She is the mother of 5 children, including two sets of twins. Brenda and her husband Dave, a veterinarian, live on a small ranch near the Snake River with their horses and dogs.

Book Showcase: The Treasure of Cedar Creek by Brenda Stanley


$15 Amazon

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
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Excerpt: Bluebonnet Ballerina by Carol Kilgore

Excerpt: Bluebonnet Ballerina by Carol Kilgore

Title: Ballerina 
Author: Carol Kilgore

Excerpt: Bluebonnet Ballerina by Carol Kilgore
About the book:

Gracie Hofner returns, and chaos reigns—including a couple of ghosts trying to save their granddaughter. But as Gracie dances from problem to problem, she’s unaware the music has been orchestrated into a murderous symphony.

When a different melody reaches Gracie’s ears from a guitar played by the new tenant living in her garage apartment, her tension vanishes. She listens unseen, cocooned in the shadows on her patio, and wonders who he’s longing for—and how it would feel for someone to crave her that much.

She can’t dwell on those thoughts, however. Problems of murder and missing prisoners abound. To say nothing of the ghosts. No one ever said being a law enforcement consultant would be easy.

Bluebonnet Ballerina follows Jalapeno Cupcake Wench and is the second book in The Amazing Gracie Trilogy.


“Ow! Ow! Ow!” Gracie Hofner twitched with each exclamation.

“For crying out loud, Gracie, you’d think I was trying to kill you.”

“You are. This is supposed to feel good.” Gracie tried to lift herself up.

Ariana held her down with one arm and tortured her with the other. “You’ve got a knot bigger than Thor’s fist in here. I’m working it loose.”

“It’ll work itself out.”

“No it won’t. It’ll give you a headache and neck spasms and a hitch in your side. Now lie still and shut up.” A hundred and ten skinny pounds of pure muscle and bone returned to attacking Gracie’s back.

Ariana Ayala was Gracie’s best friend, but when Ariana went into massage mode, arguing was futile. This was her first massage in her friend’s new studio, but nothing about her technique had changed. Gracie sighed and tried to relax. The more she loosened up, the harder Ariana dug. The woman had forty fingers and ten elbows, all of them poking Gracie’s sore back.

“Much better now.” Ariana continued to knead the same spot, except with much less pressure. That’s what it felt like, but Ariana always said the pressure was the same. The difference was the muscle had relaxed. “Next time, I’ll work on it again. It won’t be as bad. You must’ve had one hell of a week.”

“Something like that.”

“You can tell me later. Relax now. You’ll enjoy the rest of this.”

Excerpt: Bluebonnet Ballerina by Carol Kilgore
About the Author:

Carol Kilgore is the award-winning author of The Amazing Gracie Trilogy. In addition, she is the author of In Name Only (, Solomon’s Compass (, and Secrets of Honor (, three standalone romantic suspense novels set along the Texas Gulf Coast.

She and her husband live in San Antonio, the setting for the Amazing Gracie books, with two quirky herding dogs who still require help opening the food bin and the door.

You can learn more about Carol and be the first to know when the third book in the Amazing Gracie Trilogy will be released by visiting her website and subscribing to her newsletter at or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Carol is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

Excerpt: Bluebonnet Ballerina by Carol Kilgore


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Writing Advice

Writing Advice, Guest post by Rosanne Liesveld @iReadBookTours

Many people have asked how I decided to write a book. The truth is, I didn’t decide to write a book. I decided to publish writings I originally had no intention of putting into a book. I retrofitted my daily Facebook posts from the 366 days after my husband died unexpectedly into The Collision of Grief and Gratitude.  

I often think about the power of taking what was not intended for publication and then putting it out there as a writer. Many of you may have written thousands of words around hundreds of topics that could make powerful and compelling books. Don’t dismiss that thought.

In some ways, you would think that retrofitting content created for another context is the easiest way to write a book. And in fact, in some ways, it is. The material has obviously been written. You won’t be sitting at your desk into the wee hours of the morning facing writing deadlines. No. You will have other challenges.

Writing Advice, Guest post by Rosanne Liesveld @iReadBookTours
Because the material wasn’t originally written for the eyes of the people who might purchase and read your book, you haven’t written with them in mind. Clearly, my book was written more out of a state of emotional need to express both my grief and my gratitude than to connect with, encourage, challenge, or inspire anyone else. Honestly, the comments to my posts when they were originally published on Facebook many times buoyed me through long, tearful nights.

But writing through tears and angst and grief doesn’t always produce very sophisticated writing. I intentionally did not correct my dangling prepositions or misspelled words in my original posts (interesting that Facebook does not auto correct) because I so much wanted the words to flow out of my heart and communicate my utmost feelings of grief and gratitude. Just know that if you take existing content and put it into a book, you will have a lot of heavy lifting to make it readable to the more discerning reader’s eye.  

And yet, because I so intentionally wrote out of my ethos rather than my intellect, the feelings jumped off the page in a way that seemed to cut deep into the soul of many people. I changed very little of that in the editing. Of course, it’s not easy to keep the soul of the message while cleaning up the writing itself so it is acceptable for publishing but fight to keep the honesty and the emotion. I am not sure the book could ever have had the same depth of passion if I had not written it first before deciding to publish it.

All of this to say to writers, don’t be afraid to look at your past writings.  Know that they will need a lot of work if you ever decide they are book worthy. But also know they may be more powerful than any book you intentionally set out to write.

Writing Advice, Guest post by Rosanne Liesveld @iReadBookTours
After the unexpected death of her husband, Curt, Rosanne Liesveld went on a year-long quest to find a glimmer of gratitude each day. She posted her daily journey on Facebook. Those posts become her book, The Collision of Grief and Gratitude: A Pursuit of Sacred Light.

As a coach and teacher for more than thirty years with the Gallup Organization, Rosanne has helped people discover and lean into their strengths. She now speaks to groups about how to build stronger relationships, and live life with more intention and gratitude.

Connect with the author: Facebook

Rosanne Liesveld is also the author of Teach with Strengths: How Great Teachers Inspire Students, a book she did set out to write in a more conventional way with JoAnn Miller and Jennifer Robinson. That book was published in 2005 by Gallup Press.


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Book Showcase: Marcun (Sky Warriors Book 1) by Sadie Carter

Book Showcase: Marcun (Sky Warriors Book 1) by Sadie Carter

Title: Marcun (Sky Warriors Book 1)
Author: Sadie Carter
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Book Showcase: Marcun (Sky Warriors Book 1) by Sadie Carter
About the book:

Eden Summers has an unhealthy obsession with chocolate, a hate-hate relationship with the IRS, and a failing bakery. Her love life is…well, not dying, to be dying it would first have to exist, right? And the only person filling up her inbox is her overprotective mother. 
To top things off her next-door neighbor is a rude, obnoxious sex maniac. When he’s not keeping her up half the night with all his banging and moaning, he’s turning her into a babbling idiot. 
Because the man is gorgeous. Ripped. Mesmerising. A little strange. And when she is around him, her body melts into a pile of goo.
Marcun Clacka has come to Earth to locate a precious jewel for his client. He doesn’t like Earth; the people are inferior and, unlike his pack mates, he does not wish to find a human female to mate. 
Humans are trouble. Fragile. And loud.
Except the tiny female who lives next to him isn’t too annoying. And she is quite attractive. Foolishly courageous. Yes, perhaps he could mate with her.
There is just one problem. Sky Warriors mate in packs. One female. Six males.
And Marcun does not intend to share the little female.

Book Showcase: Marcun (Sky Warriors Book 1) by Sadie Carter
About the Author

Best selling author, Sadie wanted to blend her love of writing, Sci-Fi (why did they cancel Firefly - sobs) and sexy, dominant males.

Sign up to her newsletter ( and receive a FREE NOVELLA set in the Zerconian Warriors world, you'll also receive information about new releases, excerpts from upcoming books and deleted scenes.

$25 Amazon Gift Card

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

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Interview with Daccari Buchelli

Interview with Daccari Buchelli, author of Symbiote

1.) What genre do you write and why?

For the past few years, I've focused solely on the fantasy genre, crafting a magical world with four elemental realms. I found myself enchanted my fantasy novels and tv shows at a young age and was desperate to escape into such worlds when dealing with difficult emotional issues. The fantasy genre became my safe haven, a place where I could be at peace, if only for a short while.

2.) Tell us about your latest book.

Symbiote is the sequel to my fantasy novel, Phoenix, and features young royals with complex internal struggles and magical powers. As with any of my works, they are not books you can simply flip through for an evening's read. They're intended to be books that make you think, that delve deep into the character's internal problems and show you the good, the bad and the ugly of their souls.

Interview with Daccari Buchelli, author of Symbiote

3.) Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad or good ones?

I do read my book reviews, mostly on Goodreads. The good ones are always a delight to read and I appreciate every one I get. There has been the odd less favourable review, which at first shake my confidence, but then I take a deep breath and re-read the review.

If I can see a pattern to the comments that suggests further improvements could be made to my work, then I internalise these opinions and use them to help fuel a revised edition of the book, or use such comments as added motivation when working on my next creative project.

There are always opportunities for us to grow as writers. I just think we need to open ourselves to them.

4.) Who are your favourite authors?

My favourite authors are Terry Goodkind, J.K Rowling, and Garth Nix, to name but a few. Each of these three remarkable authors has played a significant part in how I came to be a writer. It was Rowling's pure imagination, Nix's boldness, and Goodkind's sense of adventure that motivated me to keep writing, even when I had my doubts. I will never forget what their work taught me and what it continues to teach me to this day.

5.)What advice do you have for other writers?

Write what you know. I know you've probably heard this a million times. It took me years to understand what this phrase actually means when applied to writing. Take a personal experience of yours (you can change names and other factors to protect other people's identities, not to mention yourself) and explore it, delve into the heart of the emotions you felt- the pain of the experience and what it taught you.

Delve into your deepest, darkest secrets if you dare and let your truth shine through. Share it with the world. Be vulnerable with the readers you'd like to care about your work, and beyond everything, show them your humanity.

6.) Who is you favourite character in your book and why?

My favourite character from The Legends of Peradon series has always been Violetta Flame. Not only did she witness a great tragedy in childhood that warped the way she sees the world, but she is often misunderstood by others, which is something I find easy to relate to.

All of Violetta's actions are influenced by the trauma she suffered as a child and as such, she possesses a high level of courage and determination. She is a Phoenix, rising from the ashes of her trauma and sins, preparing to take flight as a stronger version of herself.

7.) If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don't be afraid to take risks. If you have a gut feeling that you're meant to do something, then go with it. Obviously, assess any risks if there's any money involved, but risks can lead to positive outcomes and as people, I think we are often put off of opportunities depending on their perceived risk factor.

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

I'm currently working on my first thriller novel, entitled Foresight: An Evylia Wilde Novel.

Ever since Evy was young, she's been plagued by a strange clairvoyant ability that fills her head with gruesome visions. Battling such horrifying nightmares proves to be the tip of the iceberg as Evy finds herself in the midst of a missing person's investigation. How could the hottest guy in school have disappeared without a trace.

I'm just entering the main editing stage for this novel and can't tell you how much I adore working on this piece. The thriller genre feels like a second home, a place where the dark deeds of men are brought to light. Foresight explores the relationship between children and their parents, how they perceive their reality, and fight against those who threaten their existence.

The book is set in a small town, with additional focus centred on an old, disused field, where the town fair visits. Evy is determined to find out what happened to her parents fifteen years ago, but on her journey to uncover the truth, she gets far more information than she bargained for.

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

I spend a good 70 percent of my time either reading or writing, but in my free time I love to sketch, to take long walks with my yorkshire terrier, Sam, and to explore the realms of human psychology. I think the human mind is a fascinating thing with so much to teach us and I'd like to learn as much about it as I can within this lifetime.

Understand the human mind and you understand our entire world.

10.) Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

I can be found on most social media channels and have included a handy list below.


Thank you for taking the time to interview me. It's been lovely.

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