Guest Author Vikki Patis joins us to talk about her new book @VikkiPatis #SundayBlogShare

Please welcome Vikki Patis to the blog today.


Vikki Patis: Advice From Authors

Vikki Patis is a writer and blogger at The Bandwagon, where she reviews books, interviews authors, and gives her opinions on a wide variety of topics, from feminism to fibromyalgia. She’s recently published a collection of short stories, Weltanschauung, and is here today to talk about the authors who inspire her.

Over at The Bandwagon, we speak to so many different authors. We interview them, review their books, and do our best to help them promote their work. Because of this, we’re able to ask them about their writing process, and get in on some tricks of the trade.

I admire so many authors, big or small, mostly for their determination. Back when I started The Bandwagon, I was what one might call an aspiring writer. I aspired to write, but I wasn’t writing. So I started writing about other people writing.

Gathering advice from seasoned authors gave me the push I needed to write my own stories, but it wasn’t all plain sailing. There were some false starts, some projects that didn’t pan out, and there were times when I thought I’d never finish anything. Then I decided to actually take the advice I’d been writing about all this time.

Make sure what you’re writing is important to you, advised Mark Lawrence. “Put your butt in the chair and write the book,” said Charlaine Harris, author of the books that inspired True Blood. “Don’t stop until you finish. You’ll never sell a book you haven’t written.” Leigh Bardugo assured me that “there’s no expiration date on your talent. If it doesn’t happen when you’re 20, it doesn’t matter, it can happen when you’re 30, 40, 50. If you have a story to tell, that’s all people are going to care about.” Tiffany McDaniel told me to never give up.

In 2014, I interviewed George RR Martin himself at WorldCon. The experience was amazing, and not one I’m likely to forget any time soon. He told me to write short stories. But I don’t like short stories, I protested. Exactly, he said. Challenge yourself. So I did, because no one ignores George RR Martin.

The result is Weltanschauung, a collection of short stories that traverse genres, but all with the same goal in mind: to make you challenge your worldview. Inside are five short stories: Zombie, Only If, Grave Oversight, Harbinger and Bane. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.


Weltanschauung is available on Kindle and in paperback now. From 16th – 18th December 2016, Weltanschauung will be available for only 99p! For more information, join the Facebook event here. Follow Vikki on Twitter: @VikkiPatis

Guest Post from Andrew Smith author of THE SPEECH @andrewaxiom @urbanepub

Today we have a guest post from Andrew Smith author of The Speech, talking about some of the inspiration behind his book.


Book Description

On April 20th, 1968, Enoch Powell, Member of Parliament in the English town of Wolverhampton, made a speech that shook Britain to its core. The ramifications of what some labeled a “racist diatribe” changed forever the way in which race was viewed and discussed in the United Kingdom. The Speech follows the lives of a group of characters—including Powell himself—living in Wolverhampton over a 10-day period before and after his speech. Mrs. Georgina Verington-Delaunay is a volunteer working in the Conservative riding office of Enoch Powell. It is through her interaction with Powell, now at a critical point in his political career, that we get to know him intimately. Frank and Christine are art students inadvertently caught in an undercurrent of intolerance. Nelson and his aunt, Irene, are Jamaican immigrants striving to make a life for themselves in an atmosphere of turbulent emotions and polarized opinions concerning Britain’s immigration policies. A violent crime brings these disparate characters together as they struggle to find their places in the swiftly changing society of 1960s Britain. Set against a background of “subversive” music, radical fashions, and profound change in “moral values,” they attempt against all odds to bring a fair conclusion to an unjust investigation. As they work together against murky elements of self-interest and bigotry, they’re forced to confront their own consciences and prejudices. 


My idea of attending art school had more to do with the bohemian lifestyle it offered rather than any real desire to become an artist. It was pure luck that I happened to be proficient enough to be accepted in 1965 at Wolverhampton College of Art, which became the main setting for my recently published novel, The Speech, set in the 1960s.

At school I thought I was pretty hip when it came to music. Every Friday evening I watched the popular TV show Ready Steady Go (opening line: “The weekend starts here!”), featuring all the latest hits. But I realised I was a lightweight once I hit art college and encountered people who discussed the pros and cons of a particular rock band or pop group with unparalleled and undisguised passion. Every student I knew owned a cheap transistor radio, usually tuned to pirate radio stations that were never off the air. Most people had a mono record player, and a few were lucky enough to own a stereo. Popular music was unavoidable, it was everywhere all the time.

Here are a couple of excerpts from The Speech describing my art student protagonist, Frank McCann, working in the Art College photographic darkroom:

Frank watched intently as an image gradually emerged on a stark white rectangle of photo paper lying in a bath of developing fluid. Puppet On A String played on a tinny transistor radio. Songbird Sandy Shaw was too perky for his taste. He flicked off the radio.

And a little later:

Now he could relax and admire his handiwork framed by the background of the black plastic fixer tray. He flicked on the radio. The smooth tones of Otis Reading singing Dock o’ the Bay seeped into the windowless room.

And of course every pub and coffee bar had a juke box. Here’s Frank in his favourite public house:

Frank heard the clatter of change being deposited in the jukebox. A hurdy-gurdy keyboard introduction was followed by Jim Morrison’s trademark sullen style as he began the lyrics of Light My Fire. The door swung open and a blast of cool air propelled a gaggle of painting students into the pub.

Some of the busiest locations for the art student social scene were the jazz and folk clubs held in Wolverhampton pubs. Students went in droves, but fell into two distinct camps: folkies and jazz-freaks, each with their own distinctive style. Here Frank and his girlfriend visit a folk club:

The capacious upstairs room of the Giffard Arms was already packed with folkies huddled around tables when Frank and Christine arrived. Billows of blue-grey cigarette smoke hung in the air from the roll-your-owns folkies preferred over commercial brands. It seemed to Frank they made a perverse performance of the cigarette-rolling chore, making a point of only using Rizla liquorice papers. Despite the smoke, patchouli was the dominant aroma in the room. Along with a solemn expression, folkie women tended to wear their hair long, often painstakingly straightened, usually parted in the middle. Almost all the men sported bushy beards.

Frank isn’t a particular fan of folk clubs, but goes along anyway. Here he muses about folk music:

Why was it, wondered Frank, that a roomful of people with the average age of twenty-five, were riveted by a song about a shepherd wandering the English countryside a hundred years or more before they were born. As far as he could tell most of the songs that folkies revelled in were about a bygone age. And it wasn’t as if they were full of sweetness and light either, most ended in horrible tragedy.

It wasn’t only pop, rock, jazz, and folk that permeated the 1960s student music scene. Ska and reggae, introduced by West Indian immigrants, were becoming popular. Here my Jamaican character, Nelson, recently arrived in England, first hears a recording of The Pioneers, a reggae group that later achieved some popularity among students:

It was in Wesley’s shop that Nelson first heard The Pioneers singing Long Shot. It smooth so! He was torn between excitement at the sheer novelty of the slower tempo and crushing disappointment at not being able to hear the Pioneers sing it for real.

So when it came to writing The Speech, there was no way I could avoid liberally sprinkling musical allusions throughout, which added greatly to the fun of being an author, and gave me the perfect excuse to replay some of the hits from the era.



Cream – I’m so glad

Sandy Shaw – Puppet on a String

The Doors – Light My Fire

Otis Redding – The Dock of the Bay

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced

The Beatles – Penny Lane

Procul Harem – A Whiter Shade of Pale

Tyrannosaurus Rex – My People Were Fair and Had Sky In Their Hair

Mothers of Invention – Freak Out!

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Jon Raven – The Unquiet Grave

The Pioneers – Long Shot

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith was born in Liverpool, but was too young to gain admittance to the Cavern Club to witness the birth of the Beatles. A year or so later he couldn’t forgive his father for taking a job in the British Midlands and moving the family at the height of the Mersey Sound era to Wolverhampton, where there was no sound at all, Slade being still in short trousers. But Smith did witness the local reaction to Wolverhampton MP Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech and, apart from the occasional ‘lost weekend,’ he remembers most of the brouhaha during that time. Smith has published numerous short stories, some of which won awards. His novel ‘Edith’s War’ won a gold medal for fiction at the Independent Book Publishers’ Awards. His latest novel, The Speech, was published in October, 2016 by Urbane Publications. Examples of Smith’s short fiction and other writing can be found at:

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter


Guest Author Mark Giglio

Please welcome Mark Giglio to the blog as he talks about his book Alchemist Gift.
Book description.
Time Travel to the Age of Alchemy. Alchemist Gift is an historical novel set in the present day and Renaissance Italy and Bavaria. The story is one of lost love, self-realization and redemption told through the relationships of five different love stories as the book unfolds. There is an element of spiritual fantasy in the novel, grounded in, let’s just say miraculous occurrences along with a light peppering of just good old unexplainable magic.
Mark Giglio Interview
1)      Where is your home town?
I was born in Troy, New York .I have been a California resident since 1959.
2)      Tell us what genres Alchemist Gift fits into, I believe it is adult rated too?
The genres would include Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Spirituality, Elements of Romance, a bit of Renaissance style Sci-Fi, and a touch of time travel.
3)      How long did it take you to write?
A little over three years to complete the novel. It started out as a screen play that evolved into the novel.
4)      What was the one idea which sparked off the book?
I was inspired by a piece of art furniture I made, the Alchemist Cabinet, that you can see at
5)      Introduce us to some of the characters in your stories.
Roland Hughes is the hapless protagonist and a noncommittal grad student in his late twenties . Rene Hermes is a court physician in hiding and an alchemist. Sofia is Rene’s foundling daughter and Roland’s unrequited love interest. Lady Rosanera, is a fem fatale and tragic figure and the other leg of the Roland-Rosanera-Sofia love triangle.  Cesare Lippo master furniture maker and philosopher (could that be me?) along with Marcella Andano are the father and mother of Sofia. There are many more colorful characters who populate the Italian and Bavarian countryside.
6)      Which story is your favourite and why?
I think my most favorite section of the book to write was the engagement feast scene at Casa Bella Villa. It is quite a gastronomic extravaganza, along with pomp and circumstance and a coming of age for Rosalba, Rosanera’s mother.
7)      Tell us about your favourite part of the research for this book.
I have always had a love of nature and often wondered about the birds and plants that appear in Medieval and Renaissance paintings. It was satisfying to study the medieval and Renaissance symbolism concerning the natural world, such as birds, trees, and flowers and find out what they mean.
8)      Have you written any other books?
I’ve written a few children’s books pretty much for my kids and their families. Also a few  abandoned novels from the distant pass that shall remain in their dusty little realms. (thank God I knew when to jump ship).  I am working on the next installment of the Alchemist series called “Curious Journey.” Some of  the same characters make appearances. The new novel deals with a spiritual journey, redemption and personal peace.
9)      Tell us about your book launch party that you are holding today.
The party was fun. Family, friends and well wishers joined us for a great feast. We are planning another party on December 20, 2014 (a Winter Solstice Weekend).  We’ll have more food, fun, art, and readings from Alchemist Gift and other poets who will attend. We will be able to communicate with our viewers via the internet during the party.  Be on the lookout for more details and join us.
10)   Where else can readers find out more about you and your book?
The novel’s website is  and for personal correspondence,
Find a copy on or

Guest Author Shelley Wilson

Today our guest is Shelley Wilson author of yesterday’s book How I Changed My Life In A Year, her is a link to my review of the book.

Shelley is also going to be writing 4 inspirational posts for us which will appear on Fridays beginning this Friday, October 17th.

Shelley Wilson

Let’s find out more about Shelley and her book.

1) Where is your hometown?

My hometown is Solihull in the West Midlands, but I left my heart behind in West Yorkshire when I moved away as a child. I do cling on very tightly to my Northern roots!

 2) What inspired your book?

For me, the New Year is a time filled with the promise of adventures to come and places yet to visit. Every New Year’s Eve I write a list of resolutions in my journal, but as I was re-reading them at the end of 2012 I noticed I had written the same ones over and over. I hadn’t achieved any of them and so they were regurgitated each year. As I run a holistic health business I am always telling my clients how they could improve their lives, and I realised that if I wanted them to take me seriously I needed to take my own advice. So I decided to write my list on a public forum to force me (or shame me) to achieve something. My blog was born and I thoroughly enjoyed updating everyone on my progress. One of my resolutions was to ‘stop procrastinating and write my damn book!’ I had never thought of writing non-fiction before, but the challenges and the blog were the basic outline of a book, it just took me a while to realise it.

 3) How did you come up with the ideas for you year long challenge?

Finding the ideas for my challenges was the easy bit. I just had to go back over the previous journal entries and copy all the things I hadn’t achieved!   Weight loss, getting fit, reading more…the usual culprits that make 90% of people’s resolution list. To flesh out the year I did a spot of brainstorming. I created a vision board and asked myself what I would do with my life if money was no object and I could have another five careers. This exercise got the creativity flowing and I found my twelve resolutions.

 4) How did you make a month challenge see less daunting?

When I started the blog it was all completely alien to me. I joined Blogger, picked a template I liked and filled in the blanks. It was only as I began to post that I read other blogs and become more involved in the blogging community. Good content and regular posts were a must according to the pros. This meant that my twelve challenges (one a month) wouldn’t be very entertaining for any readers. So much can happen in a month and my post could end up putting War and Peace to shame. This was when I adapted my challenge and broke every month down into weeks. The task didn’t seem so daunting and I could expand on my challenges. Every topic was divided into four and I blogged weekly about how I had progressed during that particular week. In February my challenge was to get fit, it worked out really well as I was able to try four different exercises and blog about each one separately.

 5) What was your favourite challenge?

I remember my November challenge with great fondness. This was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. I had wanted to do this challenge for four years but backed out every time because I was scared. The beauty of blogging about my challenges was the inability to run screaming for the hills – it wouldn’t have made for a very interesting post. I had to do it because I’d told the world!

6) Which challenge was the hardest?

The hardest challenge had to be giving up wearing black clothing. It sounds ridiculous when you say it but it really was tough. That particular week crept up on me and on the first morning I flew into a panic because all my underwear was black – the thought of going commando was just too much and I nearly caved. After digging through my underwear drawer I finally found suitable attire, the rest of the outfit was even harder to find. I do want to do this challenge again but I now know that some planning (and shopping) is required. Picking my daughter up from school in an 80’s fancy dress outfit taught me that!

7) Can you tell us briefly about “Tapping”?

As part of my holistic business I am a qualified EFT Practitioner (Emotional Freedom Technique). This simple process can help alleviate anxiety and deep rooted issues that have a detrimental effect on day to day life. A fear of the dentist, overeating, depression and so many other ailments can be vanquished using this method. It involves tapping lightly with your fingertips on specific parts of your head, face, body and hands. The tapping action vibrates along meridians (energy lines) within your body and neutralises any blockages. It is such a powerful treatment, one which I used to help my own anxiety prior to my training. (

 8) What new skills or ideas have you kept up with from the challenge?

The most important thing for me when I decided to start this project was to find the time to write more often. Ever since I could hold a pencil I have wanted to write, and every year I would add this to my resolution list, but then let life take over and watch my dream slide past for another year. This is why I chose blogging instead of Facebook as the public forum for my challenges, I wanted the space and right platform to help me grow my skills. Deadlines, compelling content and a wonderful blogging/writing community all helped me to carry on once my year was up. I was also prompted to take part in other challenges that came along. In January 2014 I took part in the Cancer Research Dryathalon – no alcohol for the month of January. After doing this back in April for my book I found it much easier and have now turned tee-total. Writing the book and tweaking my blog to contain more motivational content also gave me the push to write a series of workshops. I have delivered these to ladies on a monthly basis at a local venue and they have been well received. I cover topics such as facing fears, time management, and finding out who you are and how to be happy with your life. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this had I not started my blog and published my book. I have also fulfilled my most important goal and continued writing. Thanks to NaNoWriMo I will be publishing my debut YA fantasy novel very soon.

 9) Do you think it helped make you a better person?

We are all a work in progress and have our own issues and demons to contend with. As women we tend to carry on with life and hide this side of ourselves, concentrating on being someone’s partner, mother, daughter or friend. It’s important for me to show my holistic clients that I can also suffer from self-doubt and anxiety but also to share with them the tools that I use to help myself. Publishing my book meant I had to face all my demons and put myself out there. I have had to learn to accept compliments and criticism and that this is okay. I’m not sure if that makes me a better person, but I’ve most definitely changed for the better.

10) Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

My blog is still going strong, although I include more motivational content about living life to the full, reading and writing these days. You can find the blog at and the corresponding Facebook page at I am also on twitter (far too often!)

How I Changed My Life In A Year


How I Changed My Life in a Year. Find a copy here from Or



Guest Author Mike Martin

Today our guest is Mike Martin, author of yesterday’s book Beneath The Surface. Here is a link to the book review if you missed it.

Mike Martin

Let’s find out more about Mike and his writing.

Where is your home town? 

I was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on the eastern tip of Canada

How long have you been writing? 

I have been writing all of my life, but professionally for about 20 years. I have been a freelance writer, a ghost writer, an editor and a publisher. I have always written short stories but I started writing fiction about 5 years ago.

Beneath the surface is the 3rd book in the Sgt Windflower series are they all set in Newfoundland? 

All three books in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. The Walker on the Cape, The Body on the T and now Beneath the Surface are all set in small communities on the southeast coast of Newfoundland.

Tell us a bit about Sgt Windflower. 

Sgt. Winston Windflower is a Cree from Northern Alberta. He is an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and as part of a national police service he gets posted all over Canada. For the last couple of years he has been in Grand Bank, Newfoundland and although he is a complete outsider he has been welcomed warmly into the community. He even finds himself a girlfriend who just happens to own the local café where Windflower can indulge his hearty appetite.

Windflower is a Cree descendant, tell us a bit about the history of the Cree in Newfoundland .

There are no Crees in Newfoundland, and apart from a few isolated bands of First Nations there are hardly any Aboriginal people in Newfoundland. There was a major First Nation called the Beothuks who were there when the first Europeans arrived, but they were driven off the land and disappeared.  In Beneath the Surface Windflower finds out a little bit about the Beothuks and what really happened to them.

If I came on holiday to Grand Bank I would be really excited to see a moose, how much of a problem on the roads are they? 

Last year there were over 800 moose-vehicle accidents and there were a dozen fatalities. They are nice to see on the side of the road when you are driving slowly but they are a very real danger when travelling at night or in poor visibility.

Why were the Chinese visitors to the area not reported as being unusual? 

They were seen as unusual but not in a bad way. That area is used to tourists and welcomes their attention and money. The other factor is that the southeast coast of Newfoundland has a long history of smuggling and in some communities the RCMP is not exactly seen as their friends or allies.

What was the strike at the fisheries about? 

For centuries people fished off the coast in this part of the world and for most of that time there was plenty of fish for anybody who wanted it. But in the 1970’s and 80’s the fishing became so widespread by large factory ships and trawlers from all over the world that the main species, Atlantic cod, became near extinct. That resulted in a massive downsizing of the industry and a fight by everyone involved for what was left. The strike at the fish plant in Beneath the Surface was about a fight over who would get a share over what was left in this area.

Tell us briefly about the first 2 books in the series.

The Walker on the Cape. A dead man’s body is discovered along a well known but seldom used pathway in the hills above Grand Bank, Newfoundland. At first a heart attack or stroke is suspected but soon it is discovered that a main cause of this man’s death was arsenic poisoning. The case of discovering how this could happen in such a quiet small community is assigned to Sergeant Winston Windflower of the RCMP along with his trusted side-kick Eddie Tizzard.  Along the way Windflower also discovers two more things; a love of living in a small Newfoundland community that is completely different from his up-bringing in a Northern Alberta reserve and maybe the love of his life. He gets a taste of Newfoundland food and hospitality as well as a sense of how crime and corruption can linger beneath the surface or hide in the thick blanket of fog that sometimes creeps in from the nearby Atlantic Ocean.

The Body on the T is the second book in the Windflower mystery series. The story begins when a body washes up on a beach near Grand Bank, Newfoundland. There is no identification on the body and few clues to identify who the person was or where they came from. But this is just the beginning. There is also a devastating accident on the highway and another suspicious death to deal with. Throw in a rogue police officer and an international drug ring operating in the waters off the coast and Windflower’s peaceful world is turned upside down. Windflower also continues to enjoy the food and home-style hospitality of this part of the world. Cod tongues, pan seared scallops and even figgy duff become part of his diet, and his long list of favourite foods. Windflower may be a long way from his Cree home in Northern Alberta but he has found a new place to love in the fog and mist of Newfoundland.

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

Twitter @mike54martin

You can follow Sgt. Windflower on Facebook at

Windflower Mysteries


Find a copy here from or or


Guest Author Margaret Langstaff

Today we welcome Margaret Langstaff to the blog, author of yesterday’s book “Twilight’s Indian Princess”. Here is a link to the book post. (Link to be added)

Margaret Langstaff

Let’s find out more about Margaret and her writing.

Where is your home town?

I live in a small town just west of Gainesville, FL (home to University of Florida, my alma mater) on a small farm with lots of large animals, many of them “rescues,” and crawling with wildlife. I moved here 12 years ago after leaving a career in book publishing to write full time.

How long have you been writing?

I started “writing” in elementary school when I was about ten and took advanced degrees in English Lit and writing at UF.

What genres do you enjoy writing and why?

I don’t really write genre fiction if by that you mean romance, fantasy, sci-fi etc., although I’ve written two funny satirical mysteries starring one Garnet Sullivan, a snoopy over-wrought reporter for a tiny newspaper in the fictional “Punta Bella, FL,” a town and area much like my childhood home. It’s a little series I started and there will be more titles coming.

The first one, Marlin, Darlin’ was #3 on Goodreads best mysteries list when it came out.

Mainly I write short stories and am working on a novel of which “Twilight’s Indian Princess” is the first “installment.” Originally I planned to publish it serially, first as ebooks, then in hardcover. But I am having second thoughts about that, and may have a larger publisher bring out the hardcover.

My stories have a small but fierce, intelligent and loyal following. They are all humorous and a bit off the wall. Surprising, I guess you might say. Flannery O’Connor is my role model for the short story, her wicked humor, moral sense and her amazing talent and skill with the form.

I’ve learned so much from studying all of the great writers, but I feel a particular affinity with Flannery O’Connor and Mark Twain. Both have been cited by way of comparison by some reviewers of my work. Both are from the American South, my native soil as well, and I too write with a southern sensibility and most frequently with a southern setting in my books.


I’m not really what you’d call a humorist, but I’d always rather make the reader laugh than cry! Laughter, I think, is healing, the best medicine, and affords us a means of transcendence over (and an antidote to) the all too common sorrows and anxieties of life.

What was the one idea behind “Twilight’s Indian Princess”?

I never start any piece of fiction with a concept or idea. My inspiration begins with a certain character in whom I’m interested. I want to know who they are, what makes them tick, why they do the things they do. Ideas emerge as I explore the character by writing about him or her. In the case of Sarah Sloan McCorkle of “Twilight’s Indian Princess,” I discovered this was a wonderful woman with a huge heart and huge sense of obligation to help others, not just the people she loved. She was very smart, but made (as we all do inevitably) some poor decisions. She was trying to do too much for everyone else as well. I’ve known people like that, of course. They are always in danger of burning themselves out, neglecting their own needs and goals/aspirations because they are in a sense afflicted by an outsized need to be “perfect.” I think women, particularly wives and mothers today, all have some Sarah in them. Most women I know today are just days or hours away from a meltdown at any given moment. Something about the time we live in spurs them to always do more, do better, to work harder and to give-give-give until they drop or crack.   

Tell the readers a little about Sarah, in the story.

Sarah fascinates me. Now an overworked middle school science teacher and mom, she grew up in a privileged southern aristocrat household with a doting physician father and a severe guilt-tripping mother. Her mother’s parenting really in a way thwarted her, atrophied parts of her, made her always deny her own needs in favor of others’ needs. It wasn’t all bad, though. Her happiest childhood moments were the times she spent with her pony Twinkie and her horse Nancy (when she got older), and of times spent talking to her father in his study. Her father is deceased when the story opens and her mother continues to be a loving but oppressive force in her life, constantly nagging her, berating her. Her mother is particularly annoyed and disappointed in her because she “married down,” chose a county fireman for a husband instead of someone from her own background. Sarah had her reasons, though. She wanted children, time was running out. There wasn’t a line of suitors and lover boys winding around the block in front of her apartment. I think the way they meet is classic Sarah and so funny.Though she and Wesley have little in common, and often drive each other crazy, she loves him unequivocally, devotedly. They have two great young kids and are great parents.

Where are her children? What are they doing?

Lonnie and Toot (actually “Mary Helene,” and named after her harridan mother) are away at summer camp, a typical summer activity-vacation for kids in the south. Camp Finley is a child’s paradise, they are having a blast. But Sarah had hoped for a respite from her mothering duties and stresses while they were away and this was not the case at all as it happened. Each develops crises, makes incredible demands on her, even though a hundred miles away and in a safe happy place, each creates enormous stresses for Sarah during her “time off” and their vacation.Their letters home in their own highly individual unique voices I almost channeled when writing. I could hear them talking, it was all so real to me and so revealing to me of who they were, what they were like, their ages and needs. Their comfort and assurance in their mama’s unswerving love and devotion comes through loud and clear. All very entertaining to me. Poor Sarah, no rest for the weary.

What does she discover when she sets her thoughts free to drift?

Actually, I think this would be a spoiler for the story should I answer the question. I will only say that when Sarah finally does indulge herself for just a few hours, she is so inexpert at doing so, so unaccustomed to it, that she kind of goes over the edge. Not completely, though, for I believe she discovers some very valuable wisdom about life in general and her own life in particular and it changes her. Even though she explodes, melts down and gives Wesley hell, what she learned enables her survival and makes her wiser.


Her crazy eureka moment in the bathtub, as wacko as it is, launches the process of moving toward some peace and resolution to her internal conflicts.

But nothing in this life is pure and simple. There are always unintended consequences, repercussions, some fall-out. Sarah scares herself half to death in some of the things she does, for she does some very ill-advised, silly things, but she still comes away wiser and more sure footed having learned what she learned, both about herself and life.

Tell us about some of your other books that you’ve written.

All my latest are on Amazon. I recommend my short stories and also my mysteries. The mysteries are somewhat less “literary,” I guess, than the stories, less serious, though all are at heart funny and leavening. I will issue a caveat for future readers, however, that my work pushes the envelope, pushes boundaries of the ordinary and expected; it is all somewhat outrageous, over the top, shocking and unusual because I write to discover why people are the way they are, how they really think, what really motivates their behavior. I’m interested in the truth, not pat, conventional or generic answers.

I suppose along with the humor and laughter there is also something unsettling about some of my work for some few people, people who read mainly to have their own ideas and opinions coddled and validated, and who don’t read to discover, explore new things, who don’t want to really dig into what’s behind the public persona of the individual lives in question.


Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

My literary blog is a good place, maybe the best! It’s I’m also a Goodreads Author and have an author page on Amazon.

Thank you very much for your interest, Rosie.  This was a wonderful opportunity for me to talk about my work with the many followers of your blog.


Find a copy here from or

Thank you Margaret and Good Luck with your writing.


Guest Author Stuart Handley

Today out guest is Stuart Handley, author of yesterday’s post LOL#1. Here is a link to my book review

Stuart Handley

Let’s find out more about Stuart.

1) Where is your home town?


I live in Auckland, New Zealand, in one of the outlying northern suburbs. I consider myself to be lucky to live in a country with beautiful scenery and a rich diversity of life. Five minutes from my house is the Hauraki Gulf which offers some amazing boating and fishing and on a beautiful calm day the water and the small islands within the gulf look stunning. I was born in a town called Taupo which lies on the shores of the largest fresh water lake in New Zealand bearing the same name. Taupo is the place I really call my home town.


2) How long have you been writing?


Full time now around eighteen months. Before that I used to get up in the wee hours of the morning and write before going off to paid employment. I do recall when I was a young boy writing my first book called ‘Danger Man.’ It must have been at least a couple of pages long, hand written in pencil and bound in a stiff piece of cardboard bent double. The binding was a piece of string.


3) Do you have a preferred genre for writing?


I have a feeling I could write in most genres but I like writing where strong characters can be placed in difficult situations that bring out their emotions, much like as would happen in real life. I have known some very courageous men and women who have been in very trying situations and when you do know them personally, you realize that they are just human; they have emotions just like the rest of us. I have also seen the underbelly of some in society, those whom have scant regard for others. Mix the two together and you get a clash of good over evil, those who deserve and those who do not. My time as a soldier and probably my own personality led me into the genre of thrillers and action combined with underlined themes which I will tell you more about later.


4) Tell us what inspired your collection of short stories for LOL#1


Well, I wrote these short stories in the time when I used to get up in the wee hours. One of the stories about the molluscs was inspired while taking a lunch time walk along the beach at low tide. The story about the dog is due to my love of animals and the antics I have seen them get up to. Life experiences has a lot to do with some of my writing. I used to be a shepherd with a small team of dogs and some of the things they got up to…I also worked as an inspector with the RSPCA in Australia so I have a natural affinity with animals. As I write this my cocker spaniel is sleeping in his bed next to me. Now the bees! I keep a couple of hives myself and yes, I have had the odd bee or two end up on the wrong side of the veil I wear. Let me tell you, you go cross-eyed very very quickly and when they get caught in your chest hairs, oh the pain…



5) I loved some of the animal voices which narrated several of these stories, how easy was it to get these right?


Animal have very real personalities, I recall being on horseback riding along with my dogs next to a small bank above a creek, one of my dogs must have been day dreaming and fell off the edge, I laughed myself silly at him. When he scrambled back up you should have seen the look he gave me; if only he could have talked!


6) Give us a quick insight into your book TanDrex, entice the readers in.


My novels have an underlying them, with TanDrex it is what happens when science goes a bit too far and there are consequences. In real life, nanotechnology will one day be able to replicate anything we can think of, scientists believe that day is not that far off. Okay, say they can replicate gold, good and bad could come of that but say they replicate carbon eating organisms and these organisms grow and grow (they replicate.) Our world needs carbon to survive. If that technology gets into the wrong hands then quite literally we are all in deep trouble. In TanDrex the technology has been devised, the code for replication has been discovered and one of the companies’ owners wants to sell it — to the highest bidder, the Chinese Triads. Someone needs to step in and stop it.


7) Last week we featured another of your books BioKill with a book team review by Susan, what’s the main theme of this book? Here is a link to Susan’s Review


Terrorism is a fact of life be it a bomb or something else. In BioKill it is that something else. This is a fact from the CIA; there is a virus, which does not affect humans, that can cause an estimated 50 to 60 billion dollars in lost revenue to America alone. That virus is not something you would normally think about. How easy is it to transfer between countries? Very easy, too easy. Worldwide, governments are aware of this — particular problem and most try to prevent it from happening but terrorists are terrorists. I had reservations about writing this book but the more I researched, the more I found that the answers to certain technical problems are already in the public domain. If I could find them out so could others. When reading BioKill it is too easy to just see this as a novel, a make believe piece of fiction.

8) Susan commented that she liked many of the genuine sounding voice accents, how do you decide what is too much or too little of a local accent/ dialect to use?


This is when you need your work to be professionally edited. Writing a book is a team effort. As a writer you need to be flexible enough to take constructive criticism and alter things if they need altering. Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the day the authors own voice is what counts, that gives the style to the book. The author has the final say as to either accept or reject advice. Susan gave me some constructive criticism that I will be taking in, she did an excellent job of the review. It’s all part of the journey.


9) What are you working on at the moment?


I have nearly completed my latest work, which of course, also has a theme. The book takes one to America, South America, Afghanistan, Australia and New Zealand. Again I have done research, so for example, while reading part of the story of a bike gang (Road Kill) in New Zealand, you should find the way they speak and interact pretty comparable to real life. As for the theme, let me ask you this; is it possible to make a human being do something that they would never dream of actually doing, make them commit something that was totally outside their own nature. The answer is yes, it can and has been done. Think about the School of America and what happened back in the 60’s and 70’s. Both in TanDrex and BioKill as well as in my upcoming book, Matt Lilburn, the series central figure, figuratively rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck in.



10)Where can readers find out more about you and your books?


My books can be found at Amazon

and Smashwords and the retailers of Smashwords e.g Barnes & Noble, ibooks, Kobo etc.





Guest Author Madi Preda

My apologies to Madi this should have been posted yesterday.

Today our guest is Madi Preda, author of yesterday’s book “How to Promote and Market your book”, here is a link to the book review

Madi Preda

Let’s find out more about Madi,

1) Where is your home town?

I am living in northern Greece, in a little village called Rizia, close to the border with Turkey and Bulgaria.
2) How long have you been running your Author’s Promotion business?
Authors’s Promotion is the name of my blog and the business is called Authors PR Madi Preda. I started one year ago, when my husband published his second novel Judas Goat The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery. In the beginning it was our aim to help him get more exposure for his books and then I thought I could help other authors too. I like to believe that I did.
3) Are authors finally realising that writing their book is just the beginning of a huge journey?
I am sure they do. Only some of them either don’t know how to do it or don’t like to. Many authors hate to be exposed in public or online or they see the publicity as being selfish and this I consider to be wrong. This is because if a writer has published a book, he wants people to read the story, otherwise why they bother to publish, have an ISBN or register copy rights? Why not  just print the manuscript and give it to friends and family? So, they need to promote the book if they want to share the story .If an author can’t or doesn’t want to do it there are people specialized in book marketing who can do it for them, some of them at an affordable price and at a very professional level.
4) How much of the whole “Book Package” from the first idea of a book to the actual sales is taken up with the physical book writing would you say?
This depends, some authors have the story in their head for years and when they decided to put it on paper it flows easy and then the team of proofreader, editor and cover designer complete the work quick enough.With the modern digital technology and all the self publishing platforms I think it can be just a matter of a few months for a novel to be out on the market.
5) Will promoting and marketing cost a lot of money?
You made me smile with this question. I am known as a freebie person, so my book How To Promote and Market Your Book provides marketing avenues at no costs or with very little money and I can give you a good example. Recently I designed the cover for the latest novel written by my husband,  Abduction – An Angel Over Rimini and I had a battle with the publisher platform requirements. On their site they recommend to edit the cover photo in photoshop or InDesign, both of them being quite expensive software. After a bit of surfing through the internet I found a photo editor program online, totally free, with the same features as the others, I edited the photo for the front cover with this one and surprise, surprise it was accepted as meeting the requirements of the publisher. So, it can be done at no cost at all.
6) Do you think the future of book sales is closely related to social media?
Not only, but social media plays an important role in book sales. The issue is to find the right social media contacts and the right audience.
7) What does writing a book have to do with running a business?
I think every writer who wants to be successful must treat a book as his business. A book is like a product and you have to draw a marketing plan, set up a budget, develop strategies to present the book, contact people in the publishing industry, radio producers and so on. So an author must learn how to sell himself as an author or in other words to build his author brand and learn how to sell more books. The only difference is that for a business there are many departments who take care of each step, in the writing process the author has to complete many of these tasks and for a self published author is a complete job.
8) Why should authors make book reviewers and book bloggers feel special?
Reviewers and Bloggers are special because they offer their unconditional support just for the love of books.They are the first ones every author asks for help and when I launched my book I was surprised to see people helping me even without asking, you were one of those people. So, thank you Rosie for your invaluable support, you are special for many authors.
9) Tell us your top 5 marketing tips.
– do research, a lot
– have a marketing plan
– establish a kind of relationship with your readers
-don’t think about your book only in terms of sales it is very important to think about the  message you share with your audience and how you share it.
– every time that you have the occasion to present your book, come with new and engaging marketing content.
10) Where can readers find out more about you?
I am just about on all social media platforms
Thanks a lot,
Authors PR – Madi Preda author of
How to Promote and Market Your Book
Thank you Madi, this is a book I definitely recommend to authors.

Guest Author Rayne Hall

Today Rayne Hall joins us on the blog to inspire you to get the most out of your Twitter platform. Yesterday I posted my review of Rayne’s book “Twitter for Writers”. Here is a link if you missed it.

RayneHall - Fantasy Horror Author - reduced size Portrait by Fawnheart

Let’s read Rayne’s advice.


by Rayne Hall


1. Aim to attract readers, not customers. Blatant promotions such as “Have you read my wonderful novel [Insert Title] yet? Buy it here [Insert URL] bore and annoy. Instead, entertain your followers. If they enjoy reading your tweets, they’ll become interested in reading your books. Choose topics of interest to your potential readers. If you write Paranormal Romance, tweet about shapeshifter lore. If you write historical fiction, tweet little-known facts about life in your chosen period. Writing interesting posts in 140 characters or less is a challenge, but you can do it – you’re a writer!

Rayne Hall - Writing Meme - Twitter


2. Use your pen name as both your ‘Full Name’ and your ‘User Name’, so the people who read your tweets will recognise the name when they see your book.


3. Follow people who are interested in your genre. Many of them will follow you back, which gives you the chance to woo them with entertaining tweets. They are your potential readers. To find people who like your genre, search profiles for keywords such as ‘horror’ or ‘romance’.


4. How many followers you have matters little. What counts is their quality. Many accounts are automated and don’t read tweets; many others are fakes created by the thousands and sold by scammers (“Buy 30,000 followers for only $29!!!”). Having many followers is useless unless they are real people who really read your tweets at least sometimes.


5. Stay away from ‘automating’ your Twitter account. The sellers of such services promise this will save you time – but in practice, it drives your genuine followers away. When they see that you’re faking it, they won’t bother to read your tweets, and they certainly won’t go and buy your book. Don’t auto-greet, auto-thank, auto-tweet, auto-retweet, auto-favourite or auto-anything. Stay real.

TwitterMeme Attention


6. Engage with others as much as you can. Interaction gains more attention than one-way tweeting.

Read your followers’ tweets and respond to some of them. Ask questions, voice opinions, share information.


7. From time to time, retweet tweets by other writers – but choose carefully and don’t overdo it. Don’t deluge your loyal followers with other people’s promotional tweets.

TwitterMeme Quality


8. To connect with other writers, search for tweets with the hashtag ‘#amwriting’. You can also share your own writing progress, adding ‘#amwriting’ so other writers will find you.


9. Search for the hashtag ‘#writetip’. Experienced authors use it to give tweet-length writing advice.


10. When you tweet about your book, include an URL to the book’s product page on major bookselling website. To reach Amazon customers worldwide (,, etc) use a universal Amazon link that opens in the viewer’s regional Amazon. Try The service is free.

11. At the end of your book, invite readers to contact with you on Twitter. Many will do this, because it’s a quick way to tell the author how much you enjoyed the book. Retweet and favourite such tweets, and ask your fans about their reading experience: Who was their favourite character? Did they buy the book immediately, or did they read the sample pages first? What do they think of the ending? Such questions show the readers that you value their opinions, and they give you valuable insights into your audience.

12. Be helpful. Often, it takes just a few seconds to share a useful link, answer someone’s question, give a useful tip. Helping others creates good karma for you and makes Twitter a pleasant place for everyone.

I hope you find these tips helpful. If you tweet me (@RayneHall) that you’re a writer and have read this post, I’ll probably follow you back.

WritersCraftCovers -RayneHall - pubbed 2row 2014-01-16

Any questions? Just leave a comment and ask, and I’ll reply.

Rayne Hall has published more than fifty books in several languages under several pen names with several publishers in several genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. She is the author of the bestselling Writer’s Craft series and editor of the Ten Tales anthologies.

Having lived in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal, she has now settled in a small dilapidated town of former Victorian grandeur on the south coast of England where she enjoys reading, gardening and long walks along the seashore. She shares her home with a black cat adopted from the cat sanctuary. His name is Sulu and he’s the perfect cat for a writer – except when he claims ownership of her keyboard.

You can follow here on Facebook and Twitter where she posts advice for writers, funny cartoons and cute pictures of her cat.

TwitterForWriters RayneHall Cover 2014-01-07

Find a copy of Twitter for Authors here from or

Thank you so much for being our guest today, I hope you have inspired all us authors to be more focused on Twitter.






Guest Author John W Howell

Today our guest is John Howell author of yesterday’s book My GRL. Here is a link to the post if you missed it.

Photo by Tim Burdick


Let’s find out more about John and his book.

1)   Where is your home town?

I was born in Detroit Michigan in the US. I consider it my hometown even though I have not lived there for over fifty years. I have move around while being part of the business community. I now live in a seaside village that we like to say is a drinking village with a fishing problem.

2)   How long have you been writing?

I started writing my first novel in 1993 and found it difficult to write and work at the same time. I printed the novel off to edit and it still sits in its original form. I use it hold the laundry room door open in the breeze. I began my second, My GRL which has been published in March of 2012. So that was a roundabout answer which can be summarized as I have been writing full-time since 2012.

3)   What was the one idea which sparked off My GRL?

I was standing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Lexington with my sister. Our father was a naval aviator during World War II and he served on the Lexington which is now moored at Corpus Christi. I was thinking about how vulnerable the boat really was with no way to protect it from anyone who wanted to destroy her. We left and I began to figure out how to blow her up and then how to prevent it. The story unfolded from there.

4)   Why did John Canon want to take an extra-long break from his Law firm?

John had worked about twelve years straight without a break. He went on a short vacation to Port Aransas Texas and decided he wanted to become a charter boat captain. He didn’t quit the firm he took a leave of absence. His motivation was to want more out of life than winning litigation cases and making a lot of money.

5)   How did Gerry become a boat broker?

Gerry was actually working at a bank in San Francisco and decided she needed to get away even thought she was a Vice President. Although it is never confirmed in the book, she was running away from a bad relationship. She visited her parents who were on vacation in Port Aransas to try and sort out her life. She more or less fell into the Yacht brokerage business by accident. Her dad was a friend with the owner and one night at dinner he met Gerry and thought she would make a great sales person. He was right and she did quite well

6)   Tell us about the Desert Wolves group.

The Desert Wolves are a small splinter group of terrorists who were once part of the Taliban. They broke away because the leadership felt the Taliban was concerned with its own ends and did not share the degree of militancy and hatred of the western world as the Desert Wolves. The group is funded by billionaire Matt Jacobs who wants to see Palestine returned to his people, as well as justice for perceived persecution by the west throughout the ages. This group is so militant the Taliban warned them to cease their activities or risk being sanctioned. The Desert Wolves have ignored all threats by their fellow Muslims including the church leadership.

7)   John’s plans for his last evening with My GRL are spoiled; tell us how John feels about that.

John initially is pretty upset since it was agreed he would have time to take Sarah Barsonne on the boat and have a last cocktail. When John and Sarah arrived dockside John’s boat was gone. The new owners had taken it early. John called the broker only to get little satisfaction and to realize there is nothing he can do about the early possession. He comes around to the point that it was a fine boat and he should be complimented the new owners were anxious to take her.

8)   When is it that John finally starts to believe he’s in real danger?

He is handcuffed and has leg irons attached and while he is trying to see some of the container ship he was on a soldier comes up to him and starts screaming at him while firing an AK47 into the air. John cannot understand what the soldier wants him to do and since he was authorized to move around the ship he is terrified and hits the deck. He knows now he is in real danger.

9)   I believe your own home is on Mustang Island, how would you entice me to come there on holiday?

I would tell you of the soft sand and warm Gulf of Mexico water. I would describe the wonderful restaurants and the friendly people. There are fine shops and fishing if you would like. I would also prepare a margarita for you and we could sit on my veranda and let the warm breeze and sound of the sea carry all worries away.

10)   Tell us where readers can find out more about you and your writing.

I have a blog titled Fiction Favorites at . Where I talk about general subjects and do post short stories as well. Readers can also visit my Author’s page on Amazon at

Find a copy here on or