My novella “Awaken Within the Darkness” will be coming soon. Here is a little teaser for you guys. Daghen and Bogumir are preparing to step foot in the depths of Golden Tomb with a creature that has be dormant for centuries.
My novel is available in print and ebook. Thank you to everyone who came to the release party this weekend and I hope you enjoy your copy of “The Temperament Scepter”.
Welcome to this week’s episode of Interview with the Awethors! I know it has been pretty quiet on this end of the blog-o-sphere, but I’ve been compiling a list of some awesome authors that pack a punch in their novels. Now, today I have USA Today’s Bestselling author Mary Buckham! Her world in The Invisible Recruits Series will bring you into a mysterious world of magic and discovery oneself.
William: Thank you for joining me today, Mary. I appreciate you fitting me into your schedule this week! What inspired you to write the Invisible Recruit Series?
Mary: I was talking to a Terrorist Threat Assessment specialist (some plane trips are worth their weight in gold) and he was talking about the fact that here in the US the recruitment process for undercover operatives eliminated some of the very people who can infiltrate foreign situations. He said the screening process often eliminated everyone except farm-bred boys who’d never been away from home. I thought it was a fascinating insight. Who would you recruit to blend in best in real life situations? So I created a cadre of female operatives who came from diverse backgrounds—a debutante, a hairdresser, a kindergarten teacher, a temp and a fortune-telling con artist—for a new kind of black ops group. The first book in the series featured the debutante and was published as a contemporary romantic suspense. The month before the second book in the five book series was released, the publishing line folded and I received my rights back for the final four novels. There were very few options for the types of stories I wanted to write—strong female protagonists, sexual tension without sex for the sake of sex, women finding out exactly how powerful they were when things got bad, until Indie publishing arrived. I added in paranormal elements as well as supernatural and preternatural aspects and resurrected the series.
William: Thank goodness indie publishing came along because your story is truly a page turner. I know following Alex’s adventure took me only an overnight read and I was hooked!
In the story you describe many different types of magic and cultures across the world, what type of research went into creating these different types of magic?
Mary: I loved reading myths and fairy tales growing up, especially stories from around the world, so I knew there was a rich heritage of magic to pull from when I first started writing the series with a half-witch, half-shaman protagonist. I made sure she wasn’t well versed in her magical abilities as part of her back story, so as she learns about the magic and her gifts, so does the reader. The important issue to me about using magic as a large story element is to make sure that magic has limits and consequences. Nothing I hate more than when a character has a get-out-of-jail free card, meaning that because she is in a certain situation I as the author suddenly make it easy for her to whip out a new magical spell or a way to use her magic. For Alex Noziak, her gift of magic is her greatest asset and her biggest bane. That keeps things interesting.
William: And that is why I enjoyed your story from front to back. There was too many situations where Alex had to discover herself with her skills. So is there a specific person in your life that inspired the idea for Alex Noziak?
Mary: : I think Alex is the kind of person a lot of women would like to be—willing to lead with her heart, deal with the consequences, and not really worry about keeping everyone happy. I don’t know that she’s an easy person to be around all the time, and often strikes sparks off her equally strong-minded teammates. But she’s a good person and she cares deeply about those who can’t always care for themselves. That keeps her vulnerable and kick-ass at the same time.
William: Judging by the cover, she definitely looks kick ass in this series! When did you discover your passion for writing?
Mary: I knew I was always a storyteller but it wasn’t until I was an adult, and I lost a two-month old son to SIDS, and I had to find a reason to get up and take care of my three other children, that I had to find the kernel that became turning stories into novels. It was a promise I made to my son. He didn’t live long enough to leave something lasting, so I’ll do it for him.
William: I am so sorry to hear about your son. A very motivational and admiring way to remember him and bring a lasting life for him.
How does it feel to be a USA Today Bestselling author?
Mary: Shiney! Actually it doesn’t change a lot. You still have to face the blank page. Expectations increase because the title is a form of external validation that reassures readers who don’t know me personally that I might be able to write a good story. It doesn’t mean they’ll like my stories, but that I’ve paid enough dues and made enough sales, to warrant giving my work a try.
William: Do you have any upcoming releases for the readers to be excited about?
Mary: In January, 2016 Writer’s Digest is bringing out a print version of my Writing Active Setting book, titled, A Writer’s Guide to Active Setting. This means more writers around the world as well as libraries and bookstores will be able to order it. Plus, it’s chock full of new examples. So I am excited about that. I am currently working on two under wraps fiction projects, which I will be sharing on my Facebook mary.buckham.author and Twitter @MaryBuckham pages. I am in the midst of wrapping up my first set of online workshops to teach hooks to writers (You can find more info here: MaryBuckhamOnWriting) and already looking forward to the next series of classes that I will be creating. 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year!
William: You are truly a very busy woman and an adventure seeker! Where was your favorite place to travel?
Mary: I don’t think that there is one favorite place, because I like how varied and unique our world is. It’s hard to compare Bangkok with small town Missouri, or Santa Fe with rural England, as each has it’s own magic.
William: Are any of your stories inspired by your travels?
Mary: Absolutely! To me the more you travel the more you find common treads of humanity that link us together and speak to all of us. Some of my stories have locations that I have been to personally and others include places I plan to visit one day.
William: If you could have magical abilities, what would be your strength and why?
Mary: I would like the ability to instantly transport to any location. What a time saver! Except, I haven’t figured out how to carry my luggage.
William: Oh, that would be a time saver! Also, if it was me, it would take away that fear of flying I have.
For people who are searching for that magic touch in their writing, what advice do you have for them to be as successful as you?
Mary: Like many novice writers, when I started out I thought all I had to do was write the story and it’d be a story worth being acquired by a publisher. Wrong. Writing never gets easier. The doubts never go away. But the craft elements can be learned with enough attention and work. You have to do the work. There’s no getting around it. Some people sell their first novel and that’s wonderful. What we don’t hear is how many times that novel was worked and reworked before it went through editorial review boards and the editorial revision process.
William: And that about wraps it up for this weeks episode of Interview with the Awethors thanks to all the readers and writers joining in on this episode. Please check out Mary Buckham and give her the joy of sharing a piece of her magical world of The Invisible Recruits Series.
Also, check out her guides Writing Active Hooks.
If you would like to connect with Mary Buckham and find out more about her upcoming books, or you would like to purchase her books, go to the links below:
Facebook: Author Mary Buckham
Hooks Class: MaryBuckhamonWriting
If you’re an author looking to be featured on the Interview with the Awethors Series, please leave your inquiry at email@example.com
Here is the first chapter reveal for my novella. I hope you guys enjoy. This is a second rough draft.
The bubbles rose from Nigel Dawson’s lips as the ventilator pumped oxygen into his lungs. He opened his left eye feeling the after effects of a possible hangover overbearing the right side of his face. He shielded his eye from the bright haloed auburn and teal lights overhead which waved at him through the surface of the water. Panic washed through his weak heart when he realized he was being contained inside of a pod. The liquid he was resting in was like watered down syrup hindering him from making any sudden strokes with his arms. He pressed his chin against his chest seeing the white tube running into his mouth and deep into his esophagus.
“What happened?” he thought to himself. “Why am I here?”
He sporadically flailed his arms and pulled himself towards the glass as claustrophobia settled into his psyche. The walls were narrowing around him and he struggled to breathe under the water. Thoughts of drowning and suffering echoed in his head, while he tried to find the hidden strength dwindling in his subconscious.
Nigel grasped the slick white tube and wrenched it from his throat. It ripped through his esophagus and throat leaving an aftertaste of built up iron in his mouth. There was a red jelly clouding the end of the tube. He slung it to the side and watched the billowing bubbles of blood rise over his head.
An unsettling moan and croak from the bottom of the pod made him jump. He pressed his back against the wall watching the water lower around him. The air was frigid and a chill ran up his naked body. Every hair stood on end and his muscles tightened against his chattering bones. The right side of his face was burning when he felt the air touch his face. He saw a shadow appear through the transparent glass. Ripples of the liquid rolled down the glass. Nigel leaned forward and pressed his forehead against the cool glass and saw the person toil with the consoles down the hall as multiple lives flickered underneath each stroke of his fingers. He balled his fist and pounded the door with all of his strength hoping the person would hear him.
“H….” He could not speak. His throat was too sore to even say one word. He could feel his numb tongue flop around in his mouth, but he struggled to even flick the tip against his teeth.
The person turned his head slightly from his hunched position as though watching Nigel from afar. Nigel saw the smooth pale white of the person’s head, but the rest of the body was opaque through the murky glass. The man pressed his palms against the table and pushed away walking to Nigel as though annoyed by the interruption. He stared at Nigel through the hazy goo rolling down the inside of the glass. He leaned forward revealing the wicked pearl teeth and gaping eye holes of a skull. The concaved cavity of his nose made Nigel press his pack against the wall in fear. There was no flesh or muscle attached to the bony man. He was a skeleton.
“What’s wrong? Never seen a dead guy before?” the mystery man asked. “Actually, it’s kind of weird that you are conscious… So soon…” his raspy tone slithered into Nigel’s ear.
“Wh…” It felt like sandpaper scrapping the inside of his tonsils as air left his lips. He cringed and looked away.
“Don’t try to speak. There really is no point,” he chuckled. “You still have much to learn about this place, but I wouldn’t worry so much about the obvious struggles you’re experience. You should be more concerned about what’s coming through that door soon.” He nudged his head towards the door at the far end of the hall.
Nigel’s eye widened and he reached for the edges of the glass hoping to find a latch to open the pod. His nails followed every tiny crevice but there was no possible way of opening it from the inside. He gave up and stared at the man outside while slamming his fist against the surface.
“Do you remember anything, Nigel?” the hiss was sinister with an unpleasant tickle to his ears. Nigel closed his eye as a tear rolled down his cheek. “It has been a while since I’ve seen tears in this place. There is something unique about you that I find intriguing.” He scratched his temple with his slender skeletal index finger. “There may be hope for you yet.”
“Nigel?” he thought to himself.
“Forgot your own name? I’m sure your memory will eventually come to, but first you need to realize what happened yesterday.” The stranger glanced over his shoulder towards the round steel doors. “Focus your thoughts on mine. It’s the only way you’re going to escape from this place.”
Red lights flashed in the corners of the room. Nigel watched the shadowy figure glide to the opposite walls behind the pods across from him. He glanced over to the doors as a blinding white light engulfed the hallway.
“Pretend you are still unconscious. If they see that you are awake, escaping that pod will be the least of your worries,” the stranger’s voice whispered.
His hairs stood on end from the nape of his neck down to the back of his wrists. The fright was tumbling in his gut while his chest tightened against the fear of what was to come through those doors. He saw all the pods lined from the panels at the doors all the way to him and even further passed him into the abyss of darkness. Clicks from high heels echoed around him as two shadows appeared in the light. Their bodies were hauntingly curved in the shape of a woman but when they stood next to Nigel’s pod, he saw the charred patches of skin and ripples of blood in the cracks. Frizzy hairs poked from patches on their bald heads, while their eyes were glazed over by a blue haze.
“We’ve collected more of them this week than we have in the last month, Madison,” one of the women staring at all of the pods. “It seems your plan worked to bring in more souls.”
“It doesn’t work if the lost souls haven’t passed into the next life yet, Andrea. We have to wait for judgement on all of these.” Madison cocked her head back. “It could be eternity before the boss sees any of these in his realm.”
“I thought if they were sent to purgatory they were already judged by….”
“Shh… Do you want him to appear? If you say his name, we will surely be obliterated into dust. Now, c’mon, we need to retrieve Abigail, Sarah, and John.”
“What’s wrong with this one?” Andrea asked, pointing at Nigel.
“Andrea, stop getting distracted! It’s probably another defected pod. It’s not like he’ll wake up anytime soon.”
The women walked away and continued down the hall. Nigel released a long sigh and peer through the edge of the glass. He peered across the hall but the stranger was gone. He was alone.
“Where are you?” he asked through his thoughts.
“Did you hear that?” Andrea hissed, lifting her chin over her shoulder.
“You’re probably just hearing a dream. Probably some lost loved one or whatever they care about in the life they left behind.”
“Now that’s silly,” Andrea cackled a wicked laugh.
“Here they are. Go ahead and release these two,” Madison said. “Abigail and Sarah.”
Nigel pressed his forehead against the glass and peered down the hall. He saw the two pods that the women were standing in front of. Andrea knelt down and pulled a lever next to the pod and the floor opened beneath it. A golden orange glow resonated from the floor to the ceiling as both pods dropped into the floor, disappearing to the next realm. He watched as two more pods descended from the ceiling and latched to the floor. Clouds of smoke hissed from the hydraulics as the pods filled with the liquid.
“Alright, Joshua should be a few more pods down.”
Nigel saw the stranger glide through the shadows across from him. His sinister grin curled up inside the black of his hood. He watched him until he was at the control panels again fiddling away with the buttons. Tiny lights flashed at his fingertips as Nigel felt the pod rattle and quake. His body felt weightless as he shot up into the ceiling. He leaned back against the wall and watched the gray tunnel spiral on the other side of the glass door. He stopped in a different chamber. A dim light hung high above multiple floors of spiraling walls, where pods continuously flipped backwards into different tunnels.
His pod moved to the right as the one before him dropped into the tunnel he just came from. The door opened and he was set free from the prison he was locked inside. He reached for the edges of the door feeling the cool air press against his wet face. The right side of his face burned and stung as he left the vacancy of his pod.
He stepped out to the epicenter of the spinning wheel of pods. Overhead he could see more levels of pods spinning and dropping into the room he was in. He waited for the mechanism to stop before he ventured to any of the pods to see if he could find any familiar faces. He jumped over the gap between the center of the room and the platform the pods rotated on.
He gripped his fingers on one of the pods. When he looked inside, he saw a pale man with blue lips. He had a brown beard that covered most of his chin and chest. His hair was greyed above his ears and the tip of his nose was rounded like the tip of a cigar. The floor rattled beneath his feet as it opened another path to a realm. The pod descended into the tunnel and Nigel pressed his body flat against the surface of the pod holding on to whatever crevices he could find.
“It is okay to wander, but don’t get lost. One wrong turn… could….” The stranger’s thought became a distant whisper the deeper he dropped.
“What? Say that again,” Nigel said to himself, but the noise was too loud as the wind whistled passed his ears. The mouth of the tunnel opened as a light engulfed everything around him. He was blinded momentarily by a white light, but the fresh smell of trees and grass filled his nostrils.
Nigel rubbed his irritated eye as he saw the outlandish world where pods fell from the sky like massive droplets of rain. He felt his descent accelerate as the wind blew harder against his back. His face pressed against the glass and clenched his fingers tightly against the sides. He finally crashed against the ground as rocks and dirt flew in the air. Nigel was tossed from the pod and rolled across the grassy hill, where a tree stopped him from rolling over the side. A crater formed around the base of the pod as the door slid open and slimy liquid rushed to his knees.
The man inside was wearing a fancy business suit with a black tie that tucked underneath his black jacket. Between the man’s navel and sternum, there was a ten inch gaping hole raining with blood. His pants were drenched in the thick liquid and his intestines were hanging out of his lower back like thin sausage links latched together. He watched the man’s lungs inflate and deflate on each side of the hole. Nausea crossed over Nigel as he turned away from the ghastly sight and stared out into the distance at the many hills, plains, and rivers that winded in and out of each other.
“What is this place?”
He watched more pods crash into the hills surrounding him as the doors slid open and more bodies walked in the same direction. He watched his dead sidekick walk passed him as the hole healed itself in a matter of minutes. The miraculous sight left him speechless and confused.
He saw a woman with thick scars and bruises wrapping around her neck stumble in front of him from another pod. He reached to help her up but when she whipped her head back, one of her eyes bounced from the socket like a ping pong ball swinging from a rubber band.
“This can’t be right. I’m not supposed to be here,” he said, feeling sick and dizzy. “Am I….” He breathed heavier and shook uncontrollably.
He walked with the man across the glistening rapids that flowed in the river. The water was cool against his legs and his emotions were at ease as he remembered the touch of water against his skin. He saw a pod crash at the peak of the hill ahead and climbed to it. He pulled himself up with the help of underlying branches and thinned bushes. When he reached the top of the hill, he stared over his shoulder to see multiple bodies piling up at the lip of the river. The dead were unable to climb over the steep hill side. He turned to see the door to the pod slide open, but no one walked out of it.
When he peeked inside of the pod, there was a woman’s dismembered body piled on the floor. The ground was stained with her blood from the flush of thick liquid spilling out of the pod. Her arms were flattened at the base of the pile, while her torso rested on top of them. The smooth legs were chopped up and torn to bits as though a shark had ripped into her flesh. Her blond hair was stained with bright red blood and her glazed eyes were ghostly white. He watched her lips quiver as she attempted to speak.
“I… I… I,” she was speaking in his thoughts. Her words were repetitive.
He turned his head and walked away from the door, feeling helpless and unable to control whatever hell he was in. An eerie suction of blood and bones popping behind him made him return to the sight of the woman. Her body was piecing itself back together. Each part of her body attached itself back together and she was able to step out of the pod. She walked towards Nigel and halted for a moment to stare him down. The woman looked to be in her twenties and she was naked from head to toe.
“She was not ready to die. It’s a shame that some women fall victim to evil and land themselves in this place,” the stranger’s voice echoed in his head.
Nigel peered over his shoulders searching for the mystery man that had released him from his imprisonment. “Where are you? What are you talking about?”
“Still having trouble with your memory? You don’t recognize this woman at all?” he asked with a chuckle. “Think really hard about what you saw a few days ago. Maybe you’ll remember a little better if you touch her.”
The woman reached out with her hand. He swallowed hard feeling compelled to receive her. His fingers touched hers and his whole body went frozen. The blood clotted in all of his joints and turned to ice in a matter of seconds. A spiral tunnel of stars and galaxies appeared before his eyes as splotched colors surrounded him. He was pulled back into the living world, where a young girl stood at the bus stop in the middle of nowhere. Nigel looked up at the sign overhead that read: Sin City Las Vegas, Nevada Ten Miles.
“Why are we here?” Nigel yelled, but the woman did not notice him call to the black sky. He walked over to her across the street and touched her shoulder, but his hand went through her body. She moved her shoulders as though she felt a chill. “I am… dead?” The question stabbed at his tongue as he plopped backwards onto the bench. He closed his eyes to pray, but his throat ached every time he made the attempt
I’ve had a busy weekend digging into authors with interesting and compelling novels. Sunday Night I found myself sucked into a Facebook event with the host being Matthew Harrill. He had just recently released the final novel to his series ‘The ARC Chronicles’ Hellbeast. Words can’t even describe the imagination and determination Matt has for his books and characters, so today, I had to have him jump on the series. Here’s a little bit about him and we’ll bounce into the interview.
Born and raised in Bristol, England, Matthew W Harrill is an international award-winning horror author. His series, ‘The ARC Chronicles’ consists of Hellbounce (which has received acclaim at the Halloween Book Festival, the London Book Festival and most recently the 2015 International Book Awards), Hellborne and the final book of the series, Hellbeast is imminent.
In addition to his mentor David Farland (The Runelords, The Courtship of Princess Leia [as Dave Wolverton]), Matt is always thankful to know the British author Juliet E McKenna, who has helped him countless times. He is a fan of fantasy, loving Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series. He also has a lot of time for the truly bizarre horror of H P Lovecraft, citing this as an influence on his work. He also cites the fictional author ‘Hank Moody’ as an influence.
Matthew has worked as a labourer, a barman, a cleaner, a joiners mate. In addition he has dabbled in commercial insurance and has for the past 12 years implemented share plans for Xerox.
When not working, Matthew enjoys tennis with his son, watching movies and television series such as Supernatural and Grimm, blogging and cookery.
William: Thank you for joining us today, Matt. Who or what inspired you to write ‘The Arc Chronicles’?
Matt: I wanted to explore the greater consequences of what might happen if Hell actually froze over. What would cause it? Where would the inhabitants of Hell go? What would they do to guarantee survival? In terms of who, my mentor David Farland was a heavy influence. When I came up with the idea, a two hour brainstorm set me on the course to the series, and I have not stopped in nearly 4 years.
William: Wow, I can tell you were extremely passionate about this series. If any readers haven’t already picked up his book, do it today because this is an awesome story to get lost into. Here’s a quick blurb of Hellbeast:
The fate of the world is balanced on a knife-edge. Despite everything Madden and Eva have been through to prevent it, the ARC Council is in disarray, demons roam the Earth. The Apocalypse is closer than ever. The solution couldn’t be further from her grasp.
Enter the final chapter of The ARC Chronicles, where Eva throws off the yolk of personal tragedy and follows her destiny to the one place she doesn’t want to go, the one place she cannot hope to avoid.
Hellbeast: Heroes don’t always walk in the light.
William: What can you tell our readers about Madden and Eva in the story? And a little insight on how you developed the two characters?
Matt: Madden and Eva are based on real people. Ewa is a young lady who I used to work with who pestered me to start writing again after a long break, and Chris Madden helped solve the conundrum of ‘what scares a demon?’ for me. Now Eva Ross and Madden Scott are very different to their ‘owners’ – Madden especially. He was born into privilege and never really had to do a thing for himself. When an unfortunate event compounded that fact, he just went with it. Eva on the other hand is very clever, very driven and has worked hard to get where she is. And as the song goes… opposites attract….
William: ‘Owners’ I absolutely love it! When you are writing, are there any specific bands or type of music you listen to that sets the mood for your stories? How about outside of writing?
Matt: It depends on my location. On the bus, where I write during the commute and I will write to whatever is playing on my iphone, and that could be pop, rock, instrumental, or pure idiocy. I have it all.
In the office, I have set favourites, all lyricless: Deep and Chilled Euphoria (Various Artists)
Desderii Marginis: That which is tragic and timeless
Atrium Carceri: Kapnobatai
God is an Astronaut: All is Violent, all is bright
Vishuda Kali & Chaos is Shelter: The mirror
William: Those are some interesting pieces for the office. I’ll have to go through and check them out! Do you have any specific quotes in each novel of ‘The ARC Chronicles’ that just press at you?
Matt: “Demons Don’t Always Hide In The Dark” for Hellbounce
“Follow Your Instinct” for Hellborne
“Heroes Don’t Always Walk In The Light” for Hellbeast
William: Quotes to live by today! How long have you been writing this series and how did you find yourself writing in this genre?
Matt: Since February 2012, when I had the epiphany about Hell freezing over. When I came up with the idea, it just fit. The ARC Chronicles would never be a political thriller…. Though I actually think there are a lot of elements of many other genres in my writing.
William: When an author successfully molds multiple genres in a book, it is a sweet victory for everyone. I’ve really enjoyed the enthusiasm you’ve brought with your novels. Now, stories like the one you’ve written normally have biblical significance to it, will we see technology advancements mold into it?
Matt: It is very biblical. I draw on a lot of elements of the bible, twist some, totally rewrite others. The technology comes from the necessity in the series to combat the biblical element, which in itself has significant technological advancement.
William: That answer gave me goosebumps, Matt. I love it when authors do these types of changes in a story. Now, before we wrap things up do you have any advice to writers, particularly things to avoid, while writing an apocalyptic world?
Matt: Keep it real. My apocalyptic world is present day. I wanted real settings that you could go to and imagine what happens in the books. Aside from one very obvious exception in book 3, everything is real. Humans can associate with real. It gives them a sense of comfort, something to grasp on to. It’s not all devastation… that is to come in the next series…
William: Thanks for doing this today, Matt. Before we go, I wanted to leave a sample for anyone jaw dropped by the ideas of Matt’s ‘Arc Chronicles’. Thanks again, Matt for providing an awesome sample for my readers!
Two camels sat side-by-side, evidently content to wait for their owner to invite them to stand. One chewed feed, its jaw moving laterally. The animals did not need feeding but the treat helped cement the bond. Their owner had been with them for a while. He knew their temperament.
It was the middle of the afternoon; the temperature approached forty-five degrees Celsius. The sun blazed in the cerulean desert sky, roasting the crusted hardpan. There was little, if any, moisture in the Gobi desert. Camels were the only creatures able cross the great expanses and not perish. They were also much more anonymous than off-roaders.
He had been crisscrossing the desert for six months now, seeking any sign of clues that related to a Holy City in the sky. The Convocation of the Sacred Fire had been convinced of the city’s existence long before its media debut only weeks ago. His job was to find the answers.
Now, an unprecedented event overshadowed even that. In mid-air, maybe three or four hundred feet above ground level, perhaps two miles in the distance, a cloud had formed, moisture spinning from nowhere to coalesce directly above the waves of heat radiating from the ground.
The cloud, which should have been forced up by the thermals, remained stationary, ever growing, black and threatening. Sparks of lightning began to appear around the outer rim of the cloud, dancing about its surface. Then something the watcher had never before witnessed began to occur. Bolts of lightning launched up from the ground, touching the base of the cloud and working their way up until a continual chain of lightning fed the center. The bright white core of the cloud began to expand; the noise that much concentrated heat combusting generated was almost too much for him.
And then, as quickly as the pyrotechnics had started, the show stopped. The lightning winked out and the cloud was finally forced into the sky. The only indication it was ever there was the tangy stink of concentrated ozone.
The observer reached under his robes, bringing out a sat- phone. He pressed one button, a prepared number.
“This is Baxter,” he said in a posh English accent. “Sir, it has begun.”
If you haven’t already checked out Matthew Harrill, go to the links below to find him. You will be blown from this world when you see what is boiling inside this author’s head!
Amazon.com author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00M0D7UWQ
Goodreads.com author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8288084.Matthew_W_Harrill
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Matthew.W.Harrill.Author?fref=ts
Official Website: www.matthewharrill.com
For any authors, if you are looking to interview on the series “Interview with the Awethors” Please contact by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is October, and this month I’m basing many of these posts on awethors that fit the theme of the month whether it is psychological, thrillers, horror, and anything that gives us the bumps up our arms. Today, I have a very special guest that has released her first novel “Anatomy of a Darkened Heart”. If you don’t know her yet, you are in for an awethors treat this week. Give a warm welcome to Christie Stratos!
Christie Stratos is an editor and award-winning writer who holds a degree in English Literature. An avid reader of all genres and world literature, Christie reads everything from bestsellers to classics to indies, and is an audiobook reviewer at AudioBookReviewer.com. She is also a writer of published short stories, poetry, and novels. She dabbles in all genres. Christie can be reached through her editing business, Proof Positive, her author website and blog, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
William: I’ve been itching to get a hold of your new novel these last few weeks after the cover release, Christie. Go ahead and tell the readers out there the genre of your novel “Anatomy of a Darkened Heart” and some insight on what the novel is about.
Christie: Anatomy of a Darkened Heart is historical fiction that doesn’t have any historical figures in it – it’s historically accurate to the 1840-1861 time period. It’s also heavily psychological. The question underscoring the entire novel is whether your environment (i.e. family, friends, etc.) or your true self ultimately determines who you are. It’s such a complicated question, and I feel it can be explored many times over. AoDH digs into that question in a way that can lead to disturbing realizations about life and the choices we make – and the choices made for us.
William: Now, I haven’t interviewed too many authors that have set their novels in the Victorian Era, but what made you want to write the story in this time period?
Christie: I had a vision of a girl in Victorian dress who was torn between what was really inside her and what everyone assumed must be inside her. I had that vision for quite some time before I finally started writing, still with just that vision in my head. The book is set in the 19th century because it came to me that way, and I’m glad it did. I thought I knew a lot about the 1800s, but when I realized how many nitty gritty details I didn’t know, I started having a lot of fun discovering them and integrating them into the story. Among the etiquette and beauty we see in period pieces on TV and in books, there is a startling amount of darkness in that culture, which just added to the plot and subplots of the book. I’m excited to continue uncovering more and more I didn’t know about the Victorian era and integrating those discoveries into the next four books in the Dark Victoriana Collection.
William: I find it quite amazing and unique when writers dig into their research to discover new and unique material. Here’s the cover that Christie revealed a week ago that will have you wishing you could pull it from your computer screen. If you get a chance, pick it up TODAY! You can find the buy links at the end of the interview.
William: I’ve noticed you help many authors in the writing community with editing through your company Proof Positive. Also, after reading a few comments from the authors at #Awethors group many have praised you and your team in your efforts to provide quality and speedy work. Give us some details on the services you provide for authors.
Christie: Proof Positive offers proofreading/copy editing, (developmental) editing, and beta reading that can serve as either an in-between option of the previously mentioned two services or classic beta reading with “reader-type” feedback. We are flexible, and if you need a service we don’t offer, we can accommodate it. We also offer free social media publicity both pre- and post-publication as well as a permanent spot on our site complete with buy links.
William: Wow, you are a busy lady! With writing your novels and editing other author’s work, how are you able to juggle the two without banging your head against a desk constantly?
Christie: I won’t pretend it’s easy! I love editing other authors’ work because I can see the manuscript much more clearly than the author (my editor saw my book much more clearly than me, too), and cleaning up all these beautiful gems of stories is a very rewarding experience. I have to work around my editing schedule and set aside time – whether it’s hours or minutes – to write. I often use late weekend nights to do some writing, and I take time off from my job to ensure I can release my own creativity. I have to say, though, that reading other authors’ works every day is inspiring, and it just makes the draw of writing even stronger.
William: We all know that with every great author there is always a line of books that inspired them to get to this point in their career. Are there any particular books in your library that you could not live without?
Christie: I couldn’t live without my Shakespeare collection. I have all of his works in a giant volume, plus individual works in paperback. Shakespeare was the first author to draw my interest to psychology in books – Hamlet was the first play, to be specific. I think without my Shakespeare books, I’d feel lost and a bit empty. In fact, sometimes when I travel someplace new, if I feel uncomfortable about it, I bring Hamlet or Julius Caesar or Henry V for comfort!
William: Ah, Shakespeare! I have a collection as well that I dig into time to time. Especially through the play, Hamlet. Are there any motivational quotes that are special to you?
Christie: I can’t say I have a favorite motivational quote, but what I can say is that every book I read is motivational to me. Reading excites me and makes me want to write, and exploring various genres and writing styles teaches me what I do and don’t like as well as what readers do and don’t like. All of that adds up to the greatest motivation and inspiration to me.
William: What groups or people have brought you to this milestone in your writing?
Christie: My parents always encouraged me in writing, playing music, and sports. Anything I wanted to try, they gave me the opportunity. From there, I was able to figure out what I liked and didn’t like, then what I loved and didn’t love, and finally what I couldn’t live without. It all came down to writing, and have that definite knowledge thanks to them. I also had a World Literature professor in college who showed me how much more literature was built from than just imagination. He used to compare every single thing we read in class to current events and show how that piece of literature was all still relevant, no matter how fantastical or out of date it seemed. This changed my whole style of writing, and there’s a distinct difference between my writing before and after college because of him. And today, I have the #Awethors group, and they took the fear and nerves out of self-publishing. They’ve given me and everyone else in the group so much help and support, there’s no need to feel uncertain. All of those things are more than I ever could’ve asked for.
William: Before we wrap it up, do you have any tips for shy writers that might be hesitant on publishing their work?
Christie: For every writer there’s a reader, and for every reader there’s a writer. That’s why there are so many genres and subgenres and sub-subgenres. And if it’s bad reviews you’re afraid of, visit any bestselling author’s Amazon or Goodreads page to see the bad reviews they’ve gotten – because every single author has them. It’s just the nature of the job. And if you’re too shy to put your own name on your writing, use a pen name. Whatever you do, just get out there and achieve your dreams!
William: Thank you for your time today on “Interview with the Awethors”. It was an honor and pleasure to have you drop in.
Please check out her novel today at the buy links below. If you are looking for a good Halloween read for the month, Christie’s novel, “Anatomy of a Darkened Heart” will be a read you’ll never forget.
Thank you for reading and if there are any authors interested in being a guest on my series “Interview with the Awethors”, please feel free to send me and email at email@example.com. I welcome any genre so don’t hesitate to send your submission for consideration!
I just wanted to share with you guys a sex scene I wrote for my relaunch of Horizon in November. I’ve never really tried this out and it may be a little risky for me as a writer, but I wanted feedback as to if I’m going too far outside of the genre of Science Fiction/Thriller/Romance. I’m trying to avoid going into the genre of erotica and the best way to get feedback about this is by asking people who may know on here. So, here it is, Chapter 3 of Horizon.
May 26, 2113
Great Barrier Reef
The water was choppy and Aaron struggled to see the boat in the distance. Sandy and he had wandered further than he had thought. He pointed to the boat and led the way back. The clouds were darker than when they started the dive and bolts of lightning flashed in the distance. Aaron reached for the ladder at the stern of the boat and pulled himself out of the water. He offered his hand to Sandy and pulled her tank to lighten the load for her. Rain feel around them as a mild storm was passing overhead.
“We’d better get out of here before the storm gets worse,” Aaron said, ripping the tank off his back and leaning it against the seat. He ran to the ladder leaving Sandy alone with all of the equipment.
“I thought the weather was supposed to be clear skies today!” Sandy yelled from the aft.
Aaron turned the key, but the dreaded click of a dead battery was the sound he was hoping he would not hear today. He slammed his fist against the panel and still nothing. Sandy climbed up the ladder and poked her head over his right shoulder. She chuckled and patted Aaron on the back.
“That doesn’t sound good.”
“Yeah.” He shook his head and stretched his arms out with his fingers curled over the wheel. “Not today!” he screamed, kicking the lower panel with the side of his foot. Each time his foot connected with the steel it hurt more. “Ugh! We’re stuck out here.”
“Well, no point in waiting for lightning to strike us. Let’s just go down to the cabin and wait it out. It’s the only option we have.” Sandy smiled innocently.
Aaron looked back up at her with bloodshot eyes and an irritated glare. “How is it that my battery was working just fine before we left, but now it’s dead, Sandy, can you explain to me how that is possible?”
“Maybe it was an act of God, Aaron, or better yet maybe I did it because I have some sick twisted fantasy about you.” She climbed down the ladder. “I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure lightning can kill you. If we have a roof over our head, I’m pretty sure our survival rate in a storm increases tremendously.”
He watched her disappear down the stairs to the cabin. He twisted the key one more time, but it clicked multiple times and remained unresponsive to his efforts.
“Fuck it. Guess I might as well get comfortable while I wait for someone to find us,” he said, climbing down the ladder and stairs to his cabin.
Sandy walked out of the bathroom with the handle of Captain Morgan in her hand and a white towel wrapped over her head. She was already out of her wet suit and in her white bikini. Aaron grabbed a towel from the floor and patted his wet arms. His curiosities ensued as he watched her tilt the handle and take a swig of his liquor. She slid onto the bed on her stomach letting the curve to her buttocks rise as though waiting for Aaron to join her.
“You have to do that now?” he asked, sitting at the edge of the bed with caution.
“What? I was thirsty and I don’t like beer,” she whined.
“So you drink my rum? It’d probably be wise for me to fire you for drinking on the job now,” he laughed.
“You’re funny but last I checked employees get paid. Have you forgotten that you owe for at least three months of back salary?”
“I figured you’d eventually get the point and stop showing up for work.” He flopped backwards onto the bed and pressed his palms to his forehead. “I don’t even know how the hell we’re going to get back to the harbor.”
“I’m sure a boat will pass by soon. Just have to be patient.”
She set the handle of rum on the end table and rested her legs across the bed. Aaron turned his head towards her noticing her hard nipples pressing against his top. There was a distinctive shaded oval behind her white bikini that drove him wild, but he held back his sexual innuendo.
“What makes you think that?” he coughed and swallowed with a slight crack in his throat.
“Boats travel across here all the time especially deep sea fishermen boats.”
“Why is it that you’re the only woman I know that could pass for a dude?” he blurted.
“I have an older brother. He just grew on me as we got older.”
“Oh, you have a brother?” He wanted to change the subject, but his attention was focused on her body. He felt like a lousy sleeve ball having these feelings for Sandy. His intentions were more questionable now than when he interviewed her for the job. ‘Am I really that desperate?’
“I use to but….” Her words were lost now, and Aaron was lost in the fascination of her smooth legs and flower shaped birth mark on her inner left thigh. He no longer had control and his pants were gradually getting tighter by the second. “I remember loving you so much.”
“Huh, what?” Aaron was startled by the last phrase and returned to reality as soon as that four letter word popped up in the conversation. “Could you repeat that last part again?”
“I remember loving him so much.”
Aaron stared at her with a confused look. “Your brother?”
“Yes? Geez, Aaron, do you ever listen to a woman without spacing out?”
“Well, it’s kind of hard when a woman is dressed like she’s ready to hop on a pole soon.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she gawked and jokingly smacked his arm.
“I don’t know. Sorry, I was just admiring h-h-how beautiful you look,” he cringed. ‘Can’t even resist the urge of fucking your assistant can you, Aaron,’ he said to himself.
“Please, save me the vomit. I hear that just about every other minute when I’m out on the town.”
The hum of the rain was the only sound left in the cabin as he stood up. He peered out through the porthole at the sun poking in and out of the clouds over head. His feelings for Abigail were strong, but he was lost and broken. He struggled with his alcohol addiction for years and now he fell back into his old habits. He scratched the back of his head when he felt Sandy’s soft fingertips glide across his arm. Ripples of tiny bumps poked from his skin as a flush of adrenaline overwhelmed him. His face turned a shade of burgundy as he felt her fingers rustle in his hair. His eyelids grew heavy with relation as she moved her hands across his abs and against the solid mound between his legs.
He pulled himself away breathing heavy with nervousness and anxiety. His emotions were a mess inside of his chest and clarity was no longer present in his subconscious.
“I can’t do this. I love Abi and you know that. Let’s just calm down,” he stuttered in heavy gasps as Sandy crawled onto the bed. She whipped her legs around underneath her and curved her back so her breasts protruded enough to entice Aaron’s neglected member. “Please I can’t do this-.” He was cut short with her finger against his lips.
“You know you want this,” she whispered in his ear as she unclipped her top. Aaron watched it fall to the floor and instinctively glanced at her breasts. He placed his hands over his eyes and walked passed her into the cabin.
“Why are you doing this to me?”
She gently grabbed his shoulder and pulled his hand from his face. “Because you’re not like any other man I know, and we are currently stranded in the middle of the ocean.”
“I can’t do this though.”
“Oh, but you will once I….” She reached down to his inner thigh feeling his thickness in the palm of her hand. The veins rippled down to the base where she juggled his sack between her fingertips. “Mm, are you sure you don’t want me now?”
Aaron bit his lip and looked to Captain Morgan’s smile on the label of the rum. He returned his attention back to her feeling every muscle in his body relax from the tender touch of a woman. He grabbed her by the waist and pulled her against him. His lips met hers halfway and he continued to nibble the side of her neck up to her earlobes. She unzipped the back of his wet suit and peeled it down his shoulders. Her lips touched each shoulder moving down his left arm and hand.
He pulled the rest of the suit off and kicked it to the side of the room as Sandy stepped back and removed her white bikini bottoms. His eyes were locked on the brown strip that ran from her clit to a few inches below her navel. He reached for her buttocks and lifted her into the air, tossing her onto the bed. Aaron frantically ripped the rest of his clothes from his body and dove between her legs. She tightened her thighs against his ears every time his tongue twisted and turned around her clit.
“Mm” she moaned, stretching her legs into the air.
He pulled himself back up to her face as he thrusted inside of her, feeling her warm juices wet his throbbing member. He lifted her legs above her head and leaned over her as he pressed harder and deeper inside of her.
Her nails dug into his back leaving thin pink lines across his shoulder blades. He pulled himself off of her and flipped her onto her stomach. He watched her cheeks ripple across her buttocks as he inserted himself into the wet hole that was begging for more. His muscles tensed and sweat glistened on his skin. He clenched a wad of blond hair and pulled her back to him.
“This didn’t happen,” he whispered with a growl.
Sandy squealed as she finally felt a warm sensation of cum and coincidentally Aaron came as well inside of her. She glanced over her shoulder biting her lower lip and flipping over onto her back. He tumbled next to her and let her vacate the chest of his body.
“It’s our little secret,” she responded out of breath.
Welcome to the first post of my new series, Interview with the Awethors! If you know anyone who may be interested in an interview with me, please send all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Today, what better way to kick this new series off than to have Romance novelist Kris Nacole join us and talk a little about herself and her recently released novel “Love Him Back”!
William: Thank you for joining us today, Kris.
Kris: Thank you, William for having me here.
William: So Kris, what inspired you to write “Love Him Back”?
Kris: I have a friend who is an author, and she kind of gave me the push I needed to step outside of my comfort zone and go for it. My oldest son also said something to me that kept me going when I wanted to quit. He said: “Mom, you’ve always told us that we can do anything we want and should follow our dreams, so you need to do that too.” He was right. I needed to lead by example and show them they can achieve anything…so I did it.
William: Smart young man you have there. Were you in the military, Kris? You seem to have a lot of knowledge of the field.
Kris: Yes. I was in the Air Force. I loved my time in the military and often wish I could go back and experience it all over again. Those years were some of the best of my life.
William: I know this may sound repetitive, and forgive me for that, but who or what inspires you to write military romance?
Kris: Ha-ha, it’s fine. Actually, I’ve always loved reading military romances. I was in the military myself and have always been fascinated with the military life. I felt like I could connect to my readers so much through my experiences traveling the world. Plus, there’s nothing like a man in uniform. 😉
William: *Spoiler Alert* For everyone who has already read “Love Him Back”, If there was one word to describe your protagonist what would it be? And the antagonist?
Kris: *Spoiler Alert*
Protagonist: Hero—I would like to think of Chesney and Zane both as heroes. The reason being they both not only served in the military, but they both also fight a battle within themselves that threatens both of their happiness. As a reader said in a review, they both needed to find each other even though they didn’t know it.
Antagonist: In my book there are two ugly truths that threaten the love between my characters. Abuse for Chesney and PTSD for Zane. Chesney’s abuse haunts her and threatens her relationship with Zane many times. Zane’s PTSD makes him shut down and push Chesney away. They both have to fight harder than they ever had to come out on top. Okay, I guess that was more than one word… oops.
William: It’s okay. It’s always nice to hear a writer’s passion for their characters. Now, just to get into your own personal library, are there any favorite authors that you enjoy reading?
Kris: I have a lot of favorite authors. It’s hard to narrow it down to only a few! I guess if I had to choose, it would be Nicholas Sparks, Stephen King, and Stephanie Meyer. A couple of “new to me authors” I really like are S. E. Rise, Gail Olmsted, Melanie Dawn and DM Cain. There’s really too many to choose from. I’m a book nerd.
William: Obviously, you read other genres outside of romance because of the authors you just listed, but are there any others that interest you?
Kris: Yes. Absolutely. It really depends on what kind of mood I’m in. One day I may want to read a mushy romance novel that makes me ugly cry, and the next I may want to read a horror book that makes my heart race and makes me want to sleep with the lights on. Fantasy/sci-fi books are also books I like to escape to from time to time. All depends on the mood really.
William: It’s a breath of fresh air to know that many authors expand their horizons with other genres. A true testament to a great writer. Before we wrap things up, do you have any tips or words of encouragement for aspiring writers out there?
Kris: I’m going to try not to get too mushy here. I guess the one thing I would tell aspiring writers out there, is: Never let anyone stand in your way. Taking the first step is the hardest. It is scary stepping into the unknown and opening yourself up for the world to peer into your mind. Be yourself, be proud of your work, and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. A few people tried to discourage me from writing and thought I would never actually do it let alone succeed. I proved them wrong as I made it to the top 100 list in military romance within three weeks of publishing. It can be done. It is hard work. You may cry, want to give up, and doubt yourself at times, but that’s normal. Keep pushing forward and write from your heart. Let the story tell itself. YOU are good enough and can do this. The feeling you get when you hit publish and hold your book in your hands for the first time makes all the struggles worth it. Dream big. Believe in yourself. Inspire others.
Will: Thank you for joining us today, Kris Nacole and answering these questions for the bloggers and readers out there.
Kris: It was my pleasure to participate, William!
Don’t miss out on her next novel, “Hart of Country” a western romance coming out in 2016!
Check out her first novel “Love Him Back” at any of the buy links below! You won’t regret this tear jerking love story!
Purchase links and website info:
Amazon US: http://amzn.com/B014BSUGF0
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B014BSUGF0
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B014BSUGF0
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/oxqshnr
WE HAVE OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED! AFTER MONTHS OF PREPARATION WE ARE FINALLY READY FOR YOUR SUBMISSIONS!
Hey, guys! We have finally pushed through months of preparation to put together an awesome team of people that want to help publish your stories! We are currently shopping for Romance/Science Fiction/Nonfiction/Fantasy/Horror/Action Adventure/Mystery. If you are interested in publishing with us, send all information to email@example.com. Leave your query letter about you as an author and your story. Please leave three chapters for us to review and we will respond back to you if we are interested in your manuscript.
Also, please do not send multiple submissions. We have a 6-9 week waiting period.
Thank you all for making this possible. Share, Like, Reblog. Let all of your author friends know that Amni Publishing is officially open!
I’ve been digging deeper into my own spiritual journey these last few months. Especially since I’m currently participating in a bible study and a Disciple 1 class at my church. I never really dug too deep into my past like I have recently, and it’s funny that it all had to come to one of the darkest moments in my life so far.
Last year, I had stepped down from my management position at my job and realized that life should not always be about work. Then, I lived the part of the guy who has money and lives miserably, but now, I’m happy but living with less than. I’m looking at both of these men that I lived in my life, and I’ve realized that sometimes having less is better for the soul. Although I do see many people that are living happy lives with a more than comfortable living, I can’t help but hear all of the same stories from these people. The rag to riches story where God intervened and brought them to where they are at today. Now, I can’t say that God did or did not intervene to bring them to paradise in their own lives, but I can say what I am currently experiencing in my life.
When I was at the age of thirteen, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. I wanted to pitch for the Atlanta Braves and become one of the All-Stars of today. It was a dream I had wanted since I was about six or seven years old when I discovered baseball. I remember performing very well as a pitcher and third basement, but I was a very weak batter. Everything in my life at the time seemed easy, and I had all the tools to bring me to the point of stardom if I had practiced and pushed myself to that point.
Then, before I went into high school, I was playing in a minor league game at Dacula Park with the away team. I watched the batter move up to the plate and on the first pitch, the batter connected the bat to the ball. The ball shot towards me at third but took a nasty hop before it go tome. I couldn’t react in time and the ball connected with my eye. I fell over dizzy and couldn’t breathe. My eyes were spinning and all I could think of was getting the ball to first base. The player was safe and all I could do was collapse in pain and feel blood dripping into my palms.
I don’t know why this happened to me before I got into high school, but I ended up not making the team because I was scared of the ball. I kept putting my knee to the ground when a grounder came instead of using proper techniques. For me, it was very disappointing to see a dream shatter right before my eyes. Especially, the first one I ever had my whole life so far.
I ended up joining the school band and marching band my freshman year. What I didn’t realize was I was great at playing Tuba. I was asked to perform in the Wind Symphony which was the highest group of musicians at the school. Then, I traveled across the state to play in the marching and I met some amazing people through the whole experience. During my senior year, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe and perform the tuba as well in seven different countries. It was a very memorable experience.
All of this lead to my love of creation. I wanted to be able to create a work of art through music and through writing. It’s funny that this happened to me though because I had always enjoyed playing music and writing short stories, but I seemed to find myself caught up with baseball before high school though. Now, I had the time to do things that I really did enjoy. I even learned about myself through all of these journeys I took.
In Exodus, Moses was claimed to be a murderer among the Egyptians and the Hebrew slaves, but God still came to him to deliver his people from Egypt. Moses left a new life that he created in Midian and never had the slightest clue that he would be sent back to Egypt to free the slaves. You may be asking, what does this have to do with what happened in your past, Will? Well, if Moses didn’t kill the soldier and run away to Midian to create a new life, he surely would have been sentenced to death by the Pharaoh. If God didn’t intervene and appear to Moses as a burning bush, Moses would have never brought himself to go back to Egypt.
If I had not been hit by that baseball on the field, would I still be writing today? Or would I be living a luxurious life without any life lessons that have turned me into the man I am today? Yes, life would have been easy, but sometimes the rough roads pull the humble from the ashes and prepare them for what lies ahead in the future. Whether it’s pulling the slaves from Egypt, losing a job to rediscover yourself, or simply taking care of the sick, sometimes God will give you a nudge, or a baseball to the face, to deliver you from your hardships.