Catrin Russell

🖤 Write, read, review, repeat 🖤

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Author Interview: Michael Ross

Check out this author spotlight for epic fantasy and children’s books writer Michael Ross!

You can find all the links for where to find him furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!

1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!

I come from an acting background, but have the mind of a 6-year-old boy, so perfect for writing children’s books and epic fantasy. I am a pantser, bringing in my acting skills which are very good at constructing characters and world building. But my wife was attacked and murdered and I was left to being up our two little boys who were 4 and 6. I went to see a clairvoyant who said I must write..so I wrote my true life story (Just Five More Minutes) which has traveled around the world. 18 books so far and many more in the pipeline, writing is in my blood. Also developed a fitness system called KETTFusion, that has won plenty of awards.

2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Winter, spring, summer or autumn?

Defo Summer. I lived in Africa from the age of 1…so sunshine is in my blood. I am trying to be good in this life, so I don’t come back in the next as an Eskimo! I couldn’t stand all that ice and cold

Cat or dog?

Defo Dog. always had them, but did have had two cats once. They have sharp claws on the front end, and only come to you when they want to.

Witches or wizards?

Both! I love anything that creeps into the fantasy world. I have a fairy witch called Maldranan, but she was a beautiful fairy that was taken over by an evil entity, but we managed to bring her back in the end.

Plotter or pantser?

Pantser. Through and through. Tried the ‘conventional’ way. But my creativeness went AWOL! For my latest series I have a map of a fairy queendom with around 20 images on it.

Each one of those images will be a book, but what will happen in that book, who the characters are, will not happen until I start typing.

Book or ebook?

It has to be a book. I love books. If I had a wife, I would sell her before I would sell my book.

Books are tactile. It takes 2 seconds to pick up a book and adoringly hold it to your heart. And here we come to the crux of it all. We have to nurture books and reading in children. If not, where will our adult book readers be? I have just finished A Box Full of Aliens for middle-graders. All my beta readers are children-why not? It is written for them, they should have a say. I then invited children from the UK, Croatia and Dubai to draw me an alien, name it and tell me what its super powers are, and they have gone in the book.

3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

I’m afraid I don’t read for pleasure when I am writing. Sure, I will review books, but generally I am too busy writing my own and also, don’t want any influences of ideas to come into my own imagination.

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!

Multigenre. Here is a clue: https://www.thewand.me/all-other-books

At the start of Lockdown here in the UK last March, I had started a fantasy series called The Big Fairy Adventures, featuring a slightly overweight fairy, who is brave with a heart of gold called Tinker Tanker, and for children in the area, built a fairy garden  in a large grass verge. It grew and grew and children from a large area came to look at it, so I am now putting a little book together called, ‘My Fairy Garden’ and inviting children from the local schools to me to send me drawings of their fairies and putting them in my book which will be free. Irrespective of whether they are poor or rich or have disabilities…makes no difference to me.

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

It is a two book series for middle-graders called The Moon and the Magic Box and A Box Full of Aliens.

The theme is based on a popular series of books from the 40’s by Enid Blyton called ‘The Famous Five’ I have 4 boys, a girl, and their dog called Nesbit. They are visited by an alien from the moon called Pangy, who when he speaks, sounds a little like Arnold Schwarzenegger!

( Have attached the covers) link: https://amzn.to/37kdjVw

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!

Through my acting, I am a method actor, I have the skill to construct a believable character and the world they live in, plus the fact I have the mentality of a 6-year-old. I see snippets in films, or books from the past that all get stored in my mind from Michael Moorcock to Pride and Prejudice.

7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!

Don’t really have one, but generally, up, coffee, powerwalk then write before, after and later. All my days merge into one, so don’t have a weekend as such. I am never worried about ‘writer’s block’ which would never affect me. I write when the need takes me.

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to become an author, what would it be?

I hate the marketing thing. It can send me to sleep. But I made the huge mistake in putting all my eggs in one basket. ie all books with Amazon. It came to the release of my epic fantasy series The Wand Chronicles. For 17 days no one could find the books, and then for 7 days when they could be found, they all said ‘Unavailable to purchase!’ So I would tell myself to place all my books with everyone ie Kobo, Goodreads, iBooks Draft2Digital etc as well as Amazon.

9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!

https://www.facebook.com/Thetalentedauthor

https://twitter.com/wandchronicles

(@wandchronicles)

Pintrest:  https://www.pinterest.co.uk/thewandchronicles/_created/

https://www.instagram.com/thewandchronicles/?hl=en (thewandchronicles)

https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-ross-280532166/

Instagram: thewandchronicles

Amazon author page (USA) :

https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Ross/e/B075PGWMSK/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads author dashboard: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard?ref=nav_profile_authordash

Website: www.thewand.me

Some reader love!

🕯️ Gotta share some reader love! 🖤

✯✯✯✯✯ “A grim and bloody tale of faith, forbidden love and revenge that will have you at the edge of your seat and wishing for more!” – The Magic Book Corner 🖤

🕯️ As humans engage in a sweeping war against demonkind, a Priestess of the Light is forced to choose between heart and duty. Fate, prophecies, and an impossible love will blur the very line between good and evil.

🕯️ Read more about the first book of the series, The Power of Conviction, here: https://buff.ly/2LUjOXC

Author Interview: Samantha Evans

Check out this author spotlight for fantasy writer Samantha Evans!

You can find all the links for where to find her furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out her books!

1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!

Born in Northern California.  I am a wife, mother to three amazing children, and author of fantasy and adventure. Brings adventure with a mix of fantasy to the pages. Something I love to do is watch movies with my husband. (That’s what happens when I am married to a screenplay author) Also, I love reading books in the fantasy genre. Like for example Game of Thrones, and the Lord of the Rings. Advocate for people who have Russel Silver Syndrome. It is a genetic condition that my youngest son was diagnosed with when he was eleven months old. It affects his growth and will be small in weight, and height by the time he is grown up. Many parents have children with this that is out there. Writing is my passion, and I love creating stories for people to read.

2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Winter, spring, summer or autumn? Autumn. Because my oldest son was born right before Halloween. So Halloween is a time that we treasure a lot as a family.

Morning or evening? Evening because it is the time I can relax. Because I have three children under the age of six. Knowing that it is the time that I can write.

Mountains or beaches? Being a coastal California girl I love the ocean. It can be so relaxing!

Standalone or series? Series is the way to go! Because when it comes to telling a detailed story it can sometimes take more than one book.

Book or ebook? Both of them! Some books are just meant to be a book and not a digital book.

3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

It is simple it has to be interesting. More so I love fantasy. Seeing how authors create their own worlds. How they make it interesting.

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!

Since late 2019, all the way until last year I wrote a four-book fantasy fiction series. Called The Land of the Four Series.

It comprises of these books:

  • Ella
  • Blood Brothers
  • The Secret Son
  • The Other Side

Another series I am creating is already in the works. I have completed one book, and it is with my editor! It is still in the fantasy genre. But it is secretive, and I am not telling hardly anything about it.

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

I wrote the 4th book in The Land of the Four Series. It is called, “ The Other Side.” People would have to read Ella to understand the book. I will comprise the link to Ella, and The Other Side.

 (Ella) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08224GMZF

(The Other Side)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08LCTDN16

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!

I use my favorite authors for inspiration. J.R.R. Tolkien created Middle Earth in the lord of the rings! George R. Martin created the Westeros in Game of Thrones. Both authors created their own words and made their stories never boring. Always something happening in the book.

7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!

Simple I wait till my children are asleep. I write from like 8:30 at night, and I see what I have done around 11 at night. Sometimes I continue on until I cannot write for the rest of the night.

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to become an author, what would it be?

I would talk about Marketing! Because when you are a self-published author marketing is what people have to do themselves. It is hard, and I did not know the art of it until I was writing for over six months.

9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!

Here are all my social media links:

https://www.instagram.com/sammerz149/

https://www.facebook.com/Sammerz149

https://samanthaevansauthor.home.blog/

https://twitter.com/Sammerz1149

March is flying by!

🌸 March is flying by, leaving little room for leisure 😅 And my desk is a mess. It’s a little cramped on space, hence the 2 laptops beside one another 🤣

🌸 Anyway, I’ve now reached 70k words on my current WIP, book 5 of The Light of Darkness series! 🖤

🌸 And the part I’m up to? Well, let’s just say shit is about to hit the fan 😂

Author Interview: Chris Lodwig

Check out this author spotlight for science fiction writer Chris Lodwig!

You can find all the links for where to find him furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!

1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!

I live in Seattle with my wife, daughter, two dogs, and an unlikely number of shrimp.

I spent my younger years playing music, throwing illegal parades, adult science fairs, underground Mexican wrestling matches, and bring-your-own art parties. My fifteen minutes of fame came from clandestinely installing a monolith and other sculptures in local parks early in this century. These days, I write science fiction, volunteer at my kid’s school, fly fish, and run the neighbourhood haunted alley. In my free time, I work at a major technology company in the Seattle area.

2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Cat or dog? Dog. I’m a gregarious and social guy. I like being out in the world, talking with friends and doing things. A dog will get right in there with me. The more I do, the cooler they think I am. Whereas it seems that the more fun I have, the more cats judge me. That said, I do like cats and have lived with several. But these days we’re stocking up on canines.

Library or museums? Museums. I can take in a ton of historical artifacts, fossils, art, air and space gadgetry, etc. in the time it takes me to read half a book. So, while I love libraries on every level, I would choose a museum based purely on the bits-of-new-information-acquired-per minute metric.

Hunter or gatherer? I like to fly fish which feels like a combination of both. I sneak around in the woods and look for food under logs. Though at the end of the day I let all the fish go, so perhaps I’m bad at both hunting and gathering.

Pen and paper or computer/phone? All of the above depending on what I’m doing. It’s sort of like asking a carpenter if they prefer a hammer or saw. I use pen and paper when I’m trying to break through a log jam.  I use a computer when I’m laying things out, or editing, or when everything is coming extremely easy. I use a phone to write on the bus or in the middle of the night in hotel rooms so I don’t wake up my family.  Each of these has a dramatically different effect on my writing style and I’ve learned to use them each to achieve specific effects. 

Book or ebook? Audio book. I like being read to and I enjoy a good narrator’s ability to bring characters alive. I wrote Systemic specifically to be an audio book. And that’s the version I point people to whenever I can.

3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

I’m a bit of a sucker for the young person who doesn’t know what they have in them trope. They might be a braver hobbit than they thought or a savant space fleet commander, or a good witch who doesn’t know her own power. I like to watch people discover a power within themselves.  I’m also a big fan of reality bending, where things aren’t what they appear. I think that also comes down to discovery. I think that the nature of reality is vastly different than we think it is, so anything that chips away at the edifice and helps our minds accommodate alternate possible explanations for experience interests me.

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!

Systemic is definitely a sci-fi novel.  There is a global AI, autonomous vehicles, picture-perfect virtual reality, memory manipulation, and massive social upheaval.

I’m currently working on the sequel which—without giving too much of Systemic away—is necessarily far less sci-fi. Still, it sits squarely in the realm of speculative fiction. 

I might have a fantasy story or two running around in the back of my mind, so I think I’ll just go with “speculative fiction.” 

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

Title: Systemic

Overview: The book is somewhere between a utopia and dystopia depending on who you ask. It takes place several generations in the future. We’ve created a super-massive AI and for years, it’s been solving all of society’s problems. But what happens to us when we don’t have any problems left to solve?

The story itself focuses on three strangers who are each making a pilgrimage to a small town in the middle of the Sagelands called Prower. Maik is chasing the woman he loves, Eryn hopes to make it home, and Lem is seeking revenge against the AI that’s hosted in the abandoned mines beneath the town.

Without giving too much away, no one knows the real reasons they’re headed to Prower, but it has something to do with their pasts and solving the problem of humanity no longer having problems to solve.

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!

There were a few ideas I was interested in exploring, things I think about a lot that I wanted to get down on paper and structure a story around.

I’m a bit obsessed with the vagaries of memory. We all like to think our memories record facts and play them back verbatim, but that’s not true. Our memories job is to tell us stories about our past that keep us alive. Your memory doesn’t care if it has to insert and embellish. In fact, it turns out we don’t remember the actual events of the past at all. Rather, we remember the last time we remembered the same event. Our memories are disturbingly untrustworthy, and yet we build our entire reality on them.

Also, I am completely horrified by the current political environment, and the willful destruction of truth. I was thinking—and still am thinking—about whether and how we can ever get back to a place where we have a general agreement about facts. I tried to imagine something that could solve that problem; a generally accepted non-partisan arbiter of truth, and the System was born. Along with the many things that it does, the System deep fact-checks whatever you ask it to. In the book, “Systemic” is synonymous with “true” or “correct”, hence the title.

Strangely, the majority of novels I’ve read and movies I’ve seen that share a lot of DNA with Systemic I read after I wrote the book. Several of these were recommended to me by readers who, upon reading Systemic, insisted I check them out.  Iain M. Banks’ Consider Phlebas. Systemic is in no way a space opera, but the Culture has a lot in common with the System. Gareth L. Powell’s Embers of War. Again, Systemic is not a space opera, but Arley in my book is reminiscent of the sentient ships like The Trouble Dog.  The movie, “All Things Beautiful are Far Away.”

Things I know inspired it, were Asimov’s Foundation and I Robot. Movies like the Matrix, and Memento.  Tons of stuff by Philip K. Dick. I had read Station 11 by Emily St John Mandel pretty early on when I was writing Systemic, and while the story doesn’t have a lot in common with Ms. Mandel’s novel, I think it has a very similar atmosphere. It’s empty and sparse in a lot of ways. The sequel even more so.

7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!

I have a very structured writing routine. I find that’s necessary if I ever hope to get anything done given my job and family.I’m not getting as much writing done now as I once did.

Pre-Covid (and hopefully post-Covid)

  • 6AM – Get up and get ready for work
  • 6:50 – leave for the bus – listen to NPR, or Pod-casts, or audio books
  • 7:10 – catch bus and write until I arrive at work (7:40)
  • 7:50-8:30 – write in the cafeteria.
  • 4:50 catch the bus and write until I’m home (5:30)
  • About half the nights I wake up and write for a couple hours in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. (it’s 3:24 AM as I write this)
  • 2 – 3 hours on Saturday and Sunday

Covid

  • 6AM – Get up and work out, take the dog for a long walk. Listen to NPR, or Pod-casts, or audio books
  • 7:10 – 8:30 – write in the basement with a break for breakfast
  • A couple hours of insomniac writing in the middle of the night a few times a week.
  • Write about 2 – 3 hours on Saturday and Sunday

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to become an author, what would it be?

Don’t take yourself so seriously, and don’t try so damn hard to be brilliant. Write what comes easily to you because that’s what you’re interested in. People want to come along for the ride. Don’t worry if it’s crap. You can, and definitely should, edit it later. You can even throw it away.

9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!

More artwork…

🌸 Here’s more of my latest piece of digital art 🖌️ Full cover soon to be revealed!

🌸 No idea when I’ll publish the story that goes along with it though 🤣 But um… this year, sometime 😂

Author Interview: Merri Halma

Check out this author spotlight for fantasy writer Merri Halma!

You can find all the links for where to find her furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out her books!

1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!

Thank you for having me. I’m Merri Halma. I’m originally from Central Washington State.  I now reside in the Treasure Valley in Idaho with my husband and son. I’ve been a writer since I was eleven years old. I write fantasy with metaphysical visionary elements. I have four novels out in the Indigo Travelers world and a paranormal/romance called The Haunting of Powell Hall.

2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
I love spring and summer because the days are warm. I rather be warm than freezing in the snow and ice of winter.

Cat or dog?
Cat, most definitely. When I was a kid, we had dogs. I showed them in 4-H and AKC. After I grew up, I fell in love with cats because they are more independent and love on me in a way that dogs don’t.  Though, I miss walking an animal. My son tried to lease train one of our cats when we first adopted him. But he was too old. He just flopped down in the street and wouldn’t move any further. We were disappointed. When I think about it, it is quite funny. I should have taken a photo of that.

Library or museums?
I like both. I could spend hours in each place because they both inspire me to dream. Museums house art, history and I can learn about civilizations that thrived eons ago. I can also learn about artists that might not have gotten the respect and admiration of their time, like Van Gogh. I can do the same in a library. In addition, I can sit in a study room or at a table and write or roam the floors looking at books and researching in subject possible. Both are places to inspire dreams and stories.

Witches or wizards?
I would say it is a tossup. Though, I do lean towards Wizards because they encompass so many possibilities, like education, wisdom and knowledge of ancient paths or civilizations. Though, witches have the same possibilities, it is just their true stories have been tainted with undermining the wisdom of the divine feminine. Witches or crones used to be the women in the village or tribe that kept the knowledge and stories of how to heal, travel between worlds and which herbs and plants to use for healing. As civilizations matured and grew more male centered, the knowledge of wise woman became feared. There needs to be a balance – Witches and wizards can be either gender.  

Mountains or beaches?
I love mountains because of the beauty of the majesty of them rising above the flat lands. Though, I also love beaches, even though I haven’t been to a true beach since I was five years old.  I love being by bodies of water, even if it is man made.

Plotter or pantser?
I’m a mix of the two. Though, I lean towards panser. I usually have a rough idea of what I want to happen, and get started on it, then pause, do more research and go back to write more.

Pen and paper or computer/phone?
I like to use the computer to write. I store my manuscripts on USB drives. My husband complains that I have too many of them, but I do label each one.

Standalone or series?
I have one standalone book, Haunting of Powell Hall and one series that will have four books in the main series (The Indigo Travelers) and three companion novels.  I have one companion novel (Lynx on Fire) and I’m working on the second companion novel.

Book or ebook?
I prefer to read books. It is hard to be reading on an e-reader tablet. I like flipping paper pages, too.

3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

I usually go to the fantasy /science fiction genre. I love dragons, comedy, like Terry Pratchett, Discworld, and series like Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson. Though, almost any book with a dragon and other magical beings are good, too.

4. What do you write?

I write Fantasy with metaphysical/visionary elements in it. My target audience is middle grade/YA.

Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!

I’m currently working on the second companion book in the Indigo Traveler world. It’s called Ian Temple and the Search for the Wisdom Trees. It centres around Ian Temple, who hears the call of the trees, but wherever he goes, he cannot find them. Then a strange cat shows up in his backyard and tells him he is an Indigo teen, but Ian doesn’t understand. The strange cat offers to introduce him to others who are indigos, too, that can help him. Meanwhile, the shadow people in Arbor are destroying the Banyan Trees. Ian sees the shadow people out of the corner of his eyes. One tells him not to pursue looking for the Wisdom Tree Temple, but if he does he will die.  But the trees need him.  I don’t have a release date, yet.

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

My latest link is Lynx on Fire, An Indigo Travelers Companion Novel.

Lynx stares into the bonfire flames, seeing a young werecub being bullied by his oldest brother. Later, he dreams of that cub being burned alive and grizzly bear dancing around the flames, eager to see the cub punished for being a demon cat without a soul. Lynx tries to safe the cub, but whenever he gets close, he sees himself on flames, whimpering, “I’m not a demon cat.”  Lynx, a shapeshifter who prefers to look like a Main Coon cat, doesn’t know his true shape since he doesn’t remember his world of origin. A bear who thinks he’s a god seeks to give Lynx the soul he is missing. Lynx ends up in world of werecats and more bear gods. He learns he must go through an initiation of fire to become his true self. Will he become the demon others believe him to be? Or will he harness the flames to become something else?

https://amzn.to/39IrXrz

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!

My first character originally was based on my son when he was younger. As I wrote and developed Xander Veh, he took on a life of his own. Though, there is likely more a part of myself in each of my characters, with a few exceptions.

 The book I am currently writing started with one line from the Moody Blues Tuesday Afternoon: “The Trees are calling (or drawing me near) to me. I got to find out why.” I wanted to know why the trees are calling to the person in the ballad. 

7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!

I’m usually up early- 6:00 am or earlier- feed my two cats, do some other necessary things and fix myself breakfast and then sit down to read that morning Doonesbury strip and scan Facebook and scan the news headlines, than log off those sites and start writing. I’m trying to spend about two or more hours writing and thinking about what I’m doing. Then I do household chores and run errands before trying to figure out dinner for the evening.

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to become an author, what would it be?

Read those Writer’s Digests your dad ordered for you when you were a teen. Try harder. Embrace your desire to write and be published and see it as possible. Ignore those who say you cannot do it or make money at writing.

9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!

https://www.facebook.com/authormerrihalma

https://twitter.com/MerriHalma

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/merri-halma

https://www.instagram.com/merrihalma/

https://amzn.to/3l8nS28

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