Catrin Russell

🖤 Write, read, review, repeat 🖤

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Author Interview: Joshua Grant

Check out this author spotlight for Joshua Grant!

You can find all his links 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!

Thank you so much for having me, Catrin!  You’re a fantastic writer and it’s such an honor to be interviewed by you!  I’m bestselling author and comic creator Josh Grant.  I’ve lived a crazy life, having stared down numerous bears, sailed the ocean blue, and survived a flash flood and being trapped in the mountains for several days!  Still, I love the simple things and just connecting and growing alongside people.

Professionally speaking, I used to be an actor before becoming an elementary teacher and eventually an author.  These days, I’m mostly working on comics and a video game, but I’ve recently broke into the world of film as well!

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

Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
Summer all the way, baby!  I’m a warm weather mammal!

Cat or dog?
I know it’s not popular, but I’m a cat person!  Dogs scare me!  I was actually mauled by a dog when I was younger, and they can sense my fear and just want to eat me all the time!

Tea or coffee?
Soda, but I really want to like coffee, I just don’t.

Morning or evening?
I’m very much a night owl.  I don’t know what it is, but the night just awakens my spirit.

Library or museums?
I actually have a side job at a museum, so I’ll have to choose that.  I also never got a library card because I can’t stand the thought that someone else is waiting for the book I’m reading.

Hunter or gatherer?
Cannibal!  I actually hunt the gatherers, mwhahaha!  Just kidding.  I’m more of a gatherer.

Witches or wizards?
Wizards!  Gandalf is one of my favorite literary characters ever and it’s really fun to say ‘it’s wizard’s chess, Harry!’

Ninjas or pirates?
Samurai!

Mountains or beaches?
I live right next to the mountains and love them, but when I vacation I go to a beach.  So…not sure I guess?

Plotter or pantser?
A bit of both really.  I plot things out in my brain in general, and then I play around in the chapter to see where things take me.

Pen and paper or computer/phone?
I handwrite all my books and eventually type them up.  It’s a problem since I have a million piles of papers lying around my home!  My cat loves to roll in them!

Standalone or series?
I have a terrible habit of starting a million series without continuing them!  I’m working on continuing them, it’s just slow going.

Book or ebook?
Ebooks are where I make all my money, but I always have a paper copy available since that’s what I love to read.  There’s just no replacement for the smell of paper and the weight of a good book in your hands.

Hero or anti-hero?
I love them both!  All my books typically have a mixture of both heroes and anti-heroes.

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

Growing up, I absolutely loved Star Wars.  When I really started reading in college, I would pretty much exclusively read Star Wars books.  Ultimately, I love stories where a group is battling against some evil empire or another.  I also love stories with a spiritual or moral aspect integrated into it as well as morally conflicted characters!

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

I write in a whole variety of genres (I have a really hard time just choosing one).  I started in the industry by writing Pandora and Jericho, my bestselling horror novels.  Not sure why I started there since I’m actually a big scaredy cat myself, haha!  I then did several young adult sci fi and fantasy novels.

Last year, I decided to branch out and create a comic book.  My comic The Lost Boy is a gritty modern retelling of Peter Pan where Peter becomes a vigilante crime fighting superhero (like Batman).  I was brand new to comics, so it really shocked me when The Lost Boy became a number one bestseller right off the bat!  I’ve since shifted all my focus to comics lately.  I’m currently about to publish Another Zombie Apocalypse, a collection of short zombie comics that are very different takes on the classic zombie formula (but they’re all secretly connected and build towards a big twist)!  That comes out in October 2022, and you can even be drawn into the comic as a zombie by searching ‘Another Zombie Apocalypse’ on Kickstarter (campaign ends April 12)!  I’m also converting my young adult fantasy book The Fifth Ascendant into a comic (and am so excited for that) as well as working on a video game!

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

Recently, I finished The Lost Boy’s first season.  It was really fun to dive into a classic fairytale like Peter Pan and reimagine it in our modern world and also as a vigilante crime thriller!  It was a fun challenge finding that right balance between being true to a character and doing something new with them.  I really enjoyed Peter’s story arc, and I especially had fun exploring some of the characters who don’t get much focus in the original story like The Gentleman or Princess Tiger Lily (Lily was such a fun character to delve into)!  I’ll be producing the second season of The Lost Boy this coming year where I’ll integrate characters and plots from The Wizard of Oz into it and can’t wait!

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!

A lot of characters in my books tend to deal with some moral dilemma or a loss of some kind.  A lot of this comes from things I’ve experienced personally.  I’ve had many challenging things thrown at me in life, but I’ve learned through the struggle that there’s always hope and the human heart is stronger and larger than anyone ever knows.  The characters in my books tend to reflect this.

And my books are quite heavily inspired by various shows and video games!  My horror series is deeply inspired by Resident Evil.  The Fifth Ascendant is my love letter to Final Fantasy and Avatar The Last Airbender.  And The Lost Boy has deep roots in Daredevil and of course Batman.  I also love Lois Lowry’s works (The Giver), so I try to capture some of the emotion and depth she seamlessly builds in her works!

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

My life is ruled by a pile of sticky notes, haha!  I get these crazy ideas for stories and jot them on sticky notes, so my house looks like I’m some detective trying to hunt a serial killer or something!  When a story gets caught in my brain and I can’t stop thinking about it, I write it.  I tend the plot the whole story in my head, but I don’t write down my plot since I feel like it’s already written then.  I then tend to write a chapter or comic section a day on good old paper.  Typing the story is my first line of revision followed by several more readthroughs and rewrites.  I tend to shelve the book for a month or so and come back and look it over with fresh eyes before finally going to publish.

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

Honestly, I don’t think I have any.  Trying things out and seeing what works and what doesn’t is such a huge and important part of the writing experience.  I guess I would say to myself and anyone, don’t be afraid to try something new and don’t be afraid to fail.  It’s all part of the fun of writing!  I would also probably tell myself not to print 5,000 business cards for my first book Pandora, haha!  I still have about 4,954 of them hanging out beneath my desk!

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

Thank you so much for featuring me, Catrin!  I’m truly honored!  I love connecting with people, so anyone can seak me out via the links below!

Josh’s author website:

Diabolic Shrimp Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp5fRXb9o-yIOgzZsjl8BCw

Josh’s books on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Joshua-Grant/e/B01M62JM1J

Another Zombie Apocalypse Kickstarter campaign:

Author Interview: Jeff Chapman

Check out this author spotlight for Jeff Chapman!

You can find all his links 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!

Jeff explores fantasy worlds through fiction and is the author of The Merliss Tales fantasy series, The Huckster Tales weird western series, and The Comic Cat Tales series.. Trained in history and computer science, Jeff writes software by day and explores the fantastic when he should be sleeping. His fiction ranges from fairy tales to fantasy to ghost stories. His short stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines. He’s not ashamed to say he’s addicted to dark hot chocolate and he loves cats. Jeff lives with his wife, children, and cats in a house with more books than bookshelf space.

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? Definitely cat. I’ve been a cat person all my life. I think felines and I understand each other, and there’s nothing more relaxing than a purring cat curled up on your lap.

Tea or coffee or mocha? Mocha. I love dark chocolate, and a hint of bitterness in my hot chocolate makes it all the better.

Morning or evening? Evening. I wish I was a morning person but my body says otherwise. I do most of my writing in the evening hours and often after midnight.

Plotter or pantser? Pantser. I’ve tried to be a plotter but I’ve found my best ideas come to me while I’m writing. That’s when the creative juices are cooking. I often know where and how the story will end, but how I get there is a mystery to be discovered. Sometimes the ending changes as well if I come up with a better idea.

Book or ebook or audiobook? I enjoy all three but I’ve come to prefer audiobooks. It’s amazing how many mindless tasks we do in a day. With an audiobook, you can fill those wasted hours with story. And they’re free from the library.

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

A fantasy featuring cats will always attract my attention. So, if there’s a cat on the cover, I will always pick up the book and take a closer look. I prefer historical rather than modern days settings. The level of magic isn’t a big draw for me. I’m as happy to read a Brandon Sanderson with its highly developed magic system as I am to read a Robert E. Howard with its undefined magic. I also like stories about characters who are not at the top of society nor are they on the road to being at the top of society.

Created with GIMP

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

My focus at this time is a fantasy series called The Merliss Tales. Merliss is the spirit of a young woman who has been trapped inside the body of a gray cat. She had been training to become a healer/shaman, so she retains some magical abilities, but she lives as a cat. The magic which transferred her spirit to the cat gives her physical body an unusually long life. We’re talking thousands of years, which means I have opportunities for many stories spanning many time periods with the same protagonist. Merliss aids her human companions in their battles with disease and supernatural threats.

I’ve written two novels in the series (The Great Contagion and Cat Sidhe) and a short story “The Water Wight.” I’m working on a Merliss novel titled The Breath of the Sea, which is set several centuries in the future from the first two novels. City of Cats–the next novel in the Cat Sidhe story—is also in the works. If you want to try out The Merliss Tales for free, “The Water Wight” is available on StoryOrigin: https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/3cddcb88-c607-11ea-8a9a-878925005b51.

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

My most recent fantasy novel release is The Sniggard’s Revenge. This is a YA-fantasy about a young man’s quest to win a girl’s heart using an item he found in a haunted barrow. The Sniggard—the ancient guardian of the barrow—wants the item back. Events go from bad to worse to far worse. Blood is shed and the protagonist makes a couple trips to Faerie, a place filled with strange people and many dangers. I had intended The Sniggard’s Revenge to be a standalone but there’s more to the story, so a sequel is in the planning. You can find The Sniggard’s Revenge at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09BDVHDWL.

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from?

The idea for Merliss came from a cat that my family rescued.

I came home one fall day to find a small gray cat sitting in front of the garage. I had seen this cat before but never had a good look at it. I had usually glimpsed it at night or twilight and a gray cat in the dark appears to be little more than a shadow. I had assumed it belonged to someone in the neighbourhood. I was so wrong. It was starving. I could see every bone in its ribs. Pus was visible beneath one eye. The cat meowed at me. My wife came out the breezeway door at that moment. The cat trotted toward her and tried to enter our house.

We gave the cat some food and water. It ate like it had never seen food before. My daughters surrounded the cat so it wouldn’t run away, but I believe at this point the cat had decided it was going to live with us. We coaxed it into a carrier and took it to an emergency vet. The cat, which we named Smokey, was not sick with any life-threatening disease. She was dehydrated, malnourished (only 5.5 pounds), suffering from an upper respiratory infection and an eye infection, and had a million fleas.

Several hours and several hundred dollars later, we returned home with two antibiotics and a sick cat. We quarantined her in the breezeway. Out other cats spent a lot of time sniffing at the back door.

Smokey responded well to the medicines and our TLC. She gained weight and proved to be incredibly well-tempered. She wasn’t the cutest kitty on the block but certainly the sweetest. We soon discovered that she was deaf and missing an upper and lower canine. We had no idea of her age, but Smokey appeared to have been up and down the alley a few times. When her quarantine period ended, Smokey moved into the house.

We speculated a lot about Smokey’s past. What stories would she tell if she could talk? The speculation got me thinking about characters based on an old cat. Somehow, I made the leap of pairing a human spirit with a cat’s body. In the fantasy world I was developing, this pairing would grant the animal’s body unusually long life, but injuries would accumulate. Merliss was born.

Unfortunately, Smokey passed away after two and a half very good years with us. Her health had been declining and then x-rays revealed painful bone tumours in her sternum. Taking her to the final vet appointment and staying with her until the end is one of the roughest tasks I’ve experienced.

Smokey’s memory lives on the character of Merliss. The cat silhouettes in the map and at the beginning of each chapter were made from pictures of Smokey.

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

I do some sort of writing activity every day. Some days it’s editing as opposed to creating completely new content. Until a few years ago I did my initial writing with pen and paper, but I found typing the manuscripts was taking too long and I couldn’t always read what I had written. Now I do my initial writing on a tablet and then transfer the first draft to a writing program (I use yWriter) for organizing and polishing.

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

Don’t get discouraged and read more books. I know. That’s two pieces of advice but I couldn’t decide between them. It’s easy to become depressed and quit when you feel like no one is reading anything you write, but you must continue plugging away. A failed writer is one who quits. Some famous writer (it may have been Hemingway) said a writer should have read everything already.

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

http://www.jeffchapmanbooks.com

https://www.goodreads.com/JeffChapman

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jeff-chapman

https://www.facebook.com/JeffChapmanWriter

https://www.amazon.com/Jeffery-Chapman/e/B004YQ2ZWW

Just some reader love!!

🔥 Sunday Shoutout to @books_with_madi for her wonderful review of The Power of Conviction 😍 Thank you so much!! 🔥

Repost below ❤️

Book: The Power of Conviction, by: Catrin Russell

•no spoiler review below•

Okay wow I don’t even know where to start, this book was 5 stars without a doubt! It usually takes a few chapters for me to get into a book, but this one had me hooked from the start. We follow Anaya, a demon hunting priestess who’s only ever known that demons are heartless creatures; and Samael, a powerful demon who’s taken an interest in Anaya. The slow burn romance between these two had me unable to put this book down. I finished this in a day, which only ever happens when I’ve got a really good page turner. I think what I also loved so much was the 3rd person pov, but it wasn’t just for Anaya and Samael, we got to see the prospective of all the other characters. This aspect definitely had me falling in love with some of these amazing characters. I love how Samael makes Anaya doubt her beliefs, and exposes her to ideas she’d never thought of before. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the series goes. Trust me when I say, you need to buy this series and experience this amazing world for yourself!! Additional Info: this book has an enemies to lover trope, which who doesn’t love that! I personally would rate the spice in this book a 3.5/5, keeping in mind that’s coming from someone who doesn’t normally read books with spice.

Thank you so much @catrinrussellauthor for allowing me to review this book for you, it was amazing in every aspect and I can’t wait to read book 2!!

Author Interview: Desiree Scott

Check out this author spotlight for Desiree Scott!

You can find all her links 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!

I was born and raised in the beautiful Show Me State and currently live with my husband and three children in the Midwest. I have been writing for over 15 years and write romantic suspense, paranormal , and contemporary romances. Growing up, I’ve always enjoyed writing and crafting different stories and plots. I have my Masters in English and Creative Writing. I am the author of the upcoming Perfect Game Series, Perfect Bait and Perfect Finale. When I’m not writing, I am  spending quality time with my friends and family.

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?
Summer because I love the heat, swimming, wearing shorts, and getting up before the sun, sitting outside with my laptop, and creating worlds of fiction!

Cat or dog?
Cats. I have two and they have personalities all their own!

Tea or coffee?
Coffee – I’m a coffee drinker and could not function without it!

Morning or evening?
Morning – I think better and am more productive. Towards the evening, my energy begins to drain!

Mountains or beaches?
Beaches – I love the ocean and the life that is within.

Plotter or pantser?
Plotter – I could not and can not, write without a plot and direction of where my story is going.

Pen and paper or computer/phone?
Computer and phone. I type faster than I can write and have to be able to keep up with my brain!

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

Drama filled romance

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings! I write paranormal, suspense, and contemporary romance.

I am currently working on the third book in my vendetta series about an undercover fighting ring and the next set of characters and the expansion of the plot!

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

My writing routine is usually in the morning, before the house wakes up and I’m talking like 4 am in the morning until about 6 or 7. Then if I have time between naps and work, I try to squeeze some more writing in through the day but that comes and goes with the schedule of the kids and my own work.

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

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn

Blog

Website

Amazon Link

Book Review: Found in Roll

📚 Review time! 📚

📚 Found in Roll by Stephanie B. Whitfield @authorstephaniebwhit

📚 My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Found in Roll is the third and final part of the Roll trilogy, and it’s a great ending to a fabulous little YA series.

Jo is as spunky as she’s always been, hanging out with her friend Mary, going to school, chatting about boys, and performing her magic. Being a witch isn’t easy, and when a new girl moves to town who also seem able to wield magic, Jo sees her chance to gain her first witch best friend. This new girl also happens to have a super hot brother, which puts a spanner in the works in more ways than one.

But as always, not everything is all roses and sunshine. There is a reason for this new girl’s, Astrid’s, appearance. Dangerous hunters are on their tail, and Jo is dragged into the middle of it, forced to perform the most evil of magic to save those she loves.

Found in Roll is a sweet, fast-paced and clean YA read, but with a bit of romance and plenty of magic. I love the witty inner monologue from Jo and how authentic she feels to the age that she is. This book made me laugh and smile with her, as well as bite my nails when things took a turn for the worse later on.

For anyone in the mood for a clean YA Urban Fantasy, this one is for you!

Author Interview: John W. Wells III

Check out this author spotlight for John W. Wells III!

You can find all his links 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!

Hello! My name is John Wells, I love long walks on the beach, and candlelit dinners… Okay, I am only joking… Well, not about the long walks on the beach, or the dinner. But that is because I’m a San Diego Native, and who doesn’t love the beach and food? Let’s see, about me. Well, I am a nerd with a wild imagination. I love fantasy and the supernatural, which is why I write about them. When I was in the third grade, I picked up my first animorphs book and I haven’t left the genre since. It got so bad, that I even thought I was an animorph for a period of time… I wish I was joking but I am not. I truly did. I am a Storyteller, I love telling stories in all forms, books, plays, movies, I love a good story. I am also a loving dog dad of two beautiful pitbull mix breeds (thought one looks more pit than the other). But enough about me, let’s talk about you! No, seriously, I think that’s all I can think of right now.

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? I love both. I am an animal kind of guy. But I own two dogs so I am going to go with them.

Library or museums? Library… You can just do so much there… read, study, nap. I’ve done all of the above.

Witches or wizards? Wizards… totally going to be a wizard so  I can shoot lightning from my fingertips like Gandalf.

Ninjas or pirates? I’ve always liked Ninja’s because of stealth… But pirates have more fun.

Plotter or pantser? I am a total plotter. I have learned the hard way that pantsing does not end well for me.

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

I am a sucker for the underdog. I love a sympathetic character learning how to rise up and overcoming unimaginable odds.

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

Well I write YA Urban Fantasy, and I am super excited about the release of my second book, The Heir of Ambrose which releases in March. My first book was released not too long ago and I am still very proud of it. And my third book will be released at the end of this year.

Here’s a little synopsis of the book series!

Kalib Andrew’s, discovers that maybe his life isn’t as normal as he thought it was. Not that it was ever really “normal” to begin with. He is the adopted son of the mayor, a detail that he never quite felt comfortable sharing, mostly because he always suspected that he was his adopted parents, the Donovan’s, “Humanitarian purchase.” Adopting the underprivileged African-American kid was good for their image. But when strange things start happening in town, like, a creepy-smelly-shadow-demon-thingy appearing out of nowhere and trying to kill him on the street during his walk home from work one day, Kalib starts to think that maybe there’s more going on in town, than he originally suspected. And furthermore, he starts to wonder if maybe, somehow, whatever was going on in town, had something to do with him.

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

I will see that the Release closest to now is the release of the Heir of Ambrose! The second book in the series. This book releases March 7th and I couldn’t be happier about it! Legend has it that “Ambrose,” the first Magicborne, was behind the annihilation of the Angel Warriors. Now, Kalib fears that the mysterious Heir of Ambrose is determined to fulfill his predecessor’s vendetta both against him and his kind. And when citizens of Hainesville suddenly begin to vanish he becomes more convinced than ever that this heir is coming for him. But the real question that Kalib is struggling to answer is… Should he let him?

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 pull from every aspect of life. I have pulled from my own familial and friendship relationships. I have pulled from mythology, and history. I am not sure if I have a primary form of fictional inspiration. But I do love a good fantasy show or book. Rick Riordan, is a good source of inspiration. Harry Potter as well. The TV show Supernatural. Even the Bible!

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

I normally wake up early in the morning between normally between 4am-and 6:30am and I start writing everyday. I believe in putting words on a page. So the most important thing I can do is write. Normally, before I start working on a story, I will outline and I try to outline until there is nothing else to outline. This is a new thing I am trying, or else my ADD will take me every place it can take me while writing the story, so I am trying to focus that in by outlining to the minute detail, we will see how that will work on my upcoming books. And then I just write, everyday, I aim for 2k words a day, hoping to up that a bit this year. Maybe 3k or 4k but I don’t want to set unattainable goals, I want to allow myself room to grow.

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

FINISH! Just keep writing. It took me entirely too long to finish my first book, not because I was slow, but because I didn’t keep writing. My advice to myself would have been to finish the book. Outline. And then write.

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

Back to writing!!

🌺 Finally back to writing!! 🌺

🌺 It’s been quite some time since I wrote regularly, on any project, mainly due to my studies and the fact I’ve worked on a thesis and whatever else since the start of 2022. Also, working alongside @jez.jameson has been a big part of my “break,” since I’ve wanted to get the Light of Darkness books ready for him and help proof the audiobooks as they are produced. It’s so much fun, but it does take a bit of time 😅❤️

🌺 Anyway, right now, I’ve picked up my next upcoming release, which will be a standalone (hopefully novella) romantic fantasy with some folklore influences. It has so far been lots of fun to write, and I hope people will enjoy it once it’s ready for release 😍🙏❤️ (Also, if all goes well, I’ll be sending this one to Jez to be made into audio too 😘)

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