Sunday Spotlight: Scott Kinkade, Author of God School

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Sunday Spotlight is a weekly scheme I am running to bring publicity to lesser known authors who, in the book blogging community, it is important to support. If you are an author and you wish to be considered for it please email me at emily.confessionsofa with 'Author Spotlight' in the subject line.

Visiting with us at Confessions of a Bookaholic today is Scott Kinkade, author of God School who is sharing a guest post with us today. 

About Scott:
I write science fiction. I frequently imagine a past that never was, and futures that never will be.
I run a sci-fi blog where I post book and movie reviews.
I also work to educate people about the reality of living with clinical depression and Asperger's via my YouTube channel.

World Building in Fiction 
Most sci-fi and fantasy novels have their own world, and it's the author's job to make that world believable. To me, there are three essential aspects of making that happen: lore, diversity and religion.

First, let's start with lore. Your world absolutely has to have a rich history. What happened in the past to make your world interesting? Who are your historical figures? How was history shaped to bring your inhabitants to the present? An unparalleled scribe in this regard is George R. R. Martin. He has spent countless hours fine-tuning the details of his world, and it shows. From Mad King Aerys to the Dothraki, there's no shortage of history to be learned in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. 

Another loremaster is Stephen Hunt. For those who have read his Jackelian steampunk series, you know his world of Jackals is rich in detail. He gives us many tidbits of Jackals' history throughout the series, steadily forming it into a compelling, believable world.

But perhaps the all-time king of lore is J. R. R. Tolkien. He inserted an obscene amount of lore into Middle Earth. Ever read The Silmarillion? He wrote an entire book dedicated to the history of his world. That's true dedication.

Also, if your story takes place in an alternate Earth, we need to know what's different about it. How does its history differ from our own timeline? For example, in my steampunk Infini Calendar series, Marie Antoinette championed steam power, leading to the creation of airships and other steam-powered technology in the 18th century, well before the Industrial Revolution. And in Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century series, the American Civil War started much earlier and went on for over a decade.

Next, let's take a look at diversity. Every good world must have different peoples and cultures. Again, George R. R. Martin is very good about this. You've got your Starks, your Lannisters, your Dothraki, your Wildlings and many others. Each of them has their own unique viewpoints and motivations which drive them (and continually bring them into conflict with one another). And I must again cite the work of Stephen Hunt. Jackals has Victorian-esque society, a jungle region,a sky city, and a country where women rule over men, just to name a few.

Finally, any good world you create should have religion. Here I must mention--you guessed it--George R. R. Martin. The characters in his world share a wide variety of beliefs. They worship a multitude of gods, including the Drowned one. It seems like everyone in that world has their own set of beliefs.

In my own novels I've explored the role of religion in our lives. In my Infini Calendar series, Joan of Arc struggles to stay faithful to God despite knowing she's going to be burned at the stake (a struggle she fails in that timeline). I go even further in my Divine Protector series (beginning with God School), creating new religions in the world of Narska. The Holoists worship the god Bethos, while the citizens of the Faust Kingdom bow to the Lost Gods which include Earth deities. Conversely, the students at Divine Protector Academy don't worship any gods because they are gods (or, at least, gods in training). But even before attending the school for gods, protagonist Ev Bannen wasn't religious at all. He couldn't reconcile the idea of a benevolent creator with the physical and emotional abuse he and his mother suffered at the hands of his father. So, in a sense, even a lack of faith counts when coming up with your world's belief systems. 

There's a very good book by Jay Marian called Creating God: Worldbuilding a Religion (How to Write Fantasy Book 1) which details the important functions of religion within a fantasy world.

Well, that's about it. I've covered what are, in my opinion, the three most important aspects of a fictional world. Really, though, that's just the starting point. Feel free to be as creative as you want in designing your world. Just make sure it's believable.

About God School
God School
18-year-old Ev Bannen was just hoping to get admitted to college. He never expected to be recruited to a school for gods, where he’ll be spending his days building up his strength, learning to answer prayers and getting an education in religion alongside aspiring god of money Jaysin Marx, the lovely but troubled Maya Brünhart and anger-prone ginger Daryn Anders. But the organization of evil gods, Zero Grade, has plans to unleash hell on earth, and they require the blood of potential gods to do it. What’s more, someone close to Ev is not who they claim to be, and their betrayal may doom mankind forever. Ev steps up to save the day, but does he even stand a chance in hell of defeating a legendary deity?

Find God School on Goodreads| Amazon

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If you are an author and want to be spotlighted drop me an email. Don't forget to share my spotlight posts wherever you can, it's really important to support the lesser known author community! Also if you want to be included in my scheme then you need it to be popular enough for you to have maximum publicity!

If you do share my scheme let me know where and I will post an endorsement of your blog/book/anything in exchange on my Twitter account.

Sunday Spotlight: Marc Nash, author of An Eye for an Eye for an Eye

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sunday Spotlight is a weekly scheme I am running to bring publicity to lesser known authors who, in the book blogging community, it is important to support. If you are an author and you wish to be considered for it please email me at emily.confessionsofa with 'Author Spotlight' in the subject line.

Visiting with us at Confessions of a Bookaholic today is Marc Nash, author of the dystopian novel An Eye for an Eye for an Eye.

About Marc

20 years in the counterculture working at Rough Trade Record Shop, now working in freedom of expression NGO world. I hope my books are more than just the sum of the above. I used to be a playwright, but then started writing more for dancers and physical theatre performers. I like a challenge and I like to move out of my comfort zone. Now I’m a novelist and am writing more ‘voice’ than I ever did as a playwright. Go figure!

Find Marc on Goodreads | Amazon | Blog


Hi there Marc!
Tell us something about An Eye for an Eye for an Eye that the synopsis doesn't cover.
That it’s a police procedural without an actual detective at its heart and is actually about the death of procedure. It’s a dystopia which is in fact not too far further from becoming a reality in our world if certain current events continue to play out. And it has paranormal elements which are explored as to whether they can be truly called paranormal or not. So it’s both three genres and not those genres at the same time!

Tell us about your genre(s) and why they interest you?
I don’t restrict myself to any single genre. This one was dystopian because I was thinking a lot about the civil unrest in countries like Greece and Italy due to the economic cuts imposed by their governments as the Eurozone hit financial trouble. I just imagined what it would be like to take that to its logical conclusion and that ended up in a dystopia!

Who is your favorite character from all of your works?
Karen Dash from my novel “A,B&E”. She’s a tough woman who’s had to hold her own in two very male worlds of academia and criminal gangsterism, through a mixture of being as tough as the men, while also retaining enough femininity to give her that little bit extra over the men. She’s funny and clever and yet also ground down by the male worlds she has to operate in. She directly addresses the reader too, as if you’re holding a conversation with her.

What sets An Eye for an Eye for an Eye apart from other works?
It is that most difficult of things, a genre work which has high literary content. It goes deep into character motivations; there are thoughts about man’s relationship with man when our creature comforts are denied us and lots of metaphors and images to give a real sense of the physical environment. And as already mentioned, it subverts its genres as much as conforms to them.

What author do you believe inspired your work the most?
None specifically, though this book only came about because I was so irritated by a book I read that claimed to be both genre and literary and was really bad, that I sat down the next day to write one of my own. There was no planning, I just started writing, though many of the ideas and themes must have been swirling about in my head, my irritation just brought them altogether to produce this book! The first draft came together really quickly.

What is the best feedback you've got on your work?
I’ve been described as “thought-provoking” and “use(s) the reader’s grey cells like a hockey puck. There is no slacking off you have to pay attention”. A critical review for a collection of my flash but which really tickled me was “just strings of words that took up space and left me none the wiser afterwords”. I really liked the first half of that statement as a description of all literature!

You say you do flash fiction, tell us about that.
1000 words maximum to tell a story is just so liberating rather than restrictive. With no time to set the scene, no room for lengthy descriptions of character, it places such a high value on the words themselves. With so few to play with, the words have to do so much work and this emphasises metaphor and imagery which allow you do that. I’ve now written 200 stories, mainly one a week and it’s really influenced my longer novels as well. I’ve published four collections of flash; many of the stories will knock your socks off in terms of what we imagine the structure of a story to be. With flash anything is possible, in a way that couldn’t be sustained over the length of a novel.

Your cover for An Eye for an Eye for an Eye is very unique, how does it link to your book?
It was collaboration between me and the artist Little Appleseed. I let her choose the central image she thought appropriate from the book and then we honed it between us. Mezcal is a Latin American drink like tequila in which a worm is added to the mixture. Supposedly if the worm is preserved by the Mezcal, it shows it’s good quality alcohol! The worm is also said to be hallucinogenic if swallowed. Like many detectives, the protagonist in the book is a heavy drinker and due to his emotional state often looks to crawl inside the bottle to be with the worm. I love the way Little Appleseed echoed the worm in the bottom of the bottle with the colouration of the eye on the label. We also came up with the idea of reversing the author’s name looking through the bottle glass. I like covers in which title and author name are organically part of the image, rather than take away from the overall effect.

What other works should we look out from you in the future?
Well I have a healthy back catalogue of seven other books. I’m trying to get a book of short stories published traditionally, while I have enough flash stories for my fifth collection and perhaps my strongest yet. I am also collaborating with a video designer on a kinetic typography video of one of my flash stories. I’ve done this once before and represents a very different and fresh way of telling a story, by emphasising the letters that make up the words, since these are what move in kinetic typography. My first video is here.

If you could invite three authors to lunch, past and present, who would they be?
Samuel Beckett definitely for his humor and take on the world. William Burroughs just because he was so out there and would have tons of anecdotes. And Franz Kafka my favorite author of all, though he’d probably refuse or complain about the food because that’s just the kind of guy he probably was! I think he’d get on well with Beckett though, they’re equally dark.

Is there anything else you want to tell the readers of Confessions of a Bookaholic?
Just thank you to readers and you wonderful book bloggers for all the support you give to us indie authors! You guys make it all worthwhile.

Thank you for joining us on Confessions of a Bookaholic!

About an Eye for an Eye for an Eye
You can tell a lot about a society from its murders. And Simon Moralee can tell everything from its victims. He has the gift- or is it a curse?- of being able to recover a vision of the last thing murder victims had imprinted on their minds before death. It means he can identify their killers and describe them to the police to secure a one hundred percent clean-up rate. A gift he first discovered as a teenager when cradling his butchered mother in his arms.

His financially bankrupt society leaps at the opportunity his gift provides, by cutting the level of policing and detection back to the bone, as a yet another cost-saving measure. The few remaining policemen serve as Simon’s minders as they seek to protect their most valuable asset and the one remaining celebrity the State can promote to their citizens as a good news story. Only people are losing interest in his exploits, as they lose hope for their society with its murder rate spiralling beyond Simon’s ability to keep pace. And into this numbers game emerges a new threat, when a criminal mastermind with a psychic power of his own, challenges Simon in a psychological joust to the death...

Find An Eye for an Eye for an Eye on Goodreads | Amazon 

Marc has kindly agreed to a giveaway of An Eye for an Eye for an Eye plus the flash fictions Long Stories Short and 52FF. Enter below! The first winner selected will win AEFAEFAE, the second LSS and the third 52FF.

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Make sure to let Marc and I know what you thought of the spotlight in the comments!

If you are an author and want to be spotlighted drop me an email. Don't forget to share my spotlight posts wherever you can, it's really important to support the lesser known author community! Also if you want to be included in my scheme then you need it to be popular enough for you to have maximum publicity!

If you do share my scheme let me know where and I will post an endorsement of your blog/book/anything in exchange on my Twitter account.

Sunday Spotlight on Wednesday: John McCaffrey, author of The Book of Ash.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Sunday Spotlight is a weekly scheme I am running to bring publicity to lesser known authors who, in the book blogging community, it is important to support. If you are an author and you wish to be considered for it please email me at emily.confessionsofa with 'Author Spotlight' in the subject line.

This spotlight is a bit late due to a busy schedule but visiting today's Sunday-spotlight-on-Wednesday is John McCaffrey, author of the dystopian satire, The Book of Ash.

About John 

Originally from Rochester, New York, John graduated from Villanova University, and later received his MA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York. His stories, essays and book reviews have appeared in more than 30 literary journals, magazines and newspapers.

A Pushcart Prize nominee, his story Words, first published in Fiction Magazine, was also selected for Flash Fiction Forward, an anthology containing work from some of the most noted writers of our time, including Grace Paley, Dave Eggers, and Paul Theroux.

John also helps direct a nonprofit organization in New York City and is an Adjunct Creative Writing Professor at the College of New Rochelle’s School of New Resources. His debut novel, The Book of Ash, was released by Boxfire Press in 2013.

Visit John on Goodreads | Amazon | Website


Tell my readers about ‘The Book of Ash’.

The idea for The Book of Ash came years before, right after 9/11. My first thought was to write a novel set in a society whose one and only goal is to create “emotionally healthy” individuals, people, for example, who are not inclined to crash planes into buildings or wage vengeful wars. But the more I wrote, the more I began to doubt that such a thing could be achieved. If anything, I latched onto the notion that forcing someone to behave in a certain way is the surest way for them to do the opposite. And so the book became darkly satirical, a dystopia in the same vein as Orwell’s 1984, depicting, as one reviewer wrote, “a world that that is endearing and menacing, farcical yet deadly serious, wholly invented and yet strangely familiar.”

While purposely comedic, I also think The Book of Ash is surprisingly sexy, perhaps not in a Fifty Shades of Grey way, but more in the understated, underhanded, and unhinged manner that befits most romantic relationships.

How do you balance the mixture of satire and dystopia?
My belief is that most or all writers are contrarians, more suspicious than cynical, especially when confronted with something that seems too good to be true. But I also believe that most writers are shy, and rather than stand up on a soap box yelling their views, they choose the safer haven of the page to voice their dissent. Even safer is satire, which blends humor into the mix, making it possible for a writer to dole out the medicine of their message, so to speak, with a bit of sugar. Thus, in the case of my novel, any balance I was able to achieve between satire and dystopia was achieved by wanting people to like me more than hate me for the story I was telling.

What is the best feedback you’ve ever got?
In the first fiction-writing class I ever took, my teacher, a wonderful woman and writer named Carol Dixon, who has since passed away, told me I had a “unique voice.” I was not sure what exactly this meant at the time in regard to writing, but I knew it was a compliment, and I needed that so much at the time, not being sure if writing was something I was good at or wanted to pursue. As I matured, and learned more about the craft of writing, I began to understand that developing an original, consistent voice to tell a story is the single most important attribute. This makes me value Carol’s words even more.

Who is your favourite character of your own creation and why?
I really like Baldwin Wallace, the lead character in The Book of Ash. He’s 33-years-old, struggling in a bad marriage, terrified of his stepfather, and pretty much conditioned to be meek. Yet he retains an ember of rebellion in his soul that allows him to fight back and find something he never thought possible: true love.

What authors would you say have shaped your writing most?
I am an obsessive reader, and once I latch onto a writer I like, I’ll read everything they’ve written, book by book, until I exhaust their collection and even my affection for their work. That said, no matter how much I try, I never tire of reading and rereading The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway, which first showed me how important it is to use clear, concise prose. 1984 by George Orwell inspired me to take chances with imagining new worlds. Graham Greene, I feel, is the best at tapping into the inner psychology of a character to illuminate a wider theme. But of all the writers I have enjoyed, Somerset Maugham is the one who has most influenced me. I love the way he takes time to tell a story, twisting the beginning along so that you are always guessing, wanting more, even getting angry for him to hurry up, but never stopping the reading. Also, I have tried to emulate his style of spacing narrative and dialogue. His prose, to me, is the cleanest, prettiest around.

What are you most proud of in your literary career?
The fact that I’m finally able, after taking numerous classes, getting my MA in creative writing, struggling to write and publish stories, struggling to write and publish a novel, going through so much, that now I can teach writing to a degree I don’t think I otherwise could. I truly feel blessed to be able to share whatever wisdom and experience I have with writers of all age levels, helping them tap into their creative force and reach their full potential.

What advice would you give new writers just starting out?
Compulsively observe. Be like Sherlock Holmes and take time to build the muscle of seeing the world, the smallest details, and the largest vistas. We are living in a time where many people experience the bulk of their day peering into an I-Phone or computer screen. The writer that breaks this trend, who takes time to see, hear, and feel the world around them, who can shut out the noise of technology and tap into the moment, will win the day with great work and publishing success. Then, of course, they can tweet all about it to their followers.

What kind of readers do you aim your book at?
People who don’t take themselves or life too seriously, but are serious about living life to its fullest.

What should we look out for from you in the future?
I’m nearly done with a new novel set in Long Island during the Prohibition era. It’s full of action and mystery, and, not to give too much away, Orwell.

Is there anything else that you wish the readers of Confessions of a Bookaholic to know about?
Only that it is a great blog and you do an outstanding job of giving writers a chance to connect with wonderful readers.

Thank you for joining us at Confessions of a Bookaholic!

The Book of AshAbout The Book of Ash:
A satire of feel-good therapy, presenting a post-apocalyptic dystopia where the peddlers of self-esteem often mask raging insecurities and homicidal urges. Struggling to survive (and just maybe find happiness) amidst the chaos is Baldwin Wallace, a 33 year-old miracle counselor whose marriage is crumbling under the weight of his wife's infidelity. When Baldwin finally decides to confront the issue once and for all, he is thrown into a dizzying swirl of events that not only threatens to change the future of this surreal world, but also bring him the one thing he thought he could live without: love.

Find The Book of Ash on Goodreads | Amazon

John has also kindly agreed to an international giveaway of 4 paperback copies of The Book of Ash!

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Sunday Spotlight: Tara Ellis, Author of Bloodlines

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Sunday Spotlight is a weekly scheme I am running to bring publicity to lesser known authors who, in the book blogging community, it is important to support. If you are an author and you wish to be considered for it please email me at emily.confessionsofa with 'Author Spotlight' in the subject line.

Visiting us today is Tara Ellis, the author of the Young Adult, Science Fiction Forgotten Origins Trilogy. She answered questions below about her works, life and pets and also agreed to a giveaway!

About Tara

Author Tara Ellis lives in a small, rural town in Washington State, set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She enjoys the quiet lifestyle with her husband, two teenage kids and several dogs.
Tara was a firefighter/EMT (yes, you read that right) and worked in the medical field for many years, before committing herself to writing young adult and middle grade novels full-time after life threw the MS curve-ball at her. (she still dabbles in teaching CPR)

She grew up on sci-fi, was a devoted Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica fan, and has since found a love for conspiracy theories. This background, combined with a wild imagination has led to The Forgotten Origins Trilogy. The first book in the series, Bloodline, was named 'Indie Book of the Day in Oct, 2014' and voted as 'Top 50 Indie Books of 2014'. (

Hi there Tara! Tell us about your Forgotten Origins Trilogy!
This should be the easiest question, right? But for all the countless hours I have spent telling the story…I still don’t have a canned response as to how to sum it all up. It’s epic. It’s not at all what you expect and really, I don’t think there’s another young adult series out there like it.
The Forgotten Origins Trilogy is most definitely sci-fi, but it also spans several other genres, including; mystery, thriller, horror, dystopian and supernatural. It’s told first-person, from the point of view of sixteen-year-old Alex. She’s your typical teen, although very down-to-earth and level headed, thanks to her father. He was killed during a mugging two years before the story starts, while her parents were on vacation in Egypt. Her dad was full Egyptian, but was born in the States due to his own parents being there for work. They eventually returned to Egypt, and he chose to stay, though his ties to his heritage were strong. Yes, this becomes very important to the story later on.
Why? That’s what makes this trilogy so unusual. But first, I have to tell you about the meteor shower. That’s where the first book, Bloodline, begins. It’s a historic event, and Alex’s dad had been pretty much obsessed with it. While it totally lives up to everyone’s expectations, it also releases a viral plague on the world. One that changes most of the population into something…well, I don’t want to give it all away, do I? ;)
From there, the story becomes more complex. It involves ancient, secret societies, pyramids, crystal skulls, and conspiracy theories brought to life. One of my pet peeves are any parts of a story that makes you go, “Oh, come on!” I go out of my way to make all aspects of the back story believable. All of the ancient Sumerian texts, Native American legends, biblical stories and other various religious beliefs quoted, are real. The way that I tie them all in together, and the secret societies, are my own creations. I did a LOT of research, including how viruses work, and DNA structure (and its manipulation).
I hope that I have imagined a story that anyone who enjoys the genres I listed, will find both intriguing and entertaining.

What first attracted you to the sci-fi genre?
This answer is easy! I’ve been a huge sci-fi fan my whole life. I’ve always had a wild, vivid imagination. My first memories of television were of watching the original Star Trek with my dad.
I just love to get lost in it. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. There’s something about the unknown that attracts me, and taking it and making up a different reality is the ultimate journey.

What do you think makes your trilogy special?
I’ve already named a few things, but a big one is the fact that rather than your typical trilogy, where each book seems to lose a little steam…I really believe each of my books is better than the last. I love Bloodline. It’s my ‘first’. But I’ll admit that Heritage (book 2), is better. I got braver about developing the characters and exploring the story more. Then there’s descent (book 3). I absolutely love this one. I didn’t want it to end. I was actually crying as I wrote the last lines (just a little), because I had become so attached to both the characters and the stories.
Another major point is just how original it is. It’s been described as a cross between the DaVinci Code and Indiana Jones. I find that a lot of YA stories out there hinge on the love interest. I need a story with more meat than that. (my books are a ‘clean’ read)  I need one that makes you think and question what you know as reality. I feel that I’ve achieved that with The Forgotten Origins Trilogy.

Tell us about your favourite character in the trilogy.
I don’t want to come off as cliché, but I have to be honest, and say Alex. She really seemed to take on a life of her own as I was writing, and I was even surprised with how her character developed. I think she is incredibly believable. Flawed. Scared. Smart and tough, but also vulnerable and desperate at times. By the end of Descent, you look back and think about her journey and who she’s become…it’s both sad and thrilling at the same time.

I read that you have been a firefighter and worked in the medical field, do you think such careers have influenced your writing?
Absolutely. There are a couple of situations where this comes into play. I have taught CPR for going on fifteen years, and I am proud to say that the scenes that involve this insight are extremely accurate. I’ve been on some pretty traumatic calls as a firefighter/EMT and have experienced death first hand as a support officer. I incorporated this knowledge into how the characters dealt with things, and I think that realism translates into a believable experience for the reader that elicits some strong emotions.

You’ve had some really good reviews on Goodreads; tell us about a piece of feedback which really made you smile.
There was one review in particular that really touched me. She got the story. She connected with the characters and understood the over-all message in the trilogy. Here’s a small excerpt: “…Page after page you're just enveloped in this tale trying to get to the end wondering if it'll end with that bang it started off with. I really did feel this story was about freedom, keeping our humanity, faith, and last but not least, friendship and family. Nothing in this world is worth giving up all those things or giving up on. A wonderful message for anyone who has been through any type of adversity. You really can do anything as long as you have faith & are fighting that good fight.” – MissezMathis, Amazon/Goodreads
To have a complete stranger read my creation, and get that from it, is a feeling that made it all worth it. I relied on books as a child to help me deal with stress and a reality that wasn’t always someplace I wanted to be. To be able to extend that is something I cherish.

I read that you’re also a photographer, tell us more about that!
Yes, I am! I suppose that if you were to measure success by profit, then I would say I am more successful as a photographer. It’s pretty much funding my writing. I mostly do landscape and nature photography, and then sell canvas prints locally and at craft fairs. However, I’ve been branching out more lately into portraits.
I’m sure you and your readers are familiar with #1 New York Times, best-selling author, S.C. Stephens? She wrote the amazingly successful ‘Thoughtless’ series, and just released ‘Thoughtful’. I had the absolute pleasure of taking the head shot for her new book! (If you look at the photo at the back of Thoughtful, you’ll see credit given to Tara Ellis Photography) She is actually a HUGE inspiration to me, as an indie author. She’s one of the rare ones that broke through and made it. She’s also an incredibly nice person, and I’m so happy for her!

I’ve also incorporated some of my photography into my book covers. Mel, at Melchelle designs, has created all of my covers and I just love her work. The background in Bloodline is one of mine, and for Descent, I used my daughter as a model! I had such a specific image in mind that I had to set it up. (It involves a rifle) Everyone had said that the model from the stock art used on the first two looked like her, so we went for it, and I think it turned out perfect!

Here are a couple of examples of my work. This first picture is from down the road near my house. There were some trumpeter swans hanging out and I waited until the weather was just right! The second picture is of my daughter, and I manipulated it a bit to use it for some advertising for the series.

What should we look out from you in the future?
I’m currently working on the third book in my other series. It’s a middle grade mystery series, similar to Nancy Drew or Trixie Beldon. I’m really loving this one, too, and it’s very easy for me to write. I’ve also started to record and produce my own audio books. So far, I have Bloodline and The Mystery of Hollow Inn (book 1 in the Samantha Wolf Mysteries) out. I plan on producing the whole trilogy by this summer. I’m happy that all of the reviews to date have been good! I’ve done some theatre and a lot of story time, so the narrating comes naturally. I’m telling you though, the mastering/mixing is a lot of work!
My goal is to have the first five books in my kid’s series done by the end of this year, and…I don’t think I’ll be able to stay away from the other world that I created for too long! I have plans to write some novelettes, told first-person from five of the other characters in the Forgotten Origins trilogy. The stories will pick up where the trilogy left off, in the dystopian world left behind. I might then do another full length novel, going back to Alex, and incorporating all of the stories from the novelettes into it.

You say you have dogs, I love asking about pets! Tell us about them.
What a great question! I always like to talk about my ‘other’ babies. The first-born is Baxter, and he’s an adorable, cinnamon colored Miniature Poodle. I have to confess that I based the dog in the trilogy, also named Baxter, after him. Although they are different breeds, the personalities and traits are much the same. If it feels, as a reader, that Baxter is an awfully well-rounded character for a dog…that might be why!
My other doggy is named Daisy, and she’s a Schnoodle. That’s a mix between a schnauzer and a miniature poodle. Also super smart, if not a little neurotic. She is definitely a one-person dog and she chose to attach herself to me.
Unfortunately, we just had to say goodbye to our longest-standing family member, Scooter, just over a month ago. He was an Australian shepherd mix, and although he wasn’t very…intelligent, he was VERY loving and we miss him dearly.
We also have an incredibly cool, sixteen-year-old cat named Spine, and a bearded dragon named Henry. He LOVES crickets.

Is there anything else you want to tell my readers at Confessions of a Bookaholic?
Yes, there is! I would just like to invite your readers to give my trilogy a try. I realize that there is a literal sea of books out there. I’m also an avid reader, and so I know how hard it is to find the gems simply by browsing. Finding good indie books are even more difficult, because they often don’t have the thousands of reviews to help the reader decide.
I recently made my trilogy available as an ebook box set, so not only is it more affordable, but because of the length, the free sample on Amazon allows you to read the first twelve chapters of Bloodline! So in addition to the 50+ reviews on Amazon that the trilogy has (with a 4.8 average) you can read almost half of the first book for free and decide for yourself if it’s worth the purchase.
I would also like to invite any reviewers to personally contact me about getting a review copy. I’m always more than happy to gift my books for the sake of an honest review.

I want to thank you for this opportunity to connect with your readers, because it really does make a difference. The hardest part of being self-published is reaching an audience, and getting to share my story with them! Please don’t hesitate to visit my various sites and leave feedback, I love to hear from other readers and authors.

About Bloodline:
Sixteen-year-old Alex has always suspected her father’s death wasn't random, but she never guessed how deep the mystery runs or what it involves. When a rare meteor shower is followed by a highly contagious infection, the people she once knew so well start acting like they have a similar purpose that doesn’t include her. Alex can now only rely on her friend Chris and loyal dog Baxter as she plunges into a strange, new world predestined since ancient times. Wandering the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, deciphering cryptic messages left by her father, desperately searching for a cure-will Alex have the courage and faith to even survive?

Find the Trilogy on Goodreads | Amazon | YouTube | Facebook | Website | Audible | Free Sample 

Tara has agreed to not one but two giveaways! The paperback giveaway is for the US ONLY but the other is international, feel free to enter both if the requirements allow it but you can only win one.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure to let Tara and I know what you thought of the spotlight in the comments!

If you are an author and want to be spotlighted drop me an email. Don't forget to share my spotlight posts wherever you can, it's really important to support the lesser known author community! Also if you want to be included in my scheme then you need it to be popular enough for you to have maximum publicity!

If you do share my scheme let me know where and I will post an endorsement of your blog/book/anything in exchange on my Twitter account.

Review: Hero, Cursed by Diantha Jones

Friday, 8 May 2015

Series: Mythos #2
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Release Date: August 17th 2014
Source: Copy in exchange for an honest review
Overall Rating: 5/5 Stars
Cover Rating: 4/5 Stars
Synopsis: Before he knew the Oracle.
Before he knew the Quad.
Before the Great Unknown threatened his world.
He was a hero, cursed forever. 
Shunned by a family that doesn't understand him, demigod Lenka Tahile aka "Swindle" is a complete loner and he likes it that way. Then he meets the hero, Ace Remedy, the brother of an infamous demigod Prince, and his life goes from bad to worse. Ace is loud, rude, and disruptive to his peaceful existence in every way. He's also hilarious and daring, and Swindle ends up finding a friend just when he thought he'd never have another.
But little does he know, becoming friends with Ace was all part of the Fates' plan. Now his past is slowly coming back to haunt him and there's nothing he can do to stop it. Nothing but try not to bring to light the lost love, the failed hopes, and the cursed existence that he would kill to keep in the dark. 
First Line: Summer Solstice break was over, forums had resumed, and all I could hope for was that I wouldn't slit anyone's throat before the say was over.

When I got an email from Diantha requesting a review of this book I almost jumped for joy. Anyone who has followed my blog for a while will know that I absolutely love the Oracle of Delphi series and also really enjoyed the first of the Mythos novellas therefore it is an understatement to say that I was excited to read this. At first I had difficulty with this book as it had been so long since I had read the others and couldn't remember everything but after a few pages I reconnected with the series enough to be able to remember most of the events. I personally think that is the mark of a really great series, there are so many that I have had to abandon because I couldn't remember what had happened previously in the series. Luckily that was not the case with Hero, Cursed.

The characterisation of the Oracle of Delphi series has always been one of the strongest I've come across. I really love all of the characters from the humans to the demigods to the actual gods. They're all so realistically flawed and therefore very easy to identify with. This novella exemplifies this by exploring the character of Lenka aka Swindle. In the main series Lenka fascinated me, he was so tormented and mysterious. Not Strafford-tormented but close. I was so excited to see that this novella was from his point of view for this reason and I was not let down. I was really hoping for a real plot twist to explain why Swindle is the way he is and Diantha did not disappoint. Normally I can predict this kind of thing but I was really surprised, there were some things I had already guessed from the original series but the majority caught me off guard. I feel like after reading this novella I understand the character of Swindle better, I liked him before of course but now that has been hugely magnified. The characters I already loved didn't appear much in this one but the glimpses I did get satisfied me for now.

I loved how mythology based this series is, a lot of books are based upon one myth and revolve around it only. This novella in particular incorporates so much mythology! References included Jason and the Argonauts, Medea, Odysseus, Calypso - they didn't all have big main parts but the name-drops themselves really made the book special. Also, after studying Classical Civilisation at A-Level I finally began to feel like that qualification had real life applications like everyone promised it would. As long as I can get mythological references I am happy!

I really loved this insight into the mind of Lenka and absolutely cannot wait for the the next novel or novella in the series - I don't care which comes first, I just need my Oracle of Delphi fix as soon as possible. I really miss the character who we didn't see much of! My love for Ace is still as strong as ever! I have kept all spoilers for both the main Oracle of Delphi series and the Mythos novella series because I really want you guys to read them for yourself, you won't regret it, I promise! Tell me whether you like the look of the series and any other views you may have!

Best Quote
"We weren't spying," I said. "We were observing."
"Same thing," the Naiad holding Ace by the cuirass said.
"No, it's not," he replied. "Spyin' is wha' idiot fellas do when they don ' t want a pretty wan to know they're lookin' at her. We have absolutely no issues with openly starin' at you and expressin' how much we like wha' we see."
"Nice, Remedy," I mumbled with admiration.
"Then why were you hiding in the lotus flowers?"
"We were jus' waitin' for you to come find us." Ace flashed a grin. "Hide. And. Seek."

To sway you further towards reading it check out my reviews of the rest of the series below.
Prophecy of the Most Beautiful (Oracle of Delphi #1)
Prophecy of the Setting Sunrise (Oracle of Delphi #2)
Solar, Defeated (Oracle of Delphi #2.5/ Mythos #1)
Prophecy of Solstice's End (Oracle of Delphi #3)

Sunday Spotlight: Sameer Ketkar, Author of God's Glass

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Sunday Spotlight is a weekly scheme I am running to bring publicity to lesser known authors who, in the book blogging community, it is important to support. If you are an author and you wish to be considered for it please email me at emily.confessionsofa with 'Author Spotlight' in the subject line.

Today's author is Sameer Ketkar, author of the unique romance novel God's Glass. He has kindly agreed to both an interview and a giveaway below.

About Sameer

Sameer Ketkar published his third novel, "Victory Blvd.", in the summer of 2014, and his fourth novel, "God's Glass," in winter of 2014. He is currently working on a novel about the historical king Charlemagne, as well as a sequel to his 2013 novel "Bodies: Book #1: Staged Fright." Sameer published his first novel, "Entanglement," about two star-crossed lovers who can't seem to unentangle themselves from one another, in January of 2011. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California, and has written one feature film, "Backwaters." He has written dozens of unproduced screenplays and TV pilots, and has written and directed numerous short films and commercials. Sameer likes to play guitar and draw pictures in his free time.


Hi there Sameer, welcome to Confessions of a Bookaholic!
God’s Glass looks really interesting! Can you tell us anything about it that the synopsis doesn’t cover?
It’s really a story about unconventional love and unconventional lifestyles, and how they can be normal – even beautiful – too.  As a kid growing up I always felt like a bit of an outcast; the weirdo.  So God’s Glass is kind of my ode to weirdos.  By presenting a character as strange and unconventional as Joanie Callahan, I’m hoping I can reassure many people out there who ask themselves, “What’s wrong with me?”  I’m hoping those people will see Joanie and realize there’s nothing wrong with them.  They are just different.  And that is beautiful in its own right.

Looking at the reviews I noticed you had LOADS of five star reviews! Did you expect this amount of success?
Definitely not!  God’s Glass  is such an unusual story I wasn’t expecting many people to respond to it.  I am very glad that they have so far.  The story definitely requires an open mind, so I am hoping more people with open minds will check it out.  Sales have been marginal so far, so maybe that reflects the story’s unconventional status!

What is the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received?
Never quit.  I’ve had people absolutely slam my stories, but conclude their criticism with:  Keep on writing.  And it’s great advice.  You cannot please everyone every time.  Sometimes you cannot please anyone at all.  So write stories that you enjoy, and keep writing them, and you’ll find an audience.

Tell us about your other works!
I’ve been writing a long time.  Twenty years now!  I initially started writing short stories, but then went to film school to study screenwriting.  That is still my number one goal, to become a film and TV writer.  But it’s a hard industry to break into, so I’ve started converting a lot of my old scripts into novels that I can self-publish on Amazon.  One of those script-to-book adaptations I really feel could be an interesting ongoing series (it started off as a TV pilot) is another story about unconventional love, called Bodies.  It’s a relatively standard police procedural, except that the three lead investigators get into a longterm threesome relationship.  I want to show all the ups and downs of starting a relationship – but with a threesome dynamic.  All the drama, all the highs and lows, the fighting, the makeup sex – but with three people.  Oh, and all that drama takes place during police procedural cases!  I really want to show that relationship develop over time, especially since two of the members of the threesome are a married couple with kids!  So the “other man” in the relationship has to win over the kids as well as the parents...all while an ongoing bioterrorism plotline consumes their time.

Who is your favourite character in God’s Glass?
Definitely the lead character, Joanie Callahan.  She’s just so unusual and so heartbreaking.  She reminds me of an extreme version of myself, which is why I wrote her that way.  She’s the beacon for misfits around the world, to tell them:  You’re not alone.

What advice would you give to new writers?
Same advice as the best piece of feedback I ever received:  Never stop writing!  Don’t be one of those “writers” who talks about writing but never does it.  Always write.  Everything you write will teach you something.  You will grow as a writer every time you write.  So that means the more you do it, the more you will grow.  If you’re not inspired, then write a journal, or write jokes, or write music.  Keep training your creative muscle at all times.  Like any other muscle, it needs workouts to grow strong.  You might want to schedule a time every day to write.  And if you make a schedule, stick to it.  Don’t slack off or let things get in the way.  This is your life.  Make it work for you; don’t let things stop you from writing.

What is your favourite thing about writing?
It makes me feel like a mad scientist.  I feel like, “a-hahahahha, I am creating the next great thing.”  It doesn’t matter if it ends up being a bad story.  When I’m on a roll, I always have that mad scientist feeling.  And damn it if that isn’t the best feeling in the world!

What authors do you believe shaped your work the most?
This is a tough one, because my favorite authors and biggest influences don’t really show in my work.  They are just my gods that I hold up on a lofty pedestal.  J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Crichton, George Orwell, George Lucas, Trey Parker, Billy Wilder.  I aspire to be as great as these writers, but in truth I never really try to imitate them.  I do my own weirdo stories that I hope will be as well received as those authors’ stories.

What should we look out for from you in the future?
I am working on a historical fiction story about the king Charlemagne.  I’m also trying to get a film version of God’s Glass off the ground, as well as a television crime drama.

Is there anything else you wish to tell the readers of Confessions of a Bookaholic?

Thank you for taking the time to read my long-ass interview!  Verbosity is a symptom of being a writer.  No, there is no cure.

Visit Sameer on Amazon Goodreads 

About God's Glass

“God’s Glass” is the life story of Joanie Callahan, a woman born with algophilia -- the scientific term for masochism. But Joanie’s masochism isn’t just sexual -- it’s all of her happiness that’s tied to pain. She can only feel the highest emotional joys -- from art to music to curiosity to love -- through some measure of pain. 
Joanie's family ostracizes her for this, going so far as to get her an exorcism, and have her committed to a psych ward for electro-shock therapy. 
Joanie's all alone in the world, until she meets a boxer named Michael who might possibly be just like her...

Check out God's Glass on Goodreads | Amazon

I can't be the only one who thinks God's Glass looks amazing - I wish I had time to read it myself! If you agree with me but don't wish to rush to Amazon just yet to get it then you're in luck because Sameer has agreed to a giveaway! Enter below to be in for a chance to win - this is one I really recommend you enter. After you've entered comment below telling me why you want to win, this will even get you extra entries! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are an author and want to be spotlighted drop me an email. Don't forget to share my spotlight posts wherever you can, it's really important to support the lesser known author community! Also if you want to be included in my scheme then you need it to be popular enough for you to have maximum publicity!

If you do share my scheme let me know where and I will post an endorsement of your blog/book/anything in exchange on my Twitter account.

Review: Darkest Light by Alex Taylor

Friday, 1 May 2015

Series: Darkest Light #1
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance 
Release Date: January 16th 2015
Source: Copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Overall Rating: 3/5 Stars
Cover Rating: 3/5 Stars
Synopsis: The weather is stormy, and the room is dark and cold. Michael dreams about a woman in the comfort of his bed, missing her warmth against his naked body. He ponders, wondering what he can do to change his lifestyle and crummy house. He hates his job and his daily routine. This isn't just any morning, though. Michael is about to embark on a journey that will change his perspective on life. Darkest Light is a fantasy and a romance, full of mystical creatures, magical scenes and a beautiful alternative world, which will set your imagination loose.
First Line: Bzz, bzz, bzzz, bzzz. The alarm wakes me with a sudden fright.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review and, initially, I was apprehensive, the premise was nothing like I had read before. I know that alternate universe stories are not unusual however I had never come across one before so this was a new experience for me. The story is set up quickly, we meet Michael, a very discontented fellow who wants more out of life and it's easy to understand why from his descriptions of his home and life. It is easy to identify with Michael because in one way or another we are all somewhat discontented however this is taken to the extreme with his characterisation. The main purpose of many people when reading fantasy books is to escape the monotonous nature of real life in favor of  an exciting fantasy land in which anything can happen. This is usual, what is unusual is to have that happen to a character within a fantasy. Michael himself appears to represent the reader of fantasies in the way that he too escapes his tedious life to go to a brilliant exciting world in which he can gain fulfillment. Overall, the plot of the novel really interested me and I think it was quite successfully executed on the whole with the exception, perhaps, of the slow pace. Not much actually happens within the plot now that I think about it but don't let that put you off, anyone who has read The Catcher in the Rye knows that a book does not need much plot development in order to be successful.

My main criticism of Darkest Light has to be the writing style. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that it is weak. What I mean is that it was not for me. Everyone has a writing style that they prefer and for me it is always past tense, I find it very difficult to connect with a text that is written in present tense and sadly for me this book was. I know of lots of people who favor present tense and I know many have no preference between tenses so this is certainly not something that would put off too many people. I may just have been being picky but this did not sit too well with me and is perhaps a reason why it look me quite a while to finish it, that and my very busy schedule.

I feel quite mixed towards the character if I am honest, on the one hand Taylor depicts them very realistically. All the characters are very multi-faceted, unlike with many authors who idealise their protagonists these ones are very flawed. I know what you're thinking, flaws shouldn't be praised because they make the characters less likable. While this is true, flaws also serve to humanise the characters and make them more relatable. This is certainly true of Michael and Noeleen, they are very human and relatable in a number of ways but I really think it's possible to be too relatable. Like I said earlier, the reason many read fantasy is to escape the real world and to then be greeted with character so realistic that you could meet them in the street could be seen as an anti-climax. This was only slight however, I was quite impressed overall with the character development despite this.

In conclusion, though I could not connect with the writing style of Darkest Light the realism of the characters and the exciting and imaginative plot was really quite impressive and for that reason I gave it three stars. I would recommend this book to sci-fi and fantasy lovers who are less picky than me about narrative style.
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