Books & Beyond

Archive for the ‘Author Interviews’ Category

How did you develop your writing?

I placed an ad for Stock Market Magic in a local financial newspaper and sold enough copies by mail order to pocket a reasonable profit after paying the cost of the ad. In the hope of getting some publicity, I delivered one full copy to the editor of that paper. A few days later I received a phone call:

“I’m moving to become the editor of a new national broadsheet newspaper. I like the way you write. How would you like to write a weekly column for us?”

“What about?” I asked

“Anything you like.”

And so, my writing career commenced as a sideline to my day-job. I wrote a column called “Albert Tells How”. It was ostensibly a report of a conversation between me and a 300 year old Swiss gnome by the name of Albert. N. Sane. I owned a small factory at the time and Friday was the day I had to pay wages. Naturally, on Wednesday nights I couldn’t sleep so I would go to the refrigerator to get a snack. In those days, the refrigerator light didn’t just switch itself on. Personal service was still important. Like the old days when you stepped into an elevator and the operator would ask “which floor?” That’s how I met Albert. He was 3” tall and he was taking a sabbatical in our ‘fridge.


He had done a deal with Westinghouse. In exchange for free board and lodging it was his responsibility to switch the light on and off whenever it was appropriate. Albert and I became friends. Having lived for 300 years he had seen it all. When I had a business problem or I was worried about the economy or about the stock market, he would draw on his vast experience and calm me down. I was always able to pay the wages on the Friday.


More importantly, I came to understand that, for me, writing could be a “do it first and think about it afterwards” kind of activity. Once a week I would sit at the computer – sometimes with no ideas in my head. When that happened, I would shoot word bullets out of my fingers and, eventually, a coherent pattern would emerge. Then, with a bit of iterative editing, I was able to craft a column. Often the final column looked nothing like the original thoughts. That’s when I came to understand how to manage writer’s block.

So you’ve been writing on and off since the 1980s?

Yup. When I emigrated to Australia with the family in 1987 I stopped for a few years, but then I started blogging from about 2002. Eventually, Denise – my loyal and long suffering wife – turned around and asked me why I didn’t do something more challenging, like write another book. In 2005, I took her advice and decided to write a novel. I had no idea where to start, but I knew that the answer would come to me. You’ve heard the expression “wired for sound”? Well I seem to be “wired for inspiration”. In Denise’s language, my third eye is wide open. So I just waited for inspiration. It didn’t take long.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The ideas just come to me. Most often it happens in the dead of night when my conscious mind is asleep. Of course, they don’t just come out of the black (it’s night time, remember J); I’m usually mulling over a problem in my mind when I’m awake and, if I can’t solve it I just let it go and I wait.

Eventually, one of two things happens: Either I wake up at around 4:00 am with a clear picture of how to proceed, or a book or a person will jump into my life from somewhere – usually in the daytime, when I’m awake – and in the book or in conversation with that person, there will be a clue. For example, with Beyond Neanderthal, my first novel, a friend of Denise’s suggested that I write about Blue Amber. I had never heard of Blue Amber, but I started researching it and then I put pen to paper and, along the way, I found I was writing about humanity’s social evolution – so I changed the name to Beyond Neanderthal. It was a name that just popped into me head in the dead of night after I realised that the original name , “Blue Amber” would not be appropriate.

This type of experience has been happening to me for most of my life. Denise tells me I’m “plugged in”. I first assumed she was talking about the collective unconscious that Carl Jung spoke about. Later, I came to understand that the entire universe is like a giant database of information – something like The Cloud, only much more all encompassing. Religious people might describe it as the mind of God. New Age followers might talk of Akashic Records. It’s a matter of how one perceives things.

In my imagination, I see how it might have been possible for the prophets of old to tap into that database and see the future. I don’t really understand how it works and I can’t “force” it to happen on demand. I’ve come to understand that I should just go with the flow. My best bet is to maximise the potential for my remaining plugged in to the database. I do this by meditating as often as possible – but no more than once a day – and, recently, I have joined the Tai Chi class that Denise teaches. Mostly, I like to be at one with nature, “surrounded by nobody” as our daughter Jenna used to put it when she was a child. When my mind is quiet, the ideas flow. When my mind is cluttered, it tends to go into cruise-control mode.

How did you come up with the title?

With both books, I asked the question of my unconscious mind and the answer manifested in the dead of night. (I’m not kidding). I think that the names of my two books – Beyond Neanderthal and The Last Finesse are spookily representative of the ideas those books are trying to communicate. Denise would argue that they are examples of my being plugged in.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

There were several influences. My father was an English teacher. When he was retired and had nothing to do, I would ask him to “edit” my weekly newspaper columns. The man was superhuman. He never once commented on the content; kept his opinions to himself. He would read the article and hand it back to me with spelling mistakes corrected and with suggestions as to grammar.

For most of my business career I have been involved in drafting Business Plans. It soon became clear to me that the human mind works well if it is presented information in context and as part of an unfolding story that has reference benchmarks.

In drafting advertisements as part of my business activities it soon became clear that less is more. If one has something to say then say it. It’s rather like having an itchy left ear: You can scratch the itch with your left hand or you can extend your right hand all the way over the top of your head and scratch it that way. I discovered that readers typically don’t appreciate that kind of meandering writing.

Denise often criticises me for being too basic. “Readers aren’t stupid” she often tells me. “You don’t have to explain at that level of detail.” But then again, I often don’t know what the hell she’s talking about, so it boils down to a balanced approach.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I tend to break my life down into “projects”. Right now my project is to market my two novels. Creative writing is on the back burner. However, if I’m successful and the books start to sell in reasonably large numbers, I might attempt a third book that looks at an imaginary day-to-day adventure/thriller story of life in the future – on the assumption that life on planet earth evolves as my two novels envision. I might call it “The Next Frontier” and the “thrills” might come from conquering the unknown rather than engaging with an enemy.

On the other hand, if my marketing efforts do not give rise to significant sales then I will not try to argue with the market. “Success” is often about timing. My books may be too far ahead of their time. If that turns out to be the case then I may turn my attention to children’s stories. I’ve had this idea about an alternative life form that inhabits the planet and lives in parallel with humans, but only innocent children can see them and consciously interact with them. The stories might involve the human children’s adventures with citizens of the community/ies within the alternative life form.

My fallback position is to devote myself to getting my golf handicap down. I’ll be 67 years old in January and whilst my health is okay, I consider myself to be on the home stretch to death. I don’t want to engage in anything that I’m not enjoying. Last week I managed to score a net 70 in a local golf competition, so I have various options.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Often. Most times I walk away just to allow my mental batteries to recharge and my unconscious mind to open. Sometimes, I “pretend” that I’m travelling downhill on a bicycle and even though I know it’s a waste of time, I start pedalling furiously in anticipation of reaching the next hill. I “dump” words onto a page even though I know they won’t have traction. But then, after a few pages, an idea starts to emerge. At that point I go back to where I starting pedalling and I start to edit by cutting and pasting relevant ideas, deleting irrelevant ideas. Eventually, I recognise that I’ve started pedalling up the slope again and I continue the momentum of my writing.

Beyond Neanderthal

There is an energy force in the world—known to the Ancients—that has largely escaped the interest of the modern day world. Why? There are allusions to this energy in the Chinese I-Ching, in the Hebrew Torah, in the Christian Bible, in the Hindu Sanskrit Ramayana and in the Muslim Holy Qur’an. Its force is strongest within the Earth’s magnetic triangles.

Near one of these–the Bermuda Triangle–circumstances bring together four very different people. Patrick Gallagher is a mining engineer searching for a viable alternative to fossil fuels; Tara Geoffrey, an airline pilot on holidays in the Caribbean; Yehuda Rosenberg, a physicist preoccupied with ancient history; and Mehmet Kuhl, a minerals broker, a Sufi Muslim with an unusual past. Can they unravel the secrets of the Ancients that may also hold the answer to the future of civilization?

About the Author:

In 1987, Brian and his young family migrated from South Africa to Australia where he was employed in Citicorp’s Venture Capital division. He was expecting that Natural Gas would become the world’s next energy paradigm but, surprisingly, it was slow in coming. He then became conscious of the raw power of self-serving vested interests to trump what – from an ethical perspective – should have been society’s greater interests.

Eventually, in 2005, with encouragement from his long suffering wife, Denise, he decided to do something about what he was witnessing: Beyond Neanderthal was the result; The Last Finesse is the prequel.

The Last Finesse is Brian’s second factional novel. Both were written for the simultaneous entertainment and invigoration of the thinking element of society. It is a prequel to Beyond Neanderthal, which takes a visionary view of humanity’s future, provided we can sublimate our Neanderthal drive to entrench pecking orders in society. The Last Finesse is more “now” oriented. Together, these two books reflect a holistic, right brain/left brain view of the challenges faced by humanity; and how we might meet them. All our problems – including the mountain of debt that casts its shadow over the world’s wallowing economy – are soluble.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller

Rating – MA (15+)

More details about the author

Connect with Brian Bloom on Twitter


Image of David Litwack

Tell us a bit about your family.

I’ve been lucky to be married to my best friend for going on 38 years. We have two sons, one recently married, and the other soon to be.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

If you define yourself by what other people think, you probably shouldn’t be a writer. At best, you’ll write watered down stories that offend no one and lack a distinct voice. At worst, you’ll never finish anything. The best answer to self-doubt—be true to yourself.

What scares you the most?

Spending a year on a novel and discovering the basic structure is flawed, then having to rip it apart and throw away some darlings.

What makes you happiest?

Finding the perfect word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, scene. Re-reading the prior day’s writing and thinking—that’s better than I thought it was.

What’s your greatest character strength?

Persistence. I need to rewrite a lot to make it good.

What’s your weakest character trait?

Procrastination. Sometimes I’ll do anything rather than write.

Why do you write?

It’s a character flaw. People in my head keep insisting I tell their story.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

I had a wonderful English teacher in seventh grade who taught me to love to read. That was the start. Then when I was sixteen, this girl who was the editor of a daily camp newsletter convinced me to write something. When it was printed the next day with my byline, I was hooked.

What motivates you to write?

I hope readers feel something special when reading my books, so special that it changes them for the better. Or at least makes them pause and think.

What writing are you most proud of?

Hopefully, I’m continuously improving, so I’m usually most proud of my latest work.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

My two sons, who have grown up to be fine young men.


WINNER: Readers’ Favorite Book 2013 Bronze Award Winner, Drama Category -Fiction

A Tragic Warrior Lost in Two Worlds…

The war in Iraq ended for Lieutenant Freddie Williams when an IED explosion left his mind and body shattered. Once he was a skilled gamer and expert in virtual warfare. Now he’s a broken warrior, emerging from a medically induced coma to discover he’s inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse–and slow rehabilitation through the tender care of Becky, his physical therapist. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps.

In his dreams he is Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who must make sense of his horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the monstrous Horde. His only solace awaits him in the royal gardens, where the gentle words of the beautiful gardener, Rebecca, calm the storms in his soul. While in the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission–a journey along a dark road haunted by demons of guilt and memory–and letting patient, loving Becky into his damaged and shuttered heart may be his only way back from Hell.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with David Litwack on Facebook & Twitter


Why do you write? To entertain and inspire and to fulfil my creativity

Have you always enjoyed writing? Yes

What motivates you to write? While writing is rather easy for me it is also challenging to create something really great and I love challenges

What writing are you most proud of? (Add a link if you like) That Girl Started Her Own Country when it will have its new sequel finished making it a complete enough work for fans to realize greater satisfaction

What are you most proud of in your personal life? My children

What books did you love growing up? Strangely, the only book I recall the title of from childhood is The Ghost of Dibble Hallow because I am a late bloomer when it comes to my love for reading and writing.

Who is your favorite author? There are so many that I love, but I would have to say the one that influenced me most is Alexandre Dumas.

What book genre of books do you adore? I love a good mystery based adventure novel.

What book should everybody read at least once? For modern literature I would say either 1984 or Pride and Prejudice but for more ancient works, The King James Version of the Bible if English is your first language, otherwise, you would miss out on the world’s most influential collection of literature and not discover the seamless ingenuity of it.

Is there any books you really dont enjoy? I can’t remember the names of those books but they were books that didn’t capture my attention with either too much introductory descriptions or the story just wasn’t for me. I love old books partly because it gives you a genuine idea of the time period when written.

What do you hope your obituary will say about you? “Was he/she really the Holy Ghost Writer?”

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live? I can’t say because of the contest to discover my identity, however, I have had more impacting life adventures spanning the globe than you may find in a series of good novel.

Holy Ghost Writer

The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo is a continuation of The Count of Monte Cristo (Book I), related through the voice of Sherlock Holmes and The Sultan of Monte Cristo (Book II). It includes exhilarating new adventures, characters, and ideas, carrying the reader past book I and II and into book III of an ever-expanding new series based on the classic.

Those who have already had the pleasure of reading The Sultan of Monte Cristo will certainly appreciate the unique way in which the Holy Ghost Writer has expanded the original story without the help of anyone (except perhaps from the ghosts of Dumas and Doyle).

In addition to comprising a 3rd sequel to The Count of Monte Cristo, The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo serves as a prequel to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Action, Adventure

Rating – PG-15

More details about the author

Connect with Holy Ghost Writer on Facebook & Twitter


Image of J B McCauley

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it. It is very earthy and represents that world of gangsters, drugs, murder and hate in a very realistic manner. Don’t read it if you are easily offended or sensitive. It is what it is. If people truly believe that the world of The King of Sunday Morning does not exist then they live in Never Neverland.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?

My life experiences yes. My friends no.

How important do you think villains are in a story?

Essential. Every story needs a ying and a yang. There must be balance. Without it the story is skewed with unrealistic expectations.

What are your goals as a writer?

To be read.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Not any more

Excerpt – How Did I Get Here?

He heard the question and knew he didn’t want to answer it. He knew it had been coming. One day he knew she would ask it. How could she share so much and he so little? It wasn’t a question of sharing his love. That was unquestionable. It was sharing his past.

He knew everything about her. The childhood scar on her arm was a badge of honour bestowed upon her as she tried to climb out of her bedroom window in a ridiculous attempt to have a sneaky cigarette. At the age of thirteen, her ears had been stapled to her head to prevent her looking like the FA Cup. She had drunk two bottles of very expensive Grange on her 21st birthday. Her father had been livid. She hadn’t cared.

She only knew of his life in Australia. Of his broken marriage. Of his descent into a depression that he had barely recovered from. She only knew snippets of his life in Europe. His dysfunctional family barely communicated with him. Out of sight, out of mind.

He had met her only three months after the marriage had broken down. She had been very wary of this. Concerned that she was the rebound. But he had assured her that the marriage had been over for some time. The only thing that had kept them together was his proud devotion to his morals and the promises he had made in the sight of God.

He went on the rampage after she walked out. Free from the humdrum marriage that had caged him, he had reverted to type and partied the house down. He was a huge flirt, had an engaging smile and a sense of humour to die for but what had excited her was that all he cared about was having a good time. Life was a party and he was a veteran of both.

She knew he had lived in Portugal and France. She knew he had been on the road to deejaying stardom. That he ran a nightclub. That his club had been on the lips of everyone on the backpacker circuit. She had heard that from others. Apparently his club was the one that you just had to experience. No luxuries. No fancy stuff. It was what it was. The place where you could listen and dance to the latest tunes from London with absolutely no interference from security or anyone else. Drugs were consumed openly and no behaviour was considered taboo.

He was the first English DJ to play house music in Paris. He had worked in Val D’Isere during the French Winter Olympics but beyond that, nothing. He didn’t want her to know. His life was his to know and it was better that way.

She looked at him again. She raised herself onto her elbow and gazed onto his face. His eyes were closed and his lips pursed. She saw a tear form in his duct and snake down the right side of his face towards his ear.

He raised an arm to his face and wiped away the tear. He turned his head towards her and opened his eyes.

“Lizzy, do you really want to know?”

“Yes honey”


“Because if I am going to spend the rest of my life with you, I need to know”.

Tray flinched at this. He had known she loved him but this was new. The rest of his life in exchange for the history of it. She put her left hand on his chest. She smiled at him. Moved her hand to his face, held it softly then bent down and kissed him.

She pulled back.

“Its not how I got here baby. It’s why I stayed away”.

“Well then, why did you stay away?”

He looked at her. She said nothing. Waiting for an answer. He closed his eyes. Swallowed. He opened them again.

“Cos I can’t go back!”

King of Sunday Morning

The King of Sunday Morning is a geezer. Not in the traditional sense of the word as in old man. This geezer is a face, a wannabe, a top notch bloke. He is the greatest DJ that never was. He should have been. Could have been. Would have been. Now becoming a has-been.

Tray McCarthy was born into privilege but with the genetic coding of London’s violent East End. Having broken the underworld’s sacred honour code, it is only his family’s gangland connections that save him. But in return for his life, he must deny that which he has ever known or ever will be and runs to Australia where he is forced to live an inconsequential life.

But trouble never strays far from Tray McCarthy and eventually his past and present collide to put everyone he has ever loved in danger. He must now make a stand and fight against those that are set to destroy him and play their game according to his rules.

Set against the subterfuge and violence of the international drugs trade, The King of Sunday Morning is the tale of what can go wrong when you make bad decisions. Tray McCarthy has made some of the worst. He must now save those he holds dear but in the process gets trapped deeper and deeper into a world where he doesn’t belong.

“I want three pump-action shotguns, about twelve sticks of dynamite and a blowtorch”


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller, Action, Suspense, Gangster, Crime, Music

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author

Connect with J.B. McCauley on Facebook & Twitter

Image of Ramzan Artsikaev

Who or what influenced your writing over the years?

Christopher Nola’s Inception influenced my writing a lot.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

Remembering stuff is the most challenging thing about writing, if you ask me. You have to memorize eye color, hairstyles, etc. So keep organized notes.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?

It taught me how to construct a better plot.

Do intend to make writing a career?

I most certainly do hope to make it a career.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Yes, I have had writer’s block and more than once. What do I do? I just write, until it makes sense, watch movies, read books, write again.

Can you tell us a little about your main character?

My main character is a seventeen-year-old boy who has a unique ability. That, in turn, makes him special. He is a usual boy, but due to his powers, he has no other option than to man up and save the world, otherwise mankind will perish.

How did you develop your plot and characters?

It took me years to develop the plot and characters; I just kept rewriting them and adding character traits as well as taking them away, until I was satisfied.

Who designed the cover?

Igor Lykyanov designed the cover. He is a great illustrator. I adore his work.

Who is your publisher?

I am my own publisher, as I’m an indie author.

Why did you choose to write this particular book?

Because, as a Harry Potter and Twilight fan, I felt that the market is lacking that special, magical touch to it. I asked myself, what would someone like me like to read, and I came up with the Peter Simmons series.

How do you promote this book?

I use social networks and ask book reviewers to check out my book.

Will you write others in the same genre?

Yes, I most definitely will write others in the same genre, which is young-adult. I’ve also got a lot of paranormal romance coming up.

Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?

In my entire Peter Simmons series – yes. I want readers to understand that we, as sapient beings, have to have enough sense to support each other and concentrate on our similarities not differences. If we accomplish that, we will be much stronger and happier, as a global society.

How much of the book is realistic?

A lot of it is realistic, especially the ‘penultimate parts’.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?

No, the book has very little to do with me and my personal life.

How important do you think villains are in a story?

I think villains make up fifty percent of the book. That’s exactly why I give so much attention and great detail to my main villain.

Who is your favorite author and why?

J.K. Rowling is my favorite author, because her Harry Potter books are exceptionally interesting.

Can we expect any more books from you in the future?

You can definitely expect a lot of books from me in the future. And I mean a lot!

Have you started another book yet?

I have started another three books.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I see myself writing, regardless of whether or not I achieve the readership I desire.

What are your current writing projects now?

My current writing projects are: A book about zombies with a teenage female protagonist, a book about vampires and sorcerers, also with a teenage girl protagonist, and a book entitled Antonia Bells, about dragonborns (magicians) and humanoid elves. The latter two are paranormal romance.

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?

Unfortunately, I’m not reading anything right now, no.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?

Some of the best tools available for writers are online dictionaries, the thesaurus, Word and Google.

What contributes to a writer being successful?

Sticking with it no matter what. If you love writing and keep practicing it, sooner or later you will reach your audience.

Do you have any advice for writers?

Yes, my advice for writers is: Get a great book cover and write and read as often as you can. Try to read all genres, even if you don’t like them, and mix your authors. The more diversity, the better.

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?

My one bit of wisdom is the following: Be kind to each other, and one day, kindness will come your way.

When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have?

When I end my career, I’d like to look back on all of my work and think that I couldn’t have done it any better. But that, unfortunately, is an impossibility – as there’s always room for improvement.


Peter Simmons thinks he is an ordinary boy, before he is abducted by a man with certain special abilities, learns of his inescapable destiny, befriends immortals and becomes famous worldwide. Why? Because Peter Simmons is mankind’s last hope for survival.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Young Adult, Action and Adventure, Coming of Age, Sci-fi

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with  Ramz Artso on Facebook & Twitter


Will you write others in this same genre?

Yes. I really like Dark Romance and feel I have a lot to give in this genre.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

It’s hard and I admit I hadn’t cried in two years and a review of Tears of Tess made me crack. But then, after letting the sadness stay for an hour or two, I remembered that I write for the love of writing and the majority of people love my work too. It’s very important to stay focused on the positive and support from amazing fans.

What scares you the most?

Um, losing the will to fight through those ‘I suck’ days. I would never let myself give up, but I get a shot of fear at the thought of never writing again.

What makes you happiest?

When a fan emails / Facebook messages me about how much they loved my book. It never gets old and I love each and everyone. I also reply to each and every one so they know what they mean to me.

What’s your greatest character strength?

Tess is the fiercest girl I know. She endures so much throughout the book but she never breaks. I wish I was as strong as her.

Tears of Tess

Tess Snow has everything she ever wanted: one more semester before a career in property development, a loving boyfriend, and a future dazzling bright with possibility.

For their two year anniversary, Brax surprises Tess with a romantic trip to Mexico. Sandy beaches, delicious cocktails, and soul-connecting sex set the mood for a wonderful holiday. With a full heart, and looking forward to a passion filled week, Tess is on top of the world.

But lusty paradise is shattered.

Kidnapped. Drugged. Stolen. Tess is forced into a world full of darkness and terror.

Captive and alone with no savior, no lover, no faith, no future, Tess evolves from terrified girl to fierce fighter. But no matter her strength, it can’t save her from the horror of being sold.

Can Brax find Tess before she’s broken and ruined, or will Tess’s new owner change her life forever?

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Dark New Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author

Connect with Pepper Winters on Facebook & Twitter


Image of Colin Falconer

What do you hope your obituary will say about you?

‘We apologize for yesterday’s typographical error. He’s not dead yet.’

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I was born in a terraced house in north London and we moved to a little fishing village in Essex when I was 4. It grew into this horrible satellite dormitory suburb and I just couldn’t wait to get out of there. I used to play a lot of Springsteen. Baby this town rips the bones forn your back, got to get out while we’re young. Born to Run. And boy, did I run. I eventually raised my own family in a surfing and wine growing area in south west Australia. Now my girls are grown I live in Barcelona.

What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…

I’ve been a full time professional now for 29 years. I started in advertising – 90% bullshit and 10% commission – then I was a freelance journalist then became a full time novelist in 1990. I paid off three houses and raised a family from writing. None of it was easy.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

What I wanted to do was play for Manchester United but they didn’t want to play with me. I had trails with a top flight English club – Southampton – and didn’t make it. I drove taxis while I was learning to write. I worked for 13 years as a volunteer paramedic in Australia. Working as a volunteer paramedic is a book on its own! I would be sitting at my desk typing then my pager would go off and half an hour later I’d be crawling into a car wreck feeling for a pulse. It was an unusual life.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Right where I’m living now – Barcelona. The people are great, there are tapas bars everywhere, you can get a beer any hour of the day or night, and you can feel history in every stone.


She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.

12 year old Isabella, a French princess marries the King of England – only to discover he has a terrible secret. Ten long years later she is in utter despair – does she submit to a lifetime of solitude and a spiritual death – or seize her destiny and take the throne of England for herself?

Isabella is just twelve years old when she marries Edward II of England. For the young princess it is love at first sight – but Edward has a terrible secret that threatens to tear their marriage – and England apart.

Who is Piers Gaveston – and why is his presence in the king’s court about to plunge England into civil war?

The young queen believes in the love songs of the troubadours and her own exalted destiny – but she finds reality very different. As she grows to a woman in the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she must decide between her husband, her children, even her life – and one breath-taking gamble that will change the course of history.

This is the story of Isabella, the only woman ever to invade England – and win.

In the tradition of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick, ISABELLA is thoroughly researched and fast paced, the little known story of the one invasion the English never talk about.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Colin Falconer on Facebook & Twitter


Image of Rayne HallWhich of the stories in Thirty Scary Tales is the scariest?

For me personally, it’s The Bridge Chamber. It scared me so much while I was writing it, I had to stop for several days before I found the courage to continue.

Do you get nightmares?

To a horror writer, nightmares are a gift. What frightens us in our sleep is surely going to scare our readers when they’re awake.  I use the dreams as raw materials for stories, changing the plot to make it plausible. However real dreams feel when we have them, in the cold light of day the events aren’t always believable, so I change them. However, I try to stay faithful to the core idea of the dream, and to capture that scary feeling.

Several stories in Thirty Scary Tales are inspired by nightmarish dreams, including The Painted Staircase where I dreamt that I was getting pulled into a shipwreck painting.

Have the stories in Thirty Scary Tales been published before?

Yes, most of them. Some were featured years ago in digital and print magazines or in anthology books.  However, I rewrote some of them, because I no longer liked the original versions that much.  Over the years, I’ve become a much better writer, and I want to showcase my stories in their best possible form.

Although I sold the stories to publishers, in most cases I kept the rights, or the rights reverted back to me, and I could include them. For some stories, I had to ask the original publisher’s permission. Fortunately, the publishers have been very graceful about this.

The stories are also featured in Six Scary Tales Volumes 1-5, of which this is a compilation.

Do you have any advice for aspiring horror writers?

Write about what frightens you – phobias, nightmares, places that give you the creeps. You’ll be able to write about these things with great authenticity, and it will be scary.

How is Thirty Scary Tales different from other horror collections?

The stories are a more subtle type of horror than most, creepily atmospheric and psychologically disturbing.  Readers who like splatterpunk horror with lots of violence and gore are probably better off reading someone else’s book.

Thirty Scary Tales

Thirty creepy, atmospheric stories by Rayne Hall.

The horror in these stories is spooky, creepy, unsettling and sometimes disturbing. It is not very violent or gory; however, the stories may not be suitable for young readers without parental guidance. PG 13.

This book is a compilation of volumes 1-5 of the Six Scary Tales books. It includes the acclaimed stories Burning and The Bridge Chamber.

All stories have been previously published in magazines, ezines, collections and anthologies. British English.

Stories in collection include:
The Devil You Know, Greywalker, Prophetess, Each Stone A Life, By Your Own Free Will, The Bridge Chamber, Only A Fool, Four Bony Hands, The Black Boar, Double Rainbows, Druid Stones, Burning, Scruples, Seagulls, Night Train, Through the Tunnel, Black Karma, Take Me To St. Roch’s, Turkish Night, Never Leave Me, The Colour of Dishonour, Beltane, The Painted Staircase, I Dived The Pandora, Terre Vert and Payne’s Grey, They Say, Tuppence Special, Disturbed Sleep, Normal Considering the Weather, Arete.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Horror

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Rayne Hall on Twitter

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

Anywhere I can be connected to the Internet.

Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?

A fellow recovered alcoholic and successful indie author, Martin Crosbie, who got me started on the road to indie freedom.  Also, Kim Mutch Emerson and the MasterKoda gang on Facebook.  On the literary fiction side, a guy who liked my stuff (and has written blurbs to that effect) and has possibly won more short story contests than anybody in the world, Jacob M. Appel (he always wants the “M” in his name because there’s another famous Appel.  Go figure!).

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

Eight hours.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

My publicist and full-time “Madame,” (inside joke) Ms. Jennifer Perry.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?

Jim Musgrave

Here are all three suspenseful mysteries in one book!

Forevermore, the first mystery, was a #2 bestseller in Amazon’s Historical Mystery category. It has received outstanding reviews from readers, and it establishes Pat O’Malley as a detective sleuth par excellence. The second mystery, Disappearance at Mount Sinai, continues the development of the characters amidst an excellent caper. The third mystery, Jane the Grabber, plunges O’Malley into the middle of the Steampunk world, and it marks a turning point in the novels to come.

Forevermore Synopsis:

“Musgrave mixes accurate history with a spell-binding plot to create an amazing who-done-it! Watch for more Pat O’Malley Mysteries.”

In post Civil War New York City, Detective Pat O’Malley is living inside Poe’s Cottage in the Bronx. O’Malley is haunted by Poe one night, and the detective finds a strange note. As a result, O’Malley decides to prove that Edgar Allan Poe did not die in Baltimore from an alcoholic binge but was, instead, murdered. O’Malley quickly becomes embroiled in a “cold case” that thrusts him into the lair of one of the most sinister and ruthless killers in 1865 New York City.

Jim Musgrave’s “Forevermore” is a quick read in four acts that will keep your mind razor sharp trying to solve the mystery of Poe’s murder. Pat O’Malley must first find out how to become intimate with females before he can discover the final clue in this puzzle of wits, murder and romance.

Disappearance at Mount Sinai Synopsis:

What if the anti-Semites, racists, and terrorists wanted the final revenge following the Civil War? How do you stop them from committing the worst atrocity?

It’s 1866 in New York City. Civil War Vet and Detective Pat O’Malley’s biggest case returns him to the deep, dark South to search for the kidnapped wealthiest inventor and entrepreneur in America. But the widening gyre of anti-Semitism and racism pulls him down into the pit of hell itself. Disguised as an Oxford England Professor, O’Malley infiltrates the anti-Semites’ group and travels with his partners, Becky Charming and his father, Robert, down to a Collierville, Tennessee mansion.

At the crux of this case are a Jewish father and his five-year-old son, Seth. They have developed a unique bond that relies on Jewish folklore and a belief that they are Mazikeen, half-angel and half-human, born from the loins of Adam’s strange female cohorts during the 130 years he was banished from the Garden. Will O’Malley find Dr. Mergenthaler before it’s too late? What does this world-wide eugenics group have planned for the mongrel races? Read Jim Musgrave’s Disappearance at Mount Sinai, the second mystery in the series of Pat O’Malley Mini-Mysteries.

Jane the Grabber Synopsis:

What was it like before women were given rights to determine their own destinies? How was abortion and birth control used in the 1860s? What happens to a society when the last sexual taboo is permitted? Find out in the third mystery in the Pat O’Malley Historical Steampunk Mystery Series, Jane the Grabber.

Buy Now @ Amazon @ Createspace

Genre – Historical Steampunk Mystery

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with  Jim Musgrave on Facebook & Twitter


$250 gift card giveaway

What genre are you most comfortable writing? I write Suspense. My first novel, Trapped (,, is a parapsychological suspense, that most readers comment, “I couldn’t put it down.” My current novel, A Third time to Die, might be classified as a Romantic Suspense. I’ve also written two non-procedural Detective novels, featuring a Miami-Dade homicide cop (think Patterson’s Alex Cross), and am working on two more in his series. I’ve also written a non-fiction book about fly-fishing for pike and Musky, Toothy Critters Love Flies. More about that in a later question

Can you tell us about your main character? Ashley Easton is a beautiful, vibrant mother in a troubled marriage. She rescues a badly abused horse and decides to return to show jumping, the passion of her youth. The animal gives her unquestioned love, something she no longer receives from her husband, Keith. But when Ashley begins to compete, she is terrified as the course seemingly morphs into an old forest, the jumps transformed into real walls, fences and streams. Her thoughts spill through her head in elegant French, a language she barely knows, as she attacks the fences with a fearless abandon uncharacteristic for her, winning every event.

Later, through hypnotic psychotherapy, Ashley discovers two Past Lives, the first as a French countess, the reckless but skilled horsewoman who fills her head while jumping her horse, Injun. Those lives were filled with passionate love, and fraught with brutal murder. Now, in the 21st Century, she is rediscovering her lover, but has her killer also returned to this time?

How much of the book is realistic? There are two aspects to A 3rd Time to Die: Jumping horses and Past Lives. My wife, Dolores, owned and jumped a champion Open Class horse when we lived in northern Illinois. I’ve brought that experience to the novel, giving an accurate insight to that beautiful sport, including the personal relationship between rider and horse. Her horse, Redman, loved her, interacting more like a dog than an equine with her.

Past Lives are more debatable. Ashley is eventually hypnotically regressed into those past lives, so I decided reading about how it was done wasn’t going to cut it for me. I read “Many Lives, Many Masters,” by Dr. Brian Weiss, a prominent psychiatrist and most noted proponent of past lives. I found an associate of his, (Weiss was “booked up” for over a year!) who hypnotically regressed me… into NINE lives of my own. I had my doubts of the reality of the condition, but wanted to see what it was like. This, you may think, was going a bit “overboard” for research, but it was a life-changing experience. This gave me a clear understanding of how regression actually works, the actual mechanics the therapist uses to take you back… back… back into past lives.

Here’s an interesting personal antidote. When I was twelve, my dad brought home a target bow and a big straw bull’s-eye target. My only experience with a bow was from watching Western movies, but I set up the target in the back yard, strung the bow (how did I even know how to do that?), walked off about 100 feet… and started shooting bull’s-eyes! I seldom missed that center black circle. A few days later, while practicing, a big crow flew over, probably 60 feet high. I instinctively put an arrow in him. A week later, while “hunting” in a nearby forest preserve, I flushed a ringneck pheasant, and knocked him down with a quick shot. Then a rabbit, dodging through the brush. I don’t know how I did it, I just did it, without thinking.

The point of this little tale is, during one of my regressions, I found myself in Lincolnshire Forest, shooting game for a 16th Century English duke…a regular Robin Hood. An interesting and provoking side-light to doing research for a novel. Personally, I now believe in Past Lives.

Who is your publisher? A 3rd Time to Die is published by GnD Publishing LLC ( They’re a small, independent publisher, operating in the new mode of “fee sharing.” They are NOT a vanity Publisher, as they are selective about what they will publish, but they are motivated to help Debut authors. Basically, the writer pays the actual cost of independent professional content and line editing, cover design, an ISBN number, and any minor out-of-pocket costs. My expenses were about $1500, but then they share, 50/50, all royalties, from the first sale. They also provide guidance for marketing. Their web site offers a lot of good (free) advice, too.

TAG Publishers was the publisher for my first novel, Trapped. TAG is also a small independent publisher, and while they do not charge up front for any of the costs of publishing ($3000), they keep all royalties until it’s paid out, which will take a lot longer to earn out. They also split the net royalty with the author,

Have you written any non-fiction? I’ve written a book about my main love, fly-fishing for pike and musky. Toothy Critters Love Flies, (, is now in its 2nd Edition, available in both print, and for the first time, as a Kindle. I had an agent and several publishers interested in the book. They didn’t feel there was enough potential sales, however, so I self-published, and the book has done quite well. I’m considered a “World-Class” fly-fisherman and have held a dozen IGFA World Records, including two for pike. I actually got started fly-fishing for toothy critters after a chance meeting with famous baseballer, Ted Williams, in northern Manitoba. He was my hero, and it was a lifetime memory to have fished with him.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Romantic Suspense

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with George Bernstein on Facebook & Twitter


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Me on Pinterest

my read shelf:
Dale McKay's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)