Monthly Archives: January 2014

Author Spotlight: DeAnna Knippling

Today I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine who just happens to write fabulous books! I hope you enjoy meeting DeAnna Knippling!

deannakDeAnna Knippling drinks a lot of tea, but she’s not fussy about it, because that would be rude.  She likes horror movies but tends to jump excessively and squeak.  She thinks the epitome of ghost stories were the Brits at the turn of the century, more specifically E.F. Benson, although she’s not fond of the Mapp & Lucia books, which strikes her as a shame.  She grew up on Tom Baker and the peacock death cry of the Mystery! series and had a cat named Cheshire Cat.  It wasn’t until later that she discovered Edward Gorey, and felt both delighted and as though someone had been hiding something from her for years.  You can find her at

Why did you become an author? Was it a childhood dream?

Actually my childhood dream was to be Crystal Gayle, the country singer with six-foot-long hair.  I wandered quite a bit before I decided I would be a fiction writer, actually – first it was poetry, then plays.  Then, finally, I acknowledged that mostly what I did in my spare time was read SF/F/H short stories and novels and I should try writing some of those.

While I was going to high school and college there was this huge bias against genre novels, and it felt like I was making a major stand against the establishment.  “I will write…genre!!!  I will entertain!!!”

Truly you get some funny notions going on when you’re that age.

Whats your greatest obstacle in writing?

Getting over the fact that there’s so much to learn.  It doesn’t sound like it should be traumatic, but it is.  I learn something new…and suddenly EVERYTHING I’VE EVER WRITTEN UP TO THAT POINT IS HORRIBLE.  I go into this black despair.  Fortunately I’ve got it down to like a day of despair before I bounce back again, so I can study people like Stephen King and not feel like I’ve wasted the last decade of my life for more than a couple of hours.

What makes the world of your novel different from ours?

I was going to say “zombies,” but that’s not really it.  I live in the U.S. in modern times, and that world is Victorian England, which I think is more of a difference than zombies themselves would be.  Today, a zombie plague, we’d all freak out be all over the phones and the Internet about it; Pat Robertson would no doubt tell us that the plague was because of sinners, and a bunch of people would put up a meme making fun of it.  Whereas the Victorians, I’m convinced, would be all, “The worst sort of chaps are returning from the dead.  Quite an issue for the current administration, don’t you think?  These crumpets are quite nice, Hartley, do let Cook know.”  We’re much more expressive and responsive now, for better or worse.

What was the most exciting thing happening when you wrote your novel?

This entire novel has been pervaded by a sense of both excitement and doom.  The research has been AMAZING, though.  The entire time I was writing it, I was running around and going “DID YOU KNOW ABOUT ALICE AND QUEEN VICTORIA’S SON?!?” and things like that.  Total geekery.

Who is your favorite Indie author?

Anne Elliot.  She’s my friend in real life, so I was kind of going, “Oh, well, I’ll read her book for her and say nice things, blah blah blah.”  No.  It turns out that she writes these perfect little teen romances, which sounds trite because of the way we’ve been encouraged to think of such things, but they’re just little miracles of character and plotting and pacing.  You walk out of them going, “Wait wait, my headache is cured and tomorrow will be a good day.”

Who is your favorite traditionally published author?

Lewis Carroll.

Living?  Uh…Right now, Mark Lawrence.  Very dark high fantasy.

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

Travel more.  For some reason I have this hangup where I love doing it but I’m constantly talking myself out of it.  Have you seen that Kids in the Hall sketch about not putting salt in your eye?  Here’s my self-talk:

“I want to travel.  Oh, travel is expensive, I shouldn’t travel, I don’t deserve to travel, IF YOU TRAVEL YOU WILL BETRAY EVERYTHING YOU EVER LOVED.”

I’m an introvert.  Can you tell?

Thanks for chatting with us, DeAnna. And now, what you’ve all been waiting for…information on DeAnna’s latest release!

Alice UnderlandWith the invention of a serum that prevents most people infected with the zombie sickness from becoming raving cannibals, Victorian society finds itself in need of more standards: to separate the infected from the whole, to control when and how the infected can come into contact with the pure, to establish legal contracts, precedence, employment, and more, with regards to the walking dead.

The very backbone of the British Empire is its standards.

The middle daughter of the Dean of Christ Church in Oxford, Alice Liddell, finds a certain lack of charm in the standards she must follow, with increasing strictness, day after day. Wild and rebellious, she battles her father’s cold discipline, her mother’s striving to hide her middle-class origins, and the hollow madness of the world around her, in which the teetering Empire desperately pretends that nothing is, in fact, the matter.

Enter Mr. Charles Dodgson: one of the chaste Dons of Oxford, married to his mathematics. He charms Alice and her sisters, often taking them on walks and boat rides (chaperoned, of course), and telling them jokes and stories. He is twenty-four when he first meets them.

And he is dead.

Turned in a tragic accident at Rugby, Charles uses the serum to keep him from the ordinary sort of madness that affects zombies.

But it doesn’t affect the elegant madness of his brain.

And one day, as he sees Alice struggle against the chains that constrict her, chains so similar to his own…

…one of his playful stories becomes something more.

Find ‘Alice’ here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Author Spotlight: Marsha A. Moore

Today, we welcome Marsha A. Moore, an author of fantasy romance. Marsha is a fellow author from the Magic Appreciation Tour, and she is currently wrapping up her Enchanted Bookstore Legends.

Marsha A. Moore

Marsha A. Moore

About Marsha

Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales. The magic of art and nature often spark life into her writing, as well as watercolor painting and drawing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out for an hour or more is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical! She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and recently completed a year-long Kripalu-affiliated yoga teacher training program. The spiritual quest of her yoga studies helps her explore the mystical side of fantasy.

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Why did you become an author? Was it a childhood dream?

I’ve followed a circuitous path to end up as a fiction writer. I graduated with a degree in Biology, minoring in English. I wanted to pursue Literature and Fine Art, but my parents encouraged me to study Biology, so I might eventually find a reliable job. That was fine, since I liked that subject also. I wrote essays as a fun break from my full load of Science. Yes, weird that I thought writing essays was fun…still do! Then, I headed into grad school studying Dentistry. Four years later, I decided, although I was excelling, it just wasn’t my calling. I changed gears and taught high school Biology for seventeen years, getting my Masters in Secondary Education.

Along the way, I picked up a hobby of writing music reviews for record companies. During that time, I was inspired by some of those experiences and tinkered with fiction. Initially, I wrote fiction based on the world of rock music. Through a lucky happenstance, a man who worked for a major book publishing house read my first attempts at fiction, which were posted on a music forum. He repeatedly encouraged me to submit my creative writing to publishers. Over time, I came to believe him and did. After that, a new world opened up and it’s been a wonderful time.


What’s your greatest obstacle in writing?

I’ve invested over three years writing this epic tale. During the last year, I’d been eager to realize the culmination of the twisted, interwoven storylines. However, while writing the final book, Quintessence, when I approached the last five or six chapters, I hesitated and had to force myself to go on. That’s not my normal rhythm, usually ending a novel like it’s burning my fingers. And I well knew what the plot required. I just didn’t want to part with my characters and that incredible fantasy land.

However, with the series now complete, I feel proud of my work. Looking back, it seems a huge accomplishment. But it was an effort of love, without hardship, so completing the path feels like only a small milestone. What I’m more proud of are my characters—the strength, compassion, loyalty, and love they shared. I feel like a happy parent seeing children leave the nest, sad for my characters to leave my daily life, but thrilled they will now share their endearing qualities with new readers.


What makes the world of your novel different from ours?

It’s basically a fantasy lover’s dream, being able to step into a favorite book as a character. I know my initial inspiration came after watching the recent Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland movie. From that, I wanted to work with parallel worlds and have a heroine who must save the fantasy world from danger.

I envisioned a series with the magical complexities of the Harry Potter world, but for grown-ups, with characters who faced more complicated life issues. I had strong opinions about choosing my heroine’s age. I wanted her to have experienced enough hard times to be able to truly appreciate true love, honor, courage, fairness, all that is good. In this way, she can truly commit to whatever obstacles lie in the path to happiness. She knows herself and is determined. As the series progresses, I admire her strength.


What was the most exciting thing happening when you wrote your novel?

The most exciting thing was to have a minor character spring to life and command a larger role. The character was the ten-year-old crippled child named Kessa whose mother sneaked her into hiding in the Imperial lair of the Alliance during Dark Realm attacks on their village. She made an appearance in Staurolite: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Four and commanded a far greater role than I’d planned. Her original intended task was to merely deliver a jewelry box filled with ancient magical trinkets to my heroine, Lyra McCauley. Kessa lit up while touching those items, and her own magic sparked my heart. I empowered the girl as a seer, the only one in the land for centuries. She even became a pivotal character to end the series in my latest release, Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five.


Who is your favorite Indie author?

I admire many of the writers in my critique group. To watch their dedication to learning their craft leaves me in awe, honors me to be a part of their journeys, and inspires me to make my own writing a priority.


Who is your favorite traditionally published author?

There are so many. I love magical realism books like The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen and Practical Magic and The Green Witch by Alice Hoffman, both so delicately woven with the most sparkling magic. Other books that captivate me are Natasha Mostert’s Season of the Witch and Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus. In both of those, magic caused mental effects for both the giver and receiver. I enjoy the complexity of that theme and employ it myself in a very different way. In the Enchanted Bookstore Legends, my heroine, Lyra, must learn to mentally control her vast inherited powers as the new Scribe. That is something she struggles to master through the series.


If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

I don’t think I’d change anything in my immediate life. All the happy times and hardships have helped me know myself more deeply and to be more compassionate toward others. I value each step and each lesson along my path.



Enchanted Bookstore LegendsAbout the Books

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in the world of Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1,200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications.

Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her.

When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe.

Thank you, Katharina, for interviewing me today!
You’re welcome.

Author Interview: Kristen S. Walker

To my ongoing amazement, we continue to lure aspiring authors to the Independent Bookworm for interviews. Even with the incontrovertible evidence of our perfidious cruelty right before their eyes, they come- driven by passion, by desperation or perhaps just a terminally short attention span. And who are we to complain?

Next up in the chair of interrogation is Kristen S. Walker, whose new novel “A Flight of Marewings” is debuting this month. Perhaps she believes her previous acquaintance with the eminent Ms. Gerlach will save her. Perhaps she is grievously, tragically mistaken… now where did I put that YA-sized strappado…

In the sky, behind her... are those wings?

In the sky, behind her… are those wings?

Q: All other questions must wait! What is Wyld about your world’s Magic, besides the spelling. And most important please, how soon can I start to use it?

A: Wyld Magic is actually the forces of Nature on steroids to fight back against the advancement of human civilization. It twists normal plants and animals into deadly monsters, from marewings to stranglevine, virtually all of which are hostile to humans and are actively trying to destroy farms and settlements. Humans in Seirenia have to band together in the safety of cities, or get the aid of priests to bless their fields and keep back the encroachment of the Wyld. As for humans harnessing that power for their own purposes, well, I will tell you that some of the characters in this book try to do just that. You’ll have to read the novel to find out what happens, but I don’t think you’d want to mess around with it lightly. The effects of Wyld Magic on human society will be an ongoing theme for the series.

Q: You describe the world of Seirenia and Marewings as epic fantasy. Does that mean it’s not YA? Can kids read epics?

A: Epic, high, or heroic fantasy are all terms used to describe a flavor of fantasy that focuses on magical quests or adventures with dangerous monsters. Some of it is written for the YA crowd (see Tamora Pierce’s Tortall novels for a bestselling example), but A Flight of Marewings has almost entirely adult characters, so it’s not aimed at that age group. However, many kids and teens (including me when I was younger and my own teen girls now) read above their age group as well, so I wouldn’t say that my novel could not be enjoyed by teens. After all, the famous Lord of the Rings trilogy is considered non-YA epic fantasy, but many people read it for the first time in middle or high school, and it’s often their introduction to the fantasy genre.


Q: What would you say is the biggest difference with trying to interest a younger reader- in any kind of story?

A: Well, the contrary thing about younger readers is that they often don’t want to read something that you’re “trying” to tell them to read. In general, YA, MG (middle grade) and children’s books are just those stories with younger characters who are also probably trying to deal with issues that kids of that age can relate to, from school bullies to first love. Otherwise, these books shouldn’t be written any differently than novels for adults, especially when you’re writing for teens—they can handle complex concepts and advanced vocabulary at that age, and they really don’t like to be talked down to. That means you can still tackle difficult issues and dark themes in YA, to some extent in MG, and delicately in children’s books. (I remember being seven years old and reading about one of the characters in the Babysitters’ Club when her grandmother had a stroke, and how that affected her family. This was two years after my own grandmother had passed away, so I was no stranger to those kinds of issues.)

 In the end, every reader is different, and they’re going to be interested in different things. I would say that my approach has been to talk to a few teens and ask what they think of my ideas or what they want in a story. I’m lucky to live with two of them who are very vocal in their opinions, and teen readers are also easy to find online.

Q: I see that you, madam, not satisfied with owning an entire fantasy world, need to invade the ARW (Alleged Real World) as well. “Small Town Witch” sounds pretty close to magical realism, yes? Everything’s the same except we have, um, a few thousand spellcasting monstrous beings running around in Northern California. I wonder if anyone would even notice! Did you have more world-building to do with a small town in this world, or in describing an entirely new one?

A: What can I say? I love world-building and I never know when to stop! I think that I did more world-building for Seirenia for two reasons: I’ve been working on that world since I was thirteen (although it doesn’t resemble its original incarnation much at all by now), and I cheated with my small town because it’s actually mostly based on a place where I grew up—in Northern California. It prides itself on being weird, so there’s already plenty of strange things running around, but I do think people would notice if magic suddenly started to show up. (There would be photos up on the community blog, like the escaped parrot that roosts in neighborhood trees and sightings of the alleged “ghost” in a certain hotel.) I don’t know if magical realism applies, though, because the magic is front and center without too much of the realism. I call “Small Town Witch” alternately Urban or Contemporary or Modern Fantasy to emphasize that it’s in our time and our world. (As a joke, I once said that it was the opposite of Urban Fantasy because it’s not in a city, and wanted to coin the sub genre of Rural Fantasy, but I don’t know how many other books would join mine in that category!)

Q: Tell us more about the series (“The Fae of Calaveras County”) that you started with “Small Town Witch”, and particularly your decision to serialize the later volumes (available now on her Facebook page). Would you recommend that publication plan?

A: Well, I self-published “Small Town Witch” first on all of the traditional digital platforms like Amazon and Smashwords, but it’s been tough to get visibility with so many other books out there. I knew that my friend, Jimena Novaro, was releasing her novel “The Withering Sword” as a serial on both her website and on Wattpad—a website that lets writers share their stories for free. I learned from her and a few other writers that Wattpad is a good community to connect directly with readers, especially teens. So when I started to write the sequel to “Small Town Witch”, I decided to experiment with sharing the novel as I wrote it. Other than writing too fast for many readers to keep up with (I managed a rate of a chapter a day for the whole month of November), I think it was successful, and I’ve made some new friends and fans that way.

 I know many authors wouldn’t like this approach, because it means giving away your work for free. I don’t personally plan on leaving up my entire story there indefinitely—in the next few weeks, I’ll remove it from Wattpad and start revising the story to publish it as an ebook later. But for getting visibility, one of the major hurdles of a self-published author that doesn’t have the backing of a big publishing company or a huge marketing budget, I do recommend sharing at least some work with readers for free, on Wattpad, your own site, or any of the other similar communities. You get direct feedback. If you share the first part of a longer series, you can get people interested in later books. And not just self-published authors use this to find new readers—Margaret Atwood and Brandon Sanderson both have entire books on the site. Every author has to find their own plan that fits their work and their goals, so I don’t think it’s ideal for everyone, but it’s worth looking at as one option among so many available today.

Q: Are you a disciplined writer, with a regular schedule and habits? Notes, much? How about a Muse, did you pick up one of those along the way? And how are the two people inside your head getting along- Kristen the author and Kristen the marketer? Any fistfights, and if so who won?

A:I do try to keep up the habit of working on something every day. Sometimes I write a story, sometimes I work on outlines or world-building, other days it’s revision—but I keep my momentum going better when I do some kind of writing and my stories stay fresh in my mind. I’m trying to cut back on my massive amount of notes that I do for each project, because I can spend too much time planning and never get to the actual story. My Muse is a hyperactive child who gets easily distracted by shiny things, but when she’s focused she hovers over my shoulder to demand everything from explosions to unicorns.

 Kristen the writer has been a strong force since I was eight and started my first notebook (which was blue and had a unicorn on the front). It’s been much harder to learn how to be Kristen the marketer. I hate trying to talk about myself in job interviews or self-evaluations, and I’m very shy about asking for anything like “buy my book”. I try to approach it as I’m excited about my stories and I want to share them with other people, so I think about what I can say to explain why I think they are interesting. Marketing is still a very new skill for me, though, and Kristen the researcher has been hard at work to dig up virtually every article and book on the subject so I can learn more. But when it comes to any kind of decisions that I have to make, like what’s the best kind of cover art (something that follows bestselling trends versus something that I think represents my story), then Kristen the writer has been winning every time. As a result, I might not be making the best plans from a marketing perspective (I am giving away stories for free on Wattpad after all, and I don’t think the cover of “A Flight of Marewings” looks like any traditionally published fantasy book released in the last five years). That kind of stubbornness is probably not going to make me as much money.

Q: You seem quite open to sharing space on the web at your site and on your blog with other authors. Names, we must have the names for future interrogation purposes. What’s your theory about sharing interests with other authors- is it United We Stand, or I Am a Rock/Island? And BTW, is this strictly a Hear Women Roar deal, or is the Y chromosome set also welcome?

A: So far, I’ve hosted fantasy author Jimena Novaro, science fantasy author Nadine Ducca, superhero author Thomas Healy, and recently, fantasy romance author Juli D. Revezzo. It’s been a lot of fun to hear about their different stories and approaches to writing, and I hope to host many more in the future. (If you’re an author looking for a guest blog spot, please contact me!) Now, I think it’s much better for authors to work together instead of standing alone—we can all use the help and support, and readers benefit by finding more stories they love. After all, it’s not really a competition between us, where I have to fight Jimena or Nadine to sell more of my books. I know from personal experience that no single writer (even the crazy prolific ones that you hear about releasing a book every month) can keep up with the rate of an enthusiastic reader (I know people who read two or more books a week, and I myself read a four-book series in about two days when I was sick over Christmas break). Also, while I’ve only hosted one man on my site so far, this is simply because I know more women who write. When I offer to host someone, it’s because I like the kinds of stories that they write, not which chromosomes they have or any other physical differences.

Q: OK, before I work another 60s rock ballad into my questions, you may go for now- but don’t leave the, um, multiverse, we may wish to question you further. Let us know how we can get in touch with you and your work, and thanks again for your cooperation, Kristen. Sergeant, take off the cuffs.

A: Hey, I have no problems with 60s rock ballads! I love classic rock (along with a lot of other music). I have an eclectic music collection, and classic rock even features in my karaoke song rotation (when it fits into my soprano range). The best way to find me is through my website,, which links to my current books, has a blog for updates on future works, and also points to my Facebook, Twitter, and Wattpad accounts. You can even contact me directly through blog comments on a form. Thanks for the friendly interrogation, Will!

Korinna’s life gets turned upside down when the ghost of her father suddenly appears. Her father was duke of Kyratia City and he wanted Korinna to marry his warlord, the foreign mercenary Galenos, and inherit his title–but the city’s Council has other plans. When the Council denies Korinna’s right to rule, she decides to join Galenos’s mercenary company and tame a wild marewing in order to take the city by force. But people whisper that the late duke’s untimely death was murder, an induced madness that forced him to dance himself to death–and now that madness is spreading. Can Korinna become a marewing rider and conquer Kyratia in time to save everyone?

A Flight of Marewings at Amazon

A Flight of Marewings at Smashwords

Author Bio

Fantasy author Kristen S. Walker dreams of being a princess with a flying horse, but she settles for writing stories for teens and adults. Her new epic fantasy novel, A Flight of Marewings, tells the adventure of a duke’s illegitimate daughter who must stop her father’s murderers–by taming a dangerous monster. A Flight of Marewings is now available in print from Amazon and digitally from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. To read a sample chapter or check out Kristen’s world-building references, please visit You can talk Sherlock, horses, and crochet with Kristen any time on Twitter (@KristenSWalker) or Facebook.

Cover reveal: Swordplay

A little while ago, I revised one of my novels and decided it would make an interesting start for a series. At the time I wrote it, I was deeply into CSI and enjoyed the way science was woven into the story. So I wondered what crimes people would commit in a world where magic was everywhere and how those crimes would be solved. Easy answer: there’d be a magical police running all investigations. I called it the Gendarmerie Magique.

Still, despite developing quite a lot of the world’s and police’s ground rules, I had no story until Moira came along. She’s an interesting character because she belongs to the few people that have hardly any control of the little magic they’ve got. In their society they are considered handicapped. But Moira dreams of joining the Gendarmerie Magique and does everything to belong. When I threw a couple of boulders her way, she began to develop in really interesting ways. I made this temporary cover while I was writing the story.

first cover idea

the first cover for Swordplay was neither leaving room for a series concept, not did it say “Urban Fantasy” although I think it would have made a nice cover for a historical murder mystery.

When I finished polishing the story, I wanted a new cover. It had become important for me that it’d mirror the magic of the world and the uniqueness of Moira. I stumbled over the perfect picture on one of the sites where you can buy licenses for pictures. The problem was that the person who made the picture had scaled the swirls I wanted to symbolize magic in a way that made them really pixelated at the size I needed. I went on looking but couldn’t find anything remotely good. So I turned to an artist I know, Corona Zschüsschen, and she transformed my ideas into a cover with WOW effect (at least for me). I think her interpretation of the concept is much better than the one I thought I had found.

the final cover

the final cover

Now, a few final words about the book which will be released by the end of this month (I’m also doing a blog tour, and if you want to be kept up to date please join our mailing list):

Despite her obvious lack of magical talent, nineteen year old Moira Bellamie apprentices with the Gendarmerie Magique, the magic police. She puts all her effort into solving a burglary at the National Museum where antique weapons have been stolen, to keep the hard won job. Falling for her partner Druidus wasn’t part of the plan. When more and more people are murdered with one of the stolen weapons, Moira must tame uncontrollable magic, or the people she cares for will die, her partner first and foremost.

Author Spotlight: Juli D. Revezzo

Today, I’ve got the pleasure to introduce you to fellow author Juli D. Revezzo. Enjoy the interview.


Juli D. Revezzo

Juli D. Revezzo

Juli D. Revezzo is a Florida girl, with a love of fantasy, science fiction, and Arthurian legend, so much so she gained a B.A. in English and American Literature. She loves writing stories with fantastical elements whether it be a full-on fantasy, or a story set in this world-slightly askew. She has been published in short form in Eternal Haunted Summer, Dark Things II: Cat Crimes (a charity anthology for cat related charities), Luna Station Quarterly, The Scribing Ibis: An Anthology of Pagan Fiction in Honor of Thoth, and Twisted Dreams Magazine. Her debut paranormal romance novel, Passion’s Sacred Dance, was recently released.

She is a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour. Come learn more about her at

Why did you become an author? Was it a childhood dream?
In some ways it was a childhood dream. I always told stories, I even wrote one for my brother’s first grade class. 😉 I can’t tell you what it’s about now, but I think it had something to do with faeries.

What’s your greatest obstacle in writing?
Typing. Sometimes it makes carpal tunnel kick in, which invariably, slows down the work. That and sometimes just making sure I’m getting everything down that needs to be there is where I can get a little muddled. That’s where my excellent beta readers come in.

What makes the world of your novel different from ours?
In the world of Passion’s Sacred Dance, ancient Celtic gods and warriors are walking around, and nasty saber-toothed monsters all of which seem to have an effect on the weather of the world, as well as some, more weak-minded folk (that would be the villain’s influence). Both tend to create a little havoc for my heroine, Stacy, physically and existentially. *evil writer smile*

What was the most exciting thing happening when you wrote your novel?
Getting the contract for it was darned exciting! As for the time while I was writing it,  I don’t know if I’d call it exciting, but more hair-raising: my father died suddenly.

Who is your favorite Indie author?
I have a couple: Fantasy authors Jolene Dawe, and Marsha A. Moore as well as Gothic and supernatural author Patty G. Henderson,  Historical Romance and Fantasy author S.G. Rogers, and I’ve just begun The Ring and the Flag by Wm. L. Hahn.

Who is your favorite traditionally published author?
There are so many but if I had to choose just one, I’d have to go with fantasy author Michael Moorcock. His Elric novels are the reason I’m a writer and I’m sure the Corum novels had something to do with my love of Celtic mythology.

If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I’d like to be an eccentric billionaire. I suppose I have the eccentric part down. That would make writing so much easier, wouldn’t it?  😉 If I can’t be an eccentric billionaire, I could deal with being a warrior princess.

Thank you for having me!

Passioan's Sacred Dance

Passion’s Sacred Dance

About Passion’s Sacred Dance

Battling mounting debt, Stacy Macken is determined not to lose her historic art gallery. When Aaron Fielding appears and offers to help, she fights to keep the attraction sizzling between them from clouding her judgment. He may be her savior in disguise–but can she trust him?

Aaron intrigues her with tales of the Tuatha dé Danann, sworn warriors who protect humanity from the monsters seeking their destruction. If Aaron can prove what he claims, she would give up anything to help–even the gallery he claims is sacred ground. But with her property set to stage the next epic battle, she needs answers. An old family diary will confirm the ancient legend is true, if only they can find it in time.

If the battle is lost, the enemy will take control of Earth for the next five hundred years. Stacy and Aaron’s budding love might only complicate things.

Passion’s Sacred Dance–from The Wild Rose Press, is available at AmazonAll Romance Ebooks,BookstrandItunesKobo, and The Wild Rose Press

Author Spotlight: Peter Cruikshank

Let us welcome Epic Fantasy author Peter Cruikshank who will be joining the ranks of IB bloggers this year. From now on, he’s one of us. 😉

I asked him a couple of questions so you can get to know him a little better:

Peter with his first book. The smile says it all.

Peter with his first book.
The smile says it all.

Why did you become an author? Was it a childhood dream?

As a young teenager, I read incessantly. I would fly away into outer space or find myself on an alternate world. I don’t know if it was escapism, or if I was just looking for myself in these books. In my late teens, I wondered if I could create worlds of my own, like those that I read from my favorite authors. This led to a belief that I could take people away, into other worlds, and give them the joy and thrills I experienced over nearly fifty years. To tell of Good vs. Evil, of underdogs, of heroes, of wonders that would broaden a reader’s mind. And maybe, just maybe, they might get some message from my tale that might have some meaning to them. So not a childhood dream, but one I have kept for over forty years.


What’s your greatest obstacle in writing?

Patience. Patience. Patience. I lack patience in many things, though this is particularly true in my writing. I have all these ideas running around in my head, and I want to get them down on paper. Unfortunately, I also like larger than life, epic adventures. The combination of impatience and love of big books makes for a bad combination. I am constantly pushing to get things done and have to fight the frustration that comes with months upon months of writing to get the tale out. It is a constant battle to keep from forcing the story and making it less than it can be. But persist I must while taking deep breaths and remembering my yoga training.


What makes the world of your novel different from ours?

Interesting enough, there are similarities. The world of the Dragon-Called, called Saoghal [Soo-il], is based upon a medieval environment; however, looking over the maps it is obvious that it is not our world. Saoghal is steeped in magic, based upon a Spirit world that is overseen by the Goddess, the Burning Lady. The Spirit world and the world of men coexist alongside each other. The relationship of these two worlds provides a unique environment that does not exist in our world – at least not exactly the same way. And of course, there are elfs, dragons, the giant bear-like brown & gold stripped Borlender called Swift, the fierce Kata-henis, the vicious Blood Stalkers, and the lovable Waljantinks (Tinks) — enough things that make Saoghal different from our world.

What was the most exciting thing happening when you wrote your novel?

A lot of things were happening in my life during the writing of this novel. I had recently retired (though my wife says with my writing that I haven’t really retired yet). From a writing perspective, I came to learn how to construct a story. Actually, it is more about weaving a tale than constructing a story. I had spent over forty years attempting to tell a story and ended up with half a dozen unfinished stories. I met Holly Lisle and learned how to separate good ideas from bad and turn them into tales that others would want to read. And through her forums I met many encouraging writers who helped me to hone my craft. Why was this exciting? Because it made my forty-year old dreams come true.


Who is your favorite Indie author?

This one is tough, but I have read most of what Holly Lisle and Katharina Gerlach have written – and loved their tales. I also have enjoyed the Wardstone series by M. R. Mathias.


Who is your favorite traditionally published author?

Robert Heinlein, J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis. I know I was supposed to pick one, but all three have shaped my writing and changed my life. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land made me a reader and opened my mind to the different. Tolkien brought me into the world of fantasy with Lord of the Rings. Lewis and Tolkien both taught me how to put meaning behind my words without shoving it into the reader’s face. All three showed me how to write fiction in a way that brings passion and entertainment to not only the reader, but for me as well.


If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

Too many options depending upon what part of my life you are talking about. Writing: I would have put the effort into writing at Thirty that I am now giving it. This would have given me an extra thirty years to hone my craft, and I would probably have several series already published. A more understanding husband, father, and friend – though I am not really bad, it is just that I could have been better (continuing to try to improve). I worried less about what people thought and more on how I saw myself. In reality, I probably would not want to change anything as all the experiences, good and bad, have made me the man I am today – and I am pretty happy with him.


What life experiences do you bring to your writing? How does it affect your writing?

I think subconsciously I patterned my life after Robert Heinlein. He was a gold miner, served in the U.S. Coast Guard, and a dozen other different professions. In my case, I served in the U.S. Air Force and have worked in the Public sector, as a civilian, for the U.S. Navy. I worked in a variety of Private sector positions, including a retail clothing store manager, ran my own small business and also worked as a Chief Scientist for an international Fortune 250 company. At different times, I was an adjunct professor and worked in the ministry field. There were times when I even spent time tossing pizzas, worked in a combination liquor store and crab house, then some time driving a taxi in Washington, D.C. This wide range of experiences has shown me that there are many different ways of looking at every situation and how all of them have value. My understanding of business and military operations, academia, and the effect of the spirit, has given me a unique insight that I hope I bring to my characters and the worlds I create.


The first volume of the Dragon Called series

The first volume of the Dragon Called Legend series

Of course we’ll have to tell you a little about his book too:

Sixteen year old Princess Willoe is to be sent away in seclusion prior to a forced marriage bond, rather than fulfilling her dreams of competing in a man’s world. Her twin, the solemn Prince Rowyn, has his own problems, forced to take up the life of a man-at-arms instead of retreating into his books and a life of contemplation. The twins decide, with the help of their cousins Aeron and Casandra, to take one last chance to experience their dreams.

A plan that has potential if not for two things: Foreign priests of the Shin-il Way, who see the twins as necessary to their domination of the world, and the Burning Lady, goddess over the Spirit world, who requires that the twins fulfil a covenant that a distant ancestor of theirs had made with the king of the dragons.

The close family bond between the twins and their cousins can help them confront any danger, but the true test of this bond comes when the price of the covenant becomes clear.

You can get his book “” on Amazon, Smashwords, Createspace and other places.

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