Calling out for more submissions: Are you a writer? Unpublished even? Please read!

Howdy everyone! So, here we are on the cusp of Spring. I’m searching for writers again. I have filled up dates until May and am in need of filling spots for the summer months and into fall. If you have already submitted to me, it’s okay. You can submit again, but I need new material from you. If you have never submitted anything to me, that’s even better. Whether you’re published or not, it doesn’t matter. If you have poetry just waiting to be shared or short stories hidden away in a dusty corner of your world, please consider sharing them with me. I would love to show them to this little group of followers.

Consider this a blog hop as well. So if you have your own blog and would like to bring folks to it, send me information and I’ll include you in this endeavor.

You can submit to the blog by clicking the link “submit an article.” I hope to hear from you quite soon. I have dates from May onward. If I cannot them filled, I’m not sure if I will continue with the “Teaser Tuesday.” I am preparing to take a new path in my life and my time will be limited, so I’m hoping that the guest posts can keep the tradition going.

Thanks for your help and consideration.

Help Wanted: Still Seeking Ambitious Writers

I have received a lot of feature requests. I still have plenty of dates open. I am providing this post to tell you what dates I still can fill.

Remember Teaser Tuesdays are for published authors with books they’d like to provide blurbs, artwork, and/or teasers for.

Tuesday’s Tales is designed for folks who have not published anything, but wish to provide inspiration poetry, artwork, and/or short stories. If you are a published author, you can also submit to this feature. If more interest seems to be in Tuesday’s Tales, I will run these twice a month.

Please email me with your teasers or your inspirational work! I am looking forward to introducing my followers to your work!

The open dates are as follows:

4/11: Teaser Tuesday opening

5/23: Teaser Tuesday opening

5/30: Tuesday’s Tales opening

6/20: Teaser Tuesday opening

6/27: Tuesday’s Tales opening

7/4, 7/18: Teaser Tuesday opening

7/25: Tuesday’s Tales opening

8/15, 8/22: Teaser Tuesday opening

8/29: Tuesday’s Tales opening

9/12, 9/19: Teaser Tuesday opening

9/26: Tuesday’s Tales opening

10/3, 10/17, 10/24: Teaser Tuesday opening

10/31: Tuesday’s Tales

11/7, 11/21: Teaser Tuesday opening

11/28: Tuesday’s Tales

12/5, 12/19: Teaser Tuesday opening


Silver Lining Events Presents MR Joseph’s Cover Reveal Party & Blog Tour

First I want to thank MR Joseph for choosing Silver Lining Events to coordinate her Cover Reveal Party & Blog Tour. This is no ordinary cover reveal either. It’s a party! We are going to have games and lots of fun! There’s also a blog tour connected with the event so that thousands of people can be reached for this SPARKLING event. The event is up on Facebook and is public so all you have to do is click the link and join the awesomeness!

June 11th at 8 p.m. EST



And what’s next for Ms. Joseph? Her release day party! MORE TO COME ON THAT!!!!

Aspiring Authors Autumn Blog Tour: L. Chapman

Tonight I welcome L. Chapman to the blog tour. She is the second author featured tonight and she is wrapping up this momentous tour for us.
Chapman was born in and continues to live in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom. She has spent most of her life helping others at one time, a DJ for a special needs club. Blending her love of helping others and her love of children, L dreams to one day own and operate a childcare nursery that will help mainstream special needs children with others.
In the rare times that L. is not working to help others or maniacally writing, she enjoys making a mess of things while creating beautifully detailed greeting cards. She spends time relaxing with family, friends, and good books. L. loves to travel and has been to many places in the United Kingdom; her favorite places all involve the ocean. She hopes to one day share a kiss with her happily-ever-after in the romantic shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Should she ever get over her fear of flying, those kisses may be shared in the shadows of the Egyptian Pyramids.
Ever the fussy eater, L. has never once tasted peanut butter, and she despises coffee. If you should feel the need to bribe her, it is suggested that you bring chocolate, as that is one of her known weaknesses.

Your contact info –

Book titles – Believe series – Trust (book 1) – Veiled (book 2)

Available at  – Amazon & Smashwords

Blog/website URL

What is your latest work? Title, Genre

Trust (book 1) Romance, YA

Veiled (book 2) – Romance, YA touch of NA

What draws you to your genre(s)? Why?

It just feel’s natural to write that type. 2014 has a touch of a different genre.

How do you get from start to finish with a novel?

I just type, I tend to write in order, one chapter after another. Prologues (which I hate with  a passion) Is always the first thing I start and the last thing I finish.

What kind of research was involved?

With the Believe series up to press, no research has been needed. In future books I have researched little bit’s on the internet.

Tell me about one of your characters?

The series starts with Megan, she is a 24 year old girl who’s life changes in more than one way. Megan is how we all see the other character’s stories start.

How do you balance your time?

I work full time, so I write when I have time. Most nights, I have a writing app on my phone and kindle. When I have an idea I MUST write it then.

Are there other authors that inspired you to write?

There are so many authors that inspire me, before I started writing I blogger a lot ( which I still do, just have an amazing team around me – to help out). I meet a lot of author’s that gave me little bits off advice and became my friends.

If you are published, tell me about your experience? Good, bad, indifferent.

Publishing is scary, but once I pressed the button, all the worries turned to excitement. Yes there has been little hiccups’ but always worth it.

Tell me about any other projects in the works?

Book 3 of the Believe series is currently with the beta readers.

I’m currently writing a stand alone, that I’m exited about. Not linked to the series.

What are your marketing strategies? Can you tell us which have been most successful?

I just post link’s everywhere and do blog tour’s and blitz.

 They seem to work at the time.

How many years have you been writing? How did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I started writing early 2012, but didn’t tell anyone. I published in 2013.

 I had a story, I wanted to write it, see if people liked it.

Do you support any charities? If so, which ones?

I do, SANDS – stillborn and neonatal death society

 Please list your social networking information.

Facebook ~

 Twitter ~ @L_Chapman23

website ~

 Goodreads ~

What is the hardest thing about being an author?

Not having enough hour’s in the day to do everything. I love to write. I love to write, but I love to spend time around talking to the people the read my book’s.

What is the best thing about being an author?

Everything, It’s amazing having people read my work.I love hearing from my readers

What is the most important thing you want people to know about you and your work?

That the believe series will have a HEA!!


Aspiring Author Autumn Blog Tour: Cynthia P. O’Neill

cynthiaponeill head shotCynthia P. O’Neill is tonight’s first featured author. She grew up in Clewiston, Florida and moved to Central Florida to attend college.  There, she married her friend, love, and soul mate and still resides there with their amazing son, and a feisty, four-legged little boy.

In her books, Cynthia draws on her background in healthcare and business, along with her husband’s engineering knowledge.

Several years after she got married, she started dreaming about the characters in I Remember.  It took eight years before she decided that it needed to be told.  With the encouragement of family and friends, she decided to bring Jordan and Gregory to life in a series of Young Adult, Paranormal Romances with a Historical bent.  I Remember is the first book in the Remembrance series.

Cynthia’s first book is geared towards the Young Adult, Historical and Paranormal Romance fans. She does hope to grow as a writer and write in multiple genres.  Her second series; is a steamy romance called Learning to Trust, which released in August 2013.

She tries to make her writing very personal and close to her heart. Regular life is the inspiration for her books, but her imagination takes them to new heights, opening up possibilities that would normally not exist.

To learn more about the author, please visit Cynthia’s website at:


I Remember, Remembrance Series #1

Learning to Trust, Learning Series #1

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords

Gregory Riley (Worthington), from I Remember, is the ideal, perfect soul mate one could ask for.  He is fashioned after my husband and how we met.

Garrett Andrews, from Learning to Trust, is fashioned after some of the greatest alpha male dominants in literature.  “I took a bit of Christian Grey, a smidge of Gideon Cross, the smoothness of Brandon Montgomery and  a touch of Ethan Blackstone to create an alpha male like no other.”


I RememberExcerpt from I Remember – Remembrance Series, Book 1

By Cynthia P. O’Neill

–        Prologue

I wandered along a path as the sun began to set across the horizon, lighting the sky with deep hues of orange, purple and pinks.  I didn’t know where I was, but the countryside was simply breathtaking.

“Angeline, where are you?”  A familiar male voice called out.

“Come find me, Daniel,” she announced playfully, in the distance.

Finding no one else around, I decided to head their way to ask for directions.

“Where are you hiding, my love?  You know I will find you; and when I do, I will smother you with kisses,” he responded, full of laughter.

Their voices led me to a beautiful meadow filled with spring flowers and the sound of a river in the distance.  They were dressed in Victorian fare, running playfully until Daniel caught the girl who must have been Angeline. They fell to the ground together, laughing, near a tall tree.

As I walked toward them, I watched Daniel lean in to kiss Angeline softly on the lips, her hands circling around his neck and pulling him closer.  I stopped in my tracks feeling like I had invaded a private moment, but I still needed directions in order to return home.

“Excuse me, I don’t mean to intrude but I could really use your help,” I stated softly, so not alarm them.

They continued, without even a glance my way.   How rude.  I cleared my throat loudly and spoke again, but no answer.

I was frustrated.  How could they not hear me?

Suddenly, the landscape began to twist and shift into something dark and evil.  I tried to turn and run but found myself unable to move.  My heart began beating erratically as fear set in.

A tall figure appeared before me with ghostly shadows swirling and moaning around it.  It was dressed in the darkest cloak I’d ever seen, with the hood draped in such a way as to cast shadows across the few visible areas of the face, making it impossible to see who or what it was.

An arm rose revealing long willowy fingers, aged and deformed and pointed at me.  A sadistic female voice bellowed, “I warn you.  Do not seek him out!  The prophecy must not come to pass.  If you defy me, I will make your life a living hell, taking all that you hold dear.”

That’s when the figure’s head tilted up and her glowing red eyes locked onto mine, sending a chill down my spine.  Then the shadows began to swirl around my body, suffocating me.

“STOP!”  The scream came from nowhere, catching me by surprise.

“LEAVE HER ALONE!”  This time I recognized a man’s voice.

One of the shadows grabbed my arm and a piercing, “NOOOO” sounded, from deep within my chest, echoing off all that was around me.

My eyes shot open, as I bolted upright in bed.  I looked around and realized I was in my bedroom.

I reached for the light. Turning it on, I tried to catch my breath.  My only thought was that the dreams were back and they were worse.  I’d seen a witch spirit previously, but not to this extent.

Wrapping my arms around my chest to calm myself, I felt a sharp pain on my right arm.  I looked down to see the reddened hand print, where the dark shadow had grabbed me, slowly fading from existence.  What the heck?


Learning to TrustLearning to Trust Excerpt:

He pulled his phone from his pants pocket, typed some words rather quickly, and then returned it to his pocket.

“What are you doing?” I wondered aloud. I sincerely hoped that wasn’t about me.

“Nothing you need to concern yourself with.  Just had a thought that I’d like to run by someone and wanted to jot it down before I lost it.”

”Just so you know, I don’t like it when people are secretive around me.  It makes me nervous and I tend to push people away.”  I don’t know why I was being so upfront with him, but, this phone messaging had me on edge.  I can’t stand secrets.

He walked towards me with a wry smile and backed me slowly against the wall.  He leaned into me, tracing his nose up my neck, and I heard the closet door close.  “I like that you’re feisty, Laurel, makes life more interesting.”  His hands came to rest on the wall along each side of my head, caging me in, as he continued to trace his nose up to my face, across my chin, and down the other side of my neck.  His tone in his voice became sultry. “Do you still trust me?”

The electricity between us hung heavy in the air.  It was so palpable you could taste it. My skin was on fire from his touch.  Every synapse of every nerve ending was firing off rapidly and my breathing continued to accelerate.  Something felt dark and dangerous about Garrett, but at the same time, I’d never desired anyone more.  No one had ever managed to elicit the kind of reactions he was driving from my body.

He leaned in closer, his body molding up against mine. “Are you going to answer me?” he whispered in my ear, his voice becoming a little more commanding.

My eyes closed, trying to make sense of what I was feeling.  Just his voice and soft touch made my head spin; I was thankful that I had the wall to lean into for support.  I finally found the strength to answer. “Yes,” I murmured.

His lips began to nibble on my left earlobe. “Yes, you’ll answer, or yes, you trust me?”

“Yes, I trust you.”

His hand began to caress my face as his lips continued their assault on my earlobe and neck.  “Do you have any idea how breathtakingly beautiful you are tonight?  You’re driving me crazy.”

My head began to spin as his lips moved up across the side of my cheek to my chin at an achingly slow pace.  At the same time, his right hand started to travel down my neck, where his fingers traced the low neckline of my dress.

My heart raced as the palm of his hand brushed gently across one of my breasts.  I was surprised by how heavy my breasts felt.  I could feel my nipples harden, straining against the fabric of my bra.  Soon his lips were pressed hard on my mouth, tugging at my bottom lip.  “Ahh,” I moaned as his tongue plunged deeply into my mouth, sending my mind scattering to the heated overload of sensation my body was feeling.  Our mouths began to move in perfect unison with one another.

My conscience screamed at me. Tell him to slow down.  You know this is moving too quickly.  What are you thinking?!

I tried to move away, ever so slightly put some distance between our bodies, but his hips pressed harder, grinding into mine.  His erection felt huge, bulging out hard from his slacks and pressing up against my belly.  I couldn’t believe how much this man wanted me and was surprised that my body was responding with unheeded desire for him.

Garrett finally pulled back long enough for us to take in deprived lungs full of air.  After a few more breaths, I asked, in a rather shaky and exhaustive tone, “Can we please slow things down a bit?”

Both of his hands rose up the wall to rest on either side of my head.  He took a few more deep breaths and kissed me chastely on the lips before resting his forehead against mine.

“My apologies, Laurel, I don’t know what came over me.  There’s something about you that makes my body respond so intensely.  I’m like an alcoholic drawn to your intoxicating beauty and scent; I just can’t seem to get enough.  I’ve never had this kind of reaction to anyone before.”  He paused for a moment, taking in a deep breath to clear his mind. “I agree, though, we need to take things slower.”

He lifted one of my hands towards his lips and kissed it gently before placing it atop his shoulder.  He repeated the same thing with my other hand, indicating he wanted me encircling his shoulders.  Then he cupped my face with his own hands and leaned in for a gentle kiss.

The tenderness of this new kiss made me feel more secure in his arms.  We continued this way for what seemed like an eternity, until I heard the door open and Hannah walk in calling, “Laurel?  Are you here?”

We both pulled away from the wall.  He had a quizzical look on his face, as if he’d forgotten we were in the closet in my dorm room. “Roommate?” he whispered.

I nodded in response. What are we supposed to do now? Wait her out?

We waited to hear what she was doing.  As soon as we thought the coast was clear, we tried leaving the closet, only to find her standing there with her arms crossed and smiling up a storm, knowing she’d caught us.

She didn’t wait for an introduction, but stuck out her hand to Garrett. “Hi, Handsome, I’m Hannah, Laurel’s roommate.  And you are?”


O’Neill explained her love for the genre. She said, “I love romance books.  Everyone dreams of their happily ever after, but life isn’t always like that and my books aren’t either.  There is chaos and things that have to be overcome to reach a storybook romance.  But, I enjoy that in romance, or books for that matter, you are only limited by your imagination; where anything is possible and you can take the story anywhere you want!  I just happen to be one who likes affairs of the heart.”

Regarding her methods for ideas, she told me, “Usually an idea pops into my head or I sometimes dream of a specific happenings and they evolve into storylines.  I start taking notes on things, character names, what I would like to see happen in the story and then build an outline out of that, before finally writing it. ”

Researching was also discussed. She told me this: “For the Remembrance Series, the first three books will take you on adventures of the past.  I make sure to have historical accuracy in terms of events, clothing, etc. of the era.

In regards to the Learning Series, some of the work the characters do is involving medical engineering.  I try to be as accurate as possible in terms of healthcare and engineering aspects to make things more believable. ”

This is what she had to say about balancing time: “Very carefully.  No, seriously…I am a full-time mom and wife first, then a part-time writer.  I’m extremely limited on my time to write, so I take advantage of the time I have.  I only have a couple of hours a night and a little on the weekends.”

Authors that inspire her: E. L. James, Stephenie Myer, Kimberly Knight and Raine Miller.

I would like to finish the Learning Series, which will have at least three books, along with the Remembrance Series, which is set to have four books.  Once I’m done with them, I have three other, stand alone books, I would like to write.

Marketing strategies include release parties and connecting with various bloggers. O’Neill explained to me that she has been writing for about a year. 

Her one wish: “To reach more people.   To get my name out there.”

As is true with many of us as writers, we believe in giving back. O’Neill is no exception to this. She told me that she donates to Good Will and participates in canned food drives during the holidays to help with the local Food Banks.  When money allows, donations are made to the diabetes foundation and cancer research.

The hardest thing about being an author: “Trying to find the time to write everything.  I have so many ideas going on in my head and little time to write.”

The best thing about being an author: “I love it when a reader lets me know, either through a review or contacting me personally on Facebook, that I’ve touched them in some way with my words and that they enjoy reading my books.”

The most important thing O’Neill wants others to know about her: “I put my heart and soul into it.  For those who know me well, they will see where I exist within the books.”

Thank you so much Cynthia for sharing with me! 

Aspiring Author Autumn Blog Tour: Gwyn Brodie

Gwyn Brodie PhotoSo it is the eve before the blog tour’s end. Tonight, Gwyn Brodie sits down with me to talk about her life and her work. She loves Scotland, its amazing history, its wonderful people, and travels there whenever she can. While in Scotland she enjoys learning about her ancestors the Murray, Clark, Boyd, Ramsey and McTavish clans. She lives with her husband in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina and besides writing Scottish historical romance, she also loves gardening, reading and refinishing old furniture. Contact her at, Facebook, Twitter, or at

Book title: Beneath a Highland Moon  (Available at Amazon)

This work is a Scottish Historical Romance that takes place in 1600’s Scotland. The hero of the story is Kade MacLachlan. He is strong, loyal, brave and will let nothing stop him from saving the woman he loves.


Jillian had just crawled into bed, when someone softly knocked. Perhaps ’twas her mother come to tell her good-night. She opened the door. Kade.

He stood in the doorway, the scent of whisky on his breath. “Might I come in?” he asked, his voice low.

She hesitated. No man, other than her father, had ever stepped foot inside her bedchamber.

“I ken ’tis late, Jilly, but I must see you. I promise it won’t take long.”

The look in his eyes begged her to allow him entrance. She couldn’t refuse. Jillian stepped aside.

He hurried into the room, locking the door behind him.

“If my father finds you in here, there’s no telling what he might do.”

“Aye.” He nodded, but I had to see you.”

Jillian shivered.

He moved closer to her, his gaze settling on her lips. “Jilly, you make me daft. I’m as a thirsty man in need of a drink, and I’m afraid the only thing that will quench my thirst is a taste of you.”

Her knees trembled and her heart raced.

He leaned down and gently brushed his lips over hers.

She closed her eyes, savoring the amazing sensation. Then he covered her mouth with his, devouring her. He tasted of whisky and smelled of sandalwood.

Slipping his arms tightly around her, he pulled her closer, softly moaning.

Her whole body feverish, she clung to Kade’s shirt as she returned his kisses. His muscles felt hard beneath her fists and she yearned to touch him. Jillian let go of his shirt and ran her hands over his chest, his shoulders, his back. What was wrong with her? She could barely breathe.

He lifted his mouth away, leaving her wanting more kisses.

“Och, lass,” he whispered against her throat, “I must leave you now or I’ll not be leaving you at all this night.” He kissed her one last time before her bedchamber door closed between them.

Jillian still trembled as she slipped beneath the covers, certain she’d get little sleep. Her whole body felt strangely different—more alive, all because of those marvelous kisses of his. Jillian knew she’d have been considered wanton if they’d been found out, but she wished he’d not left so soon. She’d never realized how much she might enjoy kissing and being kissed.


Beneath a Highland Moon Cover 500 WideKade stepped out of Jillian’s bedchamber and immediately spotted Shaw, a good friend, and a MacLachlan guard, standing in the corridor. He’d obviously seen Kade leave Jillian’s bedchamber. Shaw grinned broadly and gave him the signal that all was clear. Kade nodded his thanks and hurried back to his room. Once inside, he breathed a sigh of relief and grabbed up the whisky bottle, pouring himself another dram.

He’d believed that if he kissed her, he’d be satisfied—he was wrong. It had but whetted his appetite for her. And the way she’d passionately returned his kisses with a need that surprised Kade, had fueled his already heated body. When her hands moved over him, he knew he had to stop—before ’twas too late. As much as he hated leaving her, it couldn’t be helped. Even now, he wanted her so badly that every part of him ached. She would be his. For Kade couldn’t stand the thought of anyone else touching her.


I spoke to Gwyn about what draws her to the genre. She said, “I love Scotland! I’ve had the opportunity to travel there more than once and fell in love with the place, especially the Highlands. Also, my family roots extend to at least five different clans.  While I’m writing and doing research, I learn more and more about my ancestors.” We also talked about her methods; how she gets from start to finish with her books: “I’m not much on doing any sort of outline. I tend to put down the ideas that pop into my head and piece them together like a puzzle. After my initial draft, I add and subtract what I need and don’t need to push my story forward.”

We also talked about research in preparation for this book. She told me this: “I visited Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven last year and used it as a template for Ravenskull Castle, where Kade MacLachlan is laird. I found all sorts of sites that I bookmarked for future reference such as Gaelic names for boys and girls, period clothing sites, like History Undressed, etc.”

When the subject of balancing time came up, she said to me, “I try to write at least some each day, but that doesn’t always happen. Day to day life sometimes gets in the way of that. When I do sit down in front of my computer, I try to write as much as possible and reach a specific number of words at each sitting.”

Some of the authors that inspire Gwyn: Vonda Sinclair, .Eliza Knight, Teresa Medeiros, just to name a few.

Gwyn said that she felt lost when she first published, especially when it came to promoting her work. However, since she published the book, she said that she is thankful for all the many sites available for new authors. So these were her marketing strategies specifically: “I’m using many of the promotion sites, some free and some paid. I also did a two day free promotion through KDP. I will be doing another free promotion for Beneath a Highland Moon,” when I publish Once Upon a Highland Moon, —which I hope will by the end of October.”

She also discussed her current projects: “I’m currently working on my second book in the series, “Once Upon a Highland Moon,” which is about Galen, Kade’s friend in Beneath a Highland Moon.  In my second book,  I’m introducing two characters mentioned in my first book. They each of will have a book of their own.”

How long has she been writing? She told me she has been writing all of her life. She explained that she’d never published anything except several short romantic fiction stories to magazines.  “Taking that first step is hard sometimes, no matter what you do. I love writing stories and, and with the help of a good friend, took a leap of faith.”

One wish: “That I do a good enough job of research and storytelling that something I wrote will touch the reader enough to have them want to read my future stories.”

Hardest thing about being an author: “Finding the time to write and keeping my focus.”

Best thing about being an author: “It is such an amazing feeling to see your book on Amazon and other sites. And knowing that people are interested in reading your story. Also making the characters in your head come to life is something I love to do.”

The thing she wants others to know about her and her work: “I do my utmost to correctly portray the Scottish Highlands during the 1600’s. I try to write about heros and heroines that I would like to read about.”

Aspiring Authors Autumn Blog Tour: D.M. Stoddard

DM Stoddard by Nevada School & Sport PhotographyTonight I welcome D.M. Stoddard. You can connect with him via email at Other ways to connect include:

Facebook: /kingdom.torrence

Twitter: @kingdomtorrence

Goodreads user: KingdomofTorrence

Books/Titles: The Legend of Jerrod (available at,,


From The Legend of Jerrod©, Chapter 7

From the doorway, (Amanda) could see dust and cobwebs covered the soldier’s tattered clothes. Its armor had grown black with dirt. A silver band circled his forehead. Near the center of the room, she saw coins and jewels strewn about the floor. Everything looked peaceful, as the long-dead soldiers lay where they had fallen, but her senses burned as hot as the torch.

“It is not safe here,” she thought. Her instincts caused her to dislike what she saw, but she did not falter. Her curiosity was too great.

The question of why someone had barred the doorway to keep someone from getting out of a treasure room nagged at her. Something is seriously wrong. But instead of leaving, she knelt at the entrance to the cave to watch.

Minutes passed. Nothing! She examined the entrance to the cave but found no visible signs of a trap. The floor did not seem to have any moving tiles or plates, but all her senses screamed danger. As she watched, Amanda familiarized herself with every inch of the room. She peered at the treasure and decided it was not a great amount of wealth, but the chest’s contents were still a mystery. As any thief would in a group of treasure hunters, she wanted to secretly take the first trinket before sharing the rest with her friends, but something seemed wrong.

She stepped into the room and then stopped, still in a crouched position like a cat ready to pounce. She looked about slowly, but nothing stirred. She took another step, daring to stand. Still nothing. Barely ten feet inside the small cave, she froze when  deep laughter began to rumble. The chilling sound echoed off the walls as the corpse slowly raised its head to look at her. Bright yellow eyes burned in its skull. Amanda stepped back slowly, as the skeleton began to stand.

The laughter grew deafening, as the dead warrior took one step forward and then another. When it raised its arms the armored skeletons in the middle of the floor began to stand like puppets on the marionette’s string, answering their master’s bidding. Amanda began backing away faster. When the ghoul leaped into the air and flew slowly toward her, she turned and ran back up the hallway for the once-barred door, the door that had been sealed with two locks until she removed them.

The torch flame flickered wildly and then blew out from her running. The dim light from the doorway became a beacon of survival, as she raced up the uneven floor back toward the other room. She leaped through the doorway to land on her side, sliding feet first into the crypt room. She tumbled to a stop, and then spun around, diving back to slam the door shut. But as she swung the door closed, the ghoul hit it with a crash, sending her reeling backwards into the center of the room. The door splintered from the impact with an ominous cracking sound.

Imelrinn jumped to his feet at the tremendous noise. Instinctively notching an arrow, he fired, and then fired again. Both arrows embedded into the ancient warrior before anyone else was awake enough to realize that a battle for their lives was already upon them.

“Don’t let it touch you!” Nathanial shouted, scrambling to his feet.

Rok-lin began darting around the room, screeching as the skeletal warriors came rushing into the room through the splintered doorway. Amanda backed toward the obelisk and carefully positioned herself with the empty crypt between her and the floating ghoul. The ghoul laughed, deep and cruel. Slowly it waved its broadsword forward in a sweeping motion, beckoning its skeletal puppets into battle. Nearly two dozen skeletons swarmed toward the obelisk.

Fraum’s speed startled everyone. He flew into the closest group of skeletons, holding his mahogany staff back behind him, parallel to the ground; his arm crossed over the top of the staff as he wrapped his hand underneath and locked the weapon under his armpit. He kicked in the air, snapping his foot into a skeleton, sending it backwards, bones flying apart. Fraum landed in a squat, then sprang up, spinning as he brought his staff around, swinging it through more opponents. Skeleton bones flew everywhere.

Drin and Jerrod drew their swords and struck down on the advancing skeletons. Rok-lin ripped a skull off a skeleton’s boney neck, then darted away with her prize. The graceful sweeps of Imelrinn’s long sword were nearly as quick as his archery had been.

While the others fought the onslaught of skeletons, the ghoul remained focused on Amanda. Nathanial walked forward, holding his staff. Under his breath, Nathanial chanted in the ancient language of magic. The ghoul let out a curtailing screech. The sound deafened everyone.

As the ghoul tried to advance it looked down into the crypt, hissing. Nathanial’s spell blocked the evil spirit from passing over the holy ground of the empty tomb.

Drin moved between the ghoul and Amanda, but the ghoul’s sweeping sword caught him in the chest, the blow so powerful, Drin slid all the way across the floor to the far wall. He hit hard and lay lifelessly on the stone floor. Imelrinn and Jerrod attacked from the side, but the ghoul slashed back with one sweeping blow, knocking both of them to the floor. It stretched its grotesque, pale green hand with open, rotting wounds toward Amanda.

A deafening sound, like the boom of an earthquake, echoed in the room as Nathanial struck the bottom of his staff on the stone floor.

“Metlock!” Nathanial yelled with all his might.

A sapphire blue semi-sphere appeared, blocking the ghoul’s advance again. Standing next to Amanda, Nathanial raised his staff and pointed it toward the ghoul, as if he were pushing the creature away. At first, the ghoul moved back, but then it turned its gaze down on Nathanial. Its bright yellow eyes burned. The sphere quickly shrank, as Nathanial dropped to his knees.

The ghoul threw its arms toward the ceiling and screeched. As the bluish sphere disappeared, crushed beneath the ghoul’s intense yellow gaze, Nathanial flew backward. His unconscious body lay motionless behind Amanda. She stood there, alone and unprotected. Again, the deep laughter haunted her. The ghoul paused, as if to enjoy her fear.

Her fear feed its evil, beat-less heart. The ghoul intended to end her life slowly, causing great pain. It would draw strength from her fear and her death.

Amanda crouched in front of Nathanial in defense, one leg forward,  near the floor. She knew flight was futile, but she doubted she could win in hand-to-hand combat against the evil creature. As she watched it approach, her hopes dwindled. With the determination of a cornered mountain lion ready to make its last stand, she drew her sword.

She thought to herself, “I may not be able to drive this through your black heart, but I will die trying!”

In that moment Jerrod leaped from the side of the room, his face reflecting the tremendous energy he was exerting in a last-ditch effort to save Amanda. He groaned with determination, as he swung his sword up in an arc that cut across the ghoul’s chest. The blade hit the side of the ghoul’s stomach first, then sliced up through its chest, as the sword cleaved the body in half. The instant the sword cut through the ghoul’s rotting flesh, a flash of silvery white light blinded everyone.


The Legend of Jerrod, which was initially released in January 2013, should have a revision edition released in October 2013. It is an epic fantasy. “I am drawn to fantasy and the creation of worlds to tell stories the readers will enjoy. I loved The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I am also a Star Trek/Star Wars fan, but do not like to write about technology. I loved stories of King Arthur, Camelot, Ivanhoe, and Robin Hood when I was much younger.”

To get from start to finish, Stoddard said, “I have a beginning and end in mind. Then, I draw out a map to help envision what the characters must travel through. After that I layout the primary events in each chapter. From there, I fill in the chapters with notes and thought before I start my first draft.”

Research? “I created the map of Torrence and Lithlillia (the druid-Elvin kingdom), and basic structures for various types of characters: wizards, soldiers, thieves, etc. I also studied mythology at the University of Maryland.”

Stoddard discussed his main character: “Jerrod is a boy growing into manhood. He does not want to become a miller as his father and older brother. He is young, ambitious, and naïve, but well intended, full of dreams. When Jerrod makes a choice to follow his dreams for fame and fortune, he finds a magical sword that changes his life. He may not know how much until book three.

Cover SnapshotAfter making new friends in Torrence, he and his friends undertake a journey to recover a lost treasure. On the road he finds he loves his friend, Amanda, but falls in love with a princess druid they meet in the Black Forest.

You cannot get enough editing, particularly proofreading, before you finish.”

Balancing time? “Family first. I write better on weekend mornings while the family sleeps, but I also steal time late at night. I have a fulltime, day job to pay the bills.”

Stoddard told me this about authors that inspire and the history of writing: “I have written since about the age of ten, although I never dreamed of being a published author. I have enjoyed the stories of such authors as J.R.R. Tolkien, Ann McCaffrey, Terry Brooks, and David Eddings. More recently, I have enjoyed J.K. Rowling. I have also enjoyed Steven King.” Also, Stoddard said, “I worked on The Legend of Jerrod for about four years before I had it published. I lost two computers and an external hard drive during the process. I probably decided, subconsciously, to write a book while my children were young, during a period of time when I told them bedtime stories about forest animals, but I did not realize it until many years later.”

Publishing journey: “Being a self-published author is like living on a rollercoaster. Sometimes you are accepted by traditionally published authors, other times you are not. In Science-Fiction circles, however, if you are not traditionally published, you are not considered a “published” author. As a self-published author you finance everything. You manage every aspect of the author experience which often takes you away from writing.”

Projects in the works: “I currently have 180 pages of notes for the sequel, Amanda’s Quest. I have made the first draft of the prologue, epilogue, and first four chapters. Those writings should go to the beta readers in the next month. I am also in the process of composing a song for the bard’s song (page 151). I hope to produce a music-video to be posted to YouTube next spring.

I need to draw the second part of the map that will be in Amanda’s Quest and paint the book cover. I also have notes for book three. The title has not been determined.”

One wish? “I want readers to enjoy the story. I would like to expand my reader base.”

Hardest thing about being an author: “Finding the time to write. When someone tells you how much they have enjoyed your book (a great feeling by the way) your mind just screams, ‘how do I get the word to others so that they will read the book?'”

The best thing about being an author: “Sharing the storyline that I have created. I love hearing back from readers about what they like, their favorite parts and characters. One young reader (7th grade) relayed that it was the ‘best book he had read in some time.’”

Most important thing Stoddard wants people to know? “The Kingdom of Torrence series is written for the readers’ enjoyment. The world is created and described through the storyline which includes traditional mythology and new beasts. It is not just an epic fantasy, but also has subplots of coming of age, a love triangle, and treachery.

I painted the cover of The Legend of Jerrod. The book received an Honorable Mention from the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival.”

Thanks so much for sharing with us!

Aspiring Author Autumn Blog Tour: Lucienne Grey

1379893_713942098635184_2012457337_nTonight I am welcoming Lucienne Grey to the warm glow of the spotlight. She is a wife, mother, medical professional and dog lover.  When she is not running around with her amazing son and husband she is most likely, working, playing on the internet or writing.  She has three spoiled rotten dogs who take every opportunity they can to cuddle on her lap (even the 90 pound one).  The thing she is most proud of are her rural roots.  She says growing up in the red dirt of rural Oklahoma seemed like a curse when she was young.  Now as an adult and mother herself, she can understand her parents desire to raise her in the country where things are simpler and slower.  You can often find her on her parents rural farm sitting on the porch drinking southern sweet tea and listening to the ever present Oklahoma wind.

Want to connect with Lucienne? It’s easy:


Twitter at- @luciennegrey

Book Title (s) The One He Left Behind, The One She Left Behind

Available at- Will be available on amazon sometime in November

Exerpt from The One He Left Behind

Then I see her.  She shines brighter than a falling star, I swear she is glowing in the white dress and heels she has chosen.  Her hair is back in some kind of up-do and her skin sparkles like diamonds.  She is smiling brightly as she walks up to the table, then she sees me and her smile falls.  Practically stopping in her tracks I stand in case she decides to run away from me.  I figure it will be hard for her in heels but I wouldn’t be surprised if she tries.

After we stare at each other for what seems like forever she plasters on a smile that is anything but genuine and approaches.  I am still standing as she moves to stand in front of me.  She is staring directly into my eyes and I feel tongue tied like I did 10 years ago and I can’t speak.  She ends up being the first person to say anything as her family stares at the scene between us.

“Mr. Elder, it is good to see you.  How are you doing this evening?”  Mr. Elder! Mr. Elder?  What the hell is up with that?  Since when does my Bethy call me Mr. Elder?

“I am doing very well Bethany.  You look lovely tonight.”  Two can play at this game.  She smirks at me and then tells Tyler that Stacy is tired and waiting in the car for him.  She never moves away from me and she never steps closer.  Just stands her ground.  A crazy idea comes to mind.

get-attachment“Bethany, would you care to dance?”  She turns and moves toward the dance floor without saying a word.  I follow along behind watching the sway of her hips and the way her dress accentuates her hourglass shaped waist.  We reach the middle of the floor and she turns back toward me.   I step into her wrapping my arms around her and we begin to dance.  She stiffens at the initial contact and then relaxes a little as we start to move but she always keeps a socially acceptable space between us.

“Can you believe it has been ten years?”  I ask as a means to start a conversation.  She finally looks up at me rather than out into the room and I see a war raging behind her emerald eyes.

“Yes, ten long years.”  Ok, next strategy.

“I hear you are going to be an aunt.  That is very exciting.  Did you see my niece and nephews while they were here?”  There is a long pause before she answers.

“I think I saw them….. Nina has changed so much I barely recognized her.  Kitty is the same as she always was.”  Score, she is finally talking to me rather than giving me short clipped answers.

“I bet Mira is ready to get that baby out.  She looked miserable tonight, I am surprised they even came.”

“I am surprised they came too.  She is going to be induced on Monday.  It will be nice to see if its a boy or a girl.”

“Wait, so you are telling me they decided not to find out what they are having?  That must be torture for your mother.”  This brings a genuine smile to her face.

“No they decided to be surprised.  So we have all been sitting around betting on if it will be a boy or a girl since I got home.”

I decide to go for broke and pull her in closer to me when a slow dance starts.  She comes willingly but turns her face away from me.  My nose is nestled in the hair behind her ear when she does this and I can’t help but take in a deep breath.  She had a distinct smell all those years ago of apples and something spicy.  Today she smells the same with a hint of floral perfume added to the mix.  Exhaling, I run my lips softly along the skin of her neck and feel her shutter.  The moment is lost though when she pulls away from me and practically runs from the gym with every eye eagerly watching the spectacle.


Grey shared with me some information about her latest work. She told me she is currently working on two sports themed romance novellas. She told me that the first,  “The One He Left Behind,” is in final edits and she is diligently working on the second in that series “The One She Left Behind”. When I asked her what attracted her to the genre, she said, “The idea for these two novellas came about through a conversation with a family friend about lost opportunities to love.  I started thinking about all those things in life that could have been done differently, all the shoulda, coulda, wouldas and BAM, the idea was born.  I feel that the  romance genre has the power to truly transend its stereo type and tell a powerful story without being just about the foreplay and sex.”

I asked Grey how she gets from start to finish with her work. She said, “I am not one of those people to sit down and meticulously plan stories out.  I like to have a general concept and let my mind run free.  I have a running list of projects that I am “in progress” on at all times.  Some days certain stories just flow more freely then others.  I don’t want to force anything in my writing or I am afraid it will come off as ungenuine.”

Book 2 coverGrey said that she did a lot of research on baseball since that is the sport the stories have as a part of them.  “I am a fan of most sports and baseball is a passion but some of the finer details I had to look up.”

The character she wanted to talk about was Kitty. She is a supporting character. “She is the lead male character Perry’s little sister and the wild card of the family.  She is a real straight shooter and at times the things that come out of her mouth will either make you blush or make you laugh hysterically.  When I came up with her character I actually modeled her off a male friend.  I toyed around with the idea of making her character a male and decided to just try it as a female and see how it worked out.  After I had written some of the parts that I personally think are the funniest I knew it was right to keep her character a female.  The things she says are just funnier coming from a woman.”

Balancing time? She said, “I have been with my wonderful husband for 13 years and we have a 5 year old son.  I am a home school mom/teacher for my son so that take a good chunk of time up.  I work part time as an X-ray Technologist at a major metropolitan hospital and when I am not doing that or schooling my son I write.  I have a wonderfully indulgent husband who helps give my dreams wings and for him I am truly grateful. ”

Authors that inspire her? “Toni Aleo and Jasinda Wilder.  Toni is an amazing author and person.  I have emailed back and forth with her many time and she is always so encouraging.  She is just lovely and the quote of hers that just stuck with me the most was like Nike.  JUST DO IT!  Don’t let the dream you have die, go for it and see where you get.  The second is Jasinda Wilder.  I mean, have you seen her CBS interview?  WOW!  Who wouldn’t be inspired by that.  I just love her “can do” attitude and the fact that she wasn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and get to work.”

This is what Grey’s perception is: “I really have no true perception of being published other than fulfilling a bucket list goal.  Unlike most authors out there submitting to tons of publishing houses and getting turned down time and time again, I will not be doing that.  While I want my book to be a success, I want it to be on my own terms/merit and not at the hands of some pushy publishing house.  While I would be completely flattered if I got a letter from a publishing house, I really think Indie publishing is where it’s at for me.”

Grey has been writing since she was in middle school. Her one wish is that her work catches fire and is super successful.  “My real hope is that my work is received well by those who read it and that it brings them joy.” She supports  local Woman’s health charities as well as animal rescue and aid organizations.

We talked about how he finds ideas for her work. She told me, “Ideas spring up from all over the place for me.  A song, a conversation, an image, everything has the capacity to inspire.”

The most important thing she wants people to know about her and her work? “I am just a normal person with a big dream.  I hope that everyone enjoys the fruits of my dream as much as I have enjoyed bring them to fruition.”

I want to thank Lucienne for taking the time to interview. Hope you all are enjoying the tour as it begins to come to a close.

Aspiring Authors Autumn Blog Tour: Mary Desantis

Mary DeSantis--mypicI want to welcome Mary to the first annual Autumn Blog Tour for unpublished authors and self published writers. In her own words, “Mary DeSantis (DeSantisM) is an –ism—enough said.” Originally from a small city in northeast Massachusetts, Mary now lives (temporarily) in North Carolina. After getting her B.A. in Psychology from Merrimack College, she decided she was done reading and writing research articles for a while and applied to/was accepted for Seton Hill University’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program. When she’s not writing, Mary reads (a lot), makes references to Disney movies, hangs with her decidedly writer friends, and/or belts Broadway music at the top of her lungs.

Connecting: E-mail:

Blog/website URL

Facebook author page –

Twitter – @desantismt

Goodreads –

Book Title (s) (tentative) BY THE FIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON

This is from Chapter 14. Vern and her co-workers (also known as “the team”) walked into what they thought was a harmless meeting only to be attacked by a rather large wolf.

The front door of the apartment exploded inward. Dust and wood chips flew in every direction, clogging my nose. I coughed and waved my hand, trying to fan the debris away. My heart pounded hard enough to break my ribs. Was it more wolves? Were we trapped?

“In.” Hanson charged through the foyer and into the kitchen with Markus on his heels. Both held glowing wands.

“Hanson?” I started after the warlocks. “Markus? Warr—”

“Vern, move!”

A jet of light flew from the kitchen. A second later, Rhonda, still the giant wolf, bolted through the doorway and straight for me.

I shrieked and half-lunged, half-fell to the side. What the…? But I didn’t have time to think. Rhonda sprang at me again.

Someone grabbed my arm and flung me into the living room. All that good advice about falling, like curling into a ball, vacated my mind. I landed on my stomach inches from a glass-topped coffee table. The breath whooshed from my lungs, and I struggled to my hands and knees.

Hanson stood where I had a moment ago. He dodged Rhonda’s attack, spun, and drew up short. “Vern, down!”

I obeyed. A red jet of light flew past me toward Rhonda. She swerved, and the light shattered a picture of the Empire State Building. Glass shards fell around me like sharpened rain. A second jet of light followed. I curled into a ball in case of more broken glass, but this one struck Rhonda square in the chest.

And nothing happened.

“Lycanthrope,” Hanson said. “I—Vern, look out!”

Adrenalin spiked through my blood. Rhonda came for me again. I scrambled for all I was worth and missed becoming wolf chow by an inch. Rhonda’s leg brushed my arm, and a flying leap took me out of range. I slammed into the wall and collapsed between an armchair and a couch. Mother Nature, I was trapped.

Rhonda scrabbled around and launched for me again, jaws wide, claws out.

I threw a useless arm up and squeezed my eyes shut. There was nowhere to go, and all I could do was wait for the strike.


I asked Mary what draws her to the genre she’s chosen. She said, “I’ve always had a soft spot for fantasy because I hate researching. (just kidding) I love escaping, and fantasy is the ultimate escape. Magic, mythical creatures, epic battles, or even just our own world with a twist—it’s all awesome.” She talked about how she gets from start to finish with her work. She said, “Typically I start with one scene in mind and write to get to that scene. After about 20k words, I realize I need something resembling a plot outline and go back and think through the story. Then I start writing again. I write linear, and I often think of things to add to earlier chapters while writing later chapters. So I go back and put them in, and really, it’s a giant mess that somehow ends up being a novel.”

The character discussion went like this: “‘K, Vern, move over. You’re a spotlight hog.’ This line would most likely be spoken by Vern’s office mate, Chuck…the metrosexual cactus. He was a welcome-to-the-office gift from Vern’s boss/best friend, Inspector Warren Gazeban, and he loves driving Vern up a wall. And yes, he’s the little guy in the fan art—thanks, Amy, for drawing him!”

Balancing time?  “It’s pretty simple. Write, think about writing, panic about writing, rinse and repeat. Really? I tend to have more creative juice in the afternoon/evening, so I try to write then. Sometimes it hits in the morning, and when it does, I take full advantage. The middle of the day is my away-from-the-computer time.”

Authors that inspire her: “My fellow Unteachables from Seton Hill University’s MFA program—you guys rock! My local writing groupies, collectively known as Write Club. (I’d talk about it, but the first rule of Write Club….) In terms of writers I don’t know in person, Terry Goodkind was the first fantasy author I read and probably the reason I love fantasy so much. More recently Shanna Swendson, Kevin Hearne (who gives an inspiring lecture if I ever heard one), Lish McBride, and Brandon Sanderson. I love their work, and when I go into the I’m-terrible-at-writing phase that seems to be unavoidable, I remember how much I love reading and that I want to spread the love.”

I asked about other projects in the works:  “That MFA program I’m in. It has a thesis. A thesis that is trying to kill me, but a thesis none the less. It’s an epic fantasy tentatively titled SAVING EDALYA, headed up by Jayleen Rothwell (daughter of Edalya’s Royal Guard Captain). What’s it about? (So glad you asked.) Answer—it’s a story about lies and secrets, spies and deception, princes and soldiers, and swords and dark magic. If I had to give two quotes to sum it up, they would be ‘Two may keep a secret if both stay alive’ and ‘power corrupts, the potential of power corrupts absolutely.’ A little different? Hopefully the book is too. ”

The question was asked of Mary, “How many years have you been writing? How did you decide you wanted to be a writer?” She answered by saying, “I like to say I’ve been writing since I was old enough to know how and that I’ve been writing well since I started the MFA (so about a year and a half). I think I always knew I wanted to write, but it hit me in summer 2011. One morning about two months after I got my B.A. in Psychology, I woke up and said (to no one in particular) ‘I want to be a writer.’ (I may have said ‘I want to write,’ but it’s all the same for our purposes). So I found Seton Hill’s program, applied, and now I’ll say something witty about the rest being history.”

Her one wish: “I kind of want my thesis to be made into a movie. Corny and extremely optimistic maybe, but I just think Jayleen would come alive on the big screen.”

I asked Mary how she finds ideas for her work. She said, ” I sit down and wait for them to hit me. K, I don’t actually do that, but that’s how it feels sometimes. I’m an only child, and my thesis was born out of an alternate version of one of my favorite childhood movies I’d act out in my basement. (I was a strange child.) MOON—it’s the TV show NCIS with magic. Really, it’s more complicated than that, but that’s how I think of it.

I have noticed a tendency for stories to crop up around magic systems. I have an idea for a power to give my characters, and then I think that power is too cool not to write a story about. So I start thinking, and a story pops into my head.”

I asked, “What is the most important thing you want people to know about you and your work?” She replied, “I write to entertain. I don’t write to teach lessons (though that may happen). I don’t write for everyone. Pleasing everyone is impossible. I write to hopefully give the people who want my type of story a good read.”

Thanks so much for joining us!

Aspiring Authors Autumn Blog Tour: Darcy Conroy

Tonight’s featured author is Darcy Conroy. Want to connect with her?  E-mail:

Blog/website URL



Twitter: where she co-hosts #storycraft chat on the first Sunday of every month, at 6pm US Eastern with the lovely Kim Koning

Writing blog “As Long As She Writes” at

Book Title (s) As Long As She Lives (Available at  Wattpad, posting chapter-by-chapter[links at website])

As mentioned, Darcy’s latest work is As Long As She Lives, a contemporary romantic suspense set in and around Melbourne, Australia. She explained, “This is my first romantic suspense, I am usually drawn to fantasy tales, but this story came to mind and there was no other genre for it.”

Darcy explained she did a lot of research. She said, “Though the entirety of the novel takes place in Australia, my protagonist has recently returned to Australia after four years working as a teacher in a (fictional) central African country which falls into political chaos soon after her return. That chaos forms the geopolitical background of the story, so research into Central African cultures, conflicts (with Western powers and internal) and into aid and corruption was essential if I was going to create a fictional country that was both realistic and respectful.

There was also a lot of research into various injuries, trauma and PTSD and Interpol and the workings of the International Criminal Court.

Of course, I am careful only to put into the manuscript what is necessary for the reader to know to follow the plot – it is a romance, as well as a suspense and my main aim is to entertain, after all.”

She spoke about her characters also: “I have two minor characters I love to write and wish I could justify writing more – the niece and nephew of my protagonist. Daisy and Toby are seven and ten years old, and it’s always fun (and sometimes downright handy) to have them around to say things and ask questions which adults are too polite to utter!”

Balancing her time does’t seem to be a challenge. She said, “I am lucky enough to be able write full time, so stopping myself from writing is the trick. Like anyone who works from home, my desk is always right there and it’s too easy to sit down and be working again – especially when you enjoy it so much. I do try to take breaks to re-charge and to make sure my husband doesn’t feel that I care more about my characters than him!”

Authors that inspire Darcy? This is what she had to say about that: “Of course! All of them – good, bad, everything I read inspires me in some way. The one author who first inspired me to want to explore how to write (rather than just inspiring ideas I wanted to write down) was Susan Cooper, author of The Dark is Rising sequence. My grade 4 teacher introduced us to the series and its five books became my back-to-back reading for the next three years. I’d always been a bookworm and, though I tried, I couldn’t find another world that I wanted to disappear into in quite the same way – Narnia was too young for me by then, and the mix of the contemporary world and ancient mythology was more fulfilling for me than Tolkien (though I did love The Hobbit.) After reading the series twelve times, and trying to write something which came close to it (I had always written stories for myself) in 7th grade I went to the school librarian and ask her if anyone ever wrote books about how to write books. I wish I could remember that librarian’s name because she was very good to me – at lunch time she took me to the senior school (which was a drive across the suburb) and stood me in front of a section of shelf filled with books about how to create stories. That was not only my first foray into trying to improve my writing (though I still had no desire to write for anyone but myself) but a life-time love of the theory of Story and fascination with the creative process of all sorts of artists. I have my own shelves of similar books, now, to which I am constantly adding.”

Her perception of being published? Darcy said, “Publishing would mean the opportunity to work with an editor to polish my manuscripts and, of course, to have my work available to readers (beyond Wattpad).”

Like most of us, she is working on other projects. She explained “I will be spending November on a quick first draft of an idea which has recently formed (while trying to finish As Long As She Lives) and insists on being given some attention. The story is set in Bar Harbor, Maine and is a relatively simple romance between a ballet dancer and a photographer – I don’t have a working title, yet. After that I’m pretty sure I’ll be working on a paranormal suspense, The War of Wind and Moon, set largely in Japan, with detours in New Zealand and Hong Kong planned, so far. The “paranormal” refers to a mixture of European and Eastern pagan philosophy (and energy magic) and reincarnation. The story asks (and answers) the question: how do you combat evil when death is not an end?”

When I asked her how long she’d been writing, she said, “I’m just one of those people for whom writing is their most comfortable form of expression, which is my own definition of “being a writer”, but “being an author” or publishing for the public was a late decision, for me. I’ve always written stories for myself, sometimes for my friends or kids I was looking after, but I didn’t really think of publishing for a larger audience until my twenties (and even then, I started out thinking I’d be a screenwriter.)”

Her one wish: “That readers find my stories to be an intelligent, entertaining escape for whatever precious time they have to read.”

When we talked about charities she supports, she told me “I try to support charities that I know help when needed but don’t try to push communities into doing things in a particular way, or undertake one-off projects then leave them to fail when they have gone. Medecins sans Frontier is an important charity and one which I think people don’t realize needs donations – it’s not just a stream of rich, Western doctors donating their vacation time! On a local level, in Australia, there is a particular project I like called “Triple Care Farm” run by the Sir David Martin Foundation and Mission Australia which helps young people who haven’t had a good start at life to rehabilitate their health and self-esteem and find a better path for a healthy, engaged life. (”

I asked Darcy how she comes up with her ideas. She said that her ideas are “everywhere.” She explained it like this: “Every ‘what if’ that crosses the mind is an idea. Every now and then pursuing those ideas leads to enough information to flesh out a story. The idea for As Long As She Lives started as research into which international charities to donate to. We have friends who have worked in NGOs and various diplomatic positions who have shared stories about aid, good and bad, and I wanted to be sure our meager funds would be helping rather than harming the communities they went to.

I came upon the book Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo and it was an eye-opener – even when we try to help, so often the money is mis-used – even with the best of intentions – or ends up in the hands of big, western businesses or corrupt politicians. A blind eye is turned under the guise of not wanting to “interfere with the culture” but selfishness and greed are not cultural, they are universal, human flaws. I have long been curious about people who seem to show no compunction in exploiting others for money and it’s appalling in every society, but this entitlement behavior manifests in such extreme ways in societies prone to violence, and has such extreme consequences in the developing world, that I became more than usually angry at how much power and arrogance these men have – and how little could be done to stop them. That lead to my ‘what if’ – which I can’t share because it would be a spoiler!”

The most important thing she wanted people to know about her? “That I hope that they enjoy reading my work, and if they do, they can be assured that I’m working on something new for their reading list. ”

Thanks so much Darcy for talking to me about yourself and your work!