Monthly Archives: August 2013

Author Interview: Robert Spake


This week’s indie author interview is with Robert Spake, who has written and published several of his short stories as well as a novel, Angel and Hellfire. Find more about him at Goodreads here: .

1. What first inspired you to write?
I wouldn’t say I was inspired by anything in particular, it’s just part of my
nature I think, although it didn’t manifest itself until I was 18. I was in
college and I had a couple of ideas for stories, so I started writing and then
the ideas started coming thick and fast and since then I’ve never been able to
stop. It was like I was flooded with all this creativity that almost
overwhelmed me, and then I knew that if I didn’t write these stories no-one
would so I felt it was almost my duty or responsibility to bring these stories
out into the world.

2. Where do you get your ideas for your books?
My mind wanders a lot so a lot of them just come from thinking. I’m also
influenced by movies and books and songs, often an idea sparks in me because
I’ve been exposed to another idea. I studied philosophy and that helped me to
look at things from different angles, but really I’m just interested in a lot
of things and I like to write about things I’m interested in. An idea will
flash in my mind and I’ll just have to run with it.

3. I see that you write both short stories and novels. Which do you prefer, and
I think they both have their merits. I read a good quote, I think it was Philip
K. Dick who said it but I’m not sure, but it basically said that short stories
are to explore an idea or a concept while a novel is to explore a character and
the world they inhabit. I really love short stories because I get to bounce
between different ideas and I can see the finished product a lot sooner than
with novels, but I can put more of myself into a novel and I think they tend to
have more of an impact on a reader. If I had to choose I’d have to say novels,
but they take more work to write. Both types have their merits though.

4. What kind of book would you say “Angelic Hellfire” is, and why?
What type of reader would it appeal to?
I always say it’s a sci-fi coming of age story. I think it would mostly appeal
to the young adult crowd, but I’d like to think most people could take
something from it. It’s really about coming to terms with who you are and
finding your place in the world, overcoming your own insecurities and realising
that no matter how small you feel sometimes compared to the vastness of the
universe you still matter. I think most people struggle with those ideas at one
time or another, especially when we’re passing into adulthood and the whole
world opens up before us, so Aaliyah is an embodiment of that struggle.

5. Who is your favorite writer, and why?
W. Somerset Maughm. I only discovered him fairly recently but I instantly fell
in love with his beautiful prose and some of the attitudes his characters
express, particularly about love, are identical to my own feelings. I think
he’s incredibly underrated too because I’ve never heard much said about him and
I think he should be more widely-known.

6. Tell me about your latest book.
My latest release is I, Tomorrow? and Other Stories, a collection of 12
stories. There’s a bit of a mix – some sci-fi, a couple of romantic tragedies, a
Greek tragedy and a few other ideas I was playing around with. I’m proud of it
and while the stories would fit into different genres they mostly deal with
similar themes, examining the nature of the universe and ourselves. I included
author notes which give some background information on the stories and some of
my feelings towards them because I always find it interesting when authors
provide an insight into their stories.

7. What are you working on next?
Well I have my ongoing serial story about a superhero which is updated weekly
on my blog. I’m also working on a story called Hit Hard which is about a

women’s boxing world champion and her struggle to find a challenge in her
sport. Along with that I’ve just come up with an idea for a pirate story, and I
have a fairytale in the works as well as a sequel for Angelic Hellfire, so
plenty to keep me busy!

8. What is the best advice you could give to new writers?
I think I just have to echo advice that served me well – read and write as much
as you can.


FINISHED! (first draft, anyway)

I actually wrote my last word on my second book on Friday, but I felt like announcing it today. Journey to Landaran will be the first book of a five book fantasy series, featuring the adventurous twins Aidah and Tavish. Tavish is a Firestarter, and he tends to let loose with his emotions. Aidah is the quieter twin, and she’s been having strange dreams lately, and sensing other’s thoughts.

The book finished out at 119,000 words, which was about where I wanted it to be. I hope to trim it to 110,000 through editing. This will feel a lot smaller after my monster first book which started at a whopping 162,000 and was trimmed to 145,000!

Now begins the editing phase. My goal is to have this out some time in early 2014, but we’ll see how long it takes to get everything together. As my second full length novel (not including novellas), I’m feeling now like I’ve figured out how everything works, so that may speed up the process.

Now to start outlining Book 2 of the series!

P.S., anybody know somebody good at map-making? I need this series to have maps as there will be extensive travel to different countries.

Author Interview: Mary Waibel


As I said on Monday, this week you get two author interviews! Today it is Mary Waibel, a fairly new fantasy writer with a couple books out. You can find more about her on Goodreads here:

1.  How did you first become a writer?

I’ve dabbled in writing for awhile. In college I had a professor encourage me to try creative writing as she really enjoyed my descriptive writing pieces. I didn’t take the courses, as they didn’t fit in my curriculum, but I did keep writing.

2.  I understand that your fantasy novel, “Quest of the Hart” sprang from the Sleeping Beauty tale. What drew you to that story?

It was suggested by a friend that I write a tale about the girly-girl saving the prince. As I thought about the suggestion, I kept thinking about different fairy tales, and the paths the prince took to save the princess. The spell, the quest for the needed items (usually magical), and the battle with the evil doer.  Sleeping Beauty had all these elements and one more-the princess could only be wakened by her true love. Being a sucker for romance, and happily-ever-afters, I knew this was the tale I needed to use.

3.  Tell me about the book.

As mentioned above, Quest of the Hart is a reverse Sleeping Beauty tale, where the princess goes on the quest to save the prince. When Prince Devlin is placed under a spell by his sister, Princess Arabella, Princess Kaylee must choose-let all of the kingdom fall under the spell, or go on a quest to save the prince and his kingdom. 

4.  Who do you see as your audience with this book, and why?

Quest of the Hart is geared toward young adults- I’d say 12 and up. There’s some kissing, hinted at feelings and innuendo, as well as some violence (blood, enchanted daggers). 

5.  Who is your favorite writer, and why?

Going by my bookshelf, I’d have to say Nora Roberts. I just fall in love with the characters she creates- especially all the family based series she’s written. Lisa Shearin and Patricia Briggs are two other go to reads when I need a familiar friend in a story.

6.  Tell me about what you’re working on next.

I am currently working with a CP (critique partner) on getting the third book in the Princess of Valendria series ready for submission. Charmed Memories, the second book in the series, releases in August. Each book in the series is a stand alone novel, following a different set of characters. A companion novel, if you will. 

I’m also working on a paranormal fantasy with Faeries and Sorceresses.

7.  What was your process in getting your book published?

I queried for an agent with a version of Quest of the Hart that wasn’t ready. After several ‘no’s’, I went to work on a different project and queried that. This garnered some interest, but ultimately no bites. I went back to Quest, and rewrote the entire story. Then I sent it out to some small publishers who accepted from un-agented authors. In the meantime, I researched self-publishing. When I received the offer from MuseItUp, I was ecstatic, but I had to ask for time, as my MS(manuscript) was still out with other publishers. I contacted them with a deadline to hear back. I didn’t hear back, and I happily signed with MuseItUp. The experience has been incredible. The staff there is quite talented and very easy to work with. They have their authors best interests in mind with all they do.

8.  What advice do you have for other writers?

Never give up. Keep at it, even when it seems you’re getting nowhere. To paraphrase Nora Roberts, you can’t fix what you haven’t written. So, write. Edit. Edit some more. Get feedback. And then send your efforts out into the world. You never know what will happen.

Judy thank you so much for having me here. I’ve really enjoyed this interview.

Author Interview: Massimo Marino


This was supposed to go up last week but I got busy uploading my new short story. Massimo Marino is a scientist and has been writing since he was young. Check out his information on Goodreads here:

  1. What drew you to writing? What was the first thing you ever wrote?
    I wrote since I’ve been able to hold a pencil in my toddler’s hands. I created stories in my mind, and I wanted to remember them and read them later. My father and older brother received sci-fi magazines that at first I wasn’t allowed to read because I was too young, but I liked the cover pictures, so I invented stories based on those images.The first story I wrote is a bit lost in the fog of old memories but it had to do with a kid who transformed into a dolphin when looking at the full moon seen from a crack on the vault of a seaside cavern.

    2. It looks like you write short stories as well as books. What about each format appeals to you?
    I like the immediacy of the short stories, where a spark of inspiration sees instant gratification. Anything can trigger a short story, a bit like the Madeleine of Proust. A novel is an adventure, it is a quest in uncharted territories, and the excitement of the unknown is thrilling. I know roughly where I want to go, but during the first draft the story becomes alive, the characters deepens and start acting independently. This is where the fun starts, I become the first reader of the story and twists and surprises are what I look for when writing.

    3. You seem to have elements of religion or good and evil in several of your works. Why is that?
    I grew up in a family where religion had a big role on everyday activities. My school was also a religious institution, managed by the Jesuits, and it lasted till high school diploma. At school, I attended mass 3 or 4 times a week, and my education and formation had been influenced by those years. Now it’s different, and I tend toward agnosticism, but I believe I can’t mask the past.

    4. Tell me about your latest book.
    The latest work is the sequel to “Daimones”, and volume 2 of “The Daimones Trilogy”. The novel takes place some 10 years after the event described in “Daimones”, and the reborn human society has to face again conflicts and hidden agendas that endanger the human race again, bringing the planet on the brink of self-destruction once more. Needless to say, the utopian promises in “Daimones”, show their dystopian aspect in “Once Humans”.

    5. What inspires you?
    Everything and Nothing. I take mental note of details, situations, parts of conversations, news, or mental visions of what could be if… The more I let the subconscious take the lead, and the less I think about an inspiration, the more ideas seem to queue in the frontal cortex.

    6. What project will you be working on next?
    Book number 3 of the trilogy. What is going to happen after the events in “Once Humans”. There’s a lot already simmering and taking shape that will affect hundred of years for the Selected and the new transgenic human race.

    7. Who is your favorite writer, and why?
    I grew up reading sci-fi, so all the big names mostly, from Isaac Asimov to Ray Bradbury, Ursula Le Guin, Frank Herbert, Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein, to name just a few and then other genres too, Tolkien, Stephen King, Tom Clancy and others. Italian authors, too, like Svevo, Calvino, Sciascia, and also Greek mythology authors, the ones I used to hate at school and that are instead fantastic writers and authors. We live with myths daily, even if we do not realize it. I’d say the favorite writer is the one I happen to read at every moment: each book is a lesson and an opportunity to grow for a writer.

    8. What advice do you have for other writers?
    To be persistent and fulfill your dreams. I still have to fulfill mine…so never despair. Read and write a lot, it is the best way to learn how to write.

Fairies at Fisherman’s Wharf Released!

Fairies cover website

So it’s finally out! “Fairies at Fisherman’s Wharf”, the second Cathy Pembroke Tale, is now available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo. Cathy Pembroke is a stubborn but well-meaning Oakland cop placed into a special Task Force to deal with creatures crossing over from Fae. Scientists think the gates started to open between the worlds thanks to deforestation, but nobody knows for sure. All Cathy knows is the critters really make a mess of things when they hit major tourist attractions.

This time, it’s a fairy invasion down at Pier 39, the hottest shopping spot in San Francisco.

You can find the first tale, “A Troll Under Golden Gate Bridge” here at Amazon:

And the second, “Fairies at Fisherman’s Wharf” here:

Each eBook comes with a bonus humor fantasy short story. These are quick reads suitable for all ages.

I’m now working on the third Cathy Pembroke Tale, “Ogres at Alcatraz Isle.” The worst thing about ogres? They’re not as dumb as trolls. When ogres take over the prison and hold the tourists as hostages, Cathy must take a team of police officers out to try and recapture the island. This will be her greatest challenge yet.


New cover for Troll story!

troll 1 websiteFairy website2

So yay, got my new illustration and new cover for the “Troll Under Golden Gate Bridge” tale, now in the same branding style as the next Cathy Pembroke tale, “Fairies At Fisherman’s Wharf.” I have some tiny tweaking to do, and then I’ll change the Troll cover and put up the fairy story for sale. Like my other short stories, it’ll be priced at $0.99 and be coupled with another short story to make it at least 7000 words long. (In this case it’ll be more like 12,000 words.)

The second tale, “Captured,” tells the story of a fairy who has been captured by human children, and her little plan to escape.


Walls surround me.  I can see through the walls; they are transparent like water, but as solid as stone.  I can’t escape to the sunny meadows and the sweet nectar-laden flowers.  I look up at the dark shape of a human hand and plead, “Let me go!”

“Look, Martha, I caught one!”  a great booming voice says.  Standing tiptoe against a blade of grass, I can see the source–a human, a boy.  He leans down and grins at me.  I retreat to the back of my prison, wings fluttering, green hair falling into my eyes.

“Oh, do be careful, Michael.  Don’t hurt it.” A second voice, a girl’s, rings out behind me.  I turn to see lacy folds of a petticoat before she kneels to look at me.

“Please, let me go,” I say.

Author Interview: R.A. White


Today I’m interviewing author R.A. White, who writes some fascinating fantasy fiction with a more multi-cultural background. You can find more information about this writer at Goodreads here:

1. A lot of writers bring their background into their
writing. Tell me about your background and how it influences your writing.

I grew up in the Pocono Mountains, just a couple hours from New York City, but
our house was in the woods. My parents were foster parents and adoptive
parents, and also helped just about every needy person who came their way, so
life was never dull. It was great-I learned to accept people of all backgrounds
for who they were, and I was accepted, too. Sure, it was stressful at times,
but we laughed a lot. I think that being around people from so many different
circumstances gave me a more grounded view of the world we live in than a lot
of kids have. I knew what it was like to have a loving family, but I also
saw—very close up—what it was like to come from a neglectful and abusive home.
Very early in life I recognized that there are evil people in the world, and
that good people have to do what they can to offset them.

As an older teenager, I was introduced to real life racism and found it
disgusting. I had seen it in movies and read about it, but being in a place
where it was happening had far much more of an impact on me. Then, as a young
adult I lived in Moscow, Russia for a couple of years. The experience radically
changed my world view and gave me a great respect for those who have immigrated
to the US. It can be so hard to be a foreigner, and a lot of immigrants here
don’t have nearly as much support as I had. In Russia I also had some
disturbing encounters with skinheads, which brought the racism issue closer to
the front of my mind.

My husband and I are both white Americans, and we have adopted a black American
child. Sometimes I say he’s African American just to avoid ruffling anyone’s
feathers, but the truth is that I don’t think he’s African at all. He looks
more like a he’s from the islands.

The experiences I’ve mentioned have greatly influenced my writing,as well as
growing up with bookish parents who encouraged creativity in any way that
wasn’t overly destructive. Anyone who reads my book will see the strong themes
of racism, acceptance, family, and cultural integration. And fun. Fun is very

2. What first inspired you to write?

I would have to say reading. That or being told stories when I was young. I
can’t remember when I didn’t love stories, and I used to make them up and tell
them to my younger siblings. I’m sure those stories were fun, but I can’t
remember them. I actually have a pretty bad memory. I’m so glad we have moved
past oral tradition to the written word.

3. Your fantasy novel “Kergulen” features a dark skinned slave–my
fantasy novel also deals with slavery and racism. How do you approach this
topic in your novel?

First, I should mention that Rima’s slavery isn’t because of her color. Her
entire race is dark skinned, whether free or slave. She is a slave because her
mother was a slave, and that’s all she knows for sure. Of course I approach
slavery as a negative thing, but in Rima’s culture it isn’t the same as it was
here in the US. Most of the slaves in her country are content, and possibly
even sold themselves into slavery because they needed a secure place to live
and food to eat. The farm where Rima’s story begins is particularly bad because
her new master is abusive and uncaring, and the he has a special dislike for
Rima because she scares him.

4. Tell me more about this book. What kind of person is Rima?

Rima is easy to love. She’s an extrovert, often funny, and at times
mischievous. Like most adolescent girls, she struggles with self-doubt, fears,
and moving past personal tragedy. Also like most girls, she wants to be
independent. In Kergulen, Rima learns a whole lot about what it means to be
truly free, and about what it means to really love. She also learns why she has
the eyes of a witch and what to do about it. And she learns how to fight with
cudgels, ride a horse, eat while blindfolded, properly greet a king, sew,
dance, and take an opponent down with nothing more than a hairbrush.

5. Who is your favorite writer, and why?

Dean Koontz. In most of his books, his characters are so believable and
endearing, and the stories are addictive. I read many of his books regularly
even though I know what’s going to happen, because if I don’t I miss the

6. What first drew you to fantasy?

My dad used to tell us his version of Tolkien’s stories, so that was my first
introduction to fantasy, but then I started reading the fantasy novels off his
shelves. Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Piers Anthony, and others. I don’t think
I was even eleven years old the first time I read The Sword of Shannara. I love
not being tied to the real world’s rules. Every book has to have its own rules,
of course, but it’s fun that they’re different from ours.

7. What are you working on next?

I’m working on the sequel to Kergulen, titled Kings of the Red Shell. It should
be out early autumn. Rima’s adventures resume in a more epic sort of story with
a wider cast of characters, a quest, and all of that. Rima continues to mature
and learns just how brave she really is.

8. What advice do you have for other writers looking to self-publish?

Oh, boy. My rule has always been to get advice from those who are incredibly
successful at what they do, and as of now that isn’t me, so I feel a little
awkward about giving advice. But I can suggest scanning over the threads on
Amazon’s author community and the Indie group on Goodreads. There are a lot of
seasoned writers on there who know the ins and outs of the self-publishing
world. I learned SO much from just reading questions and posts. I also suggest
making very, very sure that your book is professional quality before you publish
it. It’s true that you can fix the text and cover later, but you can’t fix your
reviews or a bad reader experience.