Thursday, 7 June 2018

Character Interview with Borkin Krauk from "Borkin the Archer" by Frej Wasastjerna

We are so lucky to be able to speak with Borkin Krauk, main character of the novel 'Borkin the Archer' by Frej Wasastjerna

  1. Tell us a little about yourself? Where do you come from?
    I was born in a village in southern Sharauth, early in Cycle 111... excuse me...
    Sorry for the interruption, that was the author reminding me that the Nurasagi calendar is unfamiliar to you and that even he can't tell when I was born in Terran terms. In fact, he suspects that that isn't even a meaningful question. I don't understand this multiverse stuff myself. Probably even he doesn't.
  2. Tell us a little about your home, what are your feelings towards home?
    Home, now where is my home, really? Sharauth is where I grew up. Now I've spent a bit more than three cycles in Nurasag... excuse me, nearly eight Terran years. Here is where I got married, here is where I expect I'll live several more cycles. Maybe some day I'll have saved enough that I can go back to Sharauth and buy myself a farm or shop or something. With luck, I might be able to do it while my parents are still alive so I can see them again, in addition to my brothers and sister.
  3. What motivates you along your journey?
    Apart from just making a living and giving Lieni something like the life she deserves, I have two main goals in life. One is securing religious freedom. The other is putting an end to the slave trade. And as if those two goals weren't hard enough in themselves, they contradict each other! How in the name of Angramansh am I supposed to combine them when the slave trade is essential to fund the struggle for religious freedom?!
    I promised Lieni to do what I could to stop the slave trade, and I meant it. But I can't betray Kuartsha and his fight for freedom. So what am I to do?!
  4. How do you see yourself/ how do you see yourself in relation to the rest of the world?
    Huh?? Well... I suppose I could describe myself as a plaything of fate, of the gods or whatever. Sometimes the gods get weird ideas.
  5. What is most important to you in this world?
    It's Lieni, that's clear. When I married her, I swore on a holy sword that I would protect her, at the cost of my life if need be. And I very much meant that too. But now she's got kerpeif! I can't protect her against diseases! So, again, what can I do? If either of us has to die, that would be my task – even my right. But now there's nothing I can do!
    Okay, kerpeif doesn't kill all its victims. I suppose I can hope and pray.
    But I doubt that that will do much good.
  6. What characteristics do you consider important in a person? What kind of people do you try to surround yourself with?
    Hmm... well, given a choice I would prefer nice people. In practice it hasn't so much been a question of what I prefer. Circumstances have decided for me.
  7. What do you see for yourself in the future? Where will you be? What kind of person do you want to become?
    I have no idea. What can a single longbowman hope to achieve?

If you want to buy 'Borkin the Archer' you can here. And to learn more about the author see their website here.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Interview with the author of "The Spirit of Imhotep" Maria Isabel Pita

Take a look at our interview with author Maria Isabel Pita, author of "The Spirit of Imhotep"

The Spirit of Imhotep (Lucid Dreams & Spiritual Warfare Book 1) by [Pita, Maria Isabel]

  • What is your favourite genre to write? Why?
    • Romance. It's my favourite because it's about love, which covers everything, not just the relationship between a man and a woman. Our relationship with the gift of Creation is a romance between our soul and God, full of mystery and wonder, and a drawing ever nearer to the ultimate desire of being with Him forever. Creation itself is a Gift overflowing with little presents at every moment. Love is the only reality, and therefore the only thing worth writing about, in any form – the romance of being beloved and created souls.
  • Do you model characters after real people?
    • Yes, and no. Some characters are inspired by my love for certain people, but as I write, they become uniquely themselves, developing a mysterious life of their own. And sometimes a main character is inspired directly by the Holy Spirit, and these characters are, I feel, the most intriguing, and writing about them feels like having a real relationship with someone.
  • What does your writing process look like? Did it take you a while to develop?
    • When I begin a novel, I begin writing before breakfast, and write all morning, and sometimes into the afternoon, depending on if I'm in the middle of a scene. But usually the afternoon is reserved for a quick first edit of what I wrote in the morning. And I keep this up until I'm finished with the book.
  • What does your editing process look like? Do you allow others to read your writing?
    • After quick edits while writing the book, the real gruelling work of editing begins. I do the first two edits on my computer, then I transfer the file to my Kindle and read and edit it on there at least two times, usually three. Then I create the print book, and while reading that version, do the final edit. Editing for me is like removing all the dirt around the diamond and cutting and shaping it until it shines as brightly and beautifully as humanly possible.
  • Do you take criticism hard or do you have a thick skin? Have you ever received criticisms that you felt were unjustified or too harsh? Are you your worst critic?
    • When you're in love with someone, do you like it when people criticize them and point out all their flaws? I love my books because I wrote them in love and for Love. With that said, I know that no book is perfect, and then there is the matter of individual tastes. You cannot please everyone. I seek to please God first and foremost, and I know those with similar soul-tastes to mind will also enjoy the journey. Constructive criticism is welcome, for we all must continue to grow as people and therefore as writers. However, there is a form of criticism that is not positive which stems from an opinion about something that has nothing to do with the actual book. For example, criticizing my book simply because you don't believe God speaks to us through dreams anymore. And yes, I am definitely my worst critic. That's why I spend so much time polishing my work.    

To purchase your copy of "The Spirit of Imhotep" click here.
To learn more about the author, Maria Isabel Pita, click here.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Interview with the author of "Borkin the Archer" Frej Wasastjerna

Our exclusive interview with author Frej Wasastjerna, author of 'Borkin the Archer"

  • When did you complete your first piece of writing? What was it? How was that process?
    It was sometime between 1956 and 1963. I was in my teens at that time. The story was written in Swedish and its title was En rutinartad spaningsflygning, which translates into English as A Routine Reconnaissance Flight. This title was ironic, since the pilot of the flight in question wound up dead.
    The story was set in what I call IU1, for Imaginary Universe #1. I had started developing this universe when I was 7, and eventually it became so cluttered with impossibilities and absurdities that I dropped it (not entirely, I still may think about design details in it, but I don't write about it.)
    IU1 was followed by IU2, which I started developing sometime around 1960. It's the setting of my Iagyh War stories, the first of which, Till Death Do Us Part, I wrote in the late 1970s. A much improved version of this story, along with several other stories, is available at
    Soon IU3 came along, and that's where I've put all my novels. IU3 isn't really a single universe, it's several universes, each with it's own laws of nature, so magic can work or not as I please. There is a cosmology tying them together (based on an idea I had about 1965), but I haven't really described this.
  • What is your favourite genre to write? Why?
    Actually my first love was science fiction. I encountered it at the age of 7. It's also an important part of my output (see for instance the Iagyh War series mentioned above). But there are two problems with science fiction:
    1) I know too much about science, so I want to explain everything.
    2) Fantasy generally ages better than science fiction. SF often tries to keep some connection with reality, and as our knowledge about reality improves, SF is susceptible to becoming outdated. Fantasy, with no pretensions to realism, is immune to that problem.
    So what I write is mostly either fantasy or SF, but sometimes it may be hard to classify. For instance my recent novel Borkin the Archer doesn't look much like SF, since there's no technology in it more advanced than fore-and-aft rigged sailing ships and primitive gunpowder weapons. On the other hand, there's no magic at all. So I call it SF on the strength of the IU3 cosmology in the background providing the reason why there are people on the planet in question.
    I also sometimes write other stuff. For instance, one story of which I recently wrote a first draft, is almost pure historical fiction.
  • Do you model characters after real people?
    Most often not. I may use myself as a starting point, at least so that I have the characters acting in ways that make sense to me, but I make whatever changes the story requires. For instance, while the unnamed protagonist in my story Leonids is otherwise rather like me, he's much less acrophobic. I lack the courage of the eponymous protagonist in my novel Tochwyatis. And I'm not a man-eating female troll like in Lead Me On...
    Occasionally I do model characters after real people. The most extreme example occurs in one of my Iagyh War stories, where there is one character whom I modeled as closely as I could on a real person I know. But the motives I attributed to her are nonetheless speculation.
  • What does your editing process look like? Do you allow others to read your writing?
    I do most of my editing myself. Sometimes I do allow others to read my writing, for instance at the critique group Critters. But I do that less often than I should. See the next question.
  • Do you take criticism hard or do you have a thick skin?
    I really ought to have a thicker skin. But I do sometimes submit my stories to critiques, and I have found that useful though unpleasant.
  • Have you ever received criticisms that you felt were unjustified or too harsh?
    Sometimes, not all that often.
    So far I've seen 4 public critiques of my work: 3 of Tochwyatis, 1 of Mixed Nuggets. All 3 critiques of Tochwyatis make sense, both the two favorable ones and the rather unfavorable one. But the critique of Mixed Nuggets does not make sense in my view.
  • Are you your worst critic?
    Not where writing is concerned, though I do admit that there are flaws in at least some of the stuff I've written. I just couldn't avoid them.
If you want to buy 'Borkin the Archer' you can here. And to learn more about the author see their website here.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Character Interview with Rhianwyn from "Wildcat" by JP Harker

We had the pleasure to be able to interview the main character from "Wildcat" by author JP Harker.

Character Interview with Rhianwyn, daughter of Carradan from “Wildcat'

  1. Tell us a little about yourself? Where do you come from?
My name is Rhia, I am the third eldest child of Carradan, the High Chieftain of the Caderyn. I enjoy riding, swimming, fighting for my tribe and being… intimate with my betrothed, Bevan (not that we’ve gone too far or anything, the druids wouldn’t approve, but with the wedding coming soon it’s hard to keep restrained!). I come Bryngarth which is in Caderyn land, on the island that the Gaians now call Daeria.

  1. Tell us a little about your home, what are your feelings towards home?
My home is at Bryngarth, in the heart of the open plains and rolling hills of Caderyn territory. It is a beautiful place, though after the wedding we will likely move to Bevan’s home on the coast. I don’t really mind, I’ll miss my family but the coast is always being raided by Ierryn’s black ships so I won’t get bored.

  1. What motivates you along your journey?
Probably loyalty. My family are everything to me, followed closely by the tribe of course. I would love to continue to be a warrior for them but that may have wait a while. Bevan and I wish to have children, and until they are grown enough to take care of themselves I shall have to make them my priority. But I can’t wait until they’re old enough to take to battle with me!

  1. How do you see yourself/ how do you see yourself in relation to the rest of the world?
I see myself as a fighter, a daughter, and hopefully soon a wife and mother. I would say I know my rightful place in the world – it’s wherever my family and people need me the most. As far as everyone else is concerned, if they are not Caderyn then they’re either an enemy or a future enemy.

  1. What is most important to you in this world?
Home. Home and the people in it matter more than anything else. In all honesty, I am guilty of chasing glory for myself sometimes, but glory for me is glory to the tribe and to my father, so I don’t think it’s all that selfish.

  1. What characteristics do you consider important in a person? What kind of people do you try to surround yourself with?
Before anything else a person must be brave and dedicated. Someone can be the cleverest and friendliest, even the kindest and most loving person in the world, but if they lack courage and loyalty then I have no time for them. I like to have people around me who enjoy a good fight, a good feast and a good song, but they must have integrity as well.

  1. What do you see for yourself in the future? Where will you be? What kind of person do you want to become?
In the near future I will be a wife and then, with Marna’s blessing, a mother, likely living in Mobryn with Bevan and his family. If I can be as good a parent as my own mother has been I will count myself fortunate.

You can purchase a copy of Wildcat through here and if you want to know more about Harker's work you can visit his website here.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Book Review: Callie's Revolution: The Audacious Adventures of a Woman on the Run by Tony Chiodo

Callie’s Revolution tells the story of young Callie Masterson, an aspiring journalist who follows an American troop into Mexico in chase of Poncho Villa, but what she finds is more than she bargained for. Expecting to see and report on the Mexican revolution she soon discovers that the true revolution lies within her.

The first half of the novel was very well paced with tight dialogue, which is a style I enjoy. I found Callie to be wild and perhaps a bit unbelievable. Everything seemed to be too well done, as she seemed to be great at everything and everyone loved her. But this definitely worked to her advantage, and to the advantage of the story. I had a difficult time, at first, reconciling what I know of 1916 to what was being presented in the novel. I’ll be honest and say most of my knowledge of the time period is mostly European with the war well underway, and being Canadian I did not know much of what was going on in the southern States. It was refreshing to read something new, and even more refreshing to not feel the need to confirm the research completed by the author. It’s a bad habit of mine, so I’m thankful the dialogue and story carried me away enough to forget about fact-checking.

The second half, however, felt quite slow. I felt that everything had wrapped up nicely and took me a while to adjust to the new pace of the plot. But now at the end of it, I recognize that the pacing was directly linked with Callie’s own life. It’s her time in Mexico that while she loved it, she was at a stand-still. Nothing was happening and she was becoming restless as I was with the pace. Once she found her new adventure the plot picked up once more until the end.

Without a spoiler, I’m somewhat disappointed with the ending, more about who she ended up with. Of course, the romantic in me was pleased but at the same time I wished the author had taken a bit more of a risk and left it the way we thought it would be. (It’s hard to talk about without spoiling it!)

Overall, I thought this was a well written novel with an interesting and well-rounded main character set in a wild and uncertain time. It was thrilling yet at the same time relevant to anyone seeking their true purpose in life.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Book Review: The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien

I always find it somewhat difficult to review a novel that is so well known, even worse a novel that I have seen the movie for first...and even worse a novel that my husband has all the information about. He knows it all.

In The Return of the King we see the Lord of the Rings come to a close, and technically the novel itself is one with six “books” within it, so this review will be on books five and six: The Return of the King, and The End of the Third Age combined. In The Return of the King the plot follows two thirds of the fellowship: Pippin and Gandalf; and Merry, Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn. Pippin and Gandalf make their way into Gondor and there help defend the city of Minas Tirith until the final battle. The rest travel through Rohan before moving into Gondor to aid in the battle at Minas Tirith before moving onto Mordor.

One thing that stood out to me was the way in which I read the novel. Had this novel been published today, I would have been much more critical of it in terms of style and unnecessary scenes. But knowing it was written in a different time, that makes a big difference. This novel was the culmination of everything in Middle-Earth, it seemed, everything coming to a head. The war to end the age. Of course, Tolkien lived through both World Wars, and that is very apparent in his writing. That may be what made this novel so much richer than the previous ones. With the true battle on the horizon, everyone’s true characters were shown. Tolkien did not put much emphasis on character development, but it’s clear the character he chose for this story were the ones meant to be on this journey. Everyone played their part, which cannot always be said in novels. Were there scenes that could be cut? Definitely. But I think the simple scenes, such as Pippin when he first arrives in Minas Tirith and he’s spending time with Beglerond, those showed the reality of a city before a siege. They all know what’s coming, but it was the waiting that Tolkien showed.

On the road we have Aragorn and the rest of his companions making their way to Gondor. Unlike the movie, Aragorn is ready to take the crown and defend his kingdom. This is the novel where I feel his character truly shows himself. He is strong and kingly. He has a heart for the people and is ready to take on the responsibility and use what he can in the coming battle. He does not flinch upon entering the Path of the Dead, as he has no need to. It is his birthright, the ability to walk along that road with no fear. While they make their way, the rest of the Rohirrim travel to Gondor and when they finally arrive I have to admit that it nearly brought tears to my eyes. The scene where the Rohirrim crest the hill, horns blowing to announce their arrival, it was probably one of the best written scenes in the entire novel.

As a quick note, I loved that Tolkien added in small descriptions of how the cultures and languages differed from each other. I noted this specifically when Pippin is being toured around Minas Tirith and the bell was ringing three hours past sunrise. He commented to himself that in the Shire they call it nine o’clock instead. It’s these small details that make the world come to life.

The End of the Third Age flips to the rest of the fellowship, Sam and Frodo the ring-bearer. We’ve already seen the love and devotion Sam has for his master, but as with all other points of the story, this comes to a head finally. It’s a type of love we do not see in modern novels, or even in society on the whole. Even when they return to the Shire (spoiler!) Sam is torn between marrying Rosie and moving in with Frodo. That’s some deep devotion right there.

If we can talk about character development, perhaps those with the most amount were Merry and Pippin. When they return to a ravaged Shire, they immediately step up. Yes, they were always a bit precocious and head-strong but they had now seen battle. They had faced true evil and defeated it. Again, Tolkien placed the best people for the job into the story. I say that, because he had created the world before the characters, but the characters had already been there.

While I can say that modern epic fantasy is not generally my cup of tea, I thoroughly enjoyed these two “books.” I find it awkward to read this style now, mostly because it’s almost not needed in our current times. Tolkien wrote this coming out of the war, so all of the elements within the story were so relevant. When I read this style now it sounds awkward in their attempt to sound like Tolkien. With that being said, this is a timeless novel that generations from now, in war or in peace, can appreciate. And perhaps while we’re living in this unsettled world we can remember Gandalf’s words of wisdom:

“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields hat we know so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Guest post by Andrew Joyce for "Bedtime Stories for Grown-ups"

Hello, my name is Andrew Joyce and I’m here today to try to sell a few books.

I have a new book out entitled Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups. It is a collection of short stories I’ve written over the years. Inside Bedtime Stories you’ll find tales of fiction and nonfiction. There are all sorts of genres within its pages, from westerns to detective stories to love stories and just about anything else that you can imagine. One of my stories—included in the book—was granted the honor of being included in a print anthology entitled The Best of 2011. Some of the stories are dark and some are lighthearted, but I hope you’ll find them all captivating.
There’s a whole lotta material in the volume—700 pages; enough to make sure you get your money’s worth … and enough to keep you reading for the foreseeable future.
Anyway, here’s one of the shorter stories from the book.

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups by [Joyce, Andrew]

Good-Bye Miami

For the first time in my life, I’m in love. And I think she feels the same about me. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we may have to break up … sort of. Shit happens. Allow me to explain.
Her name is Jill; we met early on a Sunday morning. I was jogging along the beach at the water’s edge one minute, and the next I was splayed out in the sand. I had tripped over a woman’s recumbent body.
After the requisite apologies, we started talking. One thing led to another and we ended up having lunch together. That was eight months ago and we’ve barely been out of each other’s sight since.
Today is another Sunday much like the one when Jill and I met, but things are a little different now.
I’m an FBI agent assigned to the Miami Field Office. I was awakened at five o’clock this morning by an urgent phone call to report in immediately. There was a terrorist threat. Hell, this was the granddaddy of all threats. At 4:00 a.m., a local television station received a call stating that there was a nuclear bomb planted within the city, and at exactly 4:00 p.m., it would be detonated unless certain demands were met. The caller said there was a package sitting in the parking lot of the North Miami office of the FBI that would authenticate the threat.
It turned out to be a small nuclear bomb, which is also known as a suitcase bomb. An attached note informed us it was exactly like the one planted in downtown Miami. It also stated that if there was any effort to evacuate the populace, the bomb would definitely go off the instant word hit the media.
Every law enforcement officer—city, state, and federal—was called in. We were given gadgets that register radiation, and all personnel were assigned grids. Each person would drive his or her grid. If the meter went off, a team would be dispatched with equipment to pinpoint the emanations. Then the eggheads would dismantle the bomb.
That was the plan.
We were ordered to tell no one of the threat, but there were many surreptitious phone calls made that morning, telling family members to drive to West Palm Beach for the day. I made my own call, telling Jill that I had planned a romantic day for the two of us and asked if she would meet me in Boca Raton. I gave her the name of the hotel where I had made a reservation before calling her, and said I’d be there in the early afternoon. She readily agreed, and now I know that she is safe.
So here it is nearing four o’clock and we’ll soon see if it was a hoax or not. The clock on the dashboard reads 3:59 … 4:00 … 4:01 ... 4:02. Nothing! I’ll be damned, the whole thing was a ...

You can purchase "Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups" here. To learn more about author Andrew Joyce, you can see his website here.