Author Interview – J. Elizabeth Vincent

Joining me around the campfire today is fantasy author J. Elizabeth Vincent.


  • Hi J tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

I’ve enjoyed writing since I can remember. The great way a book can provide you with entertainment, escape, and education (sometimes all at once!) is plenty of inspiration for me. I love making up new, idealistic (and not so idealistic) characters and new worlds and learning stuff as I do it.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

The fact that literally anything can happen and that, as the author, I get to decide the rules of my own worlds.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

I’m currently writing Rise of the Ceo San, the third book in my Legends of the Ceo San series. It should be coming out early next year at this rate. It’s been fun but also challenging because the deeper you get into a series, the more details and subplots there are to keep track of. Plus, there is always that part of me that wants to try something new … like, all the time. So, staying focused can be a challenge as well.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I like to write characters that feel real, that have genuine everyday kinds of problems in addition to the big story problems. They need to be different, just like real people are, so some are generally somber, some are funny, some are snarky, and they all have a mix of moods.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Write what you love, even if that changes. That will provide you with the best motivation to keep going, even when things get tough.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

Um … I’m not hard and fast with writing deadlines, and it’s probably because I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire with work, writing, and family. Sometimes, when it seems like I am having trouble getting the writing in, I will get up early (say 5 or 5:30) and work on writing first. That way, I’ve accomplished something early in the day before I can procrastinate myself out of doing it at all.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

Both. I have little patience for plotting, as much as I think it’s a good idea, so I plot until I can’t take it anymore and then start writing.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

Legends of the Ceo San is planned to be four books long, so I need to finish the third book and write the fourth. Outside of that, I am currently plotting a new book (fantasy romance or romantic fantasy) with a challenge another author friend is doing (Write a Romance in 30 Days). Even if I don’t publish it, I think it will be fun and a great learning experience.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I’ve always preferred the stories where good triumphs or the hero/heroine gets what they want. I don’t mind darkness in stories, but not to the point that I can no longer sympathize with the main character(s). The great thing about the triumph stories is knowing that no matter how dark or difficult it gets, your main character is going to come through. Much better than real life.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

They’re all excellent series, but as a writer, I’ve got to go with Lord of the Rings. The sheer complexity alone left me staggering at the end, saying to myself, “How can this world not be real?” Tolkien obviously didn’t have my tendency to want to jump around between projects. He took the time to build Middle Earth in grand detail. Not a lot of authors do that.

Website: https://jelizabethvincent.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JElizabethVincent/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/j.elizabeth.vincent/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Fiction_Editor


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, oh and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Author Interviews – Scott Kimak

Joining me today is history teacher, Kung Fu master and fantasy author Scott Kimak!


  • Hi Scott tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

Hi, my name is Scott Kimak and I’m a history teacher and Kung Fu master. I came up with the story “I call him HIM” when I was a teenager but failed miserably to put pen to paper. It took me nearly forty years to make a second attempt. This time the words flowed unrestrained. I live in Harlingen Texas with the love of my life Diana, our four children, and our four annoying dogs.

As a child I was fascinated with the amazing stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs. There was a forest next to my house that I would wander into and pretend that I was Tarzan. There weren’t any other kids my age in the neighborhood, so I had to use my imagination quite a bit. Eventually, I started creating my own obstacles for Tarzan to overcome and my writing career had begun.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

That there are no limits. Whatever worlds, creatures, languages, or cultures you can imagine can be found in the pages of a great writer.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

I’m finishing up the “I call him HIM” trilogy. The first book has already been released and the second book is also finished and available for preorder. Here’s the blurb from book one…

In a post-apocalyptic world, a warrior and his family are driven underground, fighting for their very survival. 

When they do emerge, the futuristic planet they discover is very different from the one they left behind. Ruled by an evil presence which dominates and controls what is left of mankind, Earth has been reduced to a violent place of darkness, grief and destruction.

I call him HIM follows the journey of this unnamed warrior as he loses both his family and his mind. As he hits rock bottom, all he can think of is his insatiable yearning for revenge until he meets a young girl called Angelica who shows him the true power of faith. Her youth, innocence and strength of character reminds him of everything he has lost and the things which really matter.

But as the armies of the world rise up for the ultimate battle of good versus evil, can Angelica help him regain his sanity and rediscover himself before it is too late?

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I like my characters to be flawed and vulnerable, but also someone who can really kick some ass. “HIM” is really based on me. I tried to imagine what would happen to myself is someone murdered my family. How would that impact me?

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Learn about marketing your book and build up a following before you publish.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

I don’t use any tricks and I’m not worried about deadlines. I waited forty years to write these books, so it doesn’t matter how long it takes. The important thing is the quality of the story.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I guess I’m a little bit of both. I have the main idea planned out, but as I start writing something weird happens. I become the characters and they dictate where the story is going. I truly feel their emotions, and this can lead me in all kinds of different directions.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I have a ton of ideas. When the trilogy is finished, I want to do a prequel of stories. I would also like to take some of the side characters and branch off into solo novels with them.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I’ve played a Paladin for the last forty years in my weekly D&D game with my kids, so I’m definitely taking the side of good. But my character “HIM” is very controversial and without some help, he could easily slip into darkness.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Honestly, I never got into Harry Potter. I love Star Wars but LOTR was one of the first books I read, so I’m going to have to go with that one.

Follow Scott via –

https://twitter.com/ScottKimak

https://www.instagram.com/scottkimak/

https://www.facebook.com/scott.kimak/

Links for “I call him HIM”

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-call-him-him-scott-kimak/1137473710?ean=9781663548320

https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1540316466

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9781005847623

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1050311

 Part two of the trilogy is available for preorder but won’t officially launch until 5/6/21.


January 2021 Update

It’s finally over, the year that felt like it would never end! I hope you all had a great holiday season and ate and drank your fill. 

2020 was a crazy year for all of us and I’m sure 2021 will be rough for many and just as mad, but there is hope on the horizon that one day life will return to normal thanks to the vaccines. (I hate all this talk of a new normal) I for one don’t want to have to wear masks forever and never be free to go to the pub with my mates again. 

Last year may have been tough but I am proud to say that I managed to get book 4 in my Sundered Crown Saga written and released. I hope those of you who have picked up a copy are enjoying it (please leave reviews!).

Anyway, enough of 2020 (boo, hiss), 2021 will be another busy year for me in terms of writing. So far I have achieved my goal of releasing 1 new book a year and in 2021 that will be the sequel to my historical fiction novel Unconquered: Blood of Kings. Book 2 covers the aftermath of the bloody Battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings and will see Osfrid become a rebel fighting to liberate his homeland. 

Other things I’ll be working on are –

  • Book 5 in the Sundered Crown Saga (Aiming for a 2021 release)
  • Book 3 in the Empowered Ones series (Aiming for a 2022 release)
  • Book 2 in the Unconquered Series (Aiming for a 2021 release)
  • A rewrite and relaunch of Terran Defenders: Genesis 
  • Planning for 2 new fantasy novels and a new sci-fi series

Also, I’ve set the Sundered Crown prequel novel The NightBlade to just 0.99p/c on Amazon and have now released it on other retailers. I’ve also republished my Terran Defender stories on wider retailers and Amazon. 

Both are now available on Kindle and other retailers. TDG Amazon – mybook.to/TDG2TDG other retailers – https://books2read.com/u/bzaVyGTDR Amazon – mybook.to/TDRBTDR other retailers – https://books2read.com/u/4EyG9e

Phew! 2021 promises to be another busy year. I hope it will be a great one for all of you as well. 


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, oh and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Author Interview: C.T Phipps

Welcome back to the campfire. Pull up a seat and warm yourself against the cold, dark winter. Today I’m joined by prolific American author C.T Phipps.


  • Hi, C.T. Phipps, tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

Hi, back! I am 39 years old and from Ashland, Ky. I’ve been writing since I was a child but eventually I got decent around college. I’ve always wanted to tell stories and whether it was table top gaming or fanfic, I was always honing my craft. I eventually decided to write two separate series: The United States of Monsters and The Supervillainy Saga.

The United States of Monsters is now composed of multiple trilogies (Bright Falls Mysteries, Morgan Detective Agency, Red Room Saga, Straight Outta Fangton, and Psycho Killers in Love). It’s set in an urban fantasy universe where the supernatural came out in 2008 and deals with various heroes trying to make the adjustment.

The Supervillainy Saga is a six book (so far) series about a self-styled supervillain named Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillain without MercyTM. It’s a comedic series with a serious core about a guy who wants to be the bad guy but isn’t quite evil enough to pull it off. It’s an homage to all the wonderful comic book media I’ve consumed over my life and utterly zany.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

I believe what I like most about the fantasy genre is the fact that it is limited only by your imagination. I just don’t feel the same connection to historical or “realistic” settings and I feel like fiction allows you to test the limits of reality far better than something that must stay within the boundaries of the plausible. Despite this, I admit I am fonder of urban fantasy than I am high fantasy or grimdark (low fantasy). Heck, even science fiction, though I have dabbled in that genre too.

One of the reasons I decided to do a superhero universe was because almost anything can happen in them. The Supervillainy Saga was based on the idea of setting it in a world with magic, super-science, gods, demons, wizards, aliens, and more. It’s the ultimate genre mash-up and I feel like you only get to really enjoy a superhero universe if you completely go gonzo with it.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

My most recently released work is PSYCHO-KILLERS IN LOVE for the United States of Monsters universe. It’s set in 2000 before the 2008 reveal and is a story that homages 80s slasher movies as well as the 90s reinterpretations of them like Scream and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

William and his sister Carrie are the children of an infamous holiday-themed slasher, Billy the Undying. After a Final Girl took Billy down, they were imprisoned for years in an asylum for their father’s crimes. Escaping, they’ve tried to stay one step ahead of the authorities while dealing with their father’s ghost as well as rising supernatural urge to kill. Arriving in a haunted small town with a mysterious cult, they discover a slasher hunter named Nancy that has her eyes set on wiping their kind out. However, William has eyes for her and hopes they can cross all lines of good sense to be together. Can the family that slays together, stay together?

I’m currently working on The Horror of Supervillainy, which is the 7th book in the Supervillainy Saga. I’ve had a real blast writing these and I’m very glad that my fans have continued to follow me through these. This volume has Gary struggling with his recent attempt to go straight and getting lured into a haunted swamp to rescue the President’s daughter from Dracula. It turns out to be a trap and he’s soon confronted with an entire host of past sins coming back to bite him.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I confess, I absolutely love snarky and sarcastic pop-culture spewing protagonists. A lot of my characters follow the Buffy, Harry Dresden, Iron Man, Mercy Thompson, and Spider-Man mold. Gary is certainly in that vein and I absolutely love how he reacts as a bundle of weird comic energy through your typical superhero universe. Mostly because if the reader is entertained every second of reading a page then they’ve more than gotten their money’s worth. As for how much of myself I put into books? Well, every one of my characters has a part of me in them. I hope I’m not a budding supervillain or serial killer (of killers), though.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Patience. A lot of authors think that they’re going to be an immediate success if they release their book as quickly as possible. They don’t realize they’re going to be part of an ocean of millions. As such, they need to adjust their expectations and build a strong social media presence as well as a following. Completing a book is already an enormous task and that also will require massive amounts of editing, beta-reading, and revising. Basically, this is a marathon not a sprint.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

I like to immerse myself in the genre of the work I’m writing. If I’m going to be writing the Supervillainy Saga, for instance, I want to immerse myself in comic books and superhero movies in order to make sure that’s where my mind is presently at. Stephen King said that writing was like milk in the fridge, “It tastes like whatever it is left against.” Aside from questioning what exactly is in King’s fridge, it inspired me to keep that in mind.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I go for a hybrid. I love to plot out a basic idea of where I want things to go. However, I love letting the characters decide how to get there. Plenty of times I’ve decided to handle things going one way, only for my characters to completely change where I was going to go next.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I’m currently planning on continuing to finish off my existing trilogies and works before moving onto new projects. I got a little big for my britches by starting a half-dozen series at the start of my career before focusing on one at the start. Still, this worked out for me as the Supervillainy Saga proved to be the most successful one by far. I have plans for twelve books in that story and that should keep me occupied for some time.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I’m a definite fan of antiheroes. People who have their own selfish motivations that may triumph over their better natures but who still have limits they won’t cross.

  1. What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Star Wars remains my universe from beginning to end. I grew up on the movies, loved the Expanded Universe in high school to college, and still manage to pick up the occasional canon work.

Facebook Fan Club: https://twitter.com/Willowhugger

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Willowhugger

Author Page: https://ctphipps.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13434447.C_T_Phipps


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, oh and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Voyage for the Sundered Crown is out NOW!

Brace the Mainsail and prepare for adventure – Voyage for the Sundered Crown is out now!

I’m delighted to announce that Book 4 in the Sundered Crown Saga is out now! It’s been a few years since I last dived into this world and continued Luxon, Ferran and Sophia’s story. I hope you enjoy it and please post a review!

Get it for just 0.99p/c for a limited time only. As well as that Book 1 Heir to the Sundered Crown is also on sale for 0.99p/c so now is the perfect time to dive into the saga.

—The Kingdom of Delfinnia has fallen, but hope remains.
Sent on a daring voyage to seek out allies from across the sea the wizard, Luxon Edioz and his companions rediscover the continent of Tulin. A land that is full of dangers, magic, and adventure.

There, they will find new allies, new wonders, and new enemies. 

As Danon’s conquest draws closer to completion, Luxon must use all of his wits and powers to unite the peoples of Tulin and convince them to help him save his homeland.
It will be a voyage that will test him to his limits and one that will decide the fate of all.

Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Cyberpunk 2077 Review (Xbox One version)- Cyberbug more like

You were the chosen one CDPR

You might have seen the headlines in the gaming press about the response to Cyberpunk 2077’s launch, how CD Project Red (the creators of in my opinion the best game of the previous generation in the form of the Witcher 3) basically lied to consumers over the state of the game on Xbox One and Playstation 4. Well, I am sad to say that all of the outrage is well placed.

The fact that CDPR refused to allow reviewers to show footage of the game recorded by themselves and how not one reviewer could review the console versions, alarm bells should have been ringing.

The shitty practices by CDPR regarding the launch have now placed them in the same categories of loathed companies such as EA and Activision. After all their talk of hailing themselves as the consumers champion they turned out to be nothing but frauds.

Now, that is not to say they cannot turn this reputation around, but sadly the damage has been done, and quite frankly, they deserve everything they get.

Cyberpunk? More like Cyberbugged

So, let us get into the game. The saddest thing is that there is clearly a good plot to the game. The characters are interesting, and it sets the tone up well for an action techno thriller, but unfortunately that is about the only good thing I can say about it.

What kills the game is the bugs. Some are hilarious, some are downright disturbing and the rest, well, this game should never have been allowed to be sold in its current state. Even with the latest patch the game crashes constantly and the immersion is ruined by glitches and bugs.

At one point I had to restart the entire thing due to a bug where I was unable to use any weapons. Not something you want in a game that often sees you forced into combat situations.

Check out this video for just some of the worst bugs that have been recorded. Personally, I’ve experienced a variation of all of them.

I’ve experienced all of these!

It’s all smoke and mirrors

The bugs are terrible and the performance on the Xbox One is laughable. When you compare it to games like Red Dead Redemption or GTA5, Cyberpunk 2077 is awful in comparison. I’ve seen the argument that players on the older consoles deserve these issues due to them not upgrading to the next gen or investing in a PC, to them I say, ‘No idiots. This game was advertised as a game for the Xbox One and PS4. Therefore it should run on them to an acceptable standard.’

I also have issue with how this game was marketed. In the ads and trailers it was portrayed that the player could live another life in Night City and yet when you actually get into the game the world is lifeless and dead.

There are hardly any pedestrians on the streets of what is supposed to be a mega city. The roads are devoid of traffic and as for other activities outside of the main story and boring mercenary jobs there is nothing to do.

The driving is terrible, you cannot customise anything save your character right at the start of the game, you cannot customise cars as was hinted at, you cannot engage in side activities or even interact much with the world around you.

Older games have achieved the living world vibe far better than this one. Heck even the world of the Fallout games feels like a bustling living breathing worlds in comparison and they are set in a literal apocalypse.

The shooting and combat is average at best and while the guns sound great the actual fighting is often janky with terrible frame rates. The enemy A.I is virtually non-existent, and I have lost count of the number of times I’ve seen enemies fall through the floor or just T-pose while I shoot them. Also, the decision to make enemies into bullet sponges is an odd choice and a mechanic that I have always hated in video games.

Hugely disappointing

Unless CDPR give Cyberpunk 2077 a massive overhaul that fixes the bugs, improves performance, and breathes some actual life into the game world I’m afraid to say it just isn’t worth playing at the moment.

It’s a videogame that tries it’s hand at many things and fails at all of them. It cannot compete with older games like Deus Ex for combat and stealth, it cannot compete with GTA when it comes to creating urban settings and it fails as an immersive Role Playing Game.

In short, Cyberpunk 2077 is a massive disappointment and a depressing end to an already shitty year.

If only this was true…

Final Verdict: 4/10

Author Interview – A.A Warne

Joining me around the campfire today and coming all the way from Australia is indie fantasy author Amanda Warne.


  • Hi Amanda, tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

Hello Matthew. Thank you so much for having me. I’m an Australian writer living in the western part of Sydney. I’ve been writing just on ten years now and publishing for two. When I’m not writing, I’m wrestling three kids, two naughty dogs and exploring the Blue Mountains in search of inspiration. I started writing after the birth of my first daughter when I could no longer practice the messy art of pottery and any creator will tell you, an artist must be creative. So I turned to books and literature and by the time I finished reading the first book, I had a pen in my hand drafting a story. Ten years later and my head is full of stories demanding to get out.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

Fantasy has no boundaries. Anything is possible and even though an idea or concept might not be present in our real life, it gives us the possibility of being real somewhere in the universe and I love that.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

The Reluctant Wizard was released early September and was a challenge for me because not only was I writing something now accessible for children, but I also placed an expectation on myself to write shorter stories. Ironically, it’s my largest book to date. So I’ve thrown out that belief that I can write shorter books and just allowed the story to do what it needs to.

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

I don’t think of them as characters but rather real life people. I learn something about them but I know that isn’t a limitation or even a snapshot of who they really are. Instead, we cannot know a person fully, even ourselves. That’s why we surprise ourselves, shock even and I love exploring the depths of personality, what makes someone tick or react a certain way. It’s fascinating watching that in real life, when someone tries to mask their feelings or even the truth, but for a character, we can explore exactly why they do that.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

There is SO much knowledge out there. Everyone is an expert in something – opinions mostly. For me, I wanted to be a jack of all trades, master of writing. But all the writing advice went over my head. So I focused on researching topics that fascinated me while I practiced the writing as a craft or even art practice. Direct feedback from editors you respect is a must and that’s when your writing will evolve. Until then, enjoy it. Love it! Stories are magical and without the magic then the reader would love it.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

Pay the children to do cleaning – it’s cheaper than hiring a cleaner. Turn the phone off – you don’t have to answer every call. Social media isn’t real – deadlines are. We don’t have to be the perfect person and that’s totally unreal expectation of today’s society. Find your happiness, throw out the noise and then you’ll notice that deadlines are fun and exciting because it gives you a date that the story will head out of your hands and into the world.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I’m both. I let the stories and characters determine everything. That is, the writing, tone, even how it’s structured. Once I have enough swarming in my head that it must go down onto paper, I write it out. In that mindset, I believe I’m writing the book cover to cover but in actual fact, it’s a summary. After a month or two, I come back and write it out properly. So that summary is full of telling and about 50 pages all up, but the re-write is all showing and can turn into 500 pages.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I have been researching my mega-series for the last five years. It’s a life-long series that I will publish either 2022 or 2023. I don’t want to put it out into the world until I’m 100% ready to do so. My head is full of stories but this one is beyond epic. It’s so large that I will be writing it until I’m in my 90s. Until then, that’s all I can say. However, there will be more of The Reluctant Wizard and my editor messages me so often I think she forgets her other clients. She’s super excited to see the next part and I’m writing away nicely, preparing for all those twists to keep her on the edge of her seat.

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

I love all stories so it’s hard to chose, but if I had to, I love a faulted hero, and heroic failure, I’m not a fan of labelling anyone good or evil because there isn’t such a thing, and I love dark stories that has light, light stories that doesn’t shy away from the dark. While the world is going through this stage, I want to be reminded how important humanity as a whole is. We are all on this ride together and our local community is who we hold hands with and walk beside however, we’ve been given this gift of global insight, so we can communicate, connect and understand each other as a whole. I want to see  more of that. Community rather than individuality. Whole instead of single. Love instead hate.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Star wars! I love Lord of the Rings and I’ve only see the first Harry Potter movie (I know, shock horror!) but there is something truly amazing with Star Wars. It’s a story that covers the universe and beyond. One scene that truly captured me was when Queen Amidala is sitting in a room discussing politics. The seating backs onto windows where we can see just enough of that planet’s life – flying transport, wild colourful outfits, etc. and they’re all there sitting and talking about politics. That doesn’t interest me. I want to know what food they’re eating, what types of work the people do, what does a day look like to them? There are only so many political stories that can be told, but the story of a regular person, a peasant, a person who falls between the gaps – that’s an interesting story because they can get to any part of society. I don’t want to know what a queen does or doesn’t do – she only has one role to play, but a person who has no label or position and yet has a strong drive to achieve something, is amazing to follow in a story. Those are the characters that I want to explore in my stories.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAWarne

Instagram: www.instagram.com/AAWarne

Twitter: www.twitter.com/AAWarne

Website: www.aawarne.com


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, oh and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Author Interview – D. William Landsborough

Joining me around the campfire today is indie fantasy author D. William Landsborough. Take a seat by the fire and settle in.


  • Hi Doug tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

Hi Matthew! My name is Doug, better known as D. William Landsborough, and I’m a dark fantasy author. My debut novel, Archangel, came out in February of 2019 and its sequel, Revelations, is coming out in December of this year. Both books are part of the Shadow’s Advent series.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

I think there are two things I love most about fantasy. First, I love the ability for fantasy to be anything, for it to be an escape to be anywhere you want. Even when those escapes aren’t great places—my books take place in a post-apocalyptic world run by demons—you can still get lost in them, learn to love characters and witness things that just aren’t possible in the real world.

Second, I love the spectrum that is fantasy. You can get your high fantasy fix with elves and dwarves, but there is a lot more in the genre. In my writing, my dark fantasy takes place ten years from now. So you have angels and demons facing off, but they are doing so in the ruins of cities. Then you have urban fantasy, which takes everything we love about Middle Earth and shoves it into today’s society. They all share elements, but there is so much variety and diversity within the genre that it’s hard to get bored.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

As of writing this, I have just wrapped up the last little bits of Revelations, Book Two of Shadow’s Advent and the sequel to my debut novel, Archangel. It will be releasing on December 10, 2020.

Oh boy, the challenges. Archangel took me four or five years to actually finish. It was a long road of starts and stops, ups and downs. No one knew it existed except for a handful of close friends, and I wasn’t even sure it would ever see the light of day. Then, when I did get it out there, I didn’t just get a positive response, I got fans!

Then I realized that writing a book was difficult, but writing a sequel is much tougher. Not only do I have to get it out in a timely manner, but there was a constant voice in the back of my head asking “What if it sucks? What if I disappoint these people who are supporting me?”

So I tried combating both. Unfortunately, turning my previous 5-year writing process into a 1-year one was challenging. I wasn’t writing as quickly as I wanted to and after a while I realized I wasn’t writing the story I wanted to. I found about halfway in that I hated what some characters had become and where the story went. So I made a tough call: I scrapped it and started again.

Once I did that and took another swing at it, I realized I was on the right track. I realized this was the story I wanted and I’m confident it’s a story my readers will love. So I forged ahead, behind my initial timeline but content.

Then the pandemic hit. That’s not news to anyone, and everyone has been affected in their own way. Beyond the isolation and challenges that have accompanied the pandemic, I actually became much busier. I’m fortunate to have not lost my job, nor did my partner, and I recognize that not everyone was as lucky. However, I work for a charity and she is a teacher; both of us became exponentially busier and more stressed almost overnight. For someone writing in the early hours of the morning, during lunch breaks or at night, sometimes stress from this crisis just pushed Revelations back… which then served to stress me out more!

Now, the pandemic hasn’t gone anywhere, but I was able to consistently work on Revelations and it’s just about ready for release!

  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

Flawed characters are by far my favourite to write. When writing my main character, Uriel, there was a lot of potential for him to have “Superman Syndrome” (at least, that’s what I call it). I find Superman to be incredibly strong, but without flaws or depth. I’m sure there are comics and storylines out there where this isn’t the case, but most mainstream depictions of Superman show him being this bulwark of good who just shows up, punches something and saves everyone.

That’s flat. I like characters who make mistakes, who aren’t perfect. I want my characters to be affected by regret and pain because that makes them relatable. I don’t want them being picture-perfect heroes, nor do I want my villains to be one-dimensional evil-doers. I want them to have their own flaws, to make us root for them sometimes. People are complex and have flaws, so characters should too.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

I have two tips here. First, establish a habit of writing. Archangel took so long because I thought I could only write when it strikes me, when my creativity is at its peak. You have a talent and the only way that book will get written and you’ll grow as a writer is to start writing. Ten, fifteen, thirty minutes a day all adds up.

Second, understand that you and your work will grow and develop. You won’t write it perfectly the first time around, but that’s why we revise our work and why we have editors. While many people have a talent for writing, it’s still a skill. If you practice and make a habit, you will become better!

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

Well, as I admitted before, deadlines are tough for me, especially after taking so long to write my first book. One of the tools I use for my writing now is Dabble. I know a lot of my fellow authors swear by Scrivener, but I’m a Dabble convert. I could go on about it, but one of the best tools is their Goal function.

Essentially, you pick a date you want to be done by, an approximate word count goal and how many days off you want, and it will spit out a number that you should write every day to reach your goal. If you hit that word count, you get a nice congratulations message that is actually pretty encouraging. If you write over or under your goal, your daily goal adjusts for the next day.

Once I combined that tool with an actual habit of writing, I could easily track my progress and stick to my deadlines!

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I was a pantser for Archangel and it took me five years to write, so now I’m a plotter. The pantser lifestyle works for some people, but I need at least a chapter-by-chapter outline to write the story I want. That outline must be flexible so I can adapt as my story develops, and sometimes I have scenes within those chapters heavily outlined if I have a really great or necessary idea, but usually an outline by chapter works for me.

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

There will be four more books in the Shadow’s Advent series, and book three is what’s next for me. I want to get that out within the year, because I feel like I owe that to myself and my readers after taking almost two years between Archangel and Revelations.

At the same time, I’d like to start exploring other book ideas. I am creating an outline for a near-future climate sci-fi, and I have an idea for a horror novel on the backburner that’s giving me the evil eye. There are some other ideas floating in my head, too, but they are mostly just notes in my phone right now.

Ultimately, I want to get to a place in my writing career where I am putting out one Shadow’s Advent book a year and one other book a year!

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

With 2020 in particular, you’d think I want lighter stories, but my writing style is a dark one. Terrible things happen in the stories I write and enjoy, and I often venture into the bleak category. That being said, I write this way because I think it makes the triumphs or just moments of hope that much brighter. We need Thanos to snap his fingers to have that inspirational moment where all the portals open in Endgame, and it’s so much better for it.

  • What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

Honestly, with the latest Star Wars disappointments and J.K. Rowling doing everything she can to make me and many others dislike her, Lord of the Rings is a clear winner. Beyond the negatives of the other two, LotR is such an incredible example of world building and it holds a very special place in my heart.

Follow Doug at –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dwilliamlandsborough/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dwlandsborough/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiAPkfJ40u-RA9YijVfdSLQ Website: https://www.dlandsborough.com/


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, oh and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.

Author Interview – Simon Kewin

Joining me around the campfire on this freezing cold winter’s day is science fiction author Simon Kewin.


  • Hi Simon tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to write?

I’m one of those people who always wanted to be a writer. I make most of my living as a software developer, and I do enjoy that, but creating fiction and fictional worlds was always what I wanted to do. I’ve been writing short fiction and novels for around twenty years now.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

I think there’s something profoundly important about literature that allows a complete escape from the real world. It’s noticeable, and a little sad, how many people leave behind a love of fantasy literature as they grow up. I’m with Neil Gaiman on this: “growing up is highly overrated”.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together?

I recently completed a science fiction trilogy, and felt the need to write something completely different. I came up with the idea for an urban fantasy series set in the UK and based around The Office of the Witchfinder General – a shadowy branch of the UK government responsible for “protecting the people from the unnatural”. They’re sort of magical detective stories. The first of these – The Eye Collectors – was just published by Elsewhen Press

The Eye Collectors

  • The ebook version published September 4th paperback version came out November 16th
  • What type of characters do you like to write the most and how much of yourself do you put into them?

It’s always fun to write characters outside of your own experience: the imagination needed for that is very liberating. For instance, there’s a character in my recent sci/fi trilogy who is essentially a planet, with a very different perspective on space and time to creatures like us. Writing that was a lot of fun.

I’m sure, however much I try, that there’s always going to be something of me in every character I create. I guess that’s the case for all writers.

  • For any wannabe writers out there what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?

Write the next thing. In the early days I used to write one thing, then stop while I tried to find a publisher or an agent. Not only can that be soul-destroying, it also means you’ve lost your momentum. Keep writing. Get excited about the next project.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?

I set myself a daily word count target and stick to it. It can be hard to sit down and get into that flow, so what I often do is go back and revise what I wrote yesterday first as a way of getting into the zone. I also try to think about what I want to write next when I’m not at my desk, so that when I do sit down, the words are just there in my head.

I also like to have a few things on the go at any one time – if I tell myself I need to work on story A, something in my brain immediately starts working on story B. I try to let it do it.

  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I’m a pantser who tries to plot but finds it a bit boring, to be honest. It’s good to have a structure, maybe an end point to reach, but I find that if I lay things out in great detail, the actual writing becomes a bit of a chore. I like to discover as I go. It can be dangerous if the text wanders off in an unexpected direction…

  • What plans do you have for the future? A new series or perhaps a dip into other genres?

I have three or four things to work on. I want to write several more (possibly four more) books in my Witchfinder series, but I’ve also written the opening ten thousand words or so of two or three other possible novels, all science fiction or fantasy. At some point I’d also like to write a more realist novel – but then I’d also like to create an epic fantasy trilogy…

  • With the world the way it is at the moment what sort of tales do you prefer? Ones with heroes where good triumphs over evil or ones that take a darker approach?

A bit of both, I’d say. Ultimately I’m an optimist and so believe in the triumph of good. It can be hard to stick to that belief some days…

  1. What’s better, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Star Wars?

I love them all, obviously, but Lord of the Rings.

Twitter – @SimonKewin

FB – https://www.facebook.com/SimonKewin.Author

The Eye Collectors print version is coming out November 16th

The box set of my sci fi series (The Triple Stars) is released December 11th


Follow me on Facebook,  and Instagram, oh and please subscribe to my mailing list for the latest news and book deals.