Author Interview – Thomas K Davis

It’s been a while since my last author interview but I’m glad to say they’re back thanks to a huge increase in the number of authors wanting to take part. In today’s author interview I speak with Science Fiction writer Thomas K Davis.


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

Hey, I’m Thomas K Davis, author of the Versatile Layer book saga. I’ve always been a huge Sci-Fi fan. I loved shows like Farscape, Battlestar Galactica, and films like Blade Runner 2049 and Valerian- City of a Thousand Planets. Media like this has influenced my own work. I write fiction that has meaning but knows when to not take itself too seriously.

Versatile Layer is a 9-part Epic Space Opera. The best way to describe Versatile Layer would be Romeo & Juliet meets Star Wars. Our two main characters meet completely by chance and fall for each other. They’re separated again by a tragedy that leads to a war between their two peoples. Their quests to reunite gets wild. There’s Exo-suits, Elite soldiers, Robots, Alien Amazonian warriors, jet packs, assassins, a war raging in the stars, gangsters, heck there’s even a cowboy. The setting and battles are epic but the heart of the story is personal and character driven.

Each book is self-contained with treads that weave into future instalments. Kinda like Marvel movies. In fact, the average read time for my books is about 2 hours. They’re fast paced. I’ve been told that reading my work is like have a movie play out in your head. And that was my intent when I sat down to write them.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

You can really just let your imagination run wild. You’re creating this world with a set of rules. What are the rules to your universe? Are they loose and cartoonish?  Are they realistic? Meaning, if a character falls 30ft onto the hard ground, do they just walk it off? Or are they seriously injured, like in real life. Are your characters swashbuckling like Jack Sparrow with little care for the laws of physics or their own safety. Or are they in a stand-off carefully considering their strike because one miscalculation means certain death?

Answering these questions and establishing these rules is what I love about writing.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together? (include release date etc here)

I just released the 8th book in the Versatile Layer Saga: THE BLOODLESS REVOLUTION. It’s the final battle for planet Samael. The exiled princess, Adeola M’falme, has gathered her freedom fighters and is ready to remove her cruel brother from the throne. But his forces, led by the ruthless Master Mega, have other plans. Will Adeola be able to liberate her world without sparking a full-scale civil war? It was released on Jan. 26, 2021 and can be found at the following link. http://versatile-layer.com/books

There were a lot of moving pieces and characters to manage in this chapter and I’m very proud of the end result. The cast really expanded over the last few books and I had to tie all of their stories together for this major event. I feel like every character has a satisfying arc and contributes to the resolution in a significant way. There’s still one more book to go with another cast of characters and that’s going to be the final conclusion to the series.

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

I write a lot of tough female characters. Since the aliens in my story are basically Amazons from space, it makes sense.

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

Every once in a while, let a character do a thing that doesn’t affect the overall story. In life people express themselves in ways that don’t matter at times. In ways that only matter to them. If you know your character, then when they’re random, you’ll know why they did that random thing and the audience will accept it because you as the writer put it in with confidence and purpose.

  • What writing tricks do you utilise to hit your deadlines and keep your stories on track?
  • Are you a plotter or a pantser (make it up as you go)?

I have a clear goal and a conclusion I’m trying to reach. I always know the beginning and the end of a story. So, I write those out asap. I don’t outline at all. I’ll be going about my day and scenes will start to play out in my head. That’s chapter 9, that’s chapter 5. If you have a clear vision of where you’re going, you don’t need a map.

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

I’m editing the final instalment of the Versatile Layer series. After that, I’m planning to jump genres. I’m planning to write a dark comedy about vampires. I have the title and some of the characters. I just have to nail down the events, plot, and theme.

  • 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 can go either way. Currently, I’ve been deep into Attack on Titan which is a seriously dark story. Thought provoking, violent, hopeless at times. You don’t even have a clear idea of who the villain is because most of the cast is so morally compromised.

But on the flipside, I’ve also been enjoying My Hero Academia (I know, anime.) which is a very hopeful series. It’s full of triumph over challenges and incredible moments of perseverance.

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

L Before “The Rise of Skywalker” I would have definitely said Star Wars. But after that film, ugh. So much potential squandered. Cringe worthy levels of fan service that hinder the story. (takes a deep breath.) Anyway, I haven’t seen or read any of the Harry Potter series. So, “Lord of the Rings” wins out.

Follow Thomas via –

Website: http://versatile-layer.com/books  

FB Page: http://facebook.com/versatilelayer

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UmojiLegend

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/188090.Thomas_Davis


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Author Interview – PD Alleva

Joining me today is science fiction and horror author PD Alleva.


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

I write primarily in the science fiction and horror genres, always mixing in a bit of fantasy, supernatural, metaphysical, thrills and chills into something I like to call alternative fiction. Honestly, the word multi-genre sounds like you’ve got marbles in your mouth so, being a child of the 90’s I prefer the term alternative fiction. I’m also a semi-retired hypnotist and behavioural therapist with a specialty treating trauma and addiction.

I’ve always been a writer. I wrote my first full-length novel in sixth grade and used to write fan fiction as far back as the memory will allow. Just the simple thought of creating a book is inspiration enough to put pen to paper and write a novel. I believe literature marks the time and I’m happy to contribute a voice to the literary community.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

The ability to stretch the limits of the imagination. We can go anywhere we choose, do whatever we want. Build cathedrals in one chapter and burn them down in the next. Spiral across time or duel with a dragon or spiral across time while duelling with a dragon. I could go on and on.

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

The Rose Vol. 1 has been a two-year long project that started as a short story, a prelude to a trilogy I was writing at the time titled The Indigo Trials. I was writing the short story with the purpose to introduce the superpower in the series, a superpower called ‘the rose,’ which is based on an alchemy meditation practice, although I amped up the superpower to include the ability to transform chemical structures, suspend gravity, and move objects with a thought. However, as I was writing (and having a great deal of fun doing so) it became apparent the story and the characters wanted more and refused to be put in a box as a simple short story.

The story begins after a World War 3 treaty has been signed and follows an unsuspecting American citizen, Sandy Cox, who has been living in a WW3 safety camp for the past few years. At this point in the story human beings are still unaware that aliens exist here on earth, and they are definitely unaware that their own government has conspired with these alien’s in an effort to turn the human population into easily controlled zombies in a diabolical plot to achieve planetary and interstellar domination. Sandy is one of the naïve until she is taken to an underground medical complex and discovers the existence of grey aliens and, even more sinister, a sophisticated species of what I refer to as Dracs, or, the alien vampires.

I had some very specific challenges when writing the book. First, I am a vampire fan, always have been, and introducing a new take on vampires was highly challenging. Not only did I need to satisfy fellow vampire lovers, I had to break open and pen an entirely different although familiar lore behind the Dracs. In addition to this challenge was the alien lore, theories, and conspiracies that I wanted to include in the story, most specifically the lore and mythology behind the Dracs and greys. Any ancient alien theorist will be able to pick up on the multiple theories presented in the story including concepts such as the 12th planet, hollow earth, and Robert Morningstar papers. So, the challenge was two fold, satisfy the vampire and alien lovers while remaining loyal to genre, mythology, and lore, and I tackled this challenge by presenting the dystopian science fiction story through the eyes of the casual observer discovering all the chaos and mayhem that exists behind the scenes. So, just as the unsuspecting heroine Sandy Cox is discovering all these alien vampires the reader is discovering them with her. I hope the end product is not only satisfactory on the intellectual and creative level, but also on the ‘just plain old fun,’ level.

The Rose Vol. 1 was published on October 7th and is currently available worldwide at all major retail stores.

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

I enjoy writing villains. There’s just something extraordinary about piecing together an iconic villain, delving into the dark mind and hearts of the truly depraved, insane, and chaotic. Yeah, I like my villains.

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

Write a good book. Great editing is a must and don’t forget that great stories are a collaboration so find an editor that challenges your writing style and remember its nothing personal, its just business. Write to market, and find what works best for you for marketing.

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

I rarely work under a deadline, as I don’t agree with pushing the creative process, usually things get lost in the shuffle and when you’re writing stories that require so much detail, lore, and backstory across multiple point of view I just need it to flow the right way and not concern myself with deadlines. Case in point is the horror thriller I’m currently writing, Jigglyspot and the Zero Intellect, which I’ve been writing for the past seven months and it’s close to 140,000 words that was originally going to be a novella (guess Jigglyspot refused to be a short blip on my radar). When I’m knee deep in a project it takes up my full attention, thankfully I’m not on any deadlines. I enjoy going with the flow and putting out a stellar product over meeting deadlines.

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

Pantser mostly, although I do send myself little emails with thoughts on plot changes and character development.

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

I also write horror novels. I have a horror and dark fiction series titled Beyond the Chamber Door. The first two books are already published (Twisted Tales of Deceit, and Presenting the Marriage of Kelli Anne & Gerri Denemer), with two more in the pipeline (Golem and Jigglyspot and the Zero Intellect). I’m also about to start writing Vol. 2 for The Rose followed by completing the next part of The Rose series (The Indigo Trials trilogy). From there, two more horror novels followed by the third connected series in The Rose, an apocalyptic time travel series titled Winter.

  • 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 darker approach as always. Every novel I’ve written has dark elements to it, kind of the yin and yang of the universe all wrapped into a neat little package. Plus there’s the whole reality that more often than not bad people win more often, I like to reflect this reality because its not always rainbows and sunshine that life has to throw at us.

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

The original Star Wars, anything after that is up for debate.

Author Links:

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/pdalleva

Website:  www.pdalleva.com

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Author Interview – Chris Lodwig

Today I’m joined at the campfire by sci-fi author Chris Lodwig.

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

Well, I live in Seattle with my wife, daughter, and a pile of pets.

I have spent the last twenty-three years working for technology companies around Seattle. I coach soccer and fly fish in my spare time—when I’m not writing, of course.

I have degrees in both Comparative History of Ideas and Communications from the University of Washington in the United States.

As far as what inspires me to write, I love it when I have an image, or situation, or idea in my mind that I want to explain, and I have to struggle at it. I might try twenty different ways to get at the idea, and then, when I get it right, I go, “ah, that’s what I wanted to say.” I get this little shot of dopamine or oxytocin. It’s a bit addictive. And then, when I’m done and someone else reads it, and they get what I’m saying or see what I’m showing them, it’s the closest thing to telepathy I can imagine this side of the technologies I write about in my stories.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

I read a fair amount of fantasy, but I don’t currently write it. I think that I like fantasy for the same reasons I like sci-fi. You’re allowed to bend the rules and write about the impossible and that allows you to stretch the boundaries of experience. Which gives you more room to speculate about what it means to be a human. What would you do if you could be all-powerful, or omniscient, or could have all your problems solved for you? What would you be willing to give up? What would that mean? I love those sorts of questions.

  • Tell us a little bit about your latest project and the challenges you’ve faced putting it all together? (include release date etc here)

In June I released my debut sci-fi novel, Systemic.

It sits somewhere between a eutopia and dystopia depending on who you ask. It takes place several generations in the future. We’ve created a massive AI and for years, it’s been solving all of society’s problems. Of course, now the issue becomes, what happens to us when we don’t have any problems left to solve?

The story itself focuses on three strangers who are each making a pilgrimage to a small town in the middle of the Sagelands called Prower. Maik is hoping to find the woman he loves, Eryn wants to return to her childhood home, and Lem is out for revenge against the AI hosted in the town’s data center.

Without giving too much away, no one knows the real reasons they’re headed to Prower, but it has something to do with solving the problem of us not having any more problems.

Writing Systemic was actually quite easy. It all just sort of fell out of by brain. I feel more like I watched myself write it. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t a ton of work, it certainly was. It took me about three years working in every spare moment to get it all down and edit it. I think I had four major editing passes, plus all my beta reader feedback, etc. But it wasn’t difficult or challenging. And that’s not normal for me. I just finished a thirteen-page short story, that I swear was harder to write than my 500+ page novel.

For me the most difficult thing has been promotion and sales. That’s a whole art and skill in and of itself and I’m not particularly good at it.

  • 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 who are different from me. I like to put myself in their shoes and figure out why they do the things that they do. Writing for me is about discovery, and I know myself pretty well, so puzzling together other people’s reality is just more fun and interesting. 

As far as how I do that, I guess that requires me to put something of myself into them. So, for example, I might say, “This guy needs to do this really horrible/funny/selfish/dangerous thing. What would need to be true for me to do that thing?” So, I guess the thing I put in them is my assumptions about how I would come to that decision. In order for me to be a back-stabbing mob boss, I would need to have had a childhood that was so threatening to me that I would have needed to develop a me-verses-the-world mentality to survive.

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

We’re all wannabe writers, or artists, or musicians, or fishermen, or gardeners.  The only difference is doing. 

So, if you want to be a writer, write.

I think the hardest thing about writing, aside from just making the time to do it, is writer’s block. I think writer’s block comes from a desire to write something amazing, but then the thing that falls out of our brains is just some quivering pink embryo of an idea and we’re a bit too grossed out or ashamed to commit it to paper. But writing is a lot like sculpting. You need to have a block of words so that you have something to carve away. Let yourself write crap, just make sure to write a lot of it. No one needs to see anything you’ve written until you decide to show them.

I used to play in bands. It was a lot of fun. I play guitar pretty well, but I used to play thirteen other instruments poorly. But I was the guy up on stage doing it and that technically made me a trumpet/accordion/euphonium/musical saw etc. player. There were a hundred people in the audience who were probably better than me, but I was the one having a great time.

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

I simply force myself to write every single day. If I have writer’s block I write anyway. Which basically means I don’t let myself get writer’s block. And if I’m having a particularly bad day, I edit. Luckily, I enjoy editing almost as much as I enjoy writing.

One thing I have found that is particularly useful to me, is that I write many different ways using lots of different tools. So, one day I might be writing by hand, another dictating, then writing on my phone. I find each of these tools and techniques produces different sorts of work. If I’m experiencing friction with one, I switch to the other. I wrote around 70% of the first draft of Systemic on the bus on my phone with my thumbs. I have a blog post about it. https://chrislodwigauthor.com/2020/08/08/different-tools-for-different-jobs/

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

While writing Systemic, I was definitely a pantser. The whole book just spilled out of me. I hadn’t written in so long that, I was driven more by my own curiosity about what I was writing than any idea that it was going to be a book. There is a major twist about two thirds the way through the book. Readers always tell me how surprising it was. Part of the reason it’s so shocking is because I didn’t know it was going to happen until about a paragraph before it did.

Now that I know the broader arc that Systemic fits into, I’ve become much more of a plotter. I worry sometimes that the much more ridged structure of the sequel will make it less organic. But I also think it will give the whole thing better bones to start with and might make the editing process much quicker. But who knows? I’m still learning, and I have to try new things. I’ll let you know how it all turns out when I’m done.

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

I’m about 300 pages into the sequel to Systemic. There are three main story lines, the first of which picks up Lem and Eryn’s story where Systemic left off. The other arcs deal with an outcast girl finding her purpose, and a band of professors, who have turned the Systemic writings into a psudo-religion and travel around like itinerant preachers teaching it to the masses. I’m starting to suspect it might actually be two books. So, it might be more accurate to say I’m 150 pages into the second and third books of the trilogy. I’ll have to see.

I’m currently finishing up a short story that has to do with transferring emotion and empathy to other people via a social network. It overlaps pretty heavily with the Systemic universe. It just came back from the editor and I need to start shopping it around.

A few months ago, I woke up with this paragraph in my head, and it keeps picking at my attention:

There is a long-standing debate about which of the world’s cities is the most magical. Some say Paris with its bright late nights and palpable romance, or London with its mists and fogs and blind alleys. Prague—which was never destroyed in the war—must be powerfully protected. Then there are Athens and Cairo whose labyrinthine streets have existed since humans began coming together to make their magic…

Maybe I have a fantasy story bouncing around in me. That would surprise and delight me.

  • 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?

That’s tough. Thinking about the books I’ve read lately, it’s hard to tell from the evidence which I prefer.

I recently re-read 1984, and really loved it. Not just because it’s poignant social commentary, but I was also surprised to discover how excellent the writing was. I know that shouldn’t surprise me, it is a classic after all. But being forced to read it in high school, you don’t really appreciate it.  The one thing I came away after reading 1984 was that everyone is scared that book is our future, and I guarantee that both sides think the other one is who Mr. Orwell was warning us about.

I just read Neil Stephenson’s “Fall”, which had some really fun ideas about simulated reality, and some very dark social commentary.

But I’m also reading, “The Girl Who Drank The Moon,” which is charming and light—though with a few dark streaks. I can’t get enough of that book.  And “The Crane Wife” which is lovely and magical, but with threads of sorrow coursing through it.

The one book I am actively advising people against reading is “The Handmaid’s Tale.” That’s just asking for trouble and despair.

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

This is not me punting, I promise. I really do feel this way. None of them are better. It’s like arguing over which color is best. Well, if I’m painting a rose, I’d say “red”, if it’s a sky we’re talking about I’d say “blue”.

So across which dimension of story are we talking about here? They are each nearly perfect platonic ideals of the mythical hero’s journey. But they all have such different qualities. 

Harry Potter feels like a well-told kid’s story, it’s clever and cute, but the magic feels a bit predictable. There are wands, and pseudo-Latin spells, and crystal balls and the like.  Which I get is part of the fun of the whole thing—the idea that all of those are real and are as common as protractors and #2 pencils for wizards. I imagine J.K. Rowling sitting upright in bed one morning as saying, “Get me a pen, I’ve had a great idea!”

Star Wars is a brilliant mash up of swashbuckling pirates, samurai movies, eastern mysticism, and sci-fi. So, it might win for genius if you measure genius by the ability to connect disparate things into a cohesive whole, which is one of my favourite definitions.

But if I had to choose, I would probably pick “Lord of the Rings” simply because it feels inevitable. Like it’s a true history scratched into a rock in some cave somewhere which was uncovered by archaeologists and translated from the dwarvish. That certainly comes from the fact that Tolkien put so much into the world and the depth of its history and mythology.

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Author Interview – John B. Rosenman

The flames crackle and the light flickers as the campfire finds new vitality from the fresh kindling I’ve thrown onto the fire. The night is cold but that doesn’t stop another author making their way to warmth of the flames. Tonight I am joined by prolific sci-fi and fantasy author John B. Rosenman.


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

 Hi. I’m John B. Rosenman, and I’m a retired English professor who writes speculative fiction – science fiction, fantasy, horror, paranormal (and one young adult). I’ve published a couple dozen books as well as two hundred and fifty stories in places such as Weird Tales, Whitley Strieber’s Aliens, Fangoria, Galaxy, Endless Apocalypse, The Age of Wonders, and the Hot Blood erotic horror series. My novels include action-adventure scifi novels such as Beyond Those Distant Stars, Speaker of the Shakk, A Senseless Act of BeautyAlien Dreams, and the Inspector of the Cross series (Crossroad Press). I’ve also published a four-book box set, The Amazing Worlds of John B. Rosenman  (MuseItUp Publishing). Recently I completed a science-fiction novel Dreamfarer which is the first in a new series.

I love ideas and story concepts. In fact, I always have.  When I was a small child I would say to my father, “Tell me a story.” His stories by my bed at night planted the seed. I like to create alien worlds, fascinating characters, and prose and something poetry that is as good as I can make it. I also like to revise, though sometimes it’s a struggle.

  • What appeals to you most about the fantasy genre?

Fantasy makes the invisible visible. There are other worlds, other realms, other universes with beings as wild and as beautiful as I can make them. So-called objective reality is not the only reality. I recall a line from a movie that said you can live in the Imagination. That’s the most beautiful nation of all.  My favorite title for a science fiction / fantasy magazine was If. If you can imagine it, in some way it must be true and exist somewhere.

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

Crash is due out in mid to late November. It’s the sixth novel in my Inspector of the Cross scifi / adventure series and reflects a new approach to the adventures of my hero because the alien enemy, the Cen are no longer involved. Also, Turtan loses his memory and no longer knows who he is. Oh, he faces all sorts of challenges, and I had to reimagine the whole series. Plus, I faced other challenges because circumstances required me to pack up the whole series and move it to a new publisher, Crossroad Press.

At the same time, I resurrected a novel I wrote nearly forty years ago. Dreamfarer is about a world where machines give people dreams that are so much more beautiful, exciting, and fulfilling than real life.  At the age of thirty-two, you can have yourself “interfaced” and dream the rest of your life away. What could go wrong? What’s wrong with that? Dreamfarer will be published by Crossroad Press, but I don’t have a date yet. I’m also at work on a sequel, Go East, Young Man. Like Dreamfarer it focuses on the adventures of Sam Adams, a man who had the misfortune to wake up forever from his wonderful dreams and who is determined to destroy the dream industry because of its terrible impact on humanity.

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

I’m addicted to noble, tormented heroes who battle evil and sinister forces. Sometimes they’re Christ-like in nature as in my Inspector of the Cross series, and occasionally they have godlike powers of healing as with Dax Rigby in Dax Rigby, War Correspondent. I put a great deal of myself in them, particularly my desire to be like them. In my mainstream, coming-of-age novel, Johnny Roth embodies two traits I yearn to have. They are to be a great boxer AND a great artist.

Sometimes I try to see things from girls’ or women’s POV. Sky in Skyburst is a fifteen-year-old girl dying of cancer. What must it be like to be a young girl faced with such a problem? Ah, but as with others of my heroes, she has great, even transcendent abilities. Stella in Beyond Those Distant Stars is turned into a cyborg after she has a radioactive accident. Like Sky she’s tormented and apparently doomed, yet she manages to find love and fight against an alien enemy that seems invincible.

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

Above all, never give up or let yourself be defeated by rejection and negative thoughts. If you’re a writer, you will be strong and forge on.

Beyond that — Read, read, read; write, write, write; revise, revise, revise. If possible, join a good writers’ group where expert criticism and critiques are supplied on a regular basis. Analyze everything. If a work of creative fiction astonishes you, try to identify some of the elements that make it work. Read critical articles discussing them and take a course or two in creative writing.

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

If I have a deadline, I will make it because I want to be published. I guess you could say my desire is my writing trick. If there’s a deadline for submitting a short story, and I have a good idea or like the subject, well, then, I will get my story or stories in on time. The same goes for a situation in which a publisher indicates that a certain date is the deadline for getting my novel in. In this case, NOT BEING PUBLISHED is my writing trick.

Also, if a story or novel is going well, if my inspiration is hot and flowing, I tend to harness my inspiration and keep scribbling. This is especially true with a novel, which requires dedication and the long haul. Skip it for a few days or weeks, and I may never go back.

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

       I’m a pantser. Often it’s like I’m wandering in a fog and only gradually does the road ahead become visible to me. I may have an idea of the eventful conclusion but no clear, overall plan of how I’m going to get there. I used to walk through a local Barnes & Noble that I found particularly conducive to inspiration and sometimes the slightest thing there would suddenly spark a story. For example, I saw a book titled The Calm Technique and instantly a story leaped almost full-blown into my head. The Death Technique is about a man who has the       gruesome ability to make his body rot and resemble a corpse. I sold it to a pro anthology.

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

      I plan to finish Go East, Young Man, the sequel to Dreamfarer and see it published.  I’ve       been thinking of shifting my focus after that and concentrating on short stories. They take less time and sometimes can be written quickly. There are various publishers I’ve published with before and various anthologies and magazines that have published my fiction. It would be nice to submit short fiction to them. I also love “theme” magazines, newsletters, and anthologies. Recently I published revised, previously published stories in Flame Tree Press’s Endless Apocalypse and Dying Planet collections.  In addition, I hope to generate some new stories. Will I try Romance? I doubt it. Nor do I see myself getting into elves and faeries. But you never know. It’s better to be fresh and try new things. 

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 used to like horror and dark fiction more than I do now. Heck, I was Chairman of the Horror Writers Association. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve come to prefer tales where the sun occasionally shines and good tends to triumph over evil. My science fiction / speculative fiction novels feature heroes who ultimately conquer or prevail over villains.  But I do love my villains, whose darkness sometimes threatens to overshadow the goodness of my heroes because it’s more compelling and interesting. I do continue to like subtle, atmospheric dark fantasy or horror, where darkness is suggested and hinted at rather than shown. Please, no extreme, gory horror, though I used to write some.

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

Star Wars, I think, primarily because I sometimes write space opera novels with swashbuckling heroes and larger-than-life bad guys. I read the first two Harry Potter novels. They were okay, but I never went back.  I read the first 560 pages of Lord of the Rings and then stopped reading. Please, somebody, tell me why and where I’m wrong!

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I Visited King Arthur and Topped the Bestseller charts

It’s a busy few weeks. First, I went away for a long weekend to Somerset where we almost got snowed in and visited the tomb of King Arthur at the world-famous Glastonbury Abbey.

King Arthur and Glastonbury

Visiting the so-called final resting place of the once and future king was pretty incredible. Lying beneath a stone slab in the ruins of the Abbey surrounded by swirling snow flurries was the tomb of King Arthur, quite possibly the most famous character in myth and fantasy.

The fact that the monks of Glastonbury claimed King Arthur is buried there just shows how savvy they were in the 12th century. The popularity of Geoffrey of Monmouth‘s fanciful and imaginative 12th-century Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) was the perfect opportunity for the at the time cash-strapped abbey to attract tourists and their gold.

In 1191, the monks claimed to have discovered a grave with an oak coffin holding the remains of a man who had been severely wounded in the head. Buried beside him was a woman with golden hair. Conveniently a lead cross bearing the inscription, “Here lies the famous King Arthur with Guinevere his second wife, in the Isle of Avalon.”

Monmouth’s account provided many of the elements of the story, from Arthur’s conception at Tintagel to his last battle against Mordred at Camlann and final rest in Avalon, and featured his father Uther Pendragon, his wife Guinevere, his sword Excalibur and the wizard, Merlin. Later writers added further characters and many variations on Geoffrey’s tale, depicting Arthur as a great warrior defending Britain from human and supernatural enemies, with related themes of the Holy Grail and the Knights of the Round Table. Claiming the Abbey was Arthur’s resting place was so popular in fact that King Edward 1 and his wife were in attendance when they moved the bones of Arthur and his queen.

Even back then people loved a great story.

Also, on my hols we visited Sherbornne Abbey in Dorset. Stunning windows offset by an incredible roof were perfect inspiration for fantasy world building.

Ruling the Sci-Fi charts!

On March 20th I had an international Bookbub promotion for Terran Defenders: Genesis. Now, getting any type of Bookbub promo is like getting gold dust, so I was very lucky to have received one. It cost me £160, but boy was it worth it.

In less than six hours of the promotion going out the book had soared to the top of the sci-fi charts on both Amazon and Kobo. It achieved top seller status in the UK, Australia and Canada which is an amazing feat seeing as how the book is 8 years old now!

I’m not 100% certain, but I think I was helped in getting a promotion by taking the book out of Amazon exclusivity (it hasn’t been doing anything on Kindle for about a year!) and put it wide. Now, I’ve said before that I would put the Sundered Crown Saga wide at some point, but at the moment it’s not going to be possible to put the entire series wide until the exclusivity with KDP runs out in May. Book 1 is free of KDP exclusivity so I may put Heir to the Sundered Crown on all formats.

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Also, I’ve started offering my services and the skills I’ve attained being an Indy author to those who need assistance with their books. If you’re in need of formatting, cover design/resizing and editing services then please check me out or Fiverr or my services website.

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Terran Defenders – New cover art

Hi all, just thought I would do a little post on the new cover art Rob May has created for the Terran Defenders series. As you can see below the covers and text are now consistent of each other.

TDG

TD

Don’t forget to pre-order Terran Defenders! It will be available to buy on Kindle August 12th.

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Terran Defenders Sneak Peak

With the release of Terran Defenders rapidly approaching I thought I would give you all a sneak peak of the book. I hope you enjoy it! To pre-order, the book click here.

***

The small salvage ship fired its retro engines creating another bright dot of light in the vast ocean of stars in the depths of space.

Tumbling and rolling before the  ship was the desolate hull of the legendary SS Regent. Debris and flotsam spiralled away from the wrecked vessel causing the salvage ship’s captain to reinforce the shields. Tiny sparks like miniature solar flares brightened the cockpit as the shields disintegrated the potentially lethal detritus.

Captain Finley Adams scowled at the sad scene of the once mighty ship crumbling apart before his very eyes. With a skill that comes from years of experience, he brought the salvage ship in closer and activated the powerful searchlights that were sat above the cockpit.

“Are you seeing this captain?”

Over the intercom came the voice of his engineer and wife Carolyn Adams.

The married couple had been salvagers for over ten years making a good income from their dangerous work. This case, however, had been a complete surprise. They initially hadn’t had any intention of scouting the Ro system. Their contract had told them to search the much more profitable region of the Eagan system, another twenty light years away from their current location. No large scale battles had ever taken place in Ro, according to the charts Ro was a quiet backwater of a system, not having much in the way of resources and was home to only four gaseous planets.

Finley took the smouldering Chindin cigar from his mouth and blew a thick cloud of bluish smoke before replying; “Yeah, I see it. Looks like something ripped a chunk out of the port side of the hull. Jesus, it looks like an Asteroid strike to me.”

He tapped a series of buttons on the control console bringing up the external scanner. On the small screen to his right, he saw a 3d model of the wrecked Regent materialise as the ship’s computer began its spectral analysis. The powerful scanners blasted out radiation ranging from gamma rays right through to X-rays to get a complete readout.

“Any life signs?” enquired his wife over the comm.

Finn snorted at the silly question.

“No darling, if this is the Regent the poor sods on board would have died 200 years ago.”

The scanner pinged indicating the initial scan was complete.

“What the hell?” Finley exclaimed as the image of the Regent zoomed in showing the ragged hole that was threatening to tear the stricken hulk apart.

Impossibly the hole came into focus showing the sheared metal facing outwards, as though something had ripped out of the ship rather than struck it.

“Maybe the asteroid came through from the other side?” offered Carolyn as she joined her husband in the cockpit.

Her long brunette hair was tied up in a bun and her ragged features were as usual covered in grease and oil stains. She wore the same blue overalls as her overweight husband, each bearing the sign of the Space Exploration Ministry.

“I don’t think so, according to the scan only this side of the ship has been ruptured.” Finley leant forward and brought up another screen showing the magnified X-ray image of the stricken ship.

“Fuel leak, munitions explosion?” Carolyn offered again.

Fin smiled at his wife’s persistent use of logic. Fin, however, couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. After so many years scouring battlefields, wrecked colonies and ancient scrap yards he’d never had his ship brought out of FTL right on top of a wreck, and the Regent was as famous as they came. She had once been the colonies most prized vessel but had mysteriously vanished on her maiden voyage two hundred years ago.

“Well honey, there’s only one way to know for sure” Said Fin as he prized himself out his chair setting the smaller ship to begin docking procedures.

*

The airlock hissed as it slid open to reveal the dark opening of the Regent’s docking bay. Fin and Carolyn were now wearing their bulky zero G-suits. Neither of them enjoyed travelling in them, the suits made them feel claustrophobic and clumsy. Each of their breaths made a sharp hissing noise through their internal comms making Fin more and more uneasy as they slowly made their way across the empty bay.

Scattered about the place and floating lazily in the vacuum were crates and tools. Carolyn caught one of the papers and held it up to her torch light.

“It’s dated August 2145. That was two hundred years ago,” she said in surprise.

Fin nodded, the dates fitted.

“That confirms it then. This is definitely THE SS Regent,” he replied as he too knelt awkwardly and picked up a page.

It was from an engineering manual for an ancient victor class of starfighter. He shook his head in wonder.

“This place should be in a museum. Imagine the finder’s fee were gonna get Fin!” Carolyn whooped.

Fin smiled, but that nagging feeling returned.

“Come on, let’s get to that hole. I want to know what happened here,” he said as he carefully moved to an access hatch at the far end of the bay.

The pair of salvagers made their way through the ship encountering nothing but eerily empty rooms.

“How come we’ve not seen any bodies Fin?” asked Carolyn nervously.

The emptiness of the place was starting to get to them both. It was strange not to encounter any dead crewmembers, those they could handle; it was a common thing for salvage crews to run into.

“Maybe they all got sucked out into space through that hole,” Fin offered, shrugging his shoulders. “I’m picking up some faint electrical anomalies.”

He glanced at his wrist scanner that displayed readouts of the interior of the ship. Another left turn and they would arrive at the damaged portion of the hull. Rounding the corner a vibration ran throughout the ship causing them both to stop dead in their tracks.

“Movement?” Fin wondered aloud.

He placed a thick-gloved hand onto the passageways wall and sure enough, he could feel a tremor running through the hull. His wrist scanner began to beep insistently, the speed increasing at a rapid pace. He quickly looked at the readouts.

“Holy hell, our ships engines are spooling up,” Fin cried in alarm.

He spun around and grabbed his wife’s hand pulling her after him as he rushed his way back to the scout ship. They ran as fast they could back towards the small craft. The wrist scanner was going crazy as the sensors detected that the ship was about to jump away at any second, stranding the salvagers on the dead Regent.

Desperately Fin jumped and kicked off from the access hatch they had gone through sending him flying through the vacuum of space. Within seconds, he reached the air lock and frantically removed his zero G-suit. Carolyn was screaming over the comm., screaming at him to hurry.

Fin was sweating, the perspiration was getting in his eyes and the sense of dread he felt was now of absolute terror. The airlock opened as he bounded through the ship towards the cockpits access ladder. All the while, he was swearing under his breath. The sound of the ships engines was deafening, at any moment the ship would jump ripping apart the wreck of the Regent and vaporising both of the scavengers. He forced his bulk awkwardly up the ladder and threw himself into the command seat. Urgently he brought up the console and with a cry of relief, he punched the engine override button, shutting them down. Fin collapsed back in his seat in utter relief, panting for breath and sweating profusely. After a few moments, he collected his thoughts and picked up the Comm.

“Carolyn. Honey, I did it, the ship’s secure. I don’t know what caused that. I’m gonna start a ship-wide diagnostic.”

No reply.

“Where is that damn woman? Carolyn, Carolyn can you hear me?” he asked in frustration and more than a little worry.

No reply.

Fin felt fear once more knot in his guts. He was just about to try again when a voice came over the comm.

“My god Fin, you got to take a look at this honey. I’m at the impact site.”

Fin frowned. It was Carolyn’s voice but it sounded distant almost ethereal. Cautiously he headed back to the airlock and once more donned his suit. Quickly he made his way back across the bay but not before disabling the scout ship’s engines with a computer override. Whatever had caused the mysterious engine start-up could happen again, he wasn’t prepared to take any chances.

He reached the point they had made it to before the incident and slowly rounded the corner. There before him was a scene of utter devastation. This was where the crew was, all five hundred of them. A cavernous space lay before him, the massive hole that led out into space on the far wall.

However, it was the rest of the walls that made Finlay vomit into his suit.

There, impaled on the walls was the ship’s crew, frozen in terror thanks to the vacuum of space.  Blood covered every surface, disembowelled corpses littered the floor and there standing in the middle of it all was Carolyn her back to her husband. Finley staggered towards her desperate to take them away from this nightmare. He grabbed her arm.

Slowly she turned to face him.

“Nooo!” Fin screamed as his wife stared at him. Except it was not his wife.

A sadistic grin adorned her face, her eyes were black slits and the skin was ripped and torn. He staggered backwards screaming. The thing that wore his wife’s suit reached for him, gripping his suit, and pushing him down to the ground with a superhuman strength. Fin struggled against the creature but it was too strong.

He screamed again as out of the corner of his eye he could see the corpses of the ship’s crew stirring, moving slowly towards him, arms outreached to drag him to their fate.  The last thing Finlay Adams heard was the scanner on his wrist beeping frantically. Someone or something had started up his ship…

***

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TERRAN DEFENDERS – PRE-ORDER NOW!

Here it is folks my latest book! I really enjoyed writing this one, creating the world and characters was a lot of fun. You can read the synopsis below. I really hope that you will get a copy and enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

Terran Defenders

The year is 2396, mankind has spread among the stars and mingled with the galaxy’s many alien races.

Humanity’s golden age ended in the fires of civil war a decade earlier. An uneasy peace remains between the government of the Earth-based United World Alliance and the Colonial Federation, a group of colonies seeking the freedom to forge their own path. With humankind scarred by the brutal conflict things that should never have been forgotten were lost.
In the fighting, the order of the Terran Defenders was wiped out and with them the knowledge that a deadly old enemy still lingers in the depths of space. With the Terran Defenders no longer in existence, it will fall upon a motley band of misfits and outcasts to take up the legendary order’s mantle and save the Galaxy or die trying.

Mase, a bounty hunter more interested in money and loose women finds himself taking on the job from hell when he and his robot partner JERRY are sent after a mysterious bounty. Their target, a beautiful yet deadly woman named Kara Brighte, the granddaughter of the last Terran Defender.

 

preorder_amazon_button

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UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01IPY5SW2

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Writing Quest Part 11 – Entering the World of Kickstarter

Hi everyone another week has gone by already and work on Quest for the Sundered Crown is progressing at a slow but steady pace. Finally hit 20,000 words of the first draft yay! Only another 80,000 to go.

This week I’ve mostly been focusing on ironing out some of the early chapters of the book and am now working on a key scene featuring everyone’s favourite knight, Sir Kaiden of the Marble Shore. The Knights of Niveren play a key role in Heir but due to the events of that book were sadly missing from War. Nonetheless, I can confirm that the Knights will return for book 3 but in a very different guise than in the first book.

Kickstarter Campaign

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As well as working away on Quest I’ve delved into the world of Kickstarter to see if I can raise enough funds to do a proper launch of my sci-fi series Terran Defenders. The first book was released on Kindle a while back and book two went down well on Wattpad.

So far it’s my best performing story to date after generating over 200,000 reads and several thousand votes! It even broke into the top ten most popular sci-fi stories on the website a few months back and I am constantly badgered by Wattpad members to hurry up and write more books in the series.

I’ve set the target at £2000 as I’m hoping that will be enough to pay an artist to create some kickass cover and concept art and pay for an editor to go through it with a fine-tooth comb. If you would like to support me please click on the link – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2006060632/terran-defenders

You can read some of the first draft of book two in the Terran Defenders series here

Keep your eyes on my Facebook page and Twitter over the coming days for some special offer news!

The epic Sundered Crown Saga is available on kindle and paperback now!
Heir to the Sundered Crown (Book 1) – http://a.co/cRiRqBL
War for the Sundered Crown (Book 2) – http://a.co/39JC6qc
Paperback editions –
Heir to the Sundered Crown http://amzn.to/1XDSxlg
War for the Sundered Crown http://amzn.to/1RiVFDs

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image by daroz

 

Terran Defence Force (TDF) encyclopaedia

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Buy Terran Defenders:Genesis

The events below follow those that occur in Genesis.

*

As of the writing of this manual (Earth year 2032) all alien species within are those that we as a species have made contact with, learnt of their existence or encountered via other means.

This document is given to all new TDF recruits and a test will be given on its contents prior to training. The knowledge within may save the lives of colleagues or yourself depending on the situation.

This first section details the main factions of power in the known galaxy, further details of alien species can be found later in this guide.

***********

Factions

The Tri Alliance

(Year founded: Earth year 2012)

The Tri Alliance was created after the first contact incident of 2012. It comprises of three species. The Olmeca, Ekahau and Humanity. Prior to 2012 the Olmeca and Ekahau had been at total war with one another for almost 500 years. However due to the events that unfolded the three races had to join forces or be destroyed by the actions of the rouge Olmeca sovereign Itzamná and the mysterious but deadly Xibalba.

For twenty years the Tri Alliance has brought prosperity to its members. Peace between Olmeca and Ekahau was made possible due to humanities actions and efforts. Due to the 2014 technology-sharing act the human race was now able to develop at an astounding pace and within less than a decade humans were colonising the rest of their solar system.

Militarily the Tri Alliance is strong and growing in power. The Ekahau already were expert warriors and command dozens of fleets of fighting ships and personnel. The Olmeca Empire is rapidly rebuilding after the war but due to the enormous effort of repairing the damage caused to its fleet in 2012 and the Ekahau war, it will be years before they are back to full strength.

Humanities contribution comes in the form of the United Nations led Terran Defence Force.

Terran Defence Force

Founded shortly after 2012 the TDF is charged with safeguarding human interests in space and tasked with maintaining world peace on Earth. At first it was predominantly comprised of U.S and Chinese personnel but as the years have progressed every country on Earth has members in service. The force currently comprises of seven sector fleets, each comprised of six frigates, two fighter carriers and dozens of support ships.

List of current operations:

Earth defence patrols: Always the TDF’s priority. Currently the 2nd and 6th fleets are tasked with Earth and lunar defences.

Solar system patrol: The 4th fleet is currently on patrol across the solar system. Split into three it is on station to defend Mars colony and the Jupiter ship yards and moon facilities. The third segment, which is mostly comprised of smaller ships, is patrolling the edge of the system and beyond Pluto. Their primary task is to spot possible dangers and to ensure merchant vessels reach the system safely.

Combat operations: The 1st, 3rd and 7th fleets are engaged in offensive operations in the Alpha Centauri system. Their primary objective is to engage and destroy the threat posed by the Skarin bases in the area. The war has been winding down as Skarin activity has lessened due to the impact of heavy casualties inflicted by the TDF.

Exploration: The 5th fleet is tasked with exploring the solar systems nearest to Earth. So far twenty-five planets have been mapped and six have been colonised by scientific groups or mining corporations. The key objective is to discover natural resources and other useful materials for use on Earth. Planet EN-004 has yielded vast quantities of iron ore and titanium deposits.

Science and exploration ministry (SEM)

Established in conjunction with the TDF the ministry is tasked with the search for new worlds and resources. Its key role is to assist colonists attempting to settle on any suitable worlds. The Mars colony has been a huge success only made possible thanks to the assistance of Olmeca scientists and technology. Often seen as the civilian wing of the space programme, SEM has attracted the most brilliant minds from humanity. SEM also works very closely with other alien civilizations and is home to the diplomatic core that is tasked with handling peaceful first contact situations.

Tipax Imperia

Contact between Humans and the Imperia occurred less than three years ago but from what TDF intelligence and SEM diplomats have reported, the Imperia is by far the most powerful force in the galaxy. Its area of control is vast almost encompassing 25,000 light years of territory. It is home to over ten thousand different alien species and appears to be headed by an Emperor who presides over a parliament. As of now trading has begun between the Tri alliance and the Imperia but it appears that humanity is of little interest to them. The M’iin species is a vassal race of the Tipax.

Xibalba – (Read TD:Genesis for more information)

Virtually nothing is known about this mysterious species except that it was a Xibalba ship that threatened Earths very existence back in 2012. We know they once ruled a vast empire and were vastly technologically advanced. Apparently they were driven out of the galaxy by unknown means; Olmeca legends even say their entire planet was thrown into the void between galaxies.

Reports from 2012 suggest they were capable of mind control or influence. Prisoners from the battle with Itzamná claim that their sovereign had been under the control of a whispering voice, which they claim was a Xibalba spirit.  The Olmeca council saying that the claims were nonsense denied all of that. In 2012 the Xibalba threat was ended after the ship was destroyed and the gateway closed.