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Marc Secchia is Visiting! [Tour Stop]


“Aranya” by Marc Secchia

Published on… 12 June 2013
Published as… Young Adult Fantasy

Marc Secchia’s Guest Post

Top Fantasy Writer/Book/Series Influences

My early influences were hard science fiction writers such as Isaac Asimov, Ben Bova, Carl Sagan and Piers Anthony, combined with my love of historical fiction, particularly James A. Mitchener. But my true love has always been fantasy.

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern has always inspired me with the courage of her characters, sometimes in the face of great odds – she’s my all-time favourite writer, and a master world-builder who I aspire to emulate. LOTR is the motherlode, setting the standard for rich background and historical detail, world building and a great storyline that pitches good against evil in an epic battle. In epic fantasy, Terry Brooks is awesome. I fell in love with his Sword of Shannara series and I think he’s a writer of great craft. I enjoy Robert Jordan for the enormous sweep of his tales and the meticulous crafting that goes into his work.

These are all ‘classic’ influences. I should mention George R.R. Martin, James Maxwell, Terry Goodkind, and Robin Hobb, and I have been known to spend hours chortling over a Terry Pratchett Discworld novel. There are some great novels out there and not enough hours in the day to enjoy them all!

About the Book

Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.

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About the Author

Victoria Bright Author Photo
Marc is a South African-born author who lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs, a rabbit, and a variable number of marabou storks that roost on the acacia trees out back. On a good night there are also hyenas patrolling the back fence.

When he’s not writing about Africa Marc can be found travelling to remote locations. He thinks there’s nothing better than standing on a mountaintop wondering what lies over the next horizon.

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Darren Gallagher is Visiting!


“Strings” by Darren Gallagher

Published on… August 13, 2014
Published as… Horror

Darren Gallagher’s Guest Post

Why did you choose to write horror?
Basically, I chose to write horror because I grew up around it. There was always someone telling a ghost story, or trying to scare you as a kid. Then when I broke into my teenage years, my brother was reading Stephen King — I think it was Nightmares and Dreamscapes. He would tell me about the stories he read, saying how great they were, and in turn that made me pick up the book and start reading. I got so into it that when he wanted to read the book he had to wait until I was finished whatever story I was reading. Finally he had enough and bought me The Shining, and from then on everything I’ve read, watching, played(computer games), it has all revolved around horror.

There are many different story lines and themes in “Strings” two of the stories however started out the same way. I attend a writing class every week, and on one of the nights the tutor gave us a trigger, it was ‘Red Alert’. Two little words and I let my imagination run wild. At first I liked the way the words sounded together but something pulled me away from them and led me to write ‘Ruby Red Soldiers’ the first story in the book.

Those two words however kept repeating in my mind and then one night I sat down and wrote the story ‘Red Alert’ (you can find an excerpt below) and in turn gave me one of my favorite stories in the book.

Both stories have a little vial or red liquid in common, but that’s it. Each story however will leave you craving for more, even a little vial of your own.

About the Book

33 dark tales; the invisible bindings that tie us all together.

Within this book you will find terrifying tales from catastrophic celebrations, to freaky family funerals…

Beware the supernatural, Beware the weather…

Beware the strings.

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About the Author

Darren Gallagher Author Photo
Darren Gallagher was born and currently lives in Co. Donegal, Ireland. Having dropped out of school at fourteen, he decided in 2008 to finally pluck up the courage and follow a dream that had been haunting him since childhood. Receiving a Diploma in Creative Writing from Kilroy’s College in Dublin was the first step in re-learning the English that he’d forgotten, and that he never knew.
A natural night owl, when everyone else is sleeping, he hears the bumps and the creaks, captures them, and turns them into stories to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Strings, is his first collection. His second collection is finished, and his first Novella is due for release February 2015.

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Jessica Nicholls is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Into the Arms of Morpheus

“Into the Arms of Morpheus” by Jessica Nicholls

Published on… July 24, 2014
Published as… Dark Fantasy

Jessica Nicholls’ Guest Post

I chose to write about Morpheus, Nyx and Death (Thanatos) as to be honest, I just really like them. I do have a fondness for the other gods and goddesses but they have sort of ‘been done’ so to speak. If I could think of something really original to do with them then I wouldn’t let that stop me.

I’ve got to confess that I am not an expert in Greek mythology. I’m sure most people have heard the phrase ‘fall Into the arms of Morpheus’ when referring to going to sleep. I love the phrase. I love the idea of Morpheus. When the idea first came to me to write a story featuring him, I was really surprised that there wasn’t already loads of stuff out there. He really rarely features in mythology, and when he’s there he isn’t the focus. But think about it, when you lay down at night as far as the ancient Greeks were concerned he is going to come to you and sort through your consciousness once you give in to slumber. He knows your mind more intimately than anyone. That’s just awesome. I think.

Nyx, the goddess of Night is another lesser known god. She is born from Chaos. Technically she is Morpheus’ grandmother and Thanatos’ mother. There is one story where even Zeus is scared of her. I love that. She is a terrifying female entity, but such an enigma and isn’t gifted with endless tales of her awesomeness. In a way that’s true to history. The big men get all the glory. It’s as though those old writers thought ’oh yeah…there was this really strong, really scary lady and she could pretty much take everybody to school but let’s not talk about her let’s focus on the huge dude with the beard who throws lighting bolts’. Night time has its own atmosphere, once the sun goes down everything changes. Think of how you feel when its dark outside and you are looking up at the sky…she’s there looking down at you. Every night. Whether you like it or not. I choose to like it.

I include Death (Thanatos) as he is around in the story, waiting to see if his ‘services’ are needed. Like all the gods I think of him as omnipresent, but he is interested in Sylvia due to Nyx and Morpheus lurking so close. Plus he’s scary. Really scary. Not the kind of scary of ‘oh what is going to happen to me?’, more the, ‘he is going to kill me and everyone I know’, type of scary. In a way I felt sorry for him, he doesn’t even get the glory of being the god of the underworld, he is just the official remover of life. It’s a very cold, passionless power, whereas the gods are known for being fiery, passionate, sensual, violent, etc he is just icy and instant. But no mortal can live forever, it’s nothing personal. Fate decides how, why and when…but he just takes care of the business.

Really, the genre of paranormal romance itself and the concept of obsessive love I thought lent themselves quite well to these gods and the night goddess. Obsessive love in reality usually takes place in very dark inner places. You don’t run through a field of daisies holding hands in the middle of the day when you are inappropriately enamored with someone or something. The story kind of took it’s own direction and it isn’t really a love story. But Morpheus, Nyx and Death were very gracious in letting me use them in my story. They will be special to me, always.

About the Book

Sylvia has always harboured a solitary obsession with Morpheus, the Greek God of Dreams. She’s brought it with her from her adolescence in a village of Northern England where she grew up, to the university in Manchester where she now studies.

Nyx is the Goddess of Night, and has spent the centuries stewing in an ancient, unrequited love. Not easily pleased, her attention is drawn to a voice chanting its devotion and desire for her, and she seeks the source of it.

She is not the only god playing in the realms of men, however. When the God of Death and Morpheus himself become aware of this new devotee, the stage is set for the gods to secure their worship, or for a mortal to become one of them.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholls Author Photo
Jessica Nicholls is originally from Northern Illinois. She lived in the Northwest of England for just over ten years, where she studied and had her children. Currently, Jessica lives in the Middle East with her husband and two now school age (yay!) kids. Running, reading and watching films are her favourite hobbies. Writing the type of stories she would enjoy reading (anything dark and weird or romantic, or a combination of those) is a passion.

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Kate O’Leary is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Twell and the Army of Powers

“Twell and the Army of Powers” by Kate O’Leary (The Como Chronicles #1)

Published on… 26 June 2014
Published as… Young Adult Dystopian/Fantasy

Kate O’Leary’s Guest Post

Why write Young Adult?

The reason I write young adult, it because it’s the genre I read, love, and am most drawn to. Writing about teens is so interesting to me, because the characters are at that age where they are learning about themselves, unsure of themselves, insecure, evolving…there is so much there to explore. On top of that is the angst of hormones, unrequited love, forbidden love…and I like to write about it and try to recall and capture the feelings I went through as a teenager when I was totally hung up on a boy, and liked them so much I couldn’t even look at them!

I also enjoy the fantasy element of writing young adult, creating a new world for a teenager to navigate through, a world with more challenges that your average teen might face today. I want YA readers to ask themselves how they would cope if they were put in the same situation. I like to provoke my reader to question what they believe, what they stand for…and what they would fight for, if they were forced to. Free will is an interesting topic that I focus on in my writing, and is often defined by the rules and regulations of our society and Government. I want readers to question how they would feel about living in a world with more restrictions on personal freedom than we experience in the western world.

About the Book

Twell lives in the new world of Como, and has always neglected her telekinetic gifts, desiring to be ‘normal.’ Her biggest drama in life is having to be genetically partnered with a boy she doesn’t know or love by her next birthday. Unfortunately she loves her best friend, who loves the girl she hates most, and Twell is left frustrated & heartbroken.

When Twell is requested alongside several other teens to develop her skills for the protection of Como, she reluctantly agrees to the training, and finds herself thrown into all sorts of mental and physical challenges.

Handsome, charismatic Jonaz, is gifted with the power of healing. According to Twell he’s an infuriating prat who delights in provoking her. But first impressions have always been her downfall.

When Como is attacked, life as Twell knows it is changed forever, with devastating consequences. With no choice but to fight, Twell risks her life to protect those who have survived, coming up against unexpected dangers she could never anticipate. Will she survive, and if so will she be matched to a stranger when the one she is growing to love is destined to another?

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About the Author

Kate O'Leary Author Photo
Kate O’Leary, has loved reading and writing ever since she was young enough to try and get through the back of her cupboard into Narnia, or through her mirror into Wonderland! In high school she entertained her homeroom reading out chapters of her first novel ‘Miranda’ about a teenage girls adventures with her horse Rusty.

After school Kate studied Children’s Literature, and her first drafts of Twell were awarded in writing competitions. Kate’s writing interest is firmly embedded in dystopian fantasy, being continually fascinated with future direction of our world and the concepts of free will and moral vs. lawful obligations. Twell’s adventures will continue to explore these ideas in the Como Chronicles Trilogy.

Kate lives in the beautiful Adelaide Hills of Australia, surrounded by rolling hills and wineries and horses, as well as some good rocks to climb when she feels like scaring herself!

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Natasha Troop is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Lakebridge: Autumn

“Lakebridge: Autumn (The Lakebridge Cycle, Vol. 3)” by Natasha Troop

Published on…17 March 2014
Published as…Horror Fantasy

Natasha Troop’s Guest Post

Why did you choose to write about a town in New England?

I have two answers to this question: the Literary and the Actual.


My first horror writer was Stephen King. I read The Shining when I was 9 and it gave me that rush of lasting fright that still lingers to this day when I walk into a bathroom and the shower curtain is completely drawn and part of me knows for certain that the woman is there waiting for me. I kept reading King’s work and learned that the scariest things all seemed to reside or happen in small, New England towns. I developed a general phobia of the entire region as a result, knowing that if I ever traveled there, I would become the victim of some centuries old curse or strange detour into a place I wouldn’t have encountered if I just had the good sense to stay in Los Angeles (because nothing bad ever happens here).

Not too long after becoming a fan of all things horror, I discovered Lovecraft and learned that not only was the small New England town home to King’s intimate, character driven horror, greater, cosmic evils resided there as well. Much like King, not all of Lovecraft’s work happened in New England. But the stories that did created such a sense of dread about the place and the people who live there that I couldn’t think of any good reason to travel there…except in their wonderful stories.

Over time, however, the region became very appealing to me. I wanted to go to college in Boston (didn’t…UCLA was the cheaper, better choice) and even honeymooned there, traveling through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine on our way to Salem for Halloween. In my travels there, I found beauty, culture and wonderful history. Every place had a story, sometimes very old and often loaded with eerie charm.

As a writer of horror, there was no question as to where my story about a town with a covered bridge could best take place. The kind of story I am telling is New England horror, both intimate and character driven and concerned with greater, cosmic evils.


Towards the end of the 20th century, I was involved in a small film company. We were brainstorming ideas and came up with something about a small town with eccentric characters and covered bridge. At that time, it could have happened anywhere in the Northeast. It wasn’t even a horror story at that point. It was more of a dramedy and almost nothing at all like the story that exists today. One of my partners had relatives in Vermont and was interested in shooting a project there to take advantage of the proximity to his relatives and incentives the Vermont film commission was offering. So he asked if there was any reason why the story couldn’t take place in Vermont. I couldn’t think of one, so the story landed there.

Over time, I could never find a good way to tell the story as a screenplay. It just didn’t work for me. Additionally, the more I worked on the idea, the more my feelings about New England and horror began to take over the piece. In that way, while my Literary answer above is not the reason I initially chose to write a story about a New England town, it is the reason that my story exists as it does. It is the reason that Stansbury, Vemont is such a scary place for me (and hopefully my readers).

About the Book

The town of Stansbury, Vermont has survived over four hundred years of tragic events. The town survived because the otherworldly beings and powerful humans that have always controlled the lives of the people willed them to forget each terrible event. As the bloody conflict between those forces has been raging, the people have stopped forgetting. Fear and grief have replaced peaceful ignorance and the powers that be no longer care. In Lakebridge: Autumn, Stansbury will fall.

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About the Author

Natasha Troop
Natasha grew up in Southern California and currently lives in the Los Angeles area with her spouse, son, daughter and menagerie of pets, including a Basset named Moose and a very overprotective collie dog. What currently surprises her more than anything about her life is how much of it is just sitting there on Google, there for the taking. This scares her more than anything. The Internet never forgets.

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Angela Smith is Visiting! [Tour]

Burn on the Western Slope

Burn on the Western Slope

Published on… 15 July 2013

Published byCrimson Romance

Published as… Romance

State of Romance vs. Suspense [Guest Post]

How does an author of romantic suspense strike the right balance between romance and suspense?

It isn’t always easy, and something I have to constantly be aware of. I’m a panster at heart, which means I write “by the seat of my pants” and see where the novel will take me. But I also stop and plan and plot to ensure I have the key elements of what makes a good romantic suspense: character and plot. So I guess you could say I’m both a panster and a plotter, because I pant at first, but then start plotting after I’ve gotten to the middle and yet still pant in between.

But what does make a good romantic suspense novel? I constantly worry if I have enough of one or the other. Romantic suspense has gotten a lot of flak over the years. Either publishers say they won’t sell, or readers don’t understand what to expect. Lisa Gardner, one of my favorite romantic suspense authors, says she considers a romantic suspense novel: “to be a book that focuses on developing key relationships as well as advancing some kind of intrigue whether that’s mystery, thriller, action/adventure, on-the-run, or woman-in-jeopardy.” (Quotes hers)

Nora Roberts, the queen of romance, “views the romantic suspense novel as a balance between the internal tension of the romance and the external tension of the mystery.”

So how do I strike the right balance? Everyone, authors and readers alike, have an opinion on the balance between the two. I personally believe it is different for every story I write, because what works for one might not work for the other.

A romantic suspense is different than a general romance because it has some form of intrigue, mystery, or suspense that makes it different. But how much is enough, or too much? I feel like two-hundred words of suspense and 74,800 words of romance probably won’t qualify it as a romantic suspense, but I’m not entirely convinced it takes 50/50 either. I’ve even heard of authors changing the genre of their book because it doesn’t have enough of the other or publishers saying there’s too much competition and they can’t make a sale. Some romantic suspense, in my opinion, has even become more “thriller” like.

Some people believe that romantic suspense is plot driven more than character driven. I have to disagree. Plot is a huge part of the novel, but character development is just as important. But is it 50/50? I think that’s to be determined by the work itself.

Striking the right balance between romance and suspense is a lot like choosing the right perfume or the right color nail polish. You know it looks good and it feels right, so you trust (and hope) that others will feel the same.

About the Book

Reagan McKinney is on a mission to discover more about a deceased uncle who mysteriously left her a sizable inheritance, a condo in the mountains, and a stash of stolen jewels. With both her graphic design career and her love life in shambles, the opportunity to begin a new life couldn’t have come at a better time. When she becomes involved with the sexy FBI agent next door, she finds her struggle is not only to keep her heart intact, but her life. Grief stricken after an undercover investigation ends in the death of his partner, FBI Agent Garret Chambers goes home to find solace in the arms of his mountain retreat.

That is, until his boss assigns him to investigate the spirited brunette staying in the condo next door. He is assigned to investigate Reagan’s involvement with a large jewel fencing organization, but his investigation becomes comprised when his attraction to her heats up. Will his discovery destroy everything he has come to love, including Reagan?

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About the Author

Angela Smith

In high school, I was dubbed most likely to write a novel because I always had my nose stuck in a book. I’ll never forget the day the history teacher told me to finish my page and put down the novel romance I had hidden behind the history book that he was lecturing us on. I thought it was cool of him to let me finish my page, LOL! Of course, I closed the paperback right then. I was way too nervous to finish reading with all eyes on me.

Most people didn’t know back then how much I wanted to write, and now it’s no secret. I’ve always loved reading about the adventure of love, and getting involved in the legal field developed my love of suspense. I believe the whole act of love is a mystery that most people have trouble resolving, so now I work on resolving the mystery of love for my characters. It might be the only thing in life I can solve!

I work full time as a certified paralegal and spend my nights writing my next scenes.

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