Author Spotlight

Aranya by Marc Secchia~ Interview & Giveaway

About the Audiobook

Author: Marc Secchia

Narrator: Siromi Arserio

Length: 14 hours 33 minutes

Publisher: Marc Secchia⎮2015

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Shapeshifter Dragons, Book 1

Release date: April 05, 2015

I love dragons, but I haven’t read many books with dragons. When I saw this one I knew it was a book I would enjoy. Yes, I know we shouldn’t judge books based on covers, but look at the cover! It’s beautiful. This story is as beautiful as the cover. The author created a completely new world with such detailed description I wanted to book a vacation to this mysterious land. His combination of Victorian, steampunk, and fantasy images brought the setting alive to the reader. The action was developed in such a way that sometimes I felt like I was watching a movie and not listening to a book.

One of the things that impressed me was his description of Dragon Aranya. I think of dragons as being very masculine. Secchia created a fierce dragon that was very feminine but just as strong as any warrior.  All of his characters were such real people I wanted to meet them.

The narrator does a fantastic job with the various voices. Each character had a unique voice and it was always easy to determine the different people. I think her interpretations only added to the richness of this great story. She even did a good job with the sound of arrows and fires.


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: Marc Secchia

Marc is a South African-born dragon masquerading as an author, who loves writing about dragons and Africa, preferably both at the same time. He lives and works in Ethiopia with his wife and 4 children, 2 dogs 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.

He’s the author of 21 fantasy books in 3 languages (2 more languages coming this year – watch this space!), including 8 rip-roaring dragon fantasy bestsellers. Dragonfriend won a Gold Award for Fantasy in the 2016 IPPY Book Awards. Look out for Whisper Alive, his latest release. The 4th tale in the Dragonfriend series, Dragonstar, is coming soon!

When he’s not writing about Africa or dragons 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.



About the Narrator: Shiromi Arserio

A native of London, England, Shiromi Arserio is a stage actor, voice talent and audiobook narrator. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. In addition to narrating dozens of audiobooks, her voice can be heard in documentaries, e-learning projects and video games such as Nancy Drew: The Shattered Medallion. Shiromi currently resides in the Seattle area with her husband and her two furbabies.






Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card
Runs Aug. 9th-16th⎮Open internationally
Aranya Giveaway: $50 Amazon Gift Card

Author Interview:


I’ve read about your background on your blog, but can you please tell my readers about living in Africa and why you chose the myths and legends from here to be the background of your stories?

I think there’s a generation of readers and fans who have grown up with Euro-centric and Tolkeinesque paradigms in fantasy. That’s all well and fine, and some truly excellent work has been produced. But I also feel those tropes are now somewhat overused and under-represent the diversity (to pick one example) of the world around us. I choose to draw from African traditions, mores and values because firstly I connect with those best, but also because there’s a great unexplored world out there that I’d love to draw readers into. I think there’s something beautiful about the African values of humanity and community which I would love to communicate and celebrate.

For myself, I grew up in Cape Town near the ocean and now live and work in Ethiopia. I resonate with the richness and diversity of the African histories and societies which surround me, and I deliberately chose to come back (from the UK) to work in Africa because I wanted to give more or give back to the continent where I grew up. Africa has a magical quality which gets under your skin. Yes, there is poverty, but there is also an extraordinary opportunity if people would give Africa and Africans a chance.

Addis Ababa, where I live, is a city of some 5-6 million persons, always growing and thriving and bubbling from dawn to dusk. Early in the morning you’ll hear the Orthodox churches worshipping and dogs barking and the night is thick and velvety. During the day, the city explodes with busyness. There are people everywhere. Cars dodging donkeys. Sheep. Street vendors. Sights and smells to take in. It’s a joyous, vibrant place where you cannot walk down a street without being greeted or even invited to share a meal, no matter how small. That’s what I love about Ethiopia – much hospitality, and many smiles.

You obviously spent a lot of time world building for your series. How did you get started, what did you use for reference, and is this world static or is changing when you need to add something new?

I love landscapes and situations that play into and shape a story and the characters that move within that world. Also, I think fantasy fans enjoy the unusual. I started worldbuilding when I was in my teens, misspending English lessons dreaming up fantasy worlds – but usually it starts with concept, say, what about a world above the clouds? How would that work?

I tend to draw up broad principles before I start but then allow my imagination loose in the world and adapt and add details as I go along. I try hard to stick within the bounds of physics (for  example, how high can a dragon fly before falling over from hypoxia?) but if those need to be stretched a little then so be it. So we have supersonic dragon flight, for example, space-faring whales and a world that is comprised entirely of canyons beneath a scorching surface.

Describe your writing process.

I have a story idea or I dream a story – I’ve always found this the easy part, as I’ve far more ideas than time to write them. I write a synopsis, just a few lines or words about what will happen, right the way through to the ending (that’s so I don’t meander). Then I separate it out roughly into chapters and scenes to form a framework, before fleshing out that framework starting from the top. I’ll separately brainstorm the characters to build in a few quirks and think about how they’ll interact. Each character gets a brief sketch beforehand but I like to throw them into the story and see what happens.

If I’m uncertain about a writing idea I’ll file it for later. But generally speaking, that’s the process – I try to write 3 – 5,000 words per day, usually mornings from early (5am).

What is your favorite snack while writing?

I don’t snack a whole lot while writing, but if I do, it would be to pause for a Ferrero Rocher chocolate. Coffee is my morning addiction.

What is it about dragons that fascinate you?

Dragons are Fantasy’s most majestic creatures. I like my dragons served up awesome, magical and as full of character as any person you’d wish to meet, the kind of person you’re almost compelled to spend time with or watch. I’m a fan of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern as well as her other writings. It was her viewpoint of fully-formed dragon characters, the telepathic communication between Dragon and Rider, and the possibilities of Human-Dragon interaction which shaped my early fascination with dragons as creatures and characters.

Dragons can fly anywhere. They spread their wings and soar into the realms of the possible. That’s why they’re so rewarding to write.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always wanted to become a writer. I was the kid who when we were asked to produce a haiku, I’d write an epic haiku series in 16 parts. I know because when I write and create, something in me comes alive.

It took 8 books to find any kind of success in writing. For me, while success wasn’t the point, it was a watershed moment when I thought, ‘I love this, but I could also do this for a living’. There’s something awesome and humbling about realising that you could make art for a living. What a privilege.

What are your writing plans for the future?

Firstly, finish all these series I’ve started. I’ve made great headway but there’s a ways to go yet. I’d love to sell a film deal. Back in real life, I’ve many other ideas that I’d like to bring alive. As long as the love of reading and writing is there, I think I’ll continue.

I will take you and any author or character of your choice out to lunch. Who’s coming with us?

Goodness, you do like your tough questions don’t you? Ok, I’m going to pick a certain Mister Tolkien because he is my all-time favourite author, and the breadth and depth of his imagination are simply dazzling.


What are you currently reading or have recently finished?


Mike Shelton, The Dragon Orb – read it!



You can have only five books on your bookshelf, what are they?

AAAARRRGGH! How could you? Ok, now that I have that off my chest:

  1. The bestselling book of all time, the Bible
  2. LOTR – does a box set count as one?
  3. Something by Anne McCaffrey – probably her Crystal Singer Omnibus
  4. Roget’s Thesaurus, a very well-thumbed one
  5. A space for that next book to obsess over. Something unexpected. It’s calling to me, just waiting to be found …


**I received a copy of this audiobook in exchange for a review**

Lucky Penny by Ellie Ashe ~~Giveaway~~ ~~Author Interview~~


**I received an audio copy in exchange for a review**

This is the third book in this series, and as I said in this post, I could read 50 more books in this series. This book continues Miranda Vaughn’s adventures as she recovers from her trouble with the law. Even though she was acquitted, people don’t see her as NOT GUILTY. One of the fun parts of reading a series is to see how the characters develop. It gives the reader a chance to truly fall in love with them. These characters are great. They are real. This author does a great job with showing us the story and letting it develop organically. She doesn’t beat us over the head with unnecessary details or treat us as incompetent readers who must be spoon-fed. Trust me when I say combine this cozy series with a poolside lounge chair and free drinks and you will have an excellent summer.

Author: Ellie Ashe

Narrator: Teri Schnaubelt

Length: 7 hours 17 minutes

Publisher: Ellie Ashe

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Release date:

Synopsis: A year after her acquittal on fraud charges, former financial analyst Miranda Vaughn is finally getting her life back. Not only does she have a chance for romance with her sexy neighbor, FBI Agent Jake Barnes, but she’s also got a new job…one that’s taking her to a vacation paradise!
Perched above the crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe, the Whispering Pines Resort & Spa is a local landmark and a popular destination for the rich and famous who are stressed out from being rich and famous. And down on the water’s edge is the Lucky Penny Casino—an abandoned shell of a once-stylish casino. Max Emmerson, the owner of the Whispering Pines Resort, used to own the Lucky Penny, and he wants it back. Miranda’s job is to get Max’s finances in order so he can borrow the money to buy the casino, and make sure nothing jeopardizes his gaming license. Easy, right?
But the nice boring accounting job spirals out of control with the addition of a Hollywood film crew, an underground gambling ring, and Jake going undercover at the resort as a newlywed—with another woman. As Miranda and Jake each dive into their investigations, they can’t deny their growing feelings for each other. But it’s more important than ever that they keep their attraction hidden. Especially since someone at the resort is watching them very closely, and is willing to do just about anything to keep them from uncovering the truth.

About the Author: Ellie Ashe

USA Today best-selling author Ellie Ashe has always been drawn to jobs where she can tell stories—journalist, lawyer, and now writer. Writing quirky romantic mysteries is how she gets the “happily ever after” that so often is lacking in her day job.

When not writing, you can find her with her nose in a good book, watching far too much TV, or trying out new recipes on unsuspecting friends and family. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats, all of whom worry when she starts browsing the puppy listings on


About the Narrator: Teri Schnaubelt

Teri Schnaubelt is a Chicago-based actor, voice actor and audiobook narrator with over 100 titles, including NY Times Bestsellers.






Interview with author Ellie Ashe

When you worked as a lawyer, did you work with white collar crimes? Is that how you came to know so much or did you just research everything and learned as you wrote?

I did work on white-collar criminal cases, but I should stress that none of my cases even resembled Miranda’s story. I didn’t have to do quite as much research since I was familiar with the law, though I did have to come up with a financial crime. That was actually pretty fun.

What pushed you to write a book?

I’ve always wanted to write a book and attempted many times in the past. I have many half-finished manuscripts on my hard-drive, and on floppy disks (yikes, I’m old), and even old notebooks that should probably stay buried in my attic. The idea behind Chasing the Dollar came about because I wanted to tell a story from an angle we don’t see as often—that of the person accused of a crime—and after all the hype around the high-profile arrest has died down.

How much of you is in Miranda?

Not much, really. You can tell because she’s good at math, and ugh, math. Not my strength. If there’s any similarity, it’s that we’ll both willing to help people who are in trouble and often volunteer without thinking through the commitment. Though I haven’t found myself in quite the same situations as Miranda. Thank goodness.

Describe your writing process?

It changes a little for each book, but I usually have an outline—or at least enough of a plan that I know where I’m going. I write in bursts, when I have time, so that helps me when I get back to my project after a few days off. Sometimes, I’ll start writing and see where it goes, and once I’ve got some traction, I will plot out the next section. Also, I’ve recently started dictating and I really like it.

What is your dream project?

I have an idea and some sketchy plans for a mystery that spans a trilogy. I’m not sure how it will work, but I like to take it out and play around with the outline every few weeks. One day, I’ll figure out how to put this together… And find the time to tackle it!

Are we going to get more stories about Miranda? (I hope so)

Thank you! And yes! Yes! I’m really happy to be working on book 4 in the series, Running the Numbers. I wanted to return to the action-adventure feel of the first book, so this one is a wild ride.

Is writing something you’ve always wanted to do?

It is. When I was very young, I used to write stories out and staple the pages together to make a “book,” so I think is a lifelong ambition.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Don’t pay attention to the market, just write the story you want to read. Most writers are also readers, so if you want to read it, someone else probably does, too.

You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What are they?

Only 5? I don’t know if that’s possible. Can I have five Kindles, instead? I read a lot, and my current favorites change with what I’ve read recently, so I don’t know how I’d survive with only five books on my shelves. Though one would probably be To Kill a Mockingbird since that’s one I re-read frequently.
Miranda Vaughn Mysteries Giveaway

Congratulations Sherry Rentschler

Congratulations Sherry Rentschler

The Book of Now has just won another award!
The Independent Press Awards will be announced in a day or two. I just received word that I won Distinguished Favorite for Book Covers Non-Fiction Category!!!!!!

IPA gives out a Gold Winner and a Silver Distinguished Favorite in each category. Thousands enter!!

 Marisa-rose Shor, Cover Me Darling you took an idea and turned it into art.

Buy your copy now.

Timekeeper by Tara Sim

**I received a copy of the audiobook in exchange for a review**

This was a unique read for me.  There were no vampires, shifters, or fairies. However, the fantasy world in this novel made me fall in love. I have said before that I listen to audiobooks when I exercise. I exercised a lot during this book. The author does an excellent job creating a believable world that mirrors reality. The characters are unique and fully developed. I ached for Danny when things went array and cheered for him to keep searching for answers. I never thought of time as such a powerful living being. I was so engrossed in this story, I missed my turn off one day while listening to this in the car. 🙂 The narrator did a fantastic job bringing these characters to life. He helped me visualize the characters even more.



Author: Tara Sim

Narrator: Gary Furlong

Length: 8h 50m

Publisher: Forever Young Audiobooks

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release date: Feb. 14, 2017

Synopsis: Two o’clock was missing.
In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.
It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.
And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.
But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

Tara Sim is the author of Timekeeper (Sky Pony Press) and can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives. Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld, and check out her website at






Gary Furlong grew up in Wexford, Ireland. Throughout his life he has worn many a hat: He has worked as a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, Tennessee; and as a singer and actor all over Ireland. He started narrating audiobooks in late 2015 and hasn’t looked back.

Gary made his acting debut in the musical Godspell as a student. Since then he has pursued acting both on the amateur and professional circuits. Notable roles include Tom Collins in Bare Cheek’s production of Rent in 2010.

Over the course of his five years in Japan, he was an actor, director, and audio producer. It was during this time that he discovered his interest in audiobooks and voice-over.

He now works full-time as an audiobook narrator and voice actor from his home in Ireland.


Interview with Gary

How do prepare for the various characters in a book?

I give the book a read.  While reading through the book I either take notes, make a short recording or have the character voice so engrained in my head that I can remember when the book is done.  

How long does it take to record an average size book?

I would say an average length book, like Timekeeper, would take two weeks.  One week to prepare the book and then one week to record it.

Can you tell us a little about your time as a puppeteer in Prague? and how did you get from Prague to Memphis?

I used to freelance for a Street Theater company called Bui Bolg.  They are a Wexford based company and through them I visited both Prague and Memphis.  I say puppeteer, the puppets we used were massive.  They were full body suits.  The mouths and eyes moved electronically and we would walk around Prague entertaining and often scaring the locals.  We went to Memphis as part of the Memphis in May festival.  Every year they will have one country as their theme.  The year I went, Ireland was the theme.

I know that sometimes an illustrator and an author do not really work together so as not to influence each other. Is it the same for a narrator and an author? If so tell us a little about the process of working with an author. If not, why not?

Usually, it will start with an audition.  You read once or maybe twice for the author and based on that the author knows if you are right for the job.  Generally, there is little interaction between the author and narrator while the book is being recorded.  I’ll sometimes ask for the author’s ideas on how they want the characters to sound and then I’ll do my best to incorporate that into the story.  But other than that it is pretty minimal.

Do you use some of the same voices for characters in different books?

Creating a voice can often be like making a meal.  Some foods will have the same base but as you add different ingredients to them the end result is often very different.  I have a lot of bases for different voices and I use them a lot, but I’ll add certain things to them to make that character slightly different for another with the same base.  I’m always trying to come up with more and more voices.

Who are your influencers?

Robin Williams and Jim Carey

In the narration world I would say:

Michael Kramer and Kate Reading

Scott Brick

Jonathan Davis

Simon Vance

Marc Thompson

And my coach Sean Pratt.  Even now I find myself needing advice and guidance and he is always there to help.

What is your dream project?

More books like Timekeeper!

You mention you can speak in a General American voice. What exactly is that and how did you develop this talent?

I think it is described as a Mid-West accent in the States.  I am not sure, basically it is an accent-less American accent.  You couldn’t say “Oh that accent is from X Y Z”.  It (hopefully) sounds like a neutral American accent.  I think I developed it unconsciously.  I grew up watching shows like Friends, Scrubs, The X-files.  Being so close to American media and being someone who loves to mimic what I hear I just found myself doing voices for fun.  I knew I wanted to make funny voices after seeing Aladdin and it just took off from there.

How does narration differ from voice overs for video games?

Narration requires you to dial the acting down a notch.  I haven’t done too many voice overs but usually it will call for some kind of focused energy that must be present all the time.  If you were to be extremely energetic for the duration of an audiobook the listener would be exhausted.  Narration takes many times the stamina of a normal voice over.  If you are doing a radio or TV spot, you might only have 30 seconds of dialogue.  10 minutes in the studio and you will have done every possible take imaginable and then you are done.  With audiobooks you will be in the studio for up to 6 hours a day.  

You can only have five books on your bookshelf. What are they?


Jurassic Park

Snow Crash

The Princess Bride

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Interested in reviewing audiobooks? Contact Jess at TheAudioBookWorm

Talk About It Tuesday- Terry Maggert


Terry Maggert has three series, Halfway Witchy, Heartborn, The Fearless. 

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I’ve had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of– well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You’ve been warned.


He shared two pieces from his current work in progress, Moonborn:


Livvy Foster has a new heart, home, and a place in the powerful halls of House Windhook. The fall of Sliver was only the beginning of a civil war that sees angels from across the sky challenge each other to lead a world in which the past and the future are connected by a storm crafted from time, ambition, and power.

When House Selinus attempts to bend the light of days in order to become the supreme power in an apocalyptic future, they confront a goddess who is older than time itself– and she’ll stop at nothing to get the one soul who escaped her deadly grasp: Livvy.

With deceit, war and love swirling in the clouds above a shattered world that was once Livvy’s home, she’ll be asked to do something a girl with a broken heart never thought possible.
Fight for Windhook. Fight for her world.
Take wing with Livvy, one heartbeat at a time.


Chapter Four: Answers

Breakfast consisted of berries so sour that Livvy almost choked.

“They’re an acquired taste,” Saiinov said through a smile. He was in high spirits since all of his children would be filtering in and out as the day wore on. Habira, Prista, and the twins, Banu and Vesta were busy doing the quiet work that House Windhook needed to position itself as a regional power. There was a vacuum opening across the greater skies, and Windhook would be ready to fill it. When she pressed him for details, Livvy was met by a shrug.

“Am I a member of this family?” Her question brought Saiinov up short. Seated around the table, Vasa, Cressa, and Garrick watched the interplay between Livvy and the man who would now assume a role not unlike that of her father. After a long moment, he simply nodded. “Then tell me what’s going on.” There was no negotiation, or pleading. She stated her needs, and sat back, hands folded in her lap like a judge waiting to hear the story of an accused criminal.

“She needs to know, even if the context isn’t clear.” Vasa sipped something from a tall glass and inclined her head toward Saiinov. The tiny signal was only possible after years of marriage; like many couples, they had visual code that spoke more clearly than any words ever could.

He wiped his mouth with care, stalling for time. When he spoke, it was with the voice of a teacher. “Contrary to my hopes, Sliver didn’t fall through the clouds. It still exists, and it will remain a center of power, but reduced. We aim to gather allies and tools to make certain there is no rebirth of the Crescent Council. Our children are eminently able, and we all know our roles. Even you have a part to play, and I hope you’re ready. I know we’re asking a great deal of you so soon after your surgery.” He looked askance at Vasa, who shrank for a moment, awash with the remembrance of Keiron.

Livvy’s fingers traced her scar, but not from shame. She felt too good to let regret rob her of the vitality that hummed in her body. “You still haven’t answered my question.”

Saiinov chuckled, shaking his head at her tenacity. “You’re right.” His sigh was long and shallow. “You’re more than a part of this family, Livvy. We gave something precious so that you might live, and now we’re going to ask you to give it all back. And more.” His eyes were hard.

“I figured this wasn’t a sightseeing trip.” She sounded resigned, but in control. The girl who left earth was gone, but vestiges of her practicality lingered on.

“That’s actually true. At least for the next three days or so. You’re going to learn a great deal in a short span of time, and Garrick is going to help you.” Saiinov’s tone matched his expression, and Livvy saw the light of command in his eyes.

“She’ll do more than that.” Vasa looked outward, where a shadow indicated someone wheeling in to land on the aerie. “But that must wait. Livvy, I’ll speak to you tonight. For now, I’ve left something for you in your room. You’re going to need proper equipment for tomorrow.”

“What am I learning?” Livvy burned with curiosity. Everything about her newfound life was a revelation that wavered between joy and fear.

Vasa’s smile was bland. “We’re going to teach you how to be an angel.”


Thanks, Terry!

Check out his website and all his books on Amazon



Each Tuesday, I will feature a current WIP (work in progress). To qualify, like my Facebook page and post your WIP. I will randomly share the following week.

Let’s Chat with Eli Celata

How does your work as an anthropology doctoral student affect your writing?

Pursuing my doctorate means classes, work as a teaching assistant, and more. I generally read 1000+ pages a day about forensics, anthropological theory, and biomechanical principles, so there are times the vocabulary slips over. Otherwise, it’s just a question of time or lack thereof.

What is your field of study for your doctorate degree?

I’m studying biological anthropology with a focus in forensics. Really, it just means I work with bones.

On your website, you mention five resolutions for 2017. When you make resolutions do you create a step-by-step plan or just wing it? Why did you choose the five you chose?

I over-plan. For any resolutions I make, I have stages with steps to ensure I have measurable goals. Those chosen this year came from necessity in part. They were already in process, so it was follow through. Focusing, however, on them was a decision made out of frustration. I’d spent the last year focusing on my degree despite my debut publication, so I had left the promo side a bit late.

Is writing always something you wanted to do?

Yes. I grew up with stories. All my siblings write one way or another.

What is your normal writing routine?

I schedule out my writing. When I’m ready, I set on the correct playlist and write. Outside of music, I don’t really have any particularities about my routine.

When you planned Warlock of Rochester did you plan on it being a series or was that an afterthought? If you planned it, how did that affect your overall outline?

I knew it would be a series due to the realization that a single novel wouldn’t be enough to get Jon from an excited, young college student / demon-hunting warlock to where he needed to go. Due to that, the end is clear as are a few of the stops along the way, but there’s some leeway in the middle.

Is it easier or harder to write YA novels and why?

For me, the story decides, so it’s not a difficulty unless I try to force a novel to be what it isn’t.

What is your greatest strength as a writer and what is your greatest weakness as a writer?

I can finish a story like nobody’s business, but I am horrible at editing. Luckily, I have beta readers who are willing to guide me in the right direction there.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Definitely a plotter. My notes and subnotes are ridiculous.

Advice for new authors?

Be prepared to work. Writing the book is the easiest part.

Halfway Bitten: Halfway Witchy, Book 2 by Terry Maggert narrated by ErinSpencer

** I received a free audio copy of this book in exchange for a review, but I liked it so much, I bought the ebook edition. This post has an affiliate link**

I have fan-girled for this series~~BAD. The main character is just so damn spunky and snarky. For a young heroine, she seems sure of herself and her role in life. She does have slight issues, but it is refreshing to see a main character who accepts their faults and moves on- no whining.

This is book two from the Halfway Witchy series. It continues the story of Carlie and her grandmother working to keep everyone in Halfway safe from the things that go bump in the night.


You gotta love a book that opens with clowns. Happy or not, they always seem to be creepy in one way or another.

I will say the ending made me sad, but it made for a great plot twist in book three. If you’d like to see my post of book one, find it here, and my review for book three will be coming at the end of the month.

Erin Spencer narrated this book again. She does a fantastic job. In fact, I declare she will forever be Carlie and the author can never use anyone else!

The circus came to Halfway, and they brought the weird. When clowns, vampires, and corpses start piling up in town, Carlie has to break away from her boyfriend, Wulfric, to bring her witchy skills to the table- or grill, as the case may be. When the body of a young woman washes up in the lake, it unleashes a spiral of mystery that will bring Carlie, Gran, and Wulfric into a storm of magical warfare. Spells will fly. Curses will rain. Amidst it all, Carlie will make waffles, protect her town, and find out if a man from the distant past can join her in happy ever after. With love and honor at stake, Carlie has no peer.

Audible/ Amazon

I also got to interview the author again.

Tell us a little about the bar you owned. Did you get some of the ideas for your books while working there? It was a pub with live music, but more importantly, it was my introduction to a couple critical items:

Lifetime friends.

Bluegrass music.

Beyond that, any bar atmosphere is a fountain for writing. You see every kind of human, and a wild array of hilarity. Bars are a lot like the internet: if you can imagine it; it’s there. Or it will be shortly, just wait a moment. You want a pet squirrel on a customer’s shoulder? Coming right up. A demure church lady drops a massive sex toy from her purse while paying for a grilled cheese sandwich? No problem. We’ve got it all, baby.

You majored in history. What is your favorite time period?

Rather than say favorite, let’s say, “Time period that makes me thankful I live now.” That would be the fourteenth century. The entire fourteenth century. I’m not kidding when I say if time travel exists, we should make certain that era isn’t on the dial, so to speak. It’s surreal how bad life could be, and yet some of the most breathtaking art was created. That means humans are either incredibly dumb or resilient –or both. I’ll go with both, since I know myself, and I’ve found that those are two of the requirements for being a writer. Well, those and caffeine.

What other ways do you showcase your creativity?

I don’t. I’ve been asked not to sing in public, and while I’m an enthusiastic dancer, I’ve never been accused of being graceful. I’m also responsible (while I was a teenager) for some truly dreadful poetry. I apologize for all of it.

Food is an important component in your Halfway Witchy series. You also mention being a pie lover. What’s your favorite pie and why is food/cooking important to you?

Ok, so our family restaurants were named Ted N’ Peg’s Pie Stand. You understand this is a love that’s genetic– also, it makes a lot of sense. Pie is a food group. Ergo, I cannot commit to one pie as a favorite because that verges on blasphemy. However, I will give a top ten in no order, which reflect what I’m most likely to eat, although all pie varieties are, to me, wonderful.

  1. Blueberry
  2. Chocolate
  3. Apple
  4. Strawberry Rhubarb
  5. Coconut Cream
  6. Pumpkin
  7. Cherry
  8. Mincemeat
  9. Sugar
  10. Sweet Potato

And, as far as the role of food– it’s both necessary and social. I had a restaurant, my family did, too; I’ve worked in them in every capacity. Food is culture, and culture makes characters real.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that made you proud?

In direct contradiction to what I mentioned earlier, it was a poem. My ex-wife and I lost a kid, and I was a shallow human who didn’t know how to process that, at all. How could I feel such loss for someone I’d never met? I was a kid myself, it made no sense. I wrote a poem about it and it was the first honest thing I’d put to paper in my whole life. It’s here if anyone wants a look– warning, it’s not pretty, but it’s honest. Poem from 1998.

I think, looking back, that was when I knew I wanted to write. That’s the moment. In something ugly, I found something I loved.

What do you feel you need to work on as an author?

Slowing down. I just get too excited. I lean into my books, sort of the way I do life. I’d love to write a hundred, or even two hundred novels. I haven’t figured out how to avoid sleeping, but I’m working on it.

What is your writing routine?

I have none. I might write at 5 AM or, recently, in the car waiting to pick up my son from elementary school. I write in chunks (1000 words or more), but I’ve always got one gear in my brain thinking about books. I use this as an explanation for my terrible math grades in high school.

That must be it. Of course.

What writing tools (electronic, app, notebook, etc.) do you use the most?

Two: laptop and green notebook. I use the laptop to type the actual book, and the green notebook for odd ideas that flitter around. I’m left-handed, so being in a vague dream state at all times comes naturally to me. I overcome said dream state with coffee. Buckets of coffee.

What is the most frustrating part of the publishing world?

The most fatuous notion in the world is that someone else can tell you what you should enjoy reading. To those people, I say: Bye. You love what you love, and the traditional publishing world is collapsing as I type this. Good. They did it to themselves. They treat readers like children and authors like minions, and they’re not only losing, they’re in danger of becoming irrelevant.

I have a few rules in life, and they include:

  1. Don’t tell people how to raise their kids.
  2. Don’t tell people what they should read, listen to, or eat.
  3. If someone loves a book, thank them for reading.

10.  How does someone join your street team?

Right here, and thanks for coming on board! I love my team members– we see each other at events all over the country, and they’re like cool cousins who love books the same way I do. Street Team Super Secret Code

Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert

**I received an audio copy of this book in exchange for a review. This post contains an affliate link**

Let me start off by saying I freakin’ love this series, Halfway Witchy. I started listening to this via Audible while I walked my dog. I used it as motivation, ya know I would only listen to it when I walked.  That didn’t last long because the narrator talked slower than I could read. That is not to say the narration is bad, I just couldn’t wait to get to the end and my dog and I could only walk so many miles a day! So I bought it on Kindle. This is one of those series that I want to be selfish and tell the author he can do nothing else except write more of these books.

Carlie is just the kind of character I like. I think if she were a real person, we’d hang out over a beer, or waffles 🙂 She and her grandmother are witches given the assumed duty of taking care of the people in Halfway, NY. With the support of her big cat, her familiar, and her grandmother, she takes care of the evil things that go bump in the night. A ghost from a long-dead family member calls to her for salvation. Along the way she recruits a local librarian (the former librarian in me loves this btw.) and falls in love with a half vampire.

I don’t know if the author or Audible selected the narrator, Erin Spencer, but she was perfect. I could totally see her as Carlie. The narration is clear and very easy to understand. The various voices are distinct and appropriate for the characters.

I found this book through my connection with Jess at Audiobookworm. She is a lot of fun to work with and is always looking for more people to help her with her tours.

The author, Terry Maggert, agreed to an interview:

  1. When you plan your stories, do you plan them with the series in mind or do you treat each one as a standalone? I don’t really plan stories,
    I meet characters. Then, after we get to know each other, I see how much gas is in their tank, so to speak. Some locations have a lot to do with how long a story can last– Halfway is crawling with magic and characters, so it makes sense for me to stay there and play for a while.
  2. You do a good job getting inside the mind of your female character. Do you feel it is easier for you because you can be an outside observer or do you sometimes have struggle with that? I hear from a LOT of readers who say that my female characters seem real. I don’t know what that says about me as a person, but I know that Carlie McEwan is built to be real. She has flaws and strengths, and she struggles with her morality. In that sense, yeah– I’m Carlie, or she is me, though I’m a foot taller and would look ridiculous in her dresses (although I, too, would love to feel pretty someday, but I’m more of a ball gown kinda guy. I’m classy.)
  3. What is your past experience with Adirondacks? Why did you choose that place? My family is from the Adirondacks, and I’ve been in and out of the mountains since I was twelve. They’re magical. Not kidding. The park is more than five million acres, and you can have lunch while watching a moose. That’s a rare and beautiful thing in this world, and it was easy to see a supernatural world blooming in the place my family called home.
  4. When you write your stories are a planner or a pantser? If you are a planner how much do you plan? Oooo. . . well. I usually have a vivid dream or a daydream ( what writers call *working*) in which I see the entire arc of the story. I fill it in as I go, with little tidbits, dialogue, or points of interest. It’s like picking a country to visit and then backpacking your way through it. You know where you’re headed, you just don’t know what you’ll see on the way.
  5. Since you have more than one series, do you focus on one at a time or do you go back and forth? I can flip back and forth, and frankly enjoy doing so. I’m writing four books right now, and it’s a lot like clearing your palate in between courses of a fancy meal. I really like visiting characters after a week or two and finding something new can happen because I’m happy to be back.
  6. Which of your character is your favorite? I have four (Carlie, Saavin, Delphine, and Livvy), they’re all female, and they all enjoy both eating and fighting. I think I may have a little problem.
  7. How would you describe your books? I like justice. I write Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Science Fiction and Horror, but in every book, the bad guys are *definitely* going to get it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  8. If you could meet any author or book character who would it be and why? Author? Anne McCaffrey. She had more influence on me than every other writer combined, save Hemingway

Check out this book on Audible

The Truth Will Set You Free- guest post by Sherry Rentschler

sherry_rentschler__034and scare the hell out of you!

I just published my fictional memoir and it took me over 20 years to do it. Why? Because telling the truth is harder than it sounds when it comes to talking about yourself. I love to create fantasies, weave spells in poetry, and paint images with my photography. But telling the truth is hardest when it is all about yourself.

First, let me explain the difference between a fictional memoir and a regular memoir or an autobiography. When writing about a section of time, you write a memoir. When telling your entire life’s story, then that is an autobiography. When someone has a reason for telling only a piece of their life, that’s when you usually read a memoir. There have been folks who do one ever 10-20 years. Seems a bit much to me but to each their own. In my case, I had a few important lessons to share and that pushed me to write my story.

A fictional memoir isn’t fiction. The definition means is I’ve changed the names of the people and the locations, recreated dialogue that isn’t exact, and perhaps reordered some events to make sense of confusing situations. But the story is true as are the people and events. The historical nature is intact.

A regular memoir tells a story exactly, without alteration. I couldn’t do that for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was to protect some folks who might not want their truth told for them. So fiction is an added, necessary element to help recall special moments that drive the story.

Some people also call this genre autobiographical fiction but the two are actually separate. The autobiography employs more truth and in-depth storytelling techniques as in a regular novel. Also, typical autobio fictions are longer works than memoirs due to the length of the life involved.

With all that understood, the question returns, why write something that requires you to bare your soul with truth? Good question. Part of the reason is the truth I needed to tell. Lesson learned in my time seemed distant and unrepeatable. Until now. Now as I see my mistakes repeated by others, I felt the time was right for me to tell my story, to reveal my truth. Perhaps my revelations can help someone where I didn’t have the help when I needed it. That’s one reason.

Another reason is I’ve reached that age in life when I don’t care as much what people say about me or think about me. What matters now is the truth. To tell your truth is to find yourself among the internal muck and debris. When you sift through all that “stuff” you carry around and get right to the heart of your true self, you set yourself free. Free of all the debris like self-doubt, self-recriminations, self-censure, as well as guilt and blame, and the other dirty little secrets we lug around like unpaid, excess baggage.

Owning and releasing one’s truth is to say, “here I am with all my flaws. I own them. I am them. This is me.And you stop daring the world to criticize and point fingers at you because you stop caring if it does. You become more yourself than ever. That’s freedom.

Now I’m not necessarily advocating that everyone sit down at age 50, 60 or older and write a memoir. If you have a special story to tell, then tell it when you are ready. That’s key. When you are ready. Don’t be bullied or pressured into telling your tale until you feel its time. What I am advocating is whatever you write that is personal, use the medium to tell the truth. Let it live. This one action is empowering because you allow yourself to be your most complete self.

Some young people today say, “I am always myself. I always tell the truth.” In the decades to follow, I hope those confident youth can continue living those words. Skeptical me doubts because life has a way of pushing down truth for compromise, guilt, shame, or just plain necessity. Worse, we can convince ourselves that we are being honest when instead we couch or color our truths to make ourselves more “acceptable” to others (and haven’t we all done that at one time or another?).

But eventually, every truth will need a voice.

And so it was with me. I wrote, Breaking the Glass Slipper, because I had a special story to tell. How I spent my life searching for love and a promise of a fairy tale after disillusionment sent my life off course. My chosen path was filled with hard lessons and the memoir is my truthful testament of those events. As a result, I am free of my past and I have shared what I learned along the way. I hope I do some good with these memories and that is my reason for exposing myself and letting everyone see the real me.

Truth is frightening but empowering. Truth can also elevate a writer. Ernest Hemingway said, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” You can’t do that unless you dare to write truth. To tell the truth is to expose what makes you vulnerable and afraid. What few realize is once you’ve revealed your secrets, there’s nothing left to fear.

And isn’t that the hardest part? To actually tell the truth. I finally did and it changed me. Is it scary out here? You betcha. But I’m glad I shed my chains and now I can fly. Because the only things that matter aren’t what others say or think but how I feel and how I choose to live with myself.

BreakingTheGlassSlipper-2That’s why I chose to write my memoir now. It was time to write about what hurt, to face the hard truths, and maybe to prevent others from making similar mistakes. Best of all, I owned who I was and who I am because of my past.

Writing about yourself is scary. Writing honestly about yourself is scarier. For me, it was the hardest writing I’ve ever done and the most empowering. The truth really did set me free.

Breaking the Glass Slipper is available on Amazon for pre-order. Buy yours today before the price goes up.

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