Spotlights, Finds, WIPs and Extras

Stage_vector3 I Was Placed Under The Spotlight – Twice!

I have to thank M C V Egan, author of The Bridge of Deaths, for putting me under the ‘spotlight’ on her blog!  You can find the post here.  I also have to thank Kat at Indies Unlimited for another spotlight feature, for my book Shade of Evil.  The book is also featured in the Indies Unlimited Bookstore.  With Wednesday’s release of The Sigil of Ahriman, that’s pretty good timing!  Please support both these blogs by popping over to visit and leaving a ‘Like’, or even a comment, if you feel moved to do so.

Delightful Finds

A few days ago, my wife (Jenny) found two books in a local charity shop.  One will prove to be wonderful for entertaining the grandkids, I’m sure.  It’s The Pagemaster by David Kirschner & Ernie Contreras, illustrated by Jerry Tiritilli, published in 1994 by Kingfisher (ISBN 1 85697 276 3).  I’m sure many of you will know it, and/or the movie of the same title.  The other book is The Trivia Lover’s Guide To Cricket Stories, Facts & Feats, published in 2007 by Complete Editions (2009 reprint).  As you might guess, this little book is a highly amusing, and informative, guide to the great game of cricket, including some fascinating, and sometimes hilarious, facts about the history and practice of the sport.  Considering the original cover prices, the shop sold these at a stunningly low price each!  The first book is just as it should be, with beautiful illustrations that make the words come alive.  The second is one of those books that any enthusiast of cricket will delight in dipping into whenever the mood strikes, or they just need something of a lift.

Works In Progress

I’m currently working on two writing projects.  First, I’m writing the fourth instalment of G1: The Guardians, as I mentioned in a previous post.  The second project is in response to a recent review, on Goodreads, of the fifth short story in the Thief series.  Not wishing to frustrate a reader, especially one who has taken the time and trouble to write reviews of my books, it seems only fair to write another instalment of the series, though whether it will remain a short story, like the others, remains to be seen!

While not a book of any length, Kat of Indies Unlimited (see above) is encouraging me to write a guest blog post for their site.  I’ve thought about this and I decided to go with a subject that I have some strong feelings about.  Needless to say, I am honoured to be asked!  If the post I submitted isn’t accepted, then it may appear here at some point.

Extra Features

You may have already noticed, but you may not, so I thought it appropriate to mention a couple of extra features.  First of all, the top menu now includes eBook Reader software/Apps.  This takes you to a list of software/apps that allow you to read virtually any kind of ebook.  I included it because there are still many readers who don’t know about these eReader substitutes.  If you use anything else that’s not listed, I would love to hear from you!  Secondly, there’s a new ‘badge’ for the blog, that serves a specific function.  It advertises the Book Promo Day.  Beneath the badge itself is a text box containing code.  By copying this code and pasting it into a page on your own website or blog, you can help spread the word!  The more authors availing themselves of the offer, the wider the range of books featured – which has got to be good.

Book Promo Day – 30th May, 2013

Please Note: Due to an error on my part, the first book had the cover of one book but the description of another! This has now been corrected and all the books are correctly listed. My apologies, Steve.

Night of the Shadows: The Beginning by S M Randle

Set in the small town of Shelby North Carolina, Night of the Shadows: The Beginning follows the struggles and crimes of a woman serial killer. Mounting suspense and murder around every turn, author S.M. Randle takes readers through the story of a young woman starving for love and affection, who is guided by forces that make her do unspeakable things. Things that she begins to accept, like and enjoy. S. M. Randle s scary, engaging evil story has brought the shivers back to the genre. The explosives demonic forces captive the reader with blood and gore making sleep the farthest thing from your mind.

Purchase from:

Paperback –
ebook (Kindle, Nook, PDF) – Smashwords

More information:

Author’s Blog/Website

The 1895 Murder by Dan Andriacco

This is the third entry in the McCabe – Cody mystery series.

Popular mystery writer Sebastian McCabe is about to conquer a new world with his Sherlock Holmes play 1895. On opening night, however, his Erin, Ohio theatrical debut as both playwright and actor is upstaged by a murder in back of the newly renovated theater.

His brother-in-law, Jeff Cody, evicted from his long-time apartment to make room for fiancée Lynda Teal’s gun-toting father, is busy trying to keep Lynda’s gorgeous and famous mother from hijacking their swiftly approaching wedding.

Both men are pulled into the murder investigation by the pleading of Sister Mary Margaret Malone, Lynda’s best friend and maid of honor. The dead man was an old flame of the sister – and the chief suspect is a troubled young man she is trying to save. Convinced of his innocence, she wants Mac and Jeff to prove it.

The many fans of the first two mirthful mysteries starring McCabe and Cody will be delighted to see how Jeff placates Lynda, pacifies her mother, gets to know her father, keeps the wedding plans on track, and helps Mac solve the mystery. But first he almost gets killed, as usual.

“Reading The 1895 Murder, the third mystery in Dan Andriacco’s Sebastian McCabe/Jeff Cody series was like visiting a group of friends who, yet again, find themselves embroiled in a murder investigation. Andriacco’s masterful plotting had me stumped. When book four comes out, I will be one of the first to crack the cover.” – Kathleen Kaska, author of the Sydney Lockhart mystery series and the Classic Triviography mystery series.

Purchase from:

Paperback –
Kindle ebook –

More information: Author Page
Author’s blog

Stamp Out Murder by Cher’ley Grogg

An amateur stamp collector and antique enthusiast, James Freeman, takes a vacation from his Washington DC accounting firm to acquire an exquisite French Armoire that he located on the internet. With his Mapquest print-out in hand, he leaves the comforts of the city and heads into the mountains of West Virginia. He travels to the village of Wanton, where he ventures down the wrong road, and becomes the prime suspect in the drowning of Sam Austin. The locals believe The Cheat River Ghosts are responsible for this murder and the cold case murders from the past. Nevertheless, the Sheriff, who doesn’t believe in ghosts, is convinced that James came to his town for more than a piece of furniture. The Cheat River has claimed one life from the McKeel clan for the last three generations. With steadfast determination, James fights with all of his might to break the curse, before the river claims the life of his newly found love, Carolyn McKeel. Because of his meddling into the mysteries of Wanton, James wakes up battered, beaten and bruised in the hospital. This warning for him to get out of town only makes him more determined to find out who is responsible for his injuries, the death of Sam Austin, and the recent shenanigans in Wanton. James has the life he’s always desired in Washington—A high paying career, a big, antiques-filled house, the freedom to pursue his stamp-collection hobby, and his solitude. Will he give it all up for love and the quirky friendships he makes in Wanton?

Purchase from:

Paperback – Kindle ebook –

More information: Author Page Author’s blog

Topaz Eyes by Nancy Jardine

A peculiar invitation to Heidelberg embroils Keira Drummond in the search for a mysterious collection of extraordinary jewels once owned by a Mughal Emperor; a hoard that was last known to be in the possession of Amsterdam resident, Geertje Hoogeveen, in 1910.

Who among the progeny of Geertje – hitherto unfamiliar third cousins brought together for the quest – can Keira rely on? Distrust and suspicion among them is rife.

Which one is greedy, and determined enough, to hire thugs to tail her… and worse… as she travels to Vienna and Minnesota?  Can Keira even trust Teun Zeger – a Californian she is becoming very drawn to – as they pair up to unearth the jewellery?

As they follow a trail of clues, will they uncover the full collection before the hired gun kills them? Details remain furtive and undisclosed until danger and death forces their exposure. And who harbours the ultimate mystery item that is even more precious than the Mughal jewels?

Greed, suspicion and murder are balanced by growing family loyalty, trust, and love.

Purchase from:

Paperback – Kindle ebook-

More information:

Author’s Blog

Detour Trail by Joy V. Smith

Westward bound on the Oregon Trail, Lorrie Emerson is alone after her uncle is killed.  Ignoring the wagon master’s advice to go home, she rounds up others needing help, and they join a later wagon train and are soon slogging through dust and mud and steep mountain passes, but it’s not long before she’s again forging her own trail.


Print: $12.95 ebook: $5.99 Purchase from: Melange Books More information: Author’s Blog Publisher

Wyoming Escape by Kate Wyland

One dead body is frightening enough, but a second one, plus a dirty cop,sends chef Mikela Richards fleeing for her life. The ultimate city girl finds a safe hiding place on a Wyoming Dude ranch, where she tries to discover if the murders are connected to the mysterious computer memory stick she found in her car. But her fragile feeling of safety is disturbed by a compelling Marine, home on leave.

Back from Afghanistan to heal both physically and emotionally, Shawn Saunders recognizes the type of fear in Mikela’s eyes—it’s one of the things he’s come home to forget. Even though he knows it’s a bad idea, he can’t stop himself from trying to help her, while she’s even more afraid of letting him. In spite of their reservations, neither can resist the pull of their attraction.

Price: $3.99 Purchase from: Barnes & Noble Apple Kobo Smashwords More information: Author’s Blog

The Guilty by Gabriel Boutros

Robert Bratt is a veteran defense attorney whose faith in the justice system, and the role he plays in it, wavers when his daughter’s best friend is raped and the rapist is acquitted. The rapist’s lawyer twisted the victim’s testimony around to make her look like she was the aggressor, and Bratt knows this is exactly what he would have done in his place. But his daughter hates all lawyers now, including him, and that causes him to question the way he has always practiced his chosen profession and the violent people he represents. Then, Jennifer Campbell, a devoutly religious woman, hires him to defend her son, Marlon Small, who is accused of a brutal double-murder. Despite Campbell’s protestations, Bratt’s instincts tell him there are some things that Small isn’t telling him. But Bratt’s drive to succeed, combined with his sympathy for the heartbroken mother, push him to defend the young man. Can he continue to turn a blind eye to what his client might have done, and manipulate the truth as he so often has in the past, all in order to defend “The Guilty?”

More information: Author’s Blog

Cover Reveal & Book Launch

Mystery Book Cover Well, it’s here!  The latest tale in the G1: The Guardians series, and my first novella.  After a considerable amount more work than the two novelettes, and the editing and proofreading consequent to having written the story, the new child is born.

It is my pleasure to announce the birth of The Sigil of Ahriman (Being Part 3 of G1: The Guardians).  The ebook is available (or will be in the next few hours) to buy from all Amazon stores.  The paperback will be available soon.  Part 1 (Shade of Evil) and Part 2 (Evil Under The Circle) are both available from most major online book stores.  The first is also available as a paperback from and the second will be available as a paperback very soon, from skoobebooks.

The Blurb:

An artefact of evil from antiquity is in the hands of a madman, and only the Guardians can oppose his insane schemes!

Against all precedent, a stranger is allowed into the inner sanctum of the Guardians.  This man brings news of something that threatens the human race with eternal slavery.  An artefact has been stolen, the Sigil of Ahriman.  Now, it is in the possession of an unknown person, and there can few reasons for that – to tap its power, risking freeing Ahriman, or to deliberately bring the ancient god of Darkness into the world again.

G1, devastated by their last mission, must face this new challenge and win.  Defeat is unthinkable.

The Sigil of Ahriman cover - small The Cover:

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the image used on this cover was created by my son, Reuben.  The cover in its entirety is a combination of his artistic talent and my own efforts.  I had a vague notion of what I wanted, in terms of the image, but, in all honesty, the brief I gave Reuben was very imprecise.  It’s all the more amazing, therefore, that he somehow succeeded in capturing exactly what I wanted.  I hope it doesn’t sound wrong but I am very proud of the result!  I am particularly looking forward to seeing it in paperback.

The Future:

I have started work on the fourth tale in this series.  I have the concept for what may be involved in the challenges meeting G1, but exactly where the story will take them is yet to be seen.  Rest assured, though, that they will be facing considerable danger and survival is never guaranteed in their business.

Knock me down with a feather!

liebster2 I’ve been nominated for another blog award!  The very kind J R Barker, the author of the children’s book The Adventures of the Frog Prince, nominated me for the Liebster Award.  I am deeply honoured, and very grateful.  There are, of course, some rules attached to this award, which I’ll do my best to obey.  The hardest one is that those I nominate should have small blogs with less than 200 followers.  It’s exceedingly difficult to be sure of how many followers any blog has, and the definition of ‘follower’ is a bit hard to figure out.  I’m not clear whether that means ‘direct’ followers (who subscribe to a blog) or ‘total’ followers (including Twitter, Facebook, and other follow schemes).  So, if you think I’ve got it wrong – I’m sorry, but I’m not a blog auditor LOL!

“The Liebster Award is a way for blogs with less than 200 followers to connect with other bloggers, share a little more about you, and a way to help promote other small blogs.”

How does this work? Here are the rules:

Post 11 Random Facts about Yourself.

Answer 11 Questions from you Nominator.

Visit the other 10 blogs that were nominated with you.

Nominate 11 Other Blogs with fewer than 200 Followers and ask them 11

Questions – NO TAG BACKS!

Visit your Nominees and Let them know they won the Award!

11 Random facts about myself:

I’m not a ‘teetotaller’ (though medication means I have to avoid alcohol) but I do strongly dislike drunkenness, over indulgence and drink driving of any kind (and yes – that includes disabled people who drink and drive electric scooters and such!).  I have always felt the same way!

I don’t use strong language and I don’t really like hearing it, either.  I understand its use in certain situations of extreme stress, such as combat.  There are certain words I don’t even like having to type into word filters so they can’t appear on my sites!

I suffer from short term memory problems, to the point of forgetting what I’m saying!  That said, I have a very good memory for some things.

I always wanted to be a full time author.  However, if pushed into employment, I dreamt of being a landscape gardener or working with animals – neither ever got close to happening!

I detest being called “Stevie”!

I’m an animal magnet.  I’ve never met a species that didn’t respond to me, though some individual animals have failed to do so.

I used to breed and hand rear cockatiels.

I despise any kind of prejudice.

I prefer toffee to chocolate.

I’m under orders from a dietician to eat virtually all the ‘unhealthy’ foods!

I love watching cricket, American football and ‘soccer’.  I’d watch baseball too, but it’s on way too late here in the UK.

Questions for me:

1. What is your favourite children’s book?

That takes some mental dredging!  I guess I’d have to say Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree.

2. Who’s your favourite story tale villain?

Believe it or not, I don’t think I have one.  I certainly can’t think of one, not from a children’s book.

3. Who’s your favourite story tale hero?

Again, I can’t think of one, not if we’re talking about children’s books.

4.  What’s your favourite fairy tale?

While I enjoyed them well enough, I don’t really have any that I’d regard as a favourite.

5. What’s your favourite childhood memory?

Christmas.  Not the gift giving/receiving bit.  The season – making things and decorating.  They were always happy times.

6.  Sweet or savoury?

Yes LOL.  Very mood dependent!  Mostly savoury, but sweet when the mood hits.

7. What genre of book do you prefer?

Tough one!  I guess I’d have to say epic fantasy.

8. Watching sport or playing sport?

Now, I’ve got no choice – I have to watch.  I was never sporty as a kid, but loved playing lawn bowls, cricket (well, bowling, anyway) and table tennis.

9. Cats or dogs?

Dogs!  No good telling cats that, though – they come to me whether I want them to or not LOL.

10. Name one story/ book that you feel has touched your life or changed it in some way.

That’s a difficult one.  How do you judge if a book has had a profound effect?  I mean, I learnt from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, my own attitudes were reinforced after I read Alan Paton’s Cry The Beloved Country, but my early writing was influenced by J R R Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, however that’s only partially true because I loved reading myths and legends.

11. Name one act of kindness that you have witnessed.

Myself being courteously assisted through a very difficult shop doorway by two youths, after they had checked with me that I required their assistance.  Why are shop doors so often on such tight springs that you need to be a muscle bound wrestler or a football lineman to open them?

My Nominees:

  1. Bite Size Canada
  2. Posed and Written
  3. Chris Allen: The Blog
  4. Lizzie Baldwin of mylittlebookblog
  5. Kathy and Sue-Ellen of Tartan Ink
  6. My Side of the Story
  7. Books are my Drug
  8. stephenedgerauthor
  9. DeAnna of Mommy’s Reading Break
  10. Luna’s Little Library
  11. Stories Are Forever – Mary Meddlemore

My Questions for Nominees:

  1. What’s your favourite colour, and why?
  2. Who has your favourite storyteller’s voice?
  3. Who’s your favourite children’s book illustrator?
  4. Do you have a favourite kind of non-fiction book?
  5. What was your favourite book you received as a gift?
  6. Black & White or Colour photographs?
  7. What’s your favourite movie, and why?
  8. Who are your favourite movie acting partnership (any genre)?
  9. What’s your favourite plant?
  10. Do you believe books should be compulsory reading just because critics have labelled them ‘classics’?
  11. Can a book be so morally bankrupt that it should never be published?

Reviewing The Adventure So Far

DSCN7533 I thought I’d share a photo’ or two.  These are the first two paperbacks of my novelettes.  I was finally able to get some batteries for my camera.  Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to get them into good light so there’s some flash flare on the photo’.  Still, I think it’s better than a simple scan!  I still can’t begin to describe just how it felt, after waiting 43 years, what it’s like to hold them in my hand.  Don’t get me wrong!  I doubt very much that I would have them now, if I hadn’t first discovered the miracle of ebooks.  Seeing my ebooks receiving interest gave me the courage to go for the ‘real thing’!

Perhaps that’s the true importance of ebooks and self-publishing.  Without ebooks, I would have continued to write, but what I wrote would have remained forever a curious pile of paper or collection of computer files, gathering dust, getting damaged or lost.  I’ve never had the resources to mail agent after agent, publisher after publisher – well, not since my youth, anyway.  As many manuscripts I produced were either written longhand or typed in non-manuscript format (MS format took far too much paper), I couldn’t even afford to have them typed professionally, ready in case somebody actually showed interest.  But ebooks!  Oh what a revolution!

DSCN7525 Early experiments with PDFs had not convinced me.  I don’t like them.  It’s as simple as that.  SO a handful of half-hearted attempts at writing on the computer simply sat there, doing nothing.  discovering Kindle ebooks and ePubs transformed everything!  A good number of short story ebooks yielded the fact that I could get readers – judging by the number of downloads.  It was this that led to the novelettes.  Naturally, like the vast majority of Indie writers, translating hundreds of downloads of free stories into sales of longer tales has not been quite so impressive.  In fact, I still get excited by a sale.  That gives you some idea of how quick sales are going!  Despite that, I know that there are millions of people who don’t like ebooks, so I decided to issue the novelettes as paperbacks, at the absolute minimum price.  I’m not sorry I did, even if I’m yet to get any sales!

And that’s the thing.  I have made a discovery.  I now know that the dream on its own is enough!  Yes, some sales would be very nice, and no, they’ll never make me rich – or even financially ‘comfortable’, but, I have realised the most cherished dream of my life!  Yes, I would feel immensely honoured to have readers, especially ones who come back for more, but that would be icing on the cake, and icing without a cake is rather pointless.  After all these years, I now know that it is simply the sense of having moved from a manuscript to a finished, honest-to-goodness, book is incomparable in terms of satisfaction.

Does that al sound egocentric?  It probably does, but I’m honest enough to acknowledge the truth, now that I understand it.  This realisation of a simple fact caused me to consider something.  Is my ambition now fulfilled?  Do I now move to something new?  Well, you may be unhappy to learn that I intend to continue writing.  I have another ambition, and it may even be the one that has driven everything else this far.  I want to see one of my novels not in ebook format, nor even in paperback.  I really wish to see one in hardback!  More, it should be a stylish hardback, such as anybody would be proud to display on their most publicly visible bookshelf.  Sure, it can have a slip cover, but the bare book, without that paper wrapping, however ‘pretty’ is very much secondary.  And here, I will make a confession.  I came very close to having that a very long time ago.  I contacted a company I thought were legitimate publishers.  In fact, I discovered that they were ‘Vanity publishers’.  Still, if I had had more money and less sense, I would have leapt at the opportunity to see my book published.  I had a clear impression of how it would look, and I so wanted it!  Yet, with the good sense instilled in me by excellent parents, I recognised that it would be an expensive way to massage my ego.  As a result, and not without a few twinges of regret, I rejected the deal and returned meekly to the realms of the author dreaming but not succeeding.  Today, I am very glad that I didn’t take that route.

The other two of my novelettes are on the brink of appearing as paperbacks.  My recently completed novella will follow as swiftly as possible.  I’ve now begun writing another book, which will be the fourth of the G1: The Guardians series, and I don’t yet know what length it will be.  It is my hope that it will be the longest tale yet, but that could mean that it will still be of novella length.  My production rate has declined, but that’s natural given the increased length of each book.  I’m not really writing less, it’s just more concentrated.

So far, this adventure has been fascinating and fun.  With any luck, it will continue in the same vein!

~ Steve

Delving Into Mysteries – Jan O’Kane

Jan O’Kane joins us to talk about how she came to writing and its delights.  She is a fan of crime mysteries and is currently close to her first novel making its appearance.  I’ll say no more, other than: A very warm welcome to Imagineer-ing, Jan!

Jan cropped When did you first discover the desire to write was so strong in you?

I was very young when I discovered I loved telling stories. I remember telling stories I made up to my Mom before I started school.

However, when I went to grade school, I discovered reading. It became a passion. As my sister would say, in a family gathering you would always see me in a corner reading a book. I think this is the natural progression to writing.

I started writing back in the 80s, but I wrote my novel in longhand. I still have it and I intend to rewrite it for publication, but it will take a great deal of updating.

Did anything in particular inspire you to embark on the writing path, such as an event in your life?

Besides reading, it would have to be the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980. It started my imagination going and I started writing soon after that event. Now, I use several different events to inspire a story.

Do you usually write in the same genre you tend to prefer to read?

Yes, I read mostly the same genre, but recently I found Traci E Hall books. Her work is a departure from my normal reading, but worth the switch.

When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks?

I have to say I love printed books, but I have both. I have my own physical library of over 500 books, and growing, but have close to 350 books between my Nook and Kindle. I also have a stack of books on my nightstand.

Have you been influenced and/or inspired by another writer, or writers?

I remember as a child reading the Nancy Drew mysteries in the school library. After I read all of those books, I moved onto the Hardy Boys. I love mysteries, thrillers, and crime stories.

Today I would have to say Jack DuBrul, Clive Cussler, Jonathan Kellerman, Tess Gerritson, Simon Lang, Patricia Cornwell, CJ Lyons, and a newcomer to my list Traci Hall; I could go on, but these are at the top of my list.

Do past or current events in your life have an influence on your writing?

I use past events in my life for both my blog and in my stories. In my novels, they may not be the basis for the story, but I will filter something from my past into the story.

Have you got a favourite author, who stands well ahead of all others?

Jack DuBrul, Clive Cussler, Jonathan Kellerman, Tess Gerrison, Simon Lang.

Do you try to write to satisfy what is fashionable, or do you write pieces that you would want to read?

I can only write what is inside me to tell. I stay with the genres I love. I write crime, mystery, and I even have an adventure/medical discovery book in the works.

How do you fit writing into your life? Do you have set times for writing?

My husband and I own and operate a mailing service, so finding time can be a challenge at times. However, when I am not working, or reading, I am writing.

Do you keep every jotting of ideas, just in case they might be developed at some later date?

Yes, I keep a notebook and jot down just enough of an idea that I will be able to recall the story line when I need to do so.

Do you write freeform or do you faithfully plan every piece meticulously before you start on a piece?

Freeform. I have tried the structured method, but my mind must work in strange ways. I find myself changing things even with the outline. So freeform fits best for me.

When writing, most authors now use a computer of some description. Which do you find more satisfying: writing using any means available, using a computer, using a typewriter or using a pen/pencil?

I use a computer. I would rather use cursive writing, but publishers want the work already formatted.

What problems have you had to overcome in your ambition to become a published author?

Strange to say, but I believe I was my own biggest problem. I wanted to it to be so perfect, that I just kept putting it off. Now, I strive for excellence. Perfection is a costly and demanding master.

Have you found the online community of authors to be valuable in your endeavours?

As a member of LinkedIn, I have connected with many writers. Several have been helpful by reading my work and offering suggestions and constructive criticism.

Have you found a website or blog that has been particularly helpful or inspiring?

The LinkedIn community has wonderful groups that I have joined. I may not be visible in all the groups, but I read and I learn. I found “Author Den” to be a good resource

Do close family and/or friends find your desire to be published difficult to understand, or do they support your ambitions?

My family is very supportive. I can’t imagine doing this without the support or the freedom necessary to write.

As an unpublished author, have you decided what kind of book cover you would like to use? Photographic, custom art? Simple or dramatic? Generalised or descriptive?

I have been reviewing photographic work (ones without copy writes) for my first cover. I know what I am looking for in a cover, and again, my husband gives of his time freely to help me design the cover.

Also as an unpublished author, have you decided yet whether to follow the traditional or self-published route?

The jury is still out on this point. I have been reading materials on both options, and I have collected books on the topics. I want to see my book on a bookshelf in a store, but for newcomers this is hard to achieve so I am playing with the idea of self-publishing for the first few books. I understand that self-publishing also includes, self-marketing, self-selling and other “self” duties that become the writers responsibility. I am using one outside aid, an editor.

If somebody close to you asked you, have you any advice that you would give them on becoming an author? Is it an endeavour that you feel you could recommend to them?

I would say go for it and don’t let yourself hold you back. Don’t wait until you are in your 60s as I have. Do it while you can enjoy the process.

Have you ever been somewhere and discovered a copy of a book that’s extremely difficult to find, and drooled over the discovery?

I have to say I am looking for a copy of Lucifer’s Hammer by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven. I had the book, but somehow in our move from Wheeling the book has been lost. I still think it is among my books in my library. If I don’t find it soon, I will have to buy it again.

What is your greatest ambition in writing?

Telling a story people will enjoy reading. I write for escapism, so I hope I can provide that for someone else.

Where can readers find out more about you and your works?

I have a blog that will provide readers with a sample of my writing. However, I must be honest and say what and how I write for my blog is different from my manuscripts. I also do interviews for, but again, this is different from my manuscript.

My first novel is currently with the editor, and I am anxious to get it back to start the next phase. The corrections and rewrites will take time.

About Jan O’Kane

Born in Triadelphia WV, Jan O’Kane came from a family of 5 children, attended St. Vincent elementary school, Triadelphia High School, West Liberty State College (now University) with continuing education at Wheeling Jesuit College and University of Denver.  She holds 21 years of employment in the banking industry starting as a proof operator, moving to the loan department, bank support department, promoted to Personnel Manager, and then Assistant VP Business Support/Assistant Cashier.  Along this path she served on a consortium coordinating the ATM machines in the Ohio Valley among five banks, coordinated the merging of systems between two banks,  developed the Data processing division for the southern WV banks of West Banco Inc., and beta tested for Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh.

Moving to Durham NC in 1995, along with husband Michael, opened Always Remembered Mailing Services.  ARMS will celebrate 18 years in business later this year.

Jan started her writing career in 2011.  She is currently maintaining a blog She does interview work for Christian E-magazine Faith Filled. Family.

Jan is also working on a novel that she hopes to have ready for publication sometime this year.

Dancing With Joyness!

‘Joyness’?  What the heck is that?

Okay, so I know there’s no such word as ‘joyness’!  The word ‘joy’ was insufficient and ‘ecstasy’ has an unfortunate alternate meaning.  So I got inventive for this post.  What am I feeling joyness about?  It’s very easy to answer that: I have another novelette available in paperback with one more almost there!

The Ossilan Affair - Spec Fic

The Ossilan Affair, which is the second novelette in the Captain Henri Duschelle Stories series, is now available through skoobebooks.  It should be noted that, while skoobebooks are in the UK, they do fulfil international orders – please check the website!

I am very excited to see these paperback editions appearing.  While there have been no sales so far, unfortunately, I feel that I’m now offering my books in a more complete sense, and not confining them to only those with eReaders/computers with eReader apps.  I’m seriously considering bringing together the Thief series short stories in a compendium, which would be offered both as an ebook and a paperback.  If I did so, however, I would have to remove the free ebooks, which is a stumbling block to the idea’s progress.  I would love to hear from you if you have any views on the possibility, especially if you’ve done something similar!

The next ‘ebook goes paperback’ will be Evil Under The Circle, which is the second of the G1: The Guardians series.  I decided to go to skoobebooks for this, too, because my experiences with them, compared to FeedARead, were so good.  With the third in this series now completed, I’m still trying to decide whether to release the ebook or the paperback first.  If I choose to go for the paperback, there will be a delay before the release…

Where next…

I’m between stories now.  The novel is still in limbo.  I haven’t yet been hit by inspiration as to what comes next.  I’d love to pursue the Duschelle and Guardians series, but both obviously require the vision of where they are to go from the last books.  It’s obvious that I’m building up in length of these tales, so I really need some storylines appropriate to a longer format.  That said, there’s still room for more stories in the Thief series – or do I look to writing a longer tale there too?  Finally, I started writing a children’s story, but lost several pages of work when the battery died on my netbook!  Despite OpenOffice autosaving, all I had left was a little over one paragraph – which was soul destroying.  I do have notes for that story, but I’ve not had the heart to start again, so far.  It would also be complicated, because I’d like to include some black and white illustrations and my own drawing skills are not adequate for the images I’ll need.

It’s all very unclear at the moment.  In the meantime, not writing is an unhappy state for me!  Ah, the joys of being an author…

It’s Covered! An Interview With Ida Jansson, Graphic Designer

Book Cover Samples Today, I have a very special treat for you!  Ida Jansson, of Amygdala Design, creates some truly stunning book covers.  It is my honour to bring you an insight into her and her work.  You will find examples of her beautiful work scattered throughout the interview.  This is, I hope, just the first interview with somebody performing one of the many essential parts of bringing a book to publication.

When did you first discover the desire to create was so strong in you?

My road to becoming a Graphic Designer is a little different than most others. I actually have a Bachelor Degree in Biomedical Science, but have had photography as a hobby for a while. When I discovered Photoshop, along with DeviantArt, everything changed. I was stunned to see what a powerful tool Photoshop was, and how it could be used to create the most amazing artworks. I started experimenting with stock images and digital painting, and eventually added my own works to DeviantArt. After a few years, I was contacted by an author wondering if I would be interested in doing a book cover for her new book. And that is how it all started! Now I get requests for new covers every day, and design covers full time.

37Are you self-taught or did you study to become an artist?

I have a one year education in Graphic Design and Multimedia Design, but most of the skills I use in my daily work as a book cover designer were self-taught.

Do you work in a studio or simply anywhere in your home?

Right now I work from home to save money, but I hope to be able to rent an office soon.

What is your preferred art medium?

I prefer digital art in the form of photo manipulation and digital painting.

Have you been influenced and/or inspired by another artist/illustrator, or artists/illustrators?

I just love the work of Nathalia Suellen (Lady Symphonia), and she has been a great inspiration for me. Through my work for Amygdala Design I have developed my own style and technique, but my early works were influenced a lot by her.

517x808Do memories of times and/or places in your life have an influence on your art?

Absolutely. Even though I often get very specific requests from the authors I work for, I try to let my own style shine through. My style is naturally influenced by my own experiences in life. I generally tend towards a dark but colourful expression in my art.

Do you create illustrations/cover art for both printed and digital books?  Could you show us some examples, please?

Yes, I create about 50/50 of printed covers and digital covers.

Do you create artwork for web design purposes?

It`s not one of my main services, but I have done promotional artworks for authors to use on their websites.

Do you prefer to illustrate “fashionable” works, or do you prefer works that are more “traditional”?

I try not to think too much about being fashionable or original in my work. What is important is that the cover is true to the story of the book, and that the cover is not too crowded. And the cover has to have the eye-catching elements, like strong/contrasting colours and a clear title.

Anne Boleyn ECoverHow do you fit your art work into your life?  Do you have set times to work?

Since I work full time as a designer in my own company, I can adjust my schedule pretty much the way I want. However, I usually work a lot, 12 – 14 hours each day.

Do you plan every piece meticulously before you start on it?  If you produce concept sketches, are there any that you could share with us, please?

Because I work with stock images, the planning is done while I browse for stocks. After, I often try different images/image-parts together in Photoshop before deciding on what stocks to use in the final piece. Then I add the digital painting. So I don’t plan that much before I start, I have to see the elements together before reaching a decision about what will work and what will not.

Many artists who work with computers use graphic tablets so that they can still ‘draw by hand’.  Do you use such a device, or some other device that suits art in particular?

Yes I do, I use a Wacom Bamboo Tablet. I couldn’t do my job without it! Together with Photoshop, it is my most important tool.

Cherry Kisses Cover previewWhat are your impressions of the majority of book covers appearing on the books of self-published authors?

I think the problem with many self-published book covers is that they lack impact. They might be nice to look at, but don’t really stand out from the crowd. With the number of self-published books growing each day, it is extremely important to have an eye-catching cover. Investing money in an eye-catching cover will show the potential reader that you care about, and believe in, your book.

When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks?

I love to have a lot of books in my bookshelf to look at and get inspiration from, but I prefer to read on my Kindle or listen to audiobooks. I read a lot, usually 1-2 books per week, and it inspires my work so much.

What is your greatest ambition in art?

Designing book covers full time has been my dream, and now I am living that dream! So in a way I have already reached my ambition. I have designed covers for small publishing companies, but I would love to do work for a major publisher, like Harper Collins or Penguin.

Entwined Tales From the City Cover v3Where can readers find out more about your works?

My website:


Book Promo Day: 23rd May, 2013

Tangram Zoo by Bette A Stevens The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! by Bette A Stevens

Looking for some Special Summertime Fun with the kids or grandkids?  Need some quality ‘together time’ on a rainy day?  Visit The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! for hours of creative learning and hands-on fun.  Solve 18 puzzles and riddles, make your own tangram puzzle pieces; then write your own riddles and add your own animals to The Zoo!  Solutions and project ideas included.

Price/Purchase from:

On special at right now for only $6.29

More information:

Blog –

Making It Home by Christine Campbell Making It Home by Christine Campbell

Kate had a home, but her heart wasn’t in it… or in her marriage.

So she left them both.

Phillis had a home…and her heart was in it…but she wanted something more.

So she shopped.

Naomi had no home and her heart was in cold storage, frozen by grief and fear.

So she shopped.

They found one another in a department store.


The problem with ‘retail therapy’: you can overdose.

As friendship grows between these three women, they help one another face up to their problems, realising along the way, that every heart needs a home and it takes more than a house to make one.

A contemporary novel about women who want more.


Paperback – £7.99
Kindle ebook – £2.74

Purchase from:

Paperback from Amazon UK
Kindle ebook from Amazon UK

More information:

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Murder at the Galvez by Kathleen Kaska

Murder at the Galvez (LL-Publications) is the third mystery in the Sydney Lockhart Mystery Series.

Eighteen years after discovering the murdered body of her grandfather in the foyer of the historic Galvez Hotel, Sydney Lockhart reluctantly returns to Galveston, Texas to cover the controversial Pelican Island Development Project conference. Soon after her arrival, the conference is cancelled; the keynote speaker is missing. When his body turns up in the trunk of Sydney’s car, she’s hauled down to the police station for questioning. The good news is Sydney has an alibi this time; the bad news is she finds another body—her father’s new friend—he’s floating facedown in a fish tank with a bullet in his head. Her father’s odd behavior and the threatening notes delivered to her hotel room leads Sydney to suspect that her grandfather’s unsolved murder and the present murders are connected. As if this wasn’t bad enough, just a few blocks from the hotel at her parents’ home, people are gathering, sparks are flying, another controversial event is in the planning, one that just might rival the Great Storm of 1900.

Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: LL-Publications (December 7, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0957472617
ISBN-13: 978-0957472617

Price and Purchase from:

Paperback: $13.99
eBook: $5.99

More information:


Distant Thunder by T D Griggs Distant Thunder by T.D.Griggs

Bangalore, 1893.  Frank Gray’s enchanted Indian boyhood comes to a brutal end the night his mother is savagely assaulted by a British cavalry officer.  As the scandal destroys his family, Frank has only revenge left to live for.

Grace Dearborn grows up in England, wealthy and privileged. But once she learns the human cost of her family’s fortune, she is on a collision course with the father she adores.

Frank and Grace share more than a hatred of injustice.  Their personal demons drive them from bohemian Vienna to the savagery of the North-west Frontier, from the slums of London to the deserts of the Sudan. But escaping the past is the hardest battle of all.

Buy Distant Thunder at:
and follow T.D.Griggs on Twitter @TDGRIGGS1

More information:

Review Delight

"Thief" by Steve K SmyNew Reviews

I was browsing, this morning, when I had the delightful experience of discovering that I had received three new reviews, on Goodreads, for the first three of my short stories in the Thief series.  And here, I might sound somewhat critical, but I’m simply making an honest observation: Unlike some authors, I don’t ‘cherry pick’ only five star reviews.  I can say with hand on heart that I am grateful when anybody takes the time to GabrinTheAvatar.jpgleave any kind of comment or review against one of my books!  Whatever their verdict – from “it sucks” (not in those words, please) to “I love it” – I am happy.  You see, I like to know that somebody has taken the trouble to deliver their verdict, good, bad or indifferent.  I don’t expect to please everybody.  If we all liked the same things, we might only have one book to read!  Honesty is a very important trait, as far as I’m concerned.

Imagineer cover for 'Ur'gavan' by Steve K Smy

All that said, here are the review links:

  1. Thief (4 stars)
  2. Ur’gavan (3 stars)

I would like to thank Magda for taking the time to comment.  It is very much appreciated.

Nearly There

I am very close to finishing my new mild horror/supernatural/future fiction tale in the G1: The Guardians series!  It will be my first novella.  I say finishing, but of course, I’m talking about the writing part of it.  The reading, editing, fixing and repairing are to come.  Before anybody says anything, I don’t have the option of getting any help from an editor or such.  Operating with a zero budget prohibits such things, unfortunately.  I have to rely on myself to act as impartially, and accurately, as possible.  It isn’t ideal, and I really would do things properly if I could afford it.  I am not inclined to beg for freebie help in these arduous tasks.  I’m also not interested in joining a ‘critique’ group, or similar.  My experience with such groups, in the field of art, have not been happy, with too many members having their own agendas and with motives that are sometimes questionable.  So I will continue as I must.

~ Steve