Sunday, February 7, 2016

RK Gold: The IAN Interview

R.K. Gold is an award winning novelist from Buffalo, NY. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor's degree in English and Literature and has appeared in over a dozen literary journals and magazines. His novella Just Under The Sky won the People's Book Award in December 2015. His collection of short stories, The Little Black Book, reached #7 on the Kindle top 100 short reads list in July 2015. His influences range from traditional American writers and poets like Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, and Kurt Vonnegut, to pop icons like Alan Moore, Stan Lee, and Stephen King.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

RK Gold: Just Under the Sky is a magical realism novella. The main character, Jasper, is
confronted with the reality that the distinct rules of good and evil he was raised to believe in are wrong. When abandoned in the forest surrounding his village, a place his people consider to be pure evil, Jasper realizes things in life are never black and white.

IAN: Is your book published in print, e-book or both?

RK Gold: Just Under the Sky is published in both formats. You can find it in paperback on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Weasel Press’ website. Digital copies can be found at the same locations as well as Smashwords.

IAN: Where can we go to buy your book?

IAN: What inspired you to write Just Under the Sky?

RK Gold: I was living in Montana at the time. Being around that much natural beauty was impossible to ignore and rubbed off on my work. The first chapter started as a bit of a joke. I did not have much intention to finish the manuscript, let alone edit it and pitch publishing houses. But as I developed the history of the forest and the rules of its existence, my desire to finish became insatiable.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

RK Gold: Throughout the entire text Jasper looks up at the sky to use it as a sort of gauge to figure out how deep into the forest he is. There is one scene in the book where he stands over the clouds and looks out at the rest of the world. To him, all the answers are always up, and that moment was the first time they felt within reach.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

RK Gold: What I came away with from writing this book, is that one of the most difficult things to do in this world is to question the lessons you learned growing up. I guess the lesson to learn is don’t be afraid to acknowledge you don’t know everything.

IAN: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

RK Gold: Stephen King without a doubt. I have a copy of his book On Writing on my nightstand. He’s just so prolific, and still somehow so modest. And though he’s a horror author I love how he can bring humor into the scariest moments of our life.

IAN: What book are you reading now?

RK Gold: I’m reading a few. I just finished Edge of Eternity and Saving Capitalism. I just started Race Matters.

IAN: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

RK Gold: If I am being completely honest I would not be where I am today without Google. Whenever I have had questions about what my next step should be, or how to find a publisher, or tips on developing my brand, I would use Google.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

RK Gold: Absolutely. My writing is my career. Whether it be articles, blogs, or books, I make my living from writing. It’s not something I do only when I feel inspired, it’s something I have to do every day. And the more I treat it as a job, the more I am rewarded with the perks of being employed.

IAN: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

RK Gold: Yeah, not sounding like an idiot. Sometimes I feel like I beat away at a point trying to figure out how to express it just right only to come back from a walk with my dog and realize a simple solution for the whole thing.

IAN: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

RK Gold: Finishing it. The closer I get to the end the slower I move. It’s the same with my most recent manuscript. I wrote the first 50 thousand words in only a couple weeks but the last 10 dragged on. I kept finding excuses to procrastinate because I would just tell myself “I can finish it later I’m almost done.”

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

RK Gold: My next book is another novella titled Brinwood. I am publishing with Weasel Press again, and the release date is set for this coming spring. Brinwood is a violent thriller following a man named Casper’s return to his hometown to rescue his sister from a religious cult.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

RK Gold: When it comes to writing, treat it like a job. A lawyer wouldn’t be a lawyer if he or she only practiced law when they were feeling inspired. Put in the 9-5 hours and you will see the results.

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

RK Gold: Thank you so much for all your support. Your kind words have meant the world to me.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

L. R. W. Lee Releases Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5


Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5

Four years ago, Andy Smithson discovered he is the Chosen one to break a 500-yr-old curse plaguing the land of Oomaldee when he unexpectedly and mysteriously found himself there. To do so, he must collect ingredients for a magical potion. Thus far he has gathered the scale of a red dragon, venom from a giant serpent, a unicorn’s horn, and the tail feather of a phoenix. Now he must ask a griffin for one of its talons. There’s just one problem…humans have poached griffin treasure, causing these mythical creatures to attack on sight.

Complicating matters, the evil Abaddon, sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, is turning more and more citizens into zolt in his ongoing campaign of terror as he sets in motion the final steps of his plan to conquer the land. Things really start to heat up in book five!

If you loved Harry Potter, you’ll love the Andy Smithson series chalk full of mythical creatures, newly invented animals like zolt, herewolves, and therewolves, a complex plot with evolving characters, and positive themes including responsibility, diligence, dignity, friendship and more.

Purchase Kindle and Paperback


5 Stars! - “A marvelous book in a great series!” – Erik Weibel (Age 14) This Kid Reviews Books Blog

“Readers of this series have come to anticipate a host of challenges, intense battles, and on an epic scale. In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, you won’t be disappointed. For lovers of fantasy, I consider it a must read.” – Richard Weatherly, Author

“One of the admirable qualities I like about the entire series is seeing Andy’s growth from a self-absorbed kid to a more thoughtful teen as he learns how to deal with the various crises which face him, all the while knowing that the future may hold unpleasant consequences.  The watchword for Vision of the Griffin's Heart is “courage.” – Wayne Walker, Home School Book Review


Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Andy Smithson, Book One) ebook is FREE. Download a copy at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Google, B&N.
Listen to the FREE podcast of Book 1 by L. R. W. Lee on Podiobooks.
Book one is also available in paperback.

Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning (Andy Smithson, Book Two) is available in 
Kindle and Paperback.
Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook first…Savings of $16!

Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor (Andy Smithson, Book Three) is available in Kindle and Paperback.

Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace (Andy Smithson, Book Four)
is available in Kindle and Paperback.

Power of the Heir’s Passion (Andy Smithson, Prequel Novella) ebook is FREE. Pick up a copy at Amazon, Google, B&N, Smashwords. It’s also available in paperback.
Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook for $.99 first…Savings of $1!


L. R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms series.

L. R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Jarrod L. Edge: The IAN Interview

Jarrod L. Edge is the author of the E7Prophecy™ Christian sci-fi fantasy series. He spends much of his life in St. Augustine, FL and Des Moines, IA either working on the series or teaching people how to program in the Microsoft.NET framework or how to use SharePoint or SQL Server.

He loves spending time with his wife, Lisa, and their four children, Kari, Taevon, Edward, and Isabella. Jarrod is currently working on several short stories in a series named The Acts of the Seven Dragons, also a part of the E7Prophecy™ Universe. Each of his four children will co-author individual short stories about the “acts” of Rebecca, Matthew, Jacob, and Elizabeth.

Jarrod and his family are Christians and love learning about and growing in the Lord. 

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.

J. Edge: The Art of Eten Chu:

One of the first in the Acts of the Dragons series to be released, The Art of Eten Chu gives us a
look into the lives of the young Dragons Sette from the series The Prophecy of the Seventh Elizabeth.  While writing The Battle Between Light and Dark Books 1 and 2, I realized that there were so many stories about the Dragons Sette that I would not be able to fit into the two books. 

God keeps giving me stories and I had find a place for all of them.  So I decided to turn it into a family project.  

That Acts of the Dragons series consist of several short stories about the Dragons Sette but also introduces a completely new story line (actually a few story lines.  Several characters that were only mentioned in the main series, like Niro and Sandman find their home in the Acts of the Dragons series with quite a few new and interesting characters.

Co-Authored by Jarrod's daughter, Isabella Edge (9 years old), this Acts of the Dragons story takes place during the Sette's stay in New York City during the timeframe of the Battle Between Light and Dark, Book 2.   It is full of laughs, action, mystery and a few surprises as well.​

IAN: Is The Art of Eten Chu  published in print, e-book or both?  

J. Edge: Kindle and Nook

IAN: Where can we go to buy The Art of Eten Chu?

IAN: What inspired you to write The Art of Eten Chu?

J. Edge: God gives me moves in my head.  My job is to write them down, describing them as close as I can to what is in my brain.  

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

J.Edge: I do outline my books and do research when needed, but more importantly, I have a timeline for the entire E7Prophecy Universe so that I know when events in different books coincide with others.  For example, where Voyager 1 and 2 were during the timeline of my series.

IAN: How long does it take to write your books?

J. Edge: Book 1, 5 years. Book 2, 1 year. The Art of Eten Chu, 60 days

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

J. Edge: While sitting at dinner talking to my kids about the series.  There was so much laughing and rolling around that I knew the title would be a good one.

IAN: How is your book different from others in your genre?

J. Edge: Most of the reviews and feedback that I receive state that my stories are quite different that other Christian Fantasy books.  I'm just telling a story about a family that just happens to be Christian, not telling a Christian story about a family.

IAN: Are there any new authors that have caught your interest?

J. Edge: New to me at least is an independent author named Felicia Mires.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

J. Edge: I see it as a retirement plan.  I write because I love to do it and because God continues to send me movies in my head.  It's like I'm compelled to write it so that I can read it.  I hope to see The Acts of the Dragons as an animated series one day.

IAN: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

J. Edge: No, writing it with my 9 year old daughter was awesome.  

IAN: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

J. Edge: My biggest challenge is time.  I have so many stories to tell and so little time to tell them in.

IAN: Who designed the covers?

J. Edge: I designed all of my covers, characters, marketing, videos, music, etc.  A lot of times, I create the cover prior right after outlining the book.

IAN: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

J. Edge: Yes.  Make sure you read the Chapter titles, time, and location of each chapter.  The timeline is a story on its own.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

J. Edge: In the works:
  • Enoch (The 3rd book in The Prophecy of the Seventh Elizabeth series)
  • More Acts of the Dragons short stories:
  • The Robbie Petersen Affair
  • Safe Passage (part of the Birds of Passage Anthology)
  • The Tale of Two Moscows (The Star and The Mall)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Christmas Contest by Victoria Benchley: An Excerpt

The Christmas Contest 1,200 Words

Angela's heels clacked on the pavement.  Through the rehabilitation center's glass doors she could see Duncan waiting in his wheelchair.  His faithful attendant, Jerry, hovered behind the investigator.
Duncan took in the details of his approaching girlfriend's appearance.  Angela made him want to leap from his seat.  He didn't require a wheelchair, but the clinic's policy demanded he be pushed from the facility.  He still limped, but he'd worked hard in rehab, focusing on his future, and had recovered faster than anyone thought possible.
Angela tried to make it to Edinburgh every other weekend to encourage Duncan and keep him company.  She stayed with the family, but the Dewars made themselves scarce at the therapy center when she visited, giving the couple time to be alone.  The Scotsman extracted a promise from the lass that when he was released, she would greet him and take him home.  He hadn't seen her in three weeks and couldn't wait to hold her in his arms, away from the hospital. 
As Angela drew closer to the doors, Duncan's grin grew by degrees until the muscles in his cheeks ached.  She had almost reached the entrance when he noted a startled look on her face, then a crowd rushed between them and blocked his view.
Storming through the sliding doors, a noisy group of a dozen people charged towards Duncan.  Bright lights from flashing cameras went off, producing temporary blindness.  Confused, the investigator had no idea what was happening.
"Here he is, boys.  The hero of the UK," a vaguely familiar female voice rose above the din.
"How does it feel to find redemption?"
"When did the two of you get back together?"
"How do you plan to spend the reward money?"
"Have you had any contact with Caroline Menzies?"
"How did you keep your relationship hidden from the public?"
Questions fired like bullets from an automatic weapon at Duncan, who remained blinded from the brilliant bursts of light.
"Now, now.  Can't you see he's tired?  Pictures only, boys.  That's what we agreed upon," the female voice said.
He turned his head to see who was orchestrating this gang of what he now understood to be reporters.  As his pupils dilated and his vision returned, he saw who spoke.  There, dressed in a strapless, dark brown leather bustier with matching skirt and spike-heeled boots, towered Cassandra Baines.  Her platform stilettos raised her to well over one and a half meters, giving her a height advantage.  The former model stepped next to Duncan, bent at the waist, and planted a kiss on the investigator's cheek, angling herself to the cameras, allowing the photographers an ample view of her bosom.
Duncan squirmed away from Cassandra as best he could, seated in the wheelchair.  It didn't occur to him to get up and leave.  His old girlfriend draped her arm around the investigator and pulled him close, sitting on the edge of his chair, as cameras flashed, lending the drab lobby the lighting of a discotheque. 
"That's it boys.  Clear off," Cassandra ordered as a security officer for the hospital approached the group.
The reporters dissipated as quickly as they'd arrived, leaving Duncan alone with Cassandra and a stunned Jerry.  The Scotsman scanned the room for Angela, but she was nowhere to be seen.
"What do you think you're doing?" Duncan asked, incensed.
Cassandra's smile transformed into a hurt expression.  She jutted her lower lip forward in an exaggerated pout.
"Just helping you get back on your feet.  Imagine the publicity this will generate for your consulting venture.  Now, everyone knows you're here to stay.  You should be thanking me instead of scowling, Poppett." 
Cassandra bent over Duncan and, placing a palm on each side of his jaw, attempted to draw him into a full blown kiss.
"Uhm, uhm," someone cleared their throat behind Cassandra.
Duncan jerked his face free while Jerry looked on, bemused at the scene.  Cassandra straightened to her full height and turned to see who dared interrupt her mini-tryst.
"Excuse me," Angela said in a business-like tone, stepping to one side and then moving her body between Duncan and the former model.  "Are you ready?" his girlfriend asked with a pleasant voice, smiling at both the investigator and Jerry while ignoring the woman.
"Yes," Duncan rasped out.
He tried to keep his eyes off Cassandra, but gave her a sidelong glance as Jerry wheeled him from the lobby.  His old girlfriend tapped away on her mobile phone, ignoring their procession.  Duncan couldn't remember the last time he felt so awkward.  Everything happened so fast.  What must Angela think?
Jerry, who by now had collected his thoughts and formed an opinion on the scene in the lobby, saw Duncan into the passenger seat of the car.  Duncan said his good-byes and thanked his attendant.  Jerry gave him a wry smile, as if to say Now you're in for it,  before shutting the vehicle's door.  Duncan studied Angela.  Her hands trembled at the wheel.
"I'm sorry, Angela.  I had no idea that was coming."
"Just what was that?" Angela asked, her eyes trained straight ahead.
"I don't know.  I suspect Cassandra is trying to cash in on the media attention I've had since the story broke about the treasure at Lindisfarne.  I tried to get away from her."
Duncan had been instrumental in discovering a lost hoard of riches, hidden by the monks on Holy Island hundreds of years before.  His recent case had almost cost him his life and when the press got hold of the details, Duncan featured prominently in their headlines.  Years before, he achieved brief fame for a breakthrough technique he'd invented employing mathematics in accident investigations.  It was then he'd dated Cassandra Baines, a well-known model in the UK.
"That's not what it looked like," Angela said, her voice full of anger.
The lass flashed her cellular at Duncan, who took the phone in his hand.  There, on the on-line page of Edinburgh's leading rag, was a photo of the investigator leering at Cassandra's cleavage with a pleased expression on his face.  In reality, the camera angle affected the photo; he had tried to pull away from the model with a look of disgust, however, that wasn't the story told by the picture.  It appeared Duncan drew back for a better look at the beauty's figure, his visage reflecting nirvana.
"That's a delirious smile if I've ever seen one," Angela commented as she drove the vehicle from the car park. 
Duncan thought at light speed.  He needed to dig himself out of this hole as fast as possible.
"Now, Angela, can't you see I'm an injured man?  I've just been released from hospital.  I had no idea she would show up.  I was looking forward to seeing you come through those doors.  I'm a weak and helpless invalid.  In fact, you could have your way with me now, quite easily," he said.  Humor always appeased Angela.
"If I had my way with you at this moment, you'd be on that curb over there, thrown on your duff!" Angela retorted, pointing to the pavement as the vehicle rounded a corner. 
Maybe humor wasn't the way to go.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Victoria Benchley: The IAN Interview

Victoria Benchley lives with her husband of over twenty years and their two children on the West Coast of the United States. She started reading the classics at an early age, as a way to avoid chores, and counts Dickens and the Bronte Sisters as her favorite authors. After a career in corporate America, spanning public accounting, cash management, and real estate investments, at national and international firms, she chose to become a stay-at-home mom and full time taxi cab driver for her children.

Victoria is the author of the Duncan Dewar Mysteries and a stand alone novel, The Snail Man.  Inspired by her travels and Scottish relatives, she enjoys creating stories set in Scotland and Europe.

She is a Christian and enjoys quilting, cooking, and traveling (including road trips!), as well as reading and writing.  On Sunday afternoons during football season, she can be found enjoying an NFL game.

IAN: Please tell us about your latest book.  

V. Benchley: My latest book is The Christmas Contest.  A new adventure in the Duncan Dewar Series, this novel is two parts romantic comedy and one part mystery.  The reader gets to experience Christmas and Hogmanay in Scotland with the Dewar family and their friends.  As usual, the characters find themselves in a bit of a muddle.  Recovering from serious injuries sustained during his last case, and hoping to nurture his fragile relationship with Angela, Duncan and his family decamp for a relaxing Christmas holiday in the village of Taye, Scotland.  Joined by the irascible Chef Mondo, their stay ends up being a whirl of festivities, food, misunderstandings, and a jewel heist.  But it's not just about Christmas in Taye.  The village council is out to make a name for the town by hosting an elaborate Hogmanay celebration, complete with ancient traditions.  Is Duncan up to the ultimate contest for Angela's heart?  This good natured romp through the holidays will warm your heart as you join the Dewar family and their friends for an experience not to be forgotten.

IAN: Is The Christmas Contest published in print, e-book or both?  

V. Benchley
: The Christmas Contest is available as an e-book.

IAN: Where can we go to buy your book?

V. Benchley:
IAN: What inspired you to write The Christmas Contest?

V. Benchley: I am of Scottish descent.  I remember many of my relatives, and their writings, mainly humorous poetry, survive.  Their wit and love of family, along with my own travels to Scotland inspired The Christmas Contest.  Also, their holiday recipes played a role in the inspiration and feature prominently in some of the competitions in the book!

IAN: Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

V. Benchley: I’m afraid I winged the first draft.  I start with an idea, or rough outline, in my head, and just begin writing from there.  The characters often take me in an unplanned direction!

IAN: How long did it take to write the book?

V. Benchley: The Christmas Contest is Book 5 in the Duncan Dewar Mysteries Series.  I began writing immediately after I completed Book 4.  I believe this helped the process along, because I completed the first draft in two months.

IAN: Do you have a specific writing style?

V. Benchley: I mainly write in a third person limited mode.  Occasionally, I employ the third person omniscient limited style.  This helps the story along when my main character is out of commission, or details from another's thoughts add richness to the narrative.  I grew up reading these styles, so that is what comes naturally to me.

IAN: How did you come up with the title?

V. Benchley: The Christmas Contest is a holiday themed novel.  There are several competitions going on at once in the book, some not so obvious and only revealed at the end.  I've left it up to the reader to determine which was the real contest referred to in the title.  Each character has their own challenges or game to win.

IAN: What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

V. Benchley: I hope my readers will enjoy many laugh out loud moments and grow more attached to the characters of this series.  I also trust the novel will help put them in the holiday spirit.

IAN: How much of The Christmas Contest is realistic?

V. Benchley: The Hogmanay traditions mentioned in the book are all genuine, although some are no longer practiced.  The area of Scotland where the story takes place is real, as is Scotland's history with the Christmas holiday.  As far as the romantic comedy aspect of the book… well, let's face it, fiction is sometimes better than fact! 

IAN: Do you have to travel much concerning your books?

V. Benchley: I have travelled to all the locations mentioned in my books and/or have had a loved-one reside there.  One of the experiences Duncan has in The Laird's Labyrinth actually happened to me while staying in the same area! 

What was the hardest part of writing your book?  I find the most difficult part of writing most of my books comes midway in the process.  I feel as though I have to grind out about one fourth of the book.  Once over that hump, things flow pretty well.  However, I never went through that rough patch with The Christmas Contest, perhaps because it starts up where The Laird's Labyrinth lets off.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

V. Benchley: I'm kicking around several ideas for my next Duncan Dewar Mystery.  Will Duncan choose the village life of an innkeeper over Edinburgh sleuthing?  What events or people from his past come back to wreak havoc on his professional and personal life?  Will he and Angela get around to tying the knot? 

In addition, I plan to begin work on a new mystery series.  I am currently busy developing the characters for this exciting venture.