Author Interview: D’Juan “OJ” Dyer


I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to my blog to D’Juan “OJ” Dyer, an award-winning writer of post-apocalyptic fiction and a published poet. Post-Apocalyptic fiction is one of my favourite genres and I’m thrilled that you are here to share your work and your writing journey with us.

  1. Before we delve any further, would you like to tell readers a little about yourself?

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for putting me on your platform. I see we are coming out the gate with a loaded question. Who is OJ? In the simplest form I am a man on a mission to transition from a street soldier to a world esteemed writer and poet. I was born in Detroit, Michigan and raised mainly in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

My adolescents were plagued with gang violence, which led to me being stabbed twice in street fights, and the crafting of a persona that I am currently trying to shed to grow into the man I am supposed to be. Throughout this transition I have found myself holding beliefs that are contrary to the normal. I am an ordained pagan minister and an outspoken anarchist. But beyond that I am a 23-year-old father of four, who is finding his way through this cold world. I am a life-long writer although I just recently entered the publishing industry. I also own a niche-publishing company by the name of Half Dead Association, LLC which I started to release my dystopia and post-apocalyptic novels autonomously.

  1. What prompted you to become a writer and get involved in the publishing industry?

I always wanted to be a writer ever since I was a child. I’m going to be completely honest I was a bad kid. I practically lived on punishment. Punishment in my household was different though, my mom would strip my room bare. She would take everything out, including my door off the hinges, just leaving my clothes in my closet and my mattress. But the one thing she allowed me to have was books. She would take me to the local library and let me pick out like six books to take home and read. So, at that point I was reading multiple books within a day, and that made me fall in love with storytelling. To me, books were magical. They transported me out of my solitary confinement conditions into a different world. What’s more magical than that? After reading so many books and being transported to so many different worlds I knew that I wanted to write. I wanted to be able to transport someone into a fictional world and make them fall in love just like I did. I had always been a creative soul, but those experiences gave me an artform to hone in on. So, I started writing little stories but never shared them with anyone.

I didn’t officially decide to jump into the publishing industry until two years ago though. Why? Because I got my heart broken. I completely lost myself. I was homeless and majorly depressed. I started to live with my best friend, whom I’ve known since the third grade, in a studio apartment. I would just lay on the couch all day doing nothing. My spirit was broken. But my best friend one day got fed up with me just sleeping all day and forced me to get up and write something. That’s when I started writing Black Autumn. After sharing a bit of it with him, he got all serious and asked me if I ever considered publishing the stuff I wrote. In that moment is when I decided that I would actually try my hand in publishing, I mean I didn’t really have anything else to lose at that point. Once I put Black Autumn out, it won #1 New Release in 30-Minute Teen and Young Adult Short Reads. How I looked at it was like, for it to be my first project I put out and it achieved that accolade, writing wasn’t an option anymore, it was my destiny. The rest is history in the making. Who would’ve thought I would find my blessing in the midst of what I perceived to be cursed times? I surely didn’t. C’est la vie.

  1. Your work in the apocalyptic genre has earned you the title “The Voice of The Apocalypse”. What inspired you to write in this genre?

I’ve always been a fan of the genre and that even extends beyond books. What started it was my obsession with zombie movies and shows. Then I got really big into doomsday prepper content and just all things that was based around the end of the world. I was fascinated. People tell you to write what you know, and that’s what I love to consume so it was a natural fit. The biggest draw in for me was questioning what people would do without rules. When you really think about it, society behaves a certain way solely because we have laws set in place that are enforced with punishments. If you take away the laws and you take away the punishments, people will probably act completely different and be more impulsive. For example: Say you are broke and hungry, and you happen to walk past a pizza shop. In our current society, you are probably going to be like, “Man I wish I had the money to get some pizza right about now.” But if there was no consequence, most people would run in the pizza shop, steal a pizza, and go home happy.

I like writing in this genre because I can explore that other side, the what-if, and make people ponder their own morality. In this genre anything goes. You wouldn’t kill someone in the store today just because they grabbed the last loaf of bread. But what if there were no rules and that was the last loaf of bread in the city? What if your family was starving and haven’t eaten all day, would you kill for it then? My examples may sound a little unhinged but it’s the truth, and I want readers to confront that truth within themselves. How far would you truly be willing to go under dire circumstances with no rules?

  1. Your dystopian short story, I Did Something Bad (Ascendia Series), released earlier this year. What themes does the book explore?

I would say betrayal and freedom are the biggest themes. The story is based around someone who is looking for freedom within a super controlling environment, and the main character also happens to be deeply betrayed by the people closest to him. The search for freedom and the major betrayal he suffers is why the story is titled ‘I Did Something Bad’. In the end it also briefly explores forgiveness with a strong conviction on action and consequence. At first the betrayal isn’t evident, but when the main character explains it, I think most people will understand it but not agree with it. The twist in that book is crazy if I do say so myself. 

  1. Do the characters in the story in any way reflect elements of your own personality /life experience or those of people you know? Tell us about the main character in your novel and his motivations. Feel free to share a short snippet.

The elements of my story actually refer to a song that my previously mentioned best friend made. It’s called ‘Shoulda Known’ by Sahghoul. It’s available on Soundcloud, and I definitely think it deserves more recognition. But of course, me being an apocalyptic fiction writer, I put my own spin on it and expanded it into my own world. I actually used a couple of the lyrics throughout the course of the book. That came about because one day I played the song while in the shower and the idea for this story just popped into my head. I always have the best ideas while in the shower, it’s my sanctum. The only aspect that directly relates to my life is that the main character is a writer. The story itself is set in a city that is ruled by a dictator. The main rule is no one is allowed to leave the city because everything is allegedly destroyed outside of the walls of this city. The main character is a journalist that doesn’t believe everything is destroyed and he’s on a mission to find a way to escape the city and in the process expose the dictator as a liar.

Snippet: “Almost instantaneously Blackridge lost contact with the rest of Ascendia. Soon after, the mayor sent out a group of officers to seek aid. But when they returned, they came with a message. Supposedly everything outside the city’s walls were destroyed with no signs of survivors. You did not believe them one bit; it did not make sense. No one could envision what would happen next or how to possibly rebuild, but they believed in Mayor Shepard. Too much if anyone asked you.”

  1. Your author bio states that you have done a lot of travelling. To what extent, if any, did this influence your writing journey?

Travelling has definitely influenced my writing. When you travel to so many places you see so many different cultures and meet so many different types of people. Which is crucial to the world-building aspect because it makes you consider different dialects and mentalities. Someone from up north is very different from someone down south. From their beliefs to their morals, to their mentality, its all just so different.  You gain a deep appreciation of people as a whole when you get to see different backgrounds and different struggles, and how they are portrayed. Humans are such unique creatures. Travelling also helped me spread my brand tremendously. I get support from so many different states just because I was able to build genuine connections from either living there or passing through. I was born in Michigan but have also lived in New Mexico and Texas. For a few years I used to take a yearly vacation to Florida. I’ve visited West Virginia, Georgia, and Ohio. On road trips I’ve passed through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

  1. Are you a ‘panster’ or ‘plotter’ or something in between?

Panster all the way. I honestly wouldn’t know how to plot if my life depended on it. The only thing I plot ahead of time is the character names and the locations the book will take place in. I drew a complete map of my fictional world Ascendia and pick different locations for each book. But once I get the general idea of the story I want to tell, I go straight to the lab and start cooking. I don’t really know how other authors write, but the story just comes to me and tells itself as it goes.

Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m the one writing the story, the characters are telling their stories to me, and I just document it. It’s almost like they are their own sentient entities. There was this one time I was half asleep and lines just started appearing in my head out of nowhere. So, here I am all groggy trying to listen and type at the same time. This continued for about a half an hour before they were like okay you can go to sleep now; we’ll tell you more when you wake up. Is that weird? Oh well, it is what it is. It’s kind of enchanting when I think about it. Maybe a little crazy, but enchanting, nonetheless. I say that because I’ll be writing and like I know what I would do in certain situations, but when it’s dictated to me, I just be like, “Woah. You are crazy, I definitely wouldn’t of did that.” Or it’ll be the opposite and I’ll be talking to myself like, “That was your response? I ain’t even mad at you, I would’ve done the same thing.” Yes, I just admitted to talking to myself at times. And I’m not saying I’m a genius, but all creative geniuses talk to themselves.

  1. Do you set aside time to write every day? I am particularly interested in how you manage to motivate yourself to set aside time to write within a busy schedule or when life decides to throw us a curveball.

If I didn’t set time aside to write every day I feel as if I’d be disrespecting my fans and supporters, but that’s just me. Who am I to play with these people who believe in me? Having four kids, it’s definitely a tedious task. Luckily, my spouse understands how important it is that I write so she often will watch the kids for a couple hours a day and just tell me to go do what I do best. I don’t suffer from writer’s block like most people so it’s easy for me to just hop in my zone and go. I learned that sometimes you must cut your luxuries to make time for writing. I used to be an avid gamer, but then I started feeling guilty. I would game for like four hours straight, on the light side, and when I finished, I’d just sit there and be like, “I probably could have made a better use of my time, like writing my story.” So, I stopped playing video games, I haven’t touched a game in about eight months at this point. I’m very self-motivated. This is my calling and if I don’t give it my all then I’m only hurting myself.

Sometimes life does throw you a curveball and you can’t help it, but you have to will yourself to write. Even if it’s half a page, it’s better than nothing. I once heard a quote that you have to put an equal amount of work into your business as you spend working in someone else’s. That stuck with me. Because your day job will keep the bills paid, but your business is what will make you rich. When you come from where I come from, a lot of people don’t make it out. So, when you have something that gives you that sliver of hope, you MUST take it and run with it. That’s how I look at it, this is my only way to make it out, so I have to keep pushing forward no matter what happens. Whatever you are going through, pour that emotion into your story. Are you angry? Write a fight scene or a scene where your main character is furious. Horny? Write a sex scene. Sad? Write a scene where you character is experiencing the ‘all is lost’ moment.

At the end of the day, little progress is better than no progress. As long as you are working on your project, rather it be writing or editing, you are progressing. You have to ask yourself what is your goal and how do I get there? My advice is to set your goal very high. My goal is to own a private island, and with writing being my only foreseeable way out, I have to make time to push that ball forward until I reach that goal. By any means necessary. I want my kids to have a better life than I had, and if I want that to happen, I have to continue writing every single day. People depend on me, this is bigger than self.

  1. Writing can be a solitary process. Do you have any writing buddies, co-writers, or anyone you go to for support, either face- to- face or online?

When it comes to the writing process, I often run to my spouse Ella Chrisman, who is also my editor. She is the only one that really sees my vision in its entirety and knows where I’m trying to go with my writing. She always gives me sound advice when I ask. Other than that, I usually talk to Stanley James II as he has a lot of experience in the world of publishing with his company, GangTales Publications. He’s been a real stand-up guy about helping me move forward in this industry. A lot of the time though I stay to myself, I’ve always been that way. I’d rather deal with things alone, and only ask for help when I feel like I absolutely did everything I could before going to outside resources.

  1. What do you find the most difficult part of writing?

I would have to say the hardest part is releasing projects. I’m about to admit something pretty heavy that most people don’t know about me, and it directly correlates to my writing. My stepfather used to abuse me as a child, and my mom had no clue. So, I developed this fear of being vulnerable. When I finish writing a story, I get anxious to release it because my writing is such a vulnerable part of me. A lot of things I write have my own internal thoughts or feature poems about my true feelings. Being damaged like I was at such a young age makes it hard for me to know that when I release projects, people are going to form opinions about it and judge it. But I’m conquering that fear with each project I put out. Sheesh, you are getting the raw version of me in the interview.

  1. If you could share three pieces of advice to give to an aspiring author, what would they be?

The first is, don’t listen to people when they tell you what you can and can’t do. This is your craft, and everyone has their own path to walk. Walk in your truth, what doesn’t work for someone else may just work for you. (That rhymed and I didn’t do it on purpose, must be the poet in me.) Second, perfectionism is a hinderance. If you are looking for perfection, you will never get anything done. You live and you learn, and the best way to learn is through experience. Third, this is a marathon and not a sprint. You will not become a best seller overnight, but don’t let that discourage you. Keeping writing, keep releasing content. The only way you are going to make it in this industry is through dedication, hard work, and patience. (Long Live Nipsey Hussle)

  1. How many books have you published so far in your writing career and what are you currently working on?

I’ve published one e-book, Black Autumn, and one paperback which is I Did Something Bad. Honestly, I’m sitting on a few stories that I’m not sure if I’m ever going to release because they are just so personal. Like I said, I’m still trying to conquer that vulnerability demon. Right now, I’m working on the main content of the Ascendia series. Paradise Wilds is up next and should be available in either July or August. I’m already 111 pages into that so that’s why the potential release date is so close. After that is Raven’s Rock, which I’m super excited to start. I foresee this probably being about a 12-15 book series, so y’all will be hearing about the Ascendia Series for a while.

  1. Finally some fun questions!

a.) Do you have a ‘go to’ drink or snack to inspire you while you write?

Most definitely! Red Wine is my go-to drink. Okay, you were probably not expecting that but it’s the truth. A little bit of wine is great for writing, it loosens me up and gets me out my head. I can write a little more freely without overthinking about how my writing will be perceived by the general public. For a snack, I would probably say cheddar and sour cream Pringles for sure.

b.) Do you believe in aliens?

Without a doubt. To believe that humans are the only creature in this universe with superior intellect is honestly a terrifying thought, especially because I feel we are leading ourselves into an extinction. But then again, that’s where we run into the Fermi Paradox. If you look throughout history we have many cultures, some ancient, that believed we have been visited by aliens multiple times already. The most interesting one to me is the Anunnaki, the ancient alien gods of Mesopotamia who were in charge of determining the fate of humanity. I also believe that aliens may be the reason behind our technological leap.

c.) Your favourite flavour ice cream?

I’m weird, I don’t really like ice cream. The closest I get is ice cream sandwiches, and even that’s iffy. I’m not really a big dessert fan, especially cold ones. Even though this wasn’t asked, I also don’t eat pork or any red meat. I’m a pescatarian.

  1. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

My final words: Go order you a copy of I Did Something Bad, like right now! Otherwise, you are doing yourself a disservice. Also, every copy that gets ordered feeds my children a happy meal. You still haven’t ordered your copy yet? You must want my kids to starve, rude. Paradise Wilds is on the way, and if you stuck through this whole interview, I love you lol. 

Thank you for such a fascinating and candid interview. I wish you the very best in life and with your writing and am looking forward to reading your work. 🙂


The impenetrable city of Blackridge, Ascendia finds itself stuck under a dictator’s control five years after an earthquake caused the rest of the world to end. The number one rule of Blackridge is that under no circumstance is anyone allowed to leave the city. But after a journalist’s wife goes missing, he yearns to escape the city’s walls. In order for the journalist to break free of the fascist government, the truth about his wife’s disappearance must be unveiled.

BONUS CONTENT: Features a Sneak Peek of Dyer’s upcoming novel ‘Paradise Wilds’

Purchase Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Author Bio

D’Juan “OJ” Dyer is an award-winning writer of post-apocalyptic fiction and a published poet. O.J. was born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan – but has traveled all across the United States. As a father of four and businessman his goal is to inspire people to chase their dreams, and to show his children that they can do/achieve anything if they put their mind to it. He solely committed to writing fictional novels professionally, after he transitioned his life from being a member of a notorious street organization. Dyer self-funded his craft by investing his personal money into learning the business, then creating his own independent publisher, Half Dead Association, LLC to release his novels autonomously. His work in the apocalyptic genre has earned him the title “The Voice of The Apocalypse”.

Connect with the Author

Amazon US
Amazon UK



Today we are delighted to welcome author Dawn Bolton, who writes under the pen names of Alexie Bolton and Toni Bolton. We’ve quizzed Dawn about her writing journey and also probed her thoughts on issues as diverse as time travel and aliens!

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing two of Dawn’s historical romances, The Spymaster’s Redeemer and one of her latest releases, The Militia Man’s Lady, the review of which can be found by clicking on the book titles.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you have been writing?

I worked in adult education teaching law and economics in a university and then left and started a tutoring agency for adults and children. I also run a guest house as I live 100 yards away from a canal in the town of Knowle. I started writing books for children about two years ago but have written novels for adults for about a year.

2. What do you enjoy about indie publishing?

I enjoy the interaction with the readers, particularly during take-overs and signings.

3. Do you base your protagonists on anyone you know, either physically or in terms of their characters?

Yes, for the Spymaster’s Redeemer I based the male anti-hero Francis Dreda on the Duke of Avon in Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades. He shares the same cynicism and detachment as her hero but is attracted to my young heroine Felea who has faith in human nature.

4. What do you look for in creating the heroes and heroines in your books and how important do you think secondary characters are?

I like characters who may been damaged and have endured a hard life but are strong physically and mentally and are survivors. Hence, the men in the series Dreda’s Men are militia officers and in Men of valour, women of steel, the men are ex-military men. All my female characters are feisty ladies. Kirsten in Escape from fear is escaping an abusive relationship but faces up to her abuser and manages to ignore her past and make a new life. Secondary characters are important. The secondary characters in my first books become the main characters in the next books. The interaction between the characters makes for interesting engagements in the scenes and readers like to follow their lives in future books.

5. What inspired you to write the books you have published to date? The Spymaster’s Redeemer and Escape from Fear.

For The Spymaster’s Redeemer I read a poem which contrasted the good and bad in a commandant who came from his prison camp with ‘roasted flesh’ on his nostrils and then bought ‘sweeties for his young son’. I wanted to write a story about a damaged man who is the de facto ruler of a state and enforces the rule of law by the threat of imprisonment and the noose. This hard, detached cruel man is later shown to have the capacity to be caring when he finds a woman he loves.

Escape from Fear was inspired when I watched a programme about men who feed their women until they are obese and are totally dependent on them, ie they exercise controlled coercion over these women. I also remembered one of my secretaries at the university being stalked and murdered by someone. So, I wrote a book about a woman who searches for the people who set fire to her aunt’s house but is also escaping an abusive relationship aided by the hero who helps her overcome her issues from the past.

6. What was the most challenging aspect of each of the stories to write and why?

I found writing Kirsten’s character in Escape from Fear difficult. It was getting the balance between writing a gentle character who was trying to escape her past and overcome her fears and showing she was still a strong person despite her need to take counselling. It was difficult in the Spymaster’s redeemer making the reader empathise with but still be repelled by Francis Dreda as he is a complex character, warm with those he loves but cold and detached and cruel to others, a man one loves to hate.

7. Do you enjoy the research aspect of writing your books? Do you research the worlds your books are based in prior to starting writing or do you research as you go along? Are you a planner of a panster?

I enjoy the researching the history, particularly the law. Some of the history I studied at university, but I had to research American criminal law and procedure for Escape from fear as one of my characters is in jail for a while. I am usually a panster so the research is usually done while I am writing a book and can change the direction of a book when I find something unexpected. I found while researching Whisper softly or you’re dead the forensic science particularly difficult to research. Tv series like SCI New York oversimplify the work.

8. Why do you think readers enjoy reading about romance in their novels and do you think that romance novels are just for women?

I think readers like strong characters and conflict between the hero and heroine, but the conflict normally must be resolved in a happy ending. Two of my readers who gave ‘The Spymaster’s redeemer 5 stars were men and said they enjoy a good romance if it has adventure and intrigue in it.

9. Have you any writing/publishing projects in the pipeline that you are able to share?

I have recently written the first part of my paranormal series. The Avenged. Part one. The Seeds of Vengeance under the name of Toni Bolton, a series about a boy who meets a stranger and the meeting changes his life for ever. He searches later for his identity and meets the stranger again. This story is in Tricks or Treats, a Halloween anthology edited by Tiffany Carby and is available soon on Amazon. My Halloween book, Tales of Terror, Mystery and Murder should be out soon under the name of Toni Bolton. There is a sweet and innocent romance set at Halloween also coming out soon called, ‘The Toy,’ by Toni Bolton. A little girl makes friend with a marionette and is soon under her spell.

My final project that is coming out in November is called ‘Innocence and Deception’. I am excited about this because the heroine is quite feisty. She is convicted of murdering her husband and sacrifices parole by escaping so she can reach her daughter. An FBI agent saves her life when she falls from a ferry but she leads him a merry dance when she escapes from the hospital where she is supposedly recovering.

10. Have you a message for readers?

Try reading books from genres you normally don’t read. I have done so recently when I have reviewed books and found them refreshingly different from the normal books I read. Communicate with authors. They love feedback, good or bad. It improves their writing.

Some quick fire questions, just for fun! 

Name 5 things you would not like to be without if stranded on a desert island:

I would like to take art equipment as I like to draw. An e-reader so I can read books. Tea, curries and pizzas.

Glass half full or half empty?

I am a glass full person usually. I like being with positive people who make things happen.

If time travel was possible, would you rather travel into the future or back to the past? Explain your answer.

I would like to travel to the future to see what is going to happen to this planet and how it will shape our future environment.

If you could only travel to the past, what would be your preferred time period and why?

The medieval period interests me, particularly when religion dominated the everyday lives of many people, particularly women.

Do you believe in the existence of aliens?

Yes, there are too many things that cannot be unexplained in the universe and on earth to ignore their existence.

Connect with the Author

Author’s Facebook Page

Author’s Amazon Page UK

Author’s Amazon Page US

Purchase Links

Writing as Alexie Bolton

The Spymaster’s Redeemer

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Militia Man’s Lady

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Twilight to Lamplights ~ Cowboy Antholigy, edited by Tiffany Carby and Kathia Iblis

I wrote a historical romance for the cowboy anthology ‘Twilight to Lamplights’ under the name Alexie Bolton. A young woman arrives in a small town during the Gold Rush hoping to start a new life but dark secrets from her past catch up with her.

Amazon UK

Writing as Toni Bolton

Escape from Fear: Men of Valour Women of Steel 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Whisper Softly or you’re Dead: Men of Valour, Women of Steel

A romantic suspense/ crime novel. Former Marine, now profiler Dr Darrell Defoe and Dr Kate Masters, a forensic scientist find love and danger whilst searching for a serial killer who leaves red herrings.


Amazon US

Saving Grace: Men of Valour, Women of Steel

A novella originally called A Blinding Flash is now called Saving Grace and is a novel in its own right. Georgie and baby Grace escaped her the baby’s parents’ house when it was bombed. Georgie drives to Mammoth Mountain to hide in the parents’ lodge where she can use the net to find the bombers. They are after her. Can Marshall O’Hara find her before her enemies do?

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Tricks or Treats

Amazon UK

Amazon US







*REVIEW* ~ Split Second: A play by Sharon Rose

#community #play #inspirational 

A very special journey for author Sharon Rose 

Reflections and a Review

Author Sharon Rose is one of those individuals who are an inspiration to us all. After surviving breast cancer Sharon uses her creative and artistic talents to raise awareness and funds for both national and local charities. These not only include Cancer Research UK but also other charities, who have over the years been a source of solace and support to herself and her family and friends.

I know Sharon through the contribution she has made to the work of Tamworth Literary Festival which I am involved in and I was excited for her when earlier this year she announced that she was working on a script for a play entitled ‘Split Second.’ Sharon hoped that the play would not only raise awareness of a number of health issues and life challenges she and others have encountered but also provide solace and support to those who have been affected either directly or through supporting loved ones. The largely autobiographical script draws largely on Sharon’s own experiences as set out in the series of books she has published to date.

Over the coming weeks the theatre at a local secondary school was booked and thus began the task of reaching out to local actors and would-be-actors (many of whom who had not been in a theatre production before); securing a cast; refining the script; organising rehearsals; advertising and ticketing – the list goes on. Through it all Sharon embraced the many challenges and opportunities that the venture threw at her with her typical good-natured determination, always with a smile on her face. I was honoured when I, along with local author and blogger Sue Flint, was asked if I wanted to review the play.

Scroll down to read my review and also to find out more about Sharon’s work in supporting local and national charities and her writing. Sharon will be taking an active part in the Tamworth Literary Festival in March 2018 (details to be anounced soon). Check out the Tamworth Literary Festival pages for regular updates.

Tina 🙂

My Review of the Community Play Split Second 

Inspirational and Life Affirming ~ 5 stars

On 18th November I was fortunate to have a front row seat at the premier of Split Second. The play, penned by the indefatigable Sharon Rose involved actors, musicians and dancers of all ages, drawn from the local community.

At the centre of the story is single parent Lucy who, like most of us, struggles with the vagaries of life, whether they be work, relationship or family issues. These are all thrown into sharp relief when Lucy is confronted with the news that she has breast cancer. The play looks at Lucy’s life prior to during and after her diagnosis and not only reflects on how she copes but also how the individuals closest to her – her family and friends, including those at her beloved Salsa club, support her through the process. The scenes flow effortlessly from ballroom to hospital wards, including scenes of home and work life and a holiday in Magaluf. The script is punctuated throughout by music, dance and song.

The script  references some heart-rending issues: cancer, sepsis and domestic abuse. It brought tears to my eyes at some points, but it also contains much humour and laugh-out-loud moments. The overall message is life-affirming, not least the power of the individual spirit and also the importance of friends in helping us face whatever fate has in store for us. The title and the content of the play ‘Split Second’ reminded the audience of how life can change in the blink of an eye and how we should all seek to make the most of the time we have on the planet.

All involved in the production, from the performers to the directors, back stage and front of house crew are to be complimented.The lady who played Lucy is worthy of particular note as is the gentleman who played her friend (and would-be-lover) Greg; the dancer Summer who provided a series of spellbinding dance routines at various points in the production; Jenny who sings a fantastic solo and Sharon’s son, the musician Ali Glbert who makes an appearance.

The event, which played to a packed theatre, was a memorable experience for both the audience and cast involved.

About Sharon

Sharon (in the words from her website), ‘started writing and expressing herself through the written word, finding it very therapeutic and aiming her books are at those who are experiencing adversity. To give them strength and hope for a brighter future.’ Sharon’s books include Single Salsa Survivor: The Journal of a Breast Cancer Survivor, Always Sublime Never Ridiculous, Living in Grief. Loving in Grief and Looking In, looking Back: Happy memories That’s A Fact.

Find out more about Sharon’s books and how you can support her chosen charities on her website, which also contains some of her poetry:


*AUTHOR/BOOK SPOTLIGHT*~ The Passage of Desire: French Summer Prequel, by Laurette Long

#family #drama

The Passage of Desire: French Summer Prequel by Laurette Long
£0.91/$0.99, free on Kindle Unlimited

We are THRILLED to be featuring Laurette Long’s latest release, The Passage of Desire. We have been a fan of Laurette’s work since Caroline, my co-blogger reviewed  the sweet romance Hot Basque, book 2 in the French Summer Novels (click on the title for review). We also love reading Laurette’s entertaining and inspiring blog where she not only shares excerpts from her writing but also snippets from her life in the beautiful South of France, a place which has inspired her muse on many an ocassion. The Passage of Desire, a prequel to the French Summer Novels, is a family drama which I am looking forward to reviewing very soon. Tina 🙂


The French Summer Novels are a series of contemporary romances set in the stunning French Basque country, following the lives of two sisters, Caroline and Annabel, and their friends. In this prequel we step back in time to meet Alexandra, their mother, and learn more about her story in the years before her fatal car crash. When Alexandra dies, she takes with her a terrible secret …

Yorkshire, 1991: the summer that everything changed.

Alexandra and her seven-year-old daughter, Caroline, arrive in the village of Haworth to spend a holiday with Alexandra’s best friend from school, Juliet. Though the years have passed, the two friends quickly fall into their old intimacy, sharing reminiscences and comparing the different paths their lives have taken. Juliet seems to have it all – marriage to childhood sweetheart, Alan, two children and an adorable grandchild – while Alexandra is a troubled soul, an only child brought up in a dysfunctional family, prone to bouts of depression since the birth of Caroline, and becoming more and more estranged from husband Robbie.

But life with the boisterous, touchy-feely Pearson family in their rambling disorganised house starts to lift Alexandra’s spirits. Hot sunny days filled with long walks across the purple moors, leisurely picnics, drinks on the terrace in the evening, laughing at the antics of Caroline and the family collie, Bonnie. Oliver, the Pearson son, usually joins in the fun, ready to top up the drinks or join Caroline and Bonnie in their game of catch.

A perfect summer idyll, which is about to be shattered by violence and betrayal.

Underneath the surface, tensions build and emotions come to the boil. Cath, the Pearson’s second child, is a teenage Mum, eking out a precarious existence with a shifty, unreliable partner, a less than ideal father for the couple’s baby son. Their situation is a source of friction and worry for Juliet, who’s also bracing herself for the departure of 19-year-old Oliver, the golden boy, off to Cambridge in September. Young Caroline is missing her Daddy, on a business trip to New York, and burdened by feelings of responsibility to a ‘fragile’ Mummy, who needs looking after.

And meanwhile, through an innocent gesture, an unguarded look, a spark ignites, a flame is lit, a forbidden desire grows. As the characters go about their normal routines, two of them become caught up in an escalating conflict, torn between the demands of loyalty and friendship and the irresistible urges of the human heart. As the holiday draws to an end, events take a sudden, dramatic turn, setting off a chain reaction that will change the lives of everyone forever.


Amazon UK  Amazon US


Laurette was born in Brontëland which perhaps explains her penchant for romantic novels, passionate heroines and strong, independent heroines. On a school trip to France, aged thirteen, she fell madly in love (with France mainly, but the tobacconist’s son, he of the bold black eyes and cheeky grin, also made a big impression.)

After a teaching career in the UK, the USA, and France, she moved to a hamlet of four houses in rural Tarn, where she started to write fiction. The novels in the French Summer Series were inspired by holidays in the Basque country: Book 1 ‘Biarritz Passion’, Book 2 ‘Hot Basque’ and a forthcoming Book 3 ‘Villa Julia’. The Brontës were still hovering in the background, though, which is why a prequel, ‘The Passage of Desire’, is set in the moorland village of Haworth. The book goes back in time to reveal a mystery involving Alexandra, the mother of the two main characters in the series. But a French connexion slips in when Alexandra goes to Paris and finds herself in an ancient cobbled passageway, Le Passage du Desir, where she witnesses a disturbing scene…

Readers please note: the passage really exists, and more of its history can be found on Laurette’s blog:


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*AUTHOR POST* ~ Fun, Fast Thrillers – and Dyslexia Friendly Too, by AA Abbott


AA Abbott’s Crime Thriller, The Vodka Trail is one of my current reads and I’ll be posting a review of it very soon. I’m THRILLED that the author has taken time out to write a post about how she went about producing a dyslexia-friendly version of the book and the previous one in the series, The Bride’s Trail.

I am also looking forward to meeting the author at the Tamworth Literary Festival Book Blasts on Saturday 4th March and also on Saturday 11th March where she will be discussing her work with author Rob Sinclair in an Author Thriller Panel at 2.00pm. If you want to find out more about the festival and AA Abbott follow the links after reading this post. 🙂 

Author Post – AA Abbott

I write fun, fast thrillers that are easy to read. While I devoured the classics at school, I’ve always loved a rattling good yarn best of all. That’s what I set out to write. My style owes a lot to the old Harold Robbins blockbusters, as well as more modern writers like John Grisham and Kate Atkinson. Read The Gap, the “5 minute crime thriller” on my website to get a feel for my work. 

As it happens, I’ve learned ‎that not everyone picks up a book for fun. Dyslexia runs like a thread through my family, knitting together the generations. Although I dodged it myself, my hand-eye co-ordination is poor – I’m only now learning to touch-type. Having discovered no books were published for dyslexic adults at all, I decided I would fill that gap with dyslexia-friendly editions of my last crime thrillers, The Bride’s Trail and The Vodka Trail


It isn’t rocket science to produce a dyslexia-friendly book. With guidance from Alistair Sims – himself dyslexic, and the owner of a bookshop in the gracious seaside town of Clevedon – I followed the BDA guidelines. My new editions are printed in a large sans serif font, on cream paper (easier on the eye than bright white). They’re listed on Amazon (just click on either The Bride’s Trail or The Vodka Trail to find them) and available to bookshops (who can order them from their wholesalers if they’re not in stock).


So far, the response has been positive, with dyslexic readers telling me that the new books are very quick to read and don’t stress them out like more conventional paperbacks. I’m also planning to record audio-books to make my crime thrillers even more accessible. They’re already available as e-books and traditional paperbacks, of course. 

helen-tbt-new-cover-kindle-thumbnailSo what are the books about? The Bride’s Trail follows the fortunes of Amy, who’s just graduated and is struggling in a dead-end job, fed up with her non-existent love life and jealous of Kat, her glamorous flatmate. Everything changes when Kat disappears. It seems she’s been marrying illegal immigrants for money, and if local gangster Shaun can be believed, she’s stolen cash from him too. Amy’s quest to find Kat and warn her about Shaun leads her to the semi-secret tunnels below Birmingham’s old Jewellery Quarter – and a descent into danger. 

The Vodka Trail moves the action a year on, with Kat trying to recover her family’s vodka business in the former helen-tvt-thumbnailSoviet Union. Naturally, that causes some panic for current owner Harry, and Marty, the swashbuckling Birmingham businessman who distributes the premium vodka across the globe.  Despite Kat and Marty’s distaste for each other, they must co-operate to survive when they’re both kidnapped by terrorists.  

Both thrillers are a pacy, quick read (as are my earlier standalone books, Up In Smoke and After The Interview). I’m currently writing The Grass Trail, which focuses on villainous Shaun’s continuing obsession with Kat. This will be out in Summer 2017, and you can receive updates (and a free e-book of short stories) by subscribing for my newsletter at 

I’m also on Twitter as @AAAbbottStories and on Facebook`, so feel free to connect with me there too.

To find out about Tamworth’s Literary Festival which is taking place 3rd -11 th March 2017 visit:

To find out about the Book Blasts, which include 20+ authors and the Thriller Panel visit:



*SHELLEY WILSON* ~ Author Interview and Spotlight on her new release Guardians of the Lost Lands (book 3 of The Guardians)


Today we are delighted to welcome Shelley Wilson to our blog. Shelley is the author of young adult fiction and self-help non-fiction and she is also an active blogger. We are thrilled that she has agreed to provide us with an interview so that we can quiz her about her writing process, future plans and also her new release Guardians of the Lost Lands (book 3 of The Guardians). Scroll down to find out more. 🙂 

Interview with Shelley

1.Welcome to our blog Shelley, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what prompted you to start writing?

I was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire but moved to the West Midlands when I was just eight years old. Even though I have a Brummie accent, I still think of myself as a Yorkshire lass!

I’m a single mum to three amazing teenagers, one fat goldfish, and a black cat called Luna. My background is in holistic health, and I ran a successful ladies only spa for seven years before illness forced my hand, and I had to close. Writing always played an important part in my life from a young age, but it was only when I reached my thirties that I took it seriously – or should that be, took myself seriously as a writer.

2.Your books encompass young adult fiction and self-help non-fiction. Which genre did you write in first and to what extent do you think (if any) your writing in either  genre influences the other?

swi1I’ve written fiction for years but never did anything with it. I would submit work to magazines and receive positive feedback but then allow self-doubt to penetrate my thoughts. I never considered writing non-fiction until I started blogging. It was the self-help titles that hit the bookshelves first and in turn that success influenced me to complete my YA trilogy.

There is a fine line between both genres. It might seem strange saying that as one contains demons, faeries, and witches, and the other talks about meditation, goal setting, and achieving success, however, my protagonist in the Guardian trilogy requires all the skills from my self-help books to fulfill her quest.

I was also able to incorporate my energy healing and meditation techniques in my fantasy novels, giving my MC powers that accessed her chakra points (seven wheels of energy we have in our body). I enjoyed overlapping the two.

3.What role do you think that young adult novels can play in helping young people address issues around their own self-development, their relationship with others and the wider world?

Great question! As a YA author and a mum to three teens, helping young people is at the forefront of my mind. One of the things I love most about the YA genre is how no topic is taboo. The youngsters of today have more to deal with than my generation ever did, and the advancements in technology have a lot to do with that. They can’t switch off – ever! Life is 24/7 and with this speed, comes an increase in anxiety and mental health issues. Being able to cover these topics in YA novels is of great importance. Not only do you want to give your young reader a break from reality, but you want to answer their questions, or test their opinions and prepare them for an unknown future.

4.In terms of the world building in your fantasy series The Guardians, did you swi2carry out much research into or did you give your imagination free reign?

There was minimal research involved in the world building aspect, apart from spending a pleasant couple of hours scrolling through the fantasy art images on Pinterest and adding them to my book boards. Having said that, even though my demon and faerie realms are made-up, I still need to ensure they have a hierarchy. For example, in book one, Guardians of the Dead, the demon realm is ruled by a General, who commands his army and runs the stronghold. In the second book, Guardians of the Sky, there are some scenes set in a castle (of sorts), so I needed to research the terminology to make it easier for my readers to picture. It’s these details that I need to look into as I build my worlds.

5.What was your inspiration for the story and the characters in The Guardians series?

The rough idea behind the trilogy came from a photograph of a hooded statue in a cemetery that I saw in a magazine. I have a fascination with cemeteries and so kept flicking back to this particular image. I ended up cutting it out and fixing it to my notice board. The more I looked at it, the more the story details fell into place. My organisational side kicked in soon after, and I plotted the novel out chapter by chapter.

It might be worth noting that I used NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to write the first draft of all three books in the trilogy. According to the rules, you are allowed to plan, plot and build character profiles, but you can’t begin writing until 1st November. Before I began writing the first book I immersed myself in the world I had created, collecting fantasy images and jotting down any scene ideas that came to mind. The characters evolved over time, but my MC, Amber, was fully formed from the moment I saw that image in the magazine. She’s everything I wished I’d been at sixteen!

6.What has been some of the most rewarding aspects of writing your self-help books?

sw5My non-fiction book, How I Changed My Life in a Year, was published in 2014 and I still receive tons of emails, tweets, and Facebook messages from readers thanking me for writing it. Hearing how people have started Open University courses, changed career, or turned their lives around after reading my book is incredible. I’ve cried at some of the marvelous letters I’ve had and made loads of new friends because of that single book. It still amazes me when I set up at a book fair, or Mind, Body, Spirit exhibition, and readers come rushing over to meet me and thank me. I’m just a single mum with grey hair and back fat! When I ran my holistic health business it was my main aim to help empower women to be the best they can be; I’m glad that I can continue to do this with my writing.

7.What is your writing process like? To what extent do you plan and how much do you just let the words flow? Does your approach vary depending on whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction?

There’s a writing process? Only kidding, I used to wing it, which is probably why I never got anything finished. Taking part in NaNo has forced me into being an OCD plotter.

As soon as I get an idea, I open a new notebook (any excuse to visit Paperchase!), and I start to jot down character bios and basic ideas. I tend to work with Christopher Vogler’s hero’s journey system to help me get my initial thoughts down. Even though I do a detailed plot outline, once I start writing the characters take over. In the Guardian series, Amber was supposed to be a witch – mid-scene she decided that wasn’t challenging enough and so now she’s the last Oracle!

With my non-fiction, I tend to set my chapter headings and go with the flow from there. As I’m writing about topics I know, it’s easy to churn out hundreds of words without a detailed plan.

8.Do you write every day? Also how do you cope if you experience writer’s block?

I try to ensure I write something every day, even if it’s just a few notes in my planner. Monday to Friday I concentrate on writing my books, editing, and preparing blog content including book reviews, and author interviews. At the weekend I’ll write if the kids are busy, but if they’re around, I’ll try to spend time with them. The older they get, the more time I spend at my computer on a Saturday! My middle son plays football every Sunday so at least I manage to get a couple of hours of fresh air!

I’ve never experienced writer’s block; I have the opposite problem of too many ideas whirling around and not knowing which one to work on first. If this happens, I’ll write a list of all my musings just to stop the brain chatter. I can then choose one to concentrate on. Writing for my two blogs means I always have something to say or do. I guess this is the perfect antidote to writer’s block.

9.If you could give an aspiring author one tip, what would it be?

Read. I’ve got a million other tips, but that’s the one that stands out as the most important one for me. I’ve discovered more about myself as a writer by reading other people’s work than any how-to-write book can show me. You learn to ‘hear’ the writer’s voice and can then find your own.

10.If you had one wish to change the world for the better what would it be?

Oh my, what a question! There is so much wrong with our world that I wouldn’t know where to start. Ending poverty and war needs to be top of the list. If we could also learn to embrace each other regardless of colour, class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, then that would go a small way towards healing the world.

11.What sort of books do you read in your spare time? Also when you are not writing or reading what do you like to do?

I adore reading YA fantasy novels, and love getting my teeth into a book series. My favourite YA authors are Cassandra Clare and Sarah J Maas. A few years ago, I joined Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team and had to expand my reading to encompass all sorts of genres. I’ve since developed a love of historical fiction (mostly Tudors), crime, murder/mystery, and horror/post-apocalyptic. I don’t do chick-lit or romance!

If I’m not writing or reading, then I’m leading an exceedingly boring existence. I enjoy going to the gym and running on the treadmill, I also love going to the cinema and can happily go on my own to watch a film (tub of popcorn all to yourself, need I say more!). I’m quite creative, so I love doing adult colouring books, spending far too long on Pinterest, and creating projects for my motivational blog. Other than that, you’ll find me curled up with a book.

12.Finally can you share with us about what your next release will be and what you are working on?

Guardians of the Lost Lands is the final book in my Guardians trilogy and releases on Friday 11th November.


Here’s the blurb:

Amber’s final quest could claim her soul, but it’s a journey she must make.

The evil that lurks in the Lost Lands threatens to infest the realms unless Amber, Redka, and Connor can destroy it. But Amber is more concerned about her father’s safety as he is held captive by the wickedness that terrorises them all.

Amber faces isolation and mistrust from her friends as they travel across land and sea to meet their most dangerous foe.

Will she be able to stay true to her destiny as the last Oracle, or will she be tempted by the darkness? The fate of the realms is in her hands.

Amber’s final quest will be her most terrifying yet. This time, it will be deadly.

I’ve loved writing these books, but Guardians of the Lost Lands is slightly more special for me. During the writing process, I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, a nasty side effect of the illness I had. The dark mood and black thoughts seeped into my writing and ended up taking Amber in a different direction. Book three is much darker than the others, but it all adds to the impact, and hopefully shows my teen readers that these feelings are perfectly normal.

I’ve got a couple of projects on the go at the moment, now that the Guardian trilogy is complete. I’m editing a standalone YA werewolf novel which I have thoroughly enjoyed writing, and this should be available early next year – my editor loved it too and wanted me to write a sequel!

On the non-fiction side, I have an Oracle Guide Book coming out in December which is a motivational tool for inspiring you every week of the year. I’m also working on a sequel to How I Changed My Life in a Year which will fit into the memoir/self-help/women’s biography category again.

It’s a busy time, but I’m loving my writer life and hope it continues for many years to come.

Thank you so much for allowing me to invade your beautiful blog, Tina. I hope your readers enjoyed  my interview.

If they want to connect with me then I can be found lurking around social media most days:

Twitter –

Author Blog –

YA Facebook Page:

Motivational Facebook Page:

Website –

Motivational Blog:


Instagram: http://www.instagram/authorslwilson


Amazon Author Page:

Thank you for visiting us today Shelley and best of luck with your future releases. ❤



*Book Blitz* Raven’s Peak (World on Fire #1) by Lincoln Cole

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Raven's Peak - kindle cover copyTitle: Raven’s Peak (World on Fire #1)

Author: Lincoln Cole

Genre: Horror, paranormal thriller

Release date: July 5th, 2015

Length: 276 pages

BUY LINKS: Amazon UK and Amazon US

Blurb: A quiet little mountain town is hiding a big problem. When the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak start acting crazy, Abigail Dressler is called upon to find out what is happening. She uncovers a demonic threat unlike any she’s ever faced and finds herself in a fight just to stay alive.

She rescues Haatim Arison from a terrifying fate and discovers that he has a family legacy in the supernatural that he knows nothing about. Now she’s forced to protect him, which is easy, and also trust him if she wants to save the townsfolk of Raven’s Peak. Trust, however, is considerably more difficult for someone who grew up living on the knife’s edge of danger.

Can they discover the cause of the town’s insanity and put a stop to it before it is too late?

Author bio

Ryan_JordanLincoln Cole is a Columbus, Ohio-based author who enjoys traveling and has visited many different parts of the world, including Australia and Cambodia, but always returns home to his pugamonster puppy, Luther, and family. His love for writing was kindled at an early age through the works of Isaac Asimov and Stephen King and he enjoys telling stories to anyone who will listen.


*E-Serial Book Blitz* A Wolf on the Loose by Daniel Straka



A wolf on the loose cover pt 1Title: A Wolf on the Loose

Author: Daniel Straka

Genre: Thriller, adventure, military

Released date: January 11th, 2015 (releasing weekly serial ebook episodes)

Buy links: Amazon UK & Amazon US – PART 1 is currently FREE on Amazon!!!

Blurb: A Wolf on the Loose is a weekly e-serial, containing 36 parts spread over 5 episodes. One part is released weekly, free, on Amazon for 5 days (Monday-Friday). Completed episodes are available for purchase.

Amid struggling with his addictions, former Marine Andrew St George goes AWOL from his rich family and lavish lifestyle. He appears months later in Miami with one intent; convince his friend, Emilio Cortez, to start a Private Military Company with him. Having left the Corps after his brother was killed in a drive-by, Emilio’s been stuck working three jobs to support his extended family, all of whom he lives with in a small apartment.

While Andrew and Emilio enter into the security business looking for an escape from their civilian lives, both struggle with their demons. From the slums of Miami, the glitzy South Beach nightlife, to Cartel controlled Mexico, the boys will learn that despite their best intentions, no one job is the same and that there are battles to be fought outside of war zones.

Author bio

A WOLF ON THE LOOSE AUTHORDan achieved a BFA in photography and metal working and since graduating, has done neither. By day he works in manufacturing. By night, often very late into the night, he writes and stalks America’s sub-cultures on the vast internets.

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**Author Interviews** ~ Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

Regular readers of this blog know that Caroline, my BFF and co-blogger, and I love to read a variety of genres. Both of us have a penchant for dark and psychological reads. Since reading The Ghosts of Ravencrest (an erotic Gothic horror par excellence), by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross I have become a HUGE fan of their work.

Either writing alone or in partnership their work includes the paranormal, horror and dark, psychological thrillers such as their current collaboration Mother. Their writing, which can be downright S-C-A-R-Y, is often shocking and infused with dark humour, but is always a rollicking good read  and I love the devilish plot twists these authors inflict on their readers!

I was delighted at the chance of interviewing this writing duo and I hope that you find their candid responses to my questions as fascinating as I did. Tina ❤

Mother cover

1. Can you share with our readers a little about yourselves and your writing careers?

Tamara and Alistair both began writing around age eight  – both loved ghost stories most of all – and both wanted to be writers when they grew up. Tamara has been in print since 1991 and Alistair since 2012.

2. I understand that you have been collaborating since 2012, and have written, amongst other works, The Cliffhouse Haunting and The Ghosts of Ravencrest, the first book in The Ravenscrest Saga. How did you begin working together and what special elements do you each think the other brings to the partnership that distinguishes the works of Thorne and Cross?

Alistair became a fan of Tamara’s work in the 90s, and when social media sites like Facebook came along and made it easy to connect to others, he looked her up. Having just been published for the first time, Alistair was doing author interviews on his blog as a way of meeting other writers. Tamara was one of the first people he asked. We became fast friends and were brainstorming ideas for new books before we’d even conceived of the idea to officially write together. It flowed very naturally – it was simply meant to be. We soon found that our writing style – as well as our personal and professional ethics – was so remarkably similar that continuing on the path together was simply the instinctual thing to do. Alistair brings an intense work ethic to our virtual office while Tamara brings jolly good fun. We need each other for balance. And hard work. And fun

3. Why do you think there is such an appetite for horror and psychological thrillers amongst readers? TamaraWhat is it within the human psyche that craves such stories?

People crave (safe) danger. Danger fascinates us, but things like scary movies, horror novels, and roller coasters are a way of facing our fears without risking our lives. These things force us to explore those uncharted parts of ourselves which can teach us proper response in the face of real danger. It’s a survival mechanism. Avoidance of fear is fatal, and the human psyche understands this. Thus, it draws us toward the things that frighten us. Plus, scary books are just awesome. 

4. The flipside of this – why do you both enjoy writing in these genres?

Horror is a release from the everyday. Neither of us watches the news – real horror is too depressing. But fictional horror and suspense provides a rush akin to amusement park thrill rides. Fiction, by its very nature is escapist and, to us, there’s nothing better than a toe-curler to escape reality for a little while. We are especially partial to suspense and supernatural horror because ghosts, vampires, and assorted elementals are literary equivalents to a carnival where we can find lots of thrills and chills. In Mother, our heroine, Claire, starts with a turn on the merry-go-round, then soon ends up on a scary roller coaster and finally enters the dark ride, which is too frightening to be fun for her.

5. You must have both been asked this question in many forms before – but do you base any elements of your characters on anyone you know or are they purely fuelled by your imaginations?

AlistairEvery character is imaginary; it would be no fun for us to plunk down living people in our books! That said, we are the products of our lives and experiences. Everything around us, from sights, sounds, and tastes, to hoarders, psychopaths and ghosts are inspired by lifetimes of observation and experience.

  1. 6. Would you both like to tell us something about your latest release, Mother?

Mother is a psychological thriller in the vein of Psycho and Misery, with a pinch of Peyton Place and a dash of Gaslight. It concerns a young, expectant couple, Claire and Jason Holbrook, who’ve fallen on hard times, forcing them to move in with Claire’s estranged mother. Claire vowed to have no contact with the overbearing woman ever again, but Mother is thrilled at the prospect of a grandchild. At Mother’s, Claire and Jason begin experiencing things that make them determined to leave immediately … but when a cruel twist of fate makes leaving impossible, Claire becomes obsessed with her mother’s motives. Fantasy and fact blur together as her compulsion consumes her, and Jason wonders who the villain really is. When a cache of macabre family secrets is uncovered, Claire and Jason find the answers they’re looking for – answers that will change them forever … assuming anyone can get out of Mother’s house alive.

7.  Did you have to carry out any research into the issues explored in Mother, before writing the novel?

All books require research. Mother’s research was relatively easy compared to other books. It consisted primarily of a brush-up on sociopathic and narcissistic behaviors. We also researched topics like hoarding, epilepsy, flight schools, Catholic funerals, and ugly furniture from the 1970s and 80s. When we write books that include science or a good deal real history that must be woven into our fictional characters’ lives, as in our Ravencrest novels, the research is far more intensive. All fiction must have its roots in reality to keep it believable.

8.  I am delighted to learn that you host a horror themed internet radio show, Thorne and Cross Haunted Nights LIVE! What have been some of your favourite moments on the show to date?

There have been many great moments. We loved hearing The Walking Dead author Jay Bonansinga tell us his thoughts on why zombies are so popular, and Charlaine Harris’ stories about about being recognized in public were hilarious. We were laughing out loud when Christopher Rice told us what it was like for him to read his mom’s (Anne Rice) Sleeping Beauty series. Chet Williamson’s reading from his novel Psycho: Sanitarium gave us chills. Chatting about twisted family dynamics with Andrew Neiderman, who also authors the V.C. Andrews book series, was fascinating, and talking with Laurell K. Hamilton about vampires was a lot of fun. Those are just a few of our favorite moments. 

Mother teaser

9. Are there any collaborative projects in the pipeline that you are able to share?

As always, we’re working on the continuing Ravencrest Saga and have just released the second serialized installment titled, Dead of the Night. We are also working on a sequel to Tamara’s vampire novel, Candle Bay, which also serves as a continuation of Alistair’s The Crimson Corset. The Darling family of Candle Bay made appearances in Corset and that set the course for Candle Bay II – we decided we had to get our vamps together in a serious way. As soon as Candle Bay’s sequel is complete, we will begin work on the second book in our Trilogy of Terror. Mother was the first. The second is unrelated to Mother as far as characters are concerned, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see Father Andy show up, assuming we set the next book in Snapdragon, where Mother takes place. The Trilogy of Terror is made up of three psychological suspense novels that are more about human monsters than supernatural ones. On the side, we’re also both knee-deep in a pair of solo novels.

10. Have you a message to readers, or to writers who are thinking of branching out into penning horror/psychological thrillers?

We always say that the most important thing is to write what you love. If you love what you’ve written, others will too. Also, writing requires dedication and discipline. It’s easy to tell yourself you don’t have time to write, but if you want to be a serious writer, you have to create time.


Tamworth Literary Festival ~ **Romancing The Word**

Saturday 11th June, Tamworth, 2016, Staffordshire

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Both Caroline and I will be attending Tamworth LitFest’s Romancing The Word event on Saturday 11th June and we are SO excited! Tamworth will be playing host to a bevy of Romance authors from around the West Midlands and further afield! The Tamworth Literary Festival has organised a whole day dedicated to the wonderful world of romance. There will be author talks, readings and a workshop in St Editha’s Church, with tickets  priced at £3 per author session (or £8 for the whole day) and a free Meet the Authors/Book Signings in the adjacent library.

If you live in the area or want to visit it would be lovely to see you there. ❤

Tickets available to purchase in person from Tamworth Information (TIC) or to reserve telephone the TIC on 01827 709581/709618. Alternatively reserve via email at

Scroll down to find out about more about the participating authors and details about the full programme for the day.

Tam Lit Fest Romantic flyer

Authors appearing in St George’s Chapel, St Editha’s Church:

Helena FairfaxHelena Fairfax will be delivering a  Workshop – How to Write a Great Romance: The role of conflict in fiction, and at how to create that vital romantic tension in a romance novel to keep the reader glued to the page.

Helena is a contemporary romance author. Her first novel, The Silk Romance, was published after passing through the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme, where her reader taught her the importance of romantic conflict – a lesson she’s never forgotten. Helena’s latest romance, A Way from Heart to Heart, is set on the Yorkshire moors. Helena walks the moors every day with her rescue dog, finding this romantic landscape – and strangely, even the rain and mud – the perfect place to dream up her heroes and heroines. You can find Helena on Facebook (where she’s the only Helena Fairfax), on Twitter @helenafairfax, or on her blog at

There will also be a Meet the Author talk and signing with Julia Ibbotson, author of the Drumbeats trilogy and A Shape on the Air6017965 (a Dark Ages time slip romance).

Julia  lives in the heart of England in a renovated Victorian rectory. She read English and Sociology at Keele University after a gap year in Ghana. She was a school teacher, before gaining her PhD and becoming a university lecturer. Apart from academic research texts, Julia has written a memoir, The Old Rectory: escape to a Country Kitchen (with recipes), a children’s book S.C.A.R.S, and her Drumbeats trilogy. She is currently completing a new novel, A Shape on the Air, a historical/romance time-slip story. Apart from reading, she loves travel, singing, swimming, yoga, Pilates, and walking.

Head shot Rosie GoodwinBestselling author Rosie Goodwin will also be delivering a Meet the Author talk and signing.

Before becoming a writer Rosie was a Placement Support Worker and foster carer, and worked in the social services department after completing a teacher training course. Rosie lives in Nuneaton, where many of her books are set, with her husband, Trevor, and their beloved dogs. Rosie is one of the Top 100 most borrowed authors from UK libraries and loves meeting and hearing from her readers.

The sessions will close with an author reading and signing by Gareth J Wood, ‘The cold side of the pillow: Romance’s ugly face.

Gareth J Wood was born in Birmingham and, barring spells in Wales and the Far East, he’s lived there ever since. HeGareth J Wood went to university in Birmingham and Lampeter, completing a degree in literature, after which he went over to Taipei with his partner, Claire, and tried teaching. Sadly it didn’t work out. He and Claire now share their home with two angry terriers. Gareth used to perform live, forming a collective called The Blue City Project. He has written many short stories and completed two full-length novels, The Malignant Man and The Master’s Marionettes. He writes all the while and can often be seen riding on late-night buses grumbling into torn notepads.

FREE Meet the Author/Signing Event at Tamworth Library 11.00 am – 3.00 pm

Lucy_Felthouse (2)Lucy Felthouse (Erotic Romance): Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller) and Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller). Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 140 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more about her writing at, or on Twitter and Facebook. You can also subscribe to her monthly newsletter at:

S.J Warner lives in the north of England with her husband and three children. An avid reader from an early age she AdobePhotoshopExpress_e573d712c1894aefa6d649adc4736efaknew she always wanted to write but life got in the way and she put all thoughts of writing to one side until one day in 2012 she was challenged to write a short story. That story led her on a journey into poetry, more short stories and finally to producing three collections of her poetry and her first full length novel. She enjoys reading many different genres her favourites being erotica and horror.

L A Cotton (Contemporary Romance), L.A is author of contemporary romance 12986468_1711769695779306_526964689_o novels ranging from sweet with just a hint of steam, to suspenseful reads full of angst, tension, twists and turns. Home is a small town in the middle of England where she currently juggles being a full-time mum to two little people with writing. In her spare time (and when she’s not camped out in front of the laptop) you’ll most likely find L. A immersed in a book, escaping the chaos that is life.

Pat Spence (Contemporary, Young Adult and Paranormal Romance), Pat PAT SPENCE imageSpence is a freelance writer and ex- magazine editor. She has worked as a copywriter in advertising agencies, a freelance trainer teaching personal development and a massage therapist/aromatherapist. She is married with a daughter, has a degree in English Literature, and spends her spare time practicing yoga, learning banjo, reading and gardening.Books:

‘Abigail’s Affair’ is a quirky love story about a woman coming to terms with having an affair. Set against a colourful Australian backdrop, with flashbacks to the UK, and a host of emotionally dysfunctional characters, the story reveals how the experience of travel becomes a voyage of self-discovery, with surprising results, for 30-year old Abigail Aske.

‘The Blue Crystal Trilogy’, (comprising ‘Blue Moon’, ‘True Blue’ and ‘Into The Blue’) a supernatural love story about a strange family, with an ancient secret, that arrives in a Midlands village to renovate an old manor house. When local girl, 17-year old Emily Morgan, falls for glamorous and mysterious 19-year old Theo de Lucis, she must change every perception she has had about live, love, ageing and death.

8073755J A Heron (Romance, Erotic Romance, Thriller) in her own words: I live in a small town called Burton on Trent, Staffordshire in the middle of England. This lovely little town is famous for making beer, and I have called it home since I was born. I have a daughter called Shelby and although I was a young mother, I couldn’t be more proud of the beautiful young lady I have raised, I was eighteen years old when she came into my life, and I love her more than anything in the world. I am quite a positive person, and with some of the hardships I have encountered over the years has made me a stronger person. I lost my mum to cancer over ten years ago, and although I lost my best friend that day I believe in my heart that she would be proud of me.

I started writing because of my love for books, but also, because of my disability. I was a bit of a medical miracle you see, I survived, when I really shouldn’t have. And whilst my illness left me with some lasting effects, it also left me with a new outlook, determination and confidence that I could do it, so I did! I have loved reading for a number of years now, and my only regret is that I wish I had read more as a youngster. I believe it is very important to teach children the love of books from an early age, the earlier the better in my opinion. I am in a relationship with a wonderful man called Ian. He is very supportive of my writing and calls me ‘his clever girl’, for some reason this always makes me blush. Ian and my daughter know when to give me some space to write, they know that I can become quite tetchy when in the zone. But they also know that I need an endless supply of coffee, and maybe some chocolate thrown into the mix. I believe in my work, I believe in my stories, and I hope you do too…trust me, there’s a lot more to come!

Katharine Swartz is the USA Today-bestselling author of 35 romances with Harlequin Presents, hundreds of short 1269244stories, and several historical novels and anthologies now available on Kindle. Her first women’s fiction with Penguin/NAL, Rainy Day Sisters, will be out in August 2015. She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women’s fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots. Having lived in New York City, she now makes her home in a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can read about her life at

AA Abbott is an English writer. “Mostly, I write thrillers set in the world of big business,” Abbott says. “Men enjoy my books just as much as women do, and I guess that’s why I chose a gender-neutral pen name. After all, if JK Rowling can pretend to be a guy – twice – then why shouldn’t I?” Abbott is better known in her day job as Helen Blenkinsop. “I work in interim roles in large companies, and then take time off to write,” she says. “I’ve always loved entertaining others with a story, and my work gives me loads of inspiration. Demanding bosses, frauds, affairs – I’ve seen it all!”

Helen has lived and worked in several English cities. “I aim to convey a strong sense of place in my writing,” she says. “Three cities I know particularly well are London, Bristol and Birmingham. London is awash with foreign money and frenzied work patterns. It’s hectic and exciting. By contrast, you can lose a lot of time in Bristol sipping cider and watching the world go by. Birmingham is where my heart lies – it’s busy, friendly and simply fun to be there. Often, I write about the tensions between different places and people. My characters explore themes of change, darkness and redemption, just as we all do in our journeys through life.” Any last words? “Yes,” Helen says. “I write great short stories too. There are loads free on my website, and when you sign up for my newsletter, I’ll send you a free e-book packed with terrific tales. What are you waiting for?”

Laura Morgan (Dark Paranormal Romance),  describes herself as “a Laura Morgan pic with logohopeless romantic with a dark side.

I have worked in many administrative roles over the years thanks to a life on the move, and am a self-confessed computer and gadget geek. I’ve always had a wild imagination and a sense of creativity that often runs away with me, engrossing me for days in many a story that haunts my thoughts until it eventually makes it to the page. An avid rock music fan, I spend much of my free time listening to music at home or going to concerts with my friends, and this love of music often makes its way into my creative writing. I love edgy, gritty books that strip your heart and soul bare, and leave you with an epic book hangover at the end. That’s what I aimed to do with mine, and I think my readers agree! At times they’re dark and controversial, but that’s also what makes them unique.

Like many authors, my dream of writing was pushed aside for a long time. I was too busy, too tired, enough—so I kept my stories to myself. Then, one day in the summer of 2013 I began thinking up a new story. It haunted me, and eventually I felt compelled to write it down. I’m so glad I did, because that story quickly turned into my first novel, Embracing the Darkness. Since then I’ve written seven more full-length novels, numerous short stories, and I have a handful of works in progress on the go. I love edgy, gritty books that strip your heart and soul bare, and leave you with an epic book hangover at the end. That’s what I aimed to do with mine, and I think my readers agree! At times they’re dark and controversial, but that’s also what makes them unique.

I also have a YA science fiction series written under my pen name L.C Morgan, of which the first novel is out with a second to follow in June 2016. It’s a story set a thousand years in the future, in which humans have used and abused the planet beyond repair to both the earth itself and to society. Close to cataclysm, an alien race called the Thrakorian’s step in to save our planet, and us, but at a price. The human race is enslaved to their new masters, albeit willingly, and this is the story of a young girl and her journey into adulthood beneath their reign.

Christina Smee (Historical): Originally from Birmingham, I have lived in Tamworth for 35 years.  I am a self- shrunk profile pic)employed historical interpreter working mainly at Bosworth Battlefield Centre.  I also give talks on Medieval Herbal Medicine to local groups.  My son, Dominic was involved in a Channel Four Documentary, Richard 111: The New Evidence in 2013/2014.  Dominic has the same medical condition as King Richard and participated in scientific and historical research for the program.

The Rose of Middleham is my first published novel about life at Middleham castle in Yorkshire where Richard 111 lived, as a child and as owner upon his marriage to Anne Neville, daughter of The Earl of Warwick.  I have planned to write a sequel when time permits.  Both Dominic and I are members of a Living History group based at Bosworth Battlefield Centre where I have the role of Wise Woman.  Since the documentary we have travelled the country with the armour commissioned by Channel Four where Dominic gives a presentation on his experience making the program.

CarolCarol E Wyer (Humour, Romantic Comedy): Carol is an ex-teacher and linguist who lives in rural Staffordshire. Having written a series of educational yet amusing books for children, she turned her attention to the adult market in 2010 when her son flew from the nest.

Her first two novels attracted much attention from the media. Since then, she has appeared on over fifty BBC radio stations, several international radio stations, NBC television and BBC Breakfast discussing age-related subjects such as ‘Irritable Male Syndrome’. Her writing style has been described frequently by the media as ‘witty’ or ‘humorous’ and has even been compared to the acerbic wit of Jeremy Clarkson and the humour of Robin Williams.

Last year she won the People’s Book Prize Award for Grumpy Old Menopause which also was featured on BBC Breakfast television

Carol has written articles for and featured in several national women’s magazines including Take A Break, Choice, Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Own who also wrote about her journey to becoming a best-selling author.

Recently, she signed a two-book deal with publishing house Bookouture. Currently writing a series of novels and articles aimed at the ‘older’ woman, Carol is also engaged in writing by-line articles and posts for magazines and websites including the Huffington Post and is a regular Loud Mouth on BBC Radio Derby. When not writing, you might find her performing her stand-up routine “Smile While You Still Have Teeth”.

Winner of the People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction

PLUS Tamworth Writers Group and more…

The Full Programme



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