Cover Reveal: Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk

While there are far more consequential things going on in the world, I have news: Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk has a cover. If you WERE to judge the book by the cover, you might think this book is pretty cool.

Johnny Lupul is riding high. He’s got a PI license, a concealed carry permit, his first big payday and a monster of a secret. After rescuing a bookie’s daughter from Russian mobsters, the newly-minted PI catches the attention of a rich, mysterious client.

At first, it’s easy money. After all, magic isn’t real and those “occult” objects have to be fakes. But while chasing an Egyptian relic, an obsessed enemy from his past emerges. Johnny learns that the world is much stranger—and more dangerous—than he ever suspected.

Being a werewolf may be the most normal thing he has to face on this case.

This baby is out November 19 from Black Rose Writing, preorders available soon.

Demons & Being In the Wrong World at the Wrong Time with Amanda Fleet

Not to make this all about me, but I am incredibly nervous about my first Urban Fantasy novel coming out in November. After all, up til now, most of my work has been nonfiction/business-y stuff or Historical Fiction. This week’s guest, Amanda Fleet, has gone through a similar journey, what with the launch of her new Guardians of the Realm series. The second book comes out March 7.

I know you’re a bit of an over-achiever. Tell us about yourself.

Oh, toughest question first! I’m not good at talking about me!

I’m a writer, living in Scotland. I used to be a university lecturer, teaching physiology to medical students (and science students in the early days). At the start, teaching the students was fun and the non-teaching bits were okay too. But after a couple of decades and a series of terrible managers, although the students were still great fun, the job was literally almost killing me (serious arrhythmia and a breakdown), so I left. I now write as my ‘job’ though the pay and conditions suck. 😊

I’d like to say “When I’m not writing, I like to…” but I’m always writing. Or thinking about writing. But I can multitask, so I can think about writing while walking, running, or gardening, all of which I enjoy. Living in Scotland, we have some amazing countryside, right on the doorstep. You’d have to be spectacularly unimaginative, not to be inspired by it.

What is your current series about?

The current book – Aegyir Rises – is about a life-stealing demon who’s accidentally freed from his prison on Earth. He’s determined to have revenge on the people who put him there and is convinced that a local woman, Reagan Bennett, is his nemesis Aeron. She thinks she’s Reagan Bennett, although she is plagued with dreams of a different world where she’s called Aeron. And someone keeps leaving her odd things on her kitchen table – things that only she can read, or things that could be used to defeat the demon – if she is Aeron. Can she defeat the demon before he kills everyone she loves?

What is it about that form of magic or character that appealed to you? What are the roots of the story?

There’s not actually any magic in it, per se. I’ve always loved the idea that the antagonist is the hero in his/her story. Aegyir – the demon – thinks he’s absolutely in the right. And for a long time, I’ve played with the ideas of parallel worlds and people being in the wrong place. These all came together to some extent in the Guardians of The Realm trilogy. Aegyir Rises is the first book in the trilogy. The second book, Aeron Returns, comes out next week!

As someone who has written in other genres first, and now has branched into this crazy world of UF, what has been your biggest fear and what has surprised you?

I’ve written in a number of different genres now, from medical thriller, through women’s literature, crime, and now urban fantasy. There’s not really been a plan to it. I write the stories that are burning a hole in my head. So, in many ways, the only fear has been the normal one of “Will anyone ever buy these books?” And as ever, the surprise is that, yes, some people do!

I suppose the biggest difference moving from crime-writing to urban fantasy is the level of description. My crime publisher pared most descriptions back and just wanted plot and action. My fantasy editor wanted much more detail – of characters, surroundings etc. That was a difficult shift in some ways.

Which writers inspired you?

As a child, I was obsessed with Gerald Durrell’s books, and a series of books written by a vet – James Herriot. After that came an Agatha Christie phase, interspersed with Jane Austen, George Eliot and the Bronte sisters. By the time I was at university, I’d shifted towards Terry Pratchett, and an author whose name I wish I could remember – she wrote fantasy books about a parallel world accessed via specific portals, and the books were humorous.

More recently, I’ve devoured pretty much anything written by Patrick Ness, and a lot of Neil Gaiman’s stuff. Crime-wise I would read anything by Harry Bingham – his Fiona Griffiths character is fantastic. Chris Brookmyre is great, as is C.L. Taylor. I’m currently impatiently waiting for Hilary Mantel’s third book about Thomas Cromwell “The Mirror and The Light” (the final part of the Wolf Hall trilogy) to come out in paperback.

Where can folks learn more about your work?

Website: https://www.amandafleet.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaFleetWriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amanda_fleet1

Book Bub: @AmandaFleet

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/amandafleet

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amandafleet/ (though yet to post anything!)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/amandafleet (though I don’t like Goodreads and am never on there…)

NOTE FROM WAYNE: In a month or so I am going to be offering a FREE story, not seen anywhere else, for subscribers to my newsletter. Please use the form on the side of the page to get on board and learn more about my work, including the upcoming novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk.

And if this is your first introduction to me and my work, check out my novels on Amazon.

Born of Metal with A L Knorr (and AD Schneider)

One of the Urban Fantasy series I’m really digging is Born of Metal by AL Knorr and Aaron D Schneider. First, it’s an exciting series with cool magic and a Sudanese-British protagonist, which isn’t something you see every day. It’s also a good example of something you see a lot in Urban Fantasy: the team up in order to get books in a series into the world quickly. Since Johnny Lycan is going to be a trilogy, I’m intrigued and a bit intimidated.

I spoke to Abby Knorr, who was most insistent her co-author, AD Schneider got some love too. (A thousand blessings upon her. I’ve been the B side of a book. It can be lonely.) Here’s the interview.

Tell us about yourself, and give your co-author some love while you’re at it.

I’m a textbook introvert with a serious problem: my imagination is a runaway train and I’m just a panicked passenger along for the ride. I’m a Canadian living in the UK who married a brilliant cook which has saved my life more than once because while I’m working (which is almost every day including weekends) I often forget to eat. I force my arse to the gym or to the yoga studio or dance studio to try and remember how to socialize with people and move my body but as many writers can attest, getting away from my computer is a real challenge. I love the ocean and all things in it both living and … well, not, such as shipwrecks and ancient cities. It was this first love of nautical history and marine biology which spawned my first series (Elemental Origins). People often ask me if I ever run out of ideas but a more likely problem is that I’ll never get to write them all. My mom taught me to read when I was three (I was put ahead a grade because of this), and unbeknownst to her, she created a monster with an insatiable appetite for stories and storytelling. Life is storytelling, and don’t you forget it.

Aaron is a storyteller posing as a writer. If he’d been born in the days of nifty new longboats and mead halls he’d have been trying desperately to make it as a skald or bard, illiteracy be damned! He loves tales, legends, myths, and epics, modern or ancient, sacred or sinister. They’ve shaped him so much it seems only natural he’d want to shape his own. So here he is trying to scratch his mark on time’s edifice, and finding himself perpetually grateful for the people who give him a chance. He’s also the brains behind the Warring Realm trilogy.

What’s Born of Metal and the Inconquo series about?

Born of Metal is about a young Sudanese-Brit named Ibukun who is descended from a line of supernaturals (metal elementals, in case the title didn’t give you a clue) called Inconquo guardians. It’s an origin story that follows Ibby as she discovers her heritage while interning at the British Museum and finds a hidden, magical artifact which unlocks her abilities. Born of Metal is as adventure story but its also a ghost story and a coming of age tale. Ibby first appeared in my book Born of Air as a secondary character but I loved her so much that I knew she needed her own series. Working with Aaron D. Schneider to bring her story to life was a brilliant choice because Aaron has amazing writing skills, especially in combat, which Ibby ends up in a lot as an iron-slinging, metal-warping guardian and the only supernatural who stands between the destruction of London and the original Inconquo, a terrifying demi-god from Sumerian myth named Ninurta.

What is it about that form of magic or the story that intrigued you?

Elemental magic has always appealed to me because magic rooted in nature seems somehow more believable than other forms and we tried to make Ibby’s story as believable as possible. Her series could actually cross over into Sci fi but we didn’t categorize it there because it is shy on technology. The Inconquo mythology sprang from Sumerian myths and gods and is also connected to the story of the Euroklydon from the bible (where Born of Air sprang from). The original Elemental Origins series touched on the major elemental magics (water, earth, fire, air, and aether) but Ibby’s story as a metal elemental was dying to be told so I created a subcategory of Earth elemental for the metal elementals to sit in. Aaron had a lot to do with helping expand the metal elemental mythology and Ibby’s trilogy is truly a joint creation.

Abby, who are the authors you enjoy?

There are so many. Off the top of my head my favorites and the authors who have influenced me are Kelley Armstrong, Stephen King, Ken Follett, JK Rowling, Anne Rice, Frank McCourt, Arthur Golden, and Laure Eve, to name a few.

Where is the best place to learn about your work and your insane number of books?

Amazon is the best place to look since everything is all linked and in one place. My website is another good resource (subscribers can get free fiction there), and for Facebook or Instagram users, I have accounts there as well.

NOTE FROM WAYNE: In a month or so I am going to be offering a FREE story, not seen anywhere else, for subscribers to my newsletter. Please use the form on the side of the page to get on board and learn more about my work, including the upcoming novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk.

And if this is your first introduction to me and my work, check out my novels on Amazon.

A Female Samurai with India Millar

I am a sucker for anything that has to do with the Samurai period in Japan. Toshiro Mifune is my boy. So when I heard about Firefly, the tale of a female samurai warrior, or “onna-bugeisha,” I was all in. So, meet India Millar.

India, who are you?

My name is India Millar, and I am a writer of historical fiction.  Also, I may well be one of the luckiest people I know – I make my living doing something I love. But like most things that are worth having, my journey to becoming a professional novelist was far from easy. In fact, my love of writing was born out of adversity. I come from a very poor family. My father died when I was eight, and to keep us both together, my mother was forced to work impossibly long hours. In those days, “latchkey” kids were common, and the authorities took no notice of us. Books didn’t figure in our tightest of budgets, so  I would come home from school, get myself something to eat and then head for the local library to lose myself in as many books as I could devour, staying there until they threw me out. And that was the start of wanting to be a writer for me. I soon began to create my own, private adventures in my head and I became a dreamer of other existences. I carried my own world in my head, whenever I had a spare moment weaving stories just for myself, for nothing more than to give myself pleasure. To me, this was perfectly normal. I was amazed when I found out that everybody didn’t do it. And it was only recently that I came across a term for it. Apparently, I am a “maladaptive dreamer.” I think that is a remarkably ugly title for one who gives pleasure by introducing their worlds to others. I wonder if I asked any of my favourite authors if they knew they were maladaptive dreamers, what they would say? (Wayne’s note: Hell yea, maybe we need tshirts!) I have a feeling that the response would be that – just like me – they wouldn’t have it any other way!

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In spite of my lifelong love affair with words, I never believed I would become a professional writer. That was for other people, not the daydreamer from nowhere. Now I have achieved the impossible and I spend my days bringing my dreams to life, I can only give thanks for those long-ago times that were my start in life. 

I really enjoyed Firefly, but tell my readers about it.

“Firefly” is the first in a series of books based on the true tradition of the warrior woman of the samurai. My heroine, Keiko, began life as the daughter of a wealthy samurai. But unlike most women of her class, she was not a pampered nothing, expected to do no more than marry and have as many male children as possible.  Dominated by her lovely elder sister, Keiko wanted no more than to win the love and respect of her father, who largely ignored her. . But she found to her cost that the ancient oriental saying of “be careful what you wish for, you may get it” can also become  a curse when it amused her brother to teach her the way of onna-bugeisha;  the revered warrior women of the samurai. She finally wins her freedom, but at a cost she could never have envisaged.

We share a fascination for that time period. What drew you to the world of samurai Japan?

I’ve been fascinated by the Victorian period for as long as I can remember. I think it is because it was the period in history when suddenly anything at all was not only possible, but likely.  Never has mankind achieved so much in a relatively short period; virtually everything we take for granted today had its roots in the Victorian age.  And I can’t remember a time in my own history when I wasn’t fascinated by Japan. Who could imagine a country that voluntarily closed its doors to the rest of the world for hundreds of years and then, in less than a century, rose to become a world power?  Geisha, samurai, courtesans, the code of bushido, haiku,the kabuki and bunraku theatres, warrior women who fought alongside their men and of course Edo’s Floating World… delicious!

So, what’s your favorite (or favourite) scene in the book?

It’s always difficult to divorce a certain scene from the whole. Of course, if it was easy to pick out one particular piece of the action, then that scene probably shouldn’t be there in the first place as it disturbs the harmony of the rest of the book. Having said that, I enjoyed writing about the incident that made Keiko realize she had achieved her goal of becoming onna-bugeisha. Her brother, Isamu, takes her to steal a golden eagle chick from the nest on an inaccessible mountain. Her father loves hunting and she knows that the rare and wonderful gift of a golden eagle will please him above all else. It does, but the dangerous mountain climb to reach the eagle’s nest and the mother bird’s frantic attempts to protect her chick nearly kills Keiko. And at the end of the day, it is her brother who takes the credit for the gift. As he tells Keiko, if their samurai father knew that she had had any part in stealing the chick, he would have declined the coveted bird because if a mere woman could have taken it, it would surely be worthless. A definite example of be careful what you wish for; you may get it!

Where can we learn more about you and all your books?

You can find me on Amazon, my website at www.indiamillar.co.uk, and Facebook.

We interrupt this interview for a shameless plug. Acre’s Orphans has won a much-coveted “Discovered Diamond” award for historical fiction. You can read the review here, or just take my word for it and buy the book.

New Orleans and Reconstruction- Amanda Skenandore

One of the best things about moving to Las Vegas has been developing a whole new network of local writers. One of the nicest and, more importantly, successful of these is Amanda Skenandore. Her first book, Between Earth and Sky, impressed the heck out of me. Her second, The Undertaker’s Assistant, is just out now.

I’ve met you a few times now, but tell my readers about you. What’s your deal?

I’m originally from Colorado, but I now live Las Vegas, NV with my husband and our pet turtle, Lenore. When I’m not writing, I work as a registered nurse at a local hospital. My first novel, Between Earth and Sky, came out last year. The highlight of my debut years was winning the American Library Association’s Reading List Award for Best Historical Fiction. My second novel, The Undertaker’s Assistant, released in July. I’m an avid reader, tea-drinker, and wanderlust. I love to write historical fiction because it transports me to past while at the same time shining light on the here and now.

What is your book about? 

The Undertaker’s Assistant follows the story of Effie, a young freedwoman who earns her living as an embalmer, as she seeks out her past amid the growing violence and racial turmoil of Reconstruction-era New Orleans. She says in the novel, “The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.” A former slave who escaped to the Union side as a child, she knows the truth of her words and keeps her distance from the living. But two encounters—with a charismatic state legislator named Samson Greene, and a beautiful young Creole, Adeline—introduce her to new worlds of protests and activism, of soirees and social ambition. Effie decides to seek out the past she has blocked from her memory and try to trace her kin. As her hopes are tested by betrayal, and New Orleans grapples with violence, Effie faces loss and heartache, but also a chance to finally find a place of belonging.

What is it about that time period or character that appealed to you? What are the roots of the story?

I wanted to explore Reconstruction. Growing up, I remember learning a lot about the Civil War, but very little about Reconstruction. I’d learned the names of a dozen generals, but not the names of the African American men elected to congresses and statehouses throughout the South in the decade following the War’s end. Some of these men, like Robert Smalls and Blanche Bruce, were former slaves. What struck me most as I researched, was how progressive the era of Reconstruction was and how quickly that progress crumbled. I’d been taught about carpetbaggers and political corruption, but not about systematic violence and intimidation that truly undermined this progress.

I also wanted to explore the nature of death and dying in an era when that experience was often more frequent and intimate than we know today. A few years ago, I came across an article in The New Republic titled “Who Owns the Dead.”  In it, the author explores the increasing distance modern funerary practices place between the living and the dead and compares that to earlier American practices. The intimacy and continuity of care our forbears practiced with the dead intrigued me. The article also mentioned how the rise of embalming in America coincided with the Civil War as families sought a way to bring loved ones killed in battle home for burial. I knew I wanted to set my second novel during the era of post-Civil War Reconstruction, so the profession of undertaking seemed like the perfect intersection of these two interests.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

My favorite scene—favorite scene to write anyway—was one that takes place during Mardi Gras. It’s Effie’s first social outing in the New Orleans and is unlike anything she’s experienced. I enjoyed researching early Mardi Gras traditions and imaging the varied sights, sounds, and smells Effie would have encountered. Mardi Gras in the 1870s was part celebration, part political rally, and part melee. The hand-stitched costumes and horse-drawn floats were not only mean to dazzle but to convey a message: carpetbagger-rule was coming to an end. It’s a tumultuous scene for Effie, one of both excitement and injury.

Where can we learn more about you and your books?

I’m most active on Instagram, but you can find me on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter too. My books are available wherever books are sold, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Acre’s Orphans is an Indie B.R.A.G Medallion winner

So, my little third-born Acre’s Orphans has received another honor. Indie B.R.A.G has given it their award for excellence.

Their committee of readers had some nice things to say, but this killed me:

Wow! The last book I reviewed for BRAG I wanted a rating below “Yes” but above “No”. This time I want a rating above”yes”.
Like maybe “bound to be a classic like Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer or Kim.” There should be an award above a simple
BRAG medallion, like maybe “A Double B.R.A.G. Medallion” or maybe “No! I won’t turn out the light until I finish reading this!”
which my wife got tired of hearing the last three nights. I usually complain loud and long about first-person books, as they
make the main characters too narcissistic and the other characters too shallow. Ten-year-olds KNOW the world revolves
around them, especially when they know how to successfully play the “poor but cute orphan” face. First-person is perfect for
the “son of fleas”. Perhaps it is his training as an observer/spy (like Kim in Rudyard Kipling’s stories) that allows him to flesh
out the characters around him. The momentous events of history seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old put some of those
legendary people in their appropriate places. I look forward to reading the first book to get Lucca’s take on the Hattin debacle,
which is one of my favorite times in history to have NOT been there. This is one of the few books I wish I had written. Maybe if
I write until I die, my last book will approach the quality of “Acre’s Orphans”.

Reviewer, Indie BRAG

I’m honored and humbled (shut up! I can be humble if I have to!) at the love the book is receiving. Go check it out already…

The First Draft is Done. Ta-Dah!

The first draft of a book is often malformed, ugly, and unfit for human consumption. Such is the case with the first draft of Johnny Lycan. You know what? I don’t care! It’s done. Let the rewrites begin.

Yes, Johnny Lycan. That might be a clue as to what it’s about. Or not. Stay tuned.

It’s done. It’s unlike anything I have ever written before, and I think it will be really good when it’s been whipped, prodded, dragged and mercilessly pounded into submission.

Here’s what it’s not: Historical fiction. Not even close. Those of you who read Count of the Sahara, Acre’s Bastard and Acre’s Orphans and have come to know me through those books, I really, really, really hope you stay with me. I get it if you don’t.

Here’s what it is: Nope, not ready to tell you yet. But it will be funny. And bloody. And more like some of my short stories than any book I’ve written so far.

Stay tuned for details, and of course, you can join my mailing list for updates. Just use the email link on the left-hand side to let me know you want to be added.

Now there will be a Templeton Rye and a Cigar. Because that’s how we roll here at Casa Turmel when milestones get met. Send thoughts and prayers for the ugly little bugger. He’ll need all the help he can get.

Join me June 29 at B&N Henderson

HI all. My first Las Vegas area book signing will take place Saturday, June 29 at the Barnes and Noble in Henderson, NV from 1-3 PM.

I will be there with copies of my award-winning “Lucca le Pou” novels, Acre’s Bastard and Acre’s Orphans. Stop by, grab a cup of coffee and get a signed copy of these books. I’ll also be dropping big greasy hints about my next novel as well.

A Real-Life British Adventurer During the Napoleonic Wars – Tom Williams

As someone who writes business books (and damn fine ones like The Long-Distance Leader, for example) I understand the need to escape by writing historical adventure. Enter Tom Williams, who after a long career of being respectable now writes a series of adventures set during the Napoleonic War. The “Burke, His Majesty’s Confidential Agent series” is the result.

So, Tom, what’s your deal?

I’m an old, old man, living in London yet still somehow able to drag myself out of the house to street-skate and dance tango. I write stories set in the wars against France in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which you’d think I could remember, but I can’t quite. I have to read up the details in books.

I’ve written about the mid-19th century too. One story, set in London in 1859, describes an area that my grandfather patrolled as a policeman only a few decades later. (I told you I was old.)
All of my stories are set in different countries, which has given me the opportunity to travel to Borneo, Egypt, Belgium, Argentina and Spain and call it work. I have set one story in India, but I have yet to get there. One day, I hope.

The series looks like a lot of fun. It starts with “Burke in the Land of Silver,” so what’s the story?

Burke in the Land of Silver is the first of the stories I’ve written about James Burke, a spy in the time of Napoleon. He was a real person and the first story is quite closely based on truth. It’s set around the British invasion of Buenos Aires in 1806. I love Buenos Aires, so I was really happy to set a story there.

I’d written a book set in Borneo in the 1850s (The White Rajah) and publishers had told me that it was “too difficult” as a first novel so I was looking for something more mainstream. I kept bothering friends to suggest interesting historical figures and an Alaskan woman I’d met dancing in Argentina (as you do) suggested that I look at Europeans who had been involved with the wars of independence and the opening up of South America to European colonisation. I came across references to James Burke and the more I found out about him, the more I thought he was an ideal hero. Dashing, clever, brave, apparently irresistible to women (he had affairs with a queen and a princess amongst others) and someone who seems to have had a very successful career as a spy, he was almost impossible not to write about.

SOLD! I’m a sucker for real-life people with exciting lives. It’s like when I discovered Byron de Prorok and it became The Count of the Sahara. What’s your favorite scene of derring-do?

There’s an episode where Burke crosses the Andes. He left it rather late in the year and nearly died in the snow up there. I’ve read a lot about it but I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like, so I went to the Andes rather too early in the year when there was still snow around and took a horse up to something over 3000 metres. I have never been so cold, but it was a staggering experience and I hope I caught some of it in the book. The Andes really are beautiful.

Where can folks learn more about the Burke stories, the White Rajah and more?

Tom’s blogs appear regularly on his website, http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk where you can also find details of all his books. You can follow him on Twitter as @TomCW99 or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomWilliams).

Not to barge in on Tom’s interview, but Acre’s Orphans is out now. You can order Paperbacks on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Chapters. The e-book is Kindle only Please help me launch it successfully by buying now. And any time you read a book  like The Burke serie (or one of mine,) please leave an Amazon or Goodreads review. It’s like applause for  the author.

It’s Here. Acre’s Orphans is Out in the World

Even in a city as dirty, crowded, and generally stinky as Acre the smell of smoke stands out from the other odors. There are two kinds of smoke smells. The good kind promises a warm charcoal fire on a cold, rainy day—or a hot meal pretty much any time.

Today, it was the bad kind, and far more exciting…

Acre’s Orphans is the continuing tale of Lucca Le Pou, an orphan boy on the streets of Acre-the wickedest city in the world. He may have survived the Battle of Hattin, but now his beloved city is about to fall to Salah-adin and the Saracens.

What’s left of the Kingdom of Jerusalem is fractured and fighting among itself. When he uncovers a plot to divide the remaining Crusaders, he must get news to the Tyre–the last remaining Crusader stronghold. Can he make it before it’s too late for everyone he loves?

If you’re one of the many readers from around the world who enjoyed Acre’s Bastard, this is the next journey. If you haven’t read the first book yet, this one stands alone and only adds to Lucca’s growing legend.


“The characters are intriguing, the plot is tight, and there is fresh adventure around every turn. Well worth the read”

Windy City Reviews

You can order Acre’s Orphans on Kindle or the paperback at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Chapters.ca